1. The USCIS Expands the Citizenship and Integration Grant Program to Provide Funding
On June 9 2023, the USCIS announced that they are giving out $25 million worth of grants to help immigrants get ready to become Americans. The grants are designed to help noncitizens learn English, American history, and other civics so they can better integrate into the country. The grants will be given to 55 organizations for two years. Applications must be submitted by July 28 2023 (Immigration News Recap).
The USCIS Citizenship and Immigration Grant Program is all about helping immigrants become Americans. The grants will help noncitizens get the help they need to become Americans.
There are also two grants that will give extended integration services to certain immigrants. The first one is for people who are admitted under the Refugee Admissions program, the second one for people who have been trafficked. The second one is for those who have been abused by spouses, kids, or parents.
The regional hub program will help build community and organization skills to find, help, and get LPRs ready for citizenship. Each grant will be up to four million dollars for a two-year period.
The innovative citizenship education program will help fund public, non-profit, or private organizations that help immigrants prepare for citizenship and promote their civic, language, and cultural inclusion. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has spent $132 million on immigrant-serving grants since 2009, helping more than 300,000 migrants prepare for citizenship in more than 39 states and DC.
2. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offers Guidance to Get Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) in Compelling Circumstances
On June 14 2023, the USCIS released policy guidance. It provides instances where a person can get and renew EADs in compelling circumstances.
If you are applying for an initial or renewal employment authorization document (EAD) in a compelling circumstance, you will need to meet the following criteria.
First, you need to be the principal applicant. Second, you need to have been approved for an I-140. Third, you need not have an immigrant visa based on your priority date. Fourth, you and your dependents need to have provided biometrics. Fifth, you or your dependents must not have a felony conviction or have two or more misdemeanor convictions. Sixth, USCIS determines what constitutes a compelling circumstance for issuing an EAD.
These are a few examples of what could be a compelling circumstance, like a serious illness or disability, an employer dispute/retaliation, serious harm to you or your family, or a significant disruption to your employer.
You will also need to provide evidence, like your school or college enrollment record, mortgage record, or long-term lease record.
3. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is Expanding its Premium Processing for Applicants Seeking to Transition to F, M or J Nonimmigrant Status
On June 12 2023, the USCIS announced that they are expanding their premium processing for those filing Form I-539 (Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status), and seeking a change of status to F-1, F-2, M-1, M-2, J-1, or J-2 nonimmigrant status. They will also be able to file online.
The expansion will happen gradually, but if you apply before June 13, the USCIS will reject your premium processing request. If you apply before June 26, the USCIS will still reject your request when it is filed together with a form I-539.
Before premium processing can start for these categories, you will need to submit your biometric data. Premium processing won’t start until you and all your co-applicants included on the I-I-539 have submitted their biometric data.
If you submit a form I-907 and/or a form I-539 with another benefit application, including multiple forms I-907 requests filed together, USCIS may deny your application. If you want to file form I-907 online, you will have to create an online USCIS account.
This is a fast and secure way to submit your forms, pay your fees, and keep track of the status of your USCIS immigration application. The expansion of premium processing is part of a larger effort by USCIS to make the immigration system more efficient and efficient.
Some Applicants for Parole Can Now Apply for Travel Documents (Form I-131)
On June 9 2023, the USCIS announced that some people who need to get parole for urgent humanitarian reasons or for a big public benefit can do it online. Eligible people include those who want to get parole for someone outside the US who isn’t asking for initial parole in a USCIS family reunion process, or those who are already in the US and need a new period or parole to stay.
To get an online form I-131, you will need to set up an account with USCIS. You can’t get an online form if you are already inside the US and you are asking for a form I-131 to get a new permit, travel document, TPS travel authorization, or Advance Parole Document for CNMI long-term residents. Non-citizens who have already been released into the US can get an online form to get re-parole.
If you have already been paroled in the US and want to apply for a new term or to stay in the U.S. as a new parolee, you can do it online by filling out form I-131. If you are not eligible, your application will be rejected and you won’t get your fee back.
Free Application for Re-Parole and Renewal of Work Authorization for Some Afghan Nationals
From June 9 2023 to July 31 2024, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is thinking about extending Afghanistan’s original parole period by two years.
This is because of urgent humanitarian reasons, big public benefits, and how long it takes for Afghans to finish their parole and get their immigration status back. Afghan parolees do not have to worry about re-parole if they already have asylum or adjustment to their LPR status.
If USCIS approves their employment authorization, they will get an extension and a notice of additional action sent to their last address. If they need an updated Employment Authorization, they can fill out a fee-free Form I-765 with USCIS under category c(11).
If they have not applied for any immigration benefits or a temporary benefit, they can use a new streamlined, fee-free application process online or on paper.
The DHS is dedicated to making it easier for Afghans to get re-parole or an EAD.