US Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”), as a result of the new Public Charge regulations published on August 14, 2019, is releasing new forms that comply with the updated laws. Recently USCIS has announced that it will not accept currently available editions of certain forms including the I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, and I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, if postmarked on or after October 15, 2019. The agency is currently drafting new forms to comply with the final rule, which becomes effective October 15, 2019. Since U.S. post offices and USCIS will be closed on Monday, October 14, 2019, due to a federal holiday, the latest acceptable filing with current forms sent through U.S. mail will be this Saturday, October 12, 2019. To date, the agency has not released new forms for applicants and petitioners, raising the possibility of filing delays. From a practical perspective, attorneys use form-filling programs and those systems are not yet in compliance because USCIS has yet to share the new forms with anyone.
In response to USCIS’ “arbitrary and capricious plan” to stop accepting current versions of the forms, on Monday, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (“AILA”) filed suit seeking to delay the effective date of the public charge rule and extend the validity of existing forms, allowing for a period of transition.
Despite the uncertainty, our firm is working as efficiently as possible to finalize cases that can be filed before the deadline. For cases that are not as progressed, the new forms, once they are released, will likely need to be utilized unless the injunction is successful.
We will do our best to continue to keep cases moving and filed with USCIS, but that there may be a period where no one is in a position to legally file. We will continue to provide updates regarding this matter as they arise.
** This newsletter/memo is provided for informational and discussion purposes only. It does not act as a substitute for direct legal contact on an individual basis **