Volume Seven, Number Twelve
SHUSTERMAN’S IMMIGRATION UPDATE is the Web’s most popular e-mail newsletter regarding U.S. immigration laws and procedures with over 60,000 subscribers located in more than 150 countries. It is written by a former INS Trial Attorney (1976-82) with over 30 years of experience practicing immigration law.
Published by the Law Offices of Carl Shusterman, 600 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 1550, Los Angeles, California, 90017. Phone: (213) 623-4592 x0.
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Newsletter US Immigration Update December 2002
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
1. January 2003 State Department Visa Bulletin
2. Immigration Government Processing Times
3. The End of the INS: What Happens to My Application?
4. Immigration Legislation Enacted During the Past Year
5. Immigration Trivia Quiz: Let’s Face the Music
6. State Department – It’s All Happening at the Zoo
7. Physicians’ Lawsuit Challenges INS’s NIW Regulations
8. New Government Reports Regarding Immigration
9. Chat Schedule, Transcripts, Audios & Videos
10. Special Registration: What is It and Who is Affected?
- Job Opportunities at the Law Offices of Carl Shusterman We are expanding again! If you are either an experienced immigration business paralegal or are just out of college, take a look at our “Career Opportunities” page at https://www.shusterman.com/careers.html (Link no longer operational).
- Appeals – A review by the INS Budget Office and the consulting firm BearingPoint has resulted in a recommendation that the fee for administrative appeals and motions to reopen/reconsider be increased to $383 from its current level of $110. The fee was last increased in 1989.
- Asylum– Generally, the law provides that a Request for Asylum can only be submitted during your first year in the U.S. There are, however, exceptions to this rule. Read “The Asylum ‘One-Year’ Deadline and Exceptions”, the latest practice advisory issued by the American Immigration Law Foundation (AILF). We link to all AILF practice advisories from our “Deportation” page at https://www.shusterman.com/deportationdefense.html#A1.
- BIA Precedent Decisions– Another improvement on the EOIR website: It now contains a document which compiles headnotes from BIA precedent cases published in volumes 21, 22, and 23 of the Administrative Decisions under the Immigration and Nationality Laws of the United States, organized by topic.It includes all BIA cases published from Matter of Esposito (March 30, 1995) to the present. Please note that the headnotes were sometimes drawn from slip opinions and may not reflect the precise wording that appears in the Administrative Decisions under the Immigration and Nationality Laws of the United States.Also please note that this document was primarily designed with viewing, not printing, in mind. If you wish to locate a case or term, you can search for it via WordPerfect’s “Find” function. If there is a topic you are interested in, you can click that topic in the list below, and your cursor will automatically “jump” to that page. If you wish to print this document, be sure to print it from WordPerfect. Kudos to Juan Osuna and Donna Fry.We link to this document from our “Deportation” page at https://www.shusterman.com/deportationdefense.html#6.
- Federal Websites– How helpful are federal websites? In our opinion, the federal websites relating to immigration matters have improved tremendously over the past two years. Just look at their statistics! Millions of people log on to the INS website to download forms and obtain information. The Labor Department website posts the agency’s latest processing times (grim as they are!) Even the EOIR website seems to be improving (see “BIA” above). A new report issued by the Public Administration Program of San Francisco State University evaluates federal websites. We link to the report at http://www.endowment.pwcglobal.com/pdfs/StowersReport0802.pdf (PDF – Link is no longer operational).
- INS Statistical Report– The INS has released its year-end statistical report for fiscal year 2002, covering topics such as: inspections, immigration benefits, naturalization benefits, removals, investigations, border apprehensions, and asylum. We link to the new report at http://uscis.gov/graphics/aboutins/statistics/msrsep02/index.htm (Link no longer operational).
