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USCIS Releases Instructions on Filing Form I-589 with the Asylum Vetting Center

USCIS announced via the Form I-589 webpage that beginning November 2, 2020, asylum offices will no longer accept the filing of Forms I-589 that previously were filed directly with a local asylum office. These forms must be filed with the Asylum Vetting Center in Atlanta, Georgia.

USCIS Updates FY2021 H-2B Cap Count

USCIS released its H-2B cap count for FY2021, stating that it has received 29,739 beneficiaries toward the 33,000 cap for the first half of FY2021, with 24,181 approved and 5,558 pending

USCIS Updates Policy Guidance on Civics Educational Requirement for Purposes of Naturalization

USCIS updated policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual related to the naturalization civics test, increasing the general bank of questions to 128, the number of exam questions to 20, and the number of correct answers needed to pass to 12, as well as providing that officers will ask all 20 test items even if applicants achieve a passing score. This update becomes effective December 1, 2020, and applies prospectively to naturalization applications filed on or after that date

USCIS Premium Processing Fee Increase Effective Oct. 19, 2020.

The USCIS premium processing service allows petitioners to pay an additional filing fee to expedite the adjudication of certain forms, generally within 15 days. Any Form I-907 (Request for Premium Processing) postmarked on or after Oct. 19 must include the new fee amount. If USCIS receives a Form I-907 postmarked on or after Oct. 19 with the incorrect filing fee, we will reject the Form I-907 and return the filing fee.

Premium processing fee increase is Congress’ solution to USCIS financial hardship.

After a federal judge enjoined USCIS from drastically increasing their filing fees a week ago, the fee-funded agency is projecting to be in a financial deficit. However, last week Congress enacted the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021 and Other Extensions Act to immediately require USCIS to use premium processing at $2,500 for case types it previously charged $1,440. The Act also allows USCIS to set new premium fees without going through the typical regulatory process.

USCIS Updates Policy Guidance on TPS and Eligibility for Adjustment of Status Under INA §245(a)

USCIS updated policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual confirming that a grant of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is not admission for INA §245(a) adjustment purposes, clarifying that the applicability of decisions in the Sixth and Ninth Circuits is limited to those jurisdictions, and incorporating Matter of Z-R-Z-C-

Judge rules NO Increase in USCIS Fees

In an effort to thwart the Administrations attempt to dissuade Naturalization applications, a federal judge stopped the fee increases which would have doubled.

USCIS Extends Flexibility for Responding to Certain Agency Requests

Friday evening, USCIS announced it would extend flexibility for responding to certain agency requests. For the specified types of requests, if the issuance date on the notice or decision is between March 1, 2020, and January 1, 2021, inclusive, USCIS will consider a response received within 60 calendar days after the response due date set in the request or notice before taking any action

USCIS has implemented new DHS guidance on DACA.

On August 24, USCIS published an update clarifying DHS’ guidance on DACA. USCIS will reject all new DACA applications and limit renewals to one year. Existing two-year renewals will not be affected. Additionally, USCIS will reject DACA renewal applications received more than 150 days before the current DACA period expires; the agency clarified that applicants should file for a renewal between 120 and 150 days before their status expires. USCIS also included information on how it has limited advanced parole for DACA recipients to leave the country for urgent humanitarian reasons or a significant public benefit only.

USCIS has increased fees starting in October.

USCIS is almost entirely fee-funded, and a decrease in applications in recent months and years has caused the agency to be in a serious budget deficit. On July 31, USCIS announced that it would increase fees for a range of immigration and naturalization applications. Fee increases include a $500 increase in applying for naturalization, adding a $50 fee for asylum seekers, and more. In order to encourage online filing, USCIS will decrease fees by $10 for anyone who files an application or petition online. The new rule and fees will go into effect on October 2, 2020.

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