USCIS Rolls Back Trump-Era Civics Test Changes for Naturalization Applicants

On Feb. 22, USCIS announced it is rolling back Trump-era changes to the civics test for naturalization applicants. The purpose of the civics test is for a naturalization applicant to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of the history, and of the principles and form of government, of the United States. As background, on…

Guide to Naturalization in the United States

Contents1. Introduction2. Requirements for Naturalization2.1 Age2.2 Lawfully Admitted for Permanent Residence2.3 Continuous Residence in the U.S. after Becoming a Lawful Permanent ResidentThe General RuleEarly FilingAbsence for a Continuous Period of One Year or MoreAbsence for a Continuous Period of Between Six Months and One YearAbsence for a Continuous Period Shorter Than Six MonthsAfter a Break…

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 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…

Biden Proclamation Continues COVID-Related Entry Suspensions

On January 25, 2021, President Biden signed a proclamationcontinuing the suspension of entry of certain travelers fromthe Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, the Republic ofIreland, Brazil, China, and Iran, and expanding restrictionsto include travelers from South Africa. U.S. citizens andlawful permanent residents are not subject to theproclamations. The full text of the January 25 proclamation…

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Categorized as COVID-19

Biden Lifts the Travel Ban on Muslim-Majority Countries

On Jan. 20, his first day in office, President Biden issued a Presidential Proclamation revoking the travel ban on Muslim-majority countries first put into place by President Trump in 2017. Biden’s proclamation orders the State Department to resume visa processing and to put into place a plan for (a) adjudicating visa applications by persons who…

Green Card Holders Staying Abroad Over 6 Months Risk Abandonment

Contents1. Introduction2. The Judicial Definition of “Temporary”3. Is There a “Return Every 6 Months” Rule”?4. Keeping a Valid Entry Document5. Applying for A Reentry Permit6. Proving Ties to the U.S. Outweigh Ties Abroad7. A Note on Taxes8. What Will Happen in the Airport if the CBP Officer Suspects Abandonment?8. Keep in Mind the Separate Requirements…

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…

Common Waivers of Inadmissibility

If a consular officer denies a visa application, there is no appeal. Still, there may be several ways to challenge a visa denial, such as requesting reconsideration, supervisorial review, or an advisory opinion, or resubmitting the application. If a visa denial cannot be overcome, it may be possible to request a “waiver.” A waiver is somewhat analogous to a pardon in criminal law, in that a waiver forgives an ineligibility, allowing visa issuance.

State Dep’t Limits B (Visitor) Visa Validity for Communist Party Members

On Dec. 2, the State Department issued new restrictions on B1/B2 (visitor for business or leisure) visas for members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and their families. While other Chinese citizens may obtain multiple-entry visas valid for entry within 10 years, under a 2014 reciprocal agreement between Presidents Obama and Xi Jinping, CCP members…

Job Opening: Bilingual Paralegal (Shenyang)

Our firm is growing! We are looking for a paralegal to work under lawyer supervision to manage all steps of U.S. immigration cases before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the State Department, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Case types include, for example: permanent residence (e.g., through family, investment, or employment) nonimmigrant visas (e.g., B,…

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.

Biden Beats Trump: What’s Next for Immigration Law?

What are the consequences for immigration law of Joe Biden’s election as the 46th president of the United States? The Trump administration’s legacy will have been to reduce legal immigration by up to 49% – without any change to the Immigration and Nationality Act but instead through hundreds of regulatory and sub-regulatory actions. The administration has strived,…

USCIS Policy Manual Update on Immigrant Membership in the Communist Party

During the Trump administration, immigration lawyers have become accustomed to “shock by memo,” meaning backdoor rules announced by government memo with no prior notice, typically on a Friday afternoon, which leave us scrambling to help clients understand how the new rules may apply to applications filed months or years ago under a different memo.[1] On…