New USCIS “Travel Document” to Replace Reentry Permits and Refugee Travel Documents

USCIS has announced that a new “travel document” will replace reentry permits and refugee travel documents. The USCIS’ purpose is to have a document more secure against tampering, counterfeiting, and fraud. The new document went into production on Oct. 24, 2019.

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Latest News: Chaos in Implementing the USCIS/DOS Public Charge Rules and Presidential Proclamation Requiring Health Insurance

President Trump and an adviser, Stephen Miller, have cooked new public charge rules, subsequently issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the U.S. Department of State (DOS), as well as a Presidential Proclamation requiring immigrant visa applicants to buy health insurance.

Implementation has been chaotic, and these rules have been challenged in court. This article explains the status of each initiative.

USCIS Public Charge Rule

The USCIS public charge rule was published in the Federal Register on Aug. 14, 2019. USCIS then published corrections on Oct. 2, 2019. For a summary, see the USCIS Fact Sheet and our firm’s client alert.

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Highlights of the Dep’t of Homeland Security Public Charge Rule

On August 14, 2019, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a final rule related to public charge in the Federal Register. The rule was set to take effect on October 15, 2019, but is currently tied up in litigation. The rule will not apply to immigration applications filed before it takes effect.

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China: Foreign Nationals Must Register Their Residence with Local Police within 24 Hours

Foreign nationals in China must register their temporary residence with the public security bureau (PSB). Further, registration is a prerequisite to filing with the PSB Exit-Entry Division an application for a new visa, stay certificate, or residence permit. Here’s a FAQ:

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“Administrative Processing”: a Black Hole for Visa Applicants

For the uninitiated, “administrative processing” is State Department-speak for a temporary visa refusal pending further investigation of a visa application. (9 FAM Appendix E, 404). The applicant typically learns of the temporary refusal when, at the conclusion of the interview, the consular officer issues a written notice stating that under section 221(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act no visa can be issued until additional administrative processing has been completed.

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Interruption to U.S. Consulate in Shanghai Visa Services

The U.S. Consulate in Shanghai advised on Fri. Aug. 30 that:

Due to network issues, the consular section of the U.S. Consulate General in Shanghai is experiencing interruption to a range of consular services. We are working … to … restore … services…. We will not be scheduling new interview appointments until this issue is resolved.

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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 such strategies. (The article does not discuss less commonly used strategies for foreign fiancées and spouses, such as applying for an H-1B or L-1 work visa).

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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 fiance’s Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiance, or (c) file a Form I-751, Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence? This article describes 11 things you can do to better document your relationship. Continue reading “Top 11 Ways to Prove a Valid Marriage for Immigration”

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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USCIS Partial Retreat: Some International Field Offices, including Beijing and Guangzhou, Will Remain Open

Aug. 9 Update: USCIS announced in a news release today that they have cancelled plans to close operations at 7 international field offices: Beijing, Guangzhou, Nairobi, New Delhi, Mexico City, San Salvador, and Guatemala City. The news release calls these operations “cost-effective and high value”: they will continue to “adjudicate complex immigration petitions that require in-person interviews, to enhance integrity through fraud detection and national security activities, and to liaise with U.S. and foreign government entities to improve migration management capacity.” The news release gives no reason for the partial retreat in plans to axe all international offices.

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Green Card Holders Staying Abroad Over 6 Months Risk Abandonment

What do you need to do to preserve your status as a lawful permanent resident (LPR)? If you are abroad for 6 months or more per year, you risk “abandoning” your green card. This is especially true after multiple prolonged absences or after a prior warning by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at the airport. Continue reading “Green Card Holders Staying Abroad Over 6 Months Risk Abandonment”