Form I-9 Amended

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has recently amended Form I-9, “Employment Eligibility Verification.” Form I-9 is required of employers to verify newly hired employees’ identities and employment authorization. The revised Form updates the list of acceptable employment authorization and identity documents in accordance with current regulations. As of November 7, 2007, only the new version of Form I-9 is valid. However, The Department of Homeland Security will not penalize employers for using a previous version as long as they do so on or before December 26, 2007.

Processing Times Advisory

In July and August of this year, the USCIS had almost 2.5 million applications filed (of which over 1.4 million were applications for naturalization), more than double last year’s number. The USCIS has hired roughly 1,500 new employees and plans to take other steps to address this issue. Even so, processing times for some kinds of applications may increase. Specifically, applications for naturalization filed after June 1st of this year may have a processing time of 16-18 months.

The USCIS’s New Final Rule on Nonimmigrant Travel Published

Under the new rule, some H-1 B/H-4 and L-1/L-2 nonimmigrants returning to the United States after traveling internationally are no longer required to present I-797 receipt notices for their adjustment of status applications to prevent their applications’ being deemed abandoned. This small change does away with an unnecessary documentation requirement that the Department of Homeland Security has decided creates an unnecessary burden for H and L nonimmigrants, especially given that the USCIS cannot always guarantee that Form I-797 receipt notices can be issued and mailed immediately. This rule is effective as of November 1st.

Department of State revises text regarding DUIs and consular processing

The Department of State now requires consular officers to send nonimmigrant visa applicants with certain previous drunk driving concerns for medical examinations with panel physicians. The qualifying concerns are: 1) if the applicant has had a drunk driving arrest or conviction in the last three calendar years or 2) if the applicant has had two or more drunk driving arrests or convictions within any time period. Furthermore, if there is any evidence to suggest that an applicant has an alcohol problem, consular officers are now required to refer that applicant to a panel physician. Nonimmigrant visa applicants who disclose alcohol-related arrests in the US must also submit to National Crime Information Center processing that includes an $85 fingerprinting and a wait period-1-2 days with electronic fingerprints, up to two months with ink-for the results of the applicant’s FBI record. Full disclosure is advised, as some consulates have independent access to the records of local DUI cases and the Department of State may choose to have an applicant undergo fingerprinting and the NCIC processing for other reasons, which would most likely reveal a previous arrest. A failure to disclose such an arrest on Form DS-156 could result in a misrepresentation finding and inadmissibility, even if the conviction(s) or arrest(s) do not result in Class A determination.

It is recommended that visa applicants with alcohol-related arrests have copies of their arrest reports, certified court dispositions, and, if possible, a declaration and an attendant legal brief. Declarations from the applicant and others who can testify to the applicant’s moral character are also helpful.

Best,
Kaushik Ranchod

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This information is not intended to provide solutions to individual problems and does not constitute an attorney client relationship. Readers are cautioned not to attempt to solve individual problems on the basis of information contained herein and are strongly advised to seek competent legal counsel before relying on this information. The above information should not be construed as legal advice. Please note that laws change frequently.




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