Search form

Reorganization of Immigration Processes and Enforcement Is Accompanied by New Visa Restrictions

By Sean G. Hanagan, William J. Manning and Otieno B. Ombok
  • June 19, 2003

On March 1, 2003, the Immigration and Naturalization Service was merged into the new U.S. Department of Homeland Security. At the same time, the INS was divided into three separate bureaus: (1) the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services ("BCIS") inherited the adjudication of visa petitions and naturalization applications; (2) the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection ("BCBP") is now responsible for inspections at airports, sea ports, and land ports of entry, the former Border Patrol, the former Customs Service, and agricultural quarantine; and (3) the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("BICE") has assumed responsibility for the INS investigation and enforcement functions.

In parallel with this reorganization, the federal government has tightened up the operation of the entire visa system:

  • The Department of State has announced that, as of August 1, 2003, in person visa interviews will be required for a much higher percentage of non-immigrant visa applicants than in the past. As no new resources have been allocated to consulates for these interviews, it is anticipated there will be back-logs at many posts. Some consulates have begun to implement appointment systems to try to relieve this problem.
  • Affirmative FBI and CIA clearance is now required for visa issuance. If there is a delay or problem in obtaining such clearance, a visa applicant at a U.S. consulate may face an unexpected delay in traveling to the U.S.
  • BCIS is required to check all visa petitions against the Interagency Border Inspection System, which slows down the processing of visa petitions.
  • All aliens over the age of 14 are now required to file an AR-11 Change of Address Card with the Department of Homeland Security within 10 days of a change of address.
  • Citizens of 25 countries, primarily in the Middle East, who are in the United States on temporary visas are now required to complete Special Registration formalities on entering and departing the United States, as well as to update their registrations annually.
  • The Department of Homeland Security has announced that by January 1, 2004, it plans to begin implementing the U.S. Visit system at airports and seaports. This will scan a visitor's travel documents, take a photo and fingerprint of the visitor, and conduct an extensive search against a variety of databases to determine admissibility to the U.S.

In view of these developments, employers seeking visas for their foreign employees should plan international transfers as far in advance as possible. The continuing emphasis on enforcement suggests that it is prudent for employers periodically to audit their I-9 files to ensure that employment authorization verification is being conducted properly.

The Jackson Lewis Immigration Practice Group is available to answer questions regarding this issue and to provide services to employers regarding all immigration matters.

©2003 Jackson Lewis P.C. This material is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice nor does it create a client-lawyer relationship between Jackson Lewis and any recipient. Recipients should consult with counsel before taking any actions based on the information contained within this material. This material may be considered attorney advertising in some jurisdictions. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Reproduction of this material in whole or in part is prohibited without the express prior written consent of Jackson Lewis P.C., a law firm that built its reputation on providing workplace law representation to management. Founded in 1958, the firm has grown to more than 900 attorneys in major cities nationwide serving clients across a wide range of practices and industries including government relations, healthcare and sports law. More information about Jackson Lewis can be found at www.jacksonlewis.com.

See AllRelated Articles You May Like

March 25, 2019

U.S. Supreme Court to Decide If Immigration Law Preempts State Law Prosecution

March 25, 2019

Does the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) preempt states from using information in Form I-9 to prosecute a person under state law? The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to review a case involving prosecution for identity theft under Kansas law based on information in the Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification. Kansas v. Garcia... Read More

January 7, 2019

2019: The Year Ahead for Employers

January 7, 2019

Over the past year, state and local governments responded in a variety of ways to national policy, and the midterm elections painted a picture of what’s in store for employers in 2019 and beyond. Jackson Lewis’ annual report outlines upcoming issues, trends, legislation and regulations employers need to be aware of in the coming year... Read More

September 21, 2018

What the Rise in Worksite Raids and I-9 Audits Means for the Construction Industry

September 21, 2018

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) audits and worksite raids are surging across the country, and the construction industry is often the target. The Trump Administration has made it a key priority of its immigration policy to ramp up I-9 audits and worksite raids, which should put the labor-scarce construction industry on alert... Read More

Related Practices