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USCIS Implements Citizenship for Children of Military Members and Civil Servants Act

In March 2020, the bipartisan Citizenship for Children of Military Members and Civil Servants Act was signed into law by the president. The bill was a response to a policy change issued earlier by the Trump administration, causing confusion on whether some children of military members living abroad would automatically acquire citizenship. The policy update required children to establish residency in the United States before becoming citizens, meaning that some overseas civil servants and military personnel may have to apply for citizenship rather than having it granted upon the child’s birth or adoption.

The Citizenship for Children of Military Members and Civil Servants Act clarifies that a child born outside the U.S. acquires automatic citizenship, even if residing outside of the U.S. if the child is a lawful permanent resident and is in the legal and physical custody of his or her U.S. parent who is:

  • Stationed and residing outside of the United States as a member of the U.S. armed forces;
  • Stationed and residing outside of the United States as an employee of the U.S. government; or
  • The spouse residing outside the United States in marital union with a U.S. armed forces member or U.S. government employee who is stationed outside of the United States.

USCIS noted that in cases involving members of the U.S. armed forces, the child and U.S. citizen parent (if the citizen is the spouse of the armed forces member) must be “authorized to accompany and reside abroad with the armed forces member pursuant to the member’s official orders.” The new act reverses the prior policy change.

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Public Charge Form Now Required

Public Charge Form Now Required for Cases Filed After February 24, 2020

A September 11, 2020 court decision removes blocks on the Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds rule nationwide. All applications and petitions subject to the rule postmarked or submitted after February 24, 2020 will be required to submit the I-944 form. USCIS will issue Requests for Evidence in those cases that did not include the form until October 13, 2020. If the I-944 form is not included after October 13, 2020, Form I-485 will be rejected at the time of filing.

The full USCIS announcement is below.

Alert: On Sept. 11, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued a decision that allows DHS to resume implementing the Public Charge Ground of Inadmissibility final rule nationwide, including in New York, Connecticut and Vermont. The decision stays the July 29, 2020, injunction, issued during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, that prevented DHS from enforcing the public charge final rule during a national health emergency.

Therefore, we will apply the public charge final rule and related guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual, Volumes 2, 8 and 12, to all applications and petitions postmarked (or submitted electronically) on or after Feb. 24, 2020. If you send your application or petition by commercial courier (for example, UPS, FedEx, or DHL), we will use the date on the courier receipt as the postmark date.

For information about the relevant court decisions, please see the public charge injunction webpage.

Summary

A Sept. 11, 2020, court decision allows the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to resume implementing the Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds Final Rule nationwide. The decision stays an earlier injunction, issued during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, that prevented DHS from enforcing the rule during a national health emergency. For a history of the relevant court decisions, see below.

Therefore, we will apply the public charge final rule to all applications and petitions postmarked or submitted electronically on or after Feb. 24, 2020, including pending applications and petitions. If you send your application or petition by commercial courier (for example, UPS, FedEx, or DHL), we will use the date on the courier receipt as the postmark date.

We will not re-adjudicate any applications and petitions that were approved following the issuance of the July 29, 2020, injunction continuing until the date of this notice.

Filing

If you filed your Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, after Feb. 24, 2020, you may be required to file Form I-944, Declaration of Self-Sufficiency. If we receive a Form I-485 before Oct. 13, 2020, that does not have all required forms and evidence, we will request any missing forms and evidence. After Oct. 13, 2020, we will reject your Form I-485 if you do not include the required forms and evidence with Form I-485 at the time of filing.

We will also ask for any missing evidence for Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker; Form I-129CW, Petition for a CNMI-Only Nonimmigrant Transitional Worker; Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status; and Form I-539A, Supplemental Information for Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status.

Read the Final Rule (PDF). For additional information, see the related guidance in the Policy Manual, Volumes 2, 8 and 12.

History of Court Decisions

On July 29, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (SDNY), in State of New York, et al. v. DHS, et al. and Make the Road NY et al. v. Cuccinelli, et al., enjoined DHS from enforcing, applying, implementing, or treating as effective the public charge rule during a declared national health emergency. The decision was issued during the COVID-19 outbreak. (84 FR 41292, Aug. 14, 2019, final rule; as amended by 84 FR 52357, Oct. 2, 2019, final rule correction.)

