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Monthly Archives: September 2016

Change in Asylum Policy for Miami Asylum Office

The Miami Asylum Office has issued a change in their policy regarding when they will accept additional supporting documentation after an asylum case has been filed. Effective on October 17, 2016, the Miami Asylum office will require that any additional supporting documentation must be mailed in and received by their office at least one week prior to any scheduled interview. Applicants must mail in Three (3) copies of each item of additional documentation in order for the asylum office in Miami to accept the submission.

Failure to comply with this new change may result in the Officer rescheduling the interview and putting a stop to the clock for the applicant’s employment authorization. The rationale behind this policy is that the USCIS Miami asylum office wants to make sure that the Asylum Officer will have enough time to review the asylum petition in full before the scheduled interview. Prior to this change in policy, it was common for Asylum Officers to accept additional newly submitted documentation at the time of the interview.

When possible, it is best to provide all of the documentation required for an asylum case at the time of filing the asylum petition. Examples of required documents may include documents to prove identity, documents to verify the applicant(s) asylum claim(s), country reports and other research, as well statements from the applicant(s), witnesses, and any other relevant documentation your attorney may suggest will be helpful to the Officer in assessing your claim for asylum.

The above does not constitute legal advice and reading the above does not create an attorney / client relationship.

DACA Renewal Time Frames October 2016

USCIS has issued information in their Stakeholder Meeting about general time frames for reviewing DACA renewals.  DACA is referring to the program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.  USCIS has indicated that they will adjudicate all DACA renewals within 120 days of receiving the petition, assuming the petition was properly filed. If 105 days has passed since you filed your DACA renewal and you have not received a decision or a request for evidence, USCIS has indicated that you can call the 1-800-375-5283 hotline to speak with an Officer regarding the status of your case. You may also send an email to USCIS through your online account. You can create an online account with USCIS by going to this site: https://egov.uscis.gov/casestatus/disclaimer.do

There are some exceptions to the above time frames. You must have completed your biometrics at the designated appointment time. Also, if there is any national security issue, FBI background check or any discrepancy with your name and / or date of birth, your case may take longer than the above time frame. In addition, if USCIS has issued a request for evidence, your case may take longer to process.

The above does not constitute legal advice nor does reading the above create an attorney / client relationship.

New Developments in Naturalization Procedures

USCIS will soon announce that they will no longer require passport-style pictures with N-400 (naturalization) petitions. This is a big change, as the usual practice is that the passport style pictures must be submitted along with the N-400 petition. Also, applicants usually must sign their name on the passport style pictures during their interview.

USCIS has indicated that this change is due to N-400 petitions now being processed electronically. As a result, each applicant will have their photograph being captured during their biometrics appointment with the Application Support Center.

Another change is that applicants over the age of 75 will be scheduled for a biometrics appointments now, but they are still exempt from paying the $85.00 fingerprint fee.

Please continue to follow the requirements and procedures found on www.uscis.gov when filing your N-400 petition and continue to attach the passport style pictures until the above becomes effective. USCIS will update this change on their website in the near future.

The above does not constitute legal advice and also the above posting and reading of the above posting does not create an attorney / client relationship.

October 2016 Visa Bulletin for Family Sponsored Cases

The Visa Bulletin is a bulletin that has chart(s) with dates that the USCIS will accept the green card petitions listed for each category for family based immigration cases. The Visa Bulletin is issued by the U.S. Department of State and it is issued every month with updated information.

When reviewing the Visa Bulletin for Family based cases, you will see that there are two different charts currently being listed. The first chart is called “Final Action Dates,” and this is the original chart before President Obama added another more generous chart to the Visa Bulletin. The second chart called “Dates for Filing” has more generous dates, which means that applicants can file their petitions earlier than expected. Their green card petitions will not be finalized until their date is current according to the original chart, but the second chart provides them with an opportunity to file earlier and obtain benefits earlier, such as obtaining an employment authorization card, etc.

If the above is not confusing enough for non-lawyers, it is important to note that every month USCIS will determine if we are permitted to file under the second chart. For the month of October 2016, we ARE permitted to file under the second chart, called “dates for Filing” as noted above.

We have not been allowed to make use of the dates on the second chart for months now, and so the above is very good news for many applicants that can now file their green card application(s) sooner than expected.

An example of a case where this is helpful is a beneficiary in the U.S. on a valid student visa who is married to a green card holder. Instead of waiting approximately another year before she can file for her green card, we will now be permitted to file her adjustment of status petition in the month of October of 2016. Her priority date is before November 2015, and since she is in category 2A, she will soon be eligible to file for her green card.

It is important to note that I am not sure whether this will still be valid for November 2016, as a new Visa Bulletin will be issued by then and will have its own instructions. You can obtain the new information every month at www.uscis.gov/visabulletininfo.

For further information as to whether the above helps you or a family member, please call my office and schedule a consultation.

The above does not constitute legal advice and the above does not create an attorney / client relationship.