November 2018

USCIS to end practice of denying I-131 Advance Parole when the beneficiary travels abroad before adjudication

On November 16, 2018, during the Office of the Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) Ombudsman Annual Conference, USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna spoke briefly on the USCIS policy to deny pending Forms I-131, Application for Travel Document when an applicant travels overseas. Based on feedback from the CIS Ombudsman and other stakeholders, Director Cissna indicated that USCIS will end the practice of denying pending I-131 applications when an applicant travels overseas. Though he did not provide a timeline for this change, he indicated that policy on this would be forthcoming.

AILA had submitted comments to USCIS on October 15, 2018 requesting, among other things, that USCIS remove language from the Form I-131 instructions that considers an application for advance parole document abandoned if the applicant departs the U.S. before the document is issued, or at a minimum, that USCIS restore a prior policy exempting applicants who travel on valid nonimmigrant visas or approved advance parole travel documents from the abandonment policy. It is unclear whether USCIS will alter its policy yet again, or simply restore its prior policy. AILA will continue to provide updates on this development.

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2018 December Visa Bulletin

The Department of State has posted the Visa Bulletin for December 2018. In addition to the final action dates and dates for filing applications, the bulletin includes notes on the diversity visa and the scheduled expiration of 4th Preference Immigrant Religious Worker and 5th Preference Immigrant Investor Pilot Program employment visa categories.

Persons in the US seeking adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident would check the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website at to determine availability to file applications for adjustment of status with USCIS or receive U.S. permanent residence.

DOL Announced OMB Approval of Revisions to ETA Form 9035/9035E

DOL announced updated ETA Form 9035/9035E must be used after 11/19/18. The existing ETA Form 9035/9035E remains valid and can be filed until 11/19/18, at which point individuals must use the revised form. Read More about the Notice below.

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Updated NTA Policy Memo Teleconference Invitation

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Teleconference Invitation on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, from 2 to 3 p.m. (Eastern), to discuss the Policy Memorandum entitled "Updated Guidance for the Referral of Cases and Issuance of Notices to Appear (NTAs) in Cases Involving Inadmissible and Deportable Aliens," issued by USCIS on June 28, 2018. This is the second in a series of stakeholder engagements on the NTA Policy Memorandum.

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DHS Plans to Abide by Judge’s Order Blocking TPS Terminations

The Assistant Attorney General submitted a Status Report outlining Department of Homeland Security efforts to comply with the preliminary injunction that blocked the termination of TPS for immigrants from Sudan, El Salvador, Haiti, and Nicaragua, with USCIS stating that a Federal Register notice will be published. (Ramos v. Nielsen, 10/23/18)

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USCIS Announces Workload Transfer of Some H-1B Petitions from CSC to NSC

USCIS announced that on 10/30/18, it transferred Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Workers, for petitioners requesting H-1B nonimmigrant classification from the CSC to the NSC.

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USCIS to Expand Information Services Modernization Program to Key Locations

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will expand its Information Services Modernization Program to key field offices, beginning with the Detroit Field Office and the five offices in the Los Angeles District on Nov. 13. Field offices in the Newark, Great Lakes, and San Francisco districts will implement the program during the first quarter of fiscal year (FY) 2019. USCIS anticipates expanding the program to all remaining field offices by the end of FY 2019.

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Immigrant Investors and Debt Arrangements Policy Alert

USCIS is revising guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual to clarify its policy on debt arrangements in Volume 6: Immigrants, Part G, Investors. Please see the Policy Alert for more detailed information:

Visit the Policy Manual for Comment page for more information on stakeholder review and comment.

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