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Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter ©  2011  - 2021 
For questions about U.S. Residency, Green Cards and Immigration Visas, Visit our Website at: or  call our office at: (954) 382-5378
Questions & Answers
This Week's Immigration News 
By Immigration Attorney Caroly Pedersen
  Immigration News & Updates              
Immigration How To:
How Do  I Know Whether I Need To Renew My Green Card Before I File For My U.S. Citizenship?
Questions About Immigration? We have the answers!
We Are Here To Help, Call us now for a FREE consultation (954) 382-5378
New Policy: Work Permits for Residency Applicants 
Will Now Be Issued For Two Years Instead Of One!

                  LAW CENTERS

Immigration Questions: (954) 382-5378
 POSTING DATE:  June  21, 2021
Question: My mom finally got her appointment at the embassy after waiting more than a year since her last appt was cancelled during the pandemic. The problem is that she just had surgery and her doctor says she shouldn’t travel for at least 2 months. My question whether we should try to reschedule her appointment or have her go and get some special accommodation where she doesn’t have to leave for the U.S. right away. Can you please tell us what is best?
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On June 9, 2021, the USCIS announced that it will begin issuing new Work Permits, officially called: Employment Authorization Document (“EAD”) cards filed as part of Residency cases (form I-485 Adjustment of Status Application), or filed requesting an extension based on a pending Residency case, for a two-year validity period instead of a one-year validity period. 

This increases the current one-year validity period on initial and renewal EADs to two years. The administration hopes this new policy change will decrease the number of employment authorization renewal requests and improve processing times for work permit issuance, which are currently six to nearly eight months or more.

Read the USCIS work permit validity period policy announcement 
Helpful Immigration Tips You Can Use...
Understanding Medical Report Validity To Avoid Costly USCIS Rejection

Applying for residency can be a very confusing process, with all the fees, forms and documents and on top of all that, getting your required medical exam done. As a result, immigrants often do the easy part and have their medical exam done early on in preparation for filing their case, only to end up delaying filing for residency due to reasons which often include saving for the USCIS filing fees. 

This can end up being a costly mistake, since under USCIS policy, medical exams are only valid for 60 days after issuance (the date the doctor signs the report). 
Answer: Unfortunately, no. USCIS policy for form I-864 Affidavits of Support, is very illogical and relies not only upon a sponsor’s current salary, but on their past years income as well. Even though your current income is more than sufficient, your 2020 income was so low that you are now required to obtain a qualifying Joint Sponsor to file form I-864 and provide financial documentation which meets the requirements. Be sure to include the joint sponsor’s 2020 tax return and W-2, past three months paystubs and employment verification.
There is no doubt about it, being a U.S. Citizen has many more benefits than just being a U.S. Resident (Green Card holder). So why don’t all Residents apply for naturalization to obtain their U.S. Citizenship as soon as possible? There are a variety of reasons why Residents delay applying, including the high cost of the application filing fee, currently $725.

Many Residents do not realize that by delaying filing for naturalization, they actually increase their overall costs, since a Resident must apply for naturalization six months or more before their green card expires, in order to obtain automatic renewal of their residency status. 
Social Security Administration Ends Policy Of Sending “No Match” Letters
The Trump administration and covid-19 wreaked havoc on the U.S. immigration system and nearly decimated the USCIS agency through systematic underfunding schemes, siphoning USCIS filing fees revenues paid by immigrants to instead use in enforcement against immigrants. As covid-19 worsened in mid 2020, many agency staff began working remotely and those who remained at facilities had to undergo extensive social distancing and safety measures, which significantly slowed processing. This led to massive processing backlogs and delays, including those at USCIS acceptance centers, called lockboxes. 
Immigration Applications Rejected Due To Filing Fees Expiration May Now Be Refiled To Obtain Original Filing Date
Under the Trump administration, the Social Security Administration (SSA) began a policy of mailing out letters to employers for W-2’s with social security numbers or names which did not exactly match SSA records. This often resulted in interruption of work or termination of immigrant workers who were not able to document their immigration status. According to the news reports, the SSA issued approx. 800,000 notices in 2019 and nearly the same in 2020. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has now announced that it will no longer be sending out no match letters to employers. The agency instead intends to devote it resources to improving services.
Question: I sponsored my husband for his papers and filed the form 864 affidavit along with our other documents. I make over $40k now and its just me and him. The letter from immigration says its because my 2020 taxes were so low. But that was because I was still in school and working parttime, so I only made $12k. I am wondering if I should just write back and explain about that instead of trying to find someone else to be a cosponsor? Would they accept that explanation?
Answer: Sorry to hear about your mom’s surgery, but great news about the consular appointment. With thousands of immigrants stranded in countries all over the world awaiting rescheduling of visa appointments, it is wonderful that your mother finally received hers. So don’t even consider trying to reschedule the appointment unless your mother is ready to wait another six months or more. You don’t need to worry about any special accommodations, since immigrant visa holders have up to six months to enter the U.S. after visa issuance. That should give her plenty of time to recover.
Answer: The USCIS recently announced that immigrants may now call the USCIS to make a request to reschedule their biometric services appointments at a USCIS Application Support Center. They will not schedule initial appointments, that is done through the service centers. Due to major backlogs caused by covid-19, hundreds of thousands of appointments are currently in the queue to be scheduled once slots become available. So, in your case, unfortunately, you will not be able self schedule your biometrics appointment. However, you can call the Contact Center (800-375-5283) to let them know you have not yet received it and have them do an inquiry on your behalf. In all likelihood, you will be receiving your biometrics appointment notice soon.
Question: I filed my residency in jan 2020 and still don’t have my fingerprints appointment. My husband says he saw where you said we can call the immigration and ask for it to be scheduled. Can you please give me that information so we can do it as soon as possible, thanks.
Immigration cases filed between mid-2020 and the end of the year at USCIS lockboxes experienced delays of up to four months or more in receiving receipts and in many cases, rejections, due to expired checks and payments. As a result, thousands upon thousands of applications filed during 2020 were rejected and sent back to applicants along with a notice that a $30 insufficient funds payment was due for the expired payment checks or money orders.

