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Category: Green Card

USCIS Issues Updated Guidance on I-751 Interview Waivers

Posted December 5, 2018Kristen KellarGreen Card

USCIS recently issued a policy memorandum revising guidance for Form I-751 interview waivers. Form I-751 is filed to removed conditions on permanent residents whose lawful permanent residence is based on a qualifying marriage that is less than two years old at the time of admission or adjustment of status.

Generally, individuals who file a Form I-751 must appear for an interview with a USCIS officer. All I-751s filed on or after December 10, 2018 are subject to the new policy memorandum. The new guidance states that officers may waive the interview if the following conditions are met:

  • The officer can make a decision on the record because it contains sufficient evidence about the bona fides of the marriage and that the marriage was not entered into for the purpose of evading the immigration laws of the United States;
  • For Form I-751 cases received on or after December 10, 2018, USCIS has previously interviewed the I-751 principal petitioner (for example, for a Form I-485 or Form I-130);
  • There is no indication of fraud or misrepresentation in the Form I-751 of the supporting documentation; and
  • There are no complex facts or issues that require an interview to resolve questions or concerns.

If you have any questions about the policy memorandum and how it could affect your application, please reach out to your designated Meltzer Hellrung LLC attorney.

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Update on Medical Exams for Adjustment of Status (Green Card) Applications

Posted October 17, 2018Karen GillespieGreen Card
The USCIS recently announced a policy change in its acceptance of the I-693 Medical Exam required for final issuance of Legal Permanent Residence (Green Card) status. Previously, the USCIS policy was that an I-693 Medical Exam was valid for only 12 months after its issuance by a Civil Surgeon. The new policy announced by the USCIS is to extend the validity length to 2 years after issuance by a Civil Surgeon. However, the USCIS also added a requirement that the medical exam will only be accepted if it was performed within 60 days of its filing or presentation to the USCIS. While the 1-year validity period was in effect, Meltzer Hellrung advised clients to omit the I-693 Medical Exam when submitting the green card application [Form I-485]. The reason for this omission is two-fold: 1) the USCIS does not consider it a required document at the time of filing so there is no negative impact on the application to wait; and 2) because the USCIS is often taking more than 1 year to schedule an interview and issue the green card, medical exams submitted with an initial filing are often expired before the case is ready for adjudication and the applicant would have to get a second exam completed. The second exam would result in unnecessary cost and inconvenience. Based on the new 2-year validity period, Meltzer Hellrung still advises clients that it is best to omit the medical exam with the initial filing. The USCIS will be able to continue adjudication of the case and applicants can simply bring their initial I-693 Medical Exam forms to their in-person interview. While some clients may prefer to complete the medical exam with the initial filing, they must be sure to promptly forward those results to the attorney to make sure the case is filed within the 60-day window. Similarly, individuals who opt to bring their exam results to their interview rather than file with their application should also be aware of the 60-day window and only get their medical exam performed when within 60 days of their scheduled in-person interview. If an interview has to be rescheduled for any reason, it is possible their medical exam may expire and a new one may need to be obtained. Our attorneys will work with clients on a case-by-case basis to determine what the best strategy is for your individual needs but, in general, advise waiting until the interview phase to complete and submit your I-693 Medical Exam. As always, contact your Meltzer Hellrung attorney for additional questions or discussion on this and any other immigration matter.

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Diversity Lottery for FY 2020 will open on October 3, 2018

Posted October 1, 2018Cynthia S. CoulangeGreen Card

Every year the Department of State administers a Diversity Immigrant Visa lottery for individuals from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States. Fifty-thousand visas will be available for fiscal year 2020.  There is no cost associated with registering for the lottery.

The following countries are not eligible to apply because nationals of these countries had more than 50,000 people immigrate to the United States in the previous five years:

  • Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam.
  • Individuals born in Honk Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan are eligible.

Applicants may submit entries beginning Noon EST October 3, 2018 until Noon EST November 6, 2018. Entries should be submitted online at dvlottery.state.gov. Only one entry per person is permitted during each registration period. Individuals with more than one entry will be disqualified.

The Department of State will randomly select individuals through a computer process and the results of the lottery will be available online beginning May 7, 2019 through September 30, 2020.

We encourage nationals from eligible countries to apply for the lottery as an alternative or in conjunction to employment-based immigrant visa options.

As, always, if you have any questions regarding the Diversity Lottery, please reach out to your designated Meltzer Hellrung attorney. 

 

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Form I-751 Receipt Delays at the California Service Center

Posted June 20, 2018Kristen KellarGreen Card

USCIS' California Service Center is experiencing delays with data entry for Form I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence for cases filed in May 2018. USCIS does not issue receipt notices until the data entry is completed, which may result in a delay in receiving the receipt notice.

USCIS advises that individuals who filed a Form I-751 in May 2018 and have not received a receipt notice do not refile the case unless they have received a rejection notice or are otherwise instructed to do so by the California Service Center.

USCIS aims to complete data entry for these petitions by the end of June 2018. For those whose 2-year green card has expired and a receipt notice has not yet arrived, USCIS instructs calling its Contact Center at 1-800-375-5293 to set up an appointment with a local field office.

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USCIS Improves Receipt Notices for I-751 and I-829 Petitions to Remove Conditions of Permanent Residence

Posted June 18, 2018Matthew MeltzerGreen Card

For individuals who have filed Form I-751 (removal of conditions on marriage-based green card or Form I-829 (removal of conditions on investor-based green card), you know that the USCIS often takes over a year or more to review these petitions.

You also know that the I-797 receipt notice is the only proof of lawful presence and work authorization, but the receipt itself expires after a year. Individuals who have filed I-751 or I-829 often have to schedule infopass appointments to receive temporary I-551 stamps in their passports to get continued work and travel authorization beyond the date listed on the I-797 receipt.

We wish the USCIS would just speed up their processing, but at least they are now extending the validity period of the receipt from 12 to 18 months. Additionally , the USICs will issue new I-797 receipts to individuals with pending petitions as of June 11th.

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