Articles Posted in Advance Parole

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If your case remains pending with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) beyond the posted processing times for your immigration benefit request, you may consider requesting assistance from the Ombudsman’s Office.


What is the USCIS Ombudsman?


The Office of the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman (CIS Ombudsman) helps individuals and employers resolve difficulties they are experiencing with USCIS. The Ombudsman functions independently and is part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Before an applicant can request for help from the Ombudsman, they must have contacted USCIS within the last 90 days and given the agency at least 60 days to resolve their problem. If a Congressional representative is already assisting you, the Ombudsman’s office cannot help you.

If USCIS does not resolve the issue (via submission of an e-request, or other communication method) the applicant can prepare and submit a case assistance request with the Office of the Ombudsman.

The most common issues the Ombudsman can assist with are:

  • Cases involving an emergency or a hardship that falls under the USCIS expedite criteria
  • Expedite requests approved by USCIS more than 2 months ago
  • Typographical errors
  • Improper rejections
  • Cases involving U.S. military personnel and their families
  • Aging out of eligibility
  • Undelivered USCIS notices or decisions
  • Transfers to the Department of State for approved petitions

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Great news! The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced that eligible beneficiaries of the Uniting for Ukraine program, may apply to renew their parole and employment authorization starting February 27, 2024.


Who is eligible?


Ukrainian citizens and their immediate family members who were paroled into the United States on or after February 11, 2022, can apply for re-parole under the program. Using its discretion, USCIS can grant parole on a case-by-case basis.

To be eligible for re-parole, applicants must demonstrate the following:

  • You are a Ukrainian citizen or immediate family member who was paroled into the United States on or after February 11, 2022;
  • There are continued urgent humanitarian reasons or a significant public benefit for issuance of a new period of parole;
  • You warrant a favorable exercise of discretion;
  • You are physically present in the United States as a parolee;
  • You have complied with the conditions of the initial parole; and
  • You clear biographic and biometric background checks.

What benefits does the program provide?


The Uniting for Ukraine program allows eligible Ukrainians to remain in the United States temporarily and apply for work authorization, due to the extraordinary circumstances caused by Russia’s invasion in 2022. Since these circumstances continue to exist, USCIS will continue to accept requests for re-parole on a case-by-case basis.

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Ahead of the U.S. presidential election, President Biden is considering the rollout of a set of new executive actions aimed at curbing illegal migration at the U.S. southern border and measures that would create new obstacles for asylum applicants. Individuals speaking on condition of anonymity have said these policies could come as soon as March 7th as part of President Biden’s State of the Union speech.

According to reports by insiders of the Biden administration, the proposals under discussion would use a provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to stop migrants from requesting asylum at U.S. ports of entry once a certain number of illegal crossings has been reached.

While the exact details of the executive order are still unclear, the proposal would likely carve out several exceptions for unaccompanied minors and those who meet the requirements of the United Nations Convention Against Torture. A similar proposal was previously discussed in the U.S. Senate as part of a border deal earlier this month.

To further appease conservative voters, the Biden administration is also considering implementing policies that would make it harder for migrants to pass the initial screening of the asylum interview process. Under these proposals, the administration would elevate the “credible fear standard” of the asylum process, thereby narrowing the pool of applicants eligible to seek asylum. Those who cannot meet the elevated standard, would be swiftly deported.

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On January 30, 2024, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a final rule in the Federal Register making significant fee increases for various immigration applications and benefit requests. This fee increase will be the first major adjustment in the filing fees since 2016. The increase is meant to address the agency’s operational and financial challenges to support the timely processing of new applications.

The fee increase will take effect starting April 1, 2024. All applications postmarked after this date will be subject to the fee increases in the final rule.

TIP: To avoid paying the higher fees, USCIS must receive applications before April 1, 2024.


Highlights


  • Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative), used to petition for family members, including marriage green cards, will increase by 26% to $675 for paper filing, and $625 for online filers.
  • Form I-129F (Petition for Alien Fiancé(e)), used by U.S. Citizens to petition for their fiancé(e) to enter the U.S., will increase by 26 percent from $535 to $675
  • Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status), used by immigrants seeking a green card for permanent residency, will increase by 18% from $1,225 to $1,440. Employment authorization, and advance parole, will now cost an additional $260 and $630, respectively. Previously these applications carried no additional cost when filing them alongside adjustment of status applications

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If you have been waiting for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to reopen in-person appointments, then this topic may interest you.

Recently, USCIS announced the launch of a new procedure to request an in-person appointment at a local USCIS field office by completing an online form. This form may be used by individuals, attorneys, and accredited representatives without the need to call the USCIS Contact Center.

