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USCIS Fee Increase

On 11.08.16 | In USCIS Blog, By USCIS Info

USCIS Fee Increase As of December 23, 2016

Immigration Form: New Fee ($) Old Fee ($)
G–1041 Genealogy Index Search Request 65 20
G–1041A Genealogy Records Request (Copy from Microfilm) 65 20
G–1041A Genealogy Records Request (Copy from Textual Record) 65 35
I–90 Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card 455 365
I–102 Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival-Departure Document 445 330
I–129/129CW Petition for a Nonimmigrant worker 460 325
I–129F Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) 535 340
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative 535 420
I-131/I-131A Application for Travel Document 575 360
I–140 Immigrant Petition for Alien WorkeR 700 580
I-191 Application for Relief Under Former Section 212(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) 930 585
I-192 Application for Advance Permission to Enter as Nonimmigrant 585/930 585
I-193 Application for Waiver of Passport and/or Visa 585 585
I-212 Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the U.S. After Deportation or Removal 930 585
I–290B Notice of Appeal or Motion 675 630
I–360 Petition for Amerasian Widow(er) or Special Immigrant 435 405
I–485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status 1,140 985
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (certain applicants under the age of 14 years) 750 635
I–526 Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur 3,675 1,500
I–539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status 370 290
I–600/600A Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative/Application for Advance Petition Processing of Orphan Petition 775 720
I-601 Application for Waiver of Ground of Excludability 930 585
I–601A Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver 630 585
I-612 Application for Waiver of the Foreign Residence Requirement (Under Section 212(e) of the INA, as Amended) 930 585
I–687 Application for Status as a Temporary Resident under Section 245A
of the Immigration and Nationality Act
1,130 1,130
I–690 Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility 715 200
I–694 Notice of Appeal of Decision 890 755
I–698 Application to Adjust Status From Temporary to Permanent Resident
(Under Section 245A of the INA)
1,670 1,020
I–751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence 595 505
I–765 Application for Employment Authorization 410 380
I-800/800A Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative/Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country 775 720
I–800A Supp. 3 Request for Action on Approved Form I–800A 385 360
I–817 Application for Family Unity Benefits 600 435
I–824 Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition 465 405
I–829 Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions 3,750 3,750
I–910 Application for Civil Surgeon Designation 785 615
I–924 Application for Regional Center Designation Under the Immigrant
Investor Program
17,795 6,230
I–924A Annual Certification of Regional Center 3,035 0
I–929 Petition for Qualifying Family Member of a U–1 Nonimmigrant 230 215
N–300 Application to File Declaration of Intention 270 250
N–336 Request for Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings 700 650
N–400 Application for Naturalization 640 595
N–470 Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization Purposes 355 330
N–565 Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document 555 345
N–600/N–600K Application for Certificate of Citizenship 1,170 600/550
USCIS Immigrant Fee 220 165
Biometric Services Fee 85 85

While we strive to provide you the latest USCIS fees, it is always recommended to check with USCIS directly for the current fees posted at https://www.uscis.gov/forms/our-fees.

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What Is a Request for Evidence?

On 01.06.16 | In USCIS Blog, By USCIS Info

Did you receive a Request for Evidence (RFE) from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)? Don’t panic, RFE is a general form that the USCIS sends to applicants when it needs additional supporting documents and information to decide on their cases.

When the USCIS receives an immigration or a naturalization application, the agency will review the paperwork. The first thing they will do is to make sure that you have completely filled out the application and sent the required supporting documents. Next, they will send you a notice that tells you whether your application has been accepted or rejected.

The agency may not be able to decide on your case if your application does not include all the required supporting documents. Even if you have submitted all the supporting documents required by the USCIS, the agency may need some other documents to make sure that you are eligible for the immigration benefit for which you have applied. In such cases, USCIS will send Form N-14, Request for Additional Information, Documents or Forms.

This form will include a list of additional documents that you must submit and the address to which you must send those documents. You will have to respond to the request before the mentioned date. USCIS usually gives the applicants 30 days to respond to the request.

USCIS will continue to review your case after it receives the supporting documents. If you do not respond to the request or if your response doesn’t reach the USCIS before the deadline, the agency will decide on your case based on the information you sent at the time of filing your application. If the information you provided at the time of filing your application is insufficient to establish your eligibility for the immigration benefit, your application is likely to be denied.

If you receive an RFE, make sure that you respond to the to it within the time given by the USCIS to ensure a proper decision on your case. Give the USCIS all the needed information for the agency to take a proper decision on your case.

