Integrity Legal

Archive for January, 2010

31st January 2010

Consular Processing (the process of obtaining a US visa from an American Consulate abroad) can be very time consuming. Also, for those Americans overseas wishing to obtain a new passport, US Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or new visa pages a trip to the US Consulate is likely required. Some Americans and prospective US Immigrants are unaware that most overseas Consular posts close for both American and local holidays out of respect to the American citizens working at the post as well as host-country nationals. In an effort to provide convenience to the readers of this blog below please find the holiday closing schedule for the United States Embassy in Nepal. We provide this information in an effort to forestall people traveling to the post on days when it is not open.

Note: (A) = American Holidays
(N) = Nepali Holidays

Date Holiday (A)/(N) Information
January 1 New Year’s Day (A) First day of the year in the Gregorian calendar, celebrated at home or in gatherings.
January 15 Maghi Parba (N) Begins the holy month of Magh (and the end of the ill-omened month of Poush). It is celebrated by taking ritual baths and praying at shrines. As well as eating yam and ‘chaku’ (a sweet made from boiled and hardened molasses).
January 18 Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday (A)

The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. was a black clergyman who is ranked among the greatest of black Americans because of his crusade to win full civil rights for his people. (more)

February 12 Maha Shiva Ratri (N) “Great Shiva’s Night,” a festival celebrated with all day fasting and an all night vigil.  Many Hindus gather at Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu.
February 15 Presidents’ Day (A) This day honors Presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.  Washington was the first President.  Lincoln was President during the Civil War (1861-65) between the southern and northern states, which ended with the Union intact and slavery abolished.
April 14 Nepali New Year (N) First day of the year in the Nepal Sambat calendar.
May 27 Buddha Jayanti (N) On this day people swarm in Swayambhunath, Boudhanath and Patan to pay homage to Lord Buddha and also visit Buddha’s birth place in Lumbini and chant prayers and burn butter lamps.
May 31 Memorial Day (A) A holiday honoring those who have died, especially in war, often by decorating their graves with flowers. The federal legal holiday began in 1971.
July 5 Independence Day (A) Independence Day is regarded as the birthday of the United States as a free and independent nation. (more)
August 24 Janai Purnima (N) High caste Hindus chant the powerful Gayatri mantra and change their Sacred Thread while a red or yellow protection chord (a rakshya bandhan) is tied around the wrists of other Hindus and Buddhists. Many pilgrims journey to the mountains north of Kathmandu to emulate Lord Shiva by bathing in the sacred lake of Gosaikunda.
September 6 Labor Day (A) Commemorates the contributions of working men and women.  Labor union participation in annual parades remains common, while for many Americans the holiday marks the unofficial end of summer and beginning of the school year.
October 8 Ghatasthapana (N) On the day of Ghatasthapana, all Nepalese worship Diyo (an oil-fed lamp), Kalas (auspicious jar) and lord Ganesh in accordance with Vedic rituals and sow maize and barley seeds in a jar filled with soil and cow dung for germination of the auspicious Jamara (barley shoots).
October 11 Columbus Day (A) Commemorates Christopher Columbus’s first landing in the Americas, October 12, 1492.  In 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed the federal holiday.
October 14 Phulpati(Dashain) (N) Tenth day of the 15-day national festival of Nepal, celebrated with sacrifices.
October 15 Maha Asttami(Dashain) (N)
October 18 Ekadashi (Dashain) (N) Eleventh day of the 15-day national festival of Nepal.
November 8 Bhaitika (Tihar) (N) Fifth day of Tihar, when sisters give their brothers tika and brothers give gifts in return.
November 11 Veterans’ Day (A) Derived from Armistice Day, commemorating the end of the First World War, November 11, 1918.  Today it recognizes all members of the armed forces, living and dead, who served during times of peace or war.
November 25 Thanksgiving Day (A) Commemorates the survival of early European settlers in the United States and their thanks to Native Americans for assistance in farming and hunting.  Celebrated with a large family meal featuring turkey.
December 24 Christmas Day (A) Holiday celebrated in the United States with family gatherings and giving presents.  For Christians it commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ.
December 31 Friday  New Year’s Day (in lieu of Jan 1, 2011) (A)

This information was taken directly from the US Embassy website, but please be advised that the Embassy’s operating hours are always subject to change. For more information please see the US Embassy in Nepal’s website at this link.