On July 30, 2020, we announced that we would apply the 1999 public charge guidance when adjudicating any application for adjustment of status on or after July 29, 2020, and while the injunction was in place. We also announced that we would use the regulations that were in place before the public charge final rule was implemented on Feb. 24, 2020, to adjudicate applications and petitions for extension of nonimmigrant stay and change of nonimmigrant status (that is, we would not apply the public benefit condition while the injunction remained in place).

On Aug. 12, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in State of New York, et al. v. DHS, et al. and Make the Road NY et al. v. Cuccinelli, granted a temporary stay of the July 29, 2020, nationwide injunction in all states outside of the Second Circuit (that is, all states except New York, Connecticut and Vermont).

On Sept. 11, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in State of New York, et al. v. DHS, et al. and Make the Road NY et al. v. Cuccinelli, granted a full stay of the July 29, 2020, injunction pending the government’s appeal. This full stay allows DHS to resume implementing the public charge final rule nationwide, including in New York, Connecticut and Vermont.

 

Additional Resources

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Applying for an Expedited Consular Appointment

Requesting an Expedited Consular Appointment

If you have an unforeseen travel need as per one of the criteria listed below, you may qualify for an expedited appointment depending on availability at the Embassy or Consulate. It is important to ensure you meet all the criteria, because applicants are only allowed to create one expedited appointment request.

All applicants requesting an expedited appointment are required to first pay visa fees for a regular visa appointment. Applicants who are granted an expedited appointment but subsequently refused a visa at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate will not be allowed to utilize this option to obtain another expedited appointment.

Medical Needs

Purpose of travel is to obtain urgent medical care, or to accompany a relative or employer for urgent medical care.

Essential documentation:

  1. A letter from your doctor in India describing the medical condition and why you are seeking medical care in the United States.
  2. A letter from the physician or hospital in the United States indicating that they are prepared to treat your case and providing the approximate cost of the treatment.
  3. Evidence of how you will pay for the cost of the treatment.

Funeral/Death

Purpose of travel is to attend the funeral of or make arrangements for repatriating the body of an immediate family member (mother, father, brother, sister, child,) in the United States.

Essential documentation:

  1. A letter from the funeral director stating the contact information, the details of the deceased, and the date of the funeral.
  2. You must also present evidence that the deceased is an immediate relative.

Urgent Business Travel

Purpose of travel is to attend to an urgent business matter where the travel requirement could not be predicted in advance.

Essential documentation:

  1. A letter of invitation from the corresponding company in the United States attesting to the urgency of the planned visit, describing the nature of the business and that either the U.S. or local company will suffer a significant loss of opportunity if an expedited appointment is not available.

Or

  1. Evidence of a necessary training program in the United States of three months duration or less, to include letters from both the local employer and the U.S. company providing the training. Both letters should include a detailed explanation of the training and explain why either the U.S. or local company will suffer a significant loss of opportunity if an expedited appointment is not available.

Students or exchange visitors

Purpose of travel is to begin or resume a valid program of study in the United States within 60 days when no regular visa appointments are available. This option is limited only to students and exchange students who are within 60 days of their start date. It is also limited only to applicants who have not been refused a visa within the last six months at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Essential documentation:

Original Form I-20 or DS-2019 indicating start date of program within 60 days.

Applying for an Expedited Consular Appointment

  1. Pay the visa application fee and complete the DS-160 form.
  2. Schedule the appointment for the earliest available date, which includes expedited appointments. Complete the Expedited Request Form and note the type of urgency that qualifies you for an expedited appointment.
  3. The Embassy or Consulate will email you if your request is approved, alerting you to schedule your expedited appointment online. When your expedited appointment request is approved, it does not mean that your appointment has been rescheduled. You will receive an email notifying you to log in again and reschedule your new appointment to an earlier date. You will notice that your interview appointment is still the same when you log in. Select the “Reschedule Appointment” menu item on the left. If denied for an expedited appointment, keep your existing appointment.

Note: The email will arrive from this address: no-reply@ustraveldocs.com so be sure to check spam or junk folders frequently.

  1. Print the appointment confirmation page. The priority will be noted as “emergency.”
  2. Visit the U.S. Embassy or Consulate on the date and time of your visa interview. You will need to bring a printed copy of your appointment letter, your Form DS-160 confirmation page, one photograph taken within the last six months, your current and all old passports, and the original visa fee payment receipt. Applications without all of these items will not be accepted.

