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Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter
POSTING DATE: AUGUST 31, 2015
This Week's Immigration News
Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter © 2011 - 2015
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Questions & Answers
Question: I came to visit my brother here in Florida recently and I want to stay and attend college here to do my Masters if possible. Can you please tell me if I can do that and how long I have to wait after I enter the U.S. on my Visitor visa to be able to apply for a student visa while I’m here in America, thanks.
Answer: Yes, foreign nationals who are in the U.S. in legal immigration status within their valid periods of stay may be eligible to apply for an F-1 Student Visa status while inside the U.S. However, USCIS policy requires that visitors wait for at least 60 days after arriving in the U.S. before applying to change to F-1 status, to show that they did not intend to study here when they entered the U.S. on the tourist/visitor visa. Applicants for F-1 status must also qualify by demonstrating through financial documentation that they have the full amount of tuition and living expense funds available during their studies. USCIS processing times for F-1 change of status applications are currently taking 6 months or more and the applicant can legally remain inside the U.S. while waiting for approval. Once the F-1 visa status is approved, the student receives a new I-94 card with no expiration date, instead, the designation “D/S” meaning “duration of status”. This indicates that as long as the student maintains fulltime studies at the college or university, he or she is authorized to stay in the U.S.. A great benefit of the F-1 student visa is that once a student graduates with a degree, the student is eligible for a year or more of work authorization in the U.S., depending upon the degree program pursued. Finally, if the F-1 student travels outside the U.S., he or she must obtain the actual F-1 Visa in his or her passport from the U.S. Consulate abroad, in order to re-enter the U.S. in student visa status. I hope this was helpful to you.
E-Filing On USCIS Website Ends September 20, 2015
Until recently, the USCIS offered applicants the option of filing some Immigration applications online, called E-Filing. However, on September 20, the current E-Filing system will be discontinued. As a result, applications which were available to be filed on-line, will be required to be submitted by mail, including:
Form I-131, Application for Travel Document
Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker
Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization
Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status and
Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service
Maintenance Issues Cause Delays In USCIS Production of Work Authorization And Green Cards
Work Authorization and Green Cards are normally produced at the USCIS card production facility in Corbin, Kentucky. However, due to recent maintenance at that facility, all card production was recently transferred to a USCIS facility in Lee's Summit, Missouri.
As a result, there has been a delay in production of many Work Authorization and Green Cards being processed within the past several months. The USCIS anticipates clearing up the backlog and becoming current in its normal 90 day processing time during September.
Cases that have already been started by August 30th , will remain available for editing and filing until September 20th, and cases already E-Filed will continue process, only new filings are affected by this policy.
Read more about the E-Filing discontinuance:
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Extended For Haiti
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently extended TPS status for citizens of Haiti for 18 months, through July 22, 2017. The 60-day re-registration period ends on October 26, 2015.
Haitians who already hold TPS status are eligible and must re-register in order to maintain TPS status and work authorization.
Read the USCIS TPS Extension Notice:
USCIS Transfers Some Immigration Cases Between Service Centers For Processing
To provide more efficient processing and hopefully improve processing times, the USCIS has recently begun transferring Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative and Form I-751, Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence cases from its Vermont to its California Service Center. Applicants will receive a notice once their case is transferred, although the case number will remain the same.
Question: I married a U.S. citizen, filed for my green card and got my 2 years conditional card after our marriage interview, which will expire in September 2015. I applied for the condition to be removed in July, got a receipt to do biometrics which I did in August , but I am concerned that I haven't heard from uscis yet and my green card expire in s few days.
Answer: In marriage Immigration cases, when the couple has been married less than 2 years at the time of the residency interview, the foreign spouse only receives a temporary 2 year conditional residency. The couple must file a case to remove the condition and make the Green Card permanent, in 1 year and 9 months from the date of the initial residency. When you file the I-751 application to remove the conditions and obtain your permanent Green Card, the receipt you receive from the USCIS extends your Residency for one full year. If you included your child, then his or her status would be extended as well. Typically, processing time for this kind of case takes about 6 months or more. However, since you have your receipt which extends your Green Card, you don’t need to worry, you can use it just like you would a regular Green Card.
USCIS Provides Residency Extension “Stickers”
To Green Card Renewal Applicants
The extension stickers are valid for nine (9) months. Residents who have already attended their Biometrics appointment and did not request or receive the extension sticker can make an INFOPASS appointment to return to the local USCIS office and receive the extension sticker at that time.
Make an Infopass Appointment at your local USCIS office:
Current USCIS processing times for Green Card renewal applications (Form I-90), can exceed 6 months, often causing problems for Residents who require proof of legal immigration status for Driver’s License and other renewals. As a result of these long delays, local Field Offices are authorized to provide Residents with a Green Card extension sticker, affixed to their expired cards, to provide proof of their continuing legal Residency status in the U.S..
Under this policy, USCIS personnel at USCIS Field Office Application Support Centers can provide extension stickers to Residents at the time of their Biometrics appointment.
Helpful Immigration Tips You Can Use
Immigration How To:
How To Look Up USCIS Operational Policies
USCIS Releases Policy Manual
In an effort to improve transparency and efficiency, the USCIS has made available an extensive USCIS Immigration Policy Manual for immigration policies and procedures.
The Manuel covers USCIS adjudication in the areas of citizenship and naturalization, adjustment of status, admissibility, protection and parole, nonimmigrants, refugees, asylees, immigrants, waivers, and travel and employment.