USCIS extended validity of Medical Certifications on Form I-693

The endorsement of a civil surgeon on Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, is generally valid for one year. Form I-693 is a requirement and is filed in conjunction with Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, and
Form I-687, Application for Status as a Temporary Resident.

USCIS extended the validity period of the civil surgeon endorsement on Form I-693 until the underlying adjustment of status or temporary residence application could be adjudicated. This policy was issued in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and it was limited to those applications where no Class A or Class B medical condition, other than a Class B condition annotated in the “Other Medical Conditions” section, was certified. This policy is in effect until September 30, 2013.

With the new USCIS policy issued on September 4, 2013, even if more than one year has elapsed since the civil surgeon’s endorsement of a Form I-693 submitted in support of an I-485 or I-687 application, the Form I-693 will  be considered valid in any case in which:

1. The Form I-693 shows that the applicant had no Class A or Class B medical condition (other than a Class B Other Medical Condition) at the time of the medical examination; and
2.  USCIS adjudicates the Form I-485 or Form I-687 on or before May 31, 2014.

By June 1, 2014, USCIS anticipates that it will issue a new policy in regards to the sufficiency of Form I-693 endorsements. USCIS is currently working with CDC on developing the new policy.

Special Immigrant Visa Program for Iraqi Nationals Who Worked For or On Behalf Of the U.S. Government to Expire Sept. 30, 2013

The authorization for the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program for Iraqi nationals who worked for or on behalf of the United States government will expire on Sept. 30, 2013. The expiration date also applies to spouses and unmarried child(ren) accompanying or following to join the principal applicant. Individuals applying under this program, including family members, must be admitted to the United States or adjust their statuses before Oct. 1, 2013

This program covers Iraqi nationals who—during the period between March 20, 2003, and the present—have been employed by or on behalf of the United States government in Iraq for a period of not less than one year. 

As announced at its inception, the Iraqi SIV program will expire on Sept. 30, 2013, at 11:59 p.m. EDT unless Congress extends the program. After Sept. 30, 2013, USCIS will reject any petitions or applications filed based on the Iraqi SIV program. Beginning Oct. 1, 2013, USCIS will suspend processing of any pending Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant, or Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, filed based on the Iraqi SIV program.

However, the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) for U.S. affiliated Iraqis remains in place and will continue to be available after September 30, 2013 regardless of whether the Iraqi SIV program ends at that time.   SIV applicants have an option to seek out information about the USRAP as the eligibility criteria are very similar to those of the SIV.  For more information on the USRAP for U.S. affiliated Iraqis,  visit http://iraq.usembassy.gov/refugeesidpaffairs.html.

A look on how DACA is impacting lives of the dreamers

One-year anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program occurred on August 15, 2013.  DACA provides an opportunity for a segment of the undocumented immigrant population to remain in the country without fear of deportation, allows them to apply for work permits, and increases their opportunities for economic and social incorporation. The research  conducted by Roberto G. Gonzales, Harvard Graduate School of Education and Veronica Terriquez, University of Southern California of the National UnDACAmented Research Project (NURP), showed the following preliminary findings on the impact that DACA has had on some of the young people who have received it:

  • DACA contributes to the economic and social incorporation of young adult immigrants. Since receiving DACA, young adult immigrants have become more integrated into the nation’s economic institutions. Approximately 61% of DACA recipients surveyed have obtained a new job since receiving DACA. Meanwhile, over half have opened their first bank account, and 38% have obtained their first credit card. Additionally, 61% have obtained a driver’s license, which has likely widened educational, employment, and other options for these young adult immigrants.
  • DACA recipients would likely become U.S. citizens if given the opportunity. Ninety-four percent of survey respondents indicated that they would apply for citizenship if ever eligible. This finding suggests that DACA recipients seek to be further integrated into U.S. society.
  • Although DACA recipients are experiencing its benefits, they continue to encounter hardships related to the blocked pathway to legalization of their families and communities. Over the last several years, enforcement efforts have heightened levels of anxiety in immigrant communities and torn apart families. Survey results indicate that 49% of respondents worry “all of the time” or “most of the time” that friends and family members will be deported.
  • Nearly 2/3 of DACA recipients personally know someone who has been deported. Approximately 14% of DACA recipients in this study have experienced the deportation of a parent or sibling. These young adults are likely to have suffered significant stress and family hardships as a result of the forced departure of a close family member. Notably, nearly another third (31%) of respondents report that other family members have been deported. Almost half report that they know a neighbor, coworker, friend, or other acquaintance who has been deported.
  • Comprehensive immigration reform that provides a pathway to legalization could benefit close family members of most DACA recipients. Approximately 86% of DACA recipients reported that their mother could potentially benefit from comprehensive immigration reform. Meanwhile, 74% said their fathers could benefit, and 62% said their siblings could benefit from such a change in federal immigration policy.

