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What is the BCIS and Special Registration?

What is BCIS and Special Registration

What is Special Registration?

As a result of USA PATRIOT Act passed by Congress and signed into law by the President in the wake of September 11, 2001 terrorist acts, non-immigrants from certain countries are required to register their presence with the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services. This requirement is known as the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS).

Anyone subject to NSEERS must update their registration at certain pre-determined intervals and notify BCIS of any change of address, employment or educational institution.

Prior to any departure from U.S., these individuals must notify BCIS of their intended departure AND may only depart U.S. from certain authorized airports.

Must all non-immigrants register with BCIS?

No. Non-immigrants from the following countries are required to register with BCIS: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Egypt, Eritrea, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen. Countries can be added at any time to this list.

What are the requirements?

Individuals to whom these procedures apply must meet the following requirements:

  1. Register with BCIS upon entering the U.S.
  2. Be interviewed by BCIS within 30-40 days of entering the U.S.
  3. Be interviewed again by BCIS one year after entering the U.S.
  4. Continue to be interviewed by BCIS on the anniversary date of the last admission to the U.S.
  5. Inform BCIS within 10 days of any change of address, change of employer or change of school.
  6. Notify BCIS of their departure by departing the U.S. from a designated port of departure.

How do you register?

Initial registration occurs when you enter the U.S. from abroad. At the time you go through immigration inspection, if these procedures apply, you will be taken into another room. You will be fingerprinted and photographed. Also, you will be given detailed information about what to do regarding mandatory interviews.

After you enter the U.S., when do you have to go for your first interview?

Once you have entered the U.S., you are required to be interviewed by a BCIS officer 30 to 40 days after you have arrived in the U.S. For example, if you arrived on November 1, you must report to BCIS between November 30 and December 9 to be interviewed.

Do you have to schedule an appointment?

No appointment is needed. You must show up at the designated BCIS office. It is recommended that you arrive there early in the morning so you can be seen and interviewed the same day. It is suggested that you inform BCIS security guard that you are there as a result of special registration process.

Can you go to any BCIS office?

You can only use the designated BCIS offices that have been authorized to conduct such interviews. The office is:

Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services
550 Main Street
Peck Federal Building
Room 4001
Cincinnati, OH 45202

What can you expect during the BCIS interview?

You will again be fingerprinted and photographed. The BCIS officer may ask you questions regarding your stay and may ask questions related to the documents you bring with you.

Do you ever need to be re-interviewed? If so, when?

If your stay in the U.S. extends to a year or more, you will be required to report to BCIS on each anniversary of your admission. You will have a 10-day window from the anniversary date of your admission to U.S. to report. For example, if you entered the U.S. on September 1, you will need to report to BCIS by September 10 each subsequent year you remain in the U.S.

How do you notify BCIS of changes in address?

You must notify BCIS of address changes or changes of employer or school changes within 10 days of the change by submitting a Form AR-11.

Are there any special instructions for completing this form?

On the top left of the form, you should write "Special Registrant." On the top right of the form, copy the Fingerprint Identification Number (FIN) that was written on your I-94 card either when you entered the U.S. or during your 30 day interview.

Where do you send the AR-11?

For regular US Postal Service:

Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services
Change of Address
P.O. Box 7134
London, KY 40742-7134

For overnight mailings only:

Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services
Change of Address
1084-I South Laurel Road
London, KY 40744

What do you need to do if you travel outside the U.S?

You must notify BCIS and leave only through a designated port.

What if you do not comply with this program?

If you fail to comply with these registration requirements, you will be considered to be out of status. You may be subject to arrest, detention, fines and/or removal from the U.S. This could impact any future plans you may have to apply for any immigration related benefits. Decisions regarding the impact of any noncompliance will be made on an individual, case by case basis.

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