A personal account of the special registration experience (by Hazhir R.)
- The process includes oath, questions (that are inputed into their system simultanously), fingerprinting and picture taking (these are both digital and fairly easy.) This is all done in one room with 1 or 2 INS personnel interviewing you.
- The time it took them to interview me was 55 min. Their computer interface is apparently user unfriendly and confusing, especially as they are not trained well yet. I was as helpful as I could be to make the process faster. I don't expect the average time to go below 30 min, even after they gain enough experience.
- There was at least 1 and at most 3 rooms in their Boston office to do the job simultanously, so their capacity is in the best case around 50 people per day and in the worst case, not more than 10.
- The officers were nice and friendly. In their questions they ask everything about when you came here, your address and contact info and your family contacts in the US and emergency contact and advisor contact... though there was no problem if you didn't have any of this info on hand. They also asked everything about my family contacts back home. The other thing was entering the data from ALL my cards (e.g. Credit Card, SSN, etc ... I think they also entered the numbers on my KNAPP video club card!). I think they needed some of this info, yet if I didn't have all these cards in my wallet, they wouldn't have needed to waste their time on so many of them.
- They told me to come back next year in a window of today until 10 days from now (ie, Nov 20-30 2003). I think this is not correct, as based on formal INS procedures, I should be able to come between Nov 10 and 30 next year.
- They claimed that the INS is already going after those who came here this year after September (who were subject to these regulations in the airport and were required to return for an interview within 30 days) if they have not yet gone back to the INS for a complete interview. They said such people are in trouble (this will also include new students coming in the coming year).
- They also emphasized the importance of registering in designated departing ports when leaving the country. They claimed that by failing to do so, we will not be allowed back into the US again!
This is it. I just want to suggest that those who have to go through this registration, go there sooner. I suspect a serious jam in the last week of this procedure.