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U.S. Citizens can Sponsor their Same-Sex Partners for Green Cards

On 12.02.15 | In USCIS Blog, By USCIS Info

Family based immigrant petitions filed by U.S. citizens and green card holders for their same-sex partners are accepted by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This means U.S. citizens and legal residents can both sponsor their partners of the same sex for U.S. green cards, just like other heterosexual couples.

Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative can be filed by them to bring their foreign national husband or wife to the U.S. Applications filed by them will not be rejected just because of the same-sex nature of their marriages. However, the sponsors must be eligible to sponsor their foreign national husband or wife for lawful status and the beneficiaries must be admissible into the U.S.

The unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was overturned by the Supreme Court in June 2013 after which the USCIS started to accept immigrant petitions from U.S. citizens and green card holders for their husbands or wives of the same sex. There is no difference in the way the USCIS considers and adjudicates applications filed by gay couples from the way it considers applications filed by other heterosexual couples. Apart from accepting new applications from such couples, USCIS also reviewed the petitions filed by such couples in the past that were denied due to the same sex nature of their marriages.

U.S. citizens and green card holders in same-sex marriages can bring their partners living in foreign countries to the U.S. by filing Form I-130 for them. In this case, the beneficiaries need to apply for consular processing and get immigrant visas. Those in the U.S. on non-immigrant status, can apply for adjustment of status through which they can adjust their status to legal permanent resident.  They need not go through consular processing.

Only those who were married in U.S. states or foreign countries that are in favor of same-sex marriages can file applications to sponsor their partners. The place where the couple were married will determine whether or not their marriages are valid for immigration purposes. However, applications filed by those living in states that do not recognize same sex marriages but were married in states that recognizes such marriages, will be considered by the USCIS.

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Work Permits for H-4 Visa Holders

On 03.06.15 | In USCIS Blog, By USCIS Info

The H-1B visa program is meant for highly skilled foreign workers. However, foreign workers cannot apply for these visas by themselves and they must be sponsored by U.S. employers. Around 85,000 H-1B visas are issued every year. H-4 visas are issued to the dependents of H-1B workers. Earlier these H-4 nonimmigrant visas did not allow the holders to work here. With those visas, they were only allowed to come to the U.S. and stay here.

The Obama administration has announced a visa rule revision that will allow some husbands or wives of H-1B visa holders to apply for work permits. This rule applies to the husbands or wives of H-1B visa holders who have filed applications for legal permanent status (green card status) in the U.S.

According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), during the first years, this new rule will allow around 179,000 H-4 visa holders to apply for employment authorization documents. Followed by that, around 55,000 H-4 visa holders would become eligible for work permits, every year.

According to Leon Rodriguez, director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), this new rule will encourage more foreign workers to come to the U.S. on H-1B visas and apply for green card status. This visa rule will attract more workers and also boost the country’s economy.

This new rule is a big relief to many H-4 dependents. Most of the H-4 dependents are highly skilled, but they had to remain at home as their visa category did not allow them to work here. Since the Obama administration has now made revisions, many H-4 dependents will become eligible for work permits. Many H-4 dependents who are highly skilled and were unable to put their skills to productive use, will now be able to work here legally. Requests for work permits from eligible H-4 visa holders will be accepted by the USCIS from May 26, 2015.

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Check Out the Rights of Green Card Holders

On 02.13.15 | In USCIS Blog, By USCIS Info

Permanent resident status is the immigration status granted to a person who has been authorized to live and work legally in the U.S. on a permanent basis. These legal residents will be issued green cards that can be used as identification documents and that will help them prove their status in the country.

Like U.S. citizens, green card holders are granted a lot of rights and responsibilities but not all the citizenship rights. For example, the right to vote and take part in the civic life is a right that will only be granted to U.S. citizens and not to legal residents. You can find all rights and responsibilities of green card holder, please visit website.

As a green card holder:

You can live here permanently. However, you will be removed from the U.S. if you commit serious crimes that will make you removable from the country.

You can work here without any restrictions and start your own business. However, some jobs are limited to U.S. citizens, and green card holders will not be considered for such jobs. You will be protected by all the U.S. laws. This includes, state and local laws.

You can pay less tuition for university and college that will be much lesser than what the other nonimmigrants pay. You can also apply for financial aid for education, sponsored by the government.

