Release Date 09/17/2020
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today published a new section (PDF, 296.54 KB) in the USCIS Policy Manual relating to the O nonimmigrant classifications. O-1 nonimmigrant status is available for aliens of “extraordinary ability” in the sciences, arts, business, education, and athletics, and aliens with a record of “extraordinary achievement” in the motion picture or television industry, who are coming to the United States temporarily to work in their area of ability or achievement. O-2 nonimmigrant status is available for essential support personnel coming solely to assist an O-1 artist or athlete.
The new section expands guidance on evaluating O-1 eligibility, including how officers determine if the petitioner has satisfied the evidentiary criteria and established that the beneficiary has extraordinary ability or extraordinary achievement, as applicable. It also clarifies when a petitioner may rely upon “comparable evidence” to meet the requirements for certain O-1 beneficiaries.
USCIS is also incorporating existing guidance relating to certain nonimmigrant athletes, coaches and entertainers (otherwise known as the P-1, P-2, and P-3 nonimmigrant classifications), and their essential support personnel into the Policy Manual.
For more information, see the USCIS Policy Manual.
USCIS, in coordination with Department of State (DOS), is revising the procedures for determining visa availability for applicants waiting to file for employment-based or family-sponsored preference adjustment of status. The revised process will better align with procedures DOS uses for foreign nationals who seek to become U.S. permanent residents by applying for immigrant visas at U.S. consulates and embassies abroad.
Click on the link below to access the September 2020 Visa Bulletin directly from the Department of States' web page:
Release Date 08/25/2020
Drastic cuts will impact agency operations for foreseeable future
WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced that the agency will avert an administrative furlough of more than 13,000 employees, scheduled to begin Aug. 30 as a result of unprecedented spending cuts and a steady increase in daily incoming revenue and receipts.
USCIS expects to be able to maintain operations through the end of fiscal year 2020. Aggressive spending reduction measures will impact all agency operations, including naturalizations, and will drastically impact agency contracts.
“Our workforce is the backbone of every USCIS accomplishment. Their resilience and strength of character always serves the nation well, but in this year of uncertainty, they remain steadfast in their mission administering our nation’s lawful immigration system, safeguarding its integrity and protecting the American people, even as a furlough loomed before them,” said USCIS Deputy Director for Policy Joseph Edlow. “However, averting this furlough comes at a severe operational cost that will increase backlogs and wait times across the board, with no guarantee we can avoid future furloughs. A return to normal operating procedures requires congressional intervention to sustain the agency through fiscal year 2021.”
The additional cost savings come through the descoping of federal contracts that assist USCIS adjudicators in processing and preparing case files as well as a myriad of other support activities. Anticipated operational impacts include increased wait times for pending case inquiries with the USCIS Contact Center, longer case processing times, and increased adjudication time for aliens adjusting status or naturalizing. Naturalization ceremonies will continue. Previously, members of Congress requested that agency leadership avoid operational cuts of this magnitude. However, Congress must still act on a long-term solution that will provide USCIS with the necessary financial assistance to sustain the agency throughout FY 2021 and beyond.
For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit uscis.gov
July 1, 2020
In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is extending the flexibilities it announced on March 30, 2020, to assist applicants and petitioners who are responding to certain:
This flexibility applies to the above documents if the issuance date listed on the request, notice or decision is between March 1 and Sept. 11, 2020, inclusive.
USCIS will consider a response to the above requests and notices received within 60 calendar days after the response due date set in the request or notice before taking any action. We will consider a Form N-336 or Form I-290B received up to 60 calendar days from the date of the decision before we take any action.
We are adopting several measures to protect our workforce and community and to minimize the immigration consequences for those seeking immigration benefits during this time.
USCIS will provide further updates as the situation develops and will continue to follow CDC guidance. Education and precautions are the strongest tools against COVID-19 infection. Please visit uscis.gov/coronavirus for USCIS updates.
Release Date: June 22, 2020
WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced a regulatory change to deter aliens from illegally entering the United States and from filing frivolous, fraudulent, or otherwise non-meritorious claims for asylum to obtain an employment authorization document. This rule does not alter asylum eligibility criteria in any way and will be effective on Aug. 25.
This rule stems from the April 29, 2019, Presidential Memorandum on Additional Measures to Enhance Border Security and Restore Integrity to Our Immigration System, which emphasizes that it is the policy of the United States to manage humanitarian immigration programs in a safe and orderly manner, and to promptly deny benefits to those who do not qualify.
“Safeguarding the integrity of our nation’s legal immigration system from those who seek to exploit or abuse it is key to the USCIS mission,” said Joseph Edlow, the USCIS Deputy Director for Policy. “The reforms in this rule are designed to restore integrity to the asylum system and to reduce any incentive to file an asylum application for the primary purpose of obtaining work authorization. It also deters frivolous and non-meritorious applications by eliminating employment authorization for aliens who have failed to file for asylum within one year of their last entry until USCIS or an immigration judge determines the alien’s eligibility for asylum.”
The rule prevents aliens who, absent good cause, illegally entered the United States from obtaining employment authorization based on a pending asylum application. Additionally, the rule defines new bars and denials for employment authorization, such as for certain criminal behavior; extends the wait time before an asylum applicant can apply for employment authorization from 150 days to 365 calendar days; limits the employment authorization validity period to a maximum of two years; and automatically terminates employment authorization when an applicant’s asylum denial is administratively final.
For more information read the final rule, scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on June 26.
For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit uscis.gov
Release Date: June 19, 2020
WASHINGTON — U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Deputy Director for Policy Joseph Edlow issued the following statement on today’s Supreme Court decision on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program:
Today’s court opinion has no basis in law and merely delays the President’s lawful ability to end the illegal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals amnesty program.
“DACA was created through an Executive Branch memorandum after President Obama said repeatedly that it was illegal for him to do so unilaterally and despite the fact that Congress affirmatively rejected the proposal on multiple occasions. The constitutionality of this de facto amnesty program created by the Obama administration has been widely questioned since its inception. The fact remains that under DACA, hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens continue to remain in our country in violation of the laws passed by Congress and to take jobs Americans need now more than ever. Ultimately, DACA is not a long-term solution for anyone, and if Congress wants to provide a permanent solution for these illegal aliens it needs to step in to reform our immigration laws and prove that the cornerstone of our democracy is that presidents cannot legislate with a ‘pen and a phone.”
For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit uscis.gov .
The Department of State (DOS) created a web page where the participants in the 2021 Visa lottery (DV) lottery can find out if they have entered the second phase of the contest that delivers 55,000 residence cards (Green Card).
Verification of the contestant's status in the 2021 Diversity Visa (DV) electronic lottery is available until September 30.
For more information visit the website:
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