R-1 Visa 2018-03-13T01:36:08+00:00

R-1 Visa

The Religious Worker (R) visa is for persons seeking to enter the United States (U.S.) to work in a religious capacity on a temporary basis, under provisions of U.S. law, specifically the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Our approach to processing R-1 Visas

An R-1 is a foreign national who could be temporarily employed at least part time (average of at least 20 hours per week) by a non-profit religious organization in the United States (or an organization which is affiliated with the religious denomination in the United States) to work as a minister or in a religious vocation or occupation.

Important Note: It is very important for prospective employers to file the petition as soon as possible (but not more than 6 months before the proposed employment will begin) to provide adequate time for petition and subsequent visa processing.

Religious workers include persons authorized, by a recognized employing entity, to conduct religious worship and perform other duties usually performed by authorized members of the clergy of that religion, and workers engaging in a religious vocation or occupation.

  • The applicant must be a member of a religious denomination having a bona fide nonprofit religious organization in the U.S.;
  • The religious denomination and its affiliate, if applicable, are either exempt from taxation or qualifies for tax-exempt status; and
  • The applicant has been a member of the denomination for two years immediately preceding applying for religious worker status. The applicant is planning to work as a minister of that denomination, or in a religious occupation or vocation for a bona fide, non-profit religious organization (or a tax-exempt affiliate of such an organization). There is no requirement that individuals applying for “R” visas have a residence abroad that they have no intention of abandoning. However, they must intend to depart the U.S. at the end of their lawful status, absent specific indications or evidence to the contrary. The applicant has resided and been physically present outside the U.S. for the immediate prior year, if he or she has previously spent five years in this category.

Every petition for an R-1 worker must be filed by a prospective or existing U.S. employer through the filing of a Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker. An R-1 visa cannot be issued at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad without prior approval of Form I-129 by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If the foreign national is visa-exempt (e.g. Canadian), he or she must present the original Form I-797, Notice of Action, reflecting an approval of a valid I-129 R petition at a port of entry.

Important Note: Visa applicants must bring the approved I-129 petition receipt number to the interview, so that petition approval can be verified.

There are certain general requirements which must be satisfied by the petitioning organization as well as by the religious worker, the beneficiary of the petition. These requirements are listed in the chart below.

The petitioning employer must submit Form I-129 including the R-1 Classification Supplement signed by the employer as well as the following supporting documents:

