TPS Extensions – Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone

Per USCIS News:

“Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson is extending TPS benefits for beneficiaries of TPS under the designations of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone for 6 months for the purpose of orderly transition before the designations terminate, effective May 21, 2017. After reviewing country conditions and consulting with the appropriate U.S. government agencies, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson has determined that conditions in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone no longer support their designations for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). The widespread transmission of Ebola virus in the three countries that led to the designations has ended.

To provide for an orderly transition, current TPS beneficiaries will automatically retain their TPS and have the validity of their current Employment Authorization Documents extended through May 20, 2017. Beneficiaries do not need to pay a fee or file any application, including for work authorization, in order to retain their TPS benefits through May 20, 2017.

Although TPS benefits will no longer be in effect starting May 21, 2017, TPS beneficiaries will continue to hold any other immigration status that they have maintained or acquired while registered for TPS. The Department of Homeland Security urges individuals who do not have another immigration status to use the time before the terminations become effective in May to prepare for and arrange their departure from the United States or to apply for other immigration benefits for which they may be eligible.”

Visa Bulletin September 2016

The Department of State published its Visa Bulletin for September 2016. The Visa Bulletin is a monthly report on visa availability. USCIS has determined that for the month of September 2016, applicants for all family-sponsored and employment-based preferences may use the Dates for Filing Visa Applications chart.

Congress annually sets the numbers of immigrant visas that may be issued for the family-sponsored and employment-based immigrant preference categories. If you are a prospective immigrant in any of these categories, the Visa Bulletin shows when a visa is available to you based on your priority date.

For the bulletin, refer here.

USCIS Revisions to Provisional Waiver Process

USCIS announced a final rule expanding the existing provisional waiver process to allow certain individuals who are family members of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs), and who are statutorily eligible for immigrant visas, to more easily navigate the immigration process.

This final rule builds on a process established in 2013 to support family unity. Under that process, certain immediate relatives of U.S. citizens can apply for provisional waivers of the unlawful presence ground of inadmissibility, based on the extreme hardship their U.S. citizen spouses or parents would suffer if the waiver were not granted. The rule announced, which goes into effect on Aug. 29, 2016, expands eligibility for the provisional waiver process to all individuals who are statutorily eligible for the waiver of the unlawful presence ground of inadmissibility. USCIS expects to update its Policy Manual to provide guidance on how USCIS makes “extreme hardship” determinations in the coming weeks.

To qualify for a provisional waiver, applicants must establish that their U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouses or parents would experience “extreme hardship” if the applicants are not allowed to return to the United States.

Applicants should not submit a request for a provisional waiver under the expanded guidelines until the final rule takes effect on Aug. 29, 2016. If you do so before that date, USCIS may deny the application.

For more information, please contact ALO at 978-905-9992.

Syria TPS Updates

Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson has redesignated Syria for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and extended the existing TPS designation for the country from Oct. 1, 2016, through March 31, 2018. This allows eligible nationals of Syria (or persons without nationality who last habitually resided in Syria) to register or re-register for TPS in accordance with the Federal Register notice published today.

Current beneficiaries under Syria’s TPS designation seeking to extend their TPS status must re-register during a 60-day period that runs from Aug. 1, 2016, through Sept. 30, 2016. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) encourages beneficiaries to re-register as soon as possible.

The 18-month extension also allows TPS re-registrants to apply for a new Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Eligible Syria TPS beneficiaries who re-register during the 60-day period and request a new EAD will receive one with an expiration date of March 31, 2018. USCIS recognizes that some re-registrants may not receive their new EADs until after their current work permits expire. Therefore, USCIS is automatically extending current TPS Syria EADs with a Sept. 30, 2016, expiration date for an additional six months. These existing EADs are now valid through March 31, 2017.

To re-register, current TPS beneficiaries must submit:

Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status (re-registrants do not need to pay the Form I-821 application fee);
Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, regardless of whether they want an EAD;
The Form I-765 application fee (or a fee-waiver request) only if they want an EAD. If the re-registrant does not want an EAD, no application fee is required; and
The biometric services fee (or a fee-waiver request) if they are age 14 or older.

