September 2020 was a very active month and GLF posted updates on Google, LinkedIn and Twitter on these and many other US Immigration matters:
- Premium Processing Fees are proposed to go up;
- DHS set to Modernize Collection of Biometrics;
- USCIS Extends Deadline for RFE Response by another 60 More Days;
- SEVP to send notices to F-1 OPT students for Employer Info; and
- USCIS rolls out Public Charge rule from September 22, 2020.
GLF periodically posts short updates on our Google, LinkedIn and Twitter handles. We also periodically send out GLF Newsletters when the subject matter is extensive and relevant for a detailed analysis. Presented below is a consolidated summary of updates posted on GLF’s Google, LinkedIn and Twitter handles for September 2020. Below is the link to our Google posts.
PREMIUM PROCESSING FEES ARE INCREASING
USCIS Premium Processing is changing! Through a bill signed into law on September 30, 2020, premium processing fees are increasing and new case categories will soon be eligible. Learn more: https://lnkd.in/eQnjkJ5 The new law is effective immediately, but it is expected that it will take USCIS several days or weeks to implement the authorized changes.
DHS SET TO MODERNIZE COLLECTION OF BIOMETRICS
DHS announced that it will publish a Proposed Rule that expands and modernizes methods for collecting Biometrics. DHS proposes to expand Biometrics collection beyond background checks to include:
- Identity verification,
- Secure document production, and
- Records management.
The proposed rule aims at improving screening and vetting process and bringing consistency in Identifying Verification and Information Management with Biometrics records.
The proposed rule also includes:
- Biometrics collection for Identity Verification using new techniques: Voice, Eyes and Facial Scans;
- Allows for DNA collection for verifying family relationships in the instance of not providing sufficient evidence, to verify claimed family relationships and in detecting any misrepresentation. Through DNA tests, DHS hopes to better protect children by detecting Bonafide family relationships.
USCIS EXTENDS DEADLINE FOR RFE RESPONSE BY ANOTHER 60 MORE DAYS
Due to COVID-19, USCIS is extending the deadline on RFEs with due dates from March 1, 2020 to January 1, 2021, both dates inclusive. Now you get another 60 days (beyond the due date listed) for your response, for RFEs issued from March, 1 2020 to January 1, 2021.
The extension of deadline applies to the below requests:
- Requests for Evidence;
- Continuations to Request Evidence (N-14);
- Notices of Intent to Deny;
- Notices of Intent to Revoke;
- Notices of Intent to Rescind and Notices of Intent to Terminate regional investment centers;
- Motions to Reopen an N-400 Pursuant to 8 CFR 335.5, Receipt of Derogatory Information After Grant;
- Filing date requirements for Form N-336, Request for a Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings (Under Section 336 of the INA); or
- Filing date requirements for Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion.
Please note that the response to the USCIS should be submitted within 60 days from the due date as mentioned in the request or notice.
SEVP TO SEND NOTICES TO F-1 OPT STUDENTS FOR EMPLOYER INFO
Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has started issuing notices to F-1 students on OPT, who have not reported their employer information and who have exceeded 90 days of unemployment. The notice informs students of their lack of employer/employment information and is providing them an opportunity to update their records. F-1 students can update their OPT records either through their Designated School Official (DSO) or by logging into SEVP portal. Failure to update the SEVIS record will set the student record as “terminated” and they will be considered to be out of status for exceeding the period of unemployment.
To report employer information students can use SEVP portal Help section and SEVIS Help Hub in SEVP Portal. For more information about the notice or queries, DSO or students may contact SEVP Response Center at SEVP@ice.dhs.gov or (703) 603-3400 or (800) 892-4829. Alternatively, the DSOs may also get in touch with their local SEVP field representative with any questions.
USCIS ROLLS OUT PUBLIC CHARGE RULE FROM SEPTEMBER 22, 2020
Beginning September 22, 2020, USCIS has started applying the public charge rule (Form I-944 and DS 5540) to all future and pending green card applications / petitions, filed after February 24, 2020. USCIS’s decision to apply the public charge rule came after a recent Court decision overturning a Nationwide Injunction imposed on this policy.
I-485 applications filed after February 24, 2020, must include Form I-944, Declaration of Self Sufficiency. However, until October 13, 2020, USCIS will provide an opportunity in the form of an RFE to submit required evidence if the I-944 is deficient or ask for the Form I-944 itself, if one was not submitted. I-485 applications filed after October 13, 2020 without I-944 will be rejected right away.
Please note that USCIS will not reopen any applications or petitions that were approved prior to the issuance of the July 29, 2020 Injunction and until the present September 22, 2020 announcement.
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At GLF will continue to follow further developments in this and other matters and we will provide updates through our Newsletter as and when they become available. GLF receives numerous emails and phone calls every day asking for comment on various proposed bills and media reports that are often inaccurate. It is our job to separate fact from fiction and advice clients on important updates that are relevant. The best way to receive accurate information is through GLF Newsletters.
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