Additional Resources

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Interview Waiver Checklist: Are you eligible for a Drop Box appointment?

Are you eligible for a Drop Box appointment?

If you can answer “yes” to the below questions, you may qualify for an Interview Waiver. If eligible for the waiver, you must still fill out your DS-160 online and then schedule a Drop Box appointment at a Visa Application Center to drop off the required documentation. (The process varies by consular post, so please follow the directions provided to you during the scheduling process.)

Do I qualify for the interview waiver program (IWP) or a “drop box” appointment?

Individuals may be able to renew their visas without an interview if they are reapplying for the same visa class that they previously held. Typically, interviews can be waived for individuals who are renewing unexpired visas or visas that expired less than one year ago. A recent Department of State announcement expanded that time frame to visas that have expired within a 24-month period, effective until December 31, 2020.

Eligibility Criteria for Applicants (Same Visa Class)
(Except children under 14 years of age and applicants 80 years of age or older)

☐ I was previously issued a visa in the same visa classification
☐ My prior visa (in the same class) is still valid or expired within the last 24 months
☐ My most recent visa was issued in the same country
☐ I received my visa after January 1, 2008 and was 14 years old or older when I applied for that visa
☐ My prior visa is not annotated “Clearance Received” or “Department Authorization”
☐ My prior visa (in the same class) was issued on or after my 14th birthday
☐ My prior visa (in the same class) was not lost/stolen or cancelled
☐ I have no refusals for a visa in any class after my most recent visa issuance
☐ If yes, then the refusals need to be identified on the DS-160
☐ I have not been arrested or convicted of any crime
☐ I have not stayed in the U.S. longer than 6 months on a B-1/B-2 visa
☐ If applying for an F visa, I am continuing as a student at the same school for which my previous visa was issued
☐ If I am applying for a J visa, my current DS-2019 is issued by the same institution as the institution listed on my previous visa

Note: Blanket L1 visa applicants do not qualify for the Interview Waiver, but Blanket L2 spouses are eligible

EMPLOYMENT VISA APPLICANTS: For H, L, and J categories subject to Presidential Proclamation 10052, applicants must also qualify for a National Interest Exception to the proclamation.

Eligibility criteria for children under 14 years of age:

  • My parents qualify to renew through the interview waiver program
  • I am applying before my 14th birthday

Note: Children under 14 must submit copies of both parents’ passports’ biographic information, birth certificate, completed DS-160 confirmation, and valid U.S. visa page.

Eligibility criteria for applicants over 80 years of age:

  • I am applying on or after 80th birthday
  • My most recent visa application was not refused

Booking an Appointment

You must first create a profile, then proceed with completing your application. Pay the visa application fee and print one copy of the submission confirmation page.

LOG IN

Schedule a drop box appointment online for the earliest available date. Drop off your passport and the documents listed on the submission confirmation at one of the CGI Service Centers.

INDIA SERVICE CENTERS

Additional Resources

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National Interest Exceptions to H, L, J Travel Bans

Presidential Proclamation 10052 limited travel by certain nonimmigrant visa classes who presented a “risk to the U.S. labor market following the coronavirus outbreak.”

As we previously reported, the orders do not apply to:

  • Applicants in the United States on the effective date
  • Those with valid visas at the time of the effective date
  • Individuals with other official travel documents valid on the effective date
  • Spouses and children of the individuals above

The proclamation also allows travel for:

  • Public health or healthcare professionals and researchers entering to alleviate effects of COVID-19 pandemic or in areas not directly related, but has been adversely impacted by the pandemic
  • Individuals invited to meet U.S. foreign policy objectives, satisfy treaty or contractual obligations with a U.S. government agency

The Department of State also outlined some “National Interest Exceptions” for overcoming the bans and traveling to the U.S. for H-1B, L-1, and J-1 visa holders.

 

5 ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA FOR OVERCOMING H-1B BAN

3 ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA FOR OVERCOMING L-1 TRAVEL BAN


 

Next Steps

It will be at the consular officer’s discretion as to whether visa applicants meet the criteria above. Visa appointments will be limited as embassies and consulates begin to reopen. Applicants and employers should consult with their attorneys to prepare a package of strong evidence before scheduling an appointment.

