by Farhad Sethna, © 2016
Too bad that one of my last posts – or possibly the last post for 2016 – has to be a negative observation:
The USCIS has played Grinch this Christmas.
What’s a grinch? For my readers not familiar with the story, the Grinch is a character in a Dr. Seuss children’s book who hated it when people had a good time. The Grinch tries to ruin the Christmas spirit in a small village by stealing all the Christmas gifts and Christmas trees from people’s homes. So the term “Grinch” has become synonymous for an entity that ruins someone else’s joy.
Enter the USCIS…..playing the Grinch.
First hint of Grinchness: the USCIS raised the filing fees on all applications, effective December 23, 2016 – just in time for Christmas!! But in all fairness (even the Grinch deserves fairness, else he’ll be tweeting “SO UNPRESIDENTED (sic) SO UNFAIR…”), the fee increase was announced months ago.
But the Grinchness continued even lower: Knowing fully well that people would be scrambling to get their applications filed before the fees increased on December 23, the USCIS did something its’ never done before. On December 23, without advance notice or warning, the USCIS changed over 20 different USCIS application forms, including some that are used very frequently. (Think of applications for Work Authorization, for Adjustment of Status (Green Cards), Naturalization (Citizenship) and Renewal of Permanent Residence – for a complete list, see below)
Think its’ reached the bottom of the Grinchness hole? Think again! The USCIS stunned us all once again: the USCIS said it would accept only those new forms, effective the same date they were issued (December 23), and no prior versions!!! No notice, no grace period, nothing!
So when we open our stockings on Christmas Morning, be warned – we’re going to find COAL, courtesy of the USCIS!
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Mr. Grinch USCIS!
(A list of the affected forms can be found on the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA.org) website and is reproduced here:
I-90, I-102, I-129, I-129CW, I-129F, I-130, I-131, I-131A, I-140, I-191, I-192, I-212, I-290B, I-360, I-485, I-485 Supplement A, I-525, I-539, I-600, I-600A, I-601, I-601A, I-612, I-690, I-694, I-698, I-751, I-765, I-800, I-800A, I-817, I-824, I-910, I-924, I-924A, I-929, I-942, I-942P, N-300, N-336, N-400, N-470, N-600, and N-600K.)
About the author: Attorney Farhad Sethna has practiced law for over 25 years. Since 1996, he has been an adjunct professor of Immigration Law at the University of Akron, School of Law, in Akron, Ohio. He is a frequent speaker at Continuing Legal Education and professional development seminars on various immigration-related topics. His practice is limited to immigration and small business. With offices in Cuyahoga Falls, Akron and Dover, Ohio, Attorney Sethna represents clients in all types of immigration cases. Our number is: (330)-384-8000. Please send your general immigration questions to AttorneySethna@immigration-america.com. We will try to answer as many questions as possible.