June/July 2019 USCIS announcements roundup

Below are the updates by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) given between June 14th and July 31st. To view the updates from the first part of June, see our previous post on them here.

Presidential Memorandum on Enforcing the Legal Responsibilities of Sponsors of Aliens

Announced on June 14th:

“USCIS officers will now be required to remind individuals at their adjustment of status interviews of their sponsors’ responsibilities under existing law and regulations. Our officers must remind applicants and sponsors that the Affidavit of Support is a legal and enforceable contract between the sponsor and the federal government. The sponsor must be willing and able to financially support the intending immigrant as outlined by law and regulations (see INA 213A and 8 CFR 213a). If the sponsored immigrant receives any federal means-tested public benefits, the sponsor will be expected to reimburse the benefits-granting agency for every dollar of benefits received by the immigrant.”

Read the full announcement at USCIS.

USCIS Aims to Decrease Processing Times for N-400 and I-485

Announced on June 17th:

“USCIS will implement a national strategy to decrease differences in processing times based on location for Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, and Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.

…As we shift caseloads between field offices to decrease processing times, we may schedule applicants to appear for an interview at a field office outside of their normal jurisdiction. Applicants may receive an interview appointment notice or other types of notices (such as a Request for Evidence) from a field office outside of their normal jurisdiction. However, these caseload changes will not affect where applicants attend their biometrics appointments. We will still direct them to the nearest application support center. Applicants should follow the instructions on any notices they receive from USCIS.”

Read the full announcement at USCIS.

USCIS Will No Longer Accept I-407 at International Field Offices

Announced on June 17th:

“Beginning July 1, USCIS will no longer accept Form I-407, Record of Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Resident Status at international field offices by mail or in person.

Individuals who wish to voluntarily record abandonment of their lawful permanent resident (LPR) status must submit Form I-407 via mail to:

USCIS Eastern Forms Center
Attn: I-407 unit
124 Leroy Road
PO Box 567
Williston, VT 05495″

Read the full announcement at USCIS.

Grace Period Extended for Previous Edition of Form I-918

Announced on June 21st:

“We are extending the grace period for the previous edition of Form I-918, Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status, including Supplement B, U Nonimmigrant Status Certification, through Dec. 31, 2019. Starting Jan. 1, 2020, we will only accept a Form I-918 with edition date 04/24/19.”

Read the full announcement at USCIS.

USCIS Expands FIRST: A Fully Digital FOIA System

Announced June 25th:

“Starting today, FOIA requestors with a USCIS online account can submit requests online for their own records. Soon, they will be able to submit online requests for non-A-File material (policies, communications, etc.) Later this year, USCIS online account holders can make requests on behalf of another person.”

Read the full announcement at USCIS.

“Northern Mariana Islands Long-Term Legal Residents Relief Act” Guidance for Certain Individuals Present in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)

Announced June 30th:

“According to recently enacted legislation, USCIS announced today it will automatically extend parole, and employment authorization if applicable, for certain residents of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). This specific extension of parole as authorized by law will provide relief while USCIS establishes procedures for obtaining the new CNMI Resident status, which was created by the Northern Mariana Islands Long-Term Legal Residents Relief Act (PDF) (Public Law 116-24), signed by President Trump on June 25, 2019.”

Read the full announcement at USCIS.

USCIS Announces Plan to Improve the Naturalization Test

Announced July 19th:

“U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is revising the current naturalization test with improvements to ensure it continues to serve as an accurate measure of a naturalization applicant’s civics knowledge and that it reflects best practices in adult education assessments. The goal is to create a meaningful, uniform, and efficient test that will assess applicants’ knowledge and understanding of U.S. history, government and values….USCIS will set an implementation date in December 2020 or early 2021.”

Read the full announcement at USCIS.

New Rulemaking Brings Significant Changes to EB-5 Program

Announced July 23rd:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will publish a final rule on July 24 that makes a number of significant changes to its EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, marking the first significant revision of the program’s regulations since 1993. The final rule will become effective on Nov. 21, 2019.

New developments under the final rule include:

>Raising the minimum investment amounts;
>Revising the standards for certain targeted employment area (TEA) designations;
>Giving the agency responsibility for directly managing TEA designations;
>Clarifying USCIS procedures for the removal of conditions on permanent residence; and
>Allowing EB-5 petitioners to retain their priority date under certain circumstances.”

Read the full announcement at USCIS.

H-2B Petitioners Must Include Temporary Labor Certification Final Determination with Form I-129

Announced July 26th:

“As of July 3, employers who file an H-2B application for temporary labor certification in FLAG will only receive a temporary labor certification electronically.

If your application for a temporary labor certification was processed in FLAG, you must include a printed copy of the electronic one-page “final determination” of your H-2B temporary labor certification approval when you submit your Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker. We will consider a printed copy of the final determination as your original and approved temporary labor certification.

You must also ensure that the DOL Case Number identified on the final determination is the same as the ETA Case Number you provide in Part 5, Item 2 of your Form I-129.”

Read the full announcement at USCIS.

Asylum and Internal Relocation Guidance

Announced on July 26th:

“This guidance further clarifies current regulations and policies that are already in place regarding internal relocation of an alien in their home country, eliciting testimony for credible fear screenings, and documenting outcomes. As detailed in the Department of State country conditions reports for these countries, private violence is not pervasive across the entirety of each Northern Triangle country. I am writing to provide a reminder of the importance of assessing a person’s ability to safely relocate to another part of his or her home country. This is an important regulatory factor in the consideration of credible fear screenings and determinations.”

Read the full announcement at USCIS.

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Disclaimer: Nothing in relation to the enclosed information should be construed and or considered as legal advice for any individual, entity, case, or situation. The following information is prepared for advertisement use only. The information is intended ONLY to be general and should not be relied upon for any specific situation. For legal advice on your specific situation, we encourage you to consult an attorney experienced in the area of Immigration Law.