Immigration and Extreme Weather: What to Know

Natural catastrophes, such as extreme weather, can affect the processing of your USCIS application, petition, immigration request, or USCIS appointment. USCIS has the discretion to take the following measures, upon request, if you have been affected by a natural catastrophe or other extreme situation: Extensions & Changes of Status You may apply for an extension or change of status due to a special situation, such as extreme weather, that prevented your planned and timely departure. USCIS has discretion to take into consideration how the special situation prevented your departure. If you do not apply for the extension or change of status before your authorized period of admission expires, USCIS may excuse the delay if it was due to extraordinary circumstances beyond your control.  Fee Waiver If you cannot pay the fee for a USCIS service or benefit due to circumstances directly related to extreme weather or a natural catastrophe, you may request a waiver of the fee for certain forms by filing Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver, or submit a written request to USCIS. Appointment or Failure to Respond to a Request for Evidence  If you have not appeared for a scheduled interview or appointment or did not submit […]
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Fee Announced for H-1B Electronic Registration

USCIS announced yesterday the fee involved with the newly required electronic registration of H-1B cap petitioners. The fee is $10 for each electronic registration, and it is intended to recover the costs spent on the new H-1B registration system. The proposed fee for electronic registration is...
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First Time Entry with An Immigrant Visa

Whether you are pursuing a marriage based green card, immigrating for your work, or being sponsored by a family member, obtaining a visa to enter the United States can be a time-consuming, stressful, and frustrating process. Every step of the way...
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USCIS Announces Plans to Improve the Naturalization Test

USCIS has announced that it will begin implementing an updated naturalization test beginning December 2020 or early 2021. In order to naturalize, candidates must demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of U.S. civics and the English language by passing a naturalization test.   In December 2018, USCIS formed a naturalization test revision working group with members from across the agency. The working group has been reviewing and updating the naturalization test questions, as well as assessing potential changes to the speaking portion of the test. USCIS is receiving the input of experts in the field to ensure that this process is fair and transparent.  USCIS has the power, granted by Congress, to develop, administer and occasionally revise the naturalization civics test to ensure accuracy and timeliness of content.  It has been 10 years since revisions were last made to the naturalization test. On May 3, 2019, USCIS signed the Revision of the Naturalization Civics Test Memorandum.  As explained in the memorandum, “the purpose of these revisions is to create a meaningful, comprehensive, uniform, and efficient test that will assess applicants’ knowledge and understanding of U.S. history, government, principles, and values.”  Presently, the civics portion of the naturalization test consists of 10 questions out […]
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I-539’s No Longer Eligible for “Courtesy” Premium Processing

On March 1, 2019, USCIS reported that I-539 applications filed concurrently with a qualifying I-129 petition will no longer be eligible for premium processing.  USCIS announced the change was necessary to accommodate wait time on the biometrics appointments necessary for the Form I-539 adjudication. As the result of a new Form I-539, released also in March 2019, each I-539 applicant is required to attend a biometrics appointment for the purpose of verifying applicants’ identities and combatting humanitarian concerns.  The standard applies regardless of age.    It takes approximately three weeks for the biometrics to be completed, meaning I-539 applications can no longer be completed in the 15-day premium processing time frame.  Due to the two different processing time standards, the I-129 and the I-539 applications will no longer be processed together, with the I-539 pending for what may be substantially longer.  The gap between the two processing times proves an issue for some joint I-129, I-539 cases. To avoid the issue of the biometrics appointment, some derivative applicants are opting instead for a nonimmigrant visa issued by a U.S. consulate abroad, filed after the primary I-129 petition is approved. If you have concerns on how the new I-539 processing times may impact your case or […]
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Breaking News: Trump Administration Significantly Expands Power to Remove Illegal Aliens

Today, Kevin K. McAleenan, the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, announced a new designation of aliens subject to expedited removal that applies to certain aliens encountered anywhere in the country within two years of illegal entry. Use of expedited removal pursuant to the new designation is expected to alleviate some of the burden and capacity issues currently faced by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) by allowing DHS to more quickly remove certain aliens.  Mr. McAleenan states, “The new designation adds one more tool for DHS—utilizing specific authority from Congress—to confront the ongoing security and humanitarian crisis on the Southwest border and throughout the country.” He continues, “We are past the breaking point and must take all appropriate action to enforce the law, along the U.S. borders and within the country’s interior. This designation makes it clear that if you have no legal right to be here, we will remove you.” The new designation will take effect immediately as it has already been published in the Federal Register here. Consistent with current laws, unaccompanied alien children are not subject to expedited removal under the new or any previous designation. Additionally, any alien who indicates an […]
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