Supporting Documents Required for the Religious Organization

Supporting Documents Required for the Religious Worker

Proof of tax-exempt status
· If the religious organization has its own individual IRS 501(c)(3) letter, provide a currently valid determination letter from the IRS establishing that the organization is a tax-exempt organization
· If the organization is recognized as tax-exempt under a group tax-exemption, provide a group ruling
· If the organization is affiliated with the religious denomination, provide:
A currently valid determination letter from the IRS;
Documentation that establishes the religious nature and purpose of the organization;
Organizational literature; and
A religious denomination certification, which is part of the R-1 Classification Supplement to Form I-129 (see the links to the right).
Proof of salaried or non-salaried compensation
· Verifiable evidence of how the organization intends to compensate the religious worker, including specific monetary or in-kind compensation. Evidence of compensation may include:
Past evidence of compensation for similar positions
Budgets showing monies set aside for salaries, leases, etc.
Evidence that room and board will be provided to the religious worker
If IRS documentation, such as IRS Form W-2 or certified tax returns, is available, it must be provided
If IRS documentation is not available, an explanation for its absence must be provided, along with comparable, verifiable documentation
If the religious worker will be self-supporting
· Documents that establish the religious worker will hold a position that is part of an established program for temporary, uncompensated missionary work, which is part of a broader international program of missionary work sponsored by the denomination
· Evidence that establishes that the organization has an established program for temporary, uncompensated missionary work in which:
Foreign workers, whether compensated or uncompensated, have previously participated in R-1 status;
Missionary workers are traditionally uncompensated;
The organization provides formal training for missionaries; and
Participation in such missionary work is an established element of religious development in that denomination.
· Evidence that establishes that the organization’s religious denomination maintains missionary programs both in the United States and abroad
· Evidence of the religious worker’s acceptance into the missionary program
· Evidence of the duties and responsibilities associated with this traditionally uncompensated missionary work
· Copies of the religious worker’s bank records, budgets documenting the sources of self-support (including personal or family savings, room and board with host families in the United States, donations from the denomination’s churches), or other verifiable evidence acceptable to USCIS
Proof of membership
· Evidence that the religious worker is a member of a religious denomination having a bona fide non-profit religious organization in the United States for at least 2 years immediately preceding the filing of Form I-129
If the religious worker will be working as a minister, provide:
· A copy of the religious worker’s certificate of ordination or similar documents
· Documents reflecting acceptance of the religious worker’s qualification as a minister in the religious denomination, as well as evidence that the religious worker has completed any course of prescribed theological education at an accredited theological institution normally required or recognized by that religious denomination. Include transcripts, curriculum, and documentation that establishes that the theological institution is accredited by the denomination
· If the denominations do not require a prescribed theological education, provide:
The religious denomination’s requirements for ordination to minister
A list of duties performed by virtue of ordination
The denomination’s levels of ordination, if any, and
Evidence of the religious worker’s completion of the denomination’s requirements for ordination
Proof of previous R-1 employment (for extension of stay as an R-1)
· If you received salaried compensation, provide IRS documentation that you received a salary, such as an IRS Form W-2 or certified copies of filed income tax returns reflecting such work and compensation for the previous R-1 employment
· If you received non-salaried compensation:
If IRS documentation is available, provide IRS documentation of the non-salaried compensation
If IRS documentation is not available, provide an explanation for the absence of IRS documentation and verifiable evidence of all financial support, including stipends, room and board, or other support for you with a description of the location where you lived, a lease to establish where you lived, or other evidence acceptable to USCIS
· If you received no salary but provided for your own support and that of any dependents, provide verifiable documents to show how support was maintained, such as audited financial statements, financial institution records, brokerage account statements, trust documents signed by an attorney, or other evidence acceptable to USCIS

Period of Stay

An R-1 status may be granted for an initial period of admission for up to 30 months. An extension of an R-1 status may be granted for up to an additional 30 months. The total stay in the United States in an R-1 status cannot exceed 60 months (5 years).

Family of R-1 Visa Holders

R-1 worker’s spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may be eligible for R-2 classification. The dependents of an R-1 worker may not accept employment while in the United States in R-2 status.

12Mar, 2012

R-1 Visa Memorandum

This memorandum provides instruction to Immigration Service Officers who adjudicate R-1 nonimmigrant petitions for aliens who are coming to the [...]

USCIS Issues Revised Final Guidance on Unlawful Presence for Students and Exchange Visitors

USCIS has published a revised final policy memorandum related to unlawful presence after considering feedback received during a 30-day public comment period that ended June 11, 2018. Under the revised final policy memorandum, effective Aug. 9, 2018, F and M non-immigrants who fall out of status and timely file for reinstatement of that status will have their accrual of unlawful presence suspended while their application is pending.

On May 10, 2018, USCIS posted a policy memorandum changing the way the agency calculates unlawful presence for those who were in student (F non-immigrant), exchange visitor (J non-immigrant), or vocational student (M non-immigrant) status. The revised final memorandum published today supersedes that memorandum and describes the rules for counting unlawful presence for F and M non-immigrants with timely-filed or approved reinstatement applications, as well as for J non-immigrants who were reinstated by the Department of State.

“As a result of public engagement and stakeholder feedback, USCIS has adjusted the unlawful presence policy to address a concern raised in the public’s comments, ultimately improving how we implement the unlawful presence ground of inadmissibility as a whole and reducing the number of overstays in these visa categories,” said Director L. Francis Cissna. “USCIS remains dedicated to protecting the integrity of our nation’s immigration system and ensuring the faithful execution of our laws. People who overstay or violate the terms of their visas should not remain in the United States. Foreign students who are no longer properly enrolled in school are violating the terms of their student visa and should be held accountable.”

