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12/22/2020 Issue
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      Once upon a time, in the pre-Trump days, when you filed an application or petition, you would get a Filing Fee Receipt within 7-10 days. This was good, because then you knew that your papers were received, processed and you are in the system.

           Now, this is a far-away memory. To make it official, a few days ago, USCIS issued notice that Filing Fee Receipts would be mailed within 30 days of filing. It remains to be seen if they keep even this timeline.

           They also “hammered” in another change: if the paperwork is “incomplete or improperly filed” it would be REJECTED. They will not give you a chance to correct mistakes, they will just “reject” the whole package, so that you can try again.

           When an Immigration Judge issues an Order of Removal (Deportation), the person has a right to appeal to a higher court – the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), in Washington, DC. (Actually – near Washington.)

           Since there are many Orders of Removal, there are also many Appeals to the BIA. The result is that it takes years for the BIA to make decisions on any appeal. But we can expect the number of appeals to be reduced.

           As of next month, the Filing Fee for a BIA appeal will be increased from $110 to $975, and Filing Fee for a Motion to Reopen to the BIA will rise to $895 from $110.

           The BIA’s backlog will probably be reduced.

           USCIS announced the grant of automatic extensions of certain deadlines:

a)      Responses to Requests for Evidence (RFE) and to Notices of Intent to Deny (NOID), will be accepted if received up to 60 days after the deadline date specified on the request or notice;

b)        Filing of appeals or motions will be accepted if received up to 60 days from date of issuance of the decision which is appealed.

These extensions apply only to requests, notices and decisions issued between 3/1/2020 and 1/31/2021.

Warning: These extension do not apply to applications to extend stay or to change status.


           In Absentia means “in the absence”. In absentia order of Removal is when an Immigration Judge orders the Removal (Deportation) of somebody in their absence – when they do not appear in Immigration Court as scheduled. How can this happen?

One of the reasons is that the “in absentia” person gave the government a wrong address. Or that the address was correct when given, but the person moved and did not update his address with the USCIS or the Immigration Court.
          All the government needs to do is show the judge that the hearing notice (the “invitation”) to appear in court was mailed to the “last known address” – and BOOM: an Order of Removal in Absentia.

           It is almost impossible to cancel such an order. Therefore, if you are involved with immigration, make sure they always have your correct, updated address.


           H-1B is a temporary working visa for foreign workers who have a college or university degree and who are offered a position which requires such a degree.

           The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) claims that the position offered must be such that “normally” requires a degree, USCIS decides whether the position qualifies for the H-1B program, on the basis of the Job Description in a publication of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), known as Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH).

           The position of “Computer Programmer” is described in the OOH as “typically” requiring a degree and that “most” programmers indeed have a degree.

           Came USCIS and denied an H-1B application for a computer programmer on the grounds that as per the OOH a degree is not “normally” required.

           The petitioning company filed an appeal to Federal court. The first judge agreed with USCIS and affirmed the denial. The company appealed again to a higher court, and there a panel of three judges decided that the USCIS is wrong: if a degree is “typically” required and “most” programmers have a degree, as says the OOH, then this is a position that “normally” requires a degree. In other words: “normally” and “typically” are one and the same.
3250 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1918
Los Angeles, CA 90010
(213) 383-3222