New Biden agency officials recognize the problem and are in the process of taking measures to speed up processing and to rectify the application rejection issues. On June 10th, 2021 the USCIS announced that for the next 60 days from June 10 until Aug. 9, 2021, applicants and petitioners who filed cases between October 1, 2020 and April 1, 2021 that were rejected during that timeframe solely due to a filing fee payment that expired while the benefit request was awaiting processing, may resubmit the request with a new fee payment. As long as the USCIS agrees that the application was rejected due to USCIS delays, the new application will be deemed to have been received on the initial filing date it was first received and waive the $30 dishonored check fee. Resubmissions should include the USCIS rejection documentation which were included in the returned package.

Read the USCIS Announces Lockbox Filing Flexibilities update 
USCIS Reverts To Pre-Trump Policy On Issuance of 
Requests for Evidence and Notices of Intent to Deny
On June 9, 2021, the USCIS announced that the agency is returning to the pre-Trump policy of issuing Requests For Evidence (RFE) and Notices of Intent To Deny (NOID) when additional evidence could potentially demonstrate eligibility for an immigration benefit. USCIS is rescinding a July 2018 memo which allowed agency officers to deny immigration benefit requests without first issuing an RFE or NOID. 

This return to the agency’s previous policy allows applicants and petitioners to provide additional documentation and evidence to correct mistakes and minor errors. 
In general, a USCIS officer will issue an RFE or NOID when the officer determines additional information or explanation may potentially establish eligibility for an immigration benefit.

Read the new updated RFE and NOID policy 

Requirements Eased for U.S. Citizens 
Returning To The U.S. With Expired Passports
The U.S. State Department and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have announced that certain U.S. citizens may return to the country using expired passports through December 31, 2021. To qualify, a U.S. citizen must be using a passport that expired on or after January 1, 2020 and meet the following: 

1) Have a passport that had an initial validity of 10 years, or five years for U.S. citizens who were 15 years old or younger when the passport was issued and 

2)The expired passport must be in the U.S. Citizen’s possession, undamaged and unaltered at the time of travel. 

This policy only allows U.S. Citizens to enter the U.S. and does not confer the right to use the expired passport to travel internationally.
Medical exams which are more than sixty (60) days old on the date of submission to the USCIS are no longer considered to be valid and must be redone all over again, which can be very expensive. To avoid this costly situation, it’s always best to have the medical exam performed just prior to residency case submission (the last thing on your check-off list) or even better, in most cases, to wait until your residency interview has been scheduled, then have it done and take it to the interview. The only exception would be for parents of U.S. citizens, who normally do not require interviews, so the medical should be submitted along with the initial residency application filing. The good news is that once submitted to the USCIS, medical examinations are valid for two years from the date signed by the doctor. 
Otherwise, once their green card expires, they will not have any proof of their legal immigration status to extend a driver’s license, travel abroad or even obtain employment. Up until a few years ago, Residents who filed for Naturalization before expiration of their green cards were able to obtain residency extensions until they naturalized, however these days, local USCIS offices often no longer provide such extensions without a receipt showing the Resident filed his or her green card renewal application. The current green card renewal fee is $540, nearly as much as the current fee for naturalization! So don’t end up wasting money filing to renew your green card, when you could spend the money for your naturalization instead…