Q&A’s published on the World Journal Weekly on March 12, 2023 1. Dissatisfied with the anti-epidemic policies in China is not consistent with political asylum 2. Employers can sponsor PERMs for remote positions 3. It is difficult to obtain NIW, if papers are rarely cited 4. Immigrant Visa Denied But I-140 is Still Valid 5. Temporarily return to China to work remotely will not Hinder I-485 6. Is DS-2019 Important for My I-485 Application?

1. Dissatisfied with the anti-epidemic policies in China is not consistent with political asylum

A reader asks:
I am a medical worker in China. During the epidemic, I expressed my dissatisfaction with certain anti-epidemic policies. After posting them in a WeChat group, I was criticized by law enforcement agencies. The hospital leader also admonished me, told me not to talk, just follow through the rules. Now, I come to the United States and want to apply for political asylum. Are these accusations and reprimands considered political persecution? Can my asylum case be approved?

Mr. Lee answers,
I suspect that a claim based upon dissatisfaction with anti-epidemic policies as you have expressed in your fact situation might have a problem being approved under US asylum law. The law is based upon past persecution or well-founded fear of future persecution. For a claim of past persecution, the events that you have related – criticism by law enforcement agencies and being admonished by the hospital leader – would likely not rise to the level of persecution necessary for an asylum claim to be approved. For a claim of a well-founded fear of persecution, you would have to demonstrate that the authorities are still interested in you and that you would face persecution upon return to China. You will also have to convince US immigration authorities or immigration court that your opposition to government policy was (past persecution) or is (future persecution) on account of race, religion, membership in a social group, political opinion, or nationality.

2. Employers can sponsor PERMs for remote positions

A reader asks:
Is there a fully remote for PERM and I-140? I recently got an offer. The company is in another state. I live in California. The company does not have an office in California, but it allows me to work from home. If I work from home fully remote, can I apply for I-140 PERM? Are there any additional risks? what should I be aware of?

Mr. Lee answers,
An employer can decide to sponsor a PERM labor certification application for a position that will be wholly remote, but would have to comply with additional requirements of the Department of Labor including an expansion of advertising for US workers on a nationwide basis as the position could be fulfilled by a worker in any location in the country. The company would generally use its headquarter location for purposes of the application, and obtain a prevailing wage determination in that metropolitan area.

3. It is difficult to obtain NIW, if papers are rarely cited

A reader asks:
I am a doctor of liberal arts and have been graduated for four years. I joined a consulting company after graduation, and now I am doing research-related work in a big factory, with very few papers and only 2 citations. I have several conference papers, and I want to try to apply for NIW, but several law firms have rejected them. I don’t know how to prove the nature of the work and the national interest related to the impact. Should I give up?

Mr. Lee answers:
An NIW case is generally very fact specific, and knowledgeable law firms will usually go over your situation and accomplishments before rendering an opinion that your case would not be approved. I note that USCIS is generally looking for pioneer type research in peer-reviewed journals which has been well cited. Having a few papers with only two citations is probably not very persuasive. If possible, a better approach might be contacting a US company or institution in your field and having it sponsor you through a PERM labor certification for permanent residence.

4. Immigrant Visa Denied But I-140 is Still Valid

A reader asks:
I am in China, and I want to apply for I-140 or EB1-A, but I am still a CCP party member (without a job), and now I want to know the following situation: 1. If I quit the party for less than two years when I went to the Guangzhou embassy or consulate for an interview , how likely is it to be rejected after two years or less than five years? 2. If rejected, will the approved I-140 and the accompanying priority date (PD) be retained? 3. Can I use this PD to submit another interview application again (for example, five years after quitting the CCP)?

Dear reader,
As you are aware, meaningful membership in the Communist Party of China imposes a five year bar on entry to the US for purposes of permanent immigration (not nonimmigrant visas) after leaving the Party. Appearing for an interview at the consulate in Guangzhou after leaving the party for two years will result in a denial if the association was meaningful. Denial of the immigrant visa does not automatically invalidate the approved I-140 petition. However, inability to rebut the ground of inadmissibility within a year may serve to terminate the entire case. If a case has been terminated by the Department of State, the priority date is no longer available for use.

5. Temporarily return to China to work remotely will not Hinder I-485

A reader asks:
I am currently in the OPT (non-STEM) period. I submitted the EB-1 application in January of last year, and submitted the I-485 in April last year. I am waiting for the interview. The interview time is unknown. My interview was ready to be scheduled in late September last year, and I have already obtained the EAD and AP of AOS. Our company has an office in China, and some colleagues went to work remotely in their home country for a few weeks. My boss also said that it was OK, and not to worry about layoffs. It seems that the interview will not be scheduled for a while. If I receive an interview notice within one month of returning to China, I should have time to return to the United States. I haven’t been back to China for almost 3 years, and I miss my family and friends very much. If I return to China to work remotely for a month and then return to the United States, will there be any problems?

