A blog about U.S. immigration matters by Paul Szeto, a former INS attorney and an experienced immigration attorney and counsel. Contact Info: 732-632-9888, http://www.1visa1.com/ (All information is not legal advice and is subject to change without prior notice.)

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Changes in Naturalization Application Process


Are you ready to vote? For our next president?  Make sure you are an American citizen first.  Every time when we get close to a presidential election, there is usually an increase in the number of applications for naturalization.  People want to take part in the democratic process.  They want to cast that sacred vote to choose the country's next leader.  And they apply for citizenship.

There are some changes in the naturalization application process.  First, the N-400 Application for Naturalization form is being processed electronically.  As a result, applicants no longer need to provide two passport-style photographs with their application.  After their application is filed, they will be scheduled for a biometric appointment at a local Application Support Center (ASC) for collection of their fingerprints, photographs and signature, regardless of their age.

Yes, regardless of age, all applicants must now attend a biometrics appointment at an ASC for fingerprinting, photographs, etc.  USCIS used to waive the fingerprint requirement for applicants 75 years or older.  This is no longer true.  With improved technology, USCIS can now capture fingerprints for applicants of all ages. However, applicants aged 75 and older do not have to pay the biometrics fee.

USCIS has special programs to accommodate applicants with disabilities and other special needs. For example, all domestic USCIS facilities are accessible to individuals with disabilities. Other special arrangements can also be made to accommodate the needs of the elderly and applicants who are homebound or hospitalized.  Applicants who need special accommodations can make the request with the application for naturalization, make an online request, or may call the National Customer Service Center (NCSC) at any time at 800-375-5283.  

The following are the basic requirements for naturalization:  (1) Be at least 18 years old at the time of filing Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. (2) Be a permanent resident (have a “Green Card”) for at least 5 years. (3) Show that you have lived for at least 3 months in the state or USCIS district where you apply. (4) Demonstrate continuous residence in the United States for at least 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing Form N-400.  (5) Show that you have been physically present in the United States for at least 30 months out of the 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing Form N-400. (6) Be able to read, write, and speak basic English. (7) Have a basic understanding of U.S. history and government.  (8) Be a person of good moral character. (9) Demonstrate an attachment to the principles and ideals of the U.S. Constitution.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

EB Applicants May Use the Filing Date Chart to File I-485 in October

USCIS announced that the agency will adopt the Filing Date Charts in October 2016's Visa Bulletin for both Family-based and Employment-based petitions.  This is the first time in many months that USCIS adopts the State Department's Filing Date Chart in visa bulletin.  A new batch of visa numbers will become available in October, the first month of the fiscal year. 

Employment-based green card applicants should check their priority date to determine if they can submit their I-485 application for adjustment of status in October.  When November comes, things may not be the same any more.

October 2016 Visa Bulletin: China and India EB2 / EB3 Advance


In the October Visa Bulletin, there is positive development in the employment-based (EB) categories. As previously predicted, EB1 has become current again for all countries including India and China.  EB2 is current for all countries exception India and China.  EB2 India advances two years to 01/15/2007.  EB2 China moves forward by 25 1/2 months to 02/15/2012! EB3 China leaped forward by three years to 01/22/2013 while EB2 India advances two weeks to 03/01/2005.  

All countries’ F1, F2, F3 only have a small step forward, mostly in half a month to one month. F4 Chinese move forward four months. The F4 India has a significant advance from 1/1/2001 to 12/1/2002 which is 2 years.

AD: Dates for Final Action (Approval)
FD : Dates for Filing Applications

FAMILY
Other Countries
China
India
Mexico
Philippines
F1
AD
09/22/2009
09/22/2009
09/22/2009
04/01/1995
08/01/2005
FD
01/01/2011
01/01/2011
01/01/2011
06/01/1995
05/01/2006
F2A
AD
12/22/2014
12/22/2014
12/22/2014
12/01/2014
12/22/2014
FD
11/22/2015
11/22/2015
11/22/2015
11/22/2015
11/22/2015
F2B
AD
03/15/2010
03/15/2010
03/15/2010
10/01/1995
01/01/2006
FD
02/08/2011
02/08/2011
02/08/2011
06/01/1996
02/01/2007
F3
AD
12/22/2004
12/22/2004
12/22/2004
11/22/1994
07/08/1994
FD
08/22/2005
08/22/2005
08/22/2005
05/01/1995
01/01/1995
F4
AD
11/01/2003
05/01/2003
12/01/2002
05/01/1997
04/15/1993
FD
07/01/2004
07/01/2004
05/01/2004
12/01/1997
04/01/1994

1st: Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Citizens (about 23,000 per year).
2A: The 2 "A" preference is for Spouses and Children (under 21 & unmarried) of LPR's.
2B: The 2 "B" Preference is for Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 or older) of LPR's.
3rd: Married Sons and Daughters of Citizens.(about 23,000 per year)
4th: Brothers and Sisters of Adult Citizens.(about 65,000 per year)


EMPLOYMENT
Other Countries
China
El Salvador Guatemala Honduras
India
Mexico
Philippines
EB1
AD
C
C
C
C
C
C
FD
C
C
N/A
C
C
C
EB2
AD
C
02/15/2012
C
01/15/2007
C
C
FD
C
03/01/2013
N/A
04/22/2009
C
C
            EB3
AD
06/01/2016
01/22/2013
06/01/2016
03/01/2005
06/01/2016
12/01/2010
FD
C
05/01/2014
N/A
07/01/2005
C
09/01/2013
    Other    Workers
AD
06/01/2016
01/01/2005
06/01/2016
03/01/2005
06/01/2016
12/01/2010
FD
C
08/01/2009
N/A
07/01/2005
C
09/01/2013
EB4
AD
C
C
06/15/2015
C
C
C
FD
C
C
N/A
C
C
C
EB5
AD
C
02/22/2014
C
C
C
C
FD
C
06/15/2014
N/A
C
C
C

1st: Priority Workers (Extraordinary ability aliens, multinational companies executives/managers, outstanding prof./researchers)
2nd: Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability.
3rd: Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers (Unskilled.)
4th: "Special Immigrants" (Religious & others)
5th: Employment Creation (Investors)

USCIS’ decision for September as below:
For Family-Sponsored Filings:
You can use the Filing Application Dates chart in the Department of State Visa Bulletin for October 2016.

For Employment-Based Filings:
You can use the Filing Application Dates chart in the Department of State Visa Bulletin for October 2016.