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Special Registration

Special Registration

Special Registration (NSEERS)

Effective December 2003, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) suspended the 30 day and annual reregistration requirement for those registered under the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS) program. (This suspension applies only to those individuals who were required to reregister on or after December 2, 2003. Anyone who should have reregistered before December 2, 2003 must still reregister and a failure to reregister could have serious immigration consequences.)

Instead of automatic reregistration, DHS will notify individuals regarding future registration requirements. As you may remember, DHS instituted the NSEERS program whereby nonimmigrant men from certain countries who were over the age of 16 at the time and already in the United States were “called-in” to register with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.* In addition, registration of nonimmigrants, both male and female, began occurring upon entry into the United States.

What is important to understand is that the NSEERS program is still in existence and that certain requirements must still be met by those who were previously registered or who are registered upon entry. In addition to initial registration, an individual who was registered (whether during call-in or upon entry) must: 1) depart the United States from a specific port of departure, and 2) inform USCIS of changes in address, employers or schools.

Below is a breakdown of these additional requirements

When leaving the United States even if only going to Mexico, Canada, or the Caribbean, an individual who was registered either during call-in or upon entry must leave from a Port-of-Entry designated as a Designated Port of Departure (POD). Not only must he/she leave from a POD, but he/she must also present himself/herself to an inspecting officer prior to leaving on the same day of travel. When planning to travel outside of the United States, it is imperative that the individual confirm that the place of departure is a POD as well as confirm the hours in which the POD is open for departure purposes. For instance, San Francisco International Airport, is a POD, but its hours of operation for POD purposes are only from 8:00 am to Midnight. Therefore, a registered individual cannot schedule a flight to leave between Midnight and 8:00 am because there will be no way to fulfill the exit requirements. (A list of PODs and operating times can be found at Failure to leave through a Designated POD renders the person inadmissible and may preclude him/her from returning to the United States. (Please note: Certain alien crewmen are exempt from this requirement per the December 2003 amendments.)

Under NSEERS, every time a nonimmigrant arrives in the United States at any port-of-entry, regardless of age or gender, he or she may be subject to fingerprinting and photographs whether or not he or she was previously subject to Special Registration. Just because an individual was subject to call-in registration, does not mean he will automatically be subject to special registration upon arrival, although the likelihood is quite high.

However, all nonimmigrants of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, and Syria are required to register each time they are inspected by an Immigration inspections officer and admitted to the United States.

In addition, other nonimmigrants may be referred for Special Registration. (The regulations provide that other individual nonimmigrant aliens can be required to register if a consular officer outside the United States or an inspection officer at the port of entry thinks there is a need to closely monitor the alien because of national security or law enforcement interests of the United States regardless of age, sex, or country.)


If a Registrant changes addresses, employers, or schools after remaining in the United States for more than 30 days, he/she needs to inform the DHS in writing within 10 calendar days of the change. To comply with this requirement, submit an Form AR-11 SR (Alien’s Change of Address Card – Special Registration). Be sure to use the SR version of the form. When completing the form, be sure to copy the Fingerprint Identification Number (FIN) from the I-94 to the top of the AR-11 SR and the last line of the AR-11 SR where indicated. If an FIN was not issued, use the I-94 number or alien registration number. Follow the directions on the form regarding mailing. We recommend that a Registrant keep a copy of the form and mail the form return receipt requested so that there is proof of mailing if the issue ever arises. (Please note: If the Registrant is also enrolled in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), he/she does not need to separately notify DHS of changes in educational institutions and addresses per the December 2003 amendments.)

Disclaimer: Nothing in this memorandum should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. The information is intended to be general and should not be relied upon for any specific situation.

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