USCIS Makes Unannounced Form Changes


On Friday, December 23rd, USCIS made unannounced changes to 44 different forms and made the changes effective that day. Stakeholders only became aware of the changes once USCIS deployed the new forms on the USCIS website. With the exception of Form I-129, the USCIS website indicates that USCIS will no longer accept previous versions for any of the forms updated on Friday. Important form updates include:

• Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker
• Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker
• Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status
• Form I-539, Application to Change/Extend Nonimmigrant Status
• Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization
• Form I-131, Application for Travel Document
• Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative
• Form I-824, Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition
• Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion
• Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur
• Form N-400, Application for Naturalization

USCIS did not update Form I-907 (Request for Premium Processing Service), Form G-28 (Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative), or Form I-129S (Nonimmigrant Petition Based on Blanket L Petition).

Normally, when USCIS updates a form and intends to stop accepting previous versions, it announces the change in advance to allow stakeholders sufficient time to adjust to the change. For example, USCIS published a new version of Form I-129S in June 2016, and it did not take effect until August 2016. When USCIS updated Form N-400, moreover, it even extended the grace period.

With these changes taking immediate effect, USCIS did not provide stakeholders the opportunity to prepare and file the updated forms. To this end, any application that USCIS received on December 23rd would have been prepared and filed before USCIS even implemented the changes. The American Immigration Lawyers Association ("AILA") contacted USCIS about the form changes on Friday. AILA summarized USCIS' response as follows: "USCIS responded that while it strongly encourages people to use the new version of the forms, as indicated on its website, it is aware that there may be older editions of the forms that have already been completed and are in the queue to be mailed and/or filed. USCIS said that it will be flexible and will apply discretion when receipting forms, rather than rejecting them outright."

Goel & Anderson is updating all of its forms to adhere to the new requirements, in addition to addressing how the form changes could affect clients. If you have any questions about how the form changes could affect you or your organization, please contact your Goel & Anderson attorney.

Source: American Immigration Lawyers Association, AILA Doc. No. 16122312.