USCIS Will No Longer Accept Combined Fee Payments For EB-5, Immigrant Investor Program Applications or Petitions

USCIS Will No Longer Accept Combined Fee Payments For EB-5, Immigrant Investor Program Petitions

The USCIS has announced that going forward they will no longer accept combined fee payment of Form I-526 (Immigrant Petition by Standalone Investor) or Form I-526E (Immigrant Petition by Regional Center Investor), filed with Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status), Form I-131 (Application for Travel Document), or Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization by a petitioner). Combined fee payment for Forms I-485, I-131 and I-765 will be accepted, although a separate check payment for fees towards Form I-526 or I-526E must be sent and the failure to do so will force the USCIS to reject the form and reimburse the fee payment amount on account of improper fee payment.

Since requests for immigration benefits are currently being processed electronically by the USCIS, a different payment instrument is needed for each of the Form I-526 and I-526E petitions because they are not all handled through the same system. The USCIS understands that while this requirement may be rather inconvenient for the petitioners and applicants, the benefit of a computerized processing exceeds the drawbacks of submitting individual fee payments for the agency and the general public.

Expansion of Premium Processing

Premium Processing for Multinational Manager/Executive and National Interest Waiver Petitions

Premium processing is welcome news for I-140 beneficiaries and their sponsoring employers given that many of these cases may have been waiting for several months and even years, preventing thousands of foreign nationals from achieving their permanent residence in the U.S. Newly filed I-140 petitions will continue to remain ineligible for premium processing at this time.

On July 15, 2022, the U.S. Citizenship, and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that EB-1(c) petitions pending since July 1, 2021 (or earlier) and NIW petitions pending since August 1, 2021 (or earlier) will now be eligible for an upgrade to premium processing.

Beginning August 1, 2022, the USCIS will accept Form I-907 premium processing requests for:

  • EB-1(c) multinational executive and manager petitions received on or before July 1, 2021; and
  • E21 NIW petitions received on or before August 1, 2021.

The filing fee to upgrade a pending EB-1(c) or NIW I-140 to premium processing will be $2,500, the same fee that currently applies to other classifications of I-140s that are already eligible for premium processing. The USCIS will reject any premium processing requests submitted prior to August 1, 2022 in connection with the newly eligible subset of petitions.

The USCIS will adjudicate (issue an approval, request for evidence, notice of intent to deny, or denial) EB-1(c) and NIW petitions within 45 days of receiving the premium upgrade request for the pending I-140 petition.

However, the USCIS ensures that the expansion of premium processing will not lead to an increase in the processing time for any immigration benefit requests filed under regular processing.

Also, the USCIS will no longer accept the I-907 version dated 09/30/20 from July 1, 2022 onwards. Form I-907 version dated as 05/31/22 will only be acceptable.

USCIS Extends COVID Related Flexible Measures and Accept Electronic Scans Of Signatures

Continuing Flexible Measures from the USCIS on account of COVID-19 Pandemic

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) further extends through October 23, 2022, flexible measures that were introduced on account of COVID-19 regarding timelines when responding to certain requests and notices from the agency. Petitioners and applicants will continue to have an additional 60 days beyond the due date to respond to certain requests and notices issued by the USCIS between March 1, 2020, and October 23, 2022.  These include:

  • 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 centres;
  • Notices of Intent to Withdraw Temporary Protected Status; and
  • Motions to Reopen an N-400 Pursuant to 8 CFR 335.5, Receipt of Derogatory Information After Grant.The USCIS will now also take into consideration Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion, or a Form N-336, Request for a Hearing on a decision in Naturalisation Proceedings (Under Section 336 of the INA), if:
  • The form was filed up to 90 calendar days from the issuance of a decision made by the USCIS; and
  • The decision was made between November 1, 2021, and October 23, 2022, inclusive of both dates.

NRI Helpdesk: Can You Expedite Your US Visa Processing?

NRI Helpdesk: Can you expedite your US visa processing?
I filed Form N-400 to naturalize as a U.S. Citizen but it was denied as I had been outside the U.S. for more than a year due to COVID-19. Is there a way I can appeal this denial. Also, I have a green card that is valid for 11 months can I return to the U.S. and continue residing there?
One of the mandatory criteria to naturalize as a citizen in the U.S. is continuous residence and physical presence in the United States. Extended absences would break the continuity. After an extended absence, the clock is reset, and one would need to be physically present in the U.S. for at least half of the next five years before one is eligible to naturalize.
 

If a green card holder stayed outside of the United States for 1 year or more and had not applied for a re-entry permit before leaving the country, it is assumed that he/she has abandoned his/her permanent resident status. In certain circumstances that, among other things, are beyond the control of the green card holder it might be possible to procure a returning resident visa from the U.S. Consulate.

I hold an Indian passport and have been in India since 2015. Now I intend to go back to the U.S. to be with my family (wife and two daughters – who are all American citizens). How can I achieve this?
In these circumstances, you could procure a tourist visa to visit the family for brief periods of time. However, if you wish to reside with them one of the qualifying family members would need to file a petition to sponsor your green card. A green card or lawful permanent resident status allows you to live in the U.S.

