-USCIS Announces Filing Fee Increase.
Effective December 23, 2016
Highlights Include:
  • I-129F Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) increases from $340 to $535
  • I-130 Petition for Alien Relative increases from $420 to $535
  • N-400 Application for Naturalization increases to $640

I-601A Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver increases to $630

For a complete list of new fees click here.

-The Supreme Court issued a split 4-4 decision regarding President Obama’s 2014 DAPA and extended DACA programs.  This means that the 5th Circuit ruling that imposed an injunction against those programs, will remain in place and the programs will not go forward at this time.

The President confirmed that only those persons who have criminal convictions or have arrived in the past few years will be targeted for deportation.  This also means that the November elections will be crucial in determining whether there will be comprehensive immigration reform in the near future.

-The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling recognizing gay marriages allows U.S. citizens to petition for the permanent residence of their same-sex spouses.

-Immediate relatives of US citizens (spouses, minor children, and parents) who entered the United States illegally, can apply for the provisional waiver of Inadmissibility. The process allows immediate relatives to remain in the United States while the I-601A waiver is pending, therefore minimizing the extended time of separation the families endure under the regular process. To be granted the waiver, the applicant must demonstrate that denial of the waiver would result in extreme hardship to either his or her US citizen spouse or parent. If the waiver is approved, the applicant briefly travels to his/her home country to complete the green card visa processing..

-Applications for Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) are available at the US CIS website: www.uscis.gov. The applicable form is I-821D and it must be filed with forms I-765, I-765WS, with supporting documentation, and the filing fee of $465.00. Persons with criminal records, in removal proceedings, and persons who have used false documents such as false Social Security numbers or have claimed to be US citizens are strongly advised to seek the professional services of an Immigration Attorney before filing Form I-821D. For more information on DACA, please contact us.

-To qualify for Deferred Action (DACA) under President Obama’s Executive Order of 2012, a person in unlawful status must meet the following requirements:

– Must have entered the United States before the age of sixteen;
– Have continuously resided in the US for at least five years preceding the date of the memorandum and have been present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012;
– have graduated from high school, obtained a general education development certificate (GED), or must be currently studying;
– Must not have been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety; and
– Must have been born on or after June 16, 1981.
Persons will not receive an automatic grant of Deferred Action; reviews will be done on a case-by-case basis. A grant of Deferred Action implies the person cannot be removed or deported from the U.S. during the validity period, and may be eligible for work authorization. DACA however can be rescinded if the person engages in unlawful conduct. Since there are serious risks involved in these types of applications, persons are strongly advised to avoid consulting with Notarios, and obtain qualified legal advice instead.

– On November 17, 2011, ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) issued guidelines for the exercise of prosecutorial discretion. The Memoranda and guidelines give immediate, high priority to the deportation of criminals and those who pose a risk to the U.S. national security while granting persons with strong ties to the United States, the possibility of having their cases administratively closed. Priority relief will be given on a case-by-case basis, to persons with no criminal record who have been in the country since childhood, have strong community ties, have been victims of crimes, are veterans or relatives of persons in the armed forces, are caregivers of the ill or elderly, or otherwise have a strong basis for remaining in the United States. This measure will benefit a substantial number of DREAMers, children in the U.S. illegally, who wish to pursue a college education or serve in the military.

– Foreign students in the U.S. who graduate in the fields of science, engineering, neuroscience, marine and environmental science, pharmaceutics, education research, agricultural sciences and psychology, are eligible to work in their fields of expertise for up to 29 months pursuant to new DHS regulations.

– Effective January 20, 2010, DHS is enforcing compliance of ESTA requirements for persons traveling under the Visa Waiver program (VWP). VWP travelers should check requirements at www.travel.state.gov prior to traveling to the U.S. to avoid being denied boarding on air carriers.

– The Department of Labor and the Immigration Service may conduct random audits of companies employing persons holding H-1b visas. Employers must keep a Public Access File (PAC) for each H-1b visa employee.

– Employers are reminded to comply with properly completing and keeping a file of employment-eligibility form I-9 for every employee.