Religious Workers Visas – District Court Orders USCIS to Accept Concurrently-Filed Religious Worker I-360s & I-485s

In a recent decision, RUIZ-DIAZ v. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, the court ruled that Petitioners who filed or will file a Petition for Special Immigrant Religious Worker Visa (Form I-360) with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) on behalf of individual beneficiaries are hereby notified that you or your beneficiary may now file an Application for Adjustment of Status (Form I-485) and, if your beneficiary seeks employment status as an adjustment applicant, an Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765) even if USCIS has not yet issued a final administrative decision regarding the I- 360 petition. Previously, the I-360 had to be adjudicated before the adjustment package could be filed.

The Court has invalidated USCIS’ bar against concurrent filings as an unreasonable
interpretation of the governing statute. Pursuant to an order dated June 11, 2009, USCIS is required to accept as properly filed adjustment of status applications (Form I-485) and employment authorization applications (Form I-765) from individuals who are beneficiaries of petitions for special immigrant visas (Form I-360), whether submitted concurrently with or subsequent to the visa petition, provided the applications meet USCIS’ valid filing requirements.

Bear in mind that this decision may be subject to Appeal, so things can still change. But for now this is a victory to the applicants filing under this category.