September 29, 2023 - Weekly Immigration News Update

Posted by Keshab R. Seadie | Sep 29, 2023 | 0 Comments

Dear Clients,

We hope this newsletter finds you well. We would like to bring to your attention some important updates from the USCIS regarding adjustment of status applications and other critical matters including the potential implications of a government shutdown.

Adjustment of Status Applicants Receiving Calls from USCIS Field Offices About Interviews

USCIS field offices are currently reaching out to adjustment of status applicants for various reasons. For those with pending employment-based adjustment of status applications, USCIS is requesting in-person appointments before the end of this week (September 30) to provide documentation in response to Requests for Evidence (RFEs).

Additionally, we've received reports of applicants receiving phone calls from field offices to reschedule interviews for pending family-based adjustment of status cases, even if an interview notice has not been received. It's worth noting that attorneys of record do not seem to be receiving notice of these phone calls or appointments.

USCIS Extends Maximum Validity Periods for EADs for Certain Categories

In a recent policy update, USCIS has extended the maximum validity periods for Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) to five years for certain noncitizens, including refugees, asylees, and those with pending adjustment of status applications. This change is effective as of September 27, 2023. Please take note of this extension and ensure compliance.

USCIS Encourages Employment-Based Visa Green Card Applicants to Respond to RFEs ASAP

USCIS has issued a vital alert concerning Requests for Evidence (RFEs) requesting a valid medical clearance (Form I-693). USCIS encourages prompt responses to these RFEs to expedite the adjudication of adjustment applications, with a goal to allocate immigrant visas before October 1, 2023.

USCIS Exempts the Form I-539 Biometrics Services Fee for All Applicants

Starting from October 1, 2023, USCIS will exempt the biometric services fee for Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, for applications postmarked on or after that date. This exemption is an important development to be aware of.

What Happens If the Government Shuts Down?

As the end of FY2023 approaches on September 30, 2023, we want to inform you about the potential implications of a government shutdown. At this time, Congress has not passed the necessary spending bills to keep the government open. Unless appropriations bills are passed or a temporary continuing resolution (CR) is agreed upon, government agency funding will lapse, potentially resulting in a shutdown.

In anticipation of this situation, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has updated its guidance regarding which activities are considered essential during a shutdown. Notably, USCIS is a fee-funded agency, so its operations are generally unaffected, with some exceptions.

We've summarized the potential impacts of a government shutdown on immigration-related agencies below:

  • USCIS: Most operations continue as usual due to fee funding, except for certain programs receiving appropriated funds.
  • DOS: Visa and passport operations are fee-funded and typically not impacted.
  • CBP: Inspection and law enforcement personnel are considered essential, and ports of entry remain open.
  • ICE: Enforcement and removal operations continue, with a focus on detained cases.
  • EOIR: Immigration court cases on the detained docket proceed, while non-detained docket cases are rescheduled.
  • DOL: OFLC processing ceases, and web-based systems become inaccessible.

DHS and DOS Announce Designation of Israel into the Visa Waiver Program

Exciting news for travelers! DHS and DOS have announced that, by November 30, 2023, citizens and nationals of Israel will be able to apply for travel to the United States for tourism or business purposes for up to 90 days without obtaining a U.S. visa.

Clarification on Change to Form I-129 Direct Filing Page for L-1 Petitions

We would like to clarify a recent change regarding the filing location for Form I-129 L-1 petitions. Starting from August 1, 2023, the Texas Service Center (TSC) is the only service center accepting all Form I-129L petitions. Please ensure that you are following the correct filing instructions on the USCIS website.

If you have any questions or require assistance with any of these matters, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. Your immigration needs are our priority, and we are here to provide guidance and support.

Best Regards,

Keshab Raj Seadie
Law Offices of Keshab Raj Seadie, P.C.

Disclaimer: This newsletter is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Always consult an attorney for personalized advice.

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