Articles Posted in I-485

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It’s that time of the month again. The Department of State has released the May 2023 Visa Bulletin, giving you the latest updates on visa availability for family-sponsored and employment-based preference categories.

To help you prepare for your upcoming immigrant visa or green card filing, we share what you can expect to see in the upcoming month’s visa bulletin.

Here are some of the highlights from the May 2023 Visa Bulletin:


  • For employment-based preference adjustment of status filings, USCIS will continue to use the Final Action Dates chart, as they did in April.
  • For the month of May, EB-1 India and China will maintain their Final Action cutoff date of February 1, 2022, and Dates for Filing cutoff date of June 1, 2022. All other countries remain current. DOS warns applicants that cutoff dates for EB1 China and India will likely retrogress in the near future.
  • For the month of May, the EB-2 India Final Action and Dates for Filing cutoff dates will remain at January 1, 2011, and May 1, 2012, respectively.
  • For all other countries, except China and India, the EB-2 Final Action cutoff date will retrogress by four and a half months to February 15, 2022. Their Dates for Filing cutoff date will remain at December 1, 2022.
  • In May, the EB-3 China Professional/Skilled Worker category will advance by five months to April 1, 2019, for Final Action, and by four months to June 1, 2019 for Dates for Filing.
  • The EB-3 India Professional/Skilled Worker Final Action date will remain at June 15, 2012, and the Dates for Filing cutoff will remain at August 1, 2012.
  • Future retrogressions are expected for EB-1 India and China in the coming months, as well as EB-2 and EB-5 India as early as June.

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In this blog post, we share with you the latest news in the world of immigration.

Recently, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it has removed the 60-day rule for civil surgeon signatures on Form I-693 Report of Immigration Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, also known as the immigration medical exam.

This form must be completed by a civil surgeon and submitted along with the applicant’s I-485 adjustment of status (green card) application with USCIS.

Green card applicants can now submit their Form I-693 medical examination for up to 2 years after the civil surgeon has signed the form.

Previously, green card applicants were required to have a civil surgeon sign Form I-693 within 60 days of submitting their green card application or risk its rejection with USCIS. The 60-day rule created much confusion among green card applicants and was an unnecessary obstacle to the green card process. Form I-693’s that were not signed within the 60-day period were issued Requests for Evidence (RFE) asking for a compliant Form I-693 signed within the requisite 60-day period.

Now that USCIS has eliminated the 60-day rule, applicants will have more time and flexibility to obtain their signed Form I-693 medical examination without worrying. This change will also decrease the green card backlogs, considering that less RFEs will be issued for deficient Form I-693’s given the 2-year validity period from the date of the civil surgeon’s signature.

In support of its new policy, USCIS has said, “While the 60-day rule was intended to enhance operational efficiency and reduce the need to request updated Forms I-693 from applicants, in practice these efficiencies have not been realized.”

For more information about this new update, please click here.

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In this blog post, we give you an update on the status of the proposed rule increasing the filing fees for certain applications and petitions filed with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

As you may remember, on January 4, 2023, USCIS published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register proposing an increase in the filing fees of many types of applications, including but not limited to, the I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, N-400 Application for Naturalization, I-129F petition for alien fiancé(e), Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative, Form I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Permanent Residence, Form I-129 Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker for H, L, and O classifications, Form I-526 Immigrant Petition for the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization, among many others.

The proposed rule also sought to do the following:

  • 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.

Under the Administrative Procedure Act, before the government can implement a proposed rule they must abide by a mandatory notice-and-comment rule-making process. This includes offering a public comment period of at least 60 days from the date of the NPRM’s publication in the Federal Register.

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The U.S. Department of State has released its March 2023 Visa Bulletin.

To help you prepare for your upcoming immigrant visa or green card filing, we share what you can expect to see in the employment based and family preference categories for the month of March.


What is the Visa Bulletin?


The Department of State releases the visa bulletin on a monthly basis, which summarizes the availability of immigrant visa numbers for that particular month in the employment and family preference categories.

To be eligible to file an employment-based adjustment of status application in March 2023, foreign nationals must have a priority date that is earlier than the Dates for Filing chart as listed in the Department of State’s March Visa Bulletin.

Those currently residing in the United States, may file for adjustment of status once their priority dates become current, following the Dates for Filing chart according to the adjustment of status filing guidance published by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).


Adjustment of Status Filing Chart March 2023


For Family-Sponsored Filings:

Pursuant to guidance released by USCIS, for all family-sponsored preference categories, applicants must use the Dates for Filing chart in the Department of State Visa Bulletin for March 2023.

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In this blog post, we provide an immigration roundup regarding the latest immigration news.


USCIS Recommends AOS applicants submit all evidence with Form I-485, including Medical Examination


Those who are applying for adjustment of status should be aware that USCIS has recommended green card applicants submit all required initial evidence and supporting documentation at the time of filing the Form I-485.

This practice is recommended to avoid the issuance of a Request for Evidence (RFE). An RFE is issued where USCIS finds that further evidence or supporting documentation is needed to complete the adjudication of your case. It is also beneficial to submit all supporting evidence at the time of filing Form I-485 to avoid delays in the long-run, and where the immigration officer may find that an in-person interview is unnecessary, electing to waive the interview requirement.

