Announcement: DOS Provides Update on Public Charge Inadmissibility Following Temporary Injunction

 

Following a nationwide injunction issued by a federal judge temporarily blocking Public Charge inadmissibility from being enforced due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States Department of State (“DOS”) will be updating its guidance to consular officers on how to proceed while the injunction remains in effect. In the interim, DOS will not be requiring visa applicants to submit a DS 5540 Public Charge Questionnaire. Visa applicants are further requested not to take any additional steps at this time and should proceed for interviews as scheduled.

Immigrant and nonimmigrant visa applicants in East and Southeast Asia who have questions on the temporary injunction and Public Charge inadmissibility may contact us at info@enterimmi.com and speak with a U.S. immigration attorney based in Ho Chi Minh City, Manila and Taipei.

 

Copyright 2020. This article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This article may be changed with or without notice. The opinions expressed in this article are those of Enterline and Partners only.

Announcement: USCIS Filing Fee Changes to Become Effective on October 2, 2020

 

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) has posted for public inspection an advanced copy of a final rule that will significantly alter many fees the USCIS charges for services, including adding new fees, establishing multiple fees for nonimmigrant worker petitions, and limiting the number of beneficiaries for certain forms. Across all services, fees will increase by an average of 20 percent.

The rule also removes certain fee exemptions, changes fee waiver requirements, alters premium processing time limits, and modifies certain intercountry adoption processing. The USCIS advises the rule has been published in the Federal Register on August 3, 2020, and will be effective 60 days from the date of publication (October 2, 2020).

The fee revisions affect almost all immigration benefits including family-based immigrant and naturalization petitions and employment-based petitions.

Examples of the changes include the following:

Form I-129F Petition for Fiancé(e)                                           from US$535 to US$510

Form I-129L Petition for a Nonimmigrant worker               from US$460 to US$805

Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative                                     from US$535 to US$560

Form I-140 Petition for Alien Worker                                      from US$700 to US$555

Form I-526 Immigrant Petition by Alien Investor                 from US$3,675 to US$4,010

Form I-829 Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions        from US$3,750 to US$3,900

Form N-400 Application for Naturalization                            from US$640 to US$1,170

The full list of fee adjustments:

