Excessive Case Delays & Possible Remedies

Pursuant to the Adminstrative Procedures Act, if an I-485 adjustment of status or citizenship application is being unreasonably delayed, an individual may file a Writ of Mandamus to force U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to make a decision on the application. Not only is the duty of USCIS to adjudicate a petition a mandatory one, courts have upheld that the duty should also be completed within a reasonable time period.

This suit must be filed in the federal district court with jurisdiction over the director of the local USCIS office that has delayed the decision on the application. The court may grant or deny the application, or send the case back to USCIS for a decision.
For more information about these services, please schedule a consultation at 978-905-9992.

TPS Late Filing

Late Re-Registration for TPS
USCIS may accept a late TPS re-registration application if you have good cause for filing after the end of the re-registration period of your country. You must submit a letter that explains your reason for filing late with your re-registration application.
If you file your TPS re-registration application late, processing may be delayed and can lead to gaps in your work authorization.

Late Initial Filing for TPS
You can apply for TPS for the first time during an extension of your country’s TPS designation period. If you qualify to file your initial TPS application late, you must still independently meet all the TPS eligibility requirements listed in the Eligibility section above.

To qualify to file your initial TPS application late, you must meet at least one of the late initial filing conditions below:

  • During either the initial registration period of your country’s designation or during any subsequent initial registration period if your country was re-designated you met one of the following conditions, and you register while the condition still exists or within a 60-day period immediately following the expiration or termination of such condition
    • You were a nonimmigrant, were granted voluntary departure status, or any relief from removal
    • You had an application for change of status, adjustment of status, asylum, voluntary departure, or any relief from removal which was pending or subject to further review or appeal
    • You were a parolee or had a pending request for re-parole
    • You are a spouse of an individual who is currently eligible for TPS

OR

  • During either the initial registration period of your country’s designation or during any subsequent initial registration period if your country was re-designated you were a child of an individual who is currently eligible for TPS. There is no time limitation on filing if you meet this condition. So if your parent is currently eligible for TPS and you were his or her child (unmarried and under 21 years old) at any time during a TPS initial registration period for your country, you may still be eligible for late initial filing even if you are now over 21 years old or married.  You may file during an extension of your TPS designated country.

Reminder – 2nd Office Opening

Agarwal Law Offices is very excited to announce the opening of a second location in Framingham, Massachusetts beginning September 1, 2017.

The official address is: 945 Concord Street, Framingham, MA 01701. We will continue to maintain the Andover, MA location at 3 Dundee Park. This expansion will allow Attorney Agarwal to meet and work with clients from Essex and Middlesex Counties. Similar to our convenient Andover office, located directly behind the Commuter Rail Station, the Framingham location is minutes from Route 128 and Interstate 495, and offers optimum access to metropolitan Boston via the Massachusetts Turnpike.

The expansion of Agarwal Law Offices comes after an assessment of the need for quality immigration service providers in the Metro-West region of Massachusetts. Through extensive experience and positive results, Attorney Agarwal is best suited for the needs of this rich population of immigrants. In addition, we hope to provide added convenience to our existing clients who prefer one location over another, as we constantly strive to accommodate our clients. Check back for office hours at each location soon. We look forward to serving the community and hope to see you soon!

Philippines Travel Warning

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens to avoid all non-essential travel to the city of Marawi, Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago including the southern Sulu Sea, and to exercise extreme caution when traveling to other regions of Mindanao, due to terrorist threats, insurgent activities, and kidnappings. Similar threats also occurred throughout the Philippines in 2017. This replaces the Travel Warning dated December 20, 2016.

For further information:

  • See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and the Philippines Country Specific Information.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Manila, Philippines, located at 1201 Roxas Boulevard, at +(63) (2) 301-2000, from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +(63) (2) 301-2000.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

DOS Travel Tips for Students Abroad

Here are five things to consider before you travel abroad.

  1. Read the DOS Traveler’s Checklist. Find out how to plan a safe trip, what documents you need, how to handle money overseas, and more.
  2. Stay connected with us… Follow our TravelGov Facebook and Twitter accounts to get safety and security information, especially during a crisis overseas. You can also sign up for security updates through our Smart Traveler Enrollment Program(STEP.state.gov). Giving us your contact details will help us reach you in an emergency. In case you need help, like if your passport is lost or stolen, always carry the address and phone number of the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate, in English and the local language.
  3. …and with those back home. Agree on regular times to check in with family and friends to let them know you are okay. Will you do it via text, email, social media, or phone? Check into an international cell phone plan or buying SIM cards with minutes/data in the countries where you’ll be. Cafes, museums, and libraries are places that often have free wifi to connect your device.
  4. Have a plan for emergencies. Think about what you would do if there were an emergency or crisis when you’re abroad. Check social media, TV, and radio to hear what local authorities are advising.
  5. Make sure you have insurance for unexpected travel, medical, and evacuation expenses. These can cost thousands of dollars and cut short your trip. Think about buying additional insurance coverage.  

Updated I-485 Forms

USCIS has published a revised Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Form I-485). The new Form I-485 and instructions have been updated to reduce complexity after extensive feedback from the public.

