How to Calculate a Day for Immigration Purposes

Many immigrants and visitors to the United States are often unsure how USCIS defines a day. Although it may not seem like a major issue, miscalculating days either within or out of the United States can have major consequences for foreign nationals either immigrating to or visiting the U.S. It is helpful to divide this topic into two categories: nonimmigrant and immigrant purposes. Nonimmigrant purposes Nonimmigrants refer to people who do not wish to reside and work permanently within the United States. Some examples of this include foreign nationals visiting the United States as tourists or foreign nationals coming to the United States to work on a temporary visa. For nonimmigrant purposes, any traditional 24-hour period in which the foreign national spends even one hour in the United States is considered by USCIS to be one day.  This is something important to keep in mind, especially when making travel arrangements. For example, if a foreign national’s flight leaves early in the morning one day after the expiration of a visa, the foreign national is technically not authorized to be in the United States. In the same vein, foreign nationals run the risk of facing difficulties entering or traveling to the […]
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Addressing Travel Screening Difficulties with the Traveler Redress Inquiry Program

If you are regularly selected for additional screening or face other difficulties with security while traveling, you may want to look into the Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (TRIP). TRIP is managed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and aims to address these difficulties that travelers have experienced in transportation hubs or crossing the U.S. border. In the vast majority of cases, these complaints arise out of a traveler’s name or personal information that is similar to someone else in the government’s systems. This program is not meant to address mishandled luggage or other customer service issues.  People who have been denied or delayed airline boarding, denied entry into or exit from the U.S. or who have been repeatedly referred to additional screening are eligible to file an inquiry to seek redress for these injuries. DHS states that TRIP applies when you were denied or delayed boarding; if a ticket agent “called someone” before giving you a boarding pass; or if you were told that your fingerprints were incorrect or of poor quality, your photo did not match the travel document, your personal information was incomplete or inaccurate or that you are on the “No Fly List.” If these requirements […]
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Visa Validity and Waivers

A consular officer may recommend a waiver for most grounds of inadmissibility under INA § 212(a). Some grounds of inadmissibility, however, cannot be waived, including INA §§ 212(a)(3)(A)(i)(I), 212(a)(3)(A)(ii), 212(a)(3)(A)(iii), 212(a)(3)(C), 212(a)(3)(E)(i) and 212(a)(3)(E)(ii). Regardless, waivers are only available to applicants that otherwise qualify for the visa classification being sought, and, even then, there is no guarantee that a waiver will be granted. The issuing process is up to the discretion of the consular officer submitting a waiver recommendation and the CBP Admissibility Review Office (ARO) in reviewing it. In considering whether to recommend a waiver, a consular officer will consider a variety of factors, such as: The recency and seriousness of the activity or condition causing inadmissibility;  The reasons for the proposed travel to the U.S.; The positive or negative effect, if any, of the planned travel on U.S. public interests; Whether the incident in question is isolated or there is a pattern of misconduct; and Evidence of reformation or rehabilitation.  Generally, with the exception of C1 and D visas, a consular officer will recommend a five-year waiver. If granted, that waiver will be valid for multiple entries, but it will only be valid for the validity of the […]
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New E-Verify Website Launched

On April 10, 2018, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced the launch of the new E-Verify website, E-Verify.gov. The new user-friendly website provides employers, employees and the general public with information about E-Verify and Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, including employee rights and employer responsibilities in the employment verification process. The website enables employers to enroll in E-Verify directly, and it also permits current users to access their accounts.  E-Verify is a free, easy-to-use internet-based system that helps employers maintain a legal workforce. The system, which already has nearly 800,000 enrolled employers, compares information from an employee’s Form I-9 to records available in Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration databases for the purpose of verifying work authorization in the U.S. Keep in mind, E-Verify is a voluntary program, but employers with federal contracts or subcontracts that contain the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) E-Verify clause are required to enroll in the program as a condition of federal contracting.  In addition, certain employers may also be required to participate in E-Verify if their states have legislation mandating the use of the system, such as a condition of business licensing, and, in some cases, employers may also be required to […]
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Visa Applicants May Soon be Required to Turn Over Social Media Handles

The Trump administration has just announced plans to start requiring a majority of visa applicants to turn over five years of social media history when applying for entry into the U.S.; countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program would be exempt from this new requirement. The move follows the President’s emphasis on “extreme vetting” and would put the social media handles of nearly 15 million would-be immigrants under a microscope.  The decision, however, will not take effect immediately. The planned changes were published in the Federal Register on March 30 which started a 60-day clock for the public to comment on the move. The new vetting protocol would cover 20 social media platforms, and most of them are based in the United States such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, Reddit, Pinterest, Myspace, Flickr, Google+ and LinkedIn. Several, however, are based and operated overseas, including Douban, QQ, Sina, Weibo, Tencent Weibo, Youku, VK, Twoo and Ask.fm. Keep in mind, this is not the first time the White House has attempted to collect social media information from travelers coming to the U.S. Following the San Bernardino terrorist attack in 2015, the Obama administration placed greater attention on immigrant’s social media use […]
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USCIS Updated Processing Time Webpage

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has launched a new pilot to test a redesigned processing times webpage that will display the data for all its forms in an easier-to-read format. In addition, USCIS is also testing a new way of collecting information and calculating the processing times for some of its forms. Currently, the pilot is testing four forms using a new automated methodology for calculating processing times. The four forms are: Form N-400, Application for Naturalization; Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card; Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status; and Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence. The new methodology is supposedly more accurate and will allow USCIS to post data on processing times within two weeks, compared to six weeks under the old methodology. The new webpage displays processing times in a range for each form based on the date USCIS receives it. The low end of the range for pilot forms shows the time it takes to complete 50 percent of cases, and the high end shows the time it takes to complete 93 percent of cases. The high end for the non-pilot forms will be adjusted by 30 percent […]
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Visa Denial for “Public Charge”

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), a foreign national can be found inadmissible to the United States for both a nonimmigrant and immigrant visa for a number of reasons, one reason being that you are likely to become a public charge. If a consular officer believes an applicant is likely to become “primarily dependent on the government for subsistence, as demonstrated by either the receipt of public cash assistance for income maintenance, or institutionalization for long-term care at government expense,” the applicant can be denied entry to the U.S. In making that determination, an officer is required to take into account the totality of the foreign national’s circumstances at the time of the visa application, including age, health, family status, assets, resources, financial status, and education and skills. In addition, the Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM), which details Department of State regulations, was recently updated to include an additional factor — officers are now permitted to consider “past or current receipt of public assistance of any type.” On top of the enumerated factors, an adjudicating officer may also consider an affidavit of support, which is generally submitted on behalf of an applicant with his or her immigrant visa application. This […]
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