DHS to Unveil New “VISIT System” for Travelers to the U.S.
May 2, 2003

By years end, look for the Department of Homeland Security to implement a new entry/exit system that will allow for better screening and tracking of foreign nationals entering the U.S. on nonimmigrant visas, such as student, visitor and work visas. The U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indication Technology system, VISIT – for short, is designed to allow those with legitimate visas and purposes to enter the U.S. more efficiently and with more security, and detect and deny entry for those trying to enter the U.S. with fraudulent documents or under false pretenses.

The program will make use of 21st century technologies, including biometric identifiers, such as photographs, fingerprints and iris scans, to improve the integrity of the current, relatively impotent, Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Service (“CIS” formerly INS) screening and tracking systems that have long been in place.

The new system is designed to expand upon the recently implemented Special Registration or NSEERS (National Security Entry Exit System) program that provides for the screening and tracking of those entering the U.S. on temporary visas from mainly Middle Eastern countries and apply those measures to virtually all foreign nationals entering the U.S. in a temporary visa status.

Additional coverage of this subject will take place as more information becomes available.

Online Processing for Certain Immigration Filings

Speaking of biometric identifiers, the CIS, as part of their 10 year Immigration Service Modernization Program, will soon start accepting applications for the renewal of Alien Registration Cards (Form I-90) and Employment Authorization Documents (Form I-765) online. By logging on to the CIS website, https://www.uscis.gov/, applicants will be able to submit their filing online, and need only visit a neighborhood CIS Application Support Center to complete the final phase of the application process – the electronic intake of the applicant’s photograph, signature and fingerprint.

The I-90 and I-765 were chosen as part of the government pilot online program since these applications make up roughly 30% of all filings submitted annually with the CIS and the processing of such applications are fairly routine and do not involve any real discretionary decision making.

As a side note, not just anyone is eligible to receive an Employment Authorization Document. An applicant must have a special statutory basis to qualify, such as – as is most often the case, a pending I-485 application for adjustment of status to permanent residence.

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