The revised version gives applicants better information to accurately complete Form I-485, including clear navigation to the parts of the form and instructions that are relevant to the applicants’ specific situations. These updates should increase the efficiency of the adjudication process by reducing errors and requests for evidence.

Applicants living in the United States file Form I-485 to adjust their immigration status and become lawful permanent residents, which allows one to live and work permanently in the United States. Adjusting status is a critical step for those seeking U.S. citizenship.

USCIS also revised the Form I-485 Supplement A and Form I-485 Supplement J (as well as each supplement’s instructions), to provide applicants with more detailed information about how to properly complete, file, and submit evidence if those supplements are applicable to their situation.

Beginning today, there will be a 60-day grace period during which USCIS will accept both the 01/17/17 and 06/26/17 editions of Form I-485 and Supplement A and J. Beginning Aug. 25, USCIS will only accept the revised Form and Supplement A and J of Form I-485 and will no longer accept earlier versions of either form.

Jordan Travel Warning

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens to consider the risks of travel to and throughout Jordan due to persistent terrorist threats.  The self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS), its affiliates, sympathizers, and other violent extremist groups have successfully conducted attacks in Jordan and continue to plot against local security forces, U.S. and Western interests, and “soft” targets. Jordan’s prominent role in the counter ­ISIS Coalition and its shared borders with Iraq and Syria increase the potential for future terrorist incidents. This replaces the Travel Warning issued December 23, 2016.

For more information:

  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Amman. The U.S. Embassy is located on Al-Umayyaween Street, Abdoun neighborhood, Amman 11118. You can contact the Embassy by telephone at +(962) (6) 590-6000. The emergency after-hours number is +(962)(6) 590-6500.  U.S. citizens in Jordan may also contact the consular section by email at Amman-ACS@state.gov. U.S. citizens seeking routine services must make appointments in advance.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries.

Form I-539 General Guidance

Generally, you may apply to change to a new nonimmigrant status or extend your current status if you lawfully traveled to the United States on a temporary visa and were lawfully admitted, your temporary visa status remains valid, and you have not committed any crimes that make you ineligible to change your status.

Application Process

File Form I539, Application to Extend/Change Non-Immigrant Status with all accompanying filing fees and evidence. The form is specifically intended for the following applicants: Certain nonimmigrants to extend their stay or change to another nonimmigrant status; CNMI residents applying for an initial grant of status; F and M nonimmigrants to apply for reinstatement; and, Persons seeking V nonimmigrant status or an extension of stay as a V nonimmigrant.

Filing Deadline
your application for an extension of stay about 45 – 60 days before your authorized stay expires. If filing a late change/extension of stay, the following must be proven: Your delay in filing was due to extraordinary circumstances beyond your control; The length of the delay was reasonable; You have not done anything else to violate your status such as working without authorization; You intend to remain in the United States temporarily (there are some exceptions to this rule); and You are not in removal proceedings

Categories Not Eligible for Change of Status

to change your nonimmigrant status if you were admitted to the United States in the following categories: Visa Waiver Program (VWP), Crew member (D nonimmigrant), In transit through the United States without a visa (TWOV), Certain spouses of U.S. citizens or dependent children (K-3 or K-4 nonimmigrant), Fiance of a U.S. citizen or dependent of a fiance (K-1 or K-2 nonimmigrant), or Informant (and accompanying family) on terrorism or organized crime (S nonimmigrant)

Pending Decision

Until you receive approval from USCIS, do not assume your request for a change in nonimmigrant status has been approved, and do not change your activity in the United States.

Fiance Visa Filing Tips

This guide is intended for K1 visa applicants and provides useful tips to handle the process.

Submit All Supporting Documents

During the initial I-129F filing, be sure to submit all supporting documents and evidence with the application. This includes the letters of intent of both parties as well as evidence of your meeting your fiancé within the last two years immediately preceding the filing of the petition. Without the proper submission, USCIS will request more evidence and the case will be unnecessarily delayed.

Keep Copies of the Application

Be sure to keep a paper or electronic copy of the entire application and supporting documents as this information will be sent to your fiancé overseas for review before interview.

Update all Biographical Documents

Before your fiancé interview, you will be required to provide a valid passport. Be sure that the passport is still valid and does not need to be renewed, to avoid unnecessary delay.

Obtain Certified Copies

If there are any previous marriages between the fiancé couple, be sure to obtain the certified divorce decree and provide the original at the time of interview.

Provide Previous Vaccine Record

Part of the fiancé visa process is that the beneficiary must obtain a medical exam in their foreign country. By documenting previous vaccinations, the beneficiary may not require the entire medical exam to be completed. Once the exam is complete, the alien should request an official copy of the vaccine record to provide during the adjustment of status phase in the United States.

Keep Proof of an Ongoing Relationship

During the second phase of the fiancé visa, the couple must establish that they have maintained an ongoing relationship. This can include photos, travel documents, emails, etc. from between the time of filing and the first notice of action.

CBP Travel Tips

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is encouraging travelers to “Know Before You Go” when traveling to the United States or returning home this summer. Last summer, CBP processed more than 108.3 million international travelers at U.S. ports of entry. Read the press release here.