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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily < Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly

[Federal Register: March 7, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 45)]
[Rules and Regulations]               
[Page 10322-10324]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr07mr02-3]                         
=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
DEPARTMENT OF STATE

22 CFR Part 41

[Public Notice: 3938]

Documentation of Nonimmigrants Under the Immigration and 
Nationality Act, as Amended: Automatic Visa Revalidation; Interim Rule

AGENCY: Department of State.

ACTION: Interim rule; request for comments.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
SUMMARY: Due to the need for greater security screening of visa 
applicants, the Department is amending the provision for automatic 
revalidation of expired visas for nonimmigrant aliens returning from 
short visits to other North American countries or adjacent islands to 
exclude from its benefits aliens who apply for new visas during such 
visits and aliens who are nationals of countries identified as state 
sponsors of terrorism.

DATES: This interim rule is effective on April 1, 2002. Written 
comments must be received on or before May 6, 2002.

ADDRESSES: Written comments may be submitted, in duplicate, to the 
Legislation and Regulations Division, Visa Services, Department of 
State, Washington, DC 20520-0106, or by e-mail to visaregs@state.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Elizabeth J. Harper, Legislation and 
Regulations Division, Visa Services, Department of State, Washington, 
DC 20520-0106, (202) 663-1221, e-mail (harperbj@state.gov) or fax at 
(202) 663-3898.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

What Is the Background for This Action?

    Section 42.112(d) of 22 CFR provides for the automatic revalidation 
of nonimmigrant visas of aliens who have been out of the United States 
for less than 30 days in contiguous territory and have an Arrival-
Departure Record showing INS approval of an unexpired period of 
admission. Such aliens may be applying for readmission in the same 
classification or in a new classification authorized by the INS prior 
to their departure. In the latter case, the revalidation includes a 
conversion to the new classification. In the case of a qualified 
student or exchange visitor who has a remaining period of authorized 
stay, the not-more-than-30 day absence may have been in either 
contiguous territory or adjacent islands other than Cuba.

Why Is This Action Being Taken With Respect to Applicants for New 
Visas?

    In some cases, persons who are abroad during an absence of 30 days 
or less in contiguous territory opt to apply for a new visa during that 
absence in lieu of relying on an automatic revalidation. Due to the 
need for greater security screening of visa applicants, which in some 
cases may mean delays in the issuance of new visas, the Department of 
State believes it is prudent to restrict the ability of such persons to 
return to the United States prior to the completion of all such checks 
and the issuance of a new visa.

Why Is it Being Taken With Regard to Visa Applicants From Countries 
That Sponsor Terrorism?

    In light of recent terrorist actions undertaken by aliens, some or 
all of

[[Page 10323]]

whom had entered the United States with nonimmigrant visas, it has 
become clear that we cannot rely upon an assumption that a person who 
obtained a visa for one reason still has only that reason for wishing 
to return to the United States. We find a closer examination of certain 
aliens seeking to enter or reenter the United States must be 
undertaken. Thus, the Department finds the automatic revalidation of 
nonimmigrant visas should no longer be available to individuals whose 
home countries have been identified as sponsoring terrorism.

What Countries Have Been so Identified and Under What Authority?

    Several laws require the Department to designate a foreign state as 
one sponsoring terrorism. They are: Section 620A of the foreign 
Assistance Act, Section 40 of the Arms Export Control Act, and Section 
6(j) of the Export Administration Act. Consequently, the Department 
periodically publishes a report, Patterns of Global Terrorism, updating 
such designations. Currently, the designated countries are Iraq, Iran, 
Syria, Libya, Sudan, North Korea, and Cuba.

Is This Intended To Be a Permanent Tightening of the Entry of 
Visitors and Other Nonimmigrants?

    We hope that the time will come when circumstances will permit the 
restoration of this privilege to all bona fide nonimmigrants but we do 
not anticipate that time being in the near future.

Regulatory Analysis and Notices

Administrative Procedure Act

    The Department is publishing this rule as an interim rule, with a 
60-day provision for post-promulgation public comments, based on the 
``good cause'' exceptions set forth at 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B) and 
553(d)(3). It is dictated by the recent terrorist attacks on the United 
States and the necessity of additional controls over the entry of 
aliens at this time.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    Pursuant to Sec. 605 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, the 
Department has assessed the potential impact of this rule, and the 
Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs hereby certifies that is not 
expected to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number 
of small entities.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    This rule will not result in the expenditure by State, local and 
tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 
million in any year and it will not significantly or uniquely affect 
small governments. Therefore, no actions were deemed necessary under 
the provisions of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995.