On Aug. 7, the Department of Homeland Security announced the release of the FY 2017 Entry/Exit Overstay Report. The estimated total overstay rates were lower in FY 2017 for F and J non-immigrants, but the F, M, and J categories continue to have significantly higher overstay rates than other non-immigrant visa categories, supporting the need to address the calculation of unlawful presence for this population.

For purposes of counting unlawful presence, a timely reinstatement application for F or M status is one where the student has not been out of status for more than five months at the time of filing. Under the revised final policy memorandum, the accrual of unlawful presence is suspended when the F or M non-immigrant files a reinstatement application within the five month window and while the application is pending with USCIS.
If the reinstatement application is denied, the accrual of unlawful presence resumes on the day after the denial. It is incumbent on the non-immigrant to voluntarily leave the United States to avoid accruing more unlawful presence that could result in later inadmissibility under section 212(a)(9) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Whether or not the application for reinstatement is timely-filed, an F, J, or M non-immigrant whose application for reinstatement is ultimately approved will generally not accrue unlawful presence while out of status.

The Department of State administers the J-1 exchange visitor program, to include reinstatement requests. If the Department of State approves the reinstatement application of a J non-immigrant, the individual will generally not accrue unlawful presence from the time the J non-immigrant fell out of status from the time he or she was reinstated.  In addition, the revised final policy memorandum corrects references to the Board of Immigration Appeals issuing orders of removal in the first instance.

Immigration of U.S. Citizen Spouse

Yesterday morning at Mumbai US Consular office, post interview my spouse was told that her immigrant visa has been approved. Vaman, I really appreciate your call and guiding us with the interview tips. Please accept our sincere gratitude for your help and support.
Thank you all very much for your excellent services.

L1-A Approval

Dear Vaman:

You gave us a biggest surprise of the day by sending the approval package for A…’s petition! We are overwhelmed with your support and guidance in winning this battle!

I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to you for all the support and guidance on getting the desired outcome on A..’s L1 Petition. Thank you and Dan for working tirelessly to ensure the response was right to get this desired win! If it weren’t for your leadership skills and knowledge, the petition wouldn’t have been in our favor.

A special thanks to Dan Allen, who constantly supported with all the answers. He never denied my calls, or questions, prompt/immediate response to emails and he was very patient enough to deal with my questions. I was even more impressed by the efficiency and professionalism shown during the entire process.

Please accept our sincere appreciation for your leadership and entire team at Kidambi Associates.

The H-1B Catch 22 – USCIS “Memoranda” on No RFEs and NTAs

USCIS issued two recent policy memos dated June 28th (implementation of this memo has since been postponed) and July 13th (goes into effect September 11, 2018) that have created widespread confusion and panic among H-1B nonimmigrants. Both memos, while not addressing H-1B situations directly, allude to the USCIS’ ability to a) issue denials without having to first issue a request for evidence (RFE) and b) refer denials to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for additional processing (NTA/deportation proceedings).

This sudden penchant for revised policy “memoranda” appears rooted in one or the other presidential executive order. I couldn’t help looking at this spate of memos and be reminded of General Peckem from Joseph Heller’s Catch 22:

“It was not true that he wrote memorandums praising himself and recommending that his authority be enhanced to include all combat operations; he wrote memoranda. And the prose in the memoranda of other officers was always turgid, stilted, or ambiguous. The errors of others were inevitably deplorable. Regulations were stringent, and his data never was obtained from a reliable source, but always were obtained. General Peckem was frequently constrained. Things were often incumbent upon him, and he frequently acted with greatest reluctance. It never escaped his memory that neither black nor white was a color, and he never used verbal when he meant oral.”

