An Immigration Roundup
by Jose Latour
Following are select highlights of immigration events in June, July, and August 2004.
1. New EAD Cards: What is the Difference? (June 16, 2004)
The purpose of the EAD, one of the most widely used immigration documents, is to provide "proof to employers that an individual is authorized to work in the United States." The new card is designed with added security features to prevent fraud and counterfeiting, including a magnetic strip, a two-dimensional barcode, and several other features to determine the card's authenticity.
An EAD is typically valid for up to one year, although in some cases a longer period of time is authorized. The Press Release states that there are currently "about 24,000" EAD cards produced each week!
Will your existing "old" EAD card still be considered valid? Unless/until further notice from the USCIS, it would appear that your EAD card issued prior to the implementation of the security features will be considered valid until its expiration date.
2. SSI Benefits and Immigration (July 14, 2004)
An adult who is elderly, blind or has a disability who entered the U.S. as a refugee or was granted asylum may be able to receive SSI for up to 7 years - beginning on the date he/she entered the U.S. or was granted asylum.
The individual may continue to receive SSI benefits AFTER the seven year period (without a time limit) if:
To learn more about Social Security and SSI benefits, see the SSA website at: http://www.socialsecurity.gov.
3. State Department's Consular Affairs Website Upgraded (July 26, 2004)
The Bureau of Consular Affairs is also introducing the Internet-Based Registration System (IBRS). This service for U.S. citizens may be used to register themselves and fellow travelers, itineraries, and emergency contact information through the Internet, as well as country-specific listservs to receive e-mail updates with information, announcements, and travel warnings. U.S. citizens may register under short-term registration for temporary visits outside the U.S. Long-term registration is available for U.S. citizens who reside in or make extended trips to a foreign country. This information is only used by the DOS to assist Americans abroad with routine information and emergency services. More information regarding the IBRS can be found at: https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs.
4. Official Photo Standards Change August 2, 2004 (August 5, 2004)
On Monday, August 2nd, 2004, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a Press Release announcing the change in photograph standards to take effect immediately (August 2, 2004). The previous standard (three-quarter face position) will also be accepted by USCIS until September 1, 2004. After September 1, 2004, only photographs with the new full color frontal face position will be accepted.
The following are the USCIS applications and petitions which require photos:
I-90 - Renew or replace Permanent Resident Card (green card): 2 photos
Additional Important Photo Information
USCIS has also published a flyer regarding the new photograph specifications.
Additional information regarding photo standards can be found on the Department of State website at: http://travel.state.gov/passport/pptphotos/index.html.
Jose Latour is the founding partner of Latour & Lleras, P.A., a Gainesville, Florida based business immigration practice representing corporations nationwide in visa management, compliance, and HR training. The above represents Mr. Latour's Editorial opinion. The A/V rated firm and its web site, www.usvisanews.com, were named a winner of the 2002 Inc. Magazine Web Award, receiving recognition along with 14 other companies as the best Web companies in America. In 1999, the firm was named "One of America’s Top Ten Internet/Virtual Companies" in the Inc. Magazine and Cisco Systems "Growing with Technology Awards." The site is one of the most visited and widely read resource on the Internet on U.S. immigration law, attracting subscribers from all over the world, the media and from within the U.S. government. Mr. Latour served as a U.S. Diplomatic and Consular Officer in Mexico and Africa before entering private practice and today divides his time between his law practice, writing, flying, and his music.
The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.