February 8, 2024. What are the top three things to know?
1. Most filing fees will go up. For example, the combined filing fee for a green card, work permit, and travel document is currently $1,225. After April 1, USCIS will charge three separate filing fees for the same benefits, for a total of $2,330.
2. USCIS filing fees will vary. Under the new fee rule, it is more complicated
to figure out how much USCIS charges to process an application. The filing fees will
be different depending on whether the person is e-filing, the person’s age, and other factors.
3. USCIS must receive an application before April 1, 2024, to qualify for the current filing fees. Unlike the IRS, USCIS does not follow the “mailbox rule.” A postmark before April 1, 2024, is not enough. The application must arrive at the proper USCIS filing location before the new fee rule takes effect.
If you have questions about how this new rule affects you, call to schedule a consultation with Kara. For more information about this new fee rule, see this FAQ.
January 23, 2024. Read her post for Think Immigration blog, Three ways that immigration officials look at tax returns.
WHY IS MY CASE TAKING SO LONG?
October 9, 2023. The American Immigration Lawyers Association posted a flyer https://www.aila.org/File/Related/19042400e.pdf explaining why processing delays continue at USCIS. Individuals waiting for decisions from USCIS can check current processing times at https://egov.uscis.gov/processing-times/. Please consult with your attorney about what, if anything, can be done to pressure USCIS to make a decision in
September 12, 2023. The Family Reunification Parole Process for Colombia, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, and Honduras is only open to petitioners who receive an invitation from USCIS. This is a link to confirm if USCIS has sent you an invitation to apply www.uscis.gov/frpinvitations. Please consult with your attorney for information about how this program may apply to your situation.
July 7, 2023. The U.S. government announced the implementation of the Family Reunification Parole Process for El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Colombia. The program will be available to beneficiaries of an approved I-130 petition who are waiting for an immigrant visa to become available. In order to participate, the petitioner must first receive a written invitation from the U.S. Department of State to file Form I-134A, Online Request to be a Supporter and Declaration of Financial Support. Individuals who receive parole may apply for a work permit and remain in the U.S. until eligible to apply for permanent residence. Please consult with your attorney for information about how this program may apply to your situation.
May 10, 2023. U.S. officials recently announced “sweeping new measures” to reduce unlawful migration across the Western Hemisphere. One of the new measures includes the creation of a parole program to reunite family members from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Colombia. The government has not yet published the rules for this new parole program, but it appears individuals must be beneficiaries of a family-based petition to qualify. This is different from recent humanitarian programs for individuals from Ukraine, Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela that do NOT require a family-based immigration petition. Please consult with your attorney for up-to-date information about how this program may apply to your situation.
March 27, 2023. In general, all workers in the U.S. must prove that they are legally authorized to work. One form of proof is a work permit called an “Employment Authorization Document (EAD).” A worker can typically renew an EAD before it expires. However, processing delays at United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have become so lengthy that an EAD may expire months before USCIS approves a routine renewal application.
These delays cause serious harm to workers who lose employment authorization and to employers who cannot verify an employee’s permission to work. To reduce this harm, USCIS has temporarily extended the validity of certain EAD’s for up to 540 days. In general, the automatic extension is available if:
The renewal application was filed before the EAD expired.
The renewal application is based on the same eligibility category as the existing EAD.
The eligibility category for the EAD also qualifies for an automatic extension. https://www.uscis.gov/eadautoextend
The American Immigration Lawyers Association has published this flyer with more details. Please consult with an attorney for advice about your situation.
Read Kara Hart's blog post on the American Immigration Lawyer's Association (AILA) Think Immigration blog.
February 7, 2023. The Importance of Filing Proper Tax Returns for Immigration Purposes
USCIS EXTENDS VALIDITY OF GREEN CARDS FOR CONDITIONAL RESIDENTS WITH PENDING I-751. IS THIS GOOD NEWS?
January 23, 2023. When USCIS approves a green card based on a marriage, but the couple has not yet been married for two years, USCIS grants a temporary or “conditional residence” to the immigrant spouse. The immigrant’s status and green card are only valid for two years. The couple must file another application, Form I-751, before the card expires to remove the conditions on the spouse’s residence. USCIS recently announced that they will extend the validity of a conditional green card for four years when they receive an I-751 application. While this policy may save conditional residents the hassle of requesting ongoing proof of their status, it also signals that USCIS processing times are not likely to improve anytime soon. Is this good news?
December 14, 2022. Beginning December 12, 2022, USCIS will automatically extend the validity of a permanent resident card for 24 months when the permanent resident files an N-400, Application for Naturalization. This policy will reduce the need for many naturalization applicants to file I-90 applications to renew their green cards or to obtain an Alien Documentation Identification and Telecommunication [ADIT] stamp in their passport as proof of their permanent resident status.
