• The USCIS has resumed premium processing service (i.e., expedited 15-day processing for a $1000 government filing fee) for certain Form I-140 Immigrant Petitions, including those for most Second and Third Employment-Based (EB-2 and EB-3) immigrant visa categories. However, with the backlog in visa number availability for EB-2 and EB-3 professionals, many of these foreign nationals will continue to experience a lengthy wait before filing the Adjustment of Status application and completing their permanent residence (Green Card) proceedings. Premium processing is still unavailable for EB-1 multinational executives and managers and EB-2 national interest waiver immigrants
  • The current version of Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification) was scheduled to expire on June 30, 2009. Per confirmation from the USCIS, the Form I-9 (revision date Feb. 2, 2009) has not expired and continues to be valid. Employers should use the most current form revised on Feb. 2, 2009 for employment eligibility verification.
  • The USCIS Texas Service Center has issued guidance that all applicants for immigration benefits 14 years of age and older must sign their own applications. Parents or legal guardians should sign for applicants under the age of 14. Applications that are not in compliance risk being rejected by the USCIS.
  • The court's recent decision in Ruiz-Diaz v. United States has opened the door to allow special immigrant religious workers to concurrently file Form I-360 Immigrant Petition and Form I-485 Adjustment of Status proceedings. In addition, eligible individuals may have periods of unlawful presence or unauthorized employment tolled under certain circumstances. Because of the strict timelines and upcoming special immigrant religious worker program sunset date of Sept. 29, 2009, it is important to discuss immigration planning with counsel as soon as possible.