Effective January 18, 2009, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) expanded the list of non-U.S. citizens who are required to submit biometric information (digital fingerprints and a photograph) through the United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT) Program upon entry or re-entry to the United States. The US-VISIT system enables the collection and storage of biometric information for purposes of verifying the identities and travel documents of foreign nationals. Prior to the effective date, foreign nationals who arrived at a U.S. port of entry with a nonimmigrant visa and individuals traveling without a visa as part of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) were already required to submit biometric information through the US-VISIT system. The following non-U.S. citizens have been added to the list:  

  • Lawful permanent residents of the United States (LPRs).
  • Individuals who seek admission to the United States on immigrant visas;
  • Individuals who seek admission as refugees or asylees;
  • Canadian citizens who are required to obtain a Form I-94 upon entry (i.e., Canadians applying for admission in the following nonimmigrant classifications: C, D, F, H, I, J, L, M, O, P, Q 1, Q 3, R, S, T, TN). Excluded from this expanded list are most Canadian citizens entering for business trips or pleasure visits;
  • Canadian citizens who require a waiver of inadmissibility to enter the United States;
  • Individuals paroled into the United States; and
  • Individuals applying for admission under the Guam Visa Waiver Program.

Non-U.S. citizens entering or re-entering the United States at a land border port of entry will be processed differently at the discretion of the Homeland Security inspector:

  • Rather than being required to provide biometrics upon entry, LPRs will have to do so only if they are referred to secondary inspection;
  • All other non-U.S. citizens required to use US-VISIT under the new rule will be required to provide biometrics during secondary inspection; and
  • Non-U.S. citizens who seek admission with Border Crossing Cards and who do not have a Form I-94 will still be required to go through US-VISIT procedures, at the discretion of Homeland Security officers.

DHS does not anticipate that the increase in the list of individuals who are required to use the US-VISIT system will impact processing or wait times. More information about the purpose of US-VISIT is available here. __________________________________________________________________________________________<