Levity aside, let us take each of these memos and see how it is likely to impact H-1B nonimmigrants.

  • June 28th Memo – Updated Guidance for the Referral of Cases and Issuance of Notices to Appear (NTAs) in Cases Involving Inadmissible and Deportable Aliens:

 

The implementation of this memo has been temporarily postponed. However, it has already garnered widespread media attention. At the outset, this memo greatly expands the role of the USCIS in issuing NTAs. An NTA (Form I-862) is a mechanism by which the federal government (DHS) initiates the process of removing a noncitizen from the U.S.  Once issued, the NTA forces the individual to appear before an immigration judge and be subject to immigration proceedings[1]. The Memo greatly expands the role of the USCIS (from a benefits adjudication agency to co-enforcement) in the issuance of the NTA and dictates their issuance in certain situations.

 

Specifically, the context in which H-1B nonimmigrants are discussed is in paragraph V, on page 7 under the heading: Aliens Not Lawfully Present in the United States or Subject to Other Grounds of  Removability. The seemingly innocuous paragraph reads:

 

USCIS will issue an NTA where, upon issuance of an unfavorable decision on an application, petition, or benefit request, the alien is not lawfully present in the United States. For aliens removable under any other grounds not specifically addressed in this PM, USCIS will ensure all grounds for removability supported by the record are addressed and result in the issuance of an NTA, whenever appropriate.

An “unfavorable decision” in the H-1B context is the denial of a petition filed to extend the H-1B status of the individual. Unfortunately, the denial of an H-1B is rarely, if ever, the “end of the road” for an employee. The petitioner has motion rights (pursuant to 8 CFR §103.5) and the ability to file an Appeal with the Administrative Appeals Office. The Memo goes on to state on page 10 that the USCIS will preserve the petitioner’s ability to seek “administrative review” and will “continue to conduct its administrative review during the course of removal proceedings.” However, the memo does not mandate the sharing of the administrative review record(s) with ICE, nor does it require the USCIS to immediately notify ICE in the event of a favorable decision. This is rather troubling because, as a practitioner, I am very familiar with USCIS service centers not being in synch with each other’s processing, let alone communicating their decisions to an outside agency.

Without going into an extended decision of NTAs (See excellent practice pointer on the subject), it is important to understand that this memo is likely to seriously impact H-1B nonimmigrants.

There are legitimate ways to stay on the right side of this memo. The following may be options:

  • Leave the country prior to NTA issuance (within 10, but no more than 30 days after an adverse decision – provided the USCIS internal guidance provides that period for Motions)
  • Refile H-1B petition seeking consular notification. This does not take away the ability of the petitioner to file an MTR or pursue other appeals
  • Seek premium processing (caution: there has been a dramatic increase in RFEs and potential denials based on the July 13th memo emanating from the PPU), or file immediately upon reaching the 6 months threshold for extensions
  • Provide a Consular Notification option when filing H-1B extensions where it is unclear whether the employee is entitled to the benefit being sought (for e.g., employer failed to file an amended petition)
  • July 13th Memo – Issuance of Certain RFEs and NOIDs:

This memo is meant to replace guidance that was issued previously. However, it is important to note that USCIS officers always had the right to deny H-1B petitions without first issuing a Request for Evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) – this authority is part of 8 CFR § 103.2(b)(8)(ii) and states:

“if all required initial evidence is not submitted with the benefit request or does not demonstrate eligibility, USCIS in its discretion may deny the benefit request for lack of initial evidence or for ineligibility or request that the missing initial evidence be submitted within a specified period of time as determined by USCIS.” Emphasis supplied.

However, a June 3, 2013 Memo required that USCIS adjudicators always issue an RFE unless there was “no possibility” that the deficiency could be cured by submission of additional evidence. The USCIS now believes that this no possibility standard is restrictive and should be changed. I don’t see this as a dramatic difference in what has always been the prerogative of the Service – denying petitions that lacked merit and approvability as filed.

