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EIG Dispatch | October 28, 2016

October 28, 2016

HIGHLIGHTS

  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to Increase Filing Fees
  • Department of Homeland Security Extends Temporary Protected Status for Nepal
  • Hungary Introduces New Work Permits
  • Japan Launches Trusted Traveler Program
  • Thailand Announces One Year Mourning Period

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to Increase Filing Fees

Effective December 23, 2016, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will increase filing fees for most immigration and naturalization applications in accordance with a new fee schedule published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Monday, October 24th in the Federal Register. Applications mailed, postmarked, or otherwise filed with USCIS on or after December 23, 2016 must adhere to the new fee schedule, otherwise USCIS will reject the application.

Under the new fee schedule, filing fees will increase by a weighted average of 21%, though fee increases for some applications will be significantly higher. The new fee schedule also introduces a three-tiered fee structure for the Form N-400, Application for Naturalization – a standard filing fee for most applicants, a reduced fee for those whose household income is greater than 150% but less than 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, and no fee for certain applicants in the military and others who qualify for a fee waiver.  The new fee schedule is being implemented to more adequately cover USCIS’ costs associated with processing immigration and naturalization benefits. USCIS last adjusted its fee schedule in November 2010.

Some of the most common immigration and naturalization applications that will be impacted by USCIS’ adjusted fee schedule include:

Petition Type

Current Fee New Fee (Effective 12/23/16) % Change

I–129 Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker

$325 $460

42%

I-130 Petition for Alien Relative

$420 $535 27%
I-131 Application for Travel Document $360 $575

60%

I–140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker

$580 $700

21%

I–485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status

$985 $1,140

16%

I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status for certain applicants under the age of 14 years

$635 $750 18%

I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status

$290 $370

28%

I-765 Application for Employment Authorization

$380 $410

8%

Form I-90 Applicant to Replace Permanent Resident Card $365 $455

25%

N-400 Application for Naturalization $595 $640

8%

N-600 Applicant for Certificate of Citizenship $600 $1,170

95%

Notably, the $1,225 filing fee for premium processing service, an expedited service offered by USCIS that guarantees action by USCIS on an application within 15 calendar days, will not increase under the adjusted fee schedule.

For a complete list of USCIS’ new fee schedule, please visit: https://www.uscis.gov/forms/our-fees.


Department of Homeland Security Extends Temporary Protected Status for Nepal

On October 26, 2016, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) extended the designation of Nepal for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for an additional 18-month period, from December 25, 2016 through June 24, 2018.  Nepal was initially designated for TPS on June 24, 2015 for a period of 18 months due to conditions caused by a magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck Nepal on April 25, 2015.  That initial TPS designation was set to expire on December 24, 2016.  DHS’ announcement on Wednesday extends the designation of Nepal for TPS for an additional period of 18-months, allowing eligible Nepalese nationals (and aliens having no nationality who last habitually resided in Nepal) to maintain TPS through June 24, 2018, provided that they continue to meet the eligibility requirements for TPS.

Re-Registering for TPS

Individuals who have already been granted TPS under Nepal’s designation who would like to extend their TPS beyond December 24, 2016 must re-register during a 60-day re-registration period, which runs from October 26, 2016 through December 27, 2016.  To re-register for TPS, applicants must submit the following application forms and fees:

Renewal of Work Authorization

The 18-month extension announced by DHS allows TPS re-registrants to renew their Employment Authorization Document (EAD) for an additional 18-month period.  Those who re-register during the 60-day period and request a new EAD will receive a new EAD with an expiration date of June 24, 2018.

Automatic 6-Month Extension for EADs Issued Under Initial Designation of TPS for Nepal

Recognizing that not all re-registrants will receive their new EAD before their current EAD expires on December 24, 2016, DHS has automatically extended the validity of EADs issued under the TPS designation of Nepal for a period of 6 months, through June 24, 2017.  This 6-month automatic extension period will minimize gaps in work authorization while re-registrants await the arrival of their new EAD.

For more information about TPS for nationals of Nepal, including eligibility requirements, the application process, and where to file, please visit the USCIS website.


Hungary Introduces New Work Permits

To help facilitate the transfer of qualified foreign workers, Hungary is the latest EU country to implement the EU Posted Workers Directive by introducing two new immigration permits for intracompany transferees. The Intra-Corporate Transferee Permit is issued in another EU Member State, and allows third-country nationals to work in Hungary for up to 90 days at a subsidiary or affiliate company based in Europe. The Long-Term Mobility Permit allows the permit holders to reside and work in Hungary for more than 90 days by issuing a residence permit. Individuals whose stay exceeds the 90-day work permit may apply for an Intra-Corporate Transferee Permit while still residing and working in Hungary.

Similar to the U.S. L-1 Intracompany Transfer Visa, third-country nationals need to establish a number of requirements, including:

  • The individual has worked with the parent/affiliate/subsidiary within the corporate structure for at least 6 to 12 months in a managerial/expert role or at least 3 to 6 months as a trainee;
  • The individual is qualified for the position by virtue of his or her prior education and experience;
  • The individual will be paid wages of a local worker in a similar position;
  • A qualifying corporate relationship exists between the Hungary-based company and transferring company;
  • Insurance for the duration of stay;
  • Sufficient financial resources for the duration of stay; and
  • Accommodation for the duration of stay.

Japan Launches Trusted Traveler Program

On November 1, 2016, Japan’s Immigration Bureau will launch the Trusted Traveler Program (TTP) to offer expedited entry and exit procedures at Chubu, Haneda, Kansai and Narita Airports.  The TTP offers entry and exit without the need for an inspection with an immigration officer.  In order to qualify, travelers will be required to submit supporting documentation, including proof of their visits to Japan and confirmation that they have never been subject to a deportation order.

Travelers registering for TTP will need to submit an online application and supporting documents on the Immigration Bureau website before arrival.  Applicants should print a copy of the application and supporting documents which will need to be re-submitted to immigration authorities upon arrival in Japan.  Applicants that have passed the preliminary inspection will be notified by the Immigration Bureau online.  Upon their first entry, applicants will be required to provide fingerprints and submit original supporting documents for inspection.  Once the application has been approved, the Immigration Bureau will register the applicant for automated gate use and will issue a Registered User Card.


Thailand Announces One Year Mourning Period

As a result of the observance of an official one-year mourning period for His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the Government of Thailand may restrict access to certain amenities, including restaurants, bars and shopping areas.  Many countries around the world have issued travel advisories for their nationals, including business travelers, and many consulates, embassies, and diplomatic missions have issued amended hours of service during the mourning period.  Travelers should be aware that any perceived insults or ridicule of the monarchy are considered serious offenses, which may have immigration and criminal consequences.  Travelers are advised that their conduct and personal appearance may be subject to scrutiny during the mourning period.