Asylum & Relocation Letter

The following is a message sent by the acting director to USCIS asylum officers regarding asylum and internal relocation guidance.

The crisis at our Southern border continues to be severe. Every day, USCIS faces an unprecedented number of aliens overwhelming our asylum system, many of whom are ineligible for asylum and are attempting to enter and remain in the country in violation of our laws. This guidance further clarifies current regulations and policies that are already in place regarding internal relocation of an alien in their home country, eliciting testimony for credible fear screenings, and documenting outcomes. As detailed in the Department of State country conditions reports for these countries, private violence is not pervasive across the entirety of each Northern Triangle country. I am writing to provide a reminder of the importance of assessing a person’s ability to safely relocate to another part of his or her home country. This is an important regulatory factor in the consideration of credible fear screenings and determinations.

Citizenship Test Revisions

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced it is revising the current naturalization test.

There will be improvements to ensure it continues to serve as an accurate measure of a naturalization applicant’s civics knowledge and that it reflects best practices in adult education assessments. The goal is to create a meaningful, uniform, and efficient test that will assess applicants’ knowledge and understanding of U.S. history, government and values. This spring, the former USCIS director signed the Revision of the Naturalization Civics Test Memorandum (PDF, 202 KB). This memorandum announces the revision of the naturalization test and formalizes a decennial revision schedule of the naturalization test based on adult education best practices.

Passport Replacements

Passports that have water damage can no longer be used and should be replaced.  You must apply in person to replace a damaged passport at an acceptance facility or at a passport agency. You will need the following: 

  1. The damaged U.S. passport
  2. A signed statement explaining the damage
  3. Form DS-11 (Application for U.S. passport)
  4. Citizenship evidence*  (e.g. birth or naturalization certificate)
  5. A photocopy of citizenship evidence
  6. Present ID (in person)
  7. A photocopy of ID
  8. One passport photo
  9. Fees

Children under 16 must apply in person with both parents. See Children Under 16 for more information.

Social Media Identifiers

On May 31, 2019, the Department of State updated its immigrant and nonimmigrant visa application forms to request additional information, including social media identifiers, from most U.S. visa applicants worldwide.

This update is a result of the President’s March 6, 2017, Memorandum on Implementing Heightened Screening and Vetting of Applications for Visas and other Immigration Benefits and Section 5 of Executive Order 13780 regarding implementing uniform screening and vetting standards for visa applications. 

National security is our top priority when adjudicating visa applications, and every prospective traveler and immigrant to the United States undergoes extensive security screening.  We are constantly working to find mechanisms to improve our screening processes to protect U.S. citizens, while supporting legitimate travel to the United States.

NVC Contact Requirement

Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) section 203(g) provides that the Secretary of State shall terminate the petition of any alien who fails to apply for an immigrant visa within one year of notice of visa availability.

The petition may be reinstated if, within two years of notice of visa availability, the alien establishes that the failure to apply was for reasons beyond the alien’s control.

Therefore if you do not respond to notices from the NVC within one year you risk termination of your petition under this section of law and would lose the benefits of that petition, such as your priority date.

For guidance with this phase of your process, contact Agarwal Law Offices at 978-905-9992.

AOS Filing Chart

If USCIS determines that there are more immigrant visas available for a fiscal year than there are known applicants for such visas, USCIS will state whether you may use the Dates for Filing Visa Applications.

Otherwise, they will indicate that you must use the Application Final Action Dates to determine when you may file your adjustment of status application.

See the following link here for the month of July 2019:

https://www.uscis.gov/visabulletininfo

Visa Bulletin 07/19

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 July 2019.

https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/law-and-policy/bulletin/2019/visa-bulletin-for-July- 2019.html

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