USCIS Update: Biometrics Appointment Delays

In a December 29, 2020 Stakeholder Message, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provided an update on biometrics appointment delays at Application Support Centers (ASCs) due to COVID-19. USCIS collects biometrics for certain kinds of applications, including but not limited to: Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status Form I-131, Application for Travel Document (including reentry permit)…

USCIS Filing Fees Update: Gov’t Withdraws 9th Circuit Appeal

Dec. 29, 2020 Update Yesterday, the government filed a motion for voluntary dismissal of its appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Immigrant Legal Resource Center et al., v. Wolf, et al., a legal challenge to the USCIS final rule from Aug. 20, which increased filing fees and required new versions of…

USCIS Processing Times for I-129Fs and I-130s for Immediate Relatives

This post includes two tables: Table 1 shows numbers of I-130s received, approved, denied, and pending at each service center. Source: USCIS Performance Data. Table 2 shows processing times at all Service Centers for: Forms I-130, Petitions for Alien Relatives, filed by U.S. citizens for immediate relatives (i.e., spouses, parents, or children under 21). In…

Can USCIS Reuse Biometrics Submitted Previously?

If an individual previously submitted biometrics in connection with a prior application, can USCIS reuse those biometrics in connection with a new application? Once a USCIS application support center collects an applicant’s biometrics, the FBI conducts a “name check” on the applicant. If fingerprints were taken for a naturalization application, the FBI response is valid…

Public Charge Litigation Update: Court of Appeals Stays Order Vacating DHS Public Charge Rule Nationwide

“Public charge” is a ground of inadmissibility. Grounds of inadmissibility are reasons that a person could be denied a green card, visa, or admission into the United States. A battle is being fought out in federal courts across the country over the legality of a Trump administration attempt to modify public charge rules.

Consular Posts May Prioritize K-1 Visas

On Aug. 31 the State Department announced that consular posts may give high priority to K-1 (fiancée) visas: Effective August 28, as it becomes safe to resume more consular operations at each U.S. mission, posts are authorized to give K visa cases high priority.  Applicants should check the website of their nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate…

Looking to Sue Over the Public Charge Rule?

The Department of Homeland Security’s new public charge rule is subject to challenge in court on multiple grounds. American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) is seeking potential plaintiffs for litigation challenging the USCIS Policy Manual as it relates to pubic charge issues. Potential plaintiffs include: Persons with rejected applications, denied applications, or requests for evidence due…

Getting Married in China: a Guide for U.S. Citizens

1. Introduction This article gives an overview of the requirements and procedures for marriage in China between a U.S. citizen and a Chinese citizen.[1] Chinese law applies when getting married in China.[2] The U.S. Embassy and Consulates in China cannot perform marriages. Local requirements and procedures may vary, so contact local authorities to confirm. 2.…

Litigation Update: Presidential Proclamation Requiring Health Insurance

On Oct. 4, 2019, President Trump issued a proclamation suspending issuance of immigrant visas to applicants who lack either U.S. health insurance or substantial assets to cover their health expenses. For a summary, see our firm’s client alert. On May 4, 2020, the Federal Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit refused to stay a…

Trump Suspends Entry of Immigrants Who Are “Risk” to Labor Market

President Trump has published Executive Order 10014, suspending immigration, as he had previously tweeted about. Effective Date: The proclamation becomes effective on Thursday, April 23, 2020 at 11:59 PM (ET). Whose Entry Is Suspended? The order suspends the entry of any individual seeking to enter the U.S. as an immigrant who: Is outside the United…

Applying for a Replacement or New Immigrant Visa

An immigrant visa is generally valid for a period of up to 6 months. You must enter the U.S. within this 6-month period.[1] Consular officers do not have the authority to extend the validity of an immigrant visa (IV). But, as explained below, it may be possible to apply for a replacement or new IV.…

I-130s No Longer Accepted by USCIS International Offices

USCIS will no longer accept and adjudicate Forms I-130, Petitions for Alien Relatives, at its international field offices.[1] The announcement was made Jan. 31 and effective the following day. This follows a period beginning Mar. 2019 when USCIS began to close most of its international offices. Still, the Trump administration should be graded “F” for failure…

Choosing the Best Visa Strategy for a Fiancée or Spouse: K-1, K-3, or CR1/IR1 Immigrant Visa?

A U.S. citizen planning to file a visa petition for a foreign fiancée or spouse who is outside the U.S. may have various strategies to choose from. The most common options are the K-1 fiancée visa, the K-3 visa, and the CR1/IR1 immigrant visa. This article analyzes the factors to be considered in choosing among…

Top 11 Ways to Prove a Valid Marriage for Immigration

Do you have an immigration case which will require you to prove the validity of your marital relationship to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services or to a U.S. Consulate? For example, are you seeking to (a) immigrate based on a spouse’s Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, (b) get a K-1 visa based on a…

New DHS Public Charge Rule

On August 14, 2019, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a final rule governing the public charge grounds of inadmissibility, found at section 212(a)(4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Unless litigation halts implementation of the rule, it will go into effect after 60 days, on October 15, 2019. Here is a…