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.)

Friday, May 4, 2018

Extra Steps for Picking Up New Green Card and EAD

In order to more securely send sensitive documents out, USCIS will be switching to a new delivery system on April 30th. The system is called the Signature Confirmation Restricted Delivery service through the United States Postal Service (USPS). These documents include original documents such as Permanent Resident Cards (Green Cards) and Employment Authorization Cards (EAD). The transition will first be applied to documents that have been sent back to USCIS. The changes should be completed by late 2019. 

The most notable changes are in having to present proper I.D. to sign for the mail. The applicant must show their I.D. to receive their delivered document. A designated person can also sign and receive the delivery for the applicant through the PS Form 3801. The applicant or the representing attorney would have to go to the office to fill out the form beforehand. If the delivery address is the attorney’s office, only the attorney can show I.D. and sign for the document.  However, the attorney may designate another person to pick up the document at the post office.

Missed deliveries will result in the document being held in the post office for 15 days before being sent back to USCIS. The applicant can go to the USPS website and set a date and time to pick their document up from the post office. USPS also offers a tracking service applicants can sign up for to get notifications. 

Adding these conditions to document pick-up does provide more security. However, it also complicates matters for the applicant. Some do not have proper I.D. such as a driver license. In fact, they are trying to apply for I.D. documents such as an EAD from the Department of Homeland Security.  Hence, the new policy indirectly created a chicken-and-egg-problem which could make it hard for some applicants to receive their document.

Also, many applicants are new immigrants that tend to move around a lot for employment opportunities and other reasons.  When they move, they need to properly change their address with the USCIS and also the USPS.  If the change of address has not been processed timely and correctly, it is very possible that these applicants may miss these important original documents from USCIS. 

Because of this new policy, it is now more important than ever for immigrants to properly report their change of address with Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Postal Service.  In fact, by law, if any non-citizen knowingly failed to change his or her address by filing the AR-11 form, the person could be found deportable from the United States. The intent of this law was to catch the ill-intentioned foreigners such as terrorists.  But it applies to all non-citizens present in the U.S.  However, a lot of new immigrants do not know about this requirement at all.

Understandably, there are worries that this process will be more complicated than it is secure. Applicants for these important immigration documents should pay close attention to the requirements and follow the advice of their attorneys. 

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