Biden announced new program

Today President Biden announced a new program for spouses of U.S. citizens and step-children of U.S. citizens who have been in the U.S. for ten years or more already. It will allow those with no criminal record to apply for a benefit to put them on a path for permanent residence without having to leave the U.S. In addition, there will also be a new program for DACA recipients to obtain employment-based visas. See the Fact Sheet from the White House or this page from the Department of Homeland Security for further details.

USCIS fees to increase

USCIS fees will be increasing on April 1, 2024. USCIS must have received your application or petition by March 28, 2024, for the current fees to apply. In order to assure that I have time to file your application or petition before the filing fee increase, please assure that I have received all of your documents by March, 12, 2024. Those received after that date, I may be able to file in time, but I may not. For those applications or petitions, I will file in the order that I received all of the documents required to file.

Temporary automatic extension for some employment authorizations

May 3, 2022 “U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a Temporary Final Rule (TFR) that increases the automatic extension period for employment authorization and Employment Authorization Documents (EADs), available to certain EAD renewal applicants, to up to 540 days.” This means those whose EADs are under this list, automatically have a 540 day extension from the expiration date on the card. That includes those who have EADs under a pending application to adjust status to that of a permanent resident.

COVID-19 Vaccinations Required

USICS and Department of State are now requiring a full COVID vaccination course, as part of the medical screening for new applications including all of those who have yet to have their immigrant visa appointments. Whether you are applying for a permanent residence (green card) within the U.S. or consular processing, full course of COVID vaccinations are now required. Separately, for those that completed the medical examination within the U.S. your medical exam report will now be valid for up to four years, due to USCIS’s long delays in processing permanent resident applications. This applies as long as your medical exam was completed withing sixty days prior to your application for permanent residence.

DACA recipients able to maintain DACA status

It is important to know that current DACA recipients are still able to maintain their DACA status and will be able to apply to renew their applications for now. The ruling from today (July 16, 2021) states that renewals may be approved. New applicants may continue to apply HOWEVER the court directed USCIS not to decide the new applications nor be able to issue employment authorization for those who had not had them approved as of today, pending outcome of further appeals. Read this New York Times article for more information.

Employment Authorization Documents now issued for 2 years

USCIS announced that most adjustment of status Employment Authorization Documents will now be issued for two years instead of one year. This is very helpful because of the dramatic increase in processing times at USCIS due to a combination of the former administration’s anti-immigrant policies and COVID19 slowdowns.