Important Changes to Form I-539

Beginning March 11, 2019, USCIS will be accepting only the revised Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, with an edition date of 02/04/19. All other additions will be rejected. The new I-539 form will be published along with a new Form I-539A, Supplemental Information for Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. Form I-539A replaces the Supplement A provided in previous versions of Form I-539 used for dependents.  The significant changes on Form I-539 will include the following:  (1) every co-applicant included on the primary applicant’s Form I-539 must submit and sign a separate Form I-539A (co-applicant must be mentally competent to sign; if under age of 14, a parent/legal guardian may sign for the co-applicant);  (2) every applicant and co-applicant must pay an $85 biometric services fee (except certain A, G and NATO nonimmigrants); and  (3) every applicant and co-applicant will receive a biometric services appointment notice, regardless of age, containing their individual receipt number. USCIS will reject any Form I-539 that is missing any of the required signatures or biometrics fees, including those required for Form I-539A. If you are interested in changing or extending your status, please contact Berardi Immigration Law to schedule a consultation with one of […]
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Understanding the Visa Bulletin

The government has placed statutory limits on how many people can immigrate to the United States each year, so once you submit your application, you may have to wait until there is a visa available in the category you applied for. Each month, the Department of State (DOS) issues a visa bulletin, which indicates when visas are available based on your priority date and country of birth. Your priority date is the date that your petition was approved by USCIS. If a labor certification was required with your petition, the priority date is the date when the certification was accepted for processing by the Department of Labor.  What chart do I use? The visa bulletin contains two charts for each visa category with different dates: final action dates, and dates for filing applications. If filing via Adjustment of Status, USCIS will determine which chart controls in a given month. If filing via Immigrant Processing, the National Visa Center will reach out once you can begin these steps. In general, the green card cannot be issued until the final action date is current. Visit the USCIS website here to determine what chart you should use.  What do I do when my […]
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Featured Client of the Month: Peter Hapak

Peter Hapak is a long-standing client of Berardi Immigration Law. Peter’s relationship with Berardi Immigration Law began when he decided it was time to settle permanently in the United States due to many of the opportunities available here. He decided to apply to become a Legal Permanent Resident of the United States after spending years working in the U.S. on a work visa as a photographer. With the assistance of our firm, Peter’s petition for a green card was approved. This allowed Peter to further pursue his career in the United States with greater flexibility and ease.  After many years as a green card holder, Peter decided it was time for the next step: citizenship. After our team’s professional and successful handling of his green card application, Peter decided once again to work with the team at Berardi Immigration Law. We were able to successfully handle Peter’s nuanced case and navigate the various questions he had relating to the process, his application, and any concerns along the way.  Applying for any type of immigration benefit can feel stressful and leave applicants on edge. Peter’s favorite part about working with Berardi Immigration Law was the constant updates he received from our […]
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New USCIS Tool Makes Calculating Fees Easier

Completing forms for U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Services (USCIS) is difficult enough, but navigating USCIS’s various webpages to make sure you submit the appropriate fees adds another step to this already complicated process. To help streamline the application process and make sure the appropriate fees are submitted, USCIS recently created an online tool that correctly calculates fees in an attempt to avoid incorrect payments and delays in processing. Now, you can find filing fee information in one, centralized location.  The new fee calculator tool requires users to submit answers to various questions, which are then used to calculate the proper amount the applicant is required to pay. This includes entering your form, age, and application type, to name a few questions. Fees sometimes fluctuate, making it difficult to keep up with the most current fee amount. This tool contains accurate and up-to-date information. This is critical, since incorrect fee payment can be grounds for rejection by USCIS. This could force applicants to spend more time and money resubmitting an application.  USCIS designed this tool to be convenient and secure for users. The Online Fee Calculator can be used on all browsers on both desktop and mobile devices. Additionally, the tool […]
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Is Your Application for the Advance Parole Travel Document in Jeopardy? USCIS Issues New Guidance

If you are a foreign national present in the U.S. and wish to travel outside of the U.S., you may come across a situation when you need to complete an Application for an Advance Parole Travel Document. Anyone who is applying for or who has already applied for this document should take note of a recent U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USICIS) update to determine if it is applicable to them.  If a foreign national applies for an advance parole travel document and departs the U.S. without possession of this document that is valid for the entire time the applicant is abroad, USCIS will consider the pending application abandoned. In that situation, an applicant would be responsible for beginning the entire application process from scratch.  USCIS also notes that it is possible for an individual to have an approved advance parole document while another advance parole document is pending with the agency. Individuals are permitted to travel on the approved advance parole document, so long as the document is valid for the entire time abroad. In this situation, a pending Application for an Advance Parole Travel Document will not be considered abandoned. The main distinction USCIS highlights with this update […]
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USCIS Releases Update for Notice to Appear Policy

On November 8th, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a press release notifying the public that it is continuing to implement an earlier Policy Memorandum (PM) from June 28, 2018.  USCIS may issue Notices to Appear (NTAs) based on denials of Applications for T Nonimmigrant Status; Petitions for U Nonimmigrant Status; Petitions for Amerasian Widow(er), or Special Immigrant; Refugee/Asylee Relative Petitions (when the beneficiary is present in the U.S.); Petitions for Qualifying Family Member of a U-1 Nonimmigrant; and Applications to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status with regards to the underlying form types previously listed. It is important to note that applicants, beneficiaries or self-petitioners whose petitions are denied and do not have authorization to remain in the U.S. and fail to depart may be issued NTAs. USCIS plans to continue its efforts to send denial letters for these applications and petitions in a timely manner to ensure adequate notice regarding period of authorized stay, checking travel compliance, or validating departure from the U.S.  Originally, USCIS began implementing the PM for Applications to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status and Applications to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. This was part of an effort to introduce these changes through an […]
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Featured Client of the Month: Joerg Kuehnelt

Berardi Immigration recently helped Joerg Kuehnelt obtain a green card. Before working with Berardi Immigration, Joerg had worked with an attorney who he felt lacked experience and did not fully understand the application process. Ultimately, he was denied the visa because he did not sufficiently qualify for that particular type of visa. He then turned to Berardi Immigration who represented his employer on immigration matters.  Berardi Immigration was able to secure Joerg an L-1 visa through his employer, and then he was able to apply for his green card. Joerg was “happy that Berardi took my concerns seriously and provided extra care to ensure I do sufficiently qualify for a U.S. visa before applying.” He was also impressed that “Berardi took the time to understand my job profile and feed that into the application to ensure it represents my duties correctly. In addition, they took extra care to explain the process and requirements to me so I did feel comfortable submitting my application.” Now that he is a green card holder, Joerg is looking forward to “being able to work a couple of hours on the side as a barista in a top-notch coffee shop. I had great coffees in […]
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