Revised Naturalization Application Form N-400 Implemented by INS

WASHINGTON -The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) implemented a revised Application for Naturalization, Form N-400 – the form used by eligible immigrants to obtain United States citizenship on Aug 1, 2001. The revised INS Form, N-400 to make the form easier for applicants to complete, address recent statutory provisions and process applications faster by capturing more required information initially on the N-400 rather than on separate forms later in the naturalization process.

The INS has already begun using the new edition of Form N-400 – which specifies “Rev.
05/31/01” in the lower right-hand corner – the agency will continue to accept the previous edition of the form through December 31, 2001. Beginning on January 1, 2002, all prior editions of Form N-400 will become obsolete, and the INS will stop accepting them.
Interested Applicants can obtain the revised Form N-400 by calling the toll-free INS Telephone Information Service Line at 1-800-375-5283 or by downloading it from the INS Web site at http://www.ins.gov .

The revised N-400 includes.

1. Additional questions to address disability accommodations, disability waivers, illegal voting, terrorism and persecution, and removal proceedings.

2. Explanation of the 90-day early filing provision for certain applicants.

3. Simpler filing instructions.

4.New format that reorganizes topic headings for smoother flow of information and breaks up lengthy and complex questions into shorter, more specific ones.

Community-based organizations and applicant focus groups provided valuable input to the INS in redesigning the form.

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INS Seeks Public Comments on Proposed Fee Adjustments

Washington- The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) announced its plans to seek public comments on its intentions to change its fee structure for immigration and naturalization services.

According to law, INS is required to review fees every two years to ensure that it is recovering the full cost of processing benefits, petitions and applications. The proposed fees are published in the Federal Register on Wednesday, August 8, 2001.

Federal guidelines require INS to establish and collect application fees to recover the cost of providing immigration adjudication and naturalization services, rather than supporting these services with tax revenue.

This proposal is a stepping stone towards success to INS’ commitment to provide immigration information and benefits to our customers in a timely, accurate, consistent, courteous, and professional manner.

The proposed rule provides for a 60-day public comment period. After receipt and analysis of the comments, INS will draft a final rule. Sixty days after publication of the final rule in the Federal Register, the new fees will go into effect. The INS expects the new fees will go into effect in January 2002.

The said rule does not and cannot by itself raise any immigration and naturalization application fees. It is just the initiation of the regulatory process where an agency announces its purposes to change its regulations, and seeks public comment on
the effect of these changes.

INS requests that applicants submit written comments in triplicate (one original and two copies) to the Director, Policy Directives and Instructions Branch, Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), 425 I Street, N.W., Room 4034, Washington, D.C.,
20536, Attention: Public Comment Clerk. The public may also submit comments electronically at insregs@usdoj.gov.

To ensure proper handling, please reference INS Number 2072-00 on all correspondence. All comments received are available for public inspection at the above address. To arrange an appointment to review the comments, please call (202) 514-3048

DOL Promulgates Conversion Regulation To Expedite LCAs

The most significant development from Department of Labor (DOL) was published on August 6th, 2001. According to DOL’s final rule, employers with pending “traditional” labor certification applications can convert them to “fast-track” reduction in recruitment (RIR) applications while preserving the earlier filing date. The applications filed on or before August 3, 2001, can be processed as an RIR request.

As per DOL’s final rule, to process RIR application, an employer must submit an evidence of good faith recruitment conducted within the six months immediately preceding the date of the request. The final rule provides that an employer may request an RIR conversion up until the point that the State Employment Security Agency (SESA) has placed a job order. Therefore, a request for conversion can be made at any point before the placement of a job order, and can be done even if the SESA has notified the employer about needed changes prior to the placement of the job order.

There are also a few cases that are presently in regional office queues for which no recruitment has occurred. According to the preamble, if the certifying officer of a DOL regional office remands such applications to SESA for further processing, an employer may request RIR processing provided that the application was initially filed prior to August 3, 2001.

Also, request for RIR conversion must be made at the SESA and not directly with the regional DOL office. The DOL allows minor changes like job description and wage when making the request for RIR conversion for applications may be pending for many years. On contrary, if duties and requirements of the job offer are significantly changed, then application has to be refiled with SESA as a new application with a new priority date.

The preamble notes that, neither any application, nor any occupation, deserves favorable treatment, similarly, no application or occupation is inherently ineligible under RIR processing, unless the application for an occupation is listed on Schedule B.

It remains to be seen how this conversion process will actually work, many SESAs are swamped with thousands of applications that were filed prior to April 30, 2001 deadline under Section 245(i). Unless these applications are entered into the system, it is difficult for a SESA office to acknowledge a RIR conversion. Also this impacts, cases that continue under the traditional-track, as resources are utilized for RIR conversion cases.