For more information about Consular Processing in Thailand please see: US Embassy Bangkok.

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30th January 2010

The US visa process is a time consuming endeavor, but for those who eventually obtain a visa the process can seem well worth the wait as United States Permanent Residence entails both the right to remain in the USA as well as the right to take up employment. The Resident Alien Card, also know as the “Green Card,” is a very important document for US permanent residents. Upon entry in the United States on an Immigrant visa (such as an IR-1 visa or CR-1 visa), the entrant is given an I-551 stamp in his or her passport. This stamp is, for all intents and purposes, the entrant’s “green Card,” until a proper resident alien card is issued. In the past, Resident Alien Cards were sent to American lawful permanent residents by mail, but there were situations where the Resident Alien did not receive there “Green Card” and this caused problems. In a recent USCIS stakeholder’s meeting this issue was discussed as the following question was posed:

“According to current USCIS practice, when a green card is sent to an address, but the applicant does not receive it, and the package is not returned to USCIS as undeliverable, the client must pay a $370 fee to request another card. This is very difficult for indigent clients. Given the importance of this document, could USCIS institute a policy of sending green cards by certified mail, return receipt requested?”

The issues involved in this question impact aliens in the USA on a daily basis and luckily the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) appears to have come up with a solution to deal with this problem. The details of this solution are contained in the Service’s response below:

“USCIS has developed a means to deliver our secure documents called the Secure Mail Initiative (SMI). This involves sending the secure documents using U.S. Postal Service Priority Mail with Delivery Confirmation. Using this process allows us to track each individual piece of mail electronically through the U.S. Postal Service and speeds our delivery time while enhancing accountability to customers. Currently, we are experiencing tremendous success with SMI in our travel booklet product line (Refugee Travel Documents, Form I-571 and Re-entry Permits, Form I-327).”

Hopefully the Secure Mail Initiative will solve this problem in the vast majority of cases. Although no plan is perfect, it seems like this new method of mailing important immigration documentation will ensure document receipt in most cases as the recipient, or someone in the same household, will be required to confirm delivery of this documentation.

This issue is not only relevant for those with an Immigrant visa, it is also of importance for those who enter the USA on a K1 visa or a K-3 Visa as these travel documents are dual intent visas and require adjustment of status in order for the alien spouse to remain in the USA in Lawful Permanent Resident Status. Assuming that the I-485 adjustment of status application is approved, the alien will receive his or her resident alien card in the mail as well. Due to timing issues, the Secure Mail Initiative may be as beneficial, if not more so, to immigrants in these visa categories as it is more likely that these aliens will have changed their address while awaiting approval of the adjustment of status application.

We at Integrity Legal commend USCIS for taking this issue seriously and providing a workable solution to what can be a difficult problem.

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29th January 2010

One of the co-authors of this blog has recently discovered that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has added a new web log (blog) to their official website. This blog is apparently designed to provide more up to date information as well as insights regarding United States Immigration and Department of Homeland Security policy. The new blog can be found at this link.  We at Integrity Legal wish to welcome USCIS to the blogosphere as we are anxious to read about current the news in United States Immigration policy.

In the initial posting on the new blog, USCIS took the opportunity to discuss the measures that have been taken to accord Haitian Nationals with Temporary Protected Status (TPS). This status allows those of Haitian Nationality who are present in the United States to file for protected status so as to avoid being placed into removal proceedings and sent back to Haiti. The reason that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service has taken this measure is to avoid sending Haitians back to their home country as the Republic of Haiti has recently been the victim of incredibly damaging hurricanes and as a result the conditions in the country are tragic, if not, downright abysmal.

To quote directly from the USCIS blog:

The devastating earthquakes in Haiti have made it both dangerous and virtually impossible for most Haitian nationals living in the U.S. to return to their country in the near future. To help protect those who might otherwise be repatriated to a nation struggling to recover, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced the designation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitian nationals who were in the United States as of January 12, 2010.

