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Questions Received after CIS Ombudsman's Teleconference: "USCIS Receipting Delay - How Does This Affect You?," on October 12, 2007

The following are questions we received after the teleconference. We will post answers from USCIS when they are available.

1. Suggestion for an FAQ Regarding EADs and Advance Paroles – One writer noted that due to the influx of applications this summer, there are now thousands of applicants who have suddenly found themselves eligible for use of interim benefits, EAD and advance parole. However, many of them do not understand how these benefits would affect their ongoing nonimmigrant H visa status. It would be helpful for USCIS to issue a “frequently asked question” that would address questions such as: (a) If an I-485 applicant uses an EAD or advance parole, is the H visa invalid? (b) Can an applicant work a part-time job using an EAD? If yes, does that invalidate the H visa for a full time job?

2. Call Center Responses/Information – We continue to receive emails that the call centers are providing incorrect information to applicants and are telling other applicants to wait and call back. Here are a few more examples: (1) the representative told the applicant that the receipt date could not be changed even though it was incorrect; (2) applicants are told to call the call center if they filed before the posted receipting dates and have no receipt, but the call center representatives do not know what to do and ask for a receipt number; and (3) the representative could only indicate that the application is not in the system.

3. Error in Initial Application – We have received emails in which the applicant omitted a required element of the employment based I-485 application. USCIS rejected the application and the rejection notice was received after the August 17 deadline to submit such applications with current priority dates. What can the applicant do? Is there a way for the applicant to still be within the August 17 deadline?

4. Cases Returned for Incorrect Fees – We continue to receive inquiries about cases returned for incorrect fees. What should an applicant do if the correct fee was submitted?

5. I-130 Receipt Needed for K-3 Visa – We received emails from some concerned applicants that they need the I-130 receipt to file the K-3 visa. This is having an impact on family unification. What can an applicant do to file the K-3 until having the I-130 receipt?

6. Switching Employers –What date should begin the 180 day period for the I-485 applicant to be able to switch employers – received date, receipt date (same for frontlogged applications), or notice date?

7. Additional Travel Question – One writer asked if USCIS is considering a temporary revision to 8 CFR 245.2 (a), which requires that original receipt notices be presented when returning to the United States after foreign travel if returning in H or L nonimmigrant status. The writer noted that the receipting delays are restricting travel for those otherwise entitled to return to the United States with valid H or L visas.

8. Cases Returned for “No Priority Date” – A writer notified us that cases are being incorrectly returned for no priority date. The writer noted that USCIS advised to use a cover sheet to indicate pending but unreceipted I-140. What should the applicant do?

9. Expired Checks – Where to Resend? – An application was rejected because the check was void after 60 days and it was deposited after that time. The applicant was given an Illinois address to mail the new checks, but these got returned. Where should updated checks be sent?

10. Duplicate? – Another applicant requested a duplicate receipt notice but was refused by USCIS. People traveling on nonimmigrant visas during the I-485 process are required to carry the original I-485 receipt notice; do you have any suggestions on how to remedy this?

11. Family Receipt Notices – In another example, some members of the family have received receipt notices while others have not; does this mean that the applications were lost for the ones who have not yet received their receipt notices? What should customers do in such circumstances?

12. Form I-129 Delays – Because of the delays in receipts for Form I-129, the writer indicates they have authorized employment and completed I-9s for porting and continuing H-1Bs, for whom a timely extension of stay has been filed, based on: (1) a copy of the cashed check notated on the back with the receipt number; (2) a copy of the screen from USCIS Case Status Online reflecting that receipt number; and (3) the stub of the check connecting the beneficiary to that check. Once the receipt notice and/or the approval notice is received, the writer said they will replace the previous alternative documentation with the I-797 documentation. Is this approach acceptable?