USCIS Makes Two More Applications Available for Online Filing

WASHINGTON – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that applicants can now complete and file Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship, and Form N-600K, Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate Under Section 322 online.

“One of the major burdens to both benefit seekers and the agency’s adjudicators is the costly, time consuming, and cumbersome process of traditional paper filing,” said USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna. “This addition to our online capabilities is yet another positive advancement toward a more efficient and convenient filing experience for everyone involved.”

Applicants can file Form N-600 to obtain a Certificate of Citizenship for themselves or their minor children if they:

  • Were born abroad and are claiming U.S. citizenship at birth through their parents; or
  • Automatically became a U.S. citizen after birth, but before they turned 18 years old.

Applicants can file Form N-600K if they regularly reside in a foreign country and want to claim U.S. citizenship based on their parents. Applicants must secure lawful admission to the U.S. to complete Form N-600K processing. Children of U.S. service members have separate requirements for naturalization under INA Section 322.

Forms N-600 and N-600K are part of the growing number of documents that USCIS has made available for easy and convenient online filing. This list includes: 

  • Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card;
  • Form N-336, Request for a Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings;
  • Form N-400, Application for Naturalization; and
  • Form N-565, Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document.

To file a Form N-600 or N-600K online, an applicant must first create a USCIS online account. Through an online account, the applicant can securely and conveniently:

  • Complete Form N-600 or N-600K;
  • Submit accompanying evidence;
  • Upload passport-style photos;
  • Pay the filing fee;
  • Respond to USCIS requests for evidence;
  • Monitor the status of their application; and
  • Manage their contact information, including updating their address.

Attorneys and accredited representatives who have an online account can also file online for their clients and perform the above listed functions.

USCIS still accepts the latest paper version of Forms N-600 and N-600K. Because military service members do not pay a filing fee when submitting Form N-600 on their own behalf, they cannot currently file this application online.

USCIS is using innovation and technology to meet the needs of applicants, employees, and stakeholders. Regardless of the paper or electronic format of an application, USCIS is committed to ensuring a secure and efficient process for all applicants.

For more information on USCIS and our programs, please visit uscis.gov or follow us on Twitter (@uscis), YouTube (/uscis), and Facebook (/uscis). 

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USCIS Announces Online Case Status Feature for Asylum Applicants

WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that applicants who have a pending affirmative asylum application with USCIS can now check the status of their applications online at uscis.gov/casestatus. Only asylum applicants with an application pending with USCIS will be able to use this new feature to check their case status online. It will not cover defensive asylum applicants whose cases are pending in immigration court.

“The new capability increases transparency and assures applicants that they have the most up-to-date and accurate information about their case, 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna. “We strive to adjudicate all applications and petitions in a timely manner and are working to reduce the impact on processing times by aligning resources appropriately.”

Previously, asylum applicants could only check their case status through an asylum office in person or by phone, fax, or email. Non-governmental organizations and stakeholders within the legal community informed USCIS that asylum applicants have found this process is very difficult. Furthermore, giving asylum applicants the ability to check their case status online allows asylum office staff to better focus their resources on scheduling interviews and adjudicating pending cases.

This enhancement is a part of our overall modernization efforts to provide a more efficient and effective user experience.

For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit uscis.gov or follow us on Twitter (@uscis), Instagram (/uscis), YouTube (/uscis), and Facebook(/uscis).  

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USCIS Resumes Premium Processing for Fiscal Year 2019 H-1B Cap Petitions

USCIS will resume premium processing on Monday, Jan. 28, for all fiscal year (FY) 2019 H-1B cap petitions, including those eligible for the advanced degree exemption (the “master’s cap”). Petitioners who have received requests for evidence (RFEs) for pending FY 2019 cap petitions should include their RFE response with any request for premium processing they may submit.

H-1B visas provide employers with skilled workers for a wide range of specialty occupations. When a petitioner requests the agency’s premium processing service, USCIS guarantees a 15-day processing time. If we do not take certain adjudicative action within the 15‑calendar day processing time, USCIS refunds the petitioner’s premium processing service fee and continues with expedited processing of the petition. This service is only available for pending petitions, not new submissions, because we have already received enough petitions to meet the FY 2019 cap.

The previously announced temporary suspension of premium processing remains in effect for all other categories of H-1B petitions to which it applied. We plan to resume premium processing for the remaining categories of H‑1B petitions as agency workloads permit.

We will continue to notify the public via uscis.gov when we begin accepting premium processing for other categories of H-1B petitions.

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USCIS Announces Countries Eligible for H-2A and H-2B Visa Programs

USCIS and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in consultation with the Department of State (DOS), have announced the list of countries whose nationals are eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B visa programs in 2019. The notice listing the eligible countries was published in the Federal Register on Jan. 18, 2019.

For 2019, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have agreed to:

  • Add Mozambique and Samoa to the list of countries eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B visa programs;
  • Add Paraguay to the list of countries eligible to participate in the H-2A visa program;
  • No longer designate Ethiopia and the Philippines as eligible countries because they no longer meet the regulatory standards for the H-2A and H-2B visa programs; and
  • No longer designate the Dominican Republic as an eligible country for the H-2B visa program because it no longer meets the regulatory standards for that program.

DHS maintains its authority to add countries to the eligible countries list at any time, and to remove any country at any time DHS and DOS determine that a country fails to meet the requirements for continued designation. Examples of factors that could result in the exclusion of a country or the removal of a country from the list include, but are not limited to, fraud, abuse, denial rates, overstay rates, human trafficking concerns, and other forms of non-compliance with the terms and conditions of the H-2 visa programs by nationals of that country.