Immigration Benefit Request Current Fee Final Fee Change ($) Percent Change
I-90 Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card (online filing) $455 $405 -$50 -11 percent
I-90 Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card (paper filing) $455 $415 -$40 -9 percent
I-102 Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival-Departure Document $445 $485 $40 9 percent
I-129 Petition for a Nonimmigrant worker $460 N/A N/A N/A
I-129CW, I-129E&TN, and I-129MISC $460 $695 $235 51 percent
I-129H1 $460 $555 $95 21 percent
I-129H2A – Named Beneficiaries $460 $850 $390 85 percent
I-129H2B – Named Beneficiaries $460 $715 $255 55 percent
I-129L $460 $805 $345 75 percent
I-129O $460 $705 $245 53 percent
I-129H2A – Unnamed Beneficiaries $460 $415 -$45 -10 percent
I-129H2B – Unnamed Beneficiaries $460 $385 -$75 -16 percent
I-129F Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) $535 $510 -$25 -5 percent
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative (online filing) $535 $550 $15 3 percent
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative (paper filing) $535 $560 $25 5 percent
I-131 Application for Travel Document $575 $590 $15 3 percent
I-131 Refugee Travel Document for an individual age 16 or older $135 $145 $10 7 percent
I-131 Refugee Travel Document for a child under the age of 16 $105 $115 $10 10 percent
I-131A Application for Travel Document (Carrier Documentation) $575 $1,010 $435 76 percent
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker $700 $555 -$145 -21 percent
I-191 Application for Relief Under Former Section 212(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) $930 $790 -$140 -15 percent
I-192 Application for Advance Permission to Enter as Nonimmigrant (CBP) $585 $1,400 $815 139 percent
I-192 Application for Advance Permission to Enter as Nonimmigrant (USCIS) $930 $1,400 $470 51 percent
I-193 Application for Waiver of Passport and/or Visa $585 $2,790 $2,205 377 percent
I-212 Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the U.S. After Deportation or Removal $930 $1,050 $120 13 percent
I-290B Notice of Appeal or Motion $675 $700 $25 4 percent
I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant $435 $450 $15 3 percent
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence $1,140 $1,130 -$10 -1 percent
I-485 Application to Adjust Status $750 $1,130 $380 51 percent
I-526 Immigrant Petition by Alien Investor $3,675 $4,010 $335 9 percent
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status (online filing) $370 $390 $20 5 percent
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status (paper filing) $370 $400 $30 8 percent
I-589 Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal $0 $50 $50 N/A
I-600/600A Adoption Petitions and Applications $775 $805 $30 4 percent
I-600A Supplement 3 Request for Action on Approved Form I-600A N/A $400 N/A N/A
I-601 Application for Waiver of Ground of Excludability $930 $1,010 $80 9 percent
I-601A Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver $630 $960 $330 52 percent
I-612 Application for Waiver of the Foreign Residence Requirement (Under Section 212(e) of the INA, as Amended) $930 $515 -$415 -45 percent
I-687 Application for Status as a Temporary Resident $1,130 $1,130 $0 0 percent
I-690 Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility $715 $765 $50 7 percent
I-694 Notice of Appeal of Decision $890 $715 -$175 -20 percent
I-698 Application to Adjust Status from Temporary to Permanent Resident (Under Section 245A of the INA) $1,670 $1,615 -$55 -3 percent
I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence $595 $760 $165 28 percent
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization (Non-DACA) $410 $550 $140 34 percent
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization (DACA only) $410 $410 $0 0 percent
I-800/800A Adoption Petitions and Applications $775 $805 $30 4 percent
I-800A Supplement 3 Request for Action on Approved Form I-800A $385 $400 $15 4 percent
I-817 Application for Family Unity Benefits $600 $590 -$10 -2 percent
I-824 Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition $465 $495 $30 6 percent
I-829 Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions $3,750 $3,900 $150 4 percent
I-881 Application for Suspension of Deportation $285 $1,810 $1,525 535 percent
I-881 Application for Special Rule Cancellation of Removal $570 $1,810 $1,240 218 percent
I-910 Application for Civil Surgeon Designation $785 $635 -$150 -19 percent
I-924 Application For Regional Center Designation Under the Immigrant Investor Program $17,795 $17,795 $0 0 percent
I-924A Annual Certification of Regional Center $3,035 $4,465 $1,430 47 percent
I-929 Petition for Qualifying Family Member of a U-1 Nonimmigran $230 $1,485 $1,255 546 percent
N-300 Application to File Declaration of Intention $270 $1,305 $1,035 383 percent
N-336 Request for Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings (online filing) $700 $1,725 $1,025 146 percent
N-336 Request for Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings (paper filing) $700 $1,735 $1,035 148 percent
N-400 Application for Naturalization (online filing) $640 $1,160 $520 81 percent
N-400 Application for Naturalization (paper filing) $640 $1,170 $530 83 percent
N-400 Application for Naturalization (paper filing) $320 $1,170 $850 266 percent
N-470 Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization Purposes $355 $1,585 $1,230 346 percent
N-565 Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document (online filing) $555 $535 -$20 -4 percent
N-565 Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document (paper filing) $555 $545 -$10 -2 percent
N-600 Application for Certificate of Citizenship (online filing) $1,170 $990 -$180 -15 percent
N-600 Application for Certificate of Citizenship (paper filing) $1,170 $1,000 -$170 -15 percent
N-600K Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate (online filing) $1,170 $935 -$235 -20 percent
N-600K Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate (paper filing) $1,170 $945 -$225 -19 percent
USCIS Immigrant Fee $220 $190 -$30 -14 percent
Biometric Services (Non-DACA) $85 $30 -$55 -65 percent
Biometric Services (DACA only) $85 $85 $0 0 percent
G-1041 Genealogy Index Search Request (online filing) $65 $160 $95 146 percent
G-1041 Genealogy Index Search Request (paper filing) $65 $170 $105 162 percent
G-1041A Genealogy Records Request (online filing) $65 $255 $190 292 percent
G-1041A Genealogy Records Request (paper filing) $65 $265 $200 308 percent