Tips to locate and print automated Form I-94

United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has fully implemented its program to automate Form I-94 at all air and sea ports pursuant to the agency’s interim final regulation to stop issuing paper form I-94 in April 2013.  The tips below will help to locate and print the Form I-94 via CBP’s automated system at http://www.cbp.gov/I94.

  •  Print the Form I-94 each time that the non-immigrant arrives in the U.S
  •  Verify that the information on the Form I-94 is correct. The Form I-94 may be needed for I-9 compliance in future immigration petitions or applications and/or to apply for other benefits, such as a social security card or a driver’s license.
  • If you cannot  locate the Form I-94 on the CBP website, and instead, you  received a “Not Found” message, it is possible that the Form I-94 does not exist because of a system error. However, it is more likely that the Form I-94 is in the CBP system, but the data is formatted differently than you entered it, so the I-94 is “hiding.” Here are some tips to assist you in obtaining the Form I-94 out of the CBP automation system:
  1.  First, Ensure data is entered correctly in all applicable fields. a. Enter the name as stated in the passport, visa, or the submitted Form DS-160. Although CBP has stated it would draw the name for the Form I-94 from the travel document (e.g., passport biographic page), that is not always the case. The instructions on CBP’s website state that the name is drawn from the visa, if any. Therefore, check the passport, visa, and a copy of the submitted Form DS-160 (if available) for name variations. Try entering the name as stated on each document. b. Enter the first and middle name in the First Name field. In the first name field, type the first and the middle name (if any) with a space in between. Do this even if the middle name is not stated on the passport or visa. c. Switch the order of the names. Switch the last and first name when entering the information on the website. Some countries state the name in the passport as first name, last name, rather than the more standard order of last name, first name. This may cause the name to be recorded incorrectly in the CBP system. d. Enter multiple first names or multiple last names without spaces. If a person has two first names or two last names, type the first names without a space between them or the last names without a space between them. Example: type the first names “Mary Jane” as “Maryjane” e. Check for multiple passport numbers. Check the Form DS-160 (if available) for the passport number stated. If the passport number on the Form DS-160 is different than the passport number on which the person was admitted, type the passport number as stated on the submitted Form DS-160. Also, check the passport number stated on the visa. If the passport number is different than the current passport, enter the passport number stated on the visa. f. Do not enter the year if included in the passport number. Some passport numbers may begin with the year in which the passport was issued, causing the number to be too long for the relevant field inCBP’s automation system. If relevant, try entering the passport number without the year. For example, a Mexican passport that was issued in 2008 may have a passport number that starts with “08” followed by nine digits. Try entering the passport number without the “08.” This problem should not arise for newer Mexican passports, as those passports do not begin with the year. g. Check the Classification.Check the classification designated on the visa and compare it to the classification stated on the admission stamp in the passport, as there may be a slight variation. Be sure to try both designations. For example, the visa may state “E-3D” for an E-3 dependent, but the admission stamp may state only “E-3.” The automated I-94 could state the classification either way.
  2.  Call or visit the Deferred Inspection office. If none of the above efforts resolve the issue, telephone or visit the CBP Deferred Inspection Office and explain the problem. Some of the Deferred Inspection Offices have been able to resolve the problem over the phone without an inperson visit; however, other offices may require an in-person visit with the non-immigrant.
  3. Contact information for the Deferred Inspection Offices can be found on CBP’s website.

DREAMers, DACA AND THE SENATE BILL

 In the wake of the Senate bill’s strong passage out of the Senate, advocates and DREAMers may be wondering whether it is wiser to apply for DACA or wait for legalization. The answer is simple: It made sense to pursue DACA before S.744 was introduced and it makes even more sense now. The fact of the matter is that the Senate bill is NOT law. And even if it becomes law, as presently structured, DACA recipients stand to benefit in various ways. This Fact Sheet describes the relationship between DACA and the DREAM Act within S.744 and explains how provisions within the bill could render the legalization process cheaper and more streamlined for DACA recipients than for others going through the

process.

