News in Brief:
The following additional items may be of interest to our readers:
Congress Reaches Deal on Continuing Resolution, Containing Extension of Four Popular Immigration Programs: On December 9, 2016 Congress voted to extend the EB-5 Regional Center, Conrad 30 waiver, the Special Immigrant Religious Workers classification (EB-4), and E-Verify programs in a short-term Continuing Resolution. Once signed by the President, these programs will be extended until April 28, 2017.
Some ITINs Need to be Renewed: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently announced changes to the Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) program that will require some individuals to renew their ITIN. The IRS will send a letter to taxpayers with expiring ITINs. ITINs are used by people who have tax filing or payment obligations under U.S. law but who are not eligible for a social security number. For more info, go to https://www.irs.gov/individuals/individual-taxpayer-identification-number-itin.
Nepal TPS Extended to 6/24/2018: DHS has extended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for eligible nationals of Nepal for an additional 18 months. The registration period will now expire on 6/24/2018. For Nepalese nationals who have already received TPS and the accompanying employment authorization, the EAD is now also valid through 6/24/2018, despite the printed expiration date of 12/24/2016.
New I-9 Form Required as of 1/22/2017: A new Form I-9, dated 11/14/2016 (expiring 8/31/2019) must be used by employers to verify the employment eligibility of their workers. The existing form (dated 03/08/2013) will not be accepted after January 21, 2017.
New N-400 Required as of 12/23/2016: Starting 12/23/2016, the new edition of Form N-400 – to be released on 12/22/2016 and dated 12/23/2016 – must be used (and must include the new filing fee).
Asylum EADs Now Issued for Two Years: USCIS has increased the validity period for initial and renewal Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) for asylum applicants from one to two years. This change comes from the increasingly lengthy processing times that asylum applicants are facing nationwide. This change only applies to asylum applicants, not those who have already been granted asylum.
52 Percent: Immigration violations remain the major focus of federal criminal enforcement efforts. The latest data shows criminal prosecutions for illegal entry, illegal re-entry, visa overstays, fraud, and other immigration violations made up 52% of all federal prosecutions in FY2016. These numbers are striking considering the federal government is already overburdened with drug, weapons, and other federal violations as well. The steady increase in immigration-related prosecutions continues to reflect a trend started in 1994 when federal authorities started focusing on immigration violations.
Documents for Mexican IV Cases Processed in Cuidad Juarez Can No Longer Be E-Mailed
The National Visa Center will no longer accept documents submitted by e-mail for cases processed at the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juarez. Instead, their documents must be mailed. Applicants affected by this change have case numbers that begin with the three letter code “MEP.”