Articles Posted in Work permits

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As the new year approaches, we have some unfortunate news to report for certain employment-based applicants who may wish to file their petitions with premium processing service in 2024, including those filing:

  • Form I-129 Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker
  • Form I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, as well as
  • Certain applicants filing Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization and
  • I-539 Application to Extend or Change Nonimmigrant Status with USCIS.

On December 28, 2023, USCIS published a final rule in the Federal Register that will increase the filing fee for Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, to adjust for inflation.

The final rule states that starting February 26, 2024, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will increase the premium processing fees USCIS charges for all eligible forms and categories to reflect the amount of inflation from June 2021 through June 2023 according to the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers.

Please note that not all petitions are eligible to request premium processing service. Applicants may only request premium processing if USCIS has specifically designated your classification as one that is eligible for premium processing service. To determine whether premium processing is available for your benefit request please review the USCIS webpage.

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It’s a brand-new week full of important updates from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This time for employment authorization documents (EADs).

Recently, USCIS announced that certain applicants who have filed to renew their employment authorization cards (EADs) on Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, may qualify for an automatic extension of their expiring employment authorization and/or employment authorization documents (EADs) while their renewal applications are pending with USCIS.

Beginning October 27, 2023, those who are eligible will receive 180-day automatic extensions of their EADs, including those who have applied for or have received Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or asylum.

Previously, USCIS had passed a regulation that increased the automatic extension period for certain EAD applicants from 180 days to 540 days. This announcement will not impact EADs that were already issued for up to the 540-day period. Those extensions will remain in place. For such individuals, the increased automatic extension will end when they receive a final decision on their renewal application or when the “up to 540-day period” expires (counted from the expiration date of the employment authorization and/or their EAD), whichever comes earlier.

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We are pleased to report that the Department of Homeland Security recently issued a notice in the Federal Register extending Venezuela’s designation for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for an 18-month period.

Those who qualify will be eligible to apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) that is valid for the duration of the TPS designation.


Who qualifies?


You may be eligible to apply for TPS under Venezuela’s 2023 designation if you continuously resided in the United States on or before July 31, 2023, and have been continuously physically present in the United State on or before October 3, 2023.

However, if you arrived in the United States after July 31, 2023, you are ineligible for TPS.

It is estimated that Venezuela’s redesignation will allow approximately estimated 472,000 additional Venezuelan nationals to file an initial TPS application. Approximately 243,000 current beneficiaries will be allowed to retain their TPS benefits upon their re-registration.

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It’s official. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has confirmed that it will be increasing the validity period of work permits also known as Employment Authorization Documents (EADS) to 5 years, for certain categories of noncitizens who are employment authorized incident to their immigration status and those who must apply for employment authorization including:

  • Refugees
  • Asylees
  • Noncitizens paroled as Refugees
  • Noncitizens granted Withholding of Removal
  • Noncitizens with pending applications for Asylum or Withholding of Removal
  • Noncitizens with pending applications for Adjustment of Status (green cards) under INA 245
  • Noncitizens seeking Suspension of Deportation or Cancellation of Removal

Additionally, USCIS has released policy guidance clarifying that the Arrival/Departure Record (Form I-94) may be used as evidence of an alien’s status and employment authorization for certain EAD categories that are employment authorized incident to their immigration status or parole.

These changes can be found in the USCIS Policy Manual, and are also described in USCIS Policy Alert 2023-27 dated September 27, 2023.


What’s changed?


Previously, USCIS policy allowed for a maximum 2-year validity period of Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) for most categories of immigrants indicated above, and a maximum 1-year validity period for noncitizens paroled as refugees and those seeking suspension of deportation or cancellation of removal.

USCIS is now revising its guidelines to increase the maximum EAD validity period for these categories up to 5 years.

The purpose of increasing the validity period is to reduce the frequency in which noncitizens must file Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization to renew their work permits (EADs).

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On September 20, 2023, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a fact sheet unveiling new actions to cut down the processing time of work authorizations filed by certain asylum seekers.

Starting October 1, 2023, USCIS will speed up the processing of Form I-765 Applications for Employment Authorization, (also known as EADs) filed by parolees who schedule an inspection appointment through CBP One. Such individuals are eligible to apply for employment authorization immediately.

USCIS aims to decrease average processing times for EADs from 90 days to 30 days for such individuals and will allocate more personnel and resources to accomplish this objective.

Additionally, USCIS seeks to decrease average processing times to just 30 days for EADs filed in connection with the Cuban, Haitian, Nicaraguan, and Venezuelan parole programs.

Finally, to improve efficiency, USCIS will also be increasing the maximum validity period of initial and renewal EADs to five years for certain noncitizens, including:

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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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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 blog post, we share recent guidance released by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for supporters and beneficiaries of Uniting for Ukraine and nationals of Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, requesting humanitarian parole to the United States.

Individuals participating in these programs must have a supporter in the United States who agrees to provide financial support for the duration of their parole in the United States. The first step in the process is for the U.S.-based supporter to file a Form I-134A, Online Request to be a Supporter and Declaration of Financial Support, with USCIS for each beneficiary they seek to support, including minor children. The U.S. government will then review the supporter information provided in the Form I-134A to ensure that they are able to financially support the beneficiaries they are agreeing to support.

USCIS has cautioned applicants that they have been receiving many duplicate filings of Form I-134A, as well as multiple inquiries submitted to the USCIS Contact Center regarding these filings.

To avoid any errors and ensure the proper submission of the form, USCIS has provided the following important tips.


Duplicate Filings of Form I-134A


Some potential supporters have been filing multiple Forms I-134A for the same beneficiary. These duplicate filings add to USCIS workload, which delays processing.

The agency encourages applicants to refrain from filing more than one Form I-134A for the same beneficiary because this could delay the processing of the application for the beneficiary you are agreeing to support.

Those who have not received a decision on a Form I-134A they have filed on behalf of a beneficiary, are advised to check their case status through their USCIS online account.

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