Dear reader,
As you already have an advance parole and filed the I-485 application last year, I do not see a problem with your going home to work remotely for the company for one month before returning to the States. The time that you are planning to stay in China, one month, is conservative, and the purpose of working remotely for the company while overseas provides a good reason in the unlikely event that you are questioned about your purpose in having returned to China for the trip.

6. Is DS-2019 Important for My I-485 Application?

A reader asks:
I will submit I-485 soon, but I could not find the DS-2019 I had ten years ago. Ten years ago, I entered the U.S. as a J-1. After staying in the United States for 5 months, I returned to China for two years, so I should not need a J-1 waiver. More than 2 years later, I entered the U.S. again with F-1 status. I am currently F-1 STEM-OPT. Now I am following the main applicant to file my I-485, but I could not find the DS2019 form. I contacted the school I attended before, but no one was at work. Will there be a critical issue if I do not attach the DS-2019 with my I-485 form? How did others solve the problem?

Mr. Lee answers,
Although it would be better to have the DS-2019 exchange visitor form as part of the I-485 application, it should be adjudged less critical where you are able to prove that you returned to the home country for two years following your J-1 stay. (For many countries, coming to the US usually imposes a two-year home residence requirement before the individual can apply for permanent residence, H or L visas). I assume that you can present the passport containing the J visa and proof of your U.S entry and exit date along with proof that you served out the two-year home residency requirement in your home country.


As published in the Immigration Daily on March 7, 2023

Predictions On Number of H-1B Registration Applications.

The FY-2024 cap H-1B registration process is in full swing with application dates from noontime EST March 1, 2023 –noontime EST March 17, 2023. Happy St. Patty’s day! Does anyone have a good estimate as to how many applications will be submitted? Our guess is – not as many as last year’s 483,927, which was an all-time record. The downturn in the high-tech industry may lessen the numbers this year. In looking at FY-2022 statistics provided in the recently released National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) report, “H-1B Petitions and Denial Rates In FY-2022”, the top initial H-1B recipient companies were Amazon, Infosys, Tata Consultancy Services, Cognizant, Google, Meta/Facebook, HCL America, and IBM. A sampling of articles giving predictions seems to favor the idea that the number will be less, but not that much less. One cited the 257,000 job cuts in the tech industry since last year, but also the latest data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) that the overall tech unemployment rate fell to 1.5% in January, which is notably low. Another cited the BLS survey of the 1.5% unemployment rate in computer and mathematical occupations along with an 1.7% rate in architecture and engineering occupations as evidence of high demand for people with technical skills, but also noted that even if H-1B registrations plummeted by 50%, the agency would still receive nearly 3 times as many registrations as petitions that could be issued due to the 85,000 yearly cap. And two others predicted up to 500,000 and between 550,000-600,000 requests for H-1B registration would be made.

The total number is given in April, and we will see how the predictions fared.

CSPA Vis-À-Vis USCIS Adjustment Chart.

A huge development in The Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) is USCIS’s re-interpretation of the date on which a child’s priority date is reached for freezing age before turning 21 and he/she then no longer being able to immigrate as a child. USCIS announced a policy on February 14, 2023 that it would henceforth use the “dates for filing” chart of the monthly visa bulletin to finally fix the child’s age. Prior policy had been to use the “final action date” to determine whether the child was under the age of 21. In the past, a child would be able to file an I-485 under “dates for filing”, but if he/she turned 21 before the “final action date” opened, the case would be denied. Although there is no adjustment of status in cases being consular processed, the same rule should now apply for cases being interviewed overseas as the Attorney General (including DHS and its USCIS component) and not the Secretary of State determines the law in the field of immigration.

In determining when an age is “frozen”, the applicant must read two charts, the Department of State visa bulletin’s “dates for filing” one, and the USCIS monthly adjustment chart designating which of the Department’s two charts will be used for accepting adjustment of status applications. The USCIS Policy Manual instructs that, “The date USCIS considers a visa available for accepting and processing an adjustment of status application according to the USCIS website and the Visa Bulletin is also the date USCIS considers a visa available for CSPA purposes if the petition is already approved.… Applicants cannot rely on the DOS Visa Bulletin alone because the Visa Bulletin merely publishes both charts; it does not state which chart can be used to determine when to file an adjustment of status application. The DOS Visa Bulletin contains a clear warning to applicants to consult with the USCIS website for guidance on whether to use the Dates for Filing chart or Final Action Dates chart.”