In this situation, USCIS has shown a very high level of efficiency, decisiveness, and compassion as TPS status was quickly granted to Haitians. It would appear that the decision to grant this status is based almost entirely upon humanitarian grounds and it is hard for anyone to disagree with the idea that sending Haitians back to Haiti at this time would be morally wrong, to say the least. That being said, the ultimate fate of Haitian nationals in the United States remains to be seen, but for now those present in the US do not need to fear the specter of being forcibly returned to their devastated homeland.

Hopefully, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service will continue to provide relevant and important information through its website, press releases, and blog posts.

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28th January 2010

On this blog, we frequently take the time to point out the fact that only a US licensed attorney or other accredited representative can represent clients before the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), the National Visa Center (NVC), or the US Embassy in Bangkok. Recently, USCIS has promulgated a brochure for consumers regarding US Immigration and fraud perpetrated against unwitting immigrants. Unfortunately, there are those who claim to be US Immigration experts when they are in fact unlicensed to practice United States law. These people claim all sorts of titles in order to sound as though they have a right to practice American Immigration law. The fact of the matter is that there are only two types of representatives that USCIS or the Department of State recognizes as legally able to represent clients.

The first category of authorized representatives is Attorneys. To quote directly from the brochure, USCIS requires the following in order for an attorney to act as a representative for clients in an Immigration matter:

An attorney must be in good standing with a U.S. state bar association (or U.S. possession, territory, Commonwealth, or the District of Columbia) and may not be under any court order restricting their practice of law. The best way to protect yourself is to ask the attorney to show you their current attorney license document. Write down the information and contact the state bar admission office to verify the accuracy of the information.

In a further quote from this brochure, USCIS explains what an individual or organization needs in order to be recognized as an accredited representative in immigration matters:

An accredited representative must work for an organization that has permission from the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) to provide legal advice on immigration matters. The organization will have an order from the BIA that gives the accredited representative permission to assist individuals with their immigration applications and petitions. The best way to protect yourself is to ask the accredited representative to show you the BIA order. Write down the information and contact the BIA to verify the accuracy of the information.

There it is, from USCIS itself, there are only two ways to verify that one calling himself an attorney is actually certified or licensed to practice Immigration law. Those seeking Immigration advice would be wise to undertake the above measures in order to be certain that their representative is able to effectively represent their interests. So-called visa agents, Immigration Consultants, legal advisors, and/or anyone calling themselves a “lawyer” should be able to provide either a license to practice law in a US state or territory, a US bar membership card, or a letter of permission from the Board of Immigration Appeals, anyone who cannot produce one of these documents is not authorized under US law to practice in the area of United States Immigration. This brochure went on to note that only an American attorney or an accredited representative is entitled to submit a form G-28 to the USCIS service center. Anyone who prepares an application without including this G-28 document should be asked why they are not submitting it.

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26th January 2010

There are many foreign nationals who have opted to take up long term residence in the Kingdom of Thailand. For many expatriates, a pivotal question regarding residence in Thailand deals with the issue of Thai property law. Under the current laws in the Kingdom of Thailand foreign nationals are effectively barred from purchasing a Freehold Chanote (Title Deed) to land in the Kingdom. This being said, foreigners are allowed to take freehold title to Thai Condos provided certain legal requirements are met, but for many foreign nationals in Thailand actual home ownership is the preferred method of living in the Kingdom.

In the past, a Thai company could be used to own Thai Real Estate, but the company had to be structured in such a way that it comported to Thai law. In recent months there has been some discussion by Thai government officials about doing away with this system of property ownership. How this will play out remains to be seen, but some foreigners, who are still interested in enjoying Thai property, are looking at other ways of structuring their interests so as to properly comport with possible future restrictions.

One method involves the bifurcation of Thai title. What this means is that the land underneath a structure is owned by a Thai while any structures on the land are owned by a foreigner. This arrangement would be legal under current Thai law, but many are confused about how such an arrangement could be set up. This is where the Yellow Tabien Baan becomes an issue.