- Healthcare Professionals I– Want to check the status of your CGFNS examination or your VisaScreen application? We welcome the new “CGFNS Automated Voice Response System”. Call 1 (215) 599-6200 if you are in the U.S. or 001 + 215-599-6200 if you are abroad.The new service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. CGFNS advertises the new service as follows: “Check the status of your file anytime, anywhere with no busy signals.”Applicants need to enter their CGFNS ID number and their date of birth in order to access the system. Problems with the system should be e-mailed to mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the new system, we link to the “CGFNS Automated Voice Response System” from our “Registered Nurse” page at https://www.shusterman.com/nurseimmigrationguide.html#3 and from our “Allied Health Professionals” page at https://www.shusterman.com/healthcareprofessionalsusimmigration.html#6A. We commend the CGFNS for what looks to be a significant improvement in service. Hopefully, in light of the expense to foreign-born health care professionals, the CGFNS will consider following the INS’s lead, and will create a free, web-based system to allow persons to check the status of their applications online.
- Healthcare Professionals II– The Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB) has officially requested that the MELAB no longer be recognized for the purpose of certifying healthcare workers. The MELAB web site states as follows:”The MELAB is no longer a test to take if you are seeking certification as a foreign health care worker. The MELAB program has officially requested that the MELAB no longer be recognized for the purpose of certifying health care workers. Those considering registering for the test after November 27, 2002 should be aware that the ELI will not send their scores to agencies involved with visa screening for health care professionals.Health care workers who have already taken the MELAB or who have already scheduled a particular test date will not be affected by this policy change.Health care workers who have registered but not yet scheduled a test date may contact ELI by email or mail to request a full refund of test fees. For these people, the ELI will not send MELAB score reports to agencies involved with visa screening.”For more information about the MELAB policy change, contact the English Language Institute by mail: English Language Institute, MELAB Office, TCF Building, University of Michigan, 401 E. Liberty, Suite 350, Ann Arbor, MI 48104-2298 USA; telephone: (734) 764-2416; or email: email@example.com. We link to the MELAB web site from our “Registered Nurses” page at https://www.shusterman.com/nurseimmigrationguide.html#4 and from our “Allied Health Care Workers” page https://www.shusterman.com/healthcareprofessionalsusimmigration.html#6.
- Healthcare Professionals III– Both AILA and the American Hospital Association (AHA) commented on an INS proposed rule to implement a comprehensive process for the certification of nonimmigrant and immigrant health care workers. Both comments note that the U.S. is experiencing a shortage of many types of health care professionals that is dramatically affecting hospitals’ ability to provide care. The AHA comments urge INS to adopt a streamlined certification process for foreign health care workers who hold an unrestricted state license or have been trained in the U.S.Both comments also urge INS to delay the effective date of its final rule for at least 12 months from the date of publication, and to prevent any further delay in implementing the expanded list of testing organizations already determined to be sufficient by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.The AILA comments on our site at https://www.shusterman.com/pdf/343regsaila.pdf.
- New Acting INS Commissioner – President Bush appointed Michael Garcia, a former federal prosecutor in New York with experience handling terrorism-related cases, to manage the merger of the agency into the Department of Homeland Security as Acting Commissioner of the INS. Garcia, whose appointment does not require Senate confirmation assumed his new duties on December 1, the day after former INS Commissioner James Ziglar’s last day in office.
- Registered Nurses– An RN who resides abroad and who wishes to take the examination offered by the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) in order to qualify to immigrate to the U.S. may do so in selected sites. The examination will be offered on the following dates during 2003: March 12, July 9, and November 12. The deadlines for registering for these tests are on December 11, 2002, April 9, 2003 and August 13, 2003, respectively.In addition, CGFNS has announced that it will provide a Special Administration of the CGFNS Qualifying Exam. The exam will be held September 10, 2003 at the following exam centers: Chicago; Houston; New York City; Manila and Cebu City, Philippines; and Bangalore and Cochin, India. The application deadline for this exam is June 11, 2003.For further information regarding how to register for the examination as well as for site locations, visit our “Registered Nurses” page at https://www.shusterman.com/nurseimmigrationguide.html#3. We link to the CGFNS homepage, and to a page listing the exam sites and dates.
