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28 January 2013

Reminder: USCIS Immigrant Fee Takes Effect on Feb. 1

Starting Friday, Feb. 1, those who receive an immigrant visa package from a U.S. consulate or embassy abroad will be required to pay a new $165 immigrant fee.

We are aware of the effect that any new fee has on the communities we serve. However, the fee is necessary to cover the costs of producing and delivering permanent resident cards.

Important Points to Remember

  • Starting on Feb. 1, 2013, applicants must pay both the Department of State (DOS) application fee and the USCIS Immigrant Fee.
  • To simplify and centralize the collection of this new fee, we will require immigrants to pay online through the USCIS website.
  • Applicants must submit their payment online after they receive their visa package from DOS and before they depart for the United States.
Children who enter the United States under the Orphan or Hague adoption programs, Iraqi and Afghan special immigrants, returning residents (SB-1s), and those issued K visas  are the only immigrant visa cases exempt from paying the new fee.

Please see the following page on our website for more information: http://www.uscis.gov/immigrantfee

22 January 2013

Want to know which employers are enrolled in E-Verify?

Great news: This information is just a click away!

USCIS has just launched its new E-Verify Employers Search Tool, which allows you to find employers currently enrolled in E-Verify.

The new tool lets you filter, sort and export results found during your search. Information you can find in it includes:
  • The employer’s business name;
  • Whether the employer is a federal contractor; and
  • The city and state where the employer is located.
E-Verify is a Web-based service that helps employers determine whether their newly hired employees are authorized to work in the United States. The new search tool replaces the lists of employers and federal contractors previously found in our E-Verify website.
 
Among those who will benefit from the E-Verify Employers Search Tool are F-1 students in programs related to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) who plan to apply for a 17-month Optional Practical Training STEM Extension. These students may only work for employers enrolled in E-Verify.
 
USCIS will update the new search tool’s database each quarter.

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11 January 2013

January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month

Human traffickers lure victims with false promises of employment and a better life, only to exploit them through forced labor. In many cases, victims are trapped in a form of modern-day slavery through threats of violence and other forms of abuse and intimidation.

At USCIS, we are fighting human trafficking and other crimes by offering victims immigration relief. This relief allows them to stay in the United States to assist law enforcement authorities in the investigation and prosecution of human trafficking cases. We offer the T Nonimmigrant Status (T Visa) for victims of severe human trafficking, and U Nonimmigrant Status (U Visa) for victims of certain crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse.


Our “Resources for Victims of Human Trafficking & Other Crimes” webpage provides valuable links and information for victims, those wishing to assist victims, and law enforcement.

We also offer training on the forms of relief offered to victims of human trafficking, domestic violence and other crimes. For information on training or to register, please email T-UVAWATraining@dhs.gov.

For more information on what you can do to fight human trafficking, please call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 888-373-7888.

You can also learn more through the Department of Homeland Security's Blue Campaign.

07 January 2013

Introducing the USCIS Policy Manual

Today USCIS is beginning the transition toward an online, centralized manual of immigration policies by releasing the first volume of the new USCIS Policy Manual.  This follows an unprecedented, agency-wide review of USCIS policies, and incorporates feedback from thousands of agency employees, customers and stakeholders.

The complete USCIS Policy Manual will comprise several volumes, each dealing with different areas of immigration, including citizenship and naturalization, protection and parole, adjustment of status, admissibility, refugees and asylum, waivers, and travel and employment. The new Policy Manual will ultimately replace USCIS’ current Adjudicators Field Manual, or AFM, and the current USCIS Immigration Policy Memoranda website.

For more information, see our website.