Virginia, US

 

 
 
All foreign nationals entering the U.S. are subject to thorough screenings and inspection at U.S. borders.  You may also be subject to intensive questioning about your immigration status, travel history, the purpose of your visit, background, employment and other issues. This could include a search of your electronic devices. Before you travel, check your employer's procedures for dealing with searches of company-owned phones, laptops and other devices. Upon clearance, you will be issued an admission stamp that is annotated with date and class of admission and admitted-until date. You will also have an arrival record in Customs and Border Protection’s online system.
 
 
 
Most foreign nationals are required to comply with entry and exit requirements of the Biometric Data Collection system. The Biometric Data Collection system collects biographic information and biographic identifiers from foreign nationals entering the United States, to determine whether an individual is eligible to enter the U.S. or should be prohibited from entering because of security risks such as past visa or criminal violations or terrorist connections. The system is in operation at most U.S. air, sea and land ports, and at selected pre-flight inspection stations abroad.
 
 
Currently, Biometric Data Collection is applicable to most foreign nationals between the ages of 14 and 79 who are traveling to or from the United States through a port at which Biometric Data Collection is in operation, including U.S. lawful permanent residents and most Canadian citizens. Failure to comply where required may result in a foreign national being deemed inadmissible to the United States, in violation of the terms of his or her status, or ineligible for future immigration benefits.
 
Several groups of travelers are exempt from the system. These include (1) U.S. citizens; (2) travelers who are under the age of 14 or over the age of 79; (3) certain individuals who hold visas in categories for foreign diplomats, employees of international organizations, travelers in immediate transit through the United States, or NATO representatives and employees; and (4) individuals or classes of foreign nationals who have been exempted by the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of State or the Central Intelligence Agency. Canadian citizens entering the United States for short business or tourism visits or in transit to another country are exempt from Biometric Data Collection, unless they have previously been deemed inadmissible to the United States and need a waiver of inadmissibility to enter. In addition, Mexican citizens entering the United States using a Border Crossing Card are exempt when their stay is within 25 miles from the border (or 75 miles in the case of entry at an Arizona port) and the stay extends for no more than 30 days. Also exempt are certain Taiwanese diplomats and officials.
 
 
On entry, foreign nationals subject to Biometric Data Collection have their fingerprints captured with an inkless scanner and a digital photograph taken. The fingerprint and photographic data, along with information in travel documents, are used to verify the traveler’s identity and will be scanned against law enforcement and national security lookout lists. Based on the verification results, the traveler will be admitted to the United States or asked to undergo further verification. If data in the verification process indicate possible national security or law enforcement concerns, the foreign national will be referred for additional screening.
 
There are currently no Biometric Data Collection exit procedures.
 
 
Upon entering the United States, all foreign nationals are questioned by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) regarding their reason for coming to the United States, and issued an admission stamp that is annotated with date and class of admission and admitted-until date.  In addition, an I-94 arrival record is created in CBP’s online system.
 
If you enter the United States through an air or sea port of entry, it is critical that you visit www.cbp.gov/I94 in order to print a paper version of the I-94 card.  To access your I-94, enter your name and other requested as it appears on your passport and admission stamp.    The website will generate an I-94 that contains your admission information and a unique admission number.    Ensure that the dates on the electronic version match the dates on the admission stamp.  If there are any inaccuracies, please contact your designated Fragomen professional as soon as possible.  You may need to visit a CBP deferred inspection station or port of entry to have inaccuracies resolved.
 
It is imperative that you send copies of your I-94 printout, passport biographic page, visa stamp, and admission stamp, including those of dependent family members to your Fragomen representative.
 
 
Between 2002 and early 2011, the U.S. government registered certain foreign nationals in the National Security Entry-Exit registration System (NSEERS, or "special registration"), so that these individuals could be tracked and monitored throughout their stays in the United States. NSEERS required special registrants to comply with enhanced screening, reporting and departure requirements. On April 28, 2011, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it would no longer register foreign nationals in NSEERS and that foreign nationals would no longer be subject to compliance with the system’s reporting and departure requirements. On December 23, 2016, the Department of Homeland Security rescinded regulatory authority for NSEERS. Though the NSEERS program is not in operation, questions about past compliance with NSEERS could still arise. Foreign nationals who were specially registered in the past and are seeking immigration benefits – particularly adjustment of status to permanent residence and naturalization – may be asked to demonstrate that they complied with program requirements during the time that NSEERS was in effect.