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996

    This rule is not a major rule as defined by section 804 of the 
Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Act of 1996. This rule will not 
result in an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more; a 
major increase in costs or prices; or significant adverse effects on 
competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or on 
the ability of United States-based companies to compete with foreign-
based companies in domestic and export markets.

Executive Order 12866

    The Department of State does not consider this rule, to be a 
``significant regulatory action'' under Executive Order 12866, section, 
section 3(f), Regulatory Planning and Review. Therefore, in accordance 
with the letter to the Department of State of February 4, 1994 from the 
Director of the Office of Management and Budget, it does not require 
review by the Office of Management and Budget.

Executive Order 13132

    This regulation will not have substantial direct effects on the 
States, on the relationship between the national government and the 
States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the 
various levels of government. Therefore, in accordance with section 6 
of Executive Order 13132, it is determined that this rule does not have 
sufficient federalism implications to require consultations or warrant 
the preparation of a federalism summary impact statement.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This rule does not impose any new reporting or record-keeping 
requirements subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. Chapter 
35.

List of Subjects in 22 CFR Part 41

    Aliens, Passports and visas.

    Accordingly, the Department of State amends 22 CFR Chapter I as set 
forth below.

PART 41--[AMENDED]

    1. The authority citation for part 41 continues to read:

    Authority: 8 U.S.C. 1104; 8 U.S.C. 1181, 1201, 1202; Pub. L. 
105-277, 112 Stat. 2681 et seq.

    2. Revise Sec. 41.112(d) to read as follows:


Sec. 41.112  Validity of visa.

* * * * *
    (d) Automatic extension of validity at ports of entry. (1) Provided 
that the requirements set out in paragraph (d)(2) of this section are 
fully met, the following provisions apply to nonimmigrant aliens 
seeking readmission at ports of entry:
    (i) The validity of an expired nonimmigrant visa issued under INA 
101(a)(15) may be considered to be automatically extended to the date 
of application for readmission; and
    (ii) In cases where the original nonimmigrant classification of an 
alien has been changed by INS to another nonimmigrant classification, 
the validity of an expired or unexpired nonimmigrant visa may be 
considered to be automatically extended to the date of application for 
readmission, and the visa may be converted as necessary to that changed 
classification.
    (2) The provisions in paragraph (d)(1) of this section are 
applicable only in the case of a nonimmigrant alien who:
    (i) Is in possession of a Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Record, 
endorsed by INS to show an unexpired period of initial admission or 
extension of stay, or, in the case of a qualified F or J student or 
exchange visitor or the accompanying spouse or child of such an alien, 
is in possession of a current Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for 
Nonimmigrant Student Status, or Form IAP-66, Certificate of Eligibility 
for Exchange Visitor Status, issued by the school the student has been 
authorized to attend by INS, or by the sponsor of the exchange program 
in which the alien has been authorized to participate by INS, and 
endorsed by the issuing school official or program sponsor to indicate 
the period of initial admission or extension of stay authorized by INS;
    (ii) Is applying for readmission after an absence not exceeding 30 
days solely in contiguous territory, or, in the case of a student or 
exchange visitor or accompanying spouse or child meeting the 
stipulations of paragraph (d)(2)(i) of this section, after an absence 
not exceeding 30 days in contiguous territory or adjacent islands other 
than Cuba;
    (iii) Has maintained and intends to resume nonimmigrant status;
    (iv) Is applying for readmission within the authorized period of 
initial admission or extension of stay;

[[Page 10324]]

    (v) Is in possession of a valid passport;
    (vi) Does not require authorization for admission under INA 
212(d)(3); and
    (vii) Has not applied for a new visa while abroad.
    (3) The provisions in paragraphs (d)(1) and (d)(2) of this section 
shall not apply to the nationals of countries identified as supporting 
terrorism in the Department's annual report to Congress entitled 
Patterns of Global Terrorism.
* * * * *

    Dated: February 7, 2002.
Mary A. Ryan,
Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs, Department of State.
[FR Doc. 02-5325 Filed 3-6-02; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4710-06-P


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