For more information on USCIS fee changes, contact us today at info@enterimmi.com and speak with one of our U.S. immigration attorneys in Ho Chi Minh City, Manila and Taipei.

 

Copyright 2020. This article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This article may be changed with or without notice. The opinions expressed in this article are those of Enterline and Partners only.

Announcement: Federal Judge Temporarily Blocks DOS and DHS from Implementing Public Charge Inadmissibility

 

A United States federal judge issued a nationwide injunction temporarily blocking the Department of State (“DOS”) and the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) from enforcing Public Charge inadmissibility in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Judge George McDaniels of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York issued the order due to significant changes since the United States Supreme Court handed the Trump Administration a legal victory in late January 2020 allowing DOS and DHS to implement Public Charge inadmissibility at the end of February 2020.

“As a direct result of the rule, immigrants are forced to make an impossible choice between jeopardizing public health and personal safety or their immigration status”, Judge McDaniels wrote.

The ruling was hailed by immigrant advocacy groups which have been renewing their efforts to block Public Charge inadmissibility as COVID-19 infection rates continue to increase throughout the United States.

The federal government is entitled to appeal Judge McDaniels’ order.

Visa applicants located in Vietnam, the Philippines and Taiwan and other countries in East and South East Asia who have questions on Public Charge inadmissibility may contact us at info@enterimmi.com and speak with a U.S. immigration attorney in Ho Chi Minh City, Manila and Taiwan.

 

Copyright 2020. This article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This article may be changed with or without notice. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the Enterline Immigration only.

Announcement: DHS Issues Revised Policy on Foreign Students Outside the United States

 

A week after United States Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) rescinded it’s earlier policy requiring foreign students to depart the United States if their educational institutions were moving to full-time online courses for fall semester 2020, DHS has announced that foreign students not currently enrolled as of March 9, 2020 will “likely not be able to obtain” student visas if they intend to take classes entirely online. Foreign students who are either in the United States or returning from abroad and already have their student visas will still be allowed to take classes entirely online.

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, which is tracking 1,250 colleges and universities, 12% are planning to conduct online classes only for the fall semester 2020 while 34% will engage in a hybrid-model of in-person and online classes. The remaining 50% are planning to conduct in-person classes only.

Colleges and universities across the United States have been already reporting a sharp decrease in foreign students as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions. Approximately 1.1 million foreign students were enrolled in the United States for the 2018-19 academic year and only 250,000 are expected to enroll either as new or returning students for the upcoming academic year according to the American Council on Education.

For more information on DHS’s new policy affecting foreign students in Vietnam, the Philippines and Taiwan, contact us at info@enterimmi.com and speak with a U.S. immigration attorney in Ho Chi Minh City, Manila and Taipei.

 

Copyright 2020. This article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This article may be changed with or without notice. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the Enterline Immigration only.

Announcement: CDC Issues One Month Extension on Immigrant Visa Medical Evaluations

 

The United States Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”) has approved a one-month extension on medical evaluations conducted for immigrant visa applications between January 1, 2020 and June 30, 2020.  Immigrant visa applicants who obtained medical clearances as well as those who had their immigrant visas issued but were unable to travel due to movement restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic should contact their nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate to request visa reissuance. Those who are unable to travel within the additional one-month extension are encouraged to wait until they are able to depart to the United States and comply with CDC guidelines which would entail a new medical evaluation and immigrant visa.

Immigrant visa applicants located in Ho Chi Minh City, Manila and Taipei that may qualify for this extension are welcome to contact us at info@enterimmi.com and speak with one of our U.S. immigration attorneys.

