TPS FOR NICARAGUA IS SET TO EXPIRE WHILE TPS FOR HONDURAS IS EXTENDED
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the termination of the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Nicaragua, with a delayed effective date of January 5, 2019. This means that all Nicaraguans who are currently on TPS will either have to leave the US after this date or change status to a new visa category (if eligible). DHS also determined that additional information was necessary regarding the TPS designation for Honduras, and as a result, it will be automatically extended to July 5, 2018.
Trump Third Travel Ban has been Blocked
On October 16, 2017, Judge Derrick K. Watson, a federal judge, in the state of Hawaii largely blocked the Trump administration from implementing the third travel plan decreed by the Trump Administration. The latest ban was set to fully go into effect in the early morning hours of October 17 barring various types of travelers from Syria, Libya, Iran, Yemen, Chad, Somalia, North Korea, and Venezuela. Judge Watson wrote that the latest ban "suffers from precisely the same maladies as its predecessor: it lacks sufficient findings that the entry of more than 150 million nationals from six specified countries would be 'detrimental to the interests of the United States.'" This means that there is an injunction that prevents the government from barring nationals from Syria, Libya, Iran, Yemen, Chad and Somalia. Nevertheless, the bar remains for nationals of Venezuela and North Korea.
DoD Announces Policy Changes to Lawful Permanent Residents and the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) Pilot Program
The Department of Defense announced today a change to policies regarding initial screening of Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) and qualifying service for the purposes of military naturalization. These changes reflect lessons learned from the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) Pilot Program. While the Department recognizes the value of expedited U.S. citizenship achieved through military service, it is in the national interest to ensure all current and prospective service members complete security and suitability screening prior to naturalization.
On October 13, 2017 DoD authorized a change to two policies:
(1) Initial security and suitability screening for LPRs, and;
(2) Certifications of honorable service for the purposes of expedited naturalization.
Effective immediately, all LPRs must complete a background investigation and receive a favorable military security suitability determination (MSSD) prior to entry in the active, reserve, or guard service.
This is a change from the current policy, which allows for LPR recruits to ship to initial military training as long as their background investigation had been initiated, and they had cleared all other entry screening requirements.
Effective immediately, in order for a foreign national entering service in the active, reserve, or guard service to receive a certification of honorable service for the purposes of expedited naturalization (citizenship), he or she must:
- Complete all security and suitability screening requirements and receive a favorable MSSD, and;
- Complete the initial military training requirements of the service of which they are a member, and;
- Complete at least 180 consecutive days of active duty service, or at least one year of satisfactory service in the selected reserve.
This is a change from the current practice of certification of honorable service for the purpose of expedited naturalization after “one day of service.”
For currently serving service members, to include those in the Delayed Training Program, they must complete all security and suitability screening requirements prior to a certification of honorable service. Those who may have received a certification of honorable service prior to the completion of all security and suitability screening requirements will have that certification recalled and decertified until, at a minimum, screening requirements are complete.
DoD and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) have established a process to allow for the review and recertification of recalled forms once the individual completes requisite screening requirements.
ATTENTION DIVERSITY VISA, GREEN CARD LOTTERY APPLICANTS
Due to a technical issue, the DV-2019 entry period that began on October 3 has been closed. Entries submitted during October 3-10 are not valid and have been excluded from the system; they will not count as a duplicate entry. The technical issue has been resolved and a new full entry period will begin at noon, U.S. Eastern Daylight Time on Wednesday October 18, 2017 and will run until noon Eastern Standard Time on Wednesday November 22, 2017. Only entries submitted during this period will be accepted and considered for selection in the lottery. Please throw away any confirmation number or other documentation that you have if you submitted an entry during Oct. 3-10.
The Deadline to Submit DACA Renewal Requests is October 5th
USCIS issued a reminder regarding the October 5, 2017, deadline for DACA recipients to properly file renewal requests and associated applications for employment authorization. These requests must be properly filed and physically received by the agency at the proper filing location no later than October 5, 2017. Also, during the AILA SCOPS Liaison Committee call on September 27, 2017, USCIS confirmed that only persons whose current DACA expires between September 5, 2017, and March 5, 2018, are eligible to renew their deferred action grant.
NOW YOU CAN OBTAIN A SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER WHEN YOU FILE FORM I-765, APPLICATION FOR EMPLOYMENT AUTHORIZATION.
USCIS Resumes Premium Processing for Some Categories of Applicants Seeking H-1B Visas
WASHINGTON — U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) resumed premium processing today for all H-1B visa petitions subject to the Fiscal Year year (FY) 2018 cap. The FY 2018 cap has been set at 65,000 visas. Premium processing has also resumed for the annual 20,000 additional petitions that are set aside to hire workers with a U.S. master’s degree or higher educational degree.
H-1B visas provide skilled workers for a wide range of specialty occupations, including information technology, academic research, and accounting. When a petitioner requests the agency’s premium processing service, USCIS guarantees a 15-day processing time. If the 15- calendar day processing time is not met, the agency will refund the petitioner’s premium processing service fee and continue with expedited processing of the application. This service is only available for pending petitions, not new submissions, since USCIS received enough petitions in April to meet the FY 2018 cap.
In addition to today’s resumption of premium processing for H-1B visa petitions subject to the FY 2018 cap, USCIS previously resumed premium processing H-1B petitions filed on behalf of physicians under the Conrad 30 waiver program, as well as interested government agency waivers and for certain H-1B petitions that are not subject to the cap. Premium processing remains temporarily suspended for all other H-1B petitions, such as extensions of stay.
USCIS plans to resume premium processing for all other remaining H‑1B petitions not subject to the FY 2018 cap, as agency workloads permit. However, remaining petitioners may submit a request to expedite their application if they meet the specific agency criteria. USCIS reviews all expedite requests on a case-by-case basis, and requests are granted at the discretion of the office leadership.
USCIS will release future announcements when they begin accepting premium processing for other H-1B petitions, not subject to the FY 2018 cap.
Temporary Protected Status for Sudan to Terminate in November 2018
WASHINGTON—Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke has determined that conditions in Sudan no longer support its designation for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) after reviewing country conditions, and after Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials’ consultations with the appropriate U.S. government agencies. Acting Secretary Duke is extending benefits for beneficiaries of Sudan TPS for 12 months to allow for an orderly transition before the designation terminates on Nov. 2, 2018.
Current beneficiaries of Sudan’s TPS designation seeking to extend their TPS status must re-register. The deadline will be published in the Federal Register and on www.uscis.gov/tps later this week. Those who re-register and request a new employment authorization document (EAD) may receive an automatic extension of their expiring EAD for up to 180 days from the date their current EAD expires. If a beneficiary’s EAD request is approved, they will receive a new EAD with an expiration date of Nov. 2, 2018. TPS beneficiaries are strongly encouraged to re-register and file their EAD applications as early as possible to avoid lapses in documentation of employment authorization.
Although TPS benefits will no longer be in effect starting Nov. 2, 2018, TPS beneficiaries will continue to hold any other immigration status that they have maintained or acquired while registered for TPS. The Department of Homeland Security urges individuals who do not have another immigration status to use the time before the termination becomes effective in November to prepare for and arrange their departure from the United States or to apply for other immigration benefits for which they may be eligible.
Additional information about TPS is available at uscis.gov/tps. A Federal Register notice containing further details will be published soon.
NEW PRACTICE ADVISORY DESCRIBES HOW TPS RECIPIENTS MAY APPLY FOR PERMANENT RESIDENCE
Immigration Help Available to Those Affected by Hurricane Irma