Contact us at info@challalaw.com to schedule a time to discuss whether your critical employees are eligible for an exception to the travel ban.

Employee Green Card Availability Could Increase October 1, 2020

Highly Anticipated October Visa Bulletin: Employment Green Cards Could Surge to 250,000 Visas

The new fiscal year begins on October 1, 2020. Historically, the October Visa Bulletin brings an infusion of new immigrant visa numbers, allowing forward movement in Final Action Dates. This year, we could see an unprecedented employment-based allocation due to unused family-based numbers. Charlie Oppenheim, Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division at the Department of State, predicted that the conditions could allow employment-based allocations to increase to at least 250,000 immigrant visas. The highest employment-based allocation on record is at 158,000, so an allocation of 250,000 would be a 63% increase relative to the highest record. 

Expectations for Family-Based Numbers 

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many family-based preference categories to decrease since they are predominately processed at consular posts. Meanwhile, USCIS experienced minimal disruptions so employment-based categories remained consistent. In July of 2019, consular posts issued a total of 39,568 immigrant visas across all categories, but in July of 2020, only 4,412 visas were issued by the posts. With ongoing consulate and embassy closures and global travel restrictions, the unused family-based visa numbers from the prior fiscal year can be added to the employment-based visa. The Visa Bulletin is expected to have only moderate movements in family-based categories.

Processing Capacity

The Final Action Dates are determined by the Department of State (DOS) each month by considering the supply of available visas (as allowed by statute) and comparing the supply against the demand, based on USCIS data and the DOS’s pending files. The agencies’ processing capacity is also playing a contributing role in determining the movement of the Final Action Dates. Read more about understanding the visa bulletin. Many consulates and embassies are partially reopened, but not yet providing routine visa services. USCIS previously announced furloughs due to budget issues, but has since postponed the proposed layoffs but still plans fee increases on October 2, 2020. However, Kansas and Missouri lawmakers demanded a briefing after approximately 800 USCIS contractors were furloughed in Kansas City.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) predicts that diminished processing capacity could limit advancement in certain preference categories, such as EB-5s for China and family-based categories mostly processed at consular posts. Other employment-based categories could see significant forward movement.

What to Expect on October 1

The October Visa Bulletin should be released soon (this page will be updated when it is posted). We could see all employment-based preference categories become current, but processing capacity could limit forward movement of Final Action Dates. Immigration professionals are calling the October Visa Bulletin one of the “most anticipated” in recent memory.

If you have been waiting years for your employment-based green card to become available, start collecting your documentation and prepare for filing. If the categories do advance as predicted, there will be a significant surge in filings for the month of October. There will also be new forms, including Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.

We are tracking priority dates for many clients, but as a reminder, you should contact your attorney to initiate your case as early as possible in the month to ensure a timely filing.

Additional Resources

Join us on Wednesdays for a live webinar at 12 PM ET on critical immigration updates

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Understanding the Visa Bulletin

Understanding the Visa Bulletin

As we begin a new month, the new visa bulletin is in effect for employment-based (EB) and family-based (FB) green card filings. For individuals unfamiliar with the visa bulletin, terms such as priority date, current, and retrogression can seem confusing when trying to determine the appropriate time to file.

The Department of State releases the visa bulletin each month to demonstrate the predicted visa availability based on annual per-country statutory limits. The bulletin describes whether a particular visa is available, which determines if an individual can file for a green card during the upcoming month. For employment-based cases, an individual receives a priority date when the PERM is filed with the Department of Labor or when the I-140 is filed with USCIS. Family-based cases are assigned priority dates when the I-130 is filed and accepted by USCIS. (The exception to family-based applications is for U.S. citizens filing for an immediate relative such as a spouse, parent, or minor child: there isn’t a priority date since that category has no visa cap, so you can file for the green card at any time.)

The priority date is important to remember when you check the visa bulletin each month. If your priority date is before the date listed in the appropriate category, you may be eligible to apply for a green card by filing form I-485. If there is a “C” listed under your country and employment or family-based category, then the category is current and visas are available immediately.

Sometimes we will see retrogression in the visa bulletin when too many people apply for the limited number of green cards available. The next month’s visa bulletin may fall back to an earlier date because the visa issuance has reached the per-country limitations.

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:

  1. (F2A) Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents:  77% of the overall second preference limitation, of which 75% are exempt from the per-country limit;
  2. (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.

