The Catholic University of America

Immigration Updates from January 2003 through April 2003

Fourth Round of Special Registration

By March 28, 2003 males aged 16 or over as of Feb. 24, 2003 who are nationals or citizens of Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan or Kuwait who were last admitted to the United States on or after September 30, 2002 and who will remain in the U.S. after March 28, 2003 must report to the BCIS (Bureau of Citizenship & Immigration Services) between February 24, 2003 and March 28, 2003. For more information on the process see Special Registration Procedures for Certain Foreign Nationals as well as the BCIS Portal to Information on Special Registration Procedures for Non-Immigrants. This notice was published at 68 Fed. Reg. 2363, Jan. 16, 2003.

In addition, at 68 Fed. Reg. 2366, Jan. 16, 2003, the BCIS announced the reopening of the registration period for two groups of non-immigrants. The reopening is to permit citizens or nationals of Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Qatar, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, or Yemen who were required to register under earlier notices but did not do so, to appear before, register with, and provide requested information to the Immigration and Naturalization Service between January 27, 2003, and February 7, 2003. Registration during this period shall be considered timely under the original notices.

Clarification on SEVIS deadlines from Helene Robertson, Director of the CUA Office of International Student and Scholar Services

I'm writing to clarify the regulatory and statutory SEVIS deadlines as clarified by regulations released last week. Apparently, a Chronicle of Higher Education article created some confusion, with the result that some people think that SEVIS compliance deadline has been pushed back to August. This is not true. January 30, 2003 is still the latest date by which we need to be using SEVIS to issue immigration documents and to report to BCIS those "events" that are considered to be "reportable events".

As you know, we have already submitted our two applications (the F and the J) for SEVIS and are waiting for government approval for them. As soon as we are approved, we must stop using Visa Manager to prepare I-20s or DS-2019s and must use SEVIS from that point on. So we may actually have to participate in SEVIS sooner than January 30, 2003.

January 30, 2003 remains the date that all schools must use SEVIS to issue any new immigration documents for F and J students and scholars. Reasons why a new immigration document might be required include, but are not limited to:

1. new admits

2. transfer students

3. correct a record

4. current student applying for a visa stamp at a consulate overseas

5. change of major or change of funding

6. change of level of study

7. dependent travel.

8. request re-instatement because of previous failure to maintain valid F or J status

9. extensions

The January deadline is defined by STATUTE - a law passed by Congress and enacted into law under the signature of the President. Only another act of Congress can change this deadline date. There have been no bills introduced in either the House or the Senate to modify this deadline which, incidentally, has existed since 1996.

August 1, 2003 is the regulatory deadline by which we must have all current students entered into SEVIS.

Should any of you hear the rumor of the extended deadline, please let the bearer of such rumors know of the inaccuracy of their information as that information does more harm to a school than good. SEVIS implementation begins once the institution is approved for SEVIS or January 30, 2003 whichever comes first (for new students/scholars and in certain instances existing ones who need a new document for some reason) and continues through August 1, 2003 when all students and scholars and their dependents are required to be in the system.

A Third Round of Special Registration

See 67 Fed. Reg. 77135 (Dec. 16, 2002) for the Department of Justice notice concerning special registration requirements for males born on or before Jan. 13, 1987 who are nationals or citizens of Pakistan or Saudi Arabia. If last admitted to the U.S. on or before September 30, 2002, and planning to remain in the U.S. after Feb. 21, 2003, those nonimmigrants described above must register in person with the BCIS between Jan. 13, 2003 and Feb. 21, 2003. An alien who has an application for asylum pending is not covered by this notice. Armenia was also listed in the Dec. 16 Federal Register notice, but was removed from the list on Dec. 18, 2002. See 67 Fed. Reg. 77641, Dec. 18, 2002. For more information see Special Registration Procedures for Certain Foreign Nationals as well as the BCIS Portal to Information on Special Registration Procedures for Non-Immigrants.

Interim Final Rule with Request for Comment: Exchange Visitor Program: SEVIS Regulations: 67 Fed. Reg. 76307, Dec. 12, 2002 .

