We'll know in a few days how the deferred action program will work. Some are saying August 1st. Some are saying August 6th. Here are a few things that have been revealed to local USCIS district office directors, though nothing is confirmed.
- Applicants will send applications to a lockbox facility in Chicago or Phoenix and the USCIS regional service centers will process the applications. They will then forward to local offices if an interview is needed (such as if there is are criminal issues)
- Some service center cases (other than deferred action matters) will be sent to local USCIS offices in order to free up the service centers to handle the new cases.
- USCIS will hire several hundred people at the service centers to handle as many as 1.4 million applications. Don't expect receipts for 60 to 90 days and biometrics scheduling for about 30 days after that.
- All applicants will be subject to fingerprinting and photographing at Application Support Centers. This will likely cause delays at ASCs for naturalization, EAD and green card cases and the ASCs are going to need more machines and personnel.
- USCIS will likely use a form that is a variation of the I-821. They will probably not charge for the deferred action application itself since this would require a study and there is no time. But they can charge for the work cards and the biometrics which would put the application fee at $405. I've also heard the fee would be set at over $500, but am not sure how that number is being calculated.
- The deferred action application and the I-765 employment authorization application will be filed simultaneously and the EAD will be approved right after the deferred action application is approved. That would mean the 90 day clock wouldn't be an issue as long as the work card is approved within 90 days of the deferred action being approved.
- USCIS believes more than half of applicants will receive requests for additional evidence, thus delaying cases further.
- If I-821D is approved, the I-765 will then be adjudicated (likely to be adjudicated immediately after approval of I-821D so don't have to wait an additional 90 days). There is no 90 requirement to process the I-821D so the filing of an I-765 with the I-821D does not start the 90-day clock. EAD card will be granted for a period of 2 years from the date of approval of I-765.
- there will likely be no process for appealing denied applications
- USCIS still has not decided about traveling
- temporary breaks in residency are likely to be okay and will not mean the continuous physical presence requirement cannot be met.
- still lots of questions regarding the types of documents that will be accepted as proof.
Remember, these details could change and are not official.
Greg Siskind is a partner in Siskind Susser's Memphis, Tennessee, office. After graduating magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University, he received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Chicago. Mr. Siskind is a member of AILA, a board member of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, and a member of the ABA, where he serves on the LPM Publishing Board as Marketing Vice Chairman. He is the author of several books, including the J Visa Guidebook and The Lawyer's Guide to Marketing on the Internet. Mr. Siskind practices all areas of immigration law, specializing in immigration matters of the health care and technology industries. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.