|STATEMENT BY DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
SECRETARY JOHN KELLY ON THE ENTRY OF LAWFUL PERMANENT RESIDENTS
INTO THE UNITED STATES
(January 29th, 2017)
USCIS Rule Strengthens Employment Eligibility Requirements for Asylum Seekers
Release Date: June 22, 2020
WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced a regulatory change to deter aliens from illegally entering
the United States and from filing frivolous, fraudulent, or otherwise non-meritorious claims for asylum to obtain an employment
authorization document. This rule does not alter asylum eligibility criteria in any way and will be effective on Aug. 25.
This rule stems from the April 29, 2019, Presidential Memorandum on Additional Measures to Enhance Border Security and Restore
Integrity to Our Immigration System, which emphasizes that it is the policy of the United States to manage humanitarian immigration
programs in a safe and orderly manner, and to promptly deny benefits to those who do not qualify.
“Safeguarding the integrity of our nation’s legal immigration system from those who seek to exploit or abuse it is key to the USCIS
mission,” said Joseph Edlow, the USCIS Deputy Director for Policy. “The reforms in this rule are designed to restore integrity to the
asylum system and to reduce any incentive to file an asylum application for the primary purpose of obtaining work authorization. It also
deters frivolous and non-meritorious applications by eliminating employment authorization for aliens who have failed to file for asylum
within one year of their last entry until USCIS or an immigration judge determines the alien’s eligibility for asylum.”
The rule prevents aliens who, absent good cause, illegally entered the United States from obtaining employment authorization based on
a pending asylum application. Additionally, the rule defines new bars and denials for employment authorization, such as for certain
criminal behavior; extends the wait time before an asylum applicant can apply for employment authorization from 150 days to 365
calendar days; limits the employment authorization validity period to a maximum of two years; and automatically terminates employment
authorization when an applicant’s asylum denial is administratively final.
For more information read the final rule, scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on June 26.
For more information on USCIS and our programs, please visit uscis.gov or follow us on Twitter (@uscis), Instagram (/uscis), YouTube
(/uscis), Facebook (/uscis), and LinkedIn (/uscis).
COVID-19 Delays in Extension/Change of Status Filings
Release Date: April 13, 2020
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recognizes that there are immigration-related challenges as a direct result of the
coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We continue to carefully analyze these issues and to leverage our resources to effectively address
these challenges within our existing authorities. DHS also continues to take action to protect the American people and our communities,
and is considering a number of policies and procedures to improve the employment opportunities of U.S. workers during this pandemic.
Generally, nonimmigrants must depart the United States before their authorized period of admission expires. However, we recognize that
nonimmigrants may unexpectedly remain in the United States beyond their authorized period of stay due to COVID-19. Should this occur,
the following options are available for nonimmigrants:
Apply for an Extension. Most nonimmigrants can mitigate the immigration consequences of COVID-19 by timely filing an application for
extension of stay (EOS) or change in status (COS). U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services continues to accept and process
applications and petitions, and many of our forms are available for online filing.
If You File in a Timely Manner. Nonimmigrants generally do not accrue unlawful presence while the timely-filed, non-frivolous EOS/COS
application is pending. Where applicable, employment authorization with the same employer, subject to the same terms and conditions
of the prior approval, is automatically extended for up to 240 days after I-94 expiration when an extension of stay request is filed on time.
Flexibility for Late Applications. USCIS reminds petitioners and applicants that it can consider delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic
when deciding whether to excuse delays in filing documents based on extraordinary circumstances.
Under current regulations and as noted on our Special Situations page, if a petitioner or applicant files an extension of stay or change of
status request (on Forms I-129 or I-539) after the authorized period of admission expires, USCIS, in its discretion, may excuse the failure
to file on time if it was due to extraordinary circumstances beyond their control, such as those that may be caused by COVID-19. The
length of delay must be commensurate with the circumstances. The petitioner or applicant must submit credible evidence to support
their request, which USCIS will evaluate on a case-by-case basis. These special situations have been used at various times in the past,
including for natural disasters and similar crises.
Please see 8 CFR 214.1(c)(4) and 8 CFR 248.1(c) for additional information on late requests to extend or change status. In addition,
please see our Form I-129 and Form I-539 pages for specific filing and eligibility requirements for extensions of stay and changes of
Flexibility for Visa Waiver Entrants. Visa Waiver Program (VWP) entrants are not eligible to extend their stay or change status. However,
under current regulations, if an emergency (such as COVID-19) prevents the departure of a VWP entrant, USCIS in its discretion may
grant a period of satisfactory departure for up to 30 days. Please see 8 CFR 217.3(a). For those VWP entrants already granted
satisfactory departure and unable to depart within this 30-day period because of COVID-19 related issues, USCIS has the authority to
temporarily provide an additional 30-day period of satisfactory departure. To request satisfactory departure from USCIS, a VWP entrant
should call the USCIS Contact Center.
For other policy updates, operational changes, and other COVID-19 information, please visit uscis.gov/coronavirus.
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USCIS Adjusts Fees to Help Meet Operational Needs
Release Date 07/31/2020
WASHINGTON—Today, the Department of Homeland Security announced a final rule (PDF) that adjusts fees for certain immigration and
naturalization benefit requests to ensure U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services recovers its costs of services.
Unlike most government agencies, USCIS is fee funded. Fees collected and deposited into the Immigration Examinations Fee Account
fund nearly 97% of USCIS’ budget.
As required by federal law, USCIS conducted a comprehensive biennial fee review and determined that current fees do not recover the
cost of providing adjudication and naturalization services. DHS is adjusting USCIS fees by a weighted average increase of 20% to help
recover its operational costs. Current fees would leave the agency underfunded by about $1 billion per year.
“USCIS is required to examine incoming and outgoing expenditures and make adjustments based on that analysis,” said Joseph Edlow,
USCIS deputy director for policy. “These overdue adjustments in fees are necessary to efficiently and fairly administer our nation’s lawful
immigration system, secure the homeland and protect Americans.”
The rule accounts for increased costs to adjudicate immigration benefit requests, detect and deter immigration fraud, and thoroughly vet
applicants, petitioners and beneficiaries. The rule also supports payroll, technology and operations to accomplish the USCIS mission.
The rule removes certain fee exemptions, includes new nominal fees for asylum applicants, and reduces fee waivers to help recover the
costs of adjudication.
This final rule also encourages online filing by providing a $10 reduction in the fee for applicants who submit forms online that are
electronically available from USCIS. Online filing is the most secure, efficient, cost-effective and convenient way to submit a request with
USCIS last updated its fee structure in December 2016 by a weighted average increase of 21%. For a full list of changes and a complete
table of final fees, see the final rule (PDF). This final rule is effective Oct. 2, 2020. Any application, petition, or request postmarked on or
after this date must include payment of the new, correct fees established by this final rule.
For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit uscis.gov or follow us on Twitter (@uscis), Instagram (/uscis), YouTube
(/uscis), Facebook (/uscis), and LinkedIn (/uscis).