The online appointment request form is currently available for use on the USCIS webpage and allows for in-person appointment requests at local field offices, only for ADIT stamps, Emergency Advance Parole (EAP), Immigration Judge Grants, Afghan Special Immigrant CPR Status, Certified Copies of Naturalization Certificate, Deferred Action, T, U, and VAWA Inquiries, I-94 Cuban Paroles and Re-Paroles, Lost Immigration Visa Packets, and more.

For more information about ADIT stamps, Emergency Advance Parole, and Immigration Judge Grants, etc. click here.

The online request system does not support self-scheduling, but individuals are allowed to request a specific date and time for an in-person appointment when making an online request. However, please keep in mind that USCIS cannot guarantee that the requested appointment date will be scheduled.

Once an online appointment request has been made, the USCIS Contact Center will review submissions along with the availability of in-person appointments at a specific field office. USCIS will then confirm and schedule the individual for an available in-person appointment date and time.

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We start the week with great news for Cuban and Haitian nationals.

On August 10, 2023, the Department of Homeland Security announced new publications in the Federal Register introducing changes to the Cuban and Haitian Family Reunification Parole processes.

The FRP program allows eligible Cuban and Haitian nationals to seek parole into the United States for the purpose of reuniting with their family members while they wait for their immigrant visas to become available to apply for adjustment of status to lawful permanent residence.

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This past week, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced the implementation of a new Family Reunification Parole (FRP) program for foreign nationals of Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, that falls in line with previous governmental policies aimed at reducing unlawful migration.

The program will benefit nationals of such countries whose family members are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents and have received approval to join their family in the United States.

Nationals of these countries can be considered for parole on a case-by-case basis for a period of up to three years while they wait to apply to become a lawful permanent resident. This means that those who are eligible for parole will have the opportunity to lawfully reside inside of the United States while applying for lawful permanent residence for a period of up to three years.

The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas, said that “These new processes promote family unity and provide lawful pathways consistent with our laws and our values,” and will allow for the expansion of safe, orderly, and lawful pathways to reduce “dangerous, irregular migration to the United States.”

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In this blog post, we follow up on our previous reporting relating to a brand-new program launched by the Biden administration that will allow for the admission of up to 24,000 Venezuelans, closely following in the footsteps of the Uniting for Ukraine program.

Today, October 18, 2022, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services updated its “Venezuela” webpage including all the details regarding this new program. Applications are currently being accepted by USCIS.

We break down the details for you down below.


What is this program all about?


USCIS has launched a new process that allows Venezuelan nationals and their immediate family members to come to the United States in a safe and orderly manner.

Like the Uniting for Ukraine program, nationals of Venezuela who are outside the United States and who lack U.S. entry documents will be considered for admission to the United States on a case-by-case basis.

Those who are found eligible, will receive advance authorization to travel to the United States and a temporary period of parole for up to 2 years for urgent humanitarian reasons and significant public benefit.

After being paroled into the United States, beneficiaries are eligible to apply for discretionary employment authorization from USCIS. To apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), applicants must submit Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, using the (c)(11) category code with the required fee or apply for a fee waiver.

Using the same Form I-765 form, applicants can also apply for a Social Security number (SSN) by following the form instructions.

If you request an SSN in Part 2 (Items 13a-17.b) of your Form I-765, and your application is approved, USCIS will electronically transmit that data to the Social Security Administration (SSA), and SSA will assign you an SSN and issue you a Social Security card. SSA will mail your Social Security card directly to the address you provide on Form I-765.

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This week in immigration news, we share new developments for Afghan nationals. The Biden administration recently announced its plan to launch a new portal that would facilitate the reunification of Afghans immigrants with their family members.


What is it all about?


The U.S. Department of State run portal would provide a place for Afghans in the United States to search for family members who were separated from them following the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan last year.

Previously, Afghans needed the help of nonprofit groups such as the United National Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and U.S. Department of State liaisons to help them locate family members left behind. Individuals were required to complete lengthy questionnaires, provide information, and submit documentation that would be independently verified by state department liaisons.

Now, the state-run portal will provide a central location where users can upload information to help locate their family members. Users will be able to enter their own status on the website, and complete forms to enable their relative to gain entry to the United States.

Additionally, the Biden administration is said to be considering waiving the $535 government filing fee associated the filing of Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative, which allows a U.S. citizen to petition the entry of their relative to the United States.

According to a Department of State spokesperson, through the resettlement effort known as Operation Allies Welcome, immediate family members of Afghans who relocated to the United States are strongly being considered for parole. Immediate relatives of U.S. Citizens, lawful permanent residents, formerly locally employed staff members of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, and certain Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applicants are also being prioritized to receive parole.

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