A Yellow Tabien Baan is used by foreign nationals who live in the Kingdom. However, they are very difficult to obtain and are usually only promulgated if the foreign national has bought a Thai condo. That being said, a foreign national who is on a Tabien Baan can obtain a building permit to build a structure in Thailand. Once the structure is built, it can be owned wholly by a foreign national. A foreigner could secure long term lease to the underlying property while maintaining ownership of the structure. Use of a Thailand usufruct or superficies would also strengthen the foreigner’s property interests without violating the de facto restriction placed upon land ownership for foreigners. This is not the only benefit that a Yellow Tabien Baan can confer upon a Foreigner in Thailand as there are other major benefits that foreign nationals can enjoy by being on a Foreign Tabien Baan.

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25th January 2010

Thai Visas From Canada

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Thailand has been voted one of the top vacation destinations for those on a budget. Many believe that Thailand with its beautiful weather, captivating beaches, and incredible nightlife, is truly a modern paradise. Many look to the Kingdom of Thailand as a great place for long term tourism or as a location for retirement. No matter what one’s desires are, Thailand has something for everyone. In recent years, Immigration rules, regulations, and restrictions have made staying in Thailand for a long period of time something of a challenge. However, there are still ways in which foreigners can obtain long term visas.

For those of Canadian nationality who are thinking of remaining in Thailand long term, it may be better to obtain a Thai visa while in Canada rather than traveling to Thailand and seeking a Thai visa extension from within the Kingdom. The reason for the need for preparation is based upon the fact that Thai Immigration does allow a foreigner to enter Thailand for a period of 30 days without a visa. At the time of this writing, this rule applies to Canadian nationals. However, the fact is that the foreigner in the Kingdom in this status does not actually have a Thai visa, but instead has a Thai visa exemption. Therefore, applying for an extension in Thailand is very difficult as, legally speaking, there is no visa to extend. This scenario often creates a situation in which the foreigner must then do a “visa run” to an Embassy or Consulate outside of Thailand in order to obtain a visa and return to the Kingdom.

By obtaining a Thai visa before leaving Canada, Canadians can forestall the need for a visa run as Thai multiple entry visas can sometimes be issued with a validity of one year. Upon each entry, the foreign national using a 1 year multiple entry visa will be admitted to the Kingdom for a period of 90 days. That being said, in order for a new 90 days of lawful status to commence all the foreign national need do is leave the Kingdom and reenter. In a sense, this is a visa run, but it only occurs every 90 days rather than once every 30 or 60 days. Also, in this situation, there is no need to go to an Embassy near Thailand as the foreigner’s 90 day stamp should be granted automatically upon reentry.

Another issue that should be considered is that of employment. A 1 year multiple entry Thai business visa can be used as a basis for submitting a Thai work permit application.

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24th January 2010

Thai business visa rules can be confusing for some as those who are new to the Kingdom of Thailand can become confused by the Thai Immigration system. Even seasoned expatriates in Thailand have trouble keeping up with the constantly changing rules and administrative procedures. The reason for the confusion can at least be partially attributed to the fact that, like US immigration rules and regulations, there are two Thai government agencies with overlapping authority where Thai visa matters are concerned. The first agency is the Royal Thai Immigration Police who are similar to United States Immigration officials at the Department of Homeland Security in that they oversee the administration of Thai Immigration rules from inside the Kingdom. Then there is the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through Thai Embassies and Consulates abroad, is tasked with adjudicating visa applications outside of Thailand and when said visa applications are approved they are tasked with promulgating visas.

This brings us to the issue of Thai visa extensions. For many foreign nationals working in the Kingdom of Thailand a visa extension is necessary in order to remain in the Kingdom long term. Some opt to use multiple entry visas, but generally, these visas are not convenient for those who wish to remain uninterrupted or eventually apply for Thai Permanent Residence.

In recent months there has been some discussion among Thai government officers about tightening up the Ministry of Labour regulations regarding foreign workers. Apparently, new rules will go into effect in February 2010 which would make Thai work permit rules more stringent. This will likely have a collateral impact upon those seeking Thai visa extensions as work permit renewal is usually required by Thai Immigration before they will extend a Thai visa. At one time, the One Stop Service could be used by employees of companies with a high registered capital or BOI Companies. One Stop Service allowed foreigners to apply for both a work permit renewal and a visa extension at the same time.

