Thursday, 30 August 2012

DACA Participants Not Eligible for Medicaid and CHIPS

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued a statement clarifying that Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) benefits will not be offered to individuals participating in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) process. DACA provided temporary relief from removal by providing deferred action on a case-by-case basis for certain individuals not lawfully residing in the U.S. who are under the age of 31 and meet certain guidelines.

According to HHS, the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 gives states the choice to provide Medicaid and CHIPS services to children and pregnant women who are lawfully residing in the United States or are otherwise eligible for the two programs. Since the reasons for the adoption of the DACA process does not specifically relate to eligibility in the two health programs, HHS has determined that these benefits should not be extended to individuals partaking in the DACA process.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Applicants May Now Apply for Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

On August 15, 2012, USCIS began accepting requests for Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). This new category of consideration is a discretionary determination made by USCIS representatives to defer removal actions of certain people. USCIS is considering DACA requests on an individual basis. The process does not provide lawful status or a path to permanent residency, but people whose cases are deferred will not be removed from the United States for a two-year period. This time period is subject to renewal; those who receive DACA may also be able to receive employment authorization.
Individuals interested in being considered for this process will need to establish certain eligibility requirements, including proof that:
  • You came to the U.S. prior to your 16th birthday
  • You have maintained continuous residency in the U.S. since June 15, 2007
  • On June 15, 2012, you were under the age of 31
  • You entered the U.S. without inspection before June 15, 2012, or your lawful immigrant status expired as of that date
  • You are either in school, have graduated or obtained a general educational development certification, or you are an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard or Armed Forces
  • You have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors, and are not otherwise a threat
  • You were present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012 and at the time when you make your request for DACA consideration.
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Friday, 10 August 2012

ESTA Online System To Accept Multiple Applications Within One Transaction

US Customs and Border Protection announced this week that the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) website has been updated to allow for the submission of multiple applications which are paid for in one transaction. This new online application will be available on Wednesday, August 15.

Applicants using the ESTA system enter biographical data and an email address to create a Group ID; that ID then enables a family or other group to input up to 50 ESTA applications and complete the application with a single credit card payment transaction. This change delivers greater efficiency to families and other groups utilizing the online system to apply for travel authorization.

ESTA is an electronic travel authorization required for all nationals of Visa Waiver Program countries prior to boarding a carrier to travel by air or sea to the U.S. under that visa program.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Department of State Announces DV-2014 Online Registration Start Date

The Department of State has published the start date for online registration for the DV-2014 program. Online registration will begin on Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at 12 noon EST, and will end on Saturday, November 3, 2012, at 12 noon EST. The Department of State also notes that instructions for the 2014 program are not yet available.

Each year under the Diversity Visa program, 55,000 diversity visas are made available to eligible petitioners from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. Applicants who are selected by the random lottery are offered a permanent resident diversity visa.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – Implementation Date Set for August 15

Earlier today, the Department of Homeland Security posted a release reinstating that USCIS will be ready to implement the deferred action for childhood arrivals process on August 15. On June 15, Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security, announced that certain young people who came to the U.S. as children and meet key guidelines may be eligible to receive deferred action. The process by which such candidates can request consideration for deferred action is currently being finalized by USCIS.

USCIS states that it intends to make all forms, instructions and other relevant information and tools related to deferred action for childhood arrivals ready for the public on August 15, 2012. The federal agency will then immediately begin accepting requests for consideration.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

USCIS Reminder – Centralized Filing for Waivers of Inadmissibility

USCIS has commented that, since June 4, 2012, individuals outside the United States who have been found inadmissible for certain visas by a U.S. consular officer who wish to waive the inadmissibility ground should no longer apply for waivers at their foreign location. USISC comments that such individuals should file requests directly to USCIS by mailing their application to a USCIS Lockbox facility in the U.S. This change, it should be noted, only affects cases in which the individual is outside the U.S., is found inadmissible for an immigrant visa (or nonimmigrant K or V visa) and only affects the filing location.

These waiver applications are adjudicated at the USCIS Nebraska Service Center. These changes, which took place on June 4, affect filings for Form I-601, the Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility; Form I-212, the Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the United States After Deportation or Removal (if filed together with a Form I-601); and Form I-290B, the Notice of Appeal or Motion (if filed after a denial of a Form I-601 or Form I-212.

Please note that waiver applicants located in Mexico have the option of filing with the local USCIS Field Office in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, in addition to the USCIS Lockbox facility, until December 4, 2012.