- Physicians– The State Department has opined that since the new Conrad State 30 program became effective on May 18, 2002, any applications for J waivers from physicians which were received by the states prior to October 1, 2002 may be considered under the fiscal year 2002 program.In practical terms, this will allow states to count those applications submitted in FY2002, but not recommended until on or after October 1, 2002, toward the FY2003 program, thus freeing up to 10 additional waivers per state for FY2003.Kudos to George Newman and Steve Fischel!
- Where Did Our Frame Go?– Perhaps you have noticed that we no longer have a left frame on our web site. We decided to eliminate the frame in order to maximize the viewing area on our site, and to make the page less “busy”.We hope you like the new look. We are monitoring the number of individuals who visit our site daily (about 10,000) to make sure that our viewers are not adversely affected.You can use the blue buttons that appear on over 500 of our pages to: (1) Search our site; (2) Read the biographies of the attorneys in our law firm; (3) Schedule a legal consultation; (4) Subscribe to our free newsletter; or (5) Check the status of any petition or application pending at an INS Service Center. There is also a “Site Index” button containing the same categories which used to be in the left frame.Also, on our red navigational bar near the top of your screen, we now link to INS’s list of over 100 informative immigration FAQs. Looking for back issues of our newsletter, the latest AILA “Washington Update”, our “September 11” page, links to all of our chats, our audios, videos and online seminars? Place your cursor over the word “Features” on our red navigational bar to see these topics and more.
On December 11, 2002, we posted the January 2003 Visa Bulletin, the same day that the State Department posted the dates on their web site.
There was little forward movement in the worldwide family categories.
The worldwide 1st preference category (unmarried, adult sons and daughters of U.S. citizens), advanced only three weeks. The worldwide 2A preference category (spouses and unmarried children of permanent residents) and the 4th preference category (brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens) each moved ahead four weeks.
The 2B category (unmarried sons and daughters of permanent residents) and the 3rd preference category (married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens) each advanced a mere two weeks.
Most of the Mexican and Philippine categories also advanced with the exception of Mexican 2B and the Philippine 1st. Other Mexican family-based categories moved ahead between nine weeks and five months. The Mexican 4th caught up with the worldwide numbers. Filipinos did not fare as well. None of the Philippine numbers advanced more than two weeks.
The Visa Bulletin creates false expectations. As long as a category advances less four weeks each month, the waiting period listed on the bulletin cannot be relied upon. Unless Congress acts to reform the family-based system, the 3.5 million persons waiting to immigrate to the U.S. based on approved family-based petitions should consider other options for immigrating.
All of the employment-based numbers remain current. The time to apply for your labor certification or visa petition is now.
The January 2003 Visa Numbers can be found at
For an explanation of what the categories, dates and symbols listed below mean, see
Check the State Department’s official version to see complete information about the movement of family, employment and lottery numbers, at
http://travel.state.gov/visa_bulletin.html (Link is no longer operational.)
We link to the most recent immigration waiting times for each of the four USCIS Service Centers, the National Benefits Center and the Administrative Appeals Office. We also link to the processing times of all of the 83 USCIS District Offices and Sub-offices. We link to the Labor Department’s page entitled “Processing dates for labor certification applications”. Finally, we link to the State Department’s “Visa Wait Times” page.
Beware of what you wish for. Your wish may come true!
For years, immigration attorneys and their clients have tried to separate the service branch of the INS from the enforcement branch.
On November 25, President Bush signed the Homeland Security Act of 2002, Pub. L. No. 107-296, 116 Stat. 2135. The new law abolishes the INS as of March 1, 2003.
The INS will be split into two bureaus: (1) the Bureau of Border and Transportation Security – which merges the INS enforcement activities with those of the Customs Service, the Coast Guard, the Transportation Security Agency, the Federal Protective Service and the Animal and Plant Inspection Service; and (2) the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration which contains the benefits section of the INS.
