USCIS Policy on False Claims Citizenship

USCIS is updating its Policy Manual (PDF, 307 KB) to align with BIA precedent decision Matter of Zhang from June 2019, in which the BIA held that false claims of U.S. citizenship do not need to be knowingly made to make an alien deportable. Under the law, an alien is inadmissible or deportable if the alien falsely represents him or herself to be a citizen of the United States for any purpose or benefit under immigration law or under other federal or state law. The only exception Congress provided to the false claim to U.S. citizenship ground of inadmissibility requires that each parent of the alien is or was a U.S. citizen, the alien permanently resided in the United States before the age of 16, and the alien reasonably believed he or she was a U.S. citizen when claiming to be one.

USCIS Offices Reopening 06/04/20

On March 18, USCIS temporarily suspended in-person services at its field offices, asylum offices, and application support centers ) due to the coronavirus pandemic. USCIS has planned to reopen offices on or after June 4. Officers in these offices are continuing to perform essential services that do not require face-to-face contact with the public while the offices are closed. While offices are temporarily closed, USCIS will continue to provide limited emergency in-person services.

Executive Order Due to Pandemic

President Trump will be issuing an executive order that temporarily halts immigration to the United States for a period of at least 60 days, due to the current Coronavirus pandemic. People outside of the United States seeking to legally migrate to the US, with some exceptions. The order doesn’t apply to spouses and minor children of US citizens; health care professionals; any member of the US Armed Forces and their spouses and children; and anyone entering for law enforcement or national security reasons. For more information, please contact Agarwal Law Offices at 978-905-9992.

Covid Delays

USCIS has issued the following re: delays concerning the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recognizes that there are immigration-related challenges as a direct result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We continue to carefully analyze these issues and to leverage our resources to effectively address these challenges within our existing authorities. DHS also continues to take action to protect the American people and our communities, and is considering a number of policies and procedures to improve the employment opportunities of U.S. workers during this pandemic.”

For assistance with any USCIS filing, please reach out to Agarwal Law Offices at 978-905-9992.

USCIS Guidance on Extensions

Generally, nonimmigrants must depart the United States before their authorized period of admission expires. However, due to Covid-19 the following options are available:

Apply for an Extension. Most nonimmigrants can mitigate the immigration consequences of COVID-19 by timely filing an application for extension of stay (EOS) or change in status (COS). U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services continues to accept and process applications and petitions, and many of our forms are available for online filing.

If You File in a Timely Manner. Nonimmigrants generally do not accrue unlawful presence while the timely-filed, non-frivolous EOS/COS application is pending.  Where applicable, employment authorization with the same employer, subject to the same terms and conditions of the prior approval, is automatically extended for up to 240 days after I-94 expiration when an extension of stay request is filed on time.

Flexibility for Late Applications. USCIS reminds petitioners and applicants that it can consider delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic when deciding whether to excuse delays in filing documents based on extraordinary circumstances.

USCIS Flexibility RFE

In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, USCIS has announced that it will provide some flexibility for those responding to requests for evidence (RFEs) and notices of intent to deny (NOIDs) dated between March 1 and May 1, 2020.

“For applicants and petitioners who receive an RFE or NOID dated between March 1 and May 1, 2020, any responses submitted within 60 calendar days after the response deadline set forth in the RFE or NOID will be considered by USCIS before any action is taken. USCIS is adopting several measures to protect our workforce and community, and to minimize the immigration consequences for those seeking immigration benefits during this time.”

Visas for Medical Professionals

The U.S. Department of State has released the following statement re: visas for medical professionals: “We encourage medical professionals with an approved U.S. non-immigrant or immigrant visa petition (I-129 or I-140 with a current priority date, or similar) or a certificate of eligibility in an approved exchange visitor program (DS-2019), particularly those working to treat or mitigate the effects of COVID-19, to review the website of their nearest embassy or consulate for procedures to request a visa appointment. For those foreign medical professionals already in the United States:

J-1 Alien Physicians (medical residents) may consult with their program sponsor, ECFMG, to extend their programs in the United States. Generally, a J-1 program for a foreign medical resident can be extended one year at a time for up to seven years.

USCIS Office Closure Extended

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has temporarily suspended in-person services at its field offices, asylum offices, and Application Support Centers (ASCs) to help slow the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). USCIS offices will reopen on May 4 unless the public closures are extended further. Employees in these offices are continuing to perform mission-essential services that do not require face-to-face contact with the public.