June 15, 2011, Bender's Immigration Bulletin: USCIS Centralizes Form I-130 Filings

June 15, 2011, Bender's Immigration Bulletin: USCIS Centralizes Form I-130 Filings

USCIS announced that effective August 15, 2011, petitioners living in countries without USCIS offices will be able to file Form I-130, Petition for an Alien Relative, with the USCIS Chicago Lockbox facility. Previous regulations permitted these petitioners, who comprise about five percent of all I-130 petitioners, to file with USCIS or the Department of State at their local embassy or consulate.

Bender's Immigration Bulletin

Petitioners residing in a country with a USCIS office have the option of sending their I-130 forms to the Chicago Lockbox or filing them at the international USCIS office having jurisdiction over the area where they live.

The Federal Register notice, summarized in the Government Documents section, is reprinted at Appendix A, and the revised form instructions are available at www.uscis.gov

Haiti TPS Extended and Country Re-designated 

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced the re-designation of Haiti for Temporary Protected Status and extended the country's current TPS designation through January 22, 2013.

Secretary Napolitano first announced she was designating Haiti for TPS on January 15, 2010, just three days after the massive earthquake that devastated the country. The current conditions in Haiti support the extension of the designation and the re-designation in order to re-establish the continuous residence date as January 12, 2011. Under the 2010 designation, TPS applicants needed to show that they had continuously lived in the United States since January 12, 2010, the day the earthquake struck.  

Under the re-designation, eligible individuals who arrived up to one year after the earthquake in Haiti may now apply for TPS. Many of those individuals were authorized to enter the United States immediately after the earthquake through temporary visas, humanitarian parole, and other measures.

Haitians now entering the United States illegally will not be granted TPS and will be repatriated consistently with U.S. policy.

The Haiti TPS application procedures cover the following three groups: 

  • Individuals filing for the first time:

The re-designation of Haiti allows additional Haitians (and persons without nationality who last habitually resided in Haiti) who have continuously resided in the United States since Jan. 12, 2011, to obtain TPS, provided they meet all other Haiti TPS eligibility criteria. Individuals who do not currently have TPS may apply until Nov. 15, 2011.

  • Individuals with pending TPS applications:

Individuals who applied for TPS under the initial designation announcement in January 2010 and whose applications are still pending as of May 19, 2011, will not need to file a new Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status. Their pending applications will be considered initial filings under this re-designation. Individuals with a pending TPS application who need to extend or request an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) must file a new Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.

  • Individuals re-registering for TPS:

Individuals who have already been granted TPS for Haiti must re-register between May 23, 2011, and ending Aug. 22, 2011.

The Federal Register notices pertaining to re-registration procedures and the extension and re-designation are reprinted at Appendix B and C, respectively. A USCIS Fact Sheet covering the filing procedures for TPS is reprinted at Appendix D. 

Juan Osuna Appointed EOIR Director 

Attorney General Eric Holder announced the appointment of Juan Osuna as the permanent Director for the Executive Office for Immigration Review. The appointment was announced on May 17.

"I am honored by the Attorney General's appointment and look forward to continuing to serve the department and the American people on these important issues," Osuna said.

Osuna has served as Acting Director of EOIR since December 2010. Prior to that, he worked as an Associate Deputy Attorney General focusing on immigration policy and other issues. Before joining the Deputy Attorney General's office, he worked as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Division. Previously he served as chairman of the BIA. He was appointed to the BIA in 2000 and became chairman in 2008.

As Director of EOIR, Osuna is responsible for the supervision of the Chairman of the BIA, the Chief Immigration Judge, the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer, and all agency personnel. EOIR now has more than 1,300 employees in its 59 immigration courts nationwide, at the BIA, and at EOIR headquarters in Falls Church, VA. 

Iranian F, J, M applicants 

As of May 20, 2011, qualified Iranian applicants for visas in the F, J, and M categories for nonsensitive, nontechnical fields of study and research and their dependents are eligible to receive two-year, multiple-entry visas. This is an increase in the current visa validity of three months, single entry. This adjustment reaffirms President Obama's pledge of U.S. support for Iran's youth. An Iranian currently in the United States on a three-month, single-entry visa must reapply outside the United States at a consular post in order to obtain a two-year, multiple-entry visa. The validity of the visa refers to the period the visa holder has to enter the United States and has no bearing on the length of stay permitted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials at the port of entry. Iranian students and exchange visitors in good standing in the United States do not need to apply for new visas until after they depart the United States. 

Citizenship Public Education and Awareness Initiative Announced 

USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas announced the launch of a federal initiative to raise awareness about the rights, responsibilities and importance of U.S. citizenship. The Citizenship Public Education and Awareness Initiative will provide opportunities for immigrants to learn about USCIS's free citizenship education resources available to eligible lawful permanent residents and immigrant-serving organizations. Using digital media, a video public service announcement, and print and radio messages in a variety of languages, the initiative will direct individuals to citizenship preparation materials and other training and educational resources available on the USCIS Citizenship Resource Center at www.uscis.gov/citizenship. Messages will run May 30-September 5, 2011, in the first phase of a planned multiyear effort. The video public service announcement can be viewed at www.youtube.com/uscis.

[This is an excerpt from the June 15, 2011, issue of Bender's Immigration Bulletin.] 

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