The President nominated Tom Ridge, the current Homeland Security advisor as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. He nominated Asa Hutchinson, the head of the Drug Enforcement Agency, to head the Bureau of Border and Transportation Security. The President has yet to nominate someone to head the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration.
The chiefs of the two new bureaus will report to two different undersecretaries within the new Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Not only will these two bureaus have to coordinate with each other (Which one keeps the INS administrative file?), but with the Immigration Courts and the BIA which remain in the Justice Department, the Employment and Training Administration (which processes applications for labor certification) and BALCA which remain in the Labor Department and the Bureau of Consular Affairs (the people in charge of issuing nonimmigrant and immigrant visas) which remains within the State Department. Never mind the FBI and CIA which each gather intelligence and maintain databases related to security, but for some reason are not part of the Department of Homeland Security.
How will the division of the INS and the creation of the Department of Homeland Security affect the four million petitions and applications pending at INS Service Centers and District Offices? It is too early to be certain, but if experience is any guide, the situation promises to be somewhat chaotic, at least in the short run.
I remember when the Immigration Courts were removed from the INS in 1983 and moved into a newly-created agency called the EOIR, another agency within the Justice Department. Just getting a file moved from the Court to the INS and then back to the Court suddenly became a difficult procedure. Is there any reason to believe that this will become easier now that the INS will be housed in a completely different department from the Immigration Judges? What will happen to applications and petitions at Service Centers when there needs to be an investigation? Presumably the file will be transferred to the Bureau of Transportation and Border Security. And what happens if the application needs an extension of an EAD during the midst of the investigation? Will the file be transferred back, or will the two bureaus be able to access the “file” via computer? One can only hope so.
Nevertheless, in a 14-page document highlighting the sections of the new law establishing the “Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration”, an ambiguous program relating to the timely adjudication of immigration petitions and applications is outlined. Included are provisions for an online tracking system which will allow employers, immigrants and nonimmigrants access to the status of their applications and petitions. A “Technology Advisory Committee” composed of representatives from the high tech industry will study and make recommendations regarding the feasibility of an online tracking and filing system. For more information, see
http://uscis.gov/graphics/Title_IV-E.pdf (Link is no longer operational)
If the government can move around the boxes on the organizational chart, so can we. In order to keep you up to date on the new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the effect of the new department on immigration policies and procedures, we have created a new web page on the DHS at
This page currently contains the following subheadings:
A. General Information – including the complete text of the law, a summary of its immigration provisions, the DHS reorganization plan, an audio and a video of President Bush’s speech when he signed the new law, etc.
B. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration – includes the information referred to above and more.
C. Bureau of Transportation and Border Security – information about this bureau including a profile of Asa Hutchinson, its new undersecretary.
Looking back at the year, it is interesting to note that while the focus of immigration laws tended to be on security, there were a number of bills which conferred significant immigration benefits which were enacted into law. Although neither the proposed extension of §245i, the DREAM Act nor the “Earned Legislation” acts were passed by Congress, a number of significant pieces of legislation were. We link to the complete text of some the more significant bills and laws from our “Immigration Legislation” page at
What follows is a list of five of the new laws, and links to further information about each of them:
(A) Work Authorization for Spouses of E-1/E-2’s (Public Law 107-124)
Summary: Allows spouses of treaty traders and treaty investors who are in E-1 or E-2 status to obtain Employment Authorization Documents (EAD’s).
https://www.shusterman.com/shustermanchatsusimmigration.html (March 18, 2002)
(B) Work Authorization for Spouses of L-1’s (Public Law 107-125)
Summary: Allows L-2 spouses of L-1 intracompany transferees to obtain Employment Authorization Documents (EAD’s). Shortens time period in which an L-1 executive or manager must be employed abroad prior to entering the U.S. on an L-1 blanket petition.
