State Dep’t Creates National Interest Exceptions for Regional COVID Entry Bans

The Secretary of State has opened up cracks in the the entry bans for foreign nationals who have been in China, Iran, Schengen Area, United Kingdom, Ireland, Brazil, or South Africa within 14 days of applying for a visa or seeking entry to the United States. These entry bans were created by Presidential Proclamations 9984…

State Dep’t Update on Public Charge

Trump’s USCIS public charge rule is dead, and his State Department public charge rule is at death’s door. Here’s the latest announcement, dated Mar. 26, 2021, from the State Department: On July 29, 2020, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York enjoined the Department of State from “enforcing, applying, implementing,…

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

This post includes two tables: Table 1 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). More specifically, these processing times are for standalone I-130s, meaning I-130s not filed together with Form I-485, Application to Adjust…

USCIS Stops Applying Trump’s 2019 Public Charge Rule

It’s time to celebrate! USCIS has stopped applying the Trump administration’s 2019 public charge rule, also known as the “wealth test.” As background information, the United States has long refused to admit foreign nationals who are likely to become a “public charge.” According to 1999 Interim Field Guidance, a public charge was defined as a…

DHS to Stop Defending Trump’s Public Charge Rule in Court

DHS has released the below statement that it will no longer pursue appellate review of judicial decisions invalidating or enjoining the Trump administration’s 2019 public charge rule. Once the judicial invalidation of the 2019 rule becomes final, the 1999 interim field guidance on public charge will apply. This is fantastic news, but it does not…

Will Biden Dump Trump’s Public Charge Rule?

The Immigration and Nationality Act provides that a foreign national who is likely at any time in the future to become a “public charge” is inadmissible. The public charge ground of inadmissibility has existed in some form since at least 1882. The underlying public policy is that, generally, foreign nationals in the U.S. should rely…

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…

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…