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Nov 21

#ImmigrationAction and What It Means To You. Part 1: Students, Parents, and Employees

Below is an overview of the information published by the White House and USCIS on the planned Immigration system changes. These processes will be phased in, as DHS is still finalizing procedural steps for applications. The estimated implementation date for these policies is 90-180 days, which means applications should be accepted beginning in May/June of 2015. Further guidance on eligibility and requirements is expected in the coming months.

Deferred Action Expansion

Parents of US citizens or LPR children who have been in the U.S. for over 5 years and are not disqualified based on criminal grounds will be eligible for Deferred Action and Work Authorization.

DACA program will be expanded to 3 year terms for Work Authorization AND to older individuals who meet the other DACA requirements. The upper bound age restriction which previously disqualified individuals who turned 31 on or before July 15, 2012 has been eliminated.

Provisional Waiver Expansion:

The I-601A Provisional Waiver of Inadmissibility due to Unlawful Presence will become available for sons, daughters, and spouses of U.S. citizens AND Lawful Permanent Residents, provided they have lived in the U.S. for at least 180 days at the time of application and are otherwise eligible for the provisional waiver, i.e. not subject to criminal or other grounds of inadmissibility. Also, the standard of “extreme hardship” required to qualify for a waiver will be modified. The statute has not been modified, however. Therefore parents of USCs and LPRs still cannot use hardship to their children as a basis for the waiver.

OPT Expansion: The Optional Practical Training program (by which USCIS provides work authorization to F-1 students post degree completion) will be expanded and extended in certain cases.

Pre-registration for Employment Based Adjustment cases awaiting Priority Date Backlogs: Current guidance suggests that individuals with approved I-140 Petitions who are waiting only for visa availability will become eligible to pre-register for Adjustment of Status and obtain EAD’s (work authorization), making the immigrant workforce more fluid.

EAD (Employment Authorization Documents) for Spouses of H-1B Visa Holders with Approved I-140 Petitions.

Enhancing Options for Foreign Entrepreneurs:

The National Interest Waiver category might be modified to include certain entrepreneurs.

USCIS will issue parole in place, on a case-by-case basis, to eligible inventors, researchers and founders of start-up enterprises who may not yet qualify for a national interest waiver, but who: Have been awarded substantial U.S. investor financing; or otherwise hold the promise of innovation and job creation through the development of new technologies or the pursuit of cutting-edge research.


Stay Tuned for Part 2:  Changes to Enforcement and Removal Policy…coming soon!

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