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EIG Dispatch | November 6, 2015

November 9, 2015

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Update on CBP’s Mobile Application
  • Changes in Germany’s Residency Registration Process
  • USCIS Releases New Draft Policy as Forthcoming Changes to Extreme Hardship Waiver Unfold

Update on CBP’s Mobile Application

In our August 15, 2014 Dispatch, we reported the launch of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CPB) first authorized app, called the Mobile Passport Control (MPC) app. This app enables the user to streamline the traveler inspection process by completing the administrative portion while waiting for the inspection.

The app can be downloaded from either the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. Once downloaded, the app will prompt the user to create a profile and include their passport information. When the user lands in the United States they complete the “New Trip” section by answering a series of questions and taking a selfie. Once completed, the user will receive an electronic receipt that that will expire within 4 hours. The user will bring the receipt along with their passport to the CBP officer to finalize the inspection process. CBP hopes that this app will reduce the time spent with the CBP officer and therefore make the process faster for all travelers.

Since the launch of the MPC app, it has been met with positive ratings from both Apple App Store and Google Play Store users, receiving over 4 stars on both mobile device stores. The biggest complaint was lack of direction at the airport and the limited number of airports that accept the MPC app. Otherwise, the app received reviews such as “Amazing convenience”, “Holy WoW!!!”, and “Worked like a Dream.”

At this time, the app is only available to use at the following airports: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Miami International Airport, Chicago O’Hare International Airport, and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. CBP is planning to expand the app into more airports.


Changes in Germany’s Residency Registration Process

All residents of Germany, foreign nationals included, must register or deregister with local authorities when moving in or out of a municipality. The deadline for registration/deregistration has been extended and must now be executed within 14 days. As of November 1, 2015, all residents in Germany must also have a document entitled Wohnungsgeberbescheinigung, which is a written confirmation of a moving-in or moving-out date. This document can be provided by landlords or hotel/property management and is required as support for the registration and deregistration process along with either a lease or rental contract. This registration or deregistration rule applies even when moving within the same municipality. Failure to register within the 14 day limit could result in fines up to 1000 euros for both landlords and tenants. If a landlord or property manager refuses to provide the proper documentation, residents should notify their local Residents Registration Office as soon as possible to avoid penalties.


USCIS Releases New Draft Policy as Forthcoming Changes to Extreme Hardship Waiver Unfold

In order to enter the U.S. and receive immigration benefits, an applicant must first be found admissible. In scenarios where an individual is determined ineligible for U.S. entry, the individual can overcome inadmissibility if the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) approves a waiver of the ground of inadmissibility. A waiver can be granted by a USCIS adjudicator if they find that “extreme hardship” would result to a qualifying relative if the waiver is not granted. In practice, the “extreme hardship” standard is hard to meet. USCIS has recently released a draft policy guidance that aims to clarify and consolidate the standard for extreme hardship determinations.

USCIS’ draft policy guidance regarding the “extreme hardship” threshold is now in a comments period, closing on November 23, 2015. USCIS will then formalize its new policy which will classify the extreme hardship standard used in deciding whether to grant U.S. immigration benefits to candidates.

Some of the more notable clarifications in the proposed October 7, 2015 Extreme Hardship Draft Guidance include the following:

  • Extreme hardship would not require a showing that one single hardship rises to the level of “extreme”; all hardship factors must be considered in the aggregate.
  • Rather than showing that hardship would occur if the waiver applicant is removed from the U.S. and the qualifying relative is thus forced to be separated or relocated due to the removal, under the draft guidance the Applicant can show that hardship would be suffered in the same way, but must also first prove that relocation of the qualifying relative is reasonably foreseeable.
  • The following circumstances would act as strong factors favoring an Extreme Hardship: if the qualifying relative is an asylee or refugee, has a US government-recognized disability, would face substantial disruption to childcare due to separation, is on active military duty, or if the Department of State has issued travel warnings for the Waiver Applicant’s home country.