                          Legalization for DREAMers
Senate Bill 744 would establish three differing pathways to earned legalization for the nation’s undocumented – one for DREAMers, one for agricultural workers, and one for individuals who don’t fit into the aforementioned groups. Sections 2101-03, 2211-12 (pgs. 137-203, 241-276). Except for agricultural workers, the legalization process begins with seeking Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) status, which is the temporary lawful status the bill would create. Section 2101 (pg. 137). The pathways diverge on the question of when an RPI may seek a green card. Rather than waiting for the border triggers to be met, as other RPIs will be required to do, Section 3(c)(2) (pg. 13), DREAMers may seek their green cards five years after receiving RPI status, 245D(b)(1)(A)(i) (pg. 196).To qualify for the bill’s fast track to permanent resident status for DREAMers, applicants will have to
demonstrate that they held Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) status for five years, entered before the age of 16, graduated from high school or its equivalent and, unless they get a waiver, show that they pursued either higher education or military service.1
Section 245D(b)(1)(A) (pg. 196).
Moreover, DREAMers will be able to apply for citizenship immediately upon receiving a green card, section 245D(b)(3) (pg. 201), whereas other RPIs will have to be green card holders for three years before applying for naturalization. Section 2102(c) (pg. 193-95).
Legalization for DACA Recipients
Legalization could be faster and easier for DACA recipients. If the bill becomes law, it will take DHS many months before it starts accepting applications for RPI status. Among other implementation tasks, DHS will have to promulgate new rules after receiving comments from the public, design new forms and procedures, establish infrastructure, and train employees. DACA recipients stand to benefit before other RPI applicants because their application process will likely be different.

DACA recipients may be able to become RPIs without filing new applications. Section 245B(c)(13) (pg. 170-71) authorizes DHS to grant RPI status to a DACA recipient if renewed national security and law enforcement clearances have been completed and the individual has not engaged in conduct since being granted DACA that would make him or her ineligible for RPI status. DACA recipients may also be able to become green card holders more quickly. The bill allows DHS to adopt streamlined procedures for DACA recipients to apply for green cards under the DREAM Act. Section 245D(b)(2)(C) (pg. 201). If DHS chooses to do this, it will make the process for getting a green card easier and faster than the process for other DREAMer green card applicants. Legalization could be a lot less expensive for DACA recipients. Legalization under the Senate bill would be expensive. It would involve paying penalties totaling $2,000 as well as filing fees. But DACA
recipients likely won’t be hit so hard. DACA recipients may not have to pay the filing fee to receive RPI status. Section 245B(c)(10)(A)(iii)(II)(pg. 167) allows the Department of Homeland Security to exempt “defined classes of individuals” from paying the RPI filing fee and singles out DACA recipients for this potential exemption. In addition, those younger than 16 on the date they initially entered the country—a category that necessarily includes all DACA recipients—will not have to pay the $1,000 penalty to receive RPI status.
Section 245B(c)(10)(C)(i) (pgs. 167-68).
DREAMers versus DACA Recipients
DACA recipients and those that would qualify for the bill’s DREAM Act are not one and the same. In two significant ways, the DACA requirements are more restrictive than Senate Bill 744’s DREAM Act. First, DACA is only available to individuals who resided in the United States continuously since June 15, 2007. USCIS DACA FAQ. The DREAM Act, on the other hand, does not contain such a far reaching continuous residence requirement. 245D(b) (pg. 196-97). Second, DACA is limited to individuals who were born on or after June 16, 1981. USCIS DACA FAQ. By contrast, the DREAM Act would impose no age ceiling. 245D(b) (pg. 196-97). In these ways, the DREAM Act is open to a wider universe of individuals than DACA. The DREAM Act’s education or military service requirement, however, is more onerous than the corresponding requirement for DACA applicants.

DACA may be granted to individuals who go no further in school than high school or its equivalent. USCIS DACA FAQ. By contrast, absent a waiver, the DREAM Act’s fast track to permanent residency is limited to those who either go beyond high school into institutions of higher education or those who serve for four years in the military. 245D(b)(1)(A)(iv)
(pg. 196-97).

Article from American Immigration Council.