Use your widget sidebars in the admin Design tab to change this little blurb here. Add the text widget to the Blurb Sidebar!

Improvements to USCIS Procedures

Posted: January 11th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: National News | Tags: , , | No Comments »

(From USCIS Email)

As part of our ongoing commitment to improving customer service, USCIS has recently introduced new options for customers to obtain information and check on the status of their application electronically and has also expanded its call center hours.

We expanded the capabilities of two of our online tools, My Case Status and e-Request, to provide these more flexible options:

  • My Case Status now allows customers to view the current status of applications they submit, no matter which USCIS form they used. My Case Status now lets them track, through our Secure Mail Initiative (SMI), the mailing and delivery of USCIS-produced cards and documents. SMI permits customers to use our website to access the U.S. Postal Service tracking numbers of their documents.
  • e-Request now allows customers to inquire electronically about applications and petitions they submit to USCIS. They can use this tool to request a follow-up on their case status if they do not receive documents related to three of our most-used forms:
    •  Form I-485, Application to Adjust Permanent Residence or Adjust Status;
    •  Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization; and
    •  Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.

In addition, USCIS is expanding operating hours at our National Customer Service Center to include Saturdays. Beginning Jan. 12, customers nationwide can call our toll-free number (800-375-5283) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays to receive nationwide assistance for immigration services and benefits offered by USCIS. Our customer service representatives can answer routine questions on a wide variety of topics related to immigration services and benefits, including ordering forms, processing times, and information on local offices and civil surgeons. For individuals seeking answers to more complex issues regarding their case, we recommend calling the NCSC Monday through Friday for access to case adjudication officers.

Stateside Waivers or I-601 Waivers

Posted: December 26th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: National News | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

With potential changes in the procedures regarding I-601 Waivers or Stateside Waivers, we decided to clarify this document’s role in the immigration process.

People who are married to U.S. citizens can file their green card applications in the U.S. if they entered the country legally and overstayed a visa.  Being out of status doesn’t matter so long as they entered legally with a visa.

People who are married to U.S. citizens but who entered without inspection (crossing the border illegally) are not eligible to file their green card applications in the U.S.  Under current law these people first need their U.S. citizen spouse to submit an I-130 petition, designating them as an approved family member, then they need to return to their country of origin and apply for a green card there.  If they had been in the U.S. illegally for more than a year, by leaving, they are subject to a 3 to 10-year bar from returning to the U.S.

The 3 year bar is for people who accrue more than 180 days but less than a year of time out of status and then depart the U.S.  The 10 year bar is for people who accrue a year or more out of status and then leave the U.S.  A waiver of these grounds of inadmissibility is available if one can show their U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR) spouse or parent would suffer extreme hardship if they were not permitted to stay in or return to the U.S.  This is the I-601 extreme hardship waiver.  Historically, and currently, these waivers were filed and decided in the country of origin.  They can often take more than a year.  Counting the time that it takes an EWI to apply for the I-601 Waiver and the green card, the applicant can be separated from his/her family for a long time.

There is a possibility that USCIS will change the procedure for applying for an I-601 Waiver.  The latest USCIS report tells us that we should expect to hear the full story before then end of this year (2012).  The indication is that the new procedures will allow people to apply for an I-601 Waiver from within the U.S.; not at the consulates as was the previous procedure.  The person would still have to leave the U.S. and go to the U.S. consulate in their country of origin to obtain the green card, but at least they’d have some idea of their chances of approval and how long they may need to be out of the U.S. before they left.

Deferred Action Applicants Only Need to Enter Official Social Security Numbers

Posted: September 18th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Deferred Action | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

The I-765 and Social Security Numbers

More good news.  Deferred Action applicants who are filling out question 9 on the I-765, Work Authorization Application, DO NOT need to list and Social Security numbers that were not officially issued to them.

We understand that many of those who entered the US without inspection attempt to use a false Social Security number in order to work.  We have received many questions regarding this issue and how to answer question 9 in the I-765.  Previously, it was difficult to say since we wanted applicants to be as forthright as possible.  But every Deferred Action applicant is declaring themselves as having entered the country without inspection.  Using a false Social Security number in addition could have been a disqualifying factor.  We were advising clients on a case-by-case basis.  For example, we examined whether they had a criminal record or any other potential problems before we advised them on listing or not listing their Social Security numbers.

This ruling takes the issue off the table and makes it simpler to fill out the I-765 and to advise on the rest of the application.  We are glad to see this new policy take effect and hope that it attracts more qualifying individuals to apply for Deferred Action.

Important: New Visa Processing Fees

Posted: April 4th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: National News | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Effective April 13, 2012 the Department of State will change some of the visa processing fees.

The fee for nonimmigrant visas H, L, O, P, Q and R will increase from $150 to $190.  The fee for B, F, J, and I visas will increase from $140 to $160.

The fee for E-2 fee (investor) visas will decrease from $390 to $270 per person and the fee for F-1 visas fees will decrease from $350 to $240.

Also, the fees for ALL of the immigrant (permanent residence) visas  will decrease,  some significantly.  The fee for an employment based immigrant visa will decrease from $720 to $405.  In contrast, the government fee to do an equivalent background check in the U.S. (adjustment of status) is $1,070 per person.

Check out the New Visa Processing Fees table to find out more.