Articles Posted in I-131

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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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In this post, we share with you some great news for Ukrainian nationals under Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in the United States.

The Department of Homeland Security has made the decision to extend Temporary Protected Status for Ukrainian nationals currently receiving protections under the program for 18 months from October 20, 2023 through April 19, 2025.

notice has been published in the Federal Register with information about how to register for TPS under Ukraine’s designation.

The main benefit of applying for TPS protections is that those who are approved can remain in the country on a lawful basis, will receive protection against deportation (deferred status), and are eligible to apply for employment authorization and travel permission by filing, Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization, and Form I-131 Application for Travel Document, with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

The registration process for Ukraine began on August 21, 2023, and will end on April 19, 2025.


Extension of Designation of Ukraine for TPS


On August 18, 2023, the Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, announced an 18-month extension and re-designation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for the country of Ukraine. This extension and re-designation will be in effect from October 20, 2023, through April 19, 2025 (an 18-month period).

Secretary Mayorkas made this decision after consulting with government officials and taking into consideration the ongoing armed conflict in Ukraine, and the expansion of Russia’s military invasion that has created a humanitarian crisis, preventing Ukrainians from safely returning.

The extension of TPS for Ukraine will allow approximately 26,000 current beneficiaries to retain TPS through April 19, 2025, if they re-register and continue to meet TPS eligibility requirements.

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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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Did you know?

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services recently announced the expansion of the myProgress online tool (formerly known as personalized processing times) to include Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, and Form I-131, Application for Travel Document.


What is myProgress?


The myProgress online tool allows applicants to view personalized estimates for important milestones in their cases, including final decision-making on their cases, directly from their online USCIS accounts.


How do I use myProgress?


To take advantage of myProgress, you must sign up for an online USCIS account or log into an existing online account and select your pending application.

If you have electronically filed your application or linked one of the applicable forms to your online account using an online access code, you will see a myProgress tab for your application.

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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 post, we share with you some great news for Somalian nationals under Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in the United States.

The Biden administration has made the decision to extend Temporary Protected Status for Somalian nationals currently receiving protections under the program for 18 months from March 18, 2023 through September 17, 2024.

A notice has been published in the Federal Register with information about how to register for TPS under Somalia’s designation.

The main benefit of applying for TPS protections is that those who are approved can remain in the country on a lawful basis, will receive protection against deportation (deferred status), and are eligible to apply for employment authorization and travel permission by filing, Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization, and Form I-131 Application for Travel Document, with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

The registration process for Somalia began on Monday, March 13, 2023 and will end on May 9, 2023.


Extension of Designation of Somalia for TPS


On January 12, 2023, the Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, announced an 18-month extension and re-designation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for the country of Somalia. This extension and re-designation will be in effect from March 18, 2023, through September 17, 2024 (an 18-month period).

Secretary Mayorkas made this decision after consulting with government officials and taking into consideration the ongoing armed conflict in Somalia, along with natural disasters, disease outbreaks, and worsening humanitarian crisis. Somalia continues to be impacted by terrorism, violent crime, civil unrest, and fighting amongst clan militias making it necessary to extend the designation of Somalia for TPS.

The extension of TPS for Somalia will allow approximately 430 current beneficiaries to retain TPS through September 17, 2024, if they re-register and continue to meet TPS eligibility requirements.

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We are happy to report that the Biden administration has made the decision to extend Temporary Protected Status for Somalia nationals currently receiving protections under the program from March 18, 2023 through September 17, 2024.

In addition, the re-designation means that certain eligible Somali nationals residing in the United States as of January 11, 2023, will be able to apply for TPS protections for the first time.

The main benefit of applying for this program is that those who are approved for Temporary Protected Status can remain in the country on a lawful basis, will receive protection against deportation (deferred status), and are eligible to apply for employment authorization and travel permission by filing, Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization, and Form I-131 Application for Travel Document, with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).


How did this all happen?


Extension of Designation of Somalia for TPS


On January 12, 2023, the Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, announced an 18-month extension and redesignation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for the country of Somalia. This extension and re-designation will be in effect from March 18, 2023, through September 17, 2024 (an 18-month period).

Secretary Mayorkas made this decision after consulting with government officials and taking into consideration the ongoing armed conflict in Somalia, along with natural disasters, disease outbreaks, and worsening humanitarian crisis. Somalia continues to be impacted by terrorism, violent crime, civil unrest, and fighting amongst clan militias making it necessary to extend the designation of Somalia for TPS.

Mayorkas found that these circumstances ultimately prevented Somali nationals from safely returning to their home country stating, “Through the extension and redesignation of Somalia for Temporary Protected Status, the United States will be able to offer safety and protection to Somalis who may not be able to return to their country, due to ongoing conflict and the continuing humanitarian crisis… We will continue to offer our support to Somali nationals through this temporary form of humanitarian relief.”

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Welcpuzzle-g75f3e575f_1920ome back to Visalawyerblog! We hope you had a wonderful holiday break and wish you a prosperous new year ahead.

We kick off the new year with some important updates in the world of immigration.

Today, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officially announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that will be posted in the Federal Register tomorrow Wednesday, January 4, 2023 that will increase filing fees for certain types of immigration benefits. An unpublished version is already available in the Federal Register.

A 60-day public comment period will follow the publication of the NPRM on January 4, 2023 and will close on March 5, 2023.

Fees will not change until the final rule goes into effect, and only after the public has had the opportunity to comment and USCIS finalizes the fee schedule in response to such public comments. USCIS will host a public engagement session on the proposed fee rule on January 11, 2023.

According to USCIS, the proposed fee increases are necessary to ensure that the agency will have enough resources to provide adequate services to applicants and petitioners moving forward. The agency has said that after having conducted a review of current fees, it has determined that it cannot cover the full cost of providing adjudication and naturalization services without a fee increase.

The agency cited the COVID-19 pandemic as one of the factors leading the agency to increase its fees. As you may recall, the pandemic caused a dramatic reduction in the filing of new applications, leaving USCIS with a substantial decrease in revenues of 40 percent. This unfortunate drop in applications led USCIS to reduce its workforce accordingly.

With current resources, the agency has said it is incapable of adjudicating applications in a timely manner, when considering that agency caseloads are now returning to pre-pandemic levels.

Among the new proposals included in the NPRM are measures that:

  • Incorporate biometrics costs into the main benefit fee and remove the separate biometric services fee
  • Require separate filing fees for Form I-485 and associated Form I-131 and Form I-765 filings
  • Establish separate fees for Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, by nonimmigrant classification.
  • Revise the premium processing timeframe interpretation from 15 calendar days to 15 business days
  • Create lower fees for certain immigration forms filed online.

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