Additionally, applicants are advised to submit Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, at the same time of filing Form I-485. USCIS points out that the I-693 Medical Examination is valid for two years after the date the civil surgeon signed the examination. USCIS has also temporarily waived the requirement that the civil surgeon’s signature be dated no more than 60 days before filing Form I-485 until March 31, 2023.


Changes to Filing Location for Form I-360 and Form I-485 for Self-Petitioning Abused Spouses, Children, and Parents


USCIS has announced that beginning Friday, February 10, 2023, self-petitioning abused spouses, children, and parents must file Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant, and Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, at the Nebraska Service Center instead of the Vermont Service Center.

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USCIS Updates Policy Manual Clarifying Physical Presence Requirement for Asylees and Refugees


The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently updated its Policy Manual to clarify that BOTH asylees and refugees must have been physically present in the United States for one year at the time the Immigration Officer adjudicates their Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, rather than at the time the individual files their adjustment of status application.

This policy is effective immediately and applies to all Form I-485 Applications to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status and Form N-400, Applications for Naturalization, that are pending on February 2, 2023, and applications filed on or after that date.


What does this mean?


This means that in order to be eligible for adjustment of status (a green card), an asylee or refugee must have been physically present in the United States for at least 1 year after either being granted asylum status or admitted as a refugee.

Additionally, the policy manual:

  • Provides that asylees and refugees are required to accrue 1 year of physical presence by the time of adjudication of the adjustment of status application, rather than by the time they file the application (and that USCIS may request additional information to determine such physical presence in the United States).
  • Clarifies that asylee and refugee adjustment applicants who have held the immigration status of exchange visitor (J-1 or J-2 nonimmigrants) and who are subject to the 2-year foreign residence requirement under INA 212(e) are not required to comply with or obtain a waiver of such requirement in order to adjust status under INA 209.
  • Makes technical updates, including clarifying processing steps for refugees seeking waivers of inadmissibility and removing references to the obsolete Decision on Application for Status as Permanent Resident (Form I-291).
  • Provides that USCIS considers a refugee or asylee who adjusted status to a permanent resident despite filing for adjustment before accruing 1 year of physical presence to have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence for purposes of naturalization if the applicant satisfied the physical presence requirement at the time of approval of the adjustment of status application.

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The Green Card and Employment Authorization Document just got a brand-new look.

In this post, we bring you the lowdown on what you can expect. USCIS recently announced that the agency will be issuing newly redesigned Permanent Resident Cards (also known as green cards) and Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) starting Monday, January 30, 2023.

The previous design was implemented in 2017. To mitigate the risk of fraud and counterfeiting, USCIS redesigns green cards and EADs every three to five years.

The new design includes state-of-the-art technology designed to improve its security and integrity against counterfeiting.

Along with completely redesigned artwork, the new green card and EADs come with tactile printing, enhanced optically variable ink, secure holographic images on the front and back, and a new layer-reveal feature showcasing a partial window on the back photo box, and data fields that have been placed in different areas than on previous versions.

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In this post, we bring you great news regarding COVID-19-related flexibilities for responses to Requests for Evidence, NOIDs, and such related notices issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.


What do I need to know about this new update?


USCIS RFE/NOID Flexibility Continued for Responses to Agency Requests


USCIS announced that it will continue its flexibility policy giving applicants and petitioners more time to respond to Requests for Evidence during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On January 24, 2023, USCIS made the announcement that it will grant one FINAL extension to applicants who have received a request for evidence, notice of intent to deny, or such a related document, an additional 60 calendar days after the response deadline indicated on the notice or request, to submit a response to a request or notice, provided the request or notice was issued by USCIS between March 1, 2020, through March 23, 2023. This is great news because it will allow applicants and petitioners more time to gather documents that are hard to obtain during the COVID-10 pandemic.


What documents qualify for this flexibility in responding?


Applicants who receive any of the below mentioned documents dated between March 1, 2020 and March 23, 2023 can take advantage of the additional 60 days to respond to the request or notice:

  • Requests for Evidence;
  • Continuations to Request Evidence (N-14);
  • Notices of Intent to Deny;
  • Notices of Intent to Revoke;
  • Notices of Intent to Rescind;
  • Notices of Intent to Terminate regional investment centers;
  • Notices of Intent to Withdraw Temporary Protected Status; and
  • Motions to Reopen an N-400 pursuant to 8 CFR 335.5, Receipt of Derogatory Information After Grant.

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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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Happy Holidays from the Law Offices of Jacob Sapochnick!

In this blog post, we share with you the release of the January Visa Bulletin for the year 2023, what you can expect for employment based and family preference categories, including visa availability, movement, and projections for each category in the months ahead.


What is the Visa Bulletin?


The Department of State releases the visa bulletin on a monthly basis, which summarizes the availability of immigrant visa numbers for that particular month in the employment and family preference categories. The “Final Action Dates” and “Dates for Filing Applications,” charts indicate when immigrant visa applicants should be notified to assemble and submit the required documentation to the National Visa Center.

To be eligible to file an employment-based adjustment application in January, foreign nationals must have a priority date that is earlier than the date listed below for their preference category and country.

Those currently residing in the United States, may file for adjustment of status once their priority dates become current, following the adjustment of status filing chart guidance from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

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