USCIS filing fees to increase October 2, 2020
Big news this week in immigration: USCIS filing fees are set to go up in October, and USCIS is not requiring Form I-944 with Form I-485 for any period during which there is a declared national health emergency in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. USCIS filing fees will have a weighted increase of twenty percent across the board. One of the biggest fee increases that will impact our community is for the N-400, Application for Naturalization. For those seeking to become naturalized citizens, better get your application in before October 2, 2020. The fee goes from $725 to $1170 if paper filed or $1160 if e-filed on or after that date. That’s an 83% increase! The other big one is for those filing the I-130, I-485, I-765, and I-131, known as the one-step. The fees currently are $1760, but will go up to $2850, which includes the $30 biometrics fee. If you want to check out the rhyme and reason for it all as well as a whole list of new fees, click here for the 576 page PDF. If you need help with calculating your fees or filing your applications, let us know!
Form I-944 not required during national health emergency (COVID-19 outbreak)
For those of you who have had to get documentation for Form I-944 to accompany your I-485 application, you know this is good news, for now. A New York District Court enjoined (stopped) USCIS from “enforcing, applying, implementing, or treating as effective the Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds Final Rule (84 FR 41292, Aug. 14, 2019, final rule; as amended by 84 FR 52357, Oct. 2, 2019, final rule correction) for any period during which there is a declared national health emergency in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.”
What does that mean in plain English? We don’t have to submit the form right now. What does that mean for you? Because the I-944 requires so much documentation, we will be able to typically file your adjustment of status case a lot faster so long as we have all of the other documents to file the case.
But wait, you’re not off the hook yet! We are still advising that our clients and community take all of the steps to get the documentation for the I-944. This relief is temporary and when the U.S. is no longer in a declared national health emergency and if the injunction is lifted, the form and documentation will then be required. But for now, USCIS will only look at Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, and supporting documents that go with the I-864 (this is also true for the State Department when issuing visas). This went into effect on July 29, 2020. For those cases where we have filed the I-944 and there has been no interview or adjudication of it yet, USCIS will not be looking at the form when that time comes. Let us know if you have questions.
I-751 receipt notice delays
Delays in receiving I-751 receipt notices for applications being processed in AZ and TX have been reported to American Immigration Lawyers Association. USCIS is aware and they are attributing the delays to a technological glitch causing some I-751 receipts to fail to print. They are doing a sweep of cases and printing receipt notices that were not printed due to the glitch.
Interview and biometrics notices
We are starting to receive interview notices for adjustment of status cases (based on marriage to a U.S. Citizen, typically) and biometrics appointments in the USCIS Norfolk Field Office. We have had N-400 and N-336 interviews, and now, I-485 interviews, at the end of this month. If you are waiting for your biometrics notice or an interview date for adjustment of status, keep a lookout, as it could be coming soon based on what we’re seeing.
Backlog of printing green cards and EADs
A couple of weeks ago, we reported that there is a USCIS backlog in the printing of green cards and EADs (employment authorization documents a.k.a work permits). However, we have not seen a slow-down in the receipt of these documents so far. That is good news for our clients, and we hope that it stays like that.
Are you ready to get your Virginia Driver Privilege Card?
On January 1, 2021, driver privilege cards will be available without proof of legal residence in the United States. So long as you can pass the driver’s test and show that you have filed taxes and have insurance, you may be eligible for a driver privilege card that will allow you to LEGALLY drive in Virginia. If you want more information or help with this, please contact our office. We are assisting people now with getting the ITIN, filing taxes, and we will be accompanying our clients to the DMV when the time comes.
Lawsuit challenging Trump’s proclamation suspending employment-based immigrant and non-immigrant visas.
The lawsuit was filed by the Chamber of Commerce, National Chamber of Commerce of the U.S. and other organizations stating, in part, that it is inflicting severe economic harm on a wide range of American businesses across all economic sectors, it’s unlawful, and exceeds Trump’s authority. We will keep you posted on the outcome.
Not sure when you have to go to immigration court? Call the EOIR number, 1-800-898-7180, and put in your A# to find out.
You have more time to respond to your Request for Evidence, Notice of Intent to Deny, N-14 Continuance, etc., if you receive the notice between March 1, 2020 and September 11, 2020. You can get up to 60 days additional time from the due date on the notice. For example, if your notice was due June 8th, then you have up to August 7th to submit your response.
Gardner & Mendoza is conducting all meetings virtually in order to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Safety first, health is wealth! The good news is that client consultations can occur after-hours, if needed. Let us know if you would like to set up an appointment.
We have weekly Facebook Lives where we answer your questions
Every Wednesday at 6:00 PM and in Spanish on Fridays at 12:00 PM. See you all there! Visit https://www.facebook.com/gardnermendozalaw/.
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We end with our review of the week and the picture that goes along with it!
“We are completely happy with the way things went with Radlyn and her staff. She brought comfort and confidence from the first time we met all the way through the whole process to citizenship. We are forever grateful to her.” -Michael
Congratulations to Nadia (and Michael)! It has been amazing to work with this wonderful couple through the years.