Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Permanent residents (green card holders) now need to provide biometrics on entering US

On December 19, 2008 the DHS published a final rule expanding significantly the population of aliens subject to the United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology Program (US-VISIT) to include permanent residents. It becomes effective January 18, 2009.

US-VISIT will apply to all permanent residents entering or exiting from an air or seaport. Permanent residents entering through land ports of entry, however, will be required to provide fingerprints only if they are referred to secondary inspection. Not all land ports of entry currently have ten-print capability; installation at all ports is expected to be complete within the next month.

NB: The American Immigration Lawyers Association reminds permanent residents with criminal convictions that they are likely to be detected on returning to the US, and they should be prepared to present evidence regarding their admissibility.

The US-VISIT program was established in 2003 to verify the identity and travel documents of visitors. US-VISIT automates this verification by comparing biometric identifiers with information drawn from intelligence and law enforcement watch lists and databases. In many cases, this process begins overseas at a U.S. visa issuing post, where a traveler's biometrics—digital fingerprints and a photograph—are collected and checked against a watch list of known criminals and suspected terrorists. When the traveler arrives in the United States, border officials collect the same biometrics to verify that the person at the port is the same person who received the visa.

For more information on the US_VISIT program, please click on the headline above.

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