This policy change applies to pending applications, with the guidance also saying that noncitizens can file a motion to reopen a previously denied adjustment of status application with USCIS by using form I-290B; that noncitizens must generally file motions within 30 days of the decision; and for a motion filed more than 30 days, USCIS may in its discretion excuse the untimely filing if the noncitizen demonstrates that the delay was reasonable and was beyond the noncitizen’s control.

On the USCIS CSPA page, there seems to be more room for motions to reopen where an applicant is not yet 21 using the new guidance as it says, “If we previously denied your adjustment of status application, but you believe your CSPA age calculation is under 21 under this policy guidance, you may file a motion to reopen….”

We will look with great interest to see how this all works out going forward.


Q&A’s published on the World Journal Weekly on March 5, 2023 1. Change of Status from H-4 to F-1 Must has Spouse’s H-1 Documents 2. In Some Cases, Premium Processing Filing Fee Can be Waived 3. 3. Do not Rely on USCIS’ Unofficial Notices 4. Filing I-485 without J Supplementary Form is More Likely to be Rejected 5. STEM Graduates Can Stay in the United States for 3 Years with OPT

1. Change of Status from H-4 to F-1 Must has Spouse’s H-1 Documents 

I’ve H-4 visa which expires in march 3 2023 and I want to change it to F-1 visa, can it be possible without the help of my husband documents? I want to study independently.

Mr. Lee answers,
Without the help of your husband’s documents, it is difficult to see how USCIS could approve a change of status application from H-4 to F-1. For a change of status in the US, USCIS must see that both you and your husband are maintaining legal nonimmigrant status – especially focused on your husband since he is the principal of the H-1B/H-4 statuses. You would need a copy of his H-1B approval and proof of recent pay from the H-1B employer to show that he is maintaining his status.

2. In Some Cases, Premium Processing Filing Fee Can be Waived

I am going to apply for employment-based immigration case. Someone suggests that I spend an extra $2,500 to expedite it, but I am hesitating. I saw on the USCIS official website, it takes 10 months to process, but someone said that he got approved in less than a month. Was it a special case or has it been speed up recently? Do I have to spend an extra $2,500 to expedite it?

Mr. Lee answers,

Employment based cases involving I-140 petitions generally take much time for USCIS to reach and adjudicate. For example, in checking the published times of the two immigration service centers handling these type of cases, Nebraska has a 20 month backlog on EB-1A extraordinary alien petitions, 10 months on EB-2 advanced degree petitions, and 17.5 on EB-3 professional/skilled worker petitions. Texas has a similar backlog of 22 months for EB-1A, 10 months for EB-2, and 20.5 months for EB-3.

The agency will expedite without requesting a fee in the following circumstances as per its policy manual:

  • Severe financial loss to a company or person, provided that the need for urgent action is not the result of the petitioner’s or applicant’s failure: (1) to timely file the benefit request; or (2) to timely respond to any requests for additional evidence;[3]
  • Emergencies and urgent humanitarian reasons;
  • Nonprofit organization (as designated by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)) whose request is in furtherance of the cultural or social interests of the United States;
  • U.S. government interests (including cases identified as urgent by federal agencies such as the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the U.S. Department of State (DOS), DHS, or other public safety or national security interests); or
  • Clear USCIS error.

Unless the petition that you heard of being approved in less than a month without premium processing fit within one of the above categories, it was most likely an outlier.

3. Do not Rely on USCIS’ Unofficial Notices 

I filed an EB-1A application before, received RFE, and then I asked my lawyer to withdraw it. I checked the case status online today, but the application was approved. I asked my lawyer, the lawyer replied that they had encountered the same situation before, and the USCIS would revoke the approval later. He didn’t promise that would be the case this time, though. I think immigration made a mistake. My lawyer said he would check with USCIS.  He got back to me and said whether the case was withdrawn or not, depended on the official notice. He said the USCIS would get back to him within 30 days. What is this going?

Mr. Lee answers,
I am of the same opinion as your lawyer that USCIS will later revoke the petition approval. In your fact situation, you clearly state that there was an RFE and that the law firm withdrew it. USCIS has a long history of denying as abandoned those cases in which it issues RFE’s and there is no response. In your case, there was a definite response – withdrawal by your attorney. In such case, USCIS will send a withdrawal confirmation. Please note that unofficial messages by USCIS on its online system cannot be relied upon 100% as we have seen many occasions on which the unofficial response does not match the ultimate adjudication that comes from the agency.

