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USCIS Updates: Work Permits for Immigrants who are crime victims, Lockbox Filing Flexibilities, Expedited Processing, RFE and NOID, and Employment Authorization Documents

Many things within the Immigration System are always being modified; updates in policies, changes in procedure. However, during this administration, we will face multiple adjustments that will benefit Immigrants during their process like work permits for U Visa applicants.

The intent of these updates is to eliminate policies that fail to promote access to the legal immigration system. This means there are improvements taking place to help individuals navigate the path to citizenship. These policy measures are consistent with the Biden-Harris administration’s priorities to eliminate unnecessary barriers and burdens to immigrants who are eligible for the benefits.

Expand work permits for immigrants who are crime victims

As of June 14th, 2021, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will create a process that could allow tens of thousands of applicants for U visas to receive work permits if their claims are deemed to be made in good faith and without the intention of defrauding the immigration system, the agency said.

With this update, individuals who file for a U Visa won’t have to wait 5 or 6 years to file for work permits. If it’s your first time filing for the U Visa, you can also request your work permit.  In order to be eligible, your application must include a law enforcement certification (which means you are helping with the current investigation), you have included your personal statement and you have passed the background check. If approved, you will receive protection from deportation and the ability to work while your U Visa is still pending.

This reform is one of a number of initiatives designed to eliminate complex, costly, and unjustified administrative burdens and barriers, and thus to improve our immigration processes.

Note about USCIS updates including changes in work permits

Lockbox Filing Flexibilities

Relief to certain applicants will be offered by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Flexibilities only apply to benefit requests submitted to a lockbox and not to service centers or field offices.

The following temporary flexibilities are effective for 60 days from June 10 until Aug. 9, 2021:

  • If you submitted a benefit request to a USCIS lockbox between Oct. 1, 2020, and April 1, 2021, and that request was rejected during that timeframe solely due to a filing fee payment that expired while the benefit request was awaiting processing, you may resubmit the request with a new fee payment. If USCIS agrees that it has rejected the benefit request because of the delay, it will waive the $30 dishonored check fee if the request was first received on the initial filing date.
  • The time that elapsed between when a benefit request was originally submitted to a USCIS lockbox and when it was rejected will make it possible for applicants to submit documentation with a benefit request resubmission. USCIS will accept the request if they agree that the delay caused the person to be ineligible due to their age. Form N-600K, Application for Citizenship, and Issuance of Certificates under Section 322 are not affected by this flexibility.

If a benefit request has not been rejected in error, applicants and petitioners can contact the US Citizenship and Immigration Services to verify. If the US Citizenship and Immigration Services agrees, we can allow applicants to re-submit an incorrect benefit request if it was received before the first benefit request was first received.

For more information on these filing flexibilities, including how to request them, visit the USCIS website.

Expedited Processing

Further guidance will be provided to requestors when expedited processing is warranted.  Additionally, nonprofit organizations whose request is in furtherance of the cultural and social interests of the United States may request that a benefit be considered for expedited processing, even if premium processing is available for that benefit.

After receiving the service request, the reviewing office may request additional documentation to support expedited processing. If it’s approved, you will be informed USCIS will take the benefit request out of date order and issue a decision faster than the normal processing time.

Note about USCIS updates including changes in work permits

Requests for Evidence and Notices of Intent to Deny

USCIS is also returning to the principles of issuing an RFE, Request for Evidence Process, or NOID, notice of intent to deny, when additional evidence is needed to potentially demonstrate eligibility for an immigration benefit. This means USCIS is rescinding a memo from July 2018 that allowed the agency officers to deny certain immigration benefit requests without even issuing an RFE or NOID.

Employment Authorization Documents

Now there will be an increase in the current one-year validity period on both initial and renewal Employment Authorization Documents to two years. So now, work permits will be valid for two years. This update will reduce the delays affecting the completion of adjustment of status applications.

Keep yourself updated with us, so you can know what is happening inside the Immigration System and if it can help your case. If you need any information, call our office, we will be more than happy to assist you.