However, One Stop’s jurisdiction has been significantly curtailed and the service itself is effectively non-existent for small businesses. Now, most foreigners wishing to renew their work permit and visa must do so by first making a trip to the Ministry of Labour and then traveling to the Royal Thai Immigration Police headquarters to extend the visa after work permit renewal. At this time, the process seems cumbersome, but there is some hope that the system will be streamlined so as to facilitate more efficient processing of work permits and visas.

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23rd January 2010

The United States Consulate at the American Embassy in Bangkok conducts most, if not all, of the immigrant and non-immigrant family based visa application interviews submitted by those resident in the Kingdom of Thailand. The Immigrant Visa Unit is a division of the United States Consulate which has been given the specific task of adjudicating Immigrant visa applications for travel documents such as the IR1 and the CR1 visa as well as the non-immigrant dual intent travel documents such as the K1 visa and the K3 visa.

The visa interview itself is viewed by many applicants with apprehension and fear as they are worried that it will be used in an attempt to undermine the applicant’s visa application. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. In cases where the applicant has been candid, told the truth on the application forms,  and provided proper documentation the interview is simply an exercise on the part of the Consular Officers to determine that the applicant is who they say they are and that they meet the legal and factual requirements for visa issuance. The interview is not conducted in an effort to somehow humiliate or degrade the applicant, it is truly an investigation into the facts of the case. This being said, those that lie on an application or falsify documentation will likely have an unpleasant experience at the US Embassy as an Administrative Processing interview with the Fraud Prevention Unit can be a less-than-pleasant undertaking. Although courteous, the Consular Officers will often conduct their due diligence zealously in order to uncover the truth regarding the facts of the application.

Honesty is always the best policy when it comes to US Immigration matters. Unfortunately, some so-called “visa agents” in Thailand encourage applicants to lie in order to cover up some perceived problem with the application.  Not only is this practice unethical, but in the case of visa interviews it is almost cruel to send a non-native English speaker into the Embassy to be interrogated by officers trained and experienced in conducting these kinds of due diligence.

After the visa interview, should the application be approved, the Consular Officer will usually take the applicant’s passport and provide them with a “Red Card.” Many who research US Immigration are quite familiar with the so-called “Green Card,” which is the Resident Alien Card provided to aliens in the US as proof of lawful permanent residence in America. A “Red Card,” is the appellation that some Immigration attorneys in Thailand as well as Thai visa applicants have applied to the the small index card that the US Embassy in Bangkok provides the applicant should their passport be taken for visa issuance. The reason that this card is referred to it as a “Red Card” is due to the fact that the stamp on the card, which denotes (in Thai and English) the date and time that an applicant can pick up the passport and visa, is red.

Red Cards are not necessarily a guarantee of visa issuance as in rare cases necessary documentation is overlooked and must still be presented by the applicant. However, in the vast majority of cases when a Red Card it issued it means that the visa will more than likely be issued and can be picked up a few days after the conclusion of the interview.

Please note that each US Embassy or US Consulate has different administrative procedures and rules. Therefore, the information regarding “Red Card” issuance at the US Embassy in Bangkok may be completely irrelevant when it comes to other posts such as the US Embassy in Myanmar or the US Consulate in HCMC. Therefore it is advisable to refer to each Embassy’s individual website for specific information about processing a visa application through that particular post.

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22nd January 2010

One of the major questions invariably on the lips of prospective visa applicant’s and petitioners is: how long will the process take? This question is not as easily answered as some might think because the entire process is actually three processes in one. First there is the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) adjudication phase, then there is the National Visa Center (NVC) processing phase, and finally there is the US Embassy interview and adjudication phase. In most cases, the interview phase is the final phase of the process as the visa application is either approved or denied at this point. However, if there is a legal grounds of inadmissibility or if the applicant has previously been subject to deportation or expedited removal in the US, then either an I-601 waiver or an I-212 waiver may be necessary. In routine cases, the interview is usually the last major phase of the visa obtainment process.

That being said, the first major phase of the process involves the submission of petitions to USCIS. As many petitions are filed with USCIS each year, this phase of the process is often the most time consuming as the US Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident’s petition must wait in the queue for adjudication.

