Notes on November Q&A Between the National Benefits Center and AILA

Written by Alexander J. Segal on

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On November 3, 2015, the USCIS National Benefits Center (NBC) conducted a question and answer session with the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). You can find the Q&A here.1 In this post, I will briefly look at some of the more interesting points from the Q&A.

Progress Toward a Paperless Environment for I-90 Applications

The NBC discussed its continuing effort to work “toward a paperless environment for I-90 applications.” While the I-90 application may still be submitted by paper to the appropriate USCIS Lockbox, all paper applications are entered into the USCIS ELIS online platform. Applicants who initially submit the I-90 application by paper are provided with the opportunity to create a USCIS ELIS online account.

Provisional (Stateside) Unlawful Presence Waivers (Form I-601A)

  • The current processing date for the Form I-601A is June 21, 2015. The date that was reflected earlier on the USCIS website was incorrect.
  • USCIS is reviewing a proposed rule that would expand eligibility for Form I-601A provisional unlawful presence waivers [PDF version]. The 60-day public comment period for the proposed rule ended on September 21, 2015.
  • The NBC updated its policy on reviewing the DOS Immigrant Visa Processing Fee after technical difficulties in the summer of 2015. The NBC will no longer deny Form I-601A cases where the applicant provides a DOS Immigrant Visa fee receipt showing that the fee was paid. However, cases where there is no evidence that the fee was paid or where the receipt merely indicates that the fee is “In process” will continue to be denied.

USCIS Draft Policy Manual Guidance on Extreme Hardship

The notice and comment period for USCIS's Draft Policy Manual Guidance on Extreme Hardship [PDF version]2 ended on November 23, 2015. At the time of the Q&A, USCIS stated that the Policy Manual Guidance on Extreme Hardship will be implemented following review of public comments on a date TBD.

Adjustment of Status Interview Waivers

The NBC reaffirmed that the following categories of adjustment of status applicants are eligible to be considered for waivers of the adjustment of status interview requirement:

  • Unmarried child of a U.S. citizen
  • Parent of a U.S. citizen
  • K1 and K2 visa holders
  • Unmarried and under the age of 14 child of a Lawful Permanent Resident
  • Natives/citizens of Cuba

However, the NBC noted that an interview may still be scheduled even if a waiver is ultimately granted. Furthermore, USCIS has discretion to require an adjustment of status interview for any adjustment of status application.

Requests for Evidence for the Form I-864, Affidavit of Support

The NBC changed its I-864 checklist (used for the initial review of an I-864 application) so that if the income on a tax return submitted with the I-864 does not meet the federal poverty guideline for the household, the NBC will further check if there is evidence of current income submitted. If there evidence of current income was submitted, a USCIS officer will assess the sufficiency of the current income before sending a Request for Evidence (RFE).

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  1. “Q&A: USCIS National Benefits Center (NBC) and American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Meeting,” (Nov 3, 2015)
  2. Memorandum, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, “Expansion of the Provisional Waiver Program,” (Nov. 20, 2014)