In a notice published today, April 28, 2011, the Department of Homeland Security announced the removal of all countries from the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS). The NSEERS program had required certain non-immigrant aliens or nationals of listed countries to comply with special registration and identification procedures.
NSEERS was implemented following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The countries listed were predominantly located in the Middle East and northern Africa. Citizens/nationals of each country were specifically required to provide photographs, fingerprints, and other documentation at the time of admission to the United States. Additional requirements included follow-up registration with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and that the alien depart from a specified port.
Although the regulation giving rise to NSEERS will remain in place, the removal of all designated countries marks a de facto end to the program. One of DHS’s stated reasons for the removal of the countries is that NSEERS registration is redundant and inefficient, especially with the implementation of the United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology Program (‘‘US–VISIT’’). Under the provisions of US-VISIT, all non-resident aliens, regardless of nationality, are subject to digital photographing and biometric finger scanning.