Michelle A. Choe, Attorney
In September of 2020, the October visa bulletin was released which aggressively advanced the filing dates for the EB-3 category in India and China. This significant movement caused USCIS to receive an influx of I-140 downgrade petitions and Adjustment of Status applications. The USCIS received more applications than it could handle in a reasonable time. As a result, our office is still waiting on receipt notices for cases that were filed in October 2020. On December 15, 2020, The USCIS issued a statement that confirmed it is still experiencing delays in issuing receipt notices for filed petitions and applications. Although the statement asserts that the receipt notices should be issued within 30 days of the filing, our office is expecting a 60–90-day delay. In addition to delays in issuing receipt notices, we have been seeing rejections of the I-765 employment authorization and the I-131 advance parole applications for incorrect fees. The rejections seem to stem from a confusion regarding the purported increase in USCIS filing fees. For those who have had their I-765 and/or I-131 applications rejected, we recommend refiling the applications with a copy of the current USCIS filing fees.
Lastly, due to the in-person interview requirement for all family and employment based green cards, the closure of field offices in response to COVID-19 has caused backlogs in adjudication of adjustment of status applications. The USCIS initially indicated that all impacted interviews would be rescheduled for a future date. However, we are happy to report that we have received several employment based green card approvals without an in-person interview. In addition, we have seen a small number of family based green card cases being approved without an in-person interview. Therefore, if your priority date is current and you receive a Request for Evidence (RFE) from the USCIS requesting medicals and other documents, then there is a good chance that the USCIS is considering waiving your in-person interview. Moving forward, it is prudent that you review the RFE very carefully and prepare a detailed RFE response that includes all of the requested documents and information. Omitting any information or documents could cause delays and/or a denial of your case.
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