4. Filing I-485 without J Supplementary Form is More Likely to be Rejected

I planed to start working as a teacher in January 2023, and in December my school filed my EB-1B’s I-140 application . I originally planned to file my I-485 after joining the school in January, but suddenly I found out that EB-1’s priority date has become current in January. I thought about submitting I-485 in December, but the school said that I-485j form could not be issued without employment. I would like to ask, if I submit I-485 without I-485j form, will I be rejected immediately? Or can it be added later when the RFE is issued?

Mr. Lee answers,
To give some background, EB-1B for outstanding scholars and researchers backlogged to June 1, 2022, for natives of India and China on January 1, 2023, on the “dates for filing” chart of the Department of State and is holding to the same date in February. To file an I-485 application in January or February, you will either have to be a non-native of these two countries or have a priority date earlier than June 1, 2022. To your specific question of whether you could file in December 2022 without Form I-485J and not be rejected, the answer is uncertain. I recall that when the I-485J supplement was first added (a form required to confirm employment for most employment-based classes where the I-485 was not concurrently filed with the I-140 petition), USCIS was forgiving when the J form was not included with the filing. Whether the agency is so forgiving at this time is something that we do not know at this time. I note that if you tried, it may have been better to include a job offer letter from the institution. I also note that the J form is now being requested on the “Checklist for Required Initial Evidence for Employment Based Form I-485 Applicants”, which makes it easier for USCIS to reject than when it gave no previous written warning in checklist or instructions that the supplementary form was to be included.

5. STEM Graduates Can Stay in the United States for 3 Years with OPT

I want to stay in the US for five years. Now, I am going to apply for computer major. Can I stay in the United States for five years after studying this major?

Mr. Lee answers,
There are many individuals who manage to stay in the United States for five years after studying for a degree in computer science. That is considered a STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) major which is highly prized and allows graduates to obtain another two years of practical training on top of the regular one year of postgraduate optional practical training. During the three years, many individuals are able to switch over to H-1B specialized occupation visas in which individuals can remain on six years. Other options may also be available depending upon your particular situation. For those not born in India or China, there is also the possibility of employer-sponsored green cards within 1-2 years if everything goes well.

Q&A’s published on the World Journal Weekly on February 19, 2023 1. Pass the US citizenship to children overseas 2. CSPA 3. I-485 filed in Nov 2022 with I-130 approved in June 2022, I 94 expiring in Jan 21st 2023. Option to travel outside US? 4. I want to bring my parent her in the US. Can my boyfriend be my joint sponsor? 5. Can I get a work permit while waiting for the extension of my B1/B2 visa and F1 application? 6. I applied for change of status in Dec 2022 and my current B2 visa expires in February. Does my application cover extension of stay?

1. Pass the US citizenship to children overseas

I’d been in the United State from 2012 until I got my citizenship in 2018. Then in 2019 I traveled overseas. I got married and had 2 kids and came back to the US in 2021.  How can I bring my wife and kids to the U.S.? Can I pass my citizenship to my kids, if so how ?

Mr. Lee answers,
It appears that you have the necessary residence in the US (five years with at least two of which were after the age of 14) to transmit US citizenship to your legitimate children. You should make an application to the consulate or embassy on form DS-2029 Application for Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a US citizen child. For your wife, you would have to file an I-130 relative petition for her, have that approved, and she would ultimately interview for an immigrant visa at the American consulate or embassy having jurisdiction in the home country to issue immigrant visas.


My brother’s application for immigration visa was filled in April 2010 approved in May 2015 and is in visa center he has two kids who are both over 21. Will they be able to migrate with parents if they are unmarried and when we can expect a visa center letter for further processing?

Mr. Lee answers,
Under the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA), the children are given a credit of five years to their age being under 21 due to the visa petition pendency of five years. It is more than likely that the children will not be able to emigrate with the parents as the counting time of the children’s ages will only stop when the priority date becomes current. Currently the sibling category final action date on the February visa chart is only available to those filing petitions prior to 3/22/2007, for China born. On the question of when you can expect a visa center letter for further processing, that will usually not come until the priority date is close to becoming current for visa availability.

3. I-485 filed in Nov 2022 with I-130 approved in June 2022, I 94 expiring in Jan 21st 2023. Option to travel outside US?

My parents got I-130 approved in June’2022. I filed their AOS (I-485) in Nov 2022, waiting to hear from USCIS. Their I-94 is valid till Jan 21’2023. They want to travel to China in Jan/Feb 2023. While waiting for I 485 approval, can I file their Advanced Parole (I-131) so that they can travel in Jan/Feb 2023? If not, Is there any other options which will allow them to travel outside US without affecting their I-485 application?

Mr. Lee answers,
Applicants for adjustment of status like your parents are only allowed to travel without disturbing the I-485 applications if they obtain advance parole. Unless the reason for their travel is emergent, they will not be able to receive advance parole approval in the short period of time before their contemplated travel. If the need is nonemergent, I suggest that they have a backup plan for travel later in the year. USCIS has been improving its times on most advance parole applications, but there are still many languishing for over six months. Hope that helps. 

