USCIS Continues Processing EADS

USCIS announced that it will reuse previously submitted biometrics in order to process valid Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, extension requests due to the temporary closure of Application Support Centers (ASC) to the public in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Applicants who had an appointment scheduled with an ASC on or after the March 18 closure or has filed an I-765 extension will have their application processed using previously submitted biometrics.

USCIS Office Closures

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has temporarily suspended in-person services at its field offices, asylum offices, and Application Support Centers (ASCs) to help slow the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). USCIS offices will reopen on April 7 unless the public closures are extended further. Employees in these offices are continuing to perform mission-essential services that do not require face-to-face contact with the public.

USCIS Flexibility in Signatures

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that due to the ongoing COVID-19 National Emergency announced by President Trump on March 13, 2020, they will accept all benefit forms and documents with reproduced original signatures, including the Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, for submissions dated March 21, 2020, and beyond.

USCIS Covid-19 Response

“Effective March 18, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is suspending in-person services at its field offices, asylum offices and Application Support Centers (ASCs) to help slow the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). This suspension of services will be effective until at least April 1. In the meantime, USCIS will provide limited emergency services. Please call the Contact Centerfor assistance with emergency services.

USCIS field offices will send notices to applicants and petitioners with scheduled appointments and naturalization ceremonies impacted by this closure. USCIS asylum offices will send interview cancellation notices and automatically reschedule asylum interviews. When the interview is rescheduled, asylum applicants will receive a new interview notice with the new time, date and location of the interview. When USCIS again resumes normal operations, USCIS will automatically reschedule ASC appointments due to the office closure. You will receive a new appointment letter in the mail. Individuals who had InfoPass or other appointments must reschedule through the USCIS Contact Center once field offices are open to the public again. Please check to see if your field officehas been reopened before reaching out to the USCIS Contact Center.”

USCIS Response to Covid-19

USCIS is providing the following guidance re: rescheduling interviews during this pandemic:

“If you become ill for any reason, regardless of whether you were exposed to COVID-19, please do not come to appointments with any USCIS office. Please follow the instructions on your appointment notice to reschedule your appointment or interview if you: Have traveled internationally to any country outside the U.S. within 14 days of your appointment; Believe that you may have been exposed to COVID-19 (even if you have not travelled internationally); or Are experiencing flu-like symptoms (such as a runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat or fever).”

We wish you well and hope you stay safe.

Visa Bulletin 03/20

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 PREFERENCESFirst: (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.

Below is the link for the Visa Bulletin for March 2020.


https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/law-and-policy/bulletin/2019/visa-bulletin-for-March-2020.html

USCIS Form for Fraud

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has launched a new online tip form to help the public provide the agency with information about immigration fraud. This form prompts the form user for the information that the USCIS’ fraud investigators need to investigate allegations of immigration benefit fraud or abuse.

“The new online tip form collects information related to the relevant fraud, identifies the type of benefit in question and provides space for the form user to describe the alleged fraud or abuse in additional detail. This online form streamlines fraud reporting by replacing three email boxes USCIS now uses for fraud and abuse reporting. The tip form will make the tip process more effective and efficient. Every day, well-intentioned people try to report immigration fraud or abuse to us, but our own internal procedures did not allow for a consistent and timely way to respond. Some of the allegations are true while others are not, but USCIS needed a better way to collect information and make an assessment. USCIS will work on tips previously submitted by email to completion. It is not necessary to resubmit a tip via the online tip form if you previously submitted it via email. People who submit tips by email after USCIS closes the email boxes will receive a bounce-back message letting them know that USCIS has decommissioned the mailbox and giving them a link to the tip form.”

USCIS Clarifies Continuity of Residence for Naturalization

“USCIS announced an update to the USCIS Policy Manual to align USCIS practice with congressional intent and existing regulations by clarifying requirements surrounding naturalization applicants’ absences from the United States. This update concerns absences of more than six months but less than one year during the statutorily required continuous residence period.” Learn more here: https://www.uscis.gov/news/alerts/uscis-clarifies-effect-breaks-continuity-residence-eligibility-naturalization