Immigration News

USCIS Announces New I-693 Medical Exam Policy

On May 30, 2014, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) revised its policy concerning the validity period of the required medical examination (I-693) for applicants for Lawful permanent Resident status and Immigrant visas at U.S. Embassies abroad.

Effective June 1, 2014, the completed I-693 medical exam must be submitted to USCIS within one year of when it is completed by the authorized civil surgeon.  In addition, the medical exam will only be valid for one year.  Previously, the medical exam was considered valid as long as it was submitted within one year of completion.

As a result of the new policy change, it is possible that applicants may find that they will have to update their medical exam, if, for example, a decision on the permanent resident application takes is not made within one year of filing.

In an effort to alleviate this concern, USCIS has also changed its policy concerning the timing of when the I-693 medical exam must be submitted to USCIS.  Previously, the medical exam was required to be filed at the same time the I-485 application for permanent resident status was filed.  However, USCIS will now allow the medical exam to be submitted at any time prior to a decision on the permanent resident application.  As a result, some applicants may choose to complete and submit their medical exam shortly before their immigration interview – or – as USCIS is now suggesting – simply wait for USCIS to request submission of the medical exam.

To read the official announcement and new Policy change, please see:

http://www.aila.org/content/default.aspx?docid=48745

http://www.uscis.gov/policymanual/HTML/PolicyManual-Volume8-PartB-Chapter4.html

 

Will H-4 Dependent Spouses be Allowed to Work?

United  States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is proposing a new rule that will allow the H-4 spouses of H-1B non-immigrants to be able to obtain employment authorization if the H-1B principal has an approved I-140 petition or has received an H-1B extension through the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000 (AC21).

The purpose of the proposed rule is to somewhat mitigate the financial hardship on skilled non-immigrants who are in the process of transitioning from H-1B status to lawful permanent resident status.  Because of the delays and strict quotas for employment-based permanent resident status, the transition period can stretch for several years, currently up to 11 years for professionals from India and even 10 years for high skilled Indian professionals with master’s degrees!  By allowing the H-4 spouse to be employed during the period between the approval of the I-140 immigrant worker petition and the ultimate approval of lawful permanent resident status, the financial hardship  to the family of skilled professionals will be somewhat eased.

The new proposed rule is due to be published in the Federal Register on Monday, May 12, 2014.  A required 60 day Notice and Comment period will follow in which any interested party can submit comments to the agency about the proposal.  After 60 days, USCIS will review the comments and consider changes or alterations.  A subsequent announcement will be required before the proposed rule actually goes into effect.

To see an advance copy of the new proposed rule for employment authorization for certain H-4 dependent spouses, please click:  Proposed Rule 05.12.2014

Temporary Protected Status Re-registration Period Extended for Haitian Nationals

Temporary Protected Status or “TPS” is a humanitarian designation which allows non-citizens to legally remain in the United States based on emergent conditions in the person’s home country.  After the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2011, citizens of Haiti who have resided continuously in the United States since January 12, 2011 have been permitted to remain in the United States in TPS status so long as they timely register and complete the necessary processing.  It is estimated that there are approximately 55,000 Haitians who currently have TPS status.

By re-registering for the new TPS extension, Haitians will be able to remain in the United States for another 18 months, or January 22, 2016.

Haitians who arrived in the United States after January 12, 2011, or have been convicted of certain crimes, are not eligible for TPS status.

To read the official announcement, please click:  Haitian TPS extension 5.02.2014