I’m an H-1B worker and my wife is on H4. We have a young daughter who is a U.S. citizen and is due for her MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) vaccines. We are currently in India and need to return to the U.S. to take care of this. Does this qualify for an emergency dropbox (we are eligible) appointment?
Expedite requests for business, education/exchange (F, M, J visas), medical emergency are considered on a case-by-case basis. In our experience unless there is a serious medical emergency the Consulate will not grant an expedite request for non-urgent medical procedures. Also, MMR vaccines are available in India and that could work against your request for an expedite.

I’m currently on dependent Visa in the U.S. And I’m planning to make a trip to Pune in the summer. Is there a way to book an appointment before I leave for my trip?
You can book your visa appointment before you arrive in India. You also may qualify for an interview waiver (aka dropbox) appointment. Please note that currently you may book a drop box appointment for any consular post in India and you may submit your “dropbox” documents at any visa application center.

My daughter’s H-4 visa has been pending since February 18, 2022 and is under administrative processing under 221(g). Is there any way to expedite the visa processing?
When a case is pending under 221(g) you may write to the Consulate to inquire about the status. With regard to expediting the application – one cannot request an expedite for a 221(g), but if you have an appointment to address the 221(g) issue or attend an interview you may follow the instructions to book emergency appointments on the Consulate’s website if you qualify for one.

My visa application is pending with a 221(g). My OPT EAD expires On July 1, 2022 and the first appointment for the 221(g) interview I could book July 15, 2022. Is there a way to expedite this?
When a case is pending under 221(g) you may write to the Consulate to inquire about the status. With regard to expediting the application – one cannot request an expedite for a 221(g), but if you have an appointment to address the 221(g) issue or attend an interview you may follow the instructions to book emergency appointments on the Consulate’s website if you qualify for one.
 

I am an Indian citizen and an electrical engineer. I have a daughter who is a U.S. citizen. She was born in the U.S. because I am working there for a temporary period. My aim has always been to eventually live in India and contribute to the infrastructure and growth of the country. However, my daughter is ineligible for an OCI card as my mother who is now an Indian citizen was a Pakistani national in the past. Can she get a visa to live with me in India?
A minor child in such circumstances could apply for an ‘X’ visa that is granted to dependents of Indian nationals among others. An ‘X’ visa allows dependents to stay in India with the parent. The visa paperwork must include (among other things) proof of renunciation of Pakistani nationality and the process may be onerous and long. In addition, it might be worth considering judicial intervention in such a case. It is important to consult a qualified lawyer for further analysis to determine the best way forward.
 

Before moving to the U.S. to work on an H-1B visa I worked in a senior managerial position for a company in India. My immediate title in the U.S. was System Architect and now I am a Tech Manager. Will my title of System Architect impact a potential change of status to an EB-1(c) visa?
In order to qualify for an EB-1(c) Multinational Manager, it is critical that you handled managerial duties while you were working for a foreign entity (e.g. at the India office) and will handle managerial duties when in EB-1(c) status in the U.S. This has to be within a qualifying period and you should consult an attorney for further information on this and other matters related to the EB-1(c) category and a potential change of status. Also, the job duties rather than the title are important to determine eligibility for an EB-1(c). We have seen that individuals who qualify for an L-1A generally are eligible for an EB-1(c) and companies frequently file an L-1A before filing an EB-1(c).

I am a doctor from India, who has been granted an ‘observership’ in the U.S. I am unable to find a B-1 visa appointment and because I have never held a U.S. visa I do not qualify for a “dropbox” application. Would I qualify for an emergency visa appointment?
According to the information published on the U.S. Embassy, New Delhi’s website expedite requests for business, education/exchange (F, M, J visas), medical emergency are considered on a case-by-case basis. In our experience seeking a visa for the activities you describe are not likely to qualify. In any event, to request an expedite appointment you first need to have a regular visa interview appointment.
 

I am 80 years old and my current B-1/B-2 visa expires in September 2022. When can I apply for a new visa? Must I submit affidavits of support my daughters who are U.S. citizens?
You may apply for a new visa within six months prior to the date on which the visa expires. A visa applicant may need an affidavit of support if he/she is unable to meet the travel expenses for a visit to the U.S. However, if possible, it is best to establish that the visa applicant is financially secure and will be in a position to bear the travel and related expenses.

I am visiting the U.S. in May 22 and returning mid-July 2022. I may extend my stay in the U.S. My B-2 visa expires on October 9, 2022. Must I renew my visa before traveling to the U.S.?
One is allowed to seek admission into the country as long as the visa is valid. Hence, to travel in May 2022 you do not need a new visa. The duration of your stay in the U.S. is determined at the port of entry when you arrive in the country. The stay may be granted for a period that is beyond the validity of the visa. It is important to file an extension application if one wishes to stay beyond the granted period or one must leave the country before the granted period expires. To check how long one can stay in the U.S. please check your I-94 record.

 

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