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 summary, which is based in large part on information provided by the American Immigration Lawyers’ Association (AILA).

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What Type of China Birth Certificate Is Required for U.S. Immigration?

If you were born in Mainland China and are applying for a U.S. green card, you will need to submit a China birth certificate. That’s true regardless of whether you are filing a Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status, with USCIS or are applying for an immigrant visa at a U.S. consulate abroad.

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Special Considerations for Visa Processing at U.S. Consular Posts in China

Q&ASince our firm’s offices are in China, we are often asked by lawyers in the U.S. to work as local counsel for U.S. visa applications at the U.S. Consulates in Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Chengdu, and Shenyang. We make it our business to know each consulate’s policies, practices, and procedures. Here are the basic tips we give most frequently to stateside lawyers: Continue reading “Special Considerations for Visa Processing at U.S. Consular Posts in China”

Must an Immigrant Visa Applicant Intend to Live in the U.S. Permanently?

movingClients often ask whether to qualify for an immigrant visa (i.e., a green card) they must intend to move to the U.S. permanently. Take, for example, a father who owns a business in China. Can he apply for an EB-5 investor green card so that his teenage son can accompany him to the U.S., even if the father doesn’t intend to reside there? Continue reading “Must an Immigrant Visa Applicant Intend to Live in the U.S. Permanently?”

Nonimmigrant vs. Immigrant Visa–What’s the Difference?

U.S. law provides for both immigrant and nonimmigrant visas. Immigrant visas (i.e., permanent resident status or green cards) allow for indefinite residence in the United States. Most immigrant visas are issued on the basis of family sponsorship or through employment (including investment).

In contrast, nonimmigrant visas allow entry only for a limited period an only to carry out specified activities. There are 24 major nonimmigrant visa categories, and 87 specific types of nonimmigrant visas issued. Each NIV category is identified by a particular letter, starting with “A” and currently using up the English alphabet through the letter “V.” The NIV application process is designed to be quicker and less cumbersome than that for immigrant visas.

USCIS Fee Increase

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced it is raising fees an average of 10%, effective Nov. 23, 2010. The agency is primarily fee-based, with about 90% of its budget coming from applicants and petitioners seeking immigration benefits. The agency justifies the fee increase as a way to recover costs after fiscal year 2008 and 2009 revenue was much lower than projected, due in large part to increased migration during the global recession.

Highlights of the new fees include:

* Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker: increased from $320 to $325.

* Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancee: reduced from $455 to $340.

* Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative: increased from $355 to $420.

* Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status: increased from $930 to $985.

* Form I-526, Petition for Alien Entrepreneur: increased from $1,435 to $1,500.

* Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions of Residence: increased from $465 to $505.

* Form N-400, Application for Naturalization: not changed, $595.

There will also be a new fee of $165 for Immigrant Visa Domestic Processing. This fee will apply to applicants for immigrant visas. It is designed to recover the costs of USCIS staff time to process, file, and maintain the visa package and the cost of producing the permanent resident card. The U.S. Department of State will collect the fee on behalf of USCIS, although the precise logistics have not yet been announced.

DOS Increases Fees for Immigrant Visas & American Citizen Services

I previously reported on fee increases by the U.S. Department of State (DOS) for nonimmigrant visas effective June 4, 2010.

Now, DOS has also issued an interim final rule increasing fees for immigrant visas and certain American Citizen Services, effective July 13. DOS justifies the changes by citing an independent cost of service study’s findings that the U.S. Government is not fully covering its costs for providing these services.

Here are the changes for the most common fees:

Immigrant Visa Fees
IV Application Processing Fee    
   Family-based immigrant visa $ 355.00 $ 330.00
   Employment-based immigrant visa $ 355.00 $ 720.00
   Other immigrant visas (SIVs, DVs, etc.) $ 355.00 $ 305.00
IV Security Surcharge $ 45.00 $ 74.00
Domestic (NVC) review of Affidavit of Support $  70.00 $ 88.00
Determining Returning Resident Status $ 400.00 $ 380.00
Passport Fees
Additional passport visa pages $ 82.00
Consular Report of Birth Abroad $ 65.00 $  100.00
Renunciation of U.S. Citizenship $ 450.00

Permanent Resident Card Production Delays

USCIS has announced that applicants may experience up to an eight-week delay in the delivery of their permanent resident cards while USCIS upgrades its card production equipment.

If you have recently been admitted to the U.S. as an immigrant, you will still be able to travel and seek employment in the U.S. Your immigrant visa stamped by USCIS at the time of admission is valid evidence of lawful permanent resident (LPR) status for one year from the date of admission.