4. I want to bring my parent her in the US. Can my boyfriend be my joint sponsor?

How can I bring my parent here in US. I am a stay at home mom, unemployed but only my partner (boyfriend ) is the only one providing for us. Can he be my joint sponsor?

Mr. Lee answers,
I will assume that you are asking if your partner can be your joint sponsor for purposes of sponsoring your mother for a permanent immigration visa. He is qualified if he is a US citizen or permanent resident, and has sufficient income and/or liquid assets to sponsor taking into consideration everyone that he is presently supporting and has sponsored for immigration in the past. Your partner would do a separate I-864 affidavit of support from you listing himself as joint sponsor. You would have to do your own, but your mother would be relying upon your partner for the financial support. Please note that you cannot submit one form only for yourself and your partner as he would not qualify as a household member. 

5. Can I get a work permit while waiting for the extension of my B1/B2 visa and F1 application?

I have been in the USA for almost six months with my i94 expiring in two weeks. I just applied for an extension of my i94, with an application for an F1 visa. I will love to work or do something to sustain myself while this application is pending. this is because of the difficulties associated with coping with my personal upkeep and my kids’ college expenses in the USA.

Mr. Lee answers,
Unfortunately, USCIS does not give employment authorizations for individuals attempting to change status from visitor to F-1 student. For that matter, it does not give automatic employment authorization to those who successfully change to F-1 student. Such successful applicants are allowed to work part-time on campus, but outside only with the approval of the educational institution under curriculum practical training or with USCIS permission for optional practical training or if there are severe economic hardship conditions which have occurred after one academic year of schooling or if there are emergent circumstances which are generally defined by USCIS as world events that affect a specific group of F-1 students and which causes them to suffer severe economic hardship, including, but not limited to natural disasters, wars and military conflicts, national or international financial crises.

6. I applied for change of status in Dec 2022 and my current B2 visa expires in February. Does my application cover extension of stay?

Since my application I have not received a response from USCIS. I have not applied for extension of stay. Does my application cover extension of stay? Am I suppose the repeat form 1-539 – Application for extension of stay before my I-94 expires or does my application payment of $450 covers extensions of stay?

Mr. Lee answers,
As you timely applied for a change of status to F-1 student, you are allowed to remain in the US while awaiting a decision on the change of status request. USCIS last year changed its policy which had previously required B-2 individuals applying for change of status to student to keep maintaining B-2 status and keep filing extension requests until the change of status was adjudicated. Please note, however, that other rules still apply that you cannot become a student until USCIS approves the change. 


As published in the Immigration Daily on January 30, 2023

  1. White House expands and renews Hong Kong deferred enforced departure program.

The Biden Administration announced in a White House memorandum on January 26, 2023, that it would not only renew, but also expand the Hong Kong deferred enforced departure (DED) program for old and initial applications for 24 months. The original grant of DED is to expire on February 5, 2023. Qualified applicants are those Hong Kong residents who have been in the country since 1/26/23 and have not voluntarily returned to Hong Kong or the PRC after 1/26/23. It confers both protection from deportation and employment authorization for those who apply for an EAD. Besides voluntary return to Hong Kong or the PRC, those not eligible are those who have not resided continuously in the US since the date of the memorandum; are inadmissible under security grounds which includes membership in the Communist Party or deportable under such; or have been convicted of any felony or two or more misdemeanors in the United States; or the person persecuted others; has been convicted of a particularly serious crime and constitutes a danger to the community of the United States; there are serious reasons for believing the alien committed a serious nonpolitical crime outside the US; there are reasonable grounds for regarding the alien is a danger to US security; terrorist activity; or when the person is firmly resettled in another country prior to coming to the United States; or is subject to extradition; or whose presence in the US is not in the interests of the United States or represents a danger to public safety; or whose presence in the country the Secretary of State has reasonable grounds to believe would have potentially serious adverse foreign policy consequences for the United States.

A Hong Kong “resident” has previously been defined for purposes of the program as an individual of any nationality, or without nationality, who has met the requirements for, and been granted, a Hong Kong special administrative region passport, a British national overseas passport, a British overseas citizenship passport, a Hong Kong permanent identity card, or a Hong Kong special administrative region (HK SAR) document of identity for visa purposes.

The Federal Register notice implementing the memorandum is expected momentarily.