You can travel abroad without the risk of being denied entry into the country. Remember that you will be granted entry into the country only if you hold a valid green card. However, those traveling abroad for a lengthy time period will not be able to travel back to the U.S. with their green cards. Such legal residents must obtain the required travel documents before their abroad trip.

The other most important benefit granted to green card holders is the right to sponsor their family members. As a green card holder, you can bring your spouse and children to live with you in the U.S. You can live anywhere in the U.S. and you can apply for citizenship in the U.S. once you meet all the citizenship requirements.

Green Card Holders – Know What Your Responsibilities Are

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Green Card Holders – Know What Your Responsibilities Are

On 02.05.15 | In USCIS Blog, By USCIS Info

Permanent resident status comes with a lot of rights as well as responsibilities. Though it is called permanent resident status, it is not equal to citizenship as this status can be taken away if you don’t abide by the country’s federal, state and local laws. Following are certain things that you need to do to maintain this status in the U.S.

File Your Tax Returns

If you wish to maintain your legal permanent resident status in the U.S., you must not fail to file your tax returns. You must pay all your state, city and local taxes. You may be considered to have abandoned your legal status if you don’t file your taxes or if you file nonresident alien taxes. So make sure that you pay your taxes at the right time.

Get Your Social Security Number

As a green card holder, you must get your Social Security card. That is because, you may not be able to pay your taxes and obtain employment in the U.S. without your Social Security Number.

Register With the Selective Service

Registering with the Selective Service is one of the responsibilities of green card holders between ages 18 and 26. Register for the Selective Service if you are a male aged between 18 and 26.

Renew your Green Card

Green cards must be kept up to date. If your card has neared its expiration date, you must remember to start the green card renewal process that includes filing the green card renewal application, Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card. You need to renew your card before it expires. However, you can also file this application to get your expired card renewed.

Traveling Outside the U.S.

Green card holders can travel abroad, but there are some limitations. You need to make sure that your trips are not lengthy. Lengthy absences from the U.S. may result in the loss of your status. You need to prove that your trips abroad are only temporary and that you do not intend to give up your status in the U.S. If you seek to travel abroad for an extended time period, for example, if you seek to travel abroad for a year, you must get a re-entry permit before you travel abroad. This permit can be obtained by filing Form I-131, Application for Travel Document. A re-entry permit will help you prove that you wish to maintain your status in the U.S.

The above are some responsibilities of green card holders. Green cards also come with a lot of rights. Check out our next post to know about the rights your green card will confer upon you.

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Form I-751 – Changes in Filing Location

On 01.30.15 | In USCIS Blog, By USCIS Info

Conditional residents, whose temporary legal status obtained through marriage is valid for two years, will need to apply to remove conditions on their status at the end of the two year period. Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions of Residence must be filed by the conditional residents to remove conditions on their residence and to become legal permanent residents.

USCIS has now changed the filing location for Form I-751 from Vermont Service Center (VSC) to California Service Center (CSC). Applicants from Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas were earlier allowed to file their applications with VSC but now they must file their I-751 applications with CSC.

USCIS has announced that VSC will continue to accept I-751 applications filed by applicants from Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas until February 16, 2015. Applications that VSC receives between 17 February, 2015 and 16 March, 2015 will be forwarded to CSC for processing. The center will stop accepting I-751 applications filed by applicants from the above mentioned locations for incorrect jurisdiction after 17 March, 2015.

However, USCIS has stated that this change in filing location will not affect pending applications and VSC will continue to process cases it received before the changes in filing locations went into effect.

Applicants can track the status of their cases using USCIS Case Status Online, by entering their receipt numbers. Service center processing times published by the USCIS every month also will help them know when the USCIS will work on their cases.

Conditional residents are required by the USCIS to contact the right service center that is processing their cases for information on their cases. Likewise, they must also respond to the notices that the service centers send them at the center that issued them the notice.

Conditional residents living in Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Washington, D.C., Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, U.S. Virgin Islands, and West Virginia, seeking to file applications to remove conditions on their residence must file their I-751 applications with VSC. Below is the address to which they must mail their applications.

USCIS Vermont Service Center
75 Lower Welden Street
P.O. Box 200
St. Albans, VT 05479-0001

Conditional residents living in Alaska, American Samoa, Arizona, California, Colorado, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, must file their I-751 applications with CSC at:

USCIS California Service Center
P.O. Box 10751
Laguna Niguel, CA 92607-1075

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Issues Impacting the Immigrant Visa Process

On 01.09.15 | In USCIS Blog, By USCIS Info

U.S. Department of State Liaison Committee of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), recently met with the National Visa Center (NVC) authorities. This meeting helped AILA identify a number of issues that are currently affecting the immigrant visa process.

