Today, USCIS released the following news alert:
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that applicants, petitioners, requestors and beneficiaries may now call the USCIS Contact Center (800-375-5283) to reschedule their biometric services appointments scheduled at a USCIS Application Support Center. Previously, applicants had to submit requests in writing to reschedule their biometrics appointments. This change helps eliminate undue paperwork and allows USCIS to track the request through a more efficient process.
Applicants must establish good cause for rescheduling and must call before the date and time of their original appointment to reschedule. If an applicant fails to call before the scheduled appointment or fails to establish good cause, USCIS may consider the application, petition, or request abandoned and, as a result, it may be denied.
Additionally, USCIS announced a temporary suspension of the biometrics requirement for certain tourist visa extension applications (I-539) effective May 17, 2021.
Effective May 17, 2021, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will temporarily suspend the biometrics submission requirement for certain applicants filing Form I-539, Application To Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, requesting an extension of stay in or change of status to H-4, L-2, and E nonimmigrant status. USCIS will allow adjudications for those specific categories to proceed based on biographic information and related background checks, without capturing fingerprints and a photograph. This suspension will apply through May 17, 2023, subject to affirmative extension or revocation of the suspension period by the USCIS director.
This temporary suspension will apply to applicants filing Form I-539 requesting the following:
- Extension of stay in or change of status to H-4 nonimmigrant status;
- Extension of stay in or change of status to L-2 nonimmigrant status;
- Extension of stay in or change of status to E-1 nonimmigrant status;
- Extension of stay in or change of status to E-2 nonimmigrant status (including E-2C (E-2 CNMI Investor)); or
- Extension of stay in or change of status to E-3 nonimmigrant status (including those selecting E-3D).
This suspension will apply only to the above categories of Form I-539 applications that are either:
- Pending as of May 17, 2021, and have not yet received a biometric services appointment notice; or
- New applications postmarked or submitted electronically on or after May 17, 2021.
For more information, visit USCIS's website or contact Aguinaga Law Group.
Please be aware of delays in the issuance of receipt notices for Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status; Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers; and Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization (EAD), filed with USCIS lockbox facilities. If you filed an adjustment of status (AOS) (Form I-485) in September, October, or November 2020, you may experience severe delays in receiving a receipt notice.
While some people have received their receipts, it is not unusual to have to wait at least two or three months to get receipts. As a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, I am monitoring this situation.
How will this affect my status?
This depends on what type of status you had at the time of filing and the type of case under which you filed your AOS. Most receipts that were issued after months of delay still reflect the original filing date which demonstrates the application was filed on time.
What if my application is rejected?
There have been widespread reports of rejections from the USCIS lockbox. In some cases, the rejections were sent three months or more after the original filing date. USCIS has cited many reasons for rejections, such as failing to check a checkbox, include all pages of a form, sign a form, or include a valid filing fee. In many cases, the application did, actually, include the requested information that USCIS erroneously claimed was missing. Depending on the reason your application was rejected, you may be able to resubmit your application. Please contact Aguinaga Law Group to discuss whether you should resubmit your application and other options that may be available.
What About My Work Authorization and Advance Parole?
If you have applied for an adjustment of status along with a work permit (Employment Authorization Document, Form I-765) and an advance parole document (Form I-131), you may experience significant delays not only in receiving proof, but also in having your application processed. In the past, processing times averaged from 90 days to six months. Now, these applications can experience delays as long as eight or nine months.
For work permits and advance parole delays, it may not be helpful to follow up with USCIS after 90 days. If eight or nine weeks have passed, reach out to your attorney or, if you do not have an attorney, contact Aguinaga Law Group.
If six months have passed, try contacting USCIS through their online virtual assistance, Emma; by telephone; or by filing an e-request. If this doesn't help, and the delays are egregious, try contacting your local congressional representative or senator.
What Can I Do?
- Request filing online to receive confirmation that your form has been received;
- Check the status of your application online or create a USCIS online acccount;
- Complete Form G-1145, e-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance, to receive a text message or email when your form is accepted.
If you have any questions, please get in touch.