Note: Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, such as spouses, children (unmarried and under 21 years of age), and parents (of U.S. citizens over 21 years of age) need not wait for a visa to become available. There is no category on the visa bulletin because these visas are unlimited and always available.

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Contact us at info@challalaw.com to schedule a consultation with our legal team.

Increased H-1B Restrictions Expected

H-1B Rule Expedited to OMB Office for Review: Restrictions Could Increase in 90 Days

Since 2018, the Trump administration has been signaling its intent to further restrict legal immigration by revising the defining principles of the H-1B visa. Last week, the Department of Homeland Security took one step closer to these restrictions by sending an “interim final rule” to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for final review. The new rule would:

  • Revise the definition of specialty occupation
    • Goal: Increase focus on obtaining best and brightest foreign nationals via the H-1B program
  • Revise the definition of employer-employee relationship
    • Goal: Better protect U.S. workers and wages
  • Add requirements for employers to pay appropriate wages to H-1B visa holders

Background

Since President Donald Trump signed the “Buy American, Hire American” executive order on April 18, 2017, the Department of Homeland Security has made a series of changes to adjudication processes through policy memoranda and internal directives. The executive order put a special emphasis on the H-1B program and directed the Secretary of Homeland Security to “suggest reforms to ensure that H-1B visas are awarded to the most-skilled or highest-paid petition beneficiaries.” RFEs and denials have increased since policy memos and adjudications have shifted to align with the executive order.

Earlier this year, a Presidential Proclamation “Suspending Entry of Aliens Who Present a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market Following the Coronavirus Outbreak.” This followed an earlier order that suspended new lawful permanent residents from entering to “to protect unemployed Americans from the threat of competition for scarce jobs.” The latest order prohibited the entry of certain nonimmigrants through December 31, 2020, including H-1B and H-2B visa holders (and family members accompanying or following to join),  certain J visa holders, and all L visa holders and their dependents. The Department of State has since expanded “national interest exemptions” from the order. We recently reported on 3 Eligibility Criteria for Overcoming the L-1 Travel Ban and 5 Eligibility Criteria for Overcoming the H-1B Ban.

The proposed rule is also proceeding despite court cases striking down key provisions of policy memos enforcing requirements not supported by the regulations. The courts determined that “subspecialty” degree requirements and strict interpretations of employer-employee relationship were “inconsistent” with regulations and since implemented without rulemaking, “cannot be enforced.” The agency may be attempting to now implement these stricter policies through the formal rulemaking process.

What effects would the rule have on H-1B visas?

While the text of the rule is still unknown, the administration has signaled its intention to restrict legal immigration by reducing the number of H-1B visas awarded. The rule proposes to revise the definitions of specialty occupation and employer-employee relationship and to pay “appropriate” wages to H-1B workers.

  • Employers are likely to see consulting and IT services industries targeted for their use of “third-party placement.” Adjudicating officers have often questioned the placement of H-1B workers at various worksites and offered short approval periods based on the contracts or itineraries provided.
  • Some experts have also predicted that the rule will target “routine” jobs such as software engineers, pharmacists, etc. to encourage employers to hire U.S. workers.
  • The rule could increase wages for some positions in an attempt to limit H-1B employment.

Could an H-1B rule be implemented this year?

  • Regulations require a comprehensive OMB review for rules deemed “economically significant” but rather than going through the public notice and comment period, the rule has been expedited to the Office of Management and Budget review stage. The OMB has up to 90 days to review the “interim final rule” before publishing in the Federal Register. The rule may become effective immediately or shortly after publication in the Federal Register.

What can you do now?

Employers should be prepared for increased restrictions when planning for upcoming labor needs. Ahead of the rule, employers can:

  • File extensions early before standards are revised
  • Gather strong evidence of specialty occupation and employer-employee relationship
    • Contracts showing availability of work
    • Comprehensive job descriptions outlining the specialized nature of the work
    • Document qualifications and requirements for similar roles in the company and industry
  • Ensure salary levels are appropriate for role
  • Monitor Challa Law Group’s social media, website, and tune into our webinars for the latest updates

Contact Challa Law Group

H-1B extensions can be filed up to 6 months in advance of the ending validity date. Contact Challa Law Group to start your extension today.