(C) Family Sponsor Immigration Act of 2002 (Public Law 107-150)
Summary: Enables beneficiaries of family-based visa petitions to request that the INS reinstate such petitions for humanitarian purposes where the petitioner dies before the beneficiary achieves lawful permanent residence.
(D) Child Status Protection Act of 2002 (Public Law 107-208) Summary: Prevents children from “aging-out” due to INS and State Department delays, and for other reasons.
(E) 21st Century Department of Justice Authorization Act (Public Law 107-273)
Summary: Immigration provisions include post-6th year H-1B extensions, expands the Conrad State Program which permits physicians to be sponsored for J waivers, and provides benefits for certain EB-5 immigrant investors.
After the December 2002 issue of this newsletter is posted online, this last link will become
For a more complete listing of immigration legislation enacted into law by the 107th Congress, see AILA’s “Washington Update” dated December 9, 2002 at
https://www.shusterman.com/advocacy120902.html (Link is no longer operational.)
Since the attacks of September 11th, “security” has become the key word at the State Department when it comes to issuing visas. Last month, we discussed the “Visas Condor” security checks.
This month, we highlight the “Visas Mantis” program and the “Technology Alert List”.
The immigration laws, at 8 USC §1182(a)(3)(i)(II), provide that any alien is inadmissible to the United States “who a consular officer or the Attorney General knows, or has reasonable ground to believe, seeks to enter the United States to engage solely, principally, or incidentally in any activity…to violate or evade any law prohibiting the export from the United States of goods, technology, or sensitive information.”
Last spring, the White House Office of Science and Technology stated its intention to implement a more stringent system for visa review on a case-by-case basis of those foreign national students pursuing study of sensitive areas of science and technology available only in the United States. These areas are drawn from the Technology Alert List used by U.S. consular officials. The goal of the review is to identify foreign nationals who may use specialized knowledge acquired in the U.S. to threaten U.S. national security or that of its allies. An Interagency Panel on Advanced Science Security (IPASS) was created, including members from the law enforcement, intelligence, education, and science industries. The Panel reviews visa applications forwarded by the State Department, and issues advisory opinions for use in adjudicating visa applications. The Visas Mantis is a pre-check name-check procedure designed for all State Department sponsored programs. It was developed as a result of United States law enforcement and intelligence community concerns that U.S. produced goods and information are vulnerable to theft. Visas Mantis relates primarily to preventing the export of technology or information which could be used for military purposes. We link to Visas Mantis at
http://travel.state.gov/reciprocity/Mantis_TAL.htm (Link is no longer operational.)
The Technology Alert List (TAL) which is maintained by the Department of State is designed to prevent the transfer of sensitive technology abroad. Included among the 16 categories on the list are information security, navigation and guidance control and aircraft and missile propulsion and vehicular systems.
We link to the Technology Alert List at
http://foia.state.gov/masterdocs/09fam/0940031X1.pdf (Link no longer operational)
On December 4, we filed a complaint in the Federal District Court against Mr. Ashcroft, the Attorney General, and Mr. Garcia, the new Acting INS Commissioner.
The plaintiffs are eight physicians who practice in medically underserved areas across the U.S. One practices in an AIDS clinic. Another practices on an Indian reservation.
In 1999, Congress passed a law to make it easier for such physicians to obtain permanent residence through national interest waivers (NIWs) than was possible under the INS’s decision in Matter of New York State Department of Transportation, Interim Decision #3363 (AAO 1998).
Someone in the INS obviously was not thrilled about the new law, for in 2000, the agency published interim regulations which added numerous restrictions to the clear language of the law.
Where Congress states that “any alien physician” working in a medically-underserved area for a certain number of years may qualify for an NIW, the interim rule interprets this to mean that “no specialists need apply.”
