DHS Eliminates List of Countries Subject to Special Registration Requirements

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently removed all countries from inclusion in the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS) program.

NSEERS was created by the Department of Justice in 2002 as a way to record the arrival and departure information for non-immigrants from certain countries as well as individuals who met certain criteria that the US believed warranted additional monitoring during their presence in the US. Non-immigrants subject to NSEERS were required to provide fingerprints, a photo, and any additional information required by DHS at the time of admission to the US. Non-immigrants subject to NSEERS could also be required to appear at a US Immigration and Customs Enforcement office to verify compliance with the conditions of their status. Upon departure from the US, such non-immigrants were required to depart through specific ports to record their departure.

With the implementation of new automated systems such as the US Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology Program (US-VISIT), which requires most non-U.S. citizens seeking admission to provide finger scans and a digital photo upon entry that capture the same data, NSEERS requirements became redundant.

The change eliminates special registration requirement for non-immigrants from the remaining countries: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Egypt, Eritrea, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

Although the US has removed all countries from the list of countries whose nationals are subject to special registration requirements, it did not eliminate the NSEERS program altogether. NSEERS regulations are still in place and any non-immigrant could still be selected for special registration at a port of entry if he or she meets any pre-existing criteria established by DHS or the Department of State.