A lot of people don’t have any idea of what special registration entails and how it is inconvenient to frequent travellers. Non-immigrants from mostly Muslim countries have to go through special registration at the airport as well as at INS offices. For the call-in special registration currently happening for Pakistanis and Saudis, here is what the INS says:
- You must come to a designated INS office to be registered (photographed, fingerprinted, and interviewed under oath) between January 13, 2003 and February 21, 2003.
- If you remain in the United States for more than 1 additional year, you must report back to a designated INS office within 10 days of the anniversary of the date on which you first registered. For example, if you were registered January 20, 2003, you would report back between January 10 and January 30, 2004.
- If you change your address, employment, or educational institution, you must notify the INS in writing within 10 days of the change, using Form AR-11 SR.
- If you leave the United States, you must appear in person before an INS inspecting officer at one of the designated ports and leave the United States from that port on the same day.
In addition, when you enter the United States, you have to go through special registration at the port of entry and then report to the INS office a month later.
And all this takes a lot of time. Every time at the port of entry or exit you have to spend two hours or so for special registration. Every time you go to the INS office, you waste a whole day. Now, imagine someone who has to frequently travel outside the US due to business. Every trip outside the US costs him 2 hours (at port of exit) + 2 hours (port of entry) + 1 day (INS office after 1 month). Would you like to waste so much of your time for something that has dubious benefits for national security?