USCIS Updates Series of Immigration Forms

Last week, USCIS made a series of updates to key forms. Forms included in this series of updates include the following:

  • Form I-865, the Sponsor’s Notice of Change of Address form. New edition dated 07/17/15.
  • Form I-601A, the Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver form. New edition dated 07/08/15.
  • Form I-212, the Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the United States After Deportation or Removal form. New edition dated 06/30/15.
  • Form I-90, the Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card form. New edition dated 06/30/15.
  • Form I-612, the Application for Waiver of the Foreign Residence Requirement form (under Section 212(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as Amended). New edition dated 06/22/2015.
  • Form G-884, Return of Original Documents. New edition dated 06/15/15. You can use previous editions of this form.

Certain DACA Recipients May Be Required to Return EADs Immediately

USCIS informs DACA recipients that there is a three-year work permit recall that applies to some people who have received a card after the February 16, 2015, court order. If you received a letter or were contacted by USCIS regarding the recall of certain three-year work permits, you are required to immediately return your three-year work permit, which is also known as an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), to your local USCIS office.

If you fail to return your EAD, USCIS will terminate your DACA status and all employment authorizations connected to that status, effective July 31, 2015.

USCIS Clarifies Candidate Eligibility to Modify Oath of Allegiance

New guidance provided by USCIS clarifies eligibility requirements for modification of the Oath of Allegiance. Reciting the Oath of Allegiance is part of the naturalization process. As part of the oath, candidates for citizenship typically declare that they will ‘bear arms on behalf of the United States’ and ‘perform noncombatant services in the Armed Forces of the United States’ when required by law.

Candidates may be eligible to exclude these two clauses in certain instances. A candidate may be eligible to exclude the clauses based on religious training and belief, or conscientious objection arising from a deeply held moral or ethical reason. The candidate is not required to belong to a specific church or religion, follow a particular theology or belief or have had specific religious training to qualify. The candidate may submit, but is not required to provide, an attestation from a religious or similar organization, as well as other evidence to establish his or her eligibility.

USCIS Completes Processing of Petitions Not Selected for FY16 H-1B Program

USCIS announced last week that it has completed processing the return of fiscal year 2016 H-1B cap-subject petitions that were not selected in its computer-generated random selection process. USCIS had previously announced on May 4, 2015, that it had completed data entry of all selected cap-subject petitions.
Any applicant who submitted an H-1B cap-subject petition between April 1 and April 7, 2015, and has not yet received a receipt notice or returned petition by July 20, 2015, should contact USCIS directly.

USCIS Resumes Accepting Premium Processing Applications for H-1B Extensions of Stay

On July 13, 2015, USCIS resumed accepting requests for premium processing for all H-1B extension of stay petitions. Premium processing requests for Form I-129, the Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, extension of stay petitions received by USCIS prior to July 13, 2015 will be rejected.

USCIS previously announced on May 19, 2015, that it would suspend premium processing for Form I-129 H-1B extension of stay requests from May 26, 2015, to July 27, 2015. This temporary suspension allowed USCIS to implement the Employment Authorization for Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses final rule in a temply manner. .

USCIS Creates New Spanish-Language Resources

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that new resources are now available in Spanish. USCIS describes these changes as, “strengthening its commitment to the Spanish-speaking community.”

The new resources include a USICS Facebook page in Spanish, a Twitter account in Spanish and a blog called USCIS Compás. The blog will include general news as well as feature stories relevant to the Hispanic community.

Tips for DACA Renewal

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) renewal process can be lengthy, and in some cases the waiting period may overlap with work permit expiration dates. DACA recipients can reduce complications and avoid processing delays by taking the following steps:

Submit the renewal request 120-150 days before the expiration date listed on the DACA approval notice and the Employment Authorization Document. Ensure that all required forms and fees are properly submitted, and be proactive about including any additional paperwork required due to special circumstances such as a criminal record or legal name change. Finally, promptly reply to any Request for Evidence inquiries.

According to the USCIS, its “current goal is to process DACA renewal requests within 120 days. You may submit an inquiry about the status of your renewal request after it has been pending more than 105 days.”

Independence Day Celebrated Across the Country with Naturalization Ceremonies

Independence Day, the day the United States celebrates its birth, is a fitting holiday for naturalization ceremonies. Each year, the days leading up to July 4 are filled with special naturalization ceremonies, often held at historic sites across the United States.

This year the USCIS expects to naturalize over 4,000 new citizens between July 1–4 at over 50 locations, including the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, LA and Monticello in Charlottesville, VA. The USCIS encourages new citizens, “to share your ceremony experiences and photos via Twitter and other social media, using the hashtag #newUScitizen.”