Letter from the USCIS.

There are several USCIS immigration laws and rules that may change in 2020. If you are unsure whether any of these changes will impact you, it is best to contact a Virginia immigration lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your case.

Below are five of the changes to immigration laws and rules we expect to occur in 2020.

Five USCIS Changes to Look Out For

1. Adding Forms to Online Filing List

The USCIS is expected to add additional immigration forms to the online filing list. Immigration applicants and immigration lawyers will now have the option to file additional forms electronically, which could speed up the process and make it more efficient. Some of the forms that are expected to be available for electronic filing in 2020 include:

  • Form I-129 – Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker
  • Form I-485 – Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status
  • Form I-589 – Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal
  • Form I-131 – Application for Travel Document
  • Form I-765 – Application for Employment Status

2. Updated U.S. Citizenship Exam

The USCIS announced its plans to update the citizenship exam last year. While the specifics are not yet known, applicants for citizenship could face a much more difficult exam than in years past. According to the announcement, the goal is to create a test that accurately assesses an applicant’s understanding and knowledge of the government, history, and values of the United States.

3. Increase in Filing Fees

The USCIS has proposed an increase in the filing fees for many immigration forms, petitions, and applications after a review determined that the current fee schedule did not cover the full cost of naturalization and adjudication services. For some immigrants and employers, the costs of the immigration process may substantially increase in 2020.

While some of the increases amount to a small percentage, there are some applications and petitions that will see a large increase in the filing fee. For example, the proposed increase in the filing fee for an Application for Waiver of Passport and/or Visa (I-193) would increase 377% from $585 to $2,205. The filing fee for a Petition for L Nonimmigrant Worker (I-129L) is expected to increase by 77% to $815. 

4. Employment for Asylum Seekers

Proposed changes to the employment rules for asylum seekers include denying employment to individuals applying for asylum who originally entered the United States illegally. Anyone who has their petition for asylum denied would have their employment authorization terminated immediately. Other proposed changes include removing the 30-day deadline for decisions related to applications for employment authorizations for asylum seekers and increasing the time asylum seekers must wait to apply for employment authorization. 

5. Changes to the Public Charge Rule

Even though DHS finalized the rule changing the definition of what it means to be a public charge, several states have filed lawsuits to block the changes to the public charge rule. The changes to the rule greatly expand the definition of public charge. Many applicants would be denied immigration status based on the new rule. 

Contact a Virginia Immigration Lawyer for More Information

Many of the laws and rules governing the immigration process in the United States may change during 2020. Our Virginia immigration lawyer continues to monitor the changes. If you have questions about immigration laws or the immigration process, contact our office to speak with an experienced immigration attorney in Virginia. 

Posted in: Immigration