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Petitioners can now file Form I-130 online.

 Effective immediately, USCIS has made Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, available for online filing. Acting USCIS Director Cuccinelli announced that this form is now the 8th available for online filing, and is part of the agency’s push to become paperless. Petitioners can also use the online portal to track their status, pay fees, communicate with USCIS, and respond to requests for evidence. The paper version of Form I-130 will still be accepted.

USCIS has adjusted the premium processing fee for some employment-based petitions.

Starting December 2, the premium processing fee will increase from $1,410 to $1,440 for Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, and Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker. The fee was last increased in 2018, and the increase is based on inflation. Premium processing is optional and allows petitioners to request 15-day processing.

USCIS has updated fee waiver requirements

USCIS has updated fee waiver requirements

USCIS has published a new version of Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver. The new version has removed the use of means-tested public benefits as a factor. According to USCIS, the change was warranted because eligibility requirements for public benefits vary so much state-to-state. Under the new criteria, individuals can request a fee waiver if their annual household income is at or below 150% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or if they demonstrate financial hardship. In effect, the new criteria narrow who is eligible for a fee waiver. 

The Naturalization Process Just Got Harder for Noncitizen Troops Stationed Overseas

Military.com reports on USCIS’s announcement that the number of places overseas where noncitizen service members and their families can be naturalized will be cut from 23 to four due to the agency’s closures of international offices. Noncitizen service members will now have to apply for naturalization at four overseas military bases or “hubs,” and USCIS officers will travel to each hub every quarter to provide naturalization services

USCIS Is Realigning the Organization and Structure of Domestic Regional, District, and Field Offices

USCIS announced that the Field Operations Directorate is realigning the organization and structure of its domestic regional, district, and field offices. The new structure will consist of four regions, 16 districts (four in each region), and 88 field offices. Currently, there are four regions, 24 districts, and 88 field offices.

USCIS Announces It Will Keep Seven International Field Offices Open

USCIS announced that it plans to maintain operations at its international field offices in Beijing, Guangzhou, Nairobi, New Delhi, Guatemala City, Mexico City, and San Salvador. USCIS plans to close the remaining 13 international field offices and three district offices by August 2020.

U.S. Border Agency to Expand Use of Facial Recognition Tech

CBP is set to expand its use of facial recognition technology to screen people entering the country. A draft request for bids lays out CBP’s plans to replace its existing “token-based” security system, which relies on verification methods such as passwords, with a biometric one. CBP also plans to replace Global Entry kiosks at the border with a “facial recognition solution.”

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