On December 1, 2017, the US District Court in DC ruled in favor of the entrepreneurs and venture capitals and vacated the rule (“Delay Rule”) delaying the effective date of the Parole for International Entrepreneurs Rule (PIER) until March 14, 2018. In the Delay Rule, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) also stated that the PIER was “highly likely to be revoked.” This ruling represents a great step forward towards a fully operational “startup visa” in the US and is a win for entrepreneurs all over the world that are seeking to grow their companies in the US market.
Effective October 1, 2017 nationwide, USCIS will begin contacting those who filed their employment-based petitions after March 6th for interviews when they have also applied for Adjustment of Status to Permanent Residence. The USCIS Ombudsman provided an informative Q and A session last Thursday. Here is what applicants need to know:
- Under 14 years old may be waived from the interview requirement – there is a waiver that applicants must complete.
- Will receive a separate notice, but family groups should be scheduled for the interview at the same time. However, they make no promises that it will be at the same time.
- Family members could be expected to prove relationship to the primary beneficiary – bring copies and originals of certificates. Officer may also require showing that the marriage was bona fide.
- USCIS does not want applicants to send in unsolicited documents after the initial application is submitted. Because of the multiple steps involved, if USCIS needs new evidence, they will request them and applicants should follow the address and the instructions on the RFE so that the documents do not get lost.
- Questions that will be asked include those that are on the I-485 and the applicant’s eligibility for Adjustment, and admissibility issues. Also, officers may ask into what the beneficiary/self-petitioner will do, their experience, and their educational background. The main purpose of pursuing these interviews is fraud detection and national security, so referrals to ICE is possible if interviewing officer detects credible threats.
- Processing times: USCIS does not believe that these interviews will affect the processing times for the Employment-Based Adjustment applications, however, we may see some slow-down on family-based adjustments and naturalization interviews because of this.
- If the defects in the I-140 were a basis for the denial, then the field office will return the I-485 and the I-140 together to the service center and recommend that it be revoked. If the service center determines that the I-140 should not be revoked, then the service center will approve the application.
- On the other hand, if the I-140 is okay, but there are defects in the I-485, then the field office will refer the case to the consulate to be re-adjudicated in accordance with consular processing.
- Medical Exams: Without further advice from USCIS at this moment, we would also recommend waiting until you are contacted through the Request for Evidence or at the interview to submit the medical examination. Because the medical exams are only valid for one year and it could take a year or more for the Adjustment application, it could be a waste of money and resources to submit the medical exams with the I-485 packet.
Our office is ready to help Employment-Based adjustment applicants prepare for these interviews, collect the required documents, and go with them, if necessary. Please contact us if you wish to have some assistance in these uncertain times.
In March, President Trump issued a new version to Executive Order #13780 (EO), which banned individuals from 6 countries – Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen – from entering the US for 90 days. This had been dubbed in the media as the Muslim Ban. Suits were filed to halt the enforcement of the EO. The Federal District Courts granted the preliminary injunctions. The Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and the Ninth Circuit then upheld the preliminary injunctions.
Every month, the Department of State (DOS) receives information from the National Visa Center (NVC) about the total of visa applicants in the queue. From there, they predict the number of visas that would be available next month. Every year, the US makes available a total of approximately 226,000 family-based visas, 140,000 employment-based visas, and 55,000 Diversity Lottery visas, which is the topic of another blog. These total amounts are divided into preference categories and then divided into several specified countries and the rest of the world to determine how many visas are available for each country of chargeability. That number is then divided into the number of months to determine the number of visas for each preference category from each country that will be accepted each month.
The Department of Homeland Security released the Proposed Rule of the USCIS Fee Schedule yesterday. According to the Proposal, the increase in fees are intended to cover shortages in the Immigration Examination Fee Account (IEFA). The fees are used to meet certain national security, customer service, and adjudicative processing goals. The Proposal details how they have used the fees in the past, such as, for example, the Electronic Immigration System (ELIS) and improving processing times.