Understanding the distinction between immigrant and non-immigrant forms of US visas is crucial. The former, often called a US green card, is for those seeking permanent residency without citizenship. The latter, a visa for temporary visits, is intended for specific work with a clear intention to return once the visit concludes.

I am now coming to one of the most popular green Card categories, the family-based. Getting one can be daunting, but as a green card category, this is for US citizens or green card holders who want their family members to live permanently with them. In legal terms, this is called sponsoring family members…

Suppose you want to explore the family-based green card category more. In that case, we should be aware that, from the regulatory standpoint, one can apply for family-based green cards under two headings: Immediate relatives and family preference.

The new USCIS guidance:

USCIS recently updated its guidance in the USCIS policy manual on family-based green card petitions, which came into force on 22 May 2024. The new guidance speaks about family-based petitions, which include Form I-130 for “Alien relatives and its limited situations” and family-based Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant), including explaining how USCIS handles correcting approval notice errors, requests for consular processing or adjustment of status on the beneficiary’s behalf, and routing procedures for approved petitions.

How is the new guidance going to affect green card petitioners?

Before the guidance came into force, USCIS generally kept approved petitions that did not indicate whether the beneficiary wanted an adjustment of status or consular processing. Now, under the new rule, if you are the petitioner submitting Form I-130 for an alien relative, you need to first inform USCIS of the beneficiary’s current address and whether they want consular processing with the Department of National Visa Center or adjustment of status in the United States if they fall under the eligibility criteria. USCIS puts the point with this guidance that the petitioner, by giving this additional information, helps them define the clear direction for the petition. If the information is not there, there is a chance of delay in processing. For example, suppose USCIS keep a petition because the petitioner provided inaccurate information. In that case, USCIS must generally file Form I-824, Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition, with the appropriate fee to transfer the petition to the NVC.

The newly updated guidance also explains how the petitioner can contact USCIS to correct the error or update a pending or approved Form I-130. The new process also allows the petitioner to update the beneficiary’s location and indicate whether they want consular processing or adjustment of status.

From a green card standpoint, this new guidance is a welcome step by the USCIS as there is an unbearable delay in the employment-based category, especially for Indian and Chinese nationals. As we approach the end of the financial year, we can also expect dates to be retrogressed in the upcoming visa bulletin released by USCIS.

Key Points of the Update

  1. Beneficiary’s Address and Processing Preference:

    • Petitioners must inform USCIS of the beneficiary’s current address and whether they prefer consular processing with the Department of State National Visa Center (NVC) or adjustment of status in the U.S.
    • Accurate information ensures the approved petition is processed correctly, either kept for adjustment of status or sent to the NVC.
  2. Handling Inaccurate Information:

    • If accurate information is provided, the immigrant visa or adjustment of status process can be completed on time.
    • In cases where USCIS retains a petition due to inaccurate information, petitioners may need to file Form I-824, Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition, along with the appropriate fee, to transfer the petition to the NVC.
  3. Clarified Procedures:

    • The update clarifies procedures for more efficient processing when the beneficiary’s preference is unclear, has changed, or requires correction.
    • USCIS will use discretion to decide whether to send the approved petition to the NVC or retain it for adjustment of status based on the beneficiary’s most recent location evidence, including the address on the petition.
  4. Error Correction and Updates:
    • Guidance on contacting USCIS to correct errors or update a pending or approved Form I-130 is provided. This includes updating the beneficiary’s location and indicating their processing preference.
  5. Decision-Making on Petitions:

    • General guidance on how USCIS approves or denies family-based immigrant petitions has also been updated, including relevant notices.

Importance of Accurate Information

To avoid delays in the processing of family-based immigrant visa petitions:

  • Ensure all provided information is accurate.
  • Indicate the beneficiary’s current address and processing preference.
  • Update USCIS promptly with any changes.
Consult With An Immigration lawyer

You may have questions regarding a US Immigration regulation. You can contact The Law Offices of Prashanthi Reddy for detailed guidance and assistance. Their team will provide the most accurate and up-to-date information to make your immigration process smoother and less stressful. The immigration lawyers at The Law Offices of Prashanthi Reddy have decades of experience helping people work and live in New York, United States. Contact them today to assess your legal situation.

Read the Full Update Here

Or You can Download it :

Family-BasedImmigrantApprovals.pdf

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*This site is for informational purposes only and shall not be construed as legal advice; past results don’t guarantee future outcomes.*

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