This rule implements three laws, the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA), the USA Patriot Act of 2001, and The Enhanced Border Security and Visa Reform Act of 2002. In order to insure that all current sponsors have access to SEVIS by January 30, 2003, any sponsor that wishes to continue administering an exchange visitor program must complete and submit an Exchange Visitor Program Application (Form DS-3036 ) through SEVIS to the Department of State no later than December16, 2002. For further information on how to accomplish this, see the NAFSA SEVIS Resource 2002-f entitled Enrolling in SEVIS as a J-1 exchange program sponsor.

Once this Form has been submitted and approved, all new DS-2019s must be issued through SEVIS. SEVIS will provide sponsors with the ability to create a one page Form DS-2019 (with a page of instructions for the non-immigrant) and a watermarked version of the DS-2019 for use by INS at entry points.

What follows is the list of activities that must occur in SEVIS once the school is approved through SEVIS:

(1) Create a SEVIS record for any program participant seeking visa
issuance or for whom an extension, transfer, change of category, or
reinstatement request is sought;
(2) Create a SEVIS record to replace a previously issued but lost
or stolen copy of a participant's Form IAP-66 or Form DS-2019;
(3) Create a SEVIS record if an amendment or change is made in the
start or end date of a program participant's program;
(4) Create a SEVIS record for a program participant's accompanying
spouse and all accompanying dependent children if a SEVIS record has
been created for the participant;
(5) Utilize SEVIS to up-date information on any participant,
spouse, or dependent child for whom a SEVIS record has been created;
(6) No later than August 1, 2003, create a separate SEVIS record
for each participant, accompanying spouse and dependent child that will
continue to have Exchange Visitor Program participant status after
August 1, 2003.

The school will be required to notify the BCIS and the Department of State if an exchange visitor fails to commence the program as scheduled. Such notification must take place within 30 days following the scheduled commencement date. After January 30, 2003, only SEVIS-generated Forms DS-2019 can be used for change of non-immigrant classification, reinstatement, transfers, extensions, change of category or any other immigration benefit. During a transition period, previously issued paper Forms DS-2019 will be accepted for visa issuance and admission, so long as the exchange visitor's Form was issued by a sponsor prior to January 30, 2003. All SEVIS generated Forms DS-2019 must be printed and signed in blue ink by responsible officers or alternate responsible officers so the original Forms DS-2019 can be easily distinguished from any photocopies.

Existing exchange visitor program regulations are not amended by this rule.This interim final rule is effective Dec. 12, 2002.

Retention and Reporting of Information for F, J, and M Nonimmigrants; Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS); Final Rule, 67 Fed. Reg. 76256, Dec. 11, 2002

This rule amends recordkeeping and reporting requirements for F, J and M students, and implements SEVIS, the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). The rule establishes a process for electronic reporting by designated school officials (DSOs) of information required to be reported to the Service, and provides clear standards governing the maintenance, extension and reinstatement of student status. The final rule is effective Jan. 1, 2003.

Additional Special Registration Countries Added to List

On Nov. 22, 2002 the Department of Justice published a notice in 67 Fed. Reg. 70525 entitled Registration of Certain Nonimmigrant Aliens From Designated Countries. The notice states the U.S. will require certain nonimmigrant aliens to appear before, register with, and provide requested information to the Immigration and Naturalization Service on or before January 10, 2003.

It applies to male nonimmigrant aliens born on or before December 2, 1986 from the countries listed below who were last admitted to the United States on or before September 30, 2002, and who will remain in the United States until at least January 10, 2003. The countries are Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Eritrea, Lebanon, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Qatar, Somalia, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, or Yemen. The notice is effective Dec.2, 2002. The operative regulation is 8 CFR 264.1(f). The notice excludes aliens who have, on or before Nov. 22, 2002, applied for asylum and have already provided sufficient information in their applications for asylum, along with their fingerprints. This notice is in addition to a special registration procedure already under way for nonimmigrants from Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria. Those covered by this notice must also register annually with the BCIS. For more information see Special Registration Procedures for Certain Foreign Nationals as well as the BCIS Portal to Information on Special Registration Procedures for Non-Immigrants.