September 27, 2022
The COVID-19 pandemic still affects applicants’ requests for adjustments of status for legal permanent residence. In addition to the pandemic, the limited processing of immigrant visas and consular closures further impede these adjustments. There is now twice the number of employment-based visas available this fiscal year. Because of the increased number of visas available and the difficulties that came with the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been some confusion among foreign national employees trying to adjust their status. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has posted frequently asked questions on its website to clarify concerns about this process. Here is a summary of a few of the highlights of this FAQ.
- “If I did not file a Form I-693 with my pending Form I-485, should I send one in now or wait for USCIS to request it, and why?” Typically any individual requesting an employment-based adjustment of status (Form I-485) must submit a medical examination (Form I-693). This form ensures the applicants do not have health concerns that would leave them inadmissible. However, it is not required to submit Form I-693 with Form I-485. Because of this, many applicants file Form I-693 after filing their status adjustment. The USCIS recommends that applicants not send an unsolicited Form I-693. It is difficult to match these forms with the correct adjustment of status form and can delay the adjudication of the adjustment of status. The USCIS says it will contact applicants and ask for Form I-693.
- “Why must applicants request to transfer the underlying basis of their pending Form I-485? Why does USCIS not review its records and make the decision for the applicants?” The USCIS did recommend earlier this year that applicants in the employment-based third category (EB-3) transfer the underlying basis of their adjustment of status applications to the EB-2 or EB-1 category if they can. However, the applicant must submit their request in writing to the USCIS. The USCIS will not presume that an applicant wants to transfer the underlying basis of their pending Form I-485.
- “If you have already submitted a transfer request to a USCIS office, you should not submit a new request.” Some applicants who have submitted a transfer request reported messages from the USCIS about paused work on their applications. According to their Case Status Online accounts, the pause is temporary, and the immigrant visa number is no longer available. Applicants who receive this may consider submitting another application, which is unnecessary. The USCIS has stated that they have not paused work on these applications. Instead, the USCIS is tracking the adjustment of status applications with transfers of underlying basis requests. The USCIS intends to continue processing these requests.
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