Congratulations to David Enterline – 25 years as an American Immigration Lawyers Association (“AILA”) member

 

Congratulations to David Enterline who has reached 25 years as an American Immigration Lawyers Association (“AILA”) member. AILA is the 15,000+ association of U.S. and international lawyers who practice U.S. immigration law. During his membership, David has been active as a member in the Asia-Pacific Chapter serving in various roles of leadership in the Chapter.  Both David and Ryan Barshop are active members and often speak at regional and national AILA events on various immigration topics.

It’s Your AILA Anniversary!

Dear David,

Can you believe it? It’s been twenty-five years since you joined AILA! Anniversaries come and go, but your commitment to AILA has been unwavering during these trying times.

Thank you for your continued support! Happy AILA Anniversary

Sincerely,

AILA Member Services Team

Direct: 202.507.7600 I Email: membership@aila.org

American Immigration Lawyers Association

Main: (202) 507-7600   I   Fax: (202) 783-7853   I www.aila.org

1331 G Street NW, Suite 300 Washington, DC 20005


For more information, contact us at info@enterimmi.com and speak with one of our U.S. immigration lawyers in Ho Chi Minh City, Manila and Taipei.

 

Copyright 2020. This article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This article may be changed with or without notice. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the Enterline and Partners only.

Hong Kong born nationals facing long wait times for immigrant visas

 

On July 14, 2020 President Trump signed the Hong Kong Autonomy Act of 2020 and at the same time signed The President’s Executive Order on Hong Kong Normalization.  The intent of this Executive Order (“EO”) is to suspend or eliminate different and preferential treatment for Hong Kong, including the treatment of Hong Kong nationals as separate from China nationals under the U.S. immigration laws.

The EO cites a number of laws regarding U.S. and Hong Kong relations, including Section 202 of the United States-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992, Section 103 of the Immigration Act of 1990; and Sections 203(c), 212(l), and 221(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952. The EO gives the appropriate agencies 15 days to commence enforcement of the actions ordered by the President.

The impact on Hong Kong passport holders will be profound.

Under Section 2 of the EO, Trump expressly eliminates the preference for Hong Kong passport holders as compared to PRC passport holders.  The effect of this will be to treat Hong Kong nationals the same a Chinese nationals in visa allocation, visa validity and visa application fees.

Most severe of these – visa allocation – will be a change to how the U.S. allocates visas to Hong Kong nationals for immigrant visa categories that are oversubscribed (basically all categories for Chinese nationals).  Hong Kong nationals will now be folded into the same “China mainland-born” visa waiting list and might wait years, or in some cases decades, for visas to be available.

It might still be too early to panic just yet.  Cooler heads might prevail and adjust or even reverse the impact of the EO on Hong Kong passport holders.  The President might realize that these orders only hurt the people of Hong Kong. Regulations might “grandfather” anyone who is already in the immigration process so that they may continue without harm.

There is also an interesting question as to how the U.S. will apply the EO to those with British National Overseas passport holders versus Hong Kong, Special Administrative Regional passport holders.  The U.S. immigration laws regarding immigrant visa allocation is based on “country of birth” and not on an applicant’s passport, so it will be interesting to see how this is handled.

For more information, contact us at info@enterimmi.com and speak with one of our U.S. immigration lawyers in Ho Chi Minh City, Manila and Taipei.

 

Copyright 2020. This article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This article may be changed with or without notice. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the Enterline Immigration only.

Has Trump finally overstepped his abuse of executive authority?

 

In a recent American Immigration Lawyers Association (“AILA”) webinar, the esteemed Ira Kurzban, unquestionably regarded as the godfather of immigration litigation, commented that every single day of Trump’s administration, he has made some change to law or regulation by issuing Executive Orders or directives or by other means.  This is most evident and publicized in his attack on legal immigration, circumventing the laws and regulations passed by Congress that provide for an organized necessary immigration system.  That the GOP has allowed him to do so without check is telling of how far to the right the Republican party has swung.  But Trump may have finally overstepped his authority.

