President Signs into Law Amendments Related to Alien Entrepreneurs

On November 2, 2002, President Bush signed into law the Twenty-First Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act. This Act amends cases related to alien entrepreneurs, and affects the adjudication of both Form I-526 and Form I-829. The Act affects all I-526 cases approved after January 1, 1995 and prior to August 31, 1998, along with all I-526 cases filed on or after November 2, 2002. Form I-829 cases filed prior to November 2, 2002 are also affected by the Act.

Changes implemented by the Act include the following:

1.Alien entrepreneurs are no longer required to establish a commercial enterprise. However, adjudicators are still advised to determine whether or not the petitioner has established a commercial enterprise. If no enterprise has been established, adjudicators will still need to know the number of employees the enterprise supports; alien entrepreneur petitioners are required to create at least 10 new jobs.
2.The new Act does not remove the requirement that the commercial enterprise be considered new. However, the Act clarifies the definition of new, allowing for a business established before November 29, 1990 to be considered new “if since that date it has been expanded so that a substantial change in the net worth or number of employees has occurred.” A substantial change is defined as either a 40% increase in net worth or the number of employees. Commercial enterprises established before November 29, 1990 are also considered new if they have been restructured or reorganized since that date to create a new commercial enterprise.
3· For all cases involving the filing of Form I-526 after August 31, 1998, entrepreneurs are still required to invest in capital in only one commercial enterprise. Combined investments in multiple commercial enterprises do not meet the requirement for proper filing.
4. The Act defines the term “full-time employment” as employment that requires at least 35 hours of service per week.
5. The definition of “qualifying employee” has not changed. The term still applies to U.S. citizens, aliens lawfully admitted for permanent residence and other immigrants lawfully allowed to work in the U.S.
6. The Act amends section 216A of the Immigration and Nationality Act to include the term “limited partnership” within the term “commercial enterprise”.

All Forms I-526 and I-829 filed on or after November 2, 2002 must reflect the changes made in this recently passed Act.

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Certain Asylees with Pending Adustment of Status Applications Advised to Notify BCIS of Change of Address

The Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS) has released a notice to all asylees who filed adjustment of status applications on or before April 1, 1999 and have not yet received a decision regarding their application. These individuals are advised to contact the National Customer Service Center (NCSC) (online at http://www.immigration.gov/graphics/services/NCSC.htm) at 1 (800) 375-5283 (Monday-Friday, 8 a.m to 6 p.m.) to ensure that the NCSC has their correct current address. The NCSC can also assist applicants in checking the current status of their pending case.

When contacting the NCSC by telephone, fist press #1 (for information about pending applications). You should then press #2 (for change of address of your N-400 and certain pending asylum adjustment applications). Before calling, make sure your application receipt number is accessible.

Asylees are defined as individuals who have received a final grant of asylum. Typically, individuals in asylee status for one year or more are eligible to file for an adjustment to permanent residency status. No more than 10,000 asylees receive this adjustment of status per year. However, provisions in current immigration laws enable some eligible Iraqi and Syrian asylees to receive permanent residency status, regardless of the 10,000 person limitation. Iraqi and Syrian asylees who believe the BCIS may have inadvertently limited their cases to the 10,000 person cap should write to the BCIS for clarification at:

Nebraska Service Center
Attn: 485 SYRIAN SUPERVISOR
P.O. Box 87333
Lincoln NE 68501-7333

In your letter, please include your name, date of birth, country of birth, A-file number, filing receipt/tracking number and current address.

Software Error Causes Delay in Some Visa Revalidations

A software problem has caused a delay in processing in revalidation applications submitted in March to the Visa Revalidation Unit at the State Department. According to the Visa Revalidation Unit , software failed to capture data from certain key portions of the DS 156 NIV application form. Visa Revalidation Unit has corrected this software problem and all applications affected by the problem have been returned to the processing center for re-entry of data. After these applications have been re-entered, they will return to their original location in the revalidation process. Due to this error, individuals may see certain revalidations submitted after March processed prior to March-submitted applications.

The Visa Revalidation Unit will return cases to applicants or their representatives if requested due to a need for urgent travel.

BCIS Now Offering Electronic Filing of Forms I-90 and I-765

The Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS) began accepting electronic filing for two immigration forms May 29 — the application to renew or replace a green card (Form I-90) and the Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765).

E-filing is part of BCIS’ ongoing plan to provide simpler and more convenient means for immigrants and nonimmigrants to interact with the Bureau. “For the first time in our history,” said acting director Eduardo Aguirre, “BCIS is able to offer our customers the option of filing for certain immigration benefits using the Internet, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”

BCIS confirms the identity of online filers early in the application process. Photographs, signatures and fingerprints for each individual are also stored electronically. E-filers who have not yet had their photographs taken by BCIS do not need to submit photographs with their applications. Instead, e-filers should call the National Customer Service Center at 1(800)375-5283 to schedule a photographing, signature and fingerprinting appointment at a regional Application Support Center. E-filers may also pay application fees online via electronic transfer of U.S. funds from their checking or savings accounts.

Forms I-90 and I-765 were chosen as the first forms for e-filing both because they account for thirty percent of all forms filed each year with BCIS and because they are relatively easy to fill out and do not require many supporting documents. BCIS plans to offer e-filing for a range of other immigration applications in the coming years.

For more information on e-filing, please visit the BCIS website at www.bcis.gov.