USCIS December Policy Update Alerts

Immigration and Citizenship papers

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has provided guidance on updates in their policy manual regarding applications for naturalization and adjustment of status and employment-based petitions. The following are brief summaries for individual policy alerts made by USCIS throughout the month of December. An in-depth explanation of these policy updates can be found here.

12/02 – Schedule A Designation

USCIS has issued this policy update as guidance in addressing the classification of Schedule A designations for employment-based petitions with USCIS.

Policy highlights include the following:

  • Clarifies how the Department of Labor and USCIS eligibility requirements work together when Schedule A cases are being adjudicated by officers.
  • Explains the prevailing wage determination and how the notice of filing process functions for Schedule A designation.
  • Clarifies Group I or Group II of Schedule A designations through the consideration of evidentiary requirements needed to establish the beneficiary’s occupation and qualification.
  • Explanation demonstrating that the beneficiary and the position for the petitioner meets USCIS requirements for the classification sought.

12/04 – Properly Completed Medical Certification for Disability Exception (N-648)

In 1994, Congress passed a law that provided an exception to naturalization applicants who could not meet the English and civic requirements due to physical or developmental disabilities or mental impairments. A medical professional must certify the Form N-648 to attest that the applicant’s conditions prevent those requirements to be met. USCIS has approved a new edition of the form and will only accept the 07/23/20 edition.

Policy highlights include the following:

  • The Form N-648 must be completed properly and it must include the dates of diagnosis and when the disability or impairment began. The form must also include a description of each disability or impairment and how it affects specific functions of the applicant’s daily life.
  • The policy specifies that the Form N-648 must be certified by a medical professional no more than 6 months before filing the naturalization application.

You can visit our Naturalization page to learn more about other general requirements in applying for citizenship.

12/15 - Refugee and Asylee Adjustment of Status Interview Criteria and Guidelines

USICS has updated policy relating to adjustment of status interview waiver categories and expanding interview criteria for asylee and refugee adjustment of status applicants. Those who apply for adjustment of status under INA 245 must go through an interview unless USCIS determines that an interview in a case is unnecessary. Although interviews are determined on a case-by-case basis, they are usually required when an immigration officer is unable to verify someone’s identity or when admissibility is reliant on the immigration records that are available. This policy will help to ensure program integrity to improve the detection of fraud, misrepresentation, public safety risks, and national security checks in all adjustment of status applications.

Policy highlights include the following:

  • Removing asylee and refugee adjustment cases from the list of categories of adjustment of status cases in which USCIS may waive the required interview.
  • Updates and clarifies interview criteria for asylee and refugee adjustment of status cases.

You can visit our Family Based Petitions page to learn more about other general requirements in applying for a green card or adjustment of status.


Please note that by reading this blog you are not entering into an attorney-client relationship with Hubbs Law, P.A. This blog only provides general legal information. Every case is unique and you should request a consultation to ensure that you are getting the correct legal advice for your specific case.

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