November 8, 2021. Effective November 8, 2021, adult travelers to the United States must provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 before boarding a flight. This proclamation replaces previous restrictions that banned the entry of people from specific countries. This flyer provides more information about the vaccination requirements and any exceptions available.
September 15, 2021. Effective Oct. 1, 2021, applicants subject to the immigration medical examination must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before the civil surgeon can complete an immigration medical examination and sign Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record. Individuals may request an exemption based on health reasons, vaccine availability, or religious beliefs. Speak with you attorney about your situation.
June 12, 2021. As U.S. Consulates and Embassies around the world reopen, approximately 500,000 people are waiting for appointments to complete the processing of Immigrant Visas. This flyer explains how the U.S. Consulates and Embassies are prioritizing cases.
January 27, 2021. President Biden issued several orders concerning DACA, travel bans, asylum, and possible legalization programs. Some orders take effect immediately. Other proposals require the approval of Congress and will take more time to implement. Please consult with your attorney for information about how these changes may apply to your situation.
September 29, 2020. A federal judge in the Northern District of California issued an order that temporarily prohibits USCIS from implementing fee increases that were to go into effect on October 2. The judge found that the plaintiffs were likely to prove that the Acting Secretaries of Homeland Security and USCIS did not have the lawful authority to issue the rule to raise fees, and that the rule failed to meet data requirements under the Administrative Procedures Act. It is difficult to predict how long this order will remain in effect. Please consult with your attorney for up to date information about how these rules apply to your situation.
September 12, 2020. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the order that temporarily prohibited USCIS from implementing the new public charge rule in CT, NY, and VT. This means that once again, USCIS can apply the new public charge rule nationwide. Please consult with your attorney for up to date information about how the rules apply to your situation.
August 18, 2020. USCIS recently announced significant increases in filing fees, effective on October 2, 2020. Among other changes, the filing fee for an N-400 Application for Naturalization will increase from $640 to $1,170. USCIS will also require separate fees for work permits and travel documents when filed with an I-485 Application to Adjust Status raising the total cost from $1,140 to $2,270.
August 18, 2020. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals recently upheld two rulings that barred USCIS from implementing the new public charge rule in CT, NY, and VT. In one case the Court found that the public charge rule may exacerbate the COVID-19 health crisis by deterring individuals from seeking health care. In another case, the Court held that the new public charge rule is likely contrary to the laws passes by Congress and is arbitrary and capricious.
June 18, 2020. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Trump Administration cannot end the DACA program as proposed. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals [DACA] provides temporary relief from deportation to certain individuals allowing them to live and work in the United States.
May 29, 2020. USCIS will begin to schedule certain in-person services beginning on June 4, 2020. Application support centers that conduct biometrics appointments will NOT open until a later date. USCIS has announced that it will take several precautions against the spread of COVID-19 as it reopens to the public.
April 24, 2020. USCIS extended the suspension of in-person services including biometrics appointments, interviews, and naturalization ceremonies until at least June 4. USCIS will reschedule appointments and continues work that does not involve contact with the public.
April 23, 2020. The proclamation went into effect at 11:59 pm (ET) on April 23, 2020 and may be extended. Certain individuals are exempt from the ban including: lawful permanent residents (green card holders); certain health care workers and their family members; spouses and children of U.S. citizens; and others. The ban does not currently apply to nonimmigrant visa holders or asylum seekers. For more information, see this fact sheet.
April 3, 2020. USCIS suspended in-person services including biometrics appointments, interviews, and naturalization ceremonies until at least May 3. USCIS will reschedule appointments and continues work that does not involve contact with the public.
Read Kara Hart's blog post on the American Immigration Lawyer's Association (AILA) Think Immigration blog.
February 25, 2020. The new Public Charge Rule is in effect. Does the rule apply to you? What benefits are a problem under the new Public Charge rule? Learn more here.
February 5, 2020. USCIS will require new forms and evidence for the heightened public charge requirements. Any application filed as of February 24 must meet the new standard.
January 27, 2020. Supreme Court lets immigration officials enforce new “Public Charge” rule which dramatically expands the definition of who is considered too poor to qualify for a green card.
January 23, 2020. New rule will deny tourist visas to any woman traveling to the US to give birth so that her baby can obtain US citizenship. Rule applies only at time of visa application.
USCIS Fee Increase Proposed Rule Could Represent the Latest Step in Reshaping Immigration to United States
December 2019. Immigration officials propose massive increases in filing fees for green cards, naturalization, and other applications.