Federal Court Issued Nationwide Injunction on Both DOS and DHS Public Charge Rule Due to COVID 19 Outbreak
On July 29, 2020, the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York issued a nationwide injunction order enjoining the government from enforcing, applying, implementing, or treating as effective,
the USCIS Final Rule on Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds (84 FR 41292, 8/14/19) during the national health emergency due to COVID-19 outbreak. The court also granted the motion for preliminary injunction to enjoin the application or implementation of the 2018 FAM Revisions, DOS Rule, and Proclamation.
On July 31, 2020, in response to the Court order, USCIS issued an announcement stating that “As long as the July 29, 2020, SDNY decision is in effect, USCIS will apply the 1999 public charge guidance that was in place before the Public Charge Rule was implemented on Feb. 24, 2020 to the adjudication of any application for adjustment of status on or after July 29, 2020. In addition, USCIS will adjudicate any application or petition for extension of nonimmigrant stay or change of nonimmigrant status on or after July 29, 2020, consistent with regulations in place before the Public Charge Rule was implemented; in other words, we will not apply the public benefit condition.” USCIS clarified that applicants and petitioners of Form I-485, Form I-129, and Form I-539/I-539A should not include the Form I-944 or provide information about the receipt of public benefits for applications and petitions postmarked on or after July 29, 2020. According to USCIS, it will issue guidance on the usage of the affected forms. In the interim, it will not reject the I-485 Application on the basis of filing with or without the Form I-944, nor I-129 Petition and I-539 Application based on whether the public charge rule questions are completed or left blank.
As of now, the Department of State has not responded to the District Court’s injunction. Our firm will continue to monitor this issue and provide update once it’s available.
USCIS Fee Schedule Adjustment will be Effective from October 2, 2020
On July 31, 2020, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a
final rule (PDF) that significantly adjusts its fee schedule on most of the immigration and naturalization petitions and applications. The new fee schedule becomes effective on October 2, 2020. Please find the fee schedule adjustment chart below (for the commonly used petitions/applications).
The final rule also removes certain fee exemptions, limits fee waivers, alters premium processing time limits and modifies certain intercountry adoption processing. In addition, USCIS will revise the following forms. It will post the new revised forms online 30 days before the new forms go into effect and will provide up to 60 days grace period which it will accept the previous forms. Note the new and revised forms are required by October 2, 2020.
Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker;
Form I-600/I-600A, Supplement 3, Request for Action on Approved Form I-600/I-600A;
Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization; and
Form I-912, Request for a Fee Waiver.
Highlights of Some of Significant Changes/Impacts:
Different Filing Fees for Non-Immigrant Visas using Form I-129: Instead of charging the standard Form I-129 filing fee ($460) for different visa type petitions, the final rule imposes different filing fees for each classification. The change is applicable to all visa classifications using Form I-129, including H-1B, H-2A/B, L-1, E, O and TN.
Adding Border Security Fee Payment for H-1B and L-1 Extensions: Currently, if the employer has more than 50 employees and more than 50% of the employees are in H-1B or L-1 status, the employer only pays an additional $4,000 for the initial petition or change of employer petition for the H-1B petition and $4,500 for the L-1 petition. The final rule imposes such a fee to each H-1B or L-1 extension petition.
Longer Premium Processing Timeline: USICS also changed the premium processing timeline from 15 calendar days to 15 business days, which prolongs the processing time by one week.
Significant Increase in N-400 and Adding Filing Fee to Asylum Applications: The final rule significantly increases the naturalization filing fee by more than 80% and for the first time charges a filing fee of $50 for asylum applicants.
Immigration Benefit Request
I-90 Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card (online filing)
I-90 Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card (paper filing)
I-129 Petition for a Nonimmigrant worker
I-129CW, I-129E&TN, and I-129MISC
I-129H2A – Named Beneficiaries
I-129H2B – Named Beneficiaries
I-129H2A – Unnamed Beneficiaries
I-129H2B – Unnamed Beneficiaries
I-129F Petition for Alien Fiancé(e)
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative (online filing)
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative (paper filing)
I-131 Application for Travel Document
I-131 Refugee Travel Document for an individual age 16 or older
I-131 Refugee Travel Document for a child under the age of 16
I-131A Application for Travel Document (Carrier Documentation)
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence
I-485 Application to Adjust Status (Children under 14)
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status (online filing)
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status (paper filing)
I-589 Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal
I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization (Non-DACA)
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization (DACA only)
N-400 Application for Naturalization (online filing)
N-400 Application for Naturalization (paper filing)
Biometric Services (Non-DACA)
Biometric Services (DACA only)
Please reach out to your Greenspoon Marder LLP Immigration & Naturalization Practice Group attorney for any questions or concerns. Click here to stay updated on our weekly alerts.
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