For more information, contact ALO at 978-905-9992.

Immigration Bloggers Wanted

Agarwal Law Offices is currently seeking enthusiastic, diligent, and informed college and grad students to assist us with blogging and following current immigration events. The position would be assignment based on a weekly basis and start time would be immediately. Great for full-time students looking for a little extra work. Pay is negotiable.

Visa Bulletin August 2016

This bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers during August for: “Application Final Action Dates” and “Dates for Filing Applications,” indicating when immigrant visa applicants should be notified to assemble and submit required documentation to the National Visa Center.

Unless otherwise indicated on the USCIS website at www.uscis.gov/visabulletininfo, individuals seeking to file applications for adjustment of status with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the Department of Homeland Security must use the “Application Final Action Dates” charts below for determining when they can file such applications. When USCIS determines that there are more immigrant visas available for the fiscal year than there are known applicants for such visas, USCIS will state on its website that applicants may instead use the “Dates for Filing Visa Applications” charts in this Bulletin. Applicants for adjustment of status may refer to USCIS for additional information by visiting www.uscis.gov/visabulletininfo.

For the full bulletin, refer to the following link.

Visa Bulletin July 2016

This bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers during July for: “Application Final Action Dates” and “Dates for Filing Applications,” indicating when immigrant visa applicants should be notified to assemble and submit required documentation to the National Visa Center.

Unless otherwise indicated on the USCIS website at www.uscis.gov/visabulletininfo, individuals seeking to file applications for adjustment of status with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the Department of Homeland Security must use the “Application Final Action Dates” charts below for determining when they can file such applications. When USCIS determines that there are more immigrant visas available for the fiscal year than there are known applicants for such visas, USCIS will state on its website that applicants may instead use the “Dates for Filing Visa Applications” charts in this Bulletin. Applicants for adjustment of status may refer to USCIS for additional information by visiting www.uscis.gov/visabulletininfo.

For the full bulletin, refer to the following link.

SCOTUS blocks Obama Immigration Action

The U.S. Supreme Court has issued a one-sentence ruling on President Obama’s immigration reform plan: “The judgment is affirmed by an equally divided Court.” The ruling means that the lower court’s (a collection of Texas and 25 other states) injunction on Obama’s immigration plan will remain in effect.

The executive action was introduced in late 2014 and was intended to provide relief for a large portion of the almost 11 million undocumented people living in the U.S. The plan was very similar to the Deferred Action for children, and would provide a potential pathway to legalization.

This decision is a huge blow to the immigrant community as well as the President. Despite his efforts, his immigration plan will likely not go into effect during his remaining term. However, the President stressed that otherwise law-abiding undocumented people will remain lower deportation priorities.

We will continue to keep the community informed of any updates.

For more information, please contact ALO at 978-905-9992.

Undocumented Valedictorian’s Trump Talk

Undocumented Valedictorian of McKinney Boyd High School in Dallas Texas, Larissa Martinez, gave an inspiring speech over the weekend where she not only exposed her current undocumented status in the U.S., but also took a shot at presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.

She told the crowd, “I am one of the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the shadows of the United States…After all of these years I have finally mustered up the courage to stand before you and share a struggle I have had to deal with each and every day,” she said. “We are here without official documentation because the U.S. immigration system is broken, and it has forced many families to live in fear. I myself have been waiting for seven years for my application to even be processed.”

When referencing Trump’s extreme policies, she told the crowd that “America can be great again without the construction of a wall built on hatred and prejudice.”

Next fall, Ms. Martinez will attend Yale University on a full ride. Congratulations Ms. Martinez!

To read more, refer to the full article here.

Immigration Bloggers Wanted!

Agarwal Law Offices is currently seeking enthusiastic, diligent, and informed college and grad students to assist us with blogging and following current immigration events. The position would be assignment based on a weekly basis and start time would be immediately. Great for full-time students looking for a little extra work. Pay is negotiable.