In response to lawsuits and public outcry, the USCIS has changed its policy and is going to accept adjustment of status applications for all employment-based categories* for all nationalities through August 17, 2007.
As we reported earlier this month, the Department of State issued a revised Visa Bulletin stating that no immigrant visa numbers were available, and that they would not become available again until October 1, 2007. At the same time, the USCIS issued a statement saying that it would not accept adjustment of status applications during the month of July, and throughout the rest of the fiscal year, which ends on September 30, 2007.
As a result of these unprecedented steps, a lawsuit was threatened by the American Immigration Law Foundation. Major news organizations, including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal ran stories and editorials about this disgraceful episode, excoriating the government for its shabby treatment of foreign nationals and their sponsoring employers, alike. In response to growing pressure from the press, the public, and Congress, a deal was brokered, permitting eligible foreign nationals to file their adjustment applications through August 17, 2007. Fee increases scheduled to go into effect on July 30 will not apply to the applications filed as a result of this deal.
What Should You Do Now?
(a) Any employee who is the beneficiary of an approved I-140 immigrant visa petition in the first, second, or third preference category will be able to file an application for adjustment of status through August 17, 2007, as well as applications for interim benefits. Not only that: The spouse and minor children of your employee will also be able to file adjustment of status, employment authorization, and advance parole applications.
(b) Any employee who is the beneficiary of an approved application of alien labor certification will also be able to file the adjustment of status application, but in this case, the application must be filed concurrently with an I-140 immigrant visa petition. Of course, applications for employment authorization cards and advance parole may also be filed with the adjustment of status package both for your employee and his or her family members.
(c) There are certain employees who qualify for permanent residence without having to go through the labor certification process. These include workers in the first preference classification: those of “extraordinary ability,” “outstanding researchers,” and “multinational managers and executives,” as well as those in the second preference category whose work is in the “national interest.” For these employees, an I-140 immigrant visa petition can be filed concurrently with an adjustment of status application.
Although situations may vary, generally speaking, an application for adjustment of status must be submitted together with:
1. The applicant’s long-form birth certificate (and certified translation), listing each parent’s name;
2. Marriage certificate (and certified translation), if applicable;
3. Divorce decrees (and certified translation), if applicable;
4. A copy of the applicant’s most recent Federal income tax return and W-2;
5. The applicant’s paystubs from the past two months;
6. A full copy of the applicant’s passport;
7. The results of a medical exam, performed by a USCIS-authorized physician;
8. A letter from the employer confirming the terms of employment; and
This list is not meant to be exhaustive, and you should contact us to further discuss documentary requirements.
Does This Mean That the “Green Card” Application Will Soon Be Approved?
Although a deal was brokered to permit applicants to file their applications, the evidence suggests that most, if not all, of the immigrant visa numbers for 2007 have been exhausted. This means that there can be no approvals of cases at least until the new fiscal year begins on October 1, 2007. By mid-September, we should know which employment-based preference categories will be available as of October.
In order to take advantage of this brief window of opportunity for filing, we urge all of our clients to submit their adjustment of status applications before August 17.