Where Congress says that physicians who practice in an underserved area for “an aggregate of 5 years” are eligible, the interim rules prescribe that, for some physicians, the five years do not start until after the INS approves an NIW petition. The time spent practicing in an underserved area before the petition is approved simply do not count.
The list of inconsistencies between the law and the regulation goes on and on.
Fortunately, courts hold that a federal regulation which is in conflict with a federal statute is invalid as a matter of law. In re: Watson, 161 F.3d 593 (9th Cir. 1998).
Nevertheless, most physicians and their attorneys decided that it was better to switch than fight. Why not apply for an RIR labor certification since the INS has effectively blocked the NIW law?
For the past two years, our law firm has taken this path. However, why burden clinics in underserved areas with the expense of recruiting for a filled position for six months? And why add two years to the processing of the physician’s application for permanent residence?
We are very pleased by your response. Physicians from New York, Massachusetts, Georgia, Washington, Oklahoma and California volunteered to serve as plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
We look forward to a restoration of the right of all eligible physicians to qualify for national interest waivers.
We will keep you informed as to the progress of the lawsuit. The government has 60 days from December 4 to respond to our complaint.
The General Accounting Office (GAO) is more than just an “accounting office”. It is the investigative arm of Congress. It performs audits and evaluations of governmental programs and activities, including those relating to immigration and naturalization. It issues reports relating to the INS, the State Department and the Labor Department, all of which may be ordered online and free of charge.
To access the GAO website, click on
and again on “General Accounting Office” (under “Legislation & Reports”).
GAO reports may be read online. Caveat: Many GAO reports are PDF files. You need to download a free copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader to access PDF files. Summaries of the GAO reports are also available online. New GAO Reports Concerning Immigration
A. Information Technology
The GAO has released a report entitled “Information Technology: Justice Plans to Improve Oversight of Agency Projects” (No. GAO-03-135, Nov. 2002), in which it concludes that the DOJ has failed to monitor effectively the INS’s investment in information technology.
Click on the following link to view the 41-page report:
B. Address Information
The GAO has released a report entitled “Homeland Security: INS Cannot Locate Many Aliens Because it Lacks Reliable Address Information” (No. GAO-03-188, 11/21/02). Among its appendices, the report includes an historical overview of the INS’s alien registration programs from 1940-81. Click on the following link to view the 51-page report:
http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d03188.pdf (PDF File) (Link is no longer operational.)
C. Visa Waiver Program
The GAO has released a report entitled “Border Security: Implications of Eliminating the Visa Waiver Program” (No. GAO-03-38, 11/22/02). Among other things, the GAO found that eliminating the program could affect U.S. relations with other countries, tourism, and DOS resources abroad.
Click on the following link to view the 50-page report:
http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d0338.pdf (PDF File) (Link is no longer operational.)
D. Technology Assessment The GAO has released a report entitled “Technology Assessment: Using Biometrics for Border Security.” The report discusses the current maturity of several biometric technologies and their possible implementation in current border control processes.
Click on the following link to view the 242-page report:
http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d03174.pdf (PDF File) (Link is no longer operational.)
and scrolling down to “How to Search for GAO Reports” (under “Legislation & Reports”). At the scroll box, highlight “GAO Reports”; and under search terms, type in the word “immigration” and click “Submit”.
The GAO may also be contacted by snail mail at P.O. Box 37050, Washington, DC 20013; by phone at (202) 512-6000; or by fax at (202) 512-6061.
9. Chat Schedule, Transcripts, Audios & Videos
10. Special Registration: What is It and Who is Affected?
In our September 2002 newsletter, we reported that the Justice Department had, effective September 11, designated five countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan and Syria) whose nationals must undergo special registration prior to entering the United States.
