AILA/Immigration Services Division (ISD)
liaison teleconference report

APRIL 18, 2002

by Sharryn Ross, Chair, ISD Liaison Committee

1. Middle Name. In response to our inquiry, INS has indicated that we are encouraged to provide as much information as possible regarding the middle name of the applicant/ beneficiary. It can be inserted on all forms where it currently says middle initial. If the individual has no middle name, it is advisable to indicate this by, e.g., writing "None".

2. Security Checks. Additional background clearances are now required on all cases, except for the 'N' Forms, including
N-400s, which will be included at a later date. These background checks will significantly impact case processing time, but INS does not yet know exactly what the permanent impact will be. Determining which possible background check responses relate to a given applicant and which refer to someone with the same or similar name will cause some case delays even when it is determined that there is no relevant negative information. Cases that involve a confirmed related response may involve more substantial delays. While it is possible that some Premium Processing cases may be pushed beyond the 15 day processing requirement during the initial ramp up phase of this operation, it is expected that these will be few and that this new background check operation will normally be able to be accommodated within the 15 day processing window.

3. I-129/I-539 Premium Processing. In response to our question regarding the separating of I-129 and I-539 cases, when filed concurrently, in Premium Processing, INS responded as follows: A petition or application qualifies for premium processing only if the Service has designated the petition or application for premium processing. 8 C.F.R. 103.2(f)(2). The interim rule designated only specified Forms I-129 as eligible for premium processing. 66 Fed. Reg. 29,682, 29,683 (2001). It is true that the interim rule also indicated that the Service intended to adjudicate concurrently-filed Forms I-539 together with the principal's Form I-129. But adjudicating related cases together is simply a matter of administrative convenience. The Service did not designate Form I-539 as an application for which premium processing is available. There may be cases in which, because of the facts of a case, it is not possible to adjudicate a Form I-539 along with the principal's Form
I-129. This result is not a failure to provide premium processing for the Form I-129, so long as the Service acts on the Form I-129 itself in one of the ways identified in 8 C.F.R.103.2(f)(1) within 15 days of the filing of the Form I-129. The regulation permits a refund only if the Service fails to act on the Form I-129 itself within that period.

4. Processing times at AAO: The current processing time by case type from date of receipt at the AAO are as follows:

H-1B: 6 months
L-1: 18 months
203(b)(1)(A): 1 year
203(b)(1)(B): 1 year
203(b)(1)(C): 1 year
203(b)(2): 22 months
203(b)(3): 5 months
Others: 3 months or less

5. Grand-fathering of 245i labor certification. INS has confirmed that if a labor certification is abandoned for failure to respond to the SWA regarding a request for a wage amendment it is considered denied on the merits and cannot be used to grandfather for 245(i) purposes, If, however, the labor certification is denied because of change of circumstances, e.g., the company changes, it can be used to grandfather.

6. Premium Processing of I-140s. The estimated start date for Premium Processing for I-140s has been delayed and will not May 1 as anticipated. INS has no information at present as to when the Premium Processing of I-140s might begin.

Approved by Steve Bucher, INS


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