The H-2A and H-2B visa programs allow U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural and nonagricultural jobs, respectively. Typically, USCIS approves H-2A and H-2B petitions only for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as eligible to participate in the programs. However, USCIS may approve H-2A and H-2B petitions, including those that were pending as of the date of the Federal Register notice, for nationals of countries not on the list on a case-by-case basis only if doing so is determined to be in the interest of the United States.

Effective Jan. 19, 2019, nationals of the following countries are eligible to receive H-2A and H-2B visas:

Andorra Finland Malta Serbia
Argentina France Moldova* Singapore
Australia Germany Mozambique Slovakia
Austria Greece Mexico Slovenia
Barbados Grenada Monaco Solomon Islands
Belgium Guatemala Mongolia South Africa
Brazil Honduras Montenegro South Korea
Brunei Hungary Nauru Spain
Bulgaria Iceland The Netherlands St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Canada Ireland Nicaragua Sweden
Chile Israel New Zealand Switzerland
Colombia Italy Norway Taiwan**
Costa Rica Jamaica Panama Thailand
Croatia Japan Paraguay* Timor-Leste
Czech Republic Kiribati Papua New Guinea Tonga
Denmark Latvia Peru Turkey
Dominican Republic* Liechtenstein Poland Tuvalu
Ecuador Lithuania Portugal Ukraine
El Salvador Luxembourg Romania United Kingdom
Estonia Macedonia Samoa Uruguay
Fiji Madagascar San Marino Vanuatu

*Moldova, Paraguay, and the Dominican Republic are eligible to participate in the H-2A program, but they are not eligible to participate in the H-2B program.

**With respect to all references to “country” or “countries” in this document, it should be noted that the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, Pub. L. No. 96-8, Section 4(b)(1), provides that “[w]henever the laws of the United States refer or relate to foreign countries, nations, states, governments, or similar entities, such terms shall include and such laws shall apply with respect to Taiwan.” 22 U.S.C. § 3303(b)(1). Accordingly, all references to “country” or “countries” in the regulations governing whether nationals of a country are eligible for H-2 program participation, 8 CFR 214.2(h)(5)(i)(F)(1)(i) and 8 CFR 214.2(h)(6)(i)(E)(1), are read to include Taiwan. This is consistent with the United States’ one-China policy, under which the United States has maintained unofficial relations with Taiwan since 1979.

This notice does not affect the status of beneficiaries who currently are in the United States in H-2A or H-2B status unless they apply to change or extend their status. Each country’s designation is valid for one year from Jan. 19, 2019. 

For more information on these programs, see the H-2A Temporary Agricultural Workers and H-2B Temporary Non-Agricultural Workers pages on our website.

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JTF-W STC Arrests USCIS Target Tied To Illicit Funds, Marriage Fraud

MCALLEN, TEXAS – On January 8, 2019, agents assigned to the Joint Task Force – West, South Texas Corridor’s McAllen Joint Targeting Team (JTT) in coordination with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and Hidalgo County Precinct 2 Constables Office, arrested Edsgardo Coss-Vallejo on suspicion of marriage fraud and currency smuggling.

During a USCIS interview, Coss-Vallejo’s petitioner withdrew her I-30 Petition for Alien Relative form.  USCIS subsequently denied the application, revoked his visa, and notified JTF-W STC of his overstay and suspected marriage fraud. Additional research by the JTT revealed several illicit financial transactions totaling $128,000.  JTT agents requested and received consent from Coss-Vallejo to search his home after suspecting illicit activity at the residence. A Border Patrol canine team performed a non-intrusive search and alerted to a duffle bag in his home that contained cash totaling $362,062 and 29,200 Mexican Pesos and he denied ownership.

“USCIS is an active partner in Joint Task Force-West, South Texas Corridor, assisting our law enforcement partners in stopping immigration-related crimes,” said USCIS San Antonio District Director Mario Ortiz. “USCIS is committed to combating instances of abuse and other criminal activities threatening the integrity of our nation’s immigration system.”

JTT agents seized the bulk cash and Coss-Vallejo was processed and removed from the country.

Please visit www.dhs.gov to view additional news releases and other information pertaining to The Department of Homeland Security or the Joint Task Force-West. Follow us on Twitter at @JTFWest.

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New USCIS Tool Calculates Fees, Helps Avoid Incorrect Payments

WASHINGTON— USCIS has launched a new Online Fee Calculator to assist members of the public in calculating the correct fee amount to include when filing their forms with USCIS at an agency lockbox facility. A list of forms processed at USCIS Lockbox facilities is available on the USCIS website.

USCIS developed the Online Fee Calculator to help reduce the number of applications rejected due to incorrect fee amounts. The Online Fee Calculator will determine the exact filing and biometric fees an individual needs to include with their forms and will always have the most up-to-date fee information.

In fiscal year 2017, USCIS processed more than 11 million applications. For applications that require fees, USCIS rejects forms submitted with an incorrect payment amount. Fee issues, including incorrect fee amounts, are consistently a leading cause of rejection.

When using the Online Fee Calculator, filers select a form, or combination of forms, and answer a series of questions. The tool then calculates the correct fee amount that the filer must submit.

The Online Fee Calculator works on all browsers and on both desktop and mobile devices. To protect privacy, the tool does not collect user data.

For forms filed at Lockbox facilities, USCIS accepts payment via check, money order, or credit card with Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions. For more information on payment, see the USCIS webpage on paying USCIS fees.

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).

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