Then, in our November newsletter, we informed our subscribers that the Special Registration program had been expanded on November 6 to require that certain persons present in the U.S. must register with the INS. These persons are males, at least 16 years of age, who were born in, or are citizens or nationals of, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan and Syria. Nonimmigrants who entered the U.S. before September 11, 2002 are affected. Persons in “A” or “G” status and persons who applied for asylum on or before November 6 are not included. Special registrants must report to a designated INS office between November 15 and December 16, 2002, re-register annually, and report address changes to the INS within 10 days. Willful failure to follow any of these requirements could result in the person being removable and excludable.
Two weeks later, on November 22, the Justice Department required persons from 13 additional countries to report for special registration. Effective December 2, aliens who are nationals or citizens of Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Eritrea, Lebanon, Morocco, N. Korea, Oman, Qatar, Somalia, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen became subject to special registration. The rules issued on November 22 are almost identical to the November 6 rules. However, the November 22 rule applies only to nonimmigrants from any of the named countries who were admitted to the U.S. as nonimmigrants on or before September 30, 2002 and who will remain in the U.S. at least until January 10, 2003. It does not apply to nonimmigrants in “A” or “G” status, to lawful permanent residents or to persons who applied for asylum in the U.S. on or before November 22, 2002.
All three of the above-mentioned rules are accessible from our “September 11th” page at
More information regarding special registration may be found in the INS regulations at 8 CFR §264.1(f). This rule requires that information concerning special registrants be entered in the INS’s Service’s National Security Entry Exit Registration System (NSEERS). Special Registrants are required to be fingerprinted and photographed. They must periodically reregister with the INS and must inform the agency of any changes of address, employment or school within 10 days of any such change and comply with certain departure control rules.
The INS has created a “Special Registration” page on the agency’s web site. The INS web page is subtitled: “Your Portal to Information on Special Registration Procedures for Certain Visitors and Temporary Residents”. We link to this page from our “INS” page at
From the blue navigation bar near the top on our web site place your cursor on “Government”, scroll down to “INS” and click on “Special Registration”.
We have received reports that several dozen persons who have reported for Special Registration have been arrested and taken into custody by the INS.
What takes place at a special registration interview? The following is a description of one such interview:
The INS officer uses Questionnaire Form FD-258/Q & A. The special registrant is placed under oath. The oath is similar to the language used for an adjustment of status interview. After the oath is administered, the special registrant is advised: “any statement you make must be free and voluntary. Are you willing to answer my questions at this time?” After the special registrant answers in the affirmative, the INS officer proceeds to read from the questionnaire form.
Slightly different questions are asked depending on the facts of the case and the officer who is conducting the interview. The role of the attorney during the interview is the same as during an adjustment of status interview.
Here is the information typically requested by the INS officer:
- Family name
- First name
- Middle name
- May I see your driver’s license?
- What’s your nationality?
- Place of birth
- Date of birth
- Hair color
- Eye color
- Purpose of visit to the U.S.
- Names of father and mother
- Dates of birth of father and mother
- Last address in country of origin
- Social security number (if any)
- Place of issuance of nonimmigrant visa (NIV)
- Date of issuance of NIV
- Expiration date of issuance of NIV
- Passport number
- City of issuance of the passport
- Date of issuance of the passport
- Expiration date of passport
- What airline did you use to fly to the U.S.?
- Flight number
- Date of arrival
- Time of arrival
Special registrants must inform the INS whenever they change address within 10 days using a special change of address form. We link to this form, the AR-11SR, from our “INS Forms” page at
Certified Specialist in Immigration Law, State Bar of California
Former U.S. Immigration & Naturalization Service Trial Attorney (1976-82)
Board of Governors, American Immigration Lawyers Association (1988-97)
Phone: (213) 623-4592 Fax: (213) 623-3720
Law Offices of Carl Shusterman, 600 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1550
Los Angeles, California 90017
“Once I thought to write a history of the immigrants in America. Then I discovered that the immigrants were American history.”
– Professor Oscar Handlin, Harvard Historian
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December 11, 2002
Disclaimer: This newsletter is not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship. All information contained in this newsletter is generalized. Any reliance on information contained herein is taken at your own risk.