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USCIS Provides Processing Update on Hague Adoptions
November 19, 2008
In recognition of National Adoption Awareness Month, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is reminding prospective adoptive parents to submit complete application and petition packages for international adoptions under the Hague Adoption Convention to ensure timely processing. Since April 1, 2008, the NBC has received more than 1,300 applications and petitions for Hague Adoption. The NBC provides end-to-end processing for applications and petitions relating to Hague Adoption, and USCIS has found that a majority of cases are incomplete, requiring prospective adoptive parents to submit additional information after they filed their initial Hague Adoption application or petition. In an effort to speed up this part of the process, the NBC is working with adoption agency representatives to identify the necessary requirements for an initial Hague Adoption application.
USCIS Holds Naturalization Ceremony at the National Museum of American History
November 19, 2008
President and Mrs. George W. Bush were among the distinguished guests who witnessed the swearing in of America’s five newest naturalized citizens today during a special Naturalization ceremony at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Acting Director Jonathan Scharfen administered the Oath of Allegiance to the new naturalized citizens, one of whom is a U.S. Marine. USCIS’ Washington District Director Sarah T. Taylor also participated in the Naturalization ceremony. The five Americans naturalized today are originally from France, Germany, Guyana, Lebanon, and Peru.
Federal Contractors Required to Use E-Verify System
November 13, 2008
Starting Jan. 15, 2009, federal contractors and subcontractors will be required to begin using the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) E-Verify system, to verify their employees’ eligibility to legally work in the United States. The new rule implements Executive Order 12989, was amended by President George W. Bush on June 6, 2008. the new E-verify rule directs the federal contractors to electronically verify the employment eligibility of their employees. This new E-verify rule requires federal contractors to agree, through language inserted into their federal contracts, to use E-Verify to confirm the employment eligibility of all persons hired during a contract term, and to confirm the employment eligibility of federal contractors’ current employees who perform contract services for the federal government within the United States. Federal contracts awarded and solicitations issued after Jan. 15, 2009 will include a clause committing government contractors to use E-Verify.
USCIS Makes Major Strides during 2008
November 6, 2008
For U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the fiscal year 2008 brought unprecedented progress towards reducing naturalization processing times, improving refugee and asylum processing, increasing adjudications officer hiring and training, and reducing the backlog of FBI name checks. USCIS has reduced processing times for applications and petitions thanks in large part to the increase of trained adjudications officers hired as a result of the implementation of last year’s new fee structure. USCIS surpassed annual targets for completed asylum applications and supported the highest level of refugee admissions in the last seven fiscal years. The agency worked closely with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to reduce name checks pending for more than one year and is on track to eliminate by early next year those pending more than six months.
Naturalization Processing Times at End of Fiscal Year 2008
November 6, 2008
The USCIS on November 6, 2008 has released the Naturalization Processing Times at End of Fiscal Year 2008.
US Naturalization Process for the Military Personnels
November 6, 2008
The USCIS has streamlined the application and US Naturalization process for military personnel serving on active-duty or recently discharged. Members and certain veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces are eligible to apply for US Naturalization under special provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Generally, the qualifying service to apply for the US Naturalization is in one of the following branches: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, certain reserve components of the National Guard and the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve. Qualified members of the U.S. Armed Forces are exempt from other US naturalization requirements, including residency and physical presence in the United States. All aspects of the US naturalization process, including applications, interviews and ceremonies are available overseas to members of the U.S. Armed Forces. An individual who obtains US Naturalization through his or her military service and separates from the military under “other than honorable conditions” before completing five years of honorable service may have his or her US naturalization revoked.
USCIS’ achievements in the year 2008
November 6, 2008
The USCIS has released the areas of the achievements it has made during the Fiscal Year 2008. The Fiscal Year 2008 marks the naturalization of more than one million citizens. More than one million naturalized citizens took the Oath of Allegiance, just one of the significant accomplishments introduced today by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). USCIS’ acting Director Jonathan Scharfen highlighted the agency’s progress throughout the past year and discussed future goals, saying the positive results are directly attributable to the USCIS workforce. Scharfen had set aggressive goals to reduce application processing times, cut the FBI name check backlog, and began a viable transformation process for the agency. USCIS moves into the Fiscal Year 2009 with a more aggressive agenda to improve its services to customers. USCIS has awarded the Transformation Solution Architect task order to IBM, a five-year investment to improve its filing and adjudication systems. During FY09, USCIS’ goal is to achieve a 20 percent reduction in processing times for the majority of key petitions and applications, in spite of having to work through an unexpected surge of applications received during FY07.
USCIS Designates November Veterans Appreciation Month
November 4, 2008
The USCIS has designated November as “Veterans Appreciation Month” to honor the sacrifices of all those who have served and continue to serve in the United States armed forces. A range of ceremonies and activities occurring throughout the month include naturalization ceremonies for members of the armed forces, educational seminars at military installations for service members and their families, and a comprehensive initiative to hire severely wounded or disabled military veterans. “As a veteran of our military, I know first-hand the sacrifices our nation’s veterans make to secure our freedoms, said Acting Director Jonathan Scharfen. “Their selfless service and willingness to answer America’s call to duty is a constant source of inspiration.”
USCIS Sets Application Period in Northwest Immigrant Rights Project Legalization Case
November 4, 2008
The USCIS announced that on Sept. 9, 2008, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington entered an order approving the settlement agreement in the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) legalization case. The NWIRP case is a class action lawsuit that involved claims by individuals who were unable to apply or who were deemed ineligible for legalization under the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986 because of issues as to whether unlawful status was “known to the government.” The settlement agreement designed by USCIS allows certain individuals who were unable to apply for legalization to apply now for legalization. The application period will be open for one year for individuals who meet specific criteria, including entering the United States on a nonimmigrant visa prior to Jan. 1, 1982. The application period will commence Feb. 1, 2009 and end Jan. 31, 2010.
USCIS Revises the Current Edition of Form N-648
November 4, 2008
The USCIS based on its experience with processing Form N-648, as well as suggestions from stakeholders has identified ways in which the form N-648 and its instructions could be improved to work more effectively. Keeping this in vie the USCIS has revised Form N-648, Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions to further clarify the requirements for the exception and the basis for preparing a medical certification for applicants and medical professionals. The USCIS has announced the revised edition of the Form N-648 on November 4, 2008. It is expected that the revisions in the Form N-648 will result in fewer inappropriate submissions and will enable USCIS to more quickly reach an informed decision on those N-648 certifications that are submitted. However after Dec. 15, 2008, USCIS will no longer accept older editions of Form N-648.

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