Visit our COVID-19 resource page for the latest updates or follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram, or LinkedIn. You can also sign up for our mailing list. Contact us at info@challalaw.com to schedule a consultation with our legal team.

EXTENDED: Flexibility for Responses to USCIS Requests & Notices

EXTENDED THROUGH JANUARY 2021: Flexibility for Responses to USCIS Requests & Notices

We previously reported on increased flexibility for responding to USCIS requests and notices, including RFEs, NOIDs, NOIRs, NOITs, and requirements for Form I-290B. USCIS announced that flexibility has now been extended through the end of 2020.

Announcement:

In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is extending the flexibilities it announced on March 30, 2020, to assist applicants, petitioners, and requestors who are responding to certain:

  • Requests for Evidence;
  • Continuations to Request Evidence (N-14);
  • Notices of Intent to Deny;
  • Notices of Intent to Revoke;
  • Notices of Intent to Rescind and Notices of Intent to Terminate regional investment centers;
  • Motions to Reopen an N-400 Pursuant to 8 CFR 335.5, Receipt of Derogatory Information After Grant;
  • Filing date requirements for Form N-336, Request for a Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings (Under Section 336 of the INA); or
  • Filing date requirements for Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion.

Notice/Request/Decision Issuance Date:

This flexibility applies to the above documents if the issuance date listed on the request, notice, or decision is between March 1, 2020, and Jan. 1, 2021, inclusive.

Response Due Date:

USCIS will consider a response to the above requests and notices received within 60 calendar days after the response due date set in the request or notice before taking any action. Additionally, we will consider a Form N-336 or Form I-290B received up to 60 calendar days from the date of the decision before we take any action.

 

RESUMING SEPTEMBER 16, 2020: Join us on Wednesdays for a live webinar at 12 PM ET on critical immigration updates

Visit our COVID-19 resource page for the latest updates or follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram, or LinkedIn. You can also sign up for our mailing list.

USCIS Announces SAVE Initiative to Track Immigrant Benefits and Sponsor Reimbursement

From USCIS: 

WASHINGTON — U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced the launch of a new Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) initiative that will enable agencies that administer federal means-tested benefits to ensure more effective compliance with federal laws, regulations, and policies related to financial support of aliens by their sponsors and agency reimbursement.

“The Trump administration has made it clear that existing immigration laws must be enforced, and sponsors of aliens should be held legally accountable for the financial responsibilities they willingly accept,” said USCIS Deputy Director for Policy Joseph Edlow. “This enhanced feature will support participating public-benefit granting agencies as they manage their programs and determine an alien’s eligibility for public assistance by ensuring consistency with current law, established sponsorship requirements and proper accountability.”

Sponsors are individuals who agree to use their income and resources to support sponsored aliens.

SAVE provides information about sponsors to agencies that administer federal means-tested public benefits. With this new SAVE initiative, USCIS is asking these agencies to now share how they use the SAVE sponsorship information in their sponsor assessment and agency reimbursement processes. The collected information will help participating agencies learn and improve how they use sponsor information to make eligibility determinations and hold sponsors accountable. This initiative will also allow USCIS to improve how it administers the SAVE program and help agencies that administer benefits programs better meet obligations under agency reimbursement laws and regulations.

This new SAVE initiative stems from the May 2019 Presidential Memorandum on Enforcing the Legal Responsibilities of Sponsors of Aliens, which directed increased oversight and data collection to ensure more effective compliance in determining eligibility for federal means-tested benefits and reimbursement requirements.

Sponsored aliens sometimes apply for and receive means-tested public benefits from federal, state, local, or tribal agencies. However, they may be ineligible for certain means-tested public benefits because the granting agency will consider their sponsor’s income and resources when determining the immigrant’s eligibility for the benefits.

If a sponsored alien receives a means-tested public benefit, the sponsor is responsible, upon request, for reimbursing the agency providing the benefit. An agency can seek a court order for repayment if a sponsor does not issue reimbursement. USCIS encourages all agencies that administer federal means-tested benefits to use the new sponsorship feature.

For more information, please visit the SAVE webpage at uscis.gov/save.

RESUMING SEPTEMBER 16, 2020: Join us on Wednesdays for a live webinar at 12 PM ET on critical immigration updates

Visit our COVID-19 resource page for the latest updates or follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram, or LinkedIn. You can also sign up for our mailing list.