The memo also clearly tries to highlight the reason for the policy change. It states on Page 2:

Consistent with USCIS practice and regulations, adjudicators will continue issuing statutory denials, when appropriate, without issuing an RFE or a NOID first.  This would include any filing in which the applicant, petitioner, or requestor has no legal basis for the benefit/request sought, or submits a request for a benefit or relief under a program that has been terminated.

In most situations, H-1Bs are filed for legitimate reasons (under a program that continues to exist) and nonimmigrants have a legal basis for the benefit being sought. Therefore, it would be highly unusual to use this memo to reject an H-1B filing outright.

However, this change in policy is worrisome when considered along with the June 28th memo (discussed earlier) establishing USCIS’ ability to issue NTAs upon issuance of an unfavorable decision.

It is important therefore to present H-1B cases that cannot be rejected/denied due to a lack of initial evidence or for ineligibility. A thoroughly prepared petition with extensive documentation would allow most petitioners to overcome the harmful impact of this memo.

[1] And be subject to endless wait times given court backlogs.

USCIS Updates Policy Guidance for Certain Requests for Evidence and Notices of Intent to Deny

USCIS has posted a policy memorandum that provides guidance to USCIS adjudicators regarding their discretion to deny an application, petition, or request without first issuing a Request for Evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) when required initial evidence was not submitted or the evidence of record fails to establish eligibility.

This updated guidance is effective September 11, 2018 and applies to all applications, petitions, and requests, except for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) adjudications, received after that date. Due to preliminary injunctions issued by courts in California and New York, this new PM does not change the RFE and NOID policies and practices that apply to the adjudication of DACA requests.

“For too long, our immigration system has been bogged down with frivolous or meritless claims that slow down processing for everyone, including legitimate petitioners. Through this long overdue policy change, USCIS is restoring full discretion to our immigration officers to deny incomplete and ineligible applications and petitions submitted for immigration benefits,” said USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna. “Doing so will discourage frivolous filings and skeletal applications used to game the system, ensure our resources are not wasted, and ultimately improve our agency’s ability to efficiently and fairly adjudicate requests for immigration benefits in full accordance with our laws.”

The 2013 PM addressed policies for the issuance of RFEs and NOIDs when the evidence submitted at the time of filing did not establish eligibility. In practice, the 2013 PM limited denials without RFEs or NOIDs to statutory denials by providing that RFEs should be issued unless there was “no possibility” of approval. This “no possibility” policy limited the application of an adjudicator’s discretion.

The policy implemented in this guidance restores to the adjudicator full discretion to deny applications, petitions, and requests without first issuing an RFE or a NOID, when appropriate. This policy is intended to discourage frivolous or substantially incomplete filings used as “placeholder” filings and encourage applicants, petitioners, and requestors to be diligent in collecting and submitting required evidence.

USCIS will continue issuing statutory denials when appropriate without first issuing an RFE or NOID when the applicant, petitioner, or requestor has no legal basis for the benefit/request sought, or submits a request for a benefit or relief under a program that has been terminated.

If all required initial evidence is not submitted with the benefit request, USCIS, in its discretion, may deny the benefit request for failure to establish eligibility based on lack of required initial evidence. Examples of filings that may be denied without sending an RFE or NOID include, but are not limited to:

Waiver applications submitted with little to no supporting evidence; or Cases where the regulations, the statute, or form instructions require the submission of an official document or other form of evidence establishing eligibility at the time of filing and there is no such submission. For example, an Affidavit of Support (Form I-864), if required, was not submitted with an Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Form I-485).

This PM updates Chapters 10.5(a) and 10.5(b) of the USCIS Adjudicator’s Field Manual and contains an “additional considerations” section. The policy in this “additional considerations” section is not new, and is nearly identical to the policy contained in the superseded 2013 PM.

Should Employment Based Immigrants Settle for the Status Quo?

