Special Registration for Muslim ment & U.S. VISITS for everyone

If you are male, between the ages of 16 and 45, and are a citizen or national of one of 25 Middle Eastern or Muslim countries, last year at this time, you became subject to "special registration" which is one of the ways the U.S. government is attempting to interdict terrorists. Special registration happens in one of three ways: on entry, departure or if you're here in the US at the required time of registration. If you're entering the U.S., special registration is automatic, and you will go through special immigration processing, including fingerprinting and photographing. If you depart the U.S., you're only permitted to do so at certain ports of departure from the U.S. Fo those in the U.S. who haven't entered or departed since this time last year, by the time you read this, the special "call-in" registration period for your nationality will be over. If you did not register within the period established and whether it is in your interest to register late depends on the reason why you did not register. When set up, registration was to occur annually, with the start day for re-registration having already begun. But because registration created the situation where many people were put into removal (deportation) proceedings who would otherwise be eligible for permanent residence ("green card") status, except that they had to register, the program is considered severe and has gotten bad publicity.

On January 5, 2004, the U.S. VISITS program began. This program will encompass special registration into a broader plan that will require visitors to the U.S. to be fingerprinted and photographed. Exempted from the program are visa waiver countries, which are those that are not required to have visas to enter the US for visitor purposes. All other visitor entrants must be registered under the US Visits program upon entry.