Can’t Travel, Visa Expires, What Do I Do Now?

A lot of people stuck abroad have experienced panicking moments in the past two weeks when flights are cancelled and borders are closed due to the #COVID-19 shutdown. In March, 2020, the U.S. Department of State announced that immigrant (IV) and nonimmigrant visa (NIV) appointments at ALL Consulates are suspended due to coronavirus. Many countries are also restricting exiting and entering in order to control spread of the pandemic.
So what does this mean when my visa expires? 
These travel restrictions have made family unity and returning to work difficult, if not impossible. Employers are now in the dark with no specific return date for their valued employees and facing uncertainties as to their future needs. Since many visas have a maximum period allowed pursuant to regulation, consular officers do not have the authority to extend visa validity. However, the consular may be able to re-print a visa once travel becomes possible.
Consulates are able to re-issue a new visa provided that all supporting documents, such as police certificates, medical examinations, etc., have not expired. If the supporting documents have expired,  the applicant will be required to obtain new copies prior to the re-issuance of the new visa. Applicants will have to contact the consulate for the re-issuance and different consulate has different procedures. 
For people who are stuck in the U.S. either on valid visas or during grace period, but are not able to leave the U.S. to return to their home countries, options are also limited. Many have applied to extend or change their status using the Form I-539, but this also comes with a hefty fee. Others are banking on the fact that a brief overstay won’t be too problematic if it is limited to 180 days.
The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has filed a complaint against USCIS calling for the immediate suspension of immigration benefit deadlines and the maintenance of status for nonimmigrants in the U.S. in light of the pandemic, urging USCIS to extend its filing deadlines so that lawfully present foreign nationals in the United States can maintain status during the pandemic.
While we wait for the outcome of this lawsuit, we urge everyone to stay tuned and take care of yourselves. 

COVID 19 – Unemployment Benefits for Immigrant Workers

immigrant’s eligibility for unemployment benefits and consequences on green cards

Question: Do I, as an immigrant, qualify for unemployment benefits if the coronavirus (COVID-19) causes me losing my job?

Answer: Yes, however, immigrant workers must satisfy the same requirements for #unemployment. You must be unemployed due to no fault of your own, and you must have earned enough wages or worked enough hours in your “base period” to qualify. If you are currently employed or if you quit, then you are not eligible for unemployment benefits.  If your employer offers sick leave to address COVID-19 in lieu of layoffs, you cannot quit on your own volition to get unemployment benefits. If an employer shuts down operations temporarily and no work is available, you are eligible for unemployment.

Question: If I cannot go to work because I quarantined myself, can I get unemployment?

Answer: MaybeIf your employer allows you to work remotely and you choose not to accept that work, you are not qualify. If the employer requires you to stay home but did not offer work from home, then you might be eligible for benefits.

Question: How much is unemployment?

Answer: Depends on your state law and the reason why you cannot go to work. In addition, Pandemic Federal Unemployment Compensation  allows an additional  $600 on top of weekly unemployment benefits for up to four (4) months, not to exceed July 31, 2020.

Question: Does unemployment benefits hurt my green card #adjustment of status application in the future?

Answer: USCIS does not consider “unemployment” in the public charge inadmissibility determination because they are considered earned benefits through the person’s employment. Unemployment is a type of insurance that employers pay into. This isn’t taxpayer money, so it does not affect your green card.

Question: If I am undocumented, do I get #unemployment benefits?

Answer: If you are undocumented, chances are you do not have valid employment authorization or valid SSN, then you are not eligible for unemployment benefits.

Question: I applied for work authorization extension and have not yet received my new work card, can I get unemployment benefits?

Answer: If you have proof that you have applied for an extension, you might allowed to receive benefits. 

File unemployment with the Missouri Department of Labor here.

File unemployment with the Kansas Department of Labor here.

EAD Automatic Extensions for Six TPS-Countries

El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, and Sudan TPS EAD extension

DHS is automatically extending TPS Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) validity listed for El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, and Sudan through January 4, 2021. These EADs should have category code of A-12 or C-19. Read the automatic extension notice here.

What is TPS?

TPS is a temporary immigration benefit for certain countries suffering from on-going armed conflict, environmental disaster, or other extraordinary and temporary conditions. It allows qualified individuals in the U.S. to stay here for a limited time period as ordered by the President. 

What are my rights at work?

Persons covered by TPS can receive the Employment Authorization Documents (EAD). TPS workers, like everyone else, have the right to provide their choice of valid documentation to demonstrate their identity and work authorization. An employer that treats TPS workers differently in the employment eligibility verification process (Form I-9 and E-Verify) based on the worker’s citizenship status or national origin may violate anti-discrimination laws.

Blanket Extension

When the government extends a country’s TPS,  USCIS sometimes issues a blanket extension of all expiring EADs for that country, to allow time for USCIS to issue new EADs. Such extension can be found here. If USCIS automatically extends your EAD, you do not have to show an I-797C with your EAD to keep working. An employer should not  ask for additional documentation to prove employment eligibility.

Renewal Application

If the government does not issue a blanket extension for TPS EADs, a TPS worker can apply for a renewal EAD, the worker can present the current TPS EAD with the I-797C receipt notice showing that USCIS received the EAD renewal application. This document combination is valid for 180 days after the original EAD expiration date, and are valid for employment eligibility verification purposes. 