  1. USCIS sets schedule for H-1B cap registration program.

USCIS on January 27, 2023, set out the schedule for H-1B registration for cap cases for FY 2024 (10/1/23-9/30/24) which will run from noon EST 3/1/23 – 3/17/23 noon EST. Registrants can open new accounts on 2/21/23 at noon, but submission must be 3/1/23 or later. USCIS will notify account holders by 3/31/23. Last year, USCIS received 483,927 H-1B registrations and selected 127,600 projected as needed to reach the fiscal year’s numerical allocations. It is expected that the number of registrations will decrease this year as many technology firms, prime users of H-1B visas, are in the midst of laying off workers because of their overambitious expansion plans fueled by easy access to money (low interest rates) which are presently being stymied by the Federal Reserve’s hiking of those rates.

  1. Final Covid-19 flexibility dates advanced to March 23, 2023.

In the wake of the pandemic, USCIS has given extra time for individuals and organizations to respond to requests for information from the agency since 2020. It announced in its latest extension on January 24, 2023, that the extension of 60 calendar days for notices for information in addition to the notice deadline date and 90 days from decision date to file appeals, motions, and requests for hearings would end with notices or decisions issued by March 23, 2023, inclusive barring changes presented by the pandemic. If so, that means requests and notices after that must be responded to by the stated response dates, and appeals, motions, and requests for hearing filed within 30 days of decision.

The additional 60 days applies to the following:

  • Requests for Evidence;
  • Continuations to Request Evidence (N-14);
  • Notices of Intent to Deny;
  • Notices of Intent to Revoke;
  • Notices of Intent to Rescind;
  • Notices of Intent to Terminate regional centers;
  • Notices of Intent to Withdraw Temporary Protected Status; and
  • Motions to Reopen an N-400 Pursuant to 8 CFR 335.5, Receipt of Derogatory Information After Grant.

The 90 days from decision date applies to:

  • Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal;
  • Form I-290B, Motion;
  • Form N-336, Request for a Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings (Under Section 336 of the INA)

Applicability of the 60 days is for requests or notices issued between March 1, 2020 – March 23, 2023 inclusive, and the 90 days for decisions made between November 1, 2021 – March 23, 2023 inclusive.

USCIS also added that the reproduced signature flexibility rule announced in March 2020 became a permanent policy on July 25, 2022.

  1. USCIS announces new dates for expanded premium processing classes of cases.

USCIS on January 12, 2023, announced premium processing expansion for all initial and pending EB-13 (multinational executive and manager) and E-21 NIW (national interest waiver) petitions beginning 1/30/23. It is also planning to offer premium processing for F-1 students seeking OPT or STEM OPT extensions who have a pending I-765 application in March, and in April to those in the same classes who are filing an initial I-765. It is anticipating expanding premium processing for students and exchange visitors with pending I-539 applications in May and those in the same classes filing initial applications in June. This is the final phase of premium processing expansion which began with the first phase on June 1, 2022, accepting I-907 premium processing requests for certain cases received in early 2021.

  1. Trump public charge rule finally killed by Supreme Court?

The Supreme Court on January 9, 2023, denied as improvidently granted a petition for certiorari in Texas v. Cook County, Illinois, 22-234, in which the red states presented two issues (1) Whether petitioner states were entitled to intervene in defense of the inadmissibility on public charge grounds rule when they sought to do so within days of the federal government’s rescindment of the rule by acquiescing in a district court’s nationwide vacatur; and (2) whether petitioners were entitled to either relief from the District Court’s judgment under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 60 (b)(6) or equitable vacatur of the judgment. This was an attempt to resurrect an effort of 13 states led by Arizona in Arizona v. City and County of San Francisco to gain the right to intervene in a California lawsuit against the Trump rule in which the Biden administration decided not to defend it on appeal and in which the states wanted to intervene on behalf of the government to preserve the rule. In that case, the justices also dismissed as improvidently granted the certiorari petition. So is that the dagger to the Trump public charge concept which would have put the final coffin nail in the Statue of Liberty’s promise to “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”? Unfortunately, no, as the Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton brought suit again on January 5, 2023, in the US District Court, Southern District of Texas, Victoria division, State of Texas v. Alejandro Mayorkas, Civil Action No.6:23-CV-1, claiming that the Biden administration seeks to further its open borders policy by enacting a new agency rule effectively nullifying federal law excluding aliens likely to become public charges. Stay tuned.

Q&A’s published on the World Journal Weekly on January 29, 2023 1. Biometrics appointment for I-131 still needed? 2. I-751 was submitted and fingerprints were taken. How long is the wait time?

1. Biometrics appointment for I-131 still needed?

I filed I-131 and it was accepted, and the fee taken. I have not received a biometrics letter but the status is updated to fingerprints taken. Does this mean they are using biometrics from a previous application and I do not need to wait for a biometrics appointment before leaving the US? The status on my I-131 case said, “As of XX, 2022, fingerprints relating to your Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, Receipt Number XXX, have been applied to your case.”

