USCIS Removed 60-Day Rule for Civil Surgeon Signatures on Form I-693!

USCIS Removed 60-Day Rule for Civil Surgeon Signatures on Form I-693!

USCIS Removed 60-Day Rule for Civil Surgeon Signatures on Form I-693!

USCIS had issued a temporary waiver a while ago to pause the requirement that civil surgeons sign Form I-693, Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, no more than 60 days before an applicant applies for Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. 

Now this temporary waiver has become a permanent policy! 

How will this affect previously submitted cases?

For those whose Green Card applications have been considered invalid solely due to the expired I-693 signature before, you will no longer receive Request for Evidence (RFEs). USCIS will accept these Forms I-693 for adjudicative purposes for up to 2 years after the date the civil surgeon signed the form.

For new applicants, Civil surgeons no longer have to sign Form I-693 no more than 60 days before the Green Card (I-485) application is filed. 

What's the best practice?

Submit your Form I-693 with your Form I-485 together! USCIS will consider a completed Form I-693 to remain valid for 2 years after the date the civil surgeon signed the medical record form. 

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USCIS Proposed Rule to Adjust Certain Naturalization Application Fees

USCIS has been talking about changing application fees and rules to better serve the immigrants. Let's take a quick look at some key points:

USCIS Adjust Naturalization Application Fees

USCIS Proposed Rule to Adjust Certain Application Fees

USCIS today published a Notice of Proposed Reulemaking (NPRM) to adjust certain immigration and naturalization benefit request fees. 

Why? This allows USCIS to more fully recover its operating costs and they need more money to maintain timely case processing (which is one of the biggest concerns that everyone has!)

The projected revenues would also allow USCIS to increase the number of adjudicators processing applications, improve technology and increase support provided to individuals. 

Who will be affected by the new rule?

The proposed rule would include a modest increase in the fee for certain naturalization applications, while preserving existing fee waiver eligibility for low income and vulnerable populations and adding new fee exemptions for certain humanitarian programs. 

If finalized, the rule will decrease or minimally increase fees for more than one million low-income filers per year. 

New measures include:
  • incorporate biometrics costs into the main benefit fee 
  • remove the separate biometric services fee
  • establish separate fees for each nonimmigrant classification covered by Form I-129
  • Change premium processing timeframe from 15 calendar days to 15 business days
  • institute lower fees for certain forms filed online

Please note that the fees will not change until the final rule goes into effect, after the public has the opportunity to comment and USCIS finalizes the fee schedule in response. Stay tuned for USCIS's public engagement session on proposed fee rule on Jan 11, 2023! 

NEW Version of Form I-485 Starts Dec 23rd, 2022!

Hello everyone! Just want to give you a quick alert that USCIS starts accepting the new version of Form I-485 for your Green Card application! Here are a couple of things that you need to be aware of:

NEW Version of Form I-485 Starts Dec 23rd, 2022!

  • If you file your Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, on or after Dec. 23, 2022, you MUST use the new edition of Form I-485! Or USCIS will reject your filing.
  • If you file Form I-485 before Dec 23, 2022, you MUST use the older version (07/15/22) or USCIS would reject your filing as well!

The rule of thumb - always check your forms before you submit to make sure you are using the right version! 

Good luck!

More updates:

USCIS Automatically Extends Green Cards for N-400 Naturalization Applicants

Great news! USCIS continuously improves the immigration process by automatically extending your Green Card if you applied for naturalization. Let's hear all about it!

USCIS Automatically Extends Green Cards for N-400 Naturalization Applicants

USCIS Automatically Extends Green Cards for N-400 Naturalization Applicants

USCIS now automatically extends the validity of Permanent Resident Cards (Green Cards) for applicants who applied for naturalization! 

Since many naturalization applicants are experiencing long processing times, this new policy will help permanent resident maintain their status in the US and avoid the need to file Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card (Green Card). 

In plain words - Make sure you file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization in time and you will receive an automatic extension on your existing Green Card. Isn't that wonderful?

When does this policy start? 

It's effective on Dec. 12th, 2022! 

How do I prove that my expired Green Card has been extended? 

The N-400 receipt notice will have an updated language that extends your Green Card for up to 24 months for these applicants. 

As long as you present your expired Green Card with the N-400 receipt notice, you will be able to prove your continued status in the US. 

