October 2019 USCIS Announcements Roundup

Below are the updates by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) during the month of October 2019.

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

Announced on October 1st:

“On Oct. 1, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) implemented its new Foreign Labor Application Gateway (FLAG) system for the H-2A temporary agricultural worker program. Starting Oct. 1, employers who file an H-2A application for a temporary labor certification in FLAG will only receive the 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-2A temporary labor certification approval when you submit your Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker to USCIS. We will consider a printed copy of the final determination as your original and valid temporary labor certification.”

Read the full announcement on the USCIS website.

USCIS Clarifies Special Immigrant Juvenile Classification to Better Ensure Victims of Abuse, Neglect and Abandonment Receive Protection

Announced on October 15th:

“To ensure consistency surrounding this classification, USCIS is issuing three Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) adopted decisions. Through these adopted decisions, USCIS clarifies that it requires evidence of a court’s intervention to provide relief from abuse, neglect or abandonment beyond a statement that the juvenile is dependent on the court.

USCIS also clarifies that it will consider qualifying orders from state courts, provided the petitioner met the applicable definition of a juvenile under state law when the order was issued and the court determined the juvenile was subject to parental abuse, neglect, abandonment or similar maltreatment.”

Read the full announcement on the USCIS website.

USCIS Begins Producing Security-Enhanced Travel Documents

Announced on October 24th:

“To prevent secure document tampering, counterfeiting, and fraud, we will begin producing on Oct. 24 a new security-enhanced U.S. travel document, which is a booklet that looks similar to a U.S. passport and serves dual purposes. The travel document can serve in place of:

>Form I-327, Permit to Reenter the United States: Lawful permanent residents use the Reentry Permit to return from temporary travel outside of the United States and, in some cases, may use a Reentry Permit for travel in place of a passport; and

>Form I-571, Refugee Travel Document: Those with refugee or asylum status use a Refugee Travel Document if they wish to temporarily travel outside of the United States and, in some cases, may use a Refugee Travel Document for travel in place of a passport.”

Read the full announcement on the USCIS website.

USCIS Updates Fee Waiver Requirements

Announced on October 25th:

“U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has revised Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver, by removing the means-tested benefit criteria that was previously used as a factor in determining whether an applicant was exempt from paying for filing fees or biometric services. Individuals may still request a fee waiver if their documented annual household income is at or below 150% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or they demonstrate financial hardship.

A means-tested benefit is a public benefit—offered by federal, state, or local agencies—for which eligibility and amount considerations are based on a person’s income and resources. USCIS formerly considered Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, and Supplemental Security Income during eligibility evaluations.

USCIS has determined that receiving a means-based benefit is not an appropriate criteria in reviewing fee-waiver requests because income levels used to decide local assistance eligibility vary greatly from state to state.”

Read the full announcement on the USCIS website.

USCIS Adjusting Premium Processing Fee

Announced on October 30th:

“Today, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced beginning on Nov. 29, it is adjusting the fee to request premium processing for certain employment-based petitions.

The premium processing fee will increase to $1,440 from the current fee of $1,410 for Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, and Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker. This increase, which is done in accordance with the Immigration and Nationality Act, reflects the full amount of inflation from the implementation of the premium processing fee in June 2001 through August 2019 based on the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers (CPI-U). USCIS last increased the fee in 2018.”

Read the full announcement on the USCIS website.

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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.