United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have recently announced some changes that may affect operations in certain centers. Since many of the USCIS activities are fee-funded, it does not depend on the annual appropriated funding from the US government. However, these ranges from change in locations of USCIS offices to what they offer versus what has been rescinded. All applicants should continue following the individual instructions given to them in response to their applications from their specific service centers. Follow below for a list of the recent most changes announced by USCIS that may apply to you.
- Form I-693: The report of medical examination and vaccination record that needs to be submitted when adjusting your status or applying for Permanent Residency has undergone a change. The updated version can be found here.
- H1B Visa Extensions: All non-immigrant visa applications using Form I-129, and applying for an extension after their initial first three years should be aware that the burden of proof to establish eligibility falls on the petitioner, regardless of whether USCIS previously approved a petition. This implies an added level of scrutiny.
- Specifically, applicable to L visas: Starting February 12, 2018, the Texas Service Center will begin processing petitions for Non-immigrant workers via Form I-129 along with the California Service Center. The Vermont Service Center will no longer process any new Form I‑129 petitions requesting L nonimmigrant classification.
- Wrong Filing Center: It is imperative that L visa petitioners pay attention to the filing address indicated on their Form I-129. From March 12, 2018, USCIS will reject any applications filed at the wrong service center.
- Changes in government: All applicants should verify the timings and working days of their respective service centers. While changes in government operations may fluctuate, applicants should attend interviews and appointments as scheduled, unless otherwise notified.
- E-Verify: USCIS has a free internet-based system that allows businesses to determine the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States. In order to avoid any unwitting fraud, it is advisable to utilize this service.
- J-1 Doctors: The Conrad 30 program that allows doctors to practice in the US having waived their residency requirement continues to run as usual. The expiration affects the date by which the J-1 doctor entered the US.
- Religious workers: USCIS allows non-ministers in religious vocations and occupations to immigrate or adjust status in the United States to perform religious work in a full-time, compensated position.
- EB-5 Investor Program: USCIS has designated regional centers to participate in and execute the EB-5 immigrant investor program. Contact your local office to determine eligibility for EB-5 visa.