Keep Reading...

NEW Trial Naturalization Test by USCIS

Are you about to take your naturalization test? USCIS is about to trial a new version of the test! Let's take a quick look at what is going on:

NEW Trial Naturalization Test by USCIS

What is a Naturalization Test?

For those of you that don't know about naturalization test yet, it is the citizenship test that happens at the final stages of the naturalization process. Basically, most immigrants need to pass this test to be eligible to become a US citizen. The test includes two parts, Eglish and civics test. 

If you are interested in learning about my naturalization test experience - click here to see more details!

USCIS Trials NEW Version of the Naturalization Test

USCIS announced recently that they would trial a new version of the naturalization test. Why? This decision is part of a broader effort by the Biden administration to overhaul the immigration system. According to USCIS, some experts reviewed the current version of the test and suggested a redesign.

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11 Scanning Issues with USCIS You Should Avoid Now

We have heard so many cases that were delayed due to scanning issues! The good thing is - these issues are very easy to avoid. USCIS recently released a list of things that you should NOT do so they can process your documents more smoothly. Let's check them out!

11 Scanning Issues with USCIS You Should Avoid Now

How to Avoid Scanning Delays with USCIS

As you may know, USCIS is moving toward an increasing electronic environment so that they can process cases in an efficient way. Most of the documents are scanned and uploaded into electronic database systems. Therefore it's especially important for applicants to avoid delays by avoiding scanning issues. Here is a list of things that you should NOT DO to avoid delays:

  1. Hole punch, staple, paper clip, binder clip, or otherwise attach documents to one another.
  2. Include photos or documents smaller than 4x6 inches for evidentiary purposes. Provide photocopies of these items instead. The only exception is when we request a passport photo with the filing.
  3. Include anything that contains electronic chips and batteries (such as musical greeting cards) or any non-paper materials such as cassette tapes, CD-ROMs, DVDs, toys, action figures, or thumb drives. We will not accept these types of materials. However, we will accept photographs or photocopies of these items.
  4. Submit forms or evidence documents bound with a binding or spiral wire/plastic.
  5. Submit evidence using photo albums, scrapbooks, binders, or greeting cards.
  6. Fold documents.
  7. Place sticky notes on documents.
  8. Use insertable tab dividers.
  9. Print forms on colored paper.
  10. Submit more than one copy of the same document or evidence unless required by the form instructions or regulations. If you are required to submit a copy of a complete prior application, petition, or request, clearly mark it as a “COPY” at the top of each page to ensure it is processed as intended.
  11. Send original documents such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, driver’s licenses, passports, naturalization certificates, except when:
    • Required by the form instructions for the application, petition, or request you are filing; or
    • We specifically issue a request for you to submit an original document.

Avoiding these activities will improve USCIS's efficiency as they process your application, petition, or request.

Learn More:

How to Reinstate your Green Card After Staying Aboard for a Long Period

Have you been out of the US for over 1 year? Many of us may be subject to green card abandonment without even knowing it! 

During the pandemic, many green card holders had no choice but to stay out of the US for an extended period. In this case, you may be facing a difficult decision - whether to abandon your green card or not. 
How to Reinstate your Green Card After Staying Aboard for a Long Period

What are the key consequences of green card abandonment?

Other than losing your permanent residency and being required to restart the green card application all over again, here are a couple of other consequences:
  • Watch out for "Exit tax"! - IRS may treat your assets as sold for market value on the day you lose your status. While you are still the owner of the assets, you may be subject to some additional taxes.
  • You will not be able to sponsor any family members to visit the US and any sponsored applications for your family may be suspended or cancelled. 

How to avoid Green Card abandonment

Luckily, you may apply for Form I-407, Record of Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Resident Status, aka a re-entry permit! 

A re-entry permit allows permanent US residents to travel outside the country for more than 12 months without losing their permanent residency status. This permit is usually valid for 2 years and can be applied for as many times as possible.

Why do you need this re-entry permit? This permit is to show USCIS that you still have a very strong intention to come back to the US and maintain your permanent residency status.

If you are out of the country for a long time period (over 12 months), you may be given a warning by a Custom and Border Protection (CBP) when you try to re-enter the US with your current unexpired green card. So it's suggested to apply for Form I-407 before you leave the US when you know that you would be outside of the US for more than 1 year. 

