Under a policy change announced by USCIS on Oct. 23, renewals of non-immigrant visas will undergo the same scrutiny as first-time applications. Before the policy update, officers could give deference to findings in previously approved applications when deciding on renewals, but now, even if the beneficiary and petitioner are unchanged, officers must treat extension requests the same as new applications.
DoD Modifies Criteria for Expedited Naturalization of U.S. Service Members
The process of becoming a U.S. citizen is time consuming and riddled with legal hurdles. Most immigrants who wish to become a naturalized citizen must reside in the United States for at least five years, but there are several exceptions to this requirement, one of which applies to service members in the U.S. armed forces.
Green Card Holders Face New Hurdle to Enlist in U.S. Coast Guard
Effective Oct. 13, all lawful permanent residents who apply for enlistment in the U.S. Coast Guard will have to pass a Military Service Suitability Determination (MSSD) and National Security Determination (NSD). According to a memorandum issued by the Department of Defense, the DoD Consolidated Adjudications Facility (CAF) will administer the MSSD and NSD after the applicant’s background investigation has completed.
Trump Administration’s Immigration Priorities Favor Highly Skilled, Young Immigrants
The Trump Administration recently released a list of immigration priorities that strongly favor highly skilled, young immigrants. The Administration has proposed a merit-based system that awards an immigrant points based on his or her economic contributions, likelihood to assimilate, and ability to be financially self-sufficient.
USCIS Streamlines Process of Obtaining Work Authorization and Social Security Number
USCIS recently updated Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, to allow foreign workers to apply for an employment authorization document (EAD) and Social Security number (SSN) on the same form. You can view the updated Form I-765 here.
Federal Appeals Court Rules Immigration Authorities Must Consider Ability to Pay When Setting Bond
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that immigration judges and the Department of Homeland Security must consider an immigrant’s financial resources when setting bond. This is a major win for undocumented immigrants since there have been multiple reports of people being incarcerated for several years simply because they could not afford to pay bond.