USCIS Expands Online Filing

USCIS has released the following information regarding expanded online filings:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that Form N-565, Application for Replacement of Naturalization/Citizenship Document, and Form N-336, Request for a Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings (Under Section 336 of the INA), can be filed online. Applicants use Form N-565 to replace a naturalization certificate, certificate of citizenship, or a repatriation certificate. They may also use it to apply for a special certificate of naturalization as a U.S. citizen to be recognized by a foreign country. Applicants use Form N-336 to request a hearing before an immigration officer if we have denied their application for naturalization.

Re-registration of TPS open for Nepal

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that current beneficiaries of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) under Nepal’s designation who want to maintain their status through the effective termination date of June 24, 2019, must re-register between May 22, 2018, and July 23, 2018.

Re-registration procedures, including how to renew employment authorization documents (EADs), have been published in the Federal Register and on uscis.gov/tps. All applicants must submit Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status. Applicants may also request an EAD by submitting a completed Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, at the time they file Form I-821, or separately at a later date. Both forms are free to download from the USCIS website at uscis.gov/tps. USCIS will issue new EADs with a June 24, 2019 expiration date to eligible Nepali TPS beneficiaries who timely re-register and apply for EADs. Given the timeframes involved with processing TPS re-registration applications, however, USCIS recognizes that not all re-registrants will receive new EADs before their current EADs expire on June 24, 2018. Accordingly, USCIS has automatically extended the validity of EADs issued and currently valid under the TPS designation of Nepal for 180 days, through Dec. 21, 2018

USCIS Changed Policy on Student Unlawful Presence

USCIS has posted a policy memorandum (PDF, 179 KB)changing how the agency will calculate unlawful presence for students and exchange visitors in F, J, and M nonimmigrant status, including F-2, J-2, or M-2 dependents, who fail to maintain their status in the United States. Relevant portions of the memorandum include the following:

Individuals in F, J, and M status who failed to maintain their status before Aug. 9, 2018, will start accruing unlawful presence on that date based on that failure, unless they had already started accruing unlawful presence, on the earliest of any of the following:

The day after DHS denied the request for an immigration benefit, if DHS made a formal finding that the individual violated his or her nonimmigrant status while adjudicating a request for another immigration benefit The day after their I-94 expired; or The day after an immigration judge or in certain cases, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), ordered them excluded, deported, or removed (whether or not the decision is appealed).

Individuals in F, J, or M status who fail to maintain their status on or after Aug. 9, 2018, will start accruing unlawful presence on the earliest of any of the following: The day after they no longer pursue the course of study or the authorized activity, or the day after they engage in an unauthorized activity; The day after completing the course of study or program, including any authorized practical training plus any authorized grace period; The day after the I-94 expires; or The day after an immigration judge, or in certain cases, the BIA, orders them excluded, deported, or removed (whether or not the decision is appealed).

DHS Updates NTAS Bulletin

On May 9, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen reissued the National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) Bulletin pertaining to the terror threat to the U.S. homeland…Terrorist groups continue to inspire, enable, and direct their followers to spread chaos using homemade weapons and by striking soft targets and crowded places. They also remain focused on conducting more sophisticated attacks using conventional weapons as well as new technologies and tactics. DHS is committed to staying a step ahead of our enemies, and an informed and vigilant public remains one of the Department’s greatest assets in protecting the homeland.

You can read the new NTAS Bulletin here.

DHS to Terminate TPS for Honduras

The US Department of Homeland Security has determined that termination of the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Honduras is required pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act. To allow for an orderly transition, DHS has delayed the effective date of the termination for 18 months. The designation will terminate on January 5, 2020.

The decision to terminate TPS for Honduras was made after a review of the environmental disaster-related conditions upon which the country’s original 1999 TPS designation was based and an assessment of whether those originating conditions continue to exist, as required by statute. Based on careful consideration of available information, including recommendations received as part of an inter-agency consultation process, the Secretary determined that the disruption of living conditions in Honduras from Hurricane Mitch that served as the basis for its TPS designation has decreased to a degree that it should no longer be regarded as substantial. Thus, as required under the applicable statute, the current TPS designation must be terminated…To allow for an orderly transition, the effective date of the termination of TPS for Honduras will be delayed 18 months to provide time for individuals with TPS to arrange for their departure or to seek an alternative lawful immigration status in the United States, if eligible. Honduran citizens in the United States who benefited from TPS may still receive other protections under our immigration system for which they are eligible.

Visa Bulletin May 2018

The Visa Bulletin provides updated priority date information for family-based and employment-based green cards.

Immigrants to the US are classified into two categories – those requiring placement on a waiting list and those not through their relationship to a US immediate relative. Further, there are numerical quotas on the green cards that require a priority date. If the number of applicants in a year is over the available visa numbers, those applicants are placed on a waiting list and are given a priority date, which estimates when an applicant would get a visa based on the number of previous applicants on the waiting list.

Below are preference category information and visa allocations.

FAMILY-SPONSORED PREFERENCES
First: (F1) Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens: 23,400 plus any numbers not required for fourth preference.

Second: Spouses and Children, and Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents: 114,200, plus the number (if any) by which the worldwide family preference level exceeds 226,000, plus any unused first preference numbers:

A. (F2A) Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents: 77% of the overall second preference limitation, of which 75% are exempt from the per-country limit;

B. (F2B) Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older) of Permanent Residents: 23% of the overall second preference limitation.

Third: (F3) Married Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens: 23,400, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences.

Fourth: (F4) Brothers and Sisters of Adult U.S. Citizens: 65,000, plus any numbers not required by first three preferences.

EMPLOYMENT-BASED PREFERENCES

First: Priority Workers: 28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required for fourth and fifth preferences.

Second: Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability: 28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required by first preference.

Third: Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers: 28.6% of the worldwide level, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences, not more than 10,000 of which to “*Other Workers”
Fourth: Certain Special Immigrants: 7.1% of the worldwide level.

Fifth: Employment Creation: 7.1% of the worldwide level, not less than 3,000 of which reserved for investors in a targeted rural or high-unemployment area, and 3,000 set aside for investors in regional centers by Sec. 610 of Pub. L. 102-395.

Below is the link for the Visa Bulletin for May 2018.

https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/law-and-policy/bulletin/2018/visa-bulletin-for-May-2018.html

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

USCIS to begin new secure mailing

USCIS has released the following press release regarding secure mailing beginning April 30, 2018:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that the agency will begin phasing in use of the U.S. Postal Service’s (USPS) Signature Confirmation Restricted Delivery service to mail Green Cards and other secure documents beginning April 30, 2018.

The first phase will affect documents that need to be re-mailed because they have been returned as non-deliverable. These documents include Permanent Resident Cards (also called Green Cards), Employment Authorization Cards, and Travel Booklets. Applicants who have changed mailing addresses during the course of the application process are more likely to have their secure documents sent with the new delivery method, which USCIS will expand to all secure documents in the future.

As part of the new delivery method, applicants must present identification to sign for their documents upon delivery. They also have the option to designate an agent to sign on their behalf by completing the Postal Service’s PS Form 3801, Standing Delivery Order (PDF) or PS Form 3801-A, Agreement by a Hotel, Apartment House, or the Like (PDF). Applicants can sign up for USPS Informed Delivery to receive delivery status notifications. Applicants will also have the option to arrange for pickup at a post office at a convenient date and time by going to the USPS website and selecting “hold for pickup.”