U Visa Law Enforcement Guide

USCIS has published the U Visa Law Enforcement Resource Guide (PDF, 1.58 MB) to provide law enforcement and other certifying agencies with helpful information and best practices for the U visa certification process.

This guide will assist law enforcement and other certifying agencies, who play a critical role in the U visa adjudication process, and will ensure they have the resources they need to provide a properly completed certification for immigrant victims of crime. 

Law enforcement authorities and other certifying agencies provide certifications for U nonimmigrant status (U visa) petitioners. Individuals seeking a U visa because they have been a victim of a serious crime resulting in substantial mental or physical abuse must establish their eligibility. 

USCIS Form I-918, Supplement B, U Nonimmigrant Status Certification, is a required certification to establish eligibility for U nonimmigrant status. The Form I-918, Supplement B, must be signed by an authorized official of the certifying agency (PDF, 1.58 MB) and the official must confirm the petitioner was helpful, is currently being helpful, or will likely be helpful in the detection, investigation or prosecution of a case. 

Poland VWP Designation

The Secretary of Homeland Security, designated Poland into the Visa Waiver Program after determining it met all program requirements.  Poland’s participation in VWP goes into effect on November 11, 2019.  Polish nationals can now apply to travel to the United States for tourism or business purposes for up to 90 days without obtaining a U.S. visa. Prospective travelers will have to obtain an approved travel authorization prior to their travel to the United States.  Applications should be made at least 72 hours in advance of travel through the Department of Homeland Security Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).

SIJS Classification Update

USCIS has issued updates regarding the Special Immigrant Juvenile Status Classification.

This update reaffirms and clarifies that:

The petitioner must have been a juvenile under relevant state law when the juvenile court order was issued;

USCIS requires evidence of a court’s intervention to provide relief from abuse, neglect, or abandonment beyond a statement that the juvenile is dependent on the court; and

USCIS will no longer require evidence that a state court had the authority to place a petitioner in the custody of an unfit parent in order to make a qualifying determination regarding parental reunification for purposes of SIJ classification.

USCIS guidance on new AOS for CPRs

USCIS issued policy guidance (PDF, 382 KB)explaining when USCIS may adjust the status of an alien whose Conditional Permanent Resident (CPR) status has been terminated.

An alien with CPR status is generally ineligible to adjust their status on a new basis under the provisions of section 245(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. However, USCIS may adjust an alien’s status if their CPR status has been terminated and:

The alien has a new basis for adjustment of status;

The alien is otherwise eligible to adjust status; and

USCIS has jurisdiction over the adjustment of status application.

AOS Filing Chart 11/19

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 November 2019:

https://www.uscis.gov/visabulletininfo

11/19 Visa Bulletin

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 November 2019.

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

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

Frivolous Asylum Claims

USCIS has announced a rule to deter aliens from illegally entering the United States and from filing frivolous asylum applications in order to obtain employment authorization.

The proposed rule will better allow USCIS to extend protections to those with bona fide asylum claims. USCIS also seeks to prevent certain criminal aliens from obtaining work authorization before the merits of their asylum application are adjudicated.

See the rule here: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/11/14/2019-24293/asylum-application-interview-and-employment-authorization-for-applicants

USCIS Proposes to Increase Filing Fees

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security will publish a notice to adjust the USCIS Examinations Fee Account fee schedule.

Fees collected and deposited into the IEFA fund nearly 96% of USCIS’ budget. Unlike most government agencies, USCIS is fee-funded. Federal law requires USCIS to conduct biennial fee reviews and recommend necessary fee adjustments to ensure recovery of the full cost of administering the nation’s immigration laws, adjudicating applications and petitions, and providing the necessary infrastructure to support those activities.

The rule proposes adjusting USCIS IEFA fee schedules by a weighted average increase of 21% to ensure full cost recovery. Current fees would leave the agency underfunded by approximately $1.3 billion per year.

The proposed fee rule accounts for increased costs to adjudicate immigration benefit requests, detect and deter immigration fraud, and thoroughly vet applicants, petitioners, and beneficiaries.

DHS Extends TPS to 6 Countries

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a Federal Register notice extending the validity of TPS-related documentation for beneficiaries under the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designations for El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua and Sudan through Jan. 4, 2021. See more here:

The notice automatically extends the validity of Employment Authorization Documents; Forms I-797, Notice of Action; and Forms I-94, Arrival/Departure Record (collectively, TPS-related documentation). DHS is extending the TPS documentation in compliance with the preliminary injunctions of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in Ramos, et al. v. Nielsen, et. al. and the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York in Saget, et. al., v. Trump, et. al., and with the order of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California to stay proceedings in Bhattarai v. Nielsen

Premium Processing Fee

Beginning on 12/2/19, USCIS is adjusting the fee to request premium processing for certain employment-based petitions.

The premium processing fee will increase to $1,440 from the current fee of $1,410 for Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, and Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker. This increase, which is done in accordance with the Immigration and Nationality Act, reflects the full amount of inflation from the implementation of the premium processing fee in June 2001 through August 2019 based on the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers (CPI-U). USCIS last increased the fee in 2018.