Beginning October 1, 2006, USCIS will implement a new process nationwide for issuing EADs to applicant granted asylum by an Asylum Office. Instead of issuing asylees a provisional one-year Form I-688B employment authorization card at the local office, asylees will now receive in the mail the more secure Form I-766 EAD card within seven to ten days after the date they are issued their asylum approval letters. The EAD will be valid for two years.
USCIS Issues Notice Extending TPS for Burundi
On September 14, 2006, USCIS published a notice in the Federal Register extending the designation of Burundi for TPS for 12 months, from its current expiration date of November 2, 2006, to November 2, 2007. This notice also sets forth procedures necessary for nationals of Burundi (or aliens having no nationality who last habitually resided in Burundi) with TPS to re-register and to apply for an extension of their EADs for the additional 12-month period. Re-registration is limited to persons who have previously registered for TPS under the designation of Burundi and whose application has been granted or remains pending. Certain nationals of Burundi (or aliens having no nationality who last habitually resided in Burundi) who have not previously applied for TPS may be eligible to apply under the late initial registration provisions. The 60-day re-registration period begins September 14, 2006 and will remain in effect until November 13, 2006.
The notice automatically extends the validity of EADs issued under the TPS designation of Burundi for 6 months through May 2, 2007, and explains how TPS beneficiaries and their employers may determine which EADs are automatically extended. New EADs with the November 2, 2007, expiration date will be issued to eligible TPS beneficiaries who timely re-register and apply for an EAD.
Foreign Nationals with Applications for Adjustment of Status Must Obtain Advance Parole before Travel Abroad
On May 24, 2006 USCIS issued a press release reminding applicants with a pending application for adjustment of status to obtain advance parole prior to traveling outside the United States. This includes aliens: who have been granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS); with pending applications for adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident; with applications for relief under § 203 of the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA); and with asylum applications.
These aliens must obtain advance parole before leaving the United States. Advance parole is permission to re-enter the United States after traveling abroad in order to continue processing for adjustment of status. Travel outside the United States without advance parole may have severe consequences. Individuals who fail to comply with the law may be prevented from re-entering the United States, resulting in a denial of their applications.
There may also be severe consequences for some applicants seeking to adjust status who depart the United States, regardless of whether they obtain advance parole. Aliens who have been unlawfully present in the United States for a certain period of time, depart, and subsequently re-enter under a grant of parole may still be ineligible to adjust status. Aliens who have unlawful presence for more than 180 days, but less than one year, are inadmissible for three years. Aliens who have unlawful presence for a year or more are subject to a ten-year bar.
Aliens seeking advance parole must file Form I-131, Application for Travel Documents with USCIS. Processing times range from 90 to 150 days. USCIS urges aliens to consult with an immigration attorney or a Board of Immigration Appeals-approved immigration association before making travel plans abroad. Aliens may also contact the USCIS National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 or the website at www.uscis.gov.
Enhanced Passport Requirements for Visa Waiver Program Travelers
Beginning on October 26, 2006, countries who participate in the Visa Waiver Program will be required to issue e-passports. E-passports contain integrated circuit chips that store biographic data and a biometric identifier, such as a digitized photograph. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been working closely with all 27 countries who participate in the Visa Waiver Program to make sure they meet the October 26, 2006 deadline. Any country who fails to meet the deadline will no longer be permitted to participate in the program.
The Visa Waiver Program allows citizens of participating countries to enter the United States for up to 90 business days without having to obtain a visa. A country needs to meet certain requirements to be eligible for the Visa Waiver Program. The country must prove that its visiting citizens would not compromise the enforcement of immigration laws, and it would reciprocate by allowing U.S. citizens entry without a visa. The Program also requires that a country be able to provide machine-readable passports (MPRs). When scanned through a passport reader, the passport communicates the holder’s biographic information.
Nothing in this article should be taken as legal advice for an individual case or situation. The information is intended to be general and should not be relied upon for any specific situation. For legal advice, consult and attorney experience in immigration law.