The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced yesterday that it will accept adjustment of status (permanent residence) applications for employees and applicants from all countries in all employment based categories (except for those in the unskilled worker-- EB-3 category). The applications must be received at USCIS no later than August 17, 2007 and may be submitted with fees under the current fee schedule (a new, higher fee schedule is due to go into effect on July 30, 2007).
Employees eligible to apply should include all for whom an application for labor certification is approved by July 31, 2007, as well as those who are filing petitions in the EB-1 or EB-2 categories for which no labor certification is required, including: EB-1 -- Extraordinary Workers, Outstanding Researchers, Intracompany Managers and Executives; and EB-2 -- National Interest Waivers. All other immigration rules and requirements to file for permanent residence remain in effect.
The decision by USCIS is a reversal of its earlier announcement of July 2, 2007, which stated it would no longer accept cases filed in July as a result of a US Department of State (USDOS) revised visa bulletin showing visa numbers were no longer available for all employment categories. The visa bulletin change by the USDOS at the beginning of the month of July (from All Currently Available to All Unavailable) was without precedent and was the subject of much outrage and legal action which helped convince USCIS to reverse its prior reversal. The complete text of the USCIS announcement is below. As always, employers and others are advised to seek the advice of competent counsel regarding the legal application of this announcement concerning their specific cases.
USCIS Announces Revised Processing Procedures for Adjustment of Status Applications
WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that, beginning immediately, it will accept employment-based applications to adjust status (Form I-485) filed by aliens whose priority dates are current under the July Visa Bulletin, No. 107. USCIS will accept applications filed not later than August 17, 2007.
On July 2, 2007, USCIS announced that it would not accept any additional employment-based applications to adjust status. USCIS made that announcement after receiving an update from the Department of State that it would not authorize any additional employment-based visa numbers for this fiscal year. After consulting with USCIS, the Department of State has advised that Bulletin #107 (dated June 12) should be relied upon as the current July Visa Bulletin for purposes of determining employment visa number availability, and that Visa Bulletin #108 (dated July 2) has been withdrawn.
"The public reaction to the July 2 announcement made it clear that the federal government’s management of this process needs further review," said Emilio Gonzalez, USCIS Director. "I am committed to working with Congress and the State Department to implement a more efficient system in line with public expectations."
USCIS’s announcement today allows anyone who was eligible to apply under Visa Bulletin No. 107 a full month’s time to do so. Applications already properly filed with USCIS will also be accepted. The current fee schedule will apply to all applications filed under Visa Bulletin No. 107 through August 17, 2007. (The new fee schedule that becomes effective on July 30, 2007, will apply to all other applications filed on or after July 30, 2007).