The CATO Institute predicts an endless wait and due to a backlog for Indian immigrants with advanced degrees. The employment-based immigration system appears to be broken. Recently, the USCIS declared in its February 22nd Policy Memo that IT Consulting Companies and their use of third party arrangements may be a “legitimate and frequently used business model” and yet we see daily an increasing number of RFEs on this very issue. The Service continues to question the validity of employment contracts and rejects the concept of short term POs. It finds newer ways[1] of invalidating previously issued H-1Bs by limiting validity periods to six months, or less.

In a recent post entitled, Deconstructing the Invisible Wall – How Policy Changes by the Trump Administration are Slowing and Restricting Legal Immigration, the American Immigration Lawyers Association highlights various steps taken by this administration to severely hamper legal immigration through changes to well established and long standing USCIS policies.

For instance, consular posts have had something called the “Interview Waiver Program” (IWP) where at certain high-volume posts (read India/China), applicants were allowed to use a “dropbox” feature for visa renewal in the same classification – no in person interviews required; this was because these applicants had already been through a thorough vetting when they first obtained a visa and were in most instances, currently living and working in the United States. This was especially true in the case of H-1B nonimmigrants scheduling the renewal of their visa while on vacation. With one stroke of his pen, this President invalidated this pragmatic program. In addition, “administrative processing” – code for “the blackhole”[2], has increased processing times at posts to six months and in the odd instance, to almost a year.

The noise around invalidating the H-4 EAD has sent H-1B spouses (most of them from India) into a permanent state of anxiety. This year, our Office filed a record number of H-1B CAP subject change of status petitions for H-4 spouses. On May 29th, the USCIS proposed a rule to end the International Entrepreneur program removing another Obama era program that temporarily allowed foreign entrepreneurs to be considered for parole to enter the United States for the purpose of setting up and developing startup businesses.

When administration officials rage against undocumented immigrants, one may be tricked into thinking that they have nothing against legal immigration and immigrants. That their angst against DACA stops there and legal immigrants would in their turn be protected. Far from it. Instead, it appears this administration is not simply against undocumented immigration, it is against all immigrants and immigration. Not recognizing this fact could lull one into remaining silent, or for that matter advocating for a “skills-based immigration policy”[3]. Think again. The Service has invalidated entire job titles from being considered specialty occupations in the H-1B context. For instance, Programmer Analysts and Systems Analysts are no longer considered specialty occupations. The administration is also considering a policy change that would redefine “specialty occupation”. So, what stops them from doing the same to a “skills list”? In fact, a skills list does exist – for TN professionals; however,  recently the Service issued a policy memo refining the requirements for an Economist within the TN professions. This revision is a restrictive interpretation of who qualifies as an “Economist” under NAFTA. The Service can arbitrarily eliminate a whole host of occupations from the skills list through such policy memos, or simply choose an interpretation that would make it difficult for evolving occupations (Business Intelligence Analysts, Software Quality Assurance Analysts, Big Data Analyst, AI Engineers, etc.) from qualifying for immigration benefits.

So, while a High Skilled Worker program may look enticing, one must view it against the backdrop of an administration not entirely at peace with legal immigration and wholly opposed to any form of legalization for the thousands of undocumented immigrants currently living in the country. Bills currently in Congress like the I-Squared bill (sponsored by Senators Orrin Hatch and Jeff Flake) attempt to balance the H-1B and Employment Based Green Card programs against the rights of U.S. workers and may be a reasonable way to proceed.

However, giving in to cheap machinations and the temptation that this administration views legal immigrants differently to get a “deal” would amount to playing into the hands of those that have embarked on a concerted effort to undermine the immigrant underpinnings of this country. Now, more than ever, immigrants have to stand together in resisting the administration’s concerted efforts to change the very essence of this country as a Nation of Immigrants.

