L-1 Intracompany Transfer processing locations changed by USCIS

USCIS made this announcement today regarding the processing location for the L-1 Intracompany Transfer adjudications on forms I-129, I-539 and I-765. You can receive a free 10 minute telephone consultation by visiting CINA attorney Mark C. Daly‘s webpage.

From: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Sent: Tuesday, March 29, 2016 11:24 AM

Subject: Workload Transfer from the Vermont Service Center to the California Service Center

USCIS recently began transferring certain casework from the Vermont Service Center (VSC) to the California Service Center (CSC) to balance workloads and decrease processing times. The CSC will now process some Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, for petitioners requesting L-1 Intracompany Transferee nonimmigrant classification; Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, for the L-2 nonimmigrant classification; and  Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, for L-2 nonimmigrants applying for employment authorization.

How You Will Be Affected If We Transfer Your Case :

If we transfer your case, we will send you a transfer notice. Your original receipt number will not change, and the transfer will not delay the processing of your case. Please allow two weeks from the date of this notice before referring to the webpage for CSC processing times for your respective petition or application. Information regarding processing times can be found on the USCIS Processing Time Information page. If you do not receive a decision or notice by the dates provided in the processing times (once posted), you may contact the National Customer Service Center (NCSC) for a status update of the Form I-129 (if you are the I- 129 petitioner or authorized representative) or the Form I-539 and/or I-765 (if you are the I-539/I-765 applicant or authorized representative).

The filing location and instructions for these forms have not changed at this time. Please continue to file the forms at the address on the form instructions and on the USCIS website. If you want to upgrade your I-129 petition to premium processing, you must file Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, along with the appropriate fee. Send your form to: For regular (non-courier) mail: For courier mail: USCIS USCIS California Service Center California Service Center ATTN: 1-129 24000 Avila Road P.O. Box 10825 2nd Floor, Room 2312 Laguna Niguel, CA 92607 Laguna Niguel, CA 92677 For more information on requests for premium processing services, please visit our Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service page.

How to Track the Status of Your Case Check your case status online by entering your receipt number. You can also sign up to receive automatic case status updates by email. If you do not receive a decision within the published processing times, you may contact the National Customer Service Center (NCSC) at 800-375-5283 (TTY 800-767-1833). When asking about your case status, please provide us with your receipt number and specify that your case was transferred to a new location. If we send you any notice (such as a Request for Evidence), please read it carefully and follow the instructions provided when responding. If you move while your case is pending, you must inform USCIS of your address change. You may file a change of address on our website or by calling the NCSC. It is important that you notify us of any address change as soon as possible, so that you continue to receive notifications from USCIS.

How do I get the U.S. Embassy to decide my case?

Justice Delayed is Justice Denied – How Do I Get the U.S. Embassy to Make a Decision on My Case? by Mark C. Daly

One of the services we provide is to follow up on delayed cases, both at the USCIS and at U.S. Embassies. Many immigrants and their families complain that they have been waiting too long to get a decision on their case. When they ask the U.S. Embassy for a status update they receive a reply that says “The Embassy is conducting further review.” Sometime the family will learn that the Embassy is doing background checks on the intending immigrants. Other times they will say that they are holding up the case while waiting for the USCIS to revoke the petitioner’s status.

That was the case with Mohanbhai Patel, a naturalized US citizen who got his citizenship based on a marriage to a US Citizen in 1982. Shortly after he received his citizenship he divorced his first wife, travelled back to India and re-married, and then applied in 1988 for visas for his second wife and her two daughters in India. The Embassy in Mumbai believed that Mohanbhai had actually married his second wife back in 1976 and never divorced her. They conducted an investigation and concluded that Patel was naturalized under false pretenses by marrying an American citizen in 1982 while at the same time still being married to his wife in India. Based on this information, the Embassy returned the visa applications to USCIS to be revoked.

Lawyers for Patel made many inquiries to the Embassy. These inquiries either were not returned or answered with vague assurances that a decision would be rendered soon. So in 1993, five years after filing the original I-130s, the lawyers filed a writ of mandamus (hyperlink to writ) in US Federal Court demanding that the US Embassy make a decision on the case. Rather than take the case to trial, the USCIS agreed to send the visa petitions back to the consulate in Mumbai for a final decision, and the lawyers dismissed the complaint. This was a year later, in March of 1994.

When the USCIS sent the visas back to the Embassy, they also informed the Embassy that denaturalization proceedings had begun against Patel that would strip him of his citizenship and nullify the I-130 applications. Acting on this information, the consulate did not issue the visas. In fact, however, no denaturalization proceedings had begun against Patel. The USCIS had lied to the Embassy, apparently to prevent the applications from being approved.

When the lawyers followed up with the Embassy three months later in June of 1994, Christine Lee, the Chief of the Immigrant Visa Unit at the consulate in Bombay, responded with a letter which explained that the INS told them that denaturalization proceedings had begun against Patel and thus “the application is refused” until the denaturalization proceedings had been completed and Patel’s eligibility to petition had been firmly established.

The problem with that response was twofold: First, it was based on the falsehood that denaturalization proceedings had begun. Second, the agreement made in court said that the applications would be sent back to the Embassy for a decision, and now that agreement was being broken by the Embassy. So in June of 1995 the lawyers went back into Federal Court and reopened the case. They complained to the Judge that under the law the Embassy had to give them a decision on the visas. The Embassy replied by saying they had issued a letter refusing the visas and therefore had made a decision on the case.

