The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced that the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS) will be eliminated effective April 28, 2011. See the Federal Register notice and WSJ article.
The National Security Entry-Exit Registration System, NSEERS, required individuals from more than 20 predominantly Arab countries to register with the government on arrival and departure from the U.S. Until today, nationals of Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Egypt, Eritrea, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen had to register every time they entered or left the U.S. at a border post.
The manual process required about 30 minutes of additional inspection at a port of entry for those arriving on nonimmigrant visas. Visitors had to register again on exiting the country.
DHS Rationale for Ending NSEERS
According to DHS, the main reason for ending NSEERS is that since the NSEERS requirements were established, DHS has created a number of additional procedures and safeguards which, in effect, duplicate NSEERS’ need for manual registration upon entry into the U.S.
According to DHS,
Over the past six years, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has implemented several new automated systems that capture arrival and exit information on nonimmigrant travelers to the United States, and DHS has determined that recapturing this data manually when a nonimmigrant is seeking admission to the United States is redundant and no longer provides any increase in security. DHS, therefore, has determined that it is no longer necessary to subject nationals from these countries to special registration procedures, and this notice deletes all currently designated countries from NSEERS compliance.
For example, the US-VISIT program, in effect since 2004, collects entry and exit information and collects biometrics, to be compared with other government records. CBP also requires passenger manifests to be provided for passengers arriving by air or sea into the U.S. There are also a number of international data-sharing agreements, which allow DHS to do better analysis of aliens applying for admission in to the U.S.
As a result of the DHS rule, nonimmigrant nationals and citizens of these countries are no longer required to comply with the requirements of 8 CFR 264.1(f), including the requirement that they exit through designated ports of entry. Accordingly, nationals and citizens from these countries are no longer subject to the NSEERS registration requirement and DHS will no longer register aliens under NSEERS effective on April 28, 2011.