Update on Visa Processing Kabul

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul suspended operations on August 31, 2021. While the U.S. government has withdrawn its personnel from Kabul, the government will continue to assist U.S. citizens and their families in Afghanistan from Doha, Qatar and Lawful Permanent Residents, immigrant visa applicants, who are seeking to leave Afghanistan, including applicants for Special Immigrant Visas.

Resources for U.S. citizens in Afghanistan:

Information for Afghan Nationals on Parole

Individuals who are outside of the United States may request parole into the United States based on urgent humanitarian or significant public benefit reasons for a temporary period, on a case-by-case basis. While parole allows for lawful presence in the United States, the parolee technically remains an applicant for admission. Parole does not confer immigration status and does not provide a path to permanent residency or the ability to obtain lawful immigration status. However, a parolee may be able to obtain lawful status in the United States through other means.

USCIS may exercise discretion to authorize parole on a case-by-case basis for individuals with urgent humanitarian or significant public benefit reasons to come to the United States for a temporary period. To avoid delays, all relevant supporting evidence to show that the beneficiary qualifies for parole and merits a favorable exercise of discretion must be submitted with the Form I-131, Application for Travel Document. USCIS provides guidance on documentation to support parole requests on its webpage, Guidance on Evidence for Certain Types of Humanitarian or Significant Public Benefit Parole Requests.

DOJ Proposed Rulemaking to Improve Asylum Process

In a key step toward implementing the Administration’s blueprint for a fair, orderly, and humane immigration system, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Justice (DOJ) are publishing a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that would amend current regulations to improve the processing of asylum claims. The proposed rule would allow, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) asylum officers to hear and decide applications for asylum, withholding of removal, and Convention Against Torture (CAT) protection for individuals who receive a positive credible fear determination. These cases are currently assigned to immigration judges within DOJ’s Executive Office for Immigration Review.

Under the proposed process, an individual who establishes a credible fear of removal will be referred to a USCIS asylum officer for a hearing on the protection claims. The asylum officer will be authorized to adjudicate in the first instance requests for asylum, as well as eligibility for statutory withholding of removal or for withholding or deferral of removal under the Convention Against Torture. In a denied case, the individual may request de novo administrative review by an immigration judge under a streamlined process, with further administrative appeal available through the Board of Immigration Appeals.

USCIS Temporarily Extending Validity Period of Form I-693

Beginning Aug. 12, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is temporarily extending the validity period for Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, from two years to now four years due to COVID-19-related delays in processing. USCIS may consider a completed Form I-693 as valid if:

VSC New Address

Effective June 14, 2021, the Vermont Service Center will no longer receive any incoming mail at the St. Albans, VT facility, which is being decommissioned. Mail sent to the previous addresses will be forwarded for one year, but any mail sent to the previous addresses after June 2022 may be returned to the sender by the United States Postal Service or the courier service used.

USCIS Expands Partnership with SSA

USCIS announced that applicants filing for lawful permanent resident status are now able to apply for a Social Security number (SSN) or replacement card as part of the adjustment of status application process.

Previously, these individuals had to apply for a Social Security number at a Social Security office. USCIS is revising Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, to include the additional questions needed to apply for an SSN or a replacement card.

Visa Bulletin 08/21

The Visa Bulletin provides updated priority date information for family-based and employment-based green cards. Immigrants to the US are classified into two categories – those requiring placement on a waiting list and those not through their relationship to a US immediate relative. Further, there are numerical quotas on the green cards that require a priority date. If the number of applicants in a year is over the available visa numbers, those applicants are placed on a waiting list and are given a priority date, which estimates when an applicant would get a visa based on the number of previous applicants on the waiting list. Below is the link for the Visa Bulletin for August 2021: https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/law-and-policy/bulletin/2021/visa-bulletin-for-August-2021.html

Immigration Assistance to Those Affected by Unforeseen Circumstances

USCIS is reminding the public that we offer immigration services that may help people affected by unforeseen circumstances such as natural disasters. Examples of unforeseen circumstances include, but are not limited to, the wildfires in the western United States and the recent building collapse in Surfside, Florida.

The following measures may be available on a case-by-case basis upon request:

  • Changing a nonimmigrant status or extending a nonimmigrant stay for an individual currently in the United States. Failure to apply for the extension or change before expiration of your authorized period of admission may be excused if the delay was due to extraordinary circumstances beyond your control;
  • Re-parole of individuals previously granted parole by USCIS;
  • Expedited processing of advance parole requests;
  • Expedited adjudication of requests for off-campus employment authorization for F-1 students experiencing severe economic hardship;
  • Expedited adjudication of employment authorization applications, where appropriate;
  • Consideration of fee waiver requests due to an inability to pay;
  • Flexibility for those who received a Request for Evidence or a Notice of Intent to Deny but were unable to submit evidence or otherwise respond in a timely manner;
  • Flexibility if you were unable to appear for a scheduled interview with USCIS;
  • Expedited replacement of lost or damaged immigration or travel documents issued by USCIS, such as a Permanent Resident Card (Green Card), Employment Authorization Documents, and Arrival/Departure Record (Form I-94); and
  • Rescheduling a biometrics appointment.

Review Services

Are you looking for cost-effective attorney support without actually hiring for the entire processing of immigration filings? Based on feedback from the community and satisfied clients, we are pleased to offer the following services:

1. Review of adjustment of status application $500: includes full review of application with two 30-minute video calls to discuss edits and additions. Also includes one 30-minute follow-up session with Attorney during adjudication of case for questions/concerns.

2. Interview Preparation $500: includes basic review of application with two 45-minute video calls. The first call is to discuss what to expect at interview. The second call is a mock-style interview where individuals are separated and asked questions as will be done at interview. This includes a preparation guide as well to use while preparing. Also includes call on day of interview to discuss last minute questions or concerns.

Online TPS Filing

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that Temporary Protected Status (TPS) applicants who are eligible nationals of Burma, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela or Yemen, or individuals without nationality who last habitually resided in one of those countries, can now file Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status, online, if they are applying for TPS for the first time. All other TPS applicants and current beneficiaries who are re-registering under the extension of a TPS designation must continue to file a paper Form I-821. If an initial TPS applicant from a country other than Burma, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, or Yemen or a re-registrant files Form I-821 online, USCIS will deny the application and retain the fee. USCIS is working to make online filing available for re-registrants and initial applicants for all TPS designations in the future.