USCIS Policy Manual Update: Medical Exams Now Valid For Two Years

USCIS Policy Manual Update: Medical Exams Now Valid For Two Years

USCIS is revising policy guidance for the validity period of Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record.

The updated policy, which goes into effect on Nov. 1, 2018, will require applicants to submit a Form I-693 that is signed by a civil surgeon no more than 60 days before filing the underlying application for an immigration benefit. The Form I-693 would remain valid for a two-year period following the date the civil surgeon signed it. As such, USCIS is retaining the current maximum two-year validity period of Form I-693, but calculating it in a different manner to both enhance operational efficiencies and reduce the number of requests to applicants for an updated Form I-693.

USCIS officers use Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, to determine whether an applicant for an immigration benefit in the United States is inadmissible under the health-related grounds of inadmissibility. By specifying that the Form I-693 must be signed no more than 60 days before the applicant files the underlying application for which Form I-693 is required, the validity of the form is more closely tied to the timing of the underlying application.

Additionally, requiring submission of a Form I-693 that was signed no more than 60 days before the date the underlying application was filed may, in some cases, maximize the period of time Form I-693 will be valid while the underlying application is under USCIS review. Officers will still have the discretion, as they have always had, to request a new Form I-693 if they have reason to believe an applicant may be inadmissible on the health-related grounds. Delays in adjudicating the underlying application will also be reduced if fewer requests for updated Forms I-693 are necessary.


USCIS Is Now Using Digital Tablets to Administer The English Reading and Writing Tests During Naturalization Interviews

On Oct. 1, USCIS began using digital tablets to administer the English reading and writing tests during naturalization interviews as part of the agency’s ongoing modernization efforts. Although USCIS applicants already use digital tablets to sign or verify parts of their applications, this new approach expands the use of tablets, allowing the device to be used for a greater amount of the application process. USCIS will be able to carry on in using the paper process on a case-by-case basis.

Although the eligibility requirements and the subject material of the naturalization test have not changed, applicants are now using a stylus on a digital tablet in place of a paper application. Immigration Services Officers (ISO) will carefully instruct applicants on how to use the tablets before giving the tests:

USCIS Is Now Using Digital Tablets to Administer The English Reading and Writing Tests During Naturalization Interviews  For the reading test, a sentence will appear on the tablet and the ISO will ask the applicant to read it.

For the writing test, several lines will appear on the tablet, replicating the appearance of a piece of blank paper. The ISO will read a sentence aloud and ask the applicant to write it on the tablet.

Applicants will continue to take the civics test verbally, without the tablet.

New USCIS Policy Guidance for Requests for Evidence RFE and Notices of Intent to Deny NOID

New USCIS Policy Guidance for Requests for Evidence RFE and Notices of Intent to Deny NOID

New USCIS Policy Guidance for Requests for Evidence RFE and Notices of Intent to Deny NOID

WASHINGTON – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) made public a policy memorandum (PDF, 113 KB) (PM) effective September 11, 2018, that gives guidance to USCIS adjudicators in their discretion to not approve applications/petitions without first having to issue a Request for Evidence RFE or Notice of Intent to Deny NOID when the required supporting documents are not included or the supporting documents do not prove eligibility for the requested benefit.

This updated guidance pertains to all applications, petitions, and requests, except for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals DACA.  Due to continued litigation in California and New York, this new policy memorandum doesn’t change policies and practices that apply to DACA requests.

This new policy restores the power and discretion of USCIS adjudicators to be able to deny applications, petitions without first having to issue an RFE or NOID.  The policy will discourage frivolous or incomplete filings and should encourage petitioners, applicants, and requestors to submit fully documented applications/petitions.

USCIS Adjusting Premium Processing Fee

USCIS Adjusting Premium Processing Fee

USCIS Adjusting Premium Processing Fee

-Fee Increase Consistent with the Consumer Price Index-

WASHINGTON – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today it is adjusting the premium processing fee for Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker and Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers beginning on Oct. 1, 2018 to more effectively adjudicate petitions and maintain effective service to petitioners.

The premium processing fee will increase to $1,410, a 14.92 percent increase (after rounding) from the current fee of $1,225. This increase, which is done in accordance with the Immigration and Nationality Act, represents the percentage change in inflation since the fee was last increased in 2010 based on the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers.

Premium processing is an optional service that is currently authorized for certain petitioners filing Forms I-129 or I-140. The system allows petitioners to request 15-day processing of certain employment-based immigration benefit requests if they pay an extra fee. The premium processing fee is paid in addition to the base filing fee and any other applicable fees, which cannot be waived.

Blockchain Patent Holders Look to Dodge Trolls, Lawsuits, Banking Report

Aspects of the technology, industry ethos spur new approach to patent pools, pledges By Michaela Ross Blockchain patent wars may be looming, and companies are experimenting with preventive measures. Startups and industry leaders, like IBM Corp. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google, are winning patents for the technology that is fueling cryptocurrencies and being applied to traditional businesses.

“It’s unsurprising to me because they’re obviously taking lessons from other industries like telecom.” A surging number of blockchain experiments and related patent applications across various industries present ripe opportunities for patent assertion entities or trolls, as they’re often known, who could hamper innovation if not properly contained, patent attorneys say. Many blockchain-related startups will likely fail, creating opportunities for trolls to scoop up their intellectual property and seek profits by suing other companies for allegedly infringing those patents, the attorneys say.

“That is a troll’s gold mine,” Colette Reiner Mayer, an intellectual property litigation partner with Morrison & Foerster LLP, told Bloomberg Law. Companies like Bank of America Corp. and Facebook Inc. filed 700 blockchain-related patent applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, with the office granting about 70 of those filings, Bloomberg Law data from 2011 to April 30 show.

Its more than 2,000 members include blockchain patent holders like IBM and Google, he said. Marta Belcher, intellectual property attorney at Ropes & Gray LLP, told Bloomberg Law that more of her startup clients also are asking about placing their patents in the Defensive Patent License (DPL), a pool developed in 2012 that makes member company patents available royalty-free. Meanwhile, large financial service companies—which have been some of the top blockchain patent winners in the U.S.—are more likely to stick to established networks that give them more control over their patents, such as the LOT Network, Leslie Spencer, partner at law firm Ropes & Gray LLP, said.