In October of 1995 the USCIS made good on their threat and started the denaturalization proceedings against Patel. The Federal Court judge agreed with the USCIS and the Embassy and ruled against Patel! Despite this defeat,  the lawyers filed an appeal with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in 1997, nine years after filing the I-130s.

Click here to read Patel’s Challenge against the U.S. Consulate.

Click here to read the U.S. Government’s Answer to Patel’s Challenge.

Click here to read Patel’s Reply to the U.S. Government’s Answer

The court ruled in favor of Patel!

In their ruling they stated very important rules for immigrants and their attorneys who are working with the USCIS and the Embassies:

  1. There is generally no right to appeal a decision of an Embassy in Federal Court, but there is a right to demand the Embassy make a decision. This demand is called a writ of mandamus. When the Embassy refused to make a decision while waiting for the USCIS denaturalization proceedings to complete, they acted illegally.
  2. The court did say that judicial review exists for an Embassy when they deny a visa if they do not act “on the basis of a facially legitimate and bona fide reason.” The Judges cited an older case, Kleindienst v. Mandel, 408 U.S. 753, 92 S.Ct. 2576, 33 L.Ed.2d 683 (1972).
  3. The USCIS and Embassy claimed that the letter stating “the visa applications are refused” was sufficient and the lower court agreed with them. However the Court of Appeal disagreed and pointed to the letter of the law at 22 C.F.R. § 42.81(b). This rule was created by Congress and sets out the “Refusal procedure” for visa applications:

When an immigrant visa is refused, an appropriate record shall be made in duplicate on a form prescribed by the Department. The form shall be signed and dated by the consular officer. The consular officer shall inform the applicant of the provision of law or implementing regulation on which the refusal is based and of any statutory provisions under which administrative relief is available.

  1. In addition to the problems with the format of the letter, the Embassy had no right to hold an application in abeyance and wait until the denaturalization proceedings were completed. What if Patel wins the denaturalization case? It is not fair to stop working on a case like that and use a “wait and see” approach to family visa applications.
  2. Finally, the Embassy said that they had “suspended” the application based on fraud and that suspension is authorized by 22 C.F.R. § 42.43. However, suspension requires that the Embassy also returns the petition to the USCIS for a final disposition. The consulate did not return the petition in this case. “Consequently, its provisional refusal of the Patel’s application does not fit within § 42.43‘s exception to the requirement that the consulate either issue or refuse the visa.”

This case has many important lessons for immigrants and their families who are waiting for their visas to be approved by the Embassy.  First is to never give up if you believe you are in the right – even if it takes 10 years like this case. Second is to demand a decision from the Embassy, and to take it to court if necessary. The third is to hire good lawyers who can file your case in Federal Court and to beware of entering into agreements with the USCIS based on their promise to take action – it might not happen!

I-134 vs I-864?

Remember – use the I-864 for adjustment of status and immigrant visas, and use the I-134 for Fiancée visas. We advise providing the same documents in support of the I-134 as is required for the I-864 because consular officers realize that the fiancée will be immigrating to the United States and want to prevent immigrants from going on welfare!

Integrity Refund Paid by CINA on 7/14/14

We broke a promise today. And we fixed it. One of the missions of SXSIF and CINA is to bring up the reputation of lawyers in the community. So we take a bold stand on immigration law ethics by paying $100 to our clients when we break our promise. We claim to be a high value immigration law office, and we deliver high value on ethics and integrity, as well as our research and knowledge of the law. Here is the template that I used today. It is always hard to admit responsibility, and it does get easier the more we do it. The client refused to accept it (this is usually the case) for such a “small thing” but I insisted. It is company policy and I am the President, so I hand write and sign that check.

 

USCIS will not accept an application or petition prepared with an out of date and expired form. This error is fatal when you have a deadline to extend status or file for a new status because the error will cause you to miss the deadline and fall out of status!!! Yes, you can beg USCIS to accept a late filed form and plead with them to restore your status. However, by following these best practices you will avoid that extra uncertainty in your applications. Remember, USCIS might have an expired form posted on their website. They do make mistakes…….

1. ONLY USE FORMS PUBLISHED ON THE USCIS.GOV WEBSITE. Do not use form venders because they are notorious for letting their forms expire. Here is the link: http://www.uscis.gov/forms

2. SELECT FORM NUMBER AND REVIEW EDITION DATE. Here is an example of the I-130 forms information page with the expiration dates listed.

screen capture uscis forms 7-2-14

 

Here you can see the first Edition Date listed is 12/18/12. When you open up the form you can find the edition date at the bottom right corner of the first page:

screen capture uscis forms i-130 7-2-14

3. COMPLETE AND SUBMIT THE FORM. You can now feel secure that your form will be properly accepted. You may also notice an expiration date at the top of the form. This is also helpful to determine if a new form will be coming out soon.

4. DOULBE CHECK BEFORE YOU MAIL OUT THE FORM!! If you experience a delay between preparing and submitting the form the form could expire. This is always standard practice in our office, so at the time we are making copies of the application we log on and double check the expiration date.