Last week the United States Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) announced a new policy prohibiting foreign students from studying in the United States if a college or university shifted to full-time online classes because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Foreign students in the U.S. on F-1 and M-1 visas enrolled in any institution that moved all its classes online would be required to leave the United States.  Immediately Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology sued in federal court to try to block this policy.  On July 13th attorneys general in 17 states and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration over this same policy, including a request for an injunction to stop the policy from becoming effective while the case is being considered by the court.

Forcing foreign students to leave the U.S. could have a significant economic impact on the United States. According to the Institute of International Education, the total foreign student population reached 1.1 million in the 2018- 2019 academic year and comprised roughly 5.5 percent of the total higher education community. The U.S. Department of Commerce noted that foreign students contributed nearly $45 billion to the 2018 U.S. economy as well as offering cultural diversity to campus life and enriching academics in many ways.

The lawsuit is based on several key factors. The directive was arbitrary and capricious because it failed to offer a reason for its reversal of prior policy, the rule imposes large financial and administrative burdens on colleges and universities, and the directive would interfere with reopening guidelines that state governments have already issued.

Initially filed by the state of Massachusetts, 16 other states joined the lawsuit and includes declarations from more than 40 schools impacted by the policy, including the University of Massachusetts, Boston University, Yale, the University of Connecticut, and Tufts University.

Lawsuits filed against Trump’s policies and executive orders are ubiquitous.  It is possible that almost every single order or policy change that he has made has resulted in a lawsuit.  But in the field of legal immigration, an organized challenge by a significant number of states is notable.  With fall semesters scheduled to begin in as little as 5 to 7 weeks, foreign students in the U.S. and those institutions that rely on such students urgently need an injunction to ensure stability to all parties during the resolution of this lawsuit.

If you have questions about the policy or the lawsuit, or what you as a foreign student can do to protect your status, contact us at info@enterimmi.com and speak with one of our U.S. immigration lawyers in Ho Chi Minh City, Manila and Taipei.

 

Copyright 2020. This article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This article may be changed with or without notice. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the Enterline Immigration only.

Announcement: Hong Kong and Taiwan Consulates to resume visa application services on July 15, 2020

 

The U.S. Consulate General for Hong Kong and Macau and the American Institute in Taiwan (“AIT”) resumed routine visa services on July 15, 2020.

The AIT will resume routine visa services but will prioritize F, M, and J visa applications, which is understandable as students will need to obtain visas quickly to travel to the U.S. in time for fall classes to begin.

The Hong Kong Consulate indicates it will resume ‘limited’ immigrant and nonimmigrant visa services but does not mentioned prioritizing students.

Both posts remind visa applicants that the presidential proclamations suspending entry to the U.S. for certain immigrant and non-immigrants are still in effect.  Both posts also advise applicants to expect extended waiting times to obtain appointments.

For assistance with applying for visas at these or other points around Asia, especially China, Vietnam, and the Philippines, contact us at info@enterimmi.com and speak with a U.S. immigration attorney in Ho Chi Minh City, Manila, and Taipei.

Announcement: Trump Administration Rescinds Policy on Foreign Students

 

The Trump Administration is rescinding its policy which would require foreign students to depart the United States if they are only taking classes online. The policy reversal came because of heavy criticism from both Republicans and Democrats who argued that the new rule would be disruptive to students and undermine the value of education.

The announcement was made by Federal Judge Allison Burroughs of the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts who commented that the government was setting aside it’s protocol even as COVID-19 cases across the United States continue to spike and colleges and universities begin to transition to online only classes for fall semester 2020.

It is unclear however whether the Trump Administration is abandoning its position or retreating and regrouping to take a different approach such as an executive order.

For more information, contact us at info@enterimmi.com and speak with one of our U.S. immigration lawyers in Ho Chi Minh City, Manila and Taipei.