[1] Recently, we were notified of an H-1B approval on an extension where the validity period started and ended on the same day because the USCIS used the contract period to limit validity. The petition had been pending for over 4 months and the underlying contract had since been renewed. However, the Service chose to limit validity without issuing an RFE

[2] A recent search dated 05/24/2018 shows the link for “administrative processing” on the DOS website for the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in India broken a 404 error message stating: “Sorry, we couldn’t find that page on travel.state.gov”

[3] Based on the Administration’s stance outlined in section 5(b) of Executive Order 13788, Buy American and Hire American on allocating H-1Bs only to the “most skilled and highest paid” immigrants

USCIS Redesigns Citizenship and Naturalization Certificates

High-Tech Features Create More Secure Documents

USCIS began issuing redesigned Certificates of Citizenship and Naturalization. The redesign of these eight certificates is one of the many ways USCIS is working to combat fraud and safeguard the legal immigration system.
The new certificate design was piloted at the Norfolk, Tampa, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and Sacramento Field Offices, as well as at the Nebraska Service Center.

The certificates of naturalization are:

N-550, issued to an individual who obtains U.S. citizenship through the naturalization process;
N-578, issued to a naturalized U.S. citizen to obtain recognition as a United States citizen by a foreign state; and
N-570, issued when the original Certificate of Naturalization is lost, mutilated, or contains errors.

A Certificate of Citizenship is issued to an individual who obtains U.S. citizenship other than through birth in the United States or through naturalization. The various types of Certificates of Citizenship are:

N-560A, issued to an applicant who derived citizenship after birth;
N-560AB, issued to an applicant who acquired citizenship at birth;
N-645 and N-645A, issued to the family of an individual who served honorably in the U.S. armed forces during a designated period of hostility and died as a result of injury or disease incurred in or aggravated by that service. Form N-645 is issued if the decedent was a male, and the N-645A if the decedent was a female.
Form N-561, issued to replace a Certificate of Citizenship when the original certificate is lost, mutilated, or contains errors.

The redesigned certificates of citizenship and naturalization feature a large, central image against a complex patterned background, which helps deter the alteration of personal data. Each certificate possesses a unique image only visible under ultraviolet light and attempts to alter it will be evident. Posthumous Certificates of Naturalization and the Special Certificate of Citizenship each bear a different image, yet feature the same fraud-deterrent security features.

Periodically changing the design and printing methods for these certificates helps USCIS stay a step ahead of counterfeiters.
Although the look and feel of the documents is new, the process of applying for and receiving them has not changed. Individuals do not need to renew their Certificates of Naturalization or Citizenship, regardless of when they were issued. The certificates we issued before the redesign will continue to be accepted as proof of citizenship.

USCIS No Longer Accepting I-765 Service Requests at the 75-Day Mark

AILA has received member reports that the USCIS Contact Center (formerly National Customer Service Center, or NCSC) is no longer allowing individuals to place service requests for Forms I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, that have been pending for more than 75 days unless the applications are outside of USCIS’s posted processing times. Previously, USCIS had been accepting service requests for I-765s pending beyond 75 days. AILA reached out to USCIS regarding these reports and USCIS confirmed that this change was implemented when the agency updated its processing times webpage in March of this year (See AILA Doc. No. 18032240). USCIS stated that although the “DHS Final Rule on Retention of Immigrant Workers and Improvements Affecting High-Skilled Nonimmigrant Workers” (AILA Doc. No. 16111760), eliminated the 90-day adjudication requirement for I-765 applications effective January 17, 2017, the agency had been continuing to accept service requests for I-765s pending beyond 75 days.

While there has been no update to the USCIS Policy Manual to reflect the elimination of the I-765 regulatory timeframe, it appears that USCIS has removed guidance from its website regarding submitting a service request for a Form I-765 that has been pending more than 75 days (See AILA Doc. No. 15111760).

For employment authorization extensions, AILA advises members to file the I-765 application as soon as possible within the six months prior to expiration and to track I-765 processing on the USCIS processing times webpage. As soon as the I-765 falls outside of posted processing times, call the USCIS Contact Center or submit an e-Request.

  • Courtesy – AILA