Mr. Lee answers,
USCIS is attempting in as many ways as it can to reduce backlogs that were caused by the pandemic and the Trump administration. Part of the effort is to reuse the biometrics whenever it can since fingerprints do not change over time. Either you failed to completely read one of the notices saying that the agency would reuse your biometrics or USCIS failed to send that one out or it was lost in the mail. The notice that you now have seems pretty clear in indicating that the agency will reuse your biometrics.

2. I-751 was submitted and finger prints were taken. How long is the wait time?

My Case, removal of conditions for the green card was submitted on 01-06-2021 my green card was expired on 01-20-2021. I received a notice for an extension of 24 months after my case was submitted which will expire in Jan 2023. My case was sent to Potomac service center, should I need a raise a E-request to process my pending case.

Mr. Lee answers,

If the notation of resident status on the I-751 receipt is close to expiration, the recommended path is to communicate with the USCIS Contact Center and arrange an infopass with the local USCIS field office so that you can present your passport and receive an I-551 ADIT stamp continuing your resident status during the time that USCIS is adjudicating your I-751 petition. USCIS will generally not expedite an application or petition on the basis that the individual’s status is expiring, especially where there is another path.


As published in the Immigration Daily on January 23, 2023

As we move into 2023 and the continuing threats to the economy, part of the answer to our problem is unsurprisingly – more immigration. Japan is a prime example of a closed society with declining birth rates and unwillingness to allow immigration which now finds itself with abandoned towns and villages, an aged population working into the 70s, and overreliance on overseas manufacturing. China may soon find itself in the same boat of an aged non-vibrant workforce as its population shrank for the first time in over 60 years in 2022, the total number of migrants to other countries far exceeds its intake of people coming into it, the long-term effects of its one child policy and current reluctance of females there to have larger families further depresses the population, and its workforce is rapidly aging with nearly 1/3 expected to be over 60 by 2035 (China’s official retirement age is 60 for men and 55 for women and although there is some movement to advance the retirement age, it is receiving resistance from those worried about the effect upon pensions and their desire to spend time with family).

The US fertility rate of approximately 1.7 births per female cannot sustain American greatness, as that is below the replacement rate of 2.1 required for the US population not to shrink without increases in immigration.

Support for increased immigration was voiced by Federal Reserve Chief Jerome Powell during a December 14 news conference that “Our labor force should be 3 ½ million more than it is”, and asking himself why is that, said “Part of it is just accelerated retirements – people dropped out and aren’t coming back at a higher rate than expected. Part of it is… Close to half a million who would have been working died from Covid. And part of it is that migration has been lower. It’s not our job to prescribe things, but I think if you asked businesses, pretty much everybody you talk to says,’ There aren’t enough people. We need more people.’” Citing Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the New York Times in the December 27, 2022, article, “Retirees Are One Reason the Fed Has Given up on a Big Worker Rebound” said that “Among those 65 and up, on the other hand, participation lags well below its prepandemic level, the equivalent of a decline of about 900,000 people. That has helped to keep overall participation steadily lower than it was in 2020.”

These are big numbers. The lack of workers is driving costs upwards for everyone due to inability to make things run smoothly in manufacturing, the supply chain, service industry, etc. The bidding war for workers is also a large factor forcing producers to keep raising prices with spiraling inflationary effects. The Fed’s only solution at present is to keep raising interest rates to make it more difficult for companies to borrow for their needs, which in turn forces them to lay off workers, with the anticipated ripple effect of US workers and their families having to cut back on purchases so that demand does not continue to exceed available supplies.

The US needs a younger population of workers, and those that are coming over with their families from other countries are usually the young and ambitious unafraid to leave their home countries.

We are not advocating open borders as there must be control over the numbers allowed into the country. That situation is amply demonstrated by the situation at the southwestern border. But the US must become a more generous nation in its immigration policies toward employment based, family-based, and refugee/asylum based. A good example of possible positive legislation could be an EAGLE (Equal Access to Green Cards for Legal Employment) Act (which last year proposed to lift individual country quota limits without increasing visa numbers) being proposed this year with an increase in numbers so that countries are not fighting each other over the quota limits. Imposing order over the southwestern border through the Biden administration proposal to control it through a 30,000 per month two-year parole program could also help in the revitalization of the workforce. Hiking of H-1B cap numbers for workers in specialized occupations could also help as over 400,000 applications for registration last year vied for 85,000 slots.

Yet the reaction from Republicans and conservatives to positive changes in immigration law in the 118th Congress has so far been poisonous in seeking a restrictive agenda starting with the soon to be introduced “Border Safety and Security Act” and quoting their words “We Must Secure the Southern Border” without any ameliorative provisions.