USCIS Begins Premium Processing on May 20, 2019

Premium processing for Fiscal Year 2020 cap-subject H-1B petitioners requesting a change of status (i.e. F-1 to H-1) will begin on May 20, 2019. If you did not request premium processing with the H-1b petition, you can still request it after May 20.

For all other FY2020 H-1B cap-subject petitions (i.e. consulate process), it will begin in June 2019 or later. USCIS now engages in a two-phased approach.

Premium processing for H-1B cap-exempt petitions, such as extension of stay requests, remains available.

USCIS Announced New Online Tool Calculates Fees

USCIS has launched a new Online Fee Calculator to assist applicants calculating the correct fee amount when filing their forms with USCIS.

USCIS’ Online Fee Calculator will determine the exact filing and biometric fees an individual needs to include with their forms and will have the most up-to-date fee information. When using the Online Fee Calculator, applicants select a form, or combination of forms, and answer a series of questions. The tool then calculates the correct fee amount that the filer must submit.

USCIS accepts payment via check, money order, or credit card with Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions.

If you need assistance with immigration, feel free to contact us at 913-717-7112 for a free consultation.


USCIS may waive the requirement for an interview and adjudicate the Form I-751 without conducting an interview.

一般而言,美国移民局官员必须面试所有临时绿卡(conditional permanent resident)申请十年正式绿卡 (I-751表)的请愿人。  新规于2018年12月10日生效,适用于2018年12月10日或之后收到的所有I-751表格。

在调整身份时,婚龄不满2岁的外国公民将成为临时绿卡持有人。这些外国人被视为临时绿卡持有人。这些人的子女也可以获得临时绿卡。为避免在两年后终止临时绿卡身份,有临时绿卡的永久居民必须申请 I-751十年绿卡。在提交I-751表格时,临时绿卡持有人必须提交确定婚姻真实性的所需证据。作为I-751表格裁决的一部分,临时绿卡持有人必须出席面试。美国移民局可以判决或确定绿卡持有人的可信度。


  • 移民局有婚姻真实性的充分证据;
  • 对于2018年12月10日/之后收到的I-751表格,移民局已与I-751主要请愿人进行了面谈(例如,表格I-485或表格I-130);
  • I-751表或支持文件中没有任何欺诈或虚假陈述的迹象;和
  • 没有复杂的事实或问题需要面谈来解决问题或疑虑。


如果请愿人和/或配偶居住在美国境外,该I-751案件将被扣留一段时间,直至请愿人和/或配偶返回美国,并且他们能够提供美国地址。 如果临时绿卡持有人通知移民局他/她已返回美国,移民局将恢复处理I-751表格。


移民美国 – 大幅收紧公众福利影响美国绿卡, 前方的道路很曲折


美国移民局提议的新的 ”Public Charge” 的规则将大幅影响享受过公众福利的美国移民或者非移民申请人。根据现行政策,如果没有收到现金援助或长期政府资助的机构护理,正确填写的非欺诈性I-864表格(经济保障书)通常足以解决任何福利领取者的问题。但是新的政策及那个完全颠覆这个理念。

  • 首先,新提议将重新定义“福利领取者”,以包括使用某些公共福利的任何人,即使是在有限的时间段内和适度的金额。 它还将扩大特定公共福利的清单,涵盖医疗补助和补充营养援助计划(SNAP)等。 审批时移民局将全面考虑正面以及负面因素。 “负面”因素包括在提交申请之前的36个月内使用指定的公共福利,收入水平低于联邦贫困指南的125%。
  • 与现行法规不同之处是,新提议要求非移民在美国寻求改变身份或延长身份时证明他们没有收到并且不太可能获得确定的公共福利。
  • 新提议将建立一个公共收费债券系统,允许USCIS酌情允许某些个人情况,发布最低10,000美元的债券以克服“福利领取者”的决定。

新提议将用无定形测试取代简单明了的现行政策。新提议要求审判员权衡无限数的因素,以确定申请人是否可能成为福利领取者。 此外,国土安全部声称每个案例的具体事实和情况都必须要备考虑,这就可能导致不一致和不公平的裁决。以下的因素都有可能被考虑:

  • 申请人的健康状况或疾病是否足以干扰该人照顾他或她自己,上学或上班的能力,以及该病情是否可能要求医疗手术;
  • 申请人的家庭规模,构成申请人“家庭”的个人至少需要提供50%的财务支持,但不包括食宿等非现金支持;
  • 申请人的信用评分,但是新提议也没有任何有意义的标准来确定什么构成“好”或“差”的信用评分或历史;
  • 经济赞助人与申请人的关系有多紧密,美国移民局觉得亲密的家庭成员“在必要时更有可能在经济上支持外国申请人”。

新提议将创建一个新的I-944移民表格 – 自给自足声明 (Declaration of Self-Sufficiency ,国土安全部预计平均I-944表格准备时间为4小时30分钟。申请人需要提交所有家庭成员三年的税单,而在美国还需要获得提交信用评分信。

当然,并不是所有的福利都都会规划在新规定以内。目前的“福利领取者”规定,医疗补助计划(Medicaid)不算作“福利领取者”的福利。 在新提议中,除紧急医疗补助以外,医疗补助计划(除了孕妇分娩)都将被视为公共收益。如果新规则生效,通过医疗补助计划的产前护理将被视为公共费用。 如果它是通过儿童健康保险计划 Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)支付的,有可能不算,因为CHIP不在新的提议中。 在过去36个月内收到公共福利是一个非常重要的负面因素。但是在新规则生效之前过去收到的医疗补助将不计算在内。