第四優先 和 宗教簽証

© 2003 Copyrights
新聞 和 執業手記
Summary of March 20, 2003 ISD Teleconference
  1. When you submit a response to an RFE, the TIERS recording and on-line case status system indicate that "because the case has already been processed up to this point the remaining time is [an amount of time longer than the initial processing time]." In fact, some members report that the time frame cited is 999 days. Why does the recording/response use this language?
The NCSC is working on system changes that will eliminate the need for Service Centers to provide separate projections on the processing times for the initial filings and the response to the RFE. The answer will refer back to the overall processing time for the specific petition or application.

  1. A member asks for clarification regarding photos and how to proceed where, for religious reasons, an applicant wears a head covering that does not cover the face or ear or where it may cover part of the face or ear. Please clarify whether the assertions of an applicant as to religious reasons for the head covering are sufficient or whether/when documentation from a religious authority is required. It appears that neither the I-485 instructions or photo instructions provide guidance in this regard. Is there any written policy or field instruction covering how to handle the photos in these circumstances?
Applicants should submit a brief statement with their photos addressing the religious reasons for the head covering. However, the face must be clearly identifiable. An officer would have the discretion to seek a further explanation. Also see recent memo from Johnny Williams regarding waivers of photos.

  1. How/when will you be processing fee refunds on the fees paid during the period of the fee reductions pursuant to the provisions of the Homeland Security Act?
After all submissions postmarked before February 27 have been received and processed, ISD will run sweeps of the pertinent information systems to identify applicants who are due a refund. The results of these sweeps will be stored and transmitted electronically and will constitute the G-266s upon which the Debt Management Center and Department of the Treasury can issue refunds. DMC expects to be able to process refunds within two weeks after receiving the electronic files. District Offices are entering their data into similar databases for transmission to the DMC. It is likely that checks will be issued within 90 days.

  1. A member raises the following question: Some service centers are experiencing delays in EAD issuance. What can be done in cases where EAD issuance is substantially more than 90 days and local offices will not issue interim work authorization quickly?
AILA is asked to provide specific examples of local (area) offices that will not issue EADs after 90 days. ISD will share the information with area operations.

  1. We understand you have a new process for I-129Fs involving the National Visa Center. Please advise.
On March 3, 2003, ISD began sending all approved I-129Fs to the National Visa Center (NVC). Once there, they are sorted and forwarded to the consulates. Prior to this new process the Service Centers had to sort all approved I-129F by Consulate. Some were mailed to an address in Washington DC and others sent by Diplomatic Pouch to another address. In the old process, special arrangements were made with some consulates to send information and documents via cables and FaxPress. With this new process, all approved I-129Fs are sent to NVC for further processing.

I-129F Approval Notice Text

The above petition has been approved. We have sent the original visa petition to the Department of State National Visa Center (NVC), 32 Rochester Avenue, Portsmouth, NH 03801-2909. The INS has completed all action; further inquiries should be directed to the NVC.

The NVC now processes all approved fiance() petitions. The NVC processing should be complete within two to four weeks after receiving the petition from INS. The NVC will create a case record with your petition information. NVC will then send the petition to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where your fiance(Θ) will be interviewed for his or her visa.

You will receive notification by mail when NVC has sent your petition to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. The notification letter will provide you with a unique number for your case and the name and address of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where your petition has been sent.

If it has been more than four weeks since you received this approval notice and you have not received notification from NVC that your petition has been forwarded overseas, please call NVC at (603) 334-0700. Please call between 8:00am-6:45pm Eastern Standard Time. You will need to enter the INS receipt number from this approval notice into the automated response system to receive information on your petition.


  1. A national of one of the countries, for which registration is required upon entry to the U.S., enters the U.S. but is not registered at the port of entry (perhaps because he holds a Canadian passport) and, therefore, he has no FIN #. Additionally, in some instances, individuals tried to register but were turned away by INS and would have no proof of that contact. Will a FIN # still be required to process an H 1B petition to completion?
If they fall within the parameters as set forth in the various Federal Register notices, then they would be required to register. If individuals have registered, their I-94 should be annotated with their FIN#. Important to note is that there are instances whereby the registrant is not provided a FIN# even though they may have registered. If they were/are enrolled using the back-up (manual) system then they would not have been given the FIN#. This would have been especially true early in the program when INS was racing to stand the program up and the deployment of equipment could not keep up. The FIN# would not have been generated until the Biometric Support Center (BSC) entered the information into the system. There should still be a marking on the back of the I-94 stating that the registrant showed up, the date and the three letter district office code. The BSC is current on the data entry of the I-877's.
ISD has asked AILA to provide information on area offices that are refusing to register individuals who are within the parameters of the notices.

  1. Please advise as to whether there has been a recent change in policy on EAD validity dates. For some time, where a renewal application was timely filed, the validity date would commence on the expiration of the previously issued EAD, even if the new application was approved 60 days later. Given the significant delays we are experiencing at the service centers, this would be a particularly difficult time for such a policy change.

ISD indicates that they re-issued an old memo that states that, with minor exceptions, EADs cannot be back dated. Service centers are advised not to back-date EADs to prevent gaps in employment.

Submitted by Fran Berger, Chair, AILA ISD Liaison
Approved by Steve Bucher for ISD

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