What if I am already out of the US for over 1 year and didn't apply for Form I-407?

How to reinstate your Green Card after abandonment

You can reinstate your green card at the US Embassy or Consulate near your current location abroad. An interview will be required. You will need to submit documents to prove that:

  • When you departed the US, you had a valid green card. You will need to present your valid permanent resident card and other supporting documents
  • Your overstaying outside the country is due to circumstances beyond your control. For example, medical reasons or employment, or even other family affair. 
  • You left the US with an intention to come back - meaning you didn't mean to abandon your status. You may be required to submit your US income tax return records. 
  • You may also show that you have properties, investments and/or other close relatives int he US. Bank accounts and other assets may also support your true intentions. 
Check with your US embassy or consulate at your current country when you apply for the reinstatement. Every case can be different but here are a few key documents for the green card reinstatement application:
  • DS-117, Application to Determine Returning Resident Status 
  • Your existing I-551, Permanent Resident Card (Green Card)
  • Re-entry permit if applicable 
  • Documents to prove the date you traveled outside the US, such as your flight tickets or passport stamps
  • Your recent US tax returns
  • Other supporting documents such as evidence of family and social ties to the US
I hope this article helps! Come back to learn more about immigration applications.

USCIS Decouples Form I-765 and Form I-131 Filed at the Same Time

Did you know that USCIS started separating Form I-765 and Form I-131 even if you filed them at the same time? Let's chat more!
USCIS Decouples Form I-765 and Form I-131 Filed at the Same Time

USCIS Decouples Form I-765 and Form I-131 Filed at the Same Time

USCIS announced that, in order to improve efficiency and reduce Form I-765 processing times for Form I-485 applicants, they may decouple Forms I-765 from Forms I-131 filed at the same times!

When will this start?

This new processing had already started from February 1st, 2022. 

How does this affect my Green Card I-458 application?

USCIS will try to process your Form I-765 first (ahead of Form I-131) and if they approve it, they will issue you an Employment Authorization Document without any notation about advanced parole (Form I-131 for traveling). This is not bad at all! After all, most of us need the work permit more than traveling permit!

USCIS will adjudicate the Form I-131 separately and once it's approved, you will receive a separate advance parole document. 

Keep reading...

USCIS Revised Form I-589 and I-765!

If you are in the middle of preparing for your Green Card application, be sure you use the most recent forms! USCIS recently revised Form I-589 and I-765. Let's see more details:

USCIS Revised Form I-589 and I-765!

USCIS Revised Form I-589 and I-765!

USCIS updates immigration forms from time to time. The most recent updates are for 
Here I will emphasize on Form I-765 which is one of the important forms along with Form I-485 Green Card application. 

Starting from Nov. 7th, 2022, USCIS will only accept the 07/26/22 edition. Until then applicants can still use the older versions (5/31/22 and 08/25/20 editions). 

Make sure you use the latest version before you submit your application! USCIS has the right to reject your application if you are using the wrong versions. 

Good luck! We will talk soon.

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Watch Out: USCIS Flexibility Periods for RFE Extended to Jan. 24, 2023!

Remember that during COVID-19 pandemic, USCIS extended certain flexibilities to assist applicants? No these flexibility periods have come to an end!

Watch Out: USCIS Flexibility Periods for RFE Extended to Jan. 24, 2023!

What was the flexibility timeframe set by USCIS?

March 1, 2020 to July 25, 2022.

1/3/2023 Updated: USCIS continues to extend certain COVID-19 related flexibilities through Jan. 24, 2023!

How does it affect my application?

Currently, USCIS will still accept responses received within 60 calendar days after the due date set in the following requests or notices (only if the date listed on the notice is between March 1, 2020 and July 25, 2022 Jan. 24, 2023) So be sure to check your date on the notice! This applies to the following notices:

  • RFE Requests for Evidence
  • Continuations to Request Evidence (N-14)
  • Notices of Intent to Deny
  • Notices of Intent to Revoke
  • Notices of Intent to Rescind
  • Notices of Intent to Terminate Regional Centers
  • Motions to Reopen an N-400 Pursuant to 8 C.F.R. 335.5, Receipt of Derogatory Information After Grant
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