Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida


More New Versions of Common Immigration Forms: I-539 and I-907

Dilip Patel


USCIS has released new forms that are commonly used in the filing of immigration cases. These include an updated Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, required as of 7/6/15, and Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, required as of 6/1/15. Other forms also have undergone revision, including Forms I-508 and I-508F (required as of 7/20/15), Form I-690 (required as of 8/5/15), Form I-601 (required as of 8/5/15), and Form I-693 (required as of 7/27/15).

Applicants for Green Card Renewals are Reminded of Attestation

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has advised applicants who file an application to replace their green cards, Form I-90, that within the next several weeks they will see new language in their biometric appointment notices reminding them that they have already certified, under penalty of perjury, that the content of their Form I-90 is complete, true, and correct. Also, by appearing at an Application Support Center, applicants are re-affirming that the content of their Form I-90 remains complete, true, and correct.

Class Action Filed Against USCIS and DHS for Unlawful Delays

In May, a nationwide, class action lawsuit was filed against United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and DHS for delaying the adjudication of applications for employment authorization documents (EADs). The complaint alleges that the EAD adjudication delays and failure to issue interim EADs are unlawful; specifically, that they violate the Administrative Procedure Act that governs federal agencies’ actions.

Regulations require USCIS to either adjudicate an EAD application within a fixed period of time — normally 90 days — or issue interim employment authorization if this time period has expired. When USCIS fails to do either, foreign nationals are left in a precarious position: they risk losing their jobs, any work related benefits, and in some states, their driver’s licenses, although they have valid immigration status.

Is Your Birth Certificate Really Unavailable? How to Find Out and What to Do If it Is

As applicants for permanent residency learn, a birth certificate with their date and place of birth and parents’ names reflected on the document is required for adjustment of status or immigrant visa processing at a consular post. While a copy of the birth certificate is sufficient for adjustment of his or her, originals are required for consular processing. Often a foreign national believes that his or her birth certificate is not available or that an original cannot be procured from the embassy or home country. How can you find out if your birth certificate really is unavailable and what can you do.

First, the State Department maintains a list of countries and the availability of documents in a particular country. Its Visa Reciprocity and Country Documents Finder can be found at Both the National Visa Center (for consular processed green cards) and USCIS (for adjustment of status) use this reciprocity table to determine whether an applicant has gathered the minimum documents required for an adjudication. If the table says a document is unavailable in the country, then the foreign national does not need to obtain it. However, a copy of the reciprocity table should be included with the filing and its unavailability should be so noted in the cover letter.

If, however, the reciprocity table says that birth certificates are available or possibly available, the applicant must try to get it and such efforts should be documented in an affidavit for inclusion in the filing as well as the actual paper trail of such efforts. The applicant, for example, should explore whether the document can be obtained through friends, relatives, at an embassy, or even online or mail.

If a good-faith attempt to comply with the instructions was made and the birth certificate is still unavailable, then try to retrieve “secondary” evidence of the birth. This includes third-party, neutral records of the information required on the birth certificate often contained in government records, school records, baptismal certificates, medical records, hospital certificates, or entries in the family Bible or Koran. Again, document and describe in an affidavit all attempts to find these sources, successful or not. If the applicant cannot document “secondary” evidence, then prepare affidavits from people with direct knowledge of the birth. USCIS regulations require two affidavits. The very best person, if still alive, is the mother; next best is the father. Next is someone attending the birth. Then, relatives or friends alive at the time of the birth with general knowledge of the accepted details of the birth but who were not physically present at the birth. Least persuasive is a younger relative or family friend who only has word of mouth knowledge of the details of the birth, obtained long after the event.

While USCIS will often issue a request for additional evidence if sufficient birth documentation is not provided in the context of adjustment of status, for consular processed cases, the NVC will send a checklist letter to the petitioner or agent indicating what document is lacking or what changes are needed. If an applicant is unable to provide a required document listed on the reciprocity table, the applicant should provide a statement to that effect for inclusion in the case file in lieu of the document, as detailed above. The NVC will then send the case file to the post for the adjudication process. At that point, the consular officer will determine if a document is considered unobtainable and whether to permit the applicant to submit other satisfactory evidence in lieu of such document or record.

Dilip Patel of Shutts & Bowen LLP, a Florida Bar board-certified expert on immigration law, can be reached at (813) 227-8178 or e-mail

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