Recently, USCIS updated their processing time estimates, below please find the most recent processing time estimates for family based petitions for K-1 visas, K-3 visas, and Immigrant visas.

The California Service Center processing times are as follows:

I-129F Petition for Alien Fiance(e) K-1/K-2 – Not yet married – fiance and/or dependent child 5 Months
I-129F Petition for Alien Fiance(e) K-3/K-4 – Already married – spouse and/or dependent child 5 Months
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for a spouse, parent, or child under 21 5 Months
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for an unmarried son or daughter over 21 April 02, 2005
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for a married son or daughter over 21 May 23, 2002
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for a brother or sister October 02, 2000
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative Permanent resident filling for a spouse or child under 21 January 02, 2007
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative Permanent resident filling for an unmarried son or daughter over 21 December 02, 2002
I-131 Application for Travel Document All other applicants for advance parole 3 Months
I-212 Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the U.S. After Deportation or Removal Readmission after deportation or removal 4 Months

The Vermont Service Center processing times are as follows:

I-129F Petition for Alien Fiance(e) K-1/K-2 – Not yet married – fiance and/or dependent child 5 Months
I-129F Petition for Alien Fiance(e) K-3/K-4 – Already married – spouse and/or dependent child 5 Months
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for a spouse, parent, or child under 21 5 Months
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for an unmarried son or daughter over 21 July 23, 2007
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for a married son or daughter over 21 July 23, 2007
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for a brother or sister April 23, 2008
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative Permanent resident filling for a spouse or child under 21 May 28, 2007
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative Permanent resident filling for an unmarried son or daughter over 21 March 27, 2007
I-131 Application for Travel Document All other applicants for advance parole 3 Months
I-212 Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the U.S. After Deportation or Removal Readmission after deportation or removal 4 Months

One should not misunderstand the above information, these processing times do not reflect the entire time that it takes to complete the entire visa process as a US Family visa petition must also process through the National Visa Center as well as the Embassy in the country where the visa is to be issued. In Thailand, most visa applications for family members of US Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents are adjudicated at the US Embassy in Bangkok.

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21st January 2010

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is tasked with adjudicating Immigration applications such as the I-129f, I-130, and the I-601 waiver. They have offices throughout the United States and around the world. In Bangkok, the USCIS office is the administrative hub for virtually all US Immigration matters arising in Southeastern Asia.

This author recently came across a press release from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) in which Director Alejandro Mayorkas explained that USCIS will be undergoing some organizational changes. The author obtained this information through the American Immigration Lawyers Association website. To quote directly from the press release:

“We at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services have realigned our organizational structure to achieve greater efficiency and to more ably accomplish our mission. The realignment reflects the prioritization of certain critical Agency responsibilities. The three most significant changes are:

The creation of a Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate. This change reflects our prioritization of our anti-fraud and national security responsibilities and will bring greater focus to them.

The creation of a new Customer Service Directorate. This change reflects our prioritization of customer service and recognizes the significant efforts that will be needed to ensure that we are at the cutting edge of service modeling.

The division of the existing Domestic Operations Directorate into two separate directorates, Service Center Operations and Field Operations. This change will foster greater innovation and achieve greater efficiency in our delivery of immigration services.”

Fraud prevention is a constant priority for USCIS as the US Immigration system is, at times, plagued by sham marriages, fraudulent petitions, and unlicensed operators claiming to be immigration attorneys. Further, the internal bifurcation of Service Center Operations and Field Operations will likely lead to greater efficiency in both areas as they require different types of administrative supervision.  In the case of K visas, there are two service centers that handle K1 and K3 visa petitions. Meanwhile, applications for Immigrant visas are received at the USCIS lockbox.

Finally, the creation of a Customer Service Directorate will be a boon to Immigration attorneys and laymen alike as the confusing aspects of the Immigration process can be clarified by contacting a USCIS Customer Service Representation. This author is happy to see that USCIS is taking the time to internally reorganize in an effort to provide better service to both United States Citizens as well as foreign nationals.

For those interested further reading about the US Immigration process please see: K1 visa process.

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