Public opinion must be on the side of more immigration for the sake of the country. Recognition of the role of immigration in keeping the nation strong should be the overriding factor, and not the demonization of immigrants. A good place to start would be recognizing the contributions of the DREAMERS, children brought into this country who have been educated here and have contributed to the US in many occupations, including those most hazardous during Covid-19’s most deadly period. A continuous push should be made to give them permanent status and not have them continue being used as the ultimate bargaining chip in immigration negotiations. The Congress could then move on from there to other deserving or needed groups.

Q&A’s published on the World Journal Weekly on January 22, 2023 1. Can I acquire any type of citizenship or permanent residency from my deceased US citizen father? 2. Sibling info on Green Card for parents 3. Can immigration officers look past inadmissibility? 4. Can I keep using my STEM OPT EAD even though I get my C9 EAD?

1. Can I acquire any type of citizenship or permanent residency from my deceased US citizen father?

I was born in 1977 and my father was born in the 1950s. He acquired his green card when he retired from working for the us government in the Panama Canal for 20+ years. We then moved to the us in 2007 and he filed a form I-130 and form I-485 petitioning for me, his married daughter over 21 years old, this was obviously denied because when he first filed he was a permanent resident at the time and our lawyer was an inexperienced scam artist who knew that I didn’t meet the requirements but still decided to submit the application and take thousands of dollars. My father became a naturalized US citizen in 2016 but I never submitted another application because I was waiting to hear back on the first one. However, my father ended up passing away in 2021 and only a few months after did I finally get a response that my application was denied. Since my father passed I am not sure if I am able to re submit another application although I do have an approved form I-130. What can be done?

Mr. Lee answers,
Your fact situation is confusing to me as you say that the application was denied, that you did not file another application, but that you do have an approved form I-130. The confusion lies in your stating that your father filed for you, a married person, when he only had the green card – and that would be a filing that does not conform with the law of eligibility.

Nevertheless, assuming that an I-130 petition was approved at some point for you prior to the time of your father’s passing away, and you were in the US at the time, that petition might be a basis for a permanent residence application. As the facts are unclear, I suggest that you should consult with an immigration lawyer to go over your entire situation and for him or her to explore with you any steps that might be able to be taken. 

2. Sibling info on GC for parents

If I am applying for parents Immigrant visa, do I put the info for my other siblings who are all over 21 years of age, and not being applied for on the Family section of the petition for Alien Relative, my sibling is a GC holder via employment.

Mr. Lee answers,
In our office, we usually put all sons and daughters of the beneficiaries on the I-130 form. I note that the form itself does not limit the term “children” although the Immigration and Nationality Act defines children as being under the age of 21 and unmarried. Also, the form instructions refer to both “unmarried children” and “married children”. Additionally, some of our clients are uncomfortable with the idea of leaving out any of the 21+-year-old children, and so we generally include them. If there is a reason for which our clients do not wish to mention such children, we will leave them out. 

3. Can immigration officers look past inadmissibility?

My father is currently in China waiting for his interview appointment. He went back to China two years ago. My mom is a citizen and sponsoring. I believe he will be found inadmissible and have to file for a waiver because he reentered the US after being deported in the 90s. He has no criminal record and started his own business while living in the US. He says that there is a chance that the immigration officer has the right to overlook his inadmissibility and approve him for a green card? Is this possible?

Mr. Lee answers,
A US consular officer does not have the authority to overlook grounds of inadmissibility. If your father was deported previously, one question is whether he served out the entire time of the bar before coming back to the US. When he reentered the US, did he enter legally or illegally? If he entered illegally before April 1, 1997, he would be eligible to file waiver applications after his interview with the US consulate. On the other hand, if he reentered illegally on or after that date, he would have incurred a permanent bar under which he will not be able to request permission to return to the US as an immigrant until 10 years after he left the US a couple of years ago. The granting of permission to reapply at that point would be in the discretion of the Attorney General.

4. Can I keep using my STEM OPT EAD even though I get my C9 EAD?

I have a valid STEM OPT EAD until 2024. I am going to apply for an adjustment of status soon to obtain a marriage based green card. When I get the c9 EAD in hand while the I-485 is pending, can I still keep using my STEM OPT card? Or should I use my C9 EAD because I applied for an adjustment of status?

Mr. Lee answers,

I do not believe that it makes much difference which EAD you will be using. You are authorized to work under your STEM EAD and that is not revoked by your applying for adjustment of status and obtaining employment authorization (C )(9) on the basis of that. However, please note that the STEM EAD is tied to the field of your degree while a (C )(9) EAD is open market and can be used for any employment.