NVC is facing backlogs and according to AILA, NVC received an increased number of immediate relative immigrant visa petitions from USCIS over the past year. The agency used to receive only 8,000 petitions every week before October 2013 but later it started to receive 25,000 petitions every week. The agency faced backlogs and in summer it took around 45 days to create cases. However, it has now reduced to 12 days and NVC is now receiving around 17,000 cases per week.

Currently, NVC is facing delays in reviewing supporting documents submitted along with immigrant petitions. In order to eliminate the backlogs and process applications faster, the agency is cross training its staff and is reallocating resources to document review. NVC is also hiring additional staff to bring the backlog down.

When NVC was asked about the processing times for immigrant visa applications, NVC told AILA that it takes around six months to process 40 percent of cases it receives and 120 days to process 7.6 percent of cases. The agency takes 180 to 239 days to process 20.8 percent of cases and takes longer to process some immigrant visa cases.

NVC stated that it will review all civil and financial documents while it reviews DS-260 Immigrant Visa Electronic Application. So NVC told AILA that the processing times can be reduced and delays can be avoided if all the supporting documents are submitted in one package.

It must be remembered that NVC does not adjudicate cases and it only conducts administrative review of documents to make sure that the applications are complete. After reviewing the documents, the agency will schedule interviews. NVC schedules interviews for 144 immigrant visa processing posts.

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Travel Documents for DACA Recipients

On 12.16.14 | In USCIS Blog, By USCIS Info

If you have received deferred action status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, you can get an advance parole document with which you can travel abroad. This document will help you travel abroad and return legally to the U.S. If you travel abroad with this document, you will not lose your deferred action status.

However, you cannot apply for advance parole while your application for DACA is pending. You can file Form I-131, Application for Travel Document to get an advance parole document only after your request for DACA is approved. Your request for DACA will be terminated if you travel abroad without advance parole, while your DACA application is pending.

DACA recipients can travel abroad for educational, employment and humanitarian purposes. For example, you can travel abroad to attend interviews, meetings, conferences, for academic research, to obtain medical treatment, to attend funerals or to visit a sick family member. You will not be allowed to travel abroad for tourism or vacation with advance parole.

Though you can obtain travel documents to travel abroad, these documents alone do not guarantee your safe return. If the immigration officer at the U.S. port of entry thinks that you are inadmissible into the U.S. for health or security reasons, you will not be granted entry into the U.S., even if you hold an advance parole document.

To apply for a travel document, you will need to file Form I-131, along with a proof that you have received DACA or that your application is approved, copy of a photo identity document, such as a driver’s license and the correct application filing fee. Along with your application for DACA, you must also submit documentary evidence to support the purpose you claim.

If your application for advance parole is accepted, you will receive Form I-512L, Authorization for Parole of an Alien into the United States, from the USCIS. You need to show this document to the authorities before you leave the country and when you return. These advance parole documents will be valid only for a certain time period and before these documents expire, you must get back to the U.S.

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Obama’s Immigration Reform Will Affect Millions of Undocumented Immigrants

On 12.05.14 | In USCIS Blog, By USCIS Info

President Obama’s executive action will help around five million undocumented immigrants to legally stay and work in the U.S. His plans include expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and creation of a new program for the undocumented parents of children who were born in the U.S. or children who are legal residents.

Expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program:

The DACA program that was implemented in 2012 allowed certain young undocumented youth who came to America as kids to live here and work legally for two years. This program has now been expanded and it will now allow the young undocumented immigrants eligible for this program to stay and work here for three years. As of 2012, 1.2 million undocumented youth were eligible for DACA. As this program has now been expanded it will benefit around 700,000 additional undocumented youth.

Creation of the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program

Apart from expanding the DACA program, the President has also announced a new program meant for the undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and green card holders. These undocumented adults will be granted a three year reprieve from deportation under DAPA. Apart from that, they also can get work permits to work in the U.S. Those applying for DAPA must undergo background checks and show that they are not criminals and not priorities for deportation. DAPA will benefit around 3.3 million undocumented adults.

The DACA and the DAPA programs will together benefit more than 5 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. Beneficiaries of these programs cannot apply for legal resident status or for citizenship in the U.S. However, this new policy means a lot to the undocumented immigrants though it only offers them a temporary relief from deportation.

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