In February the Administrative Appeals Office ("AAO") decided an important case for physicians applying for immigrant visas in the National Interest Waiver category, and on March 9, 2016 USCIS issued a Policy Memorandum officially adopting the AAO's decision as agency policy. In its decision in Matter of H-V-P, the AAO held that medical specialists who agree to practice in any area designated by the Secretary of Health and Human Services as having a shortage of health care professionals or in a VA facility may be eligible for the physician National Interest Waiver category of green cards. This expansion to include medical specialists is a major victory for American communities suffering from a shortage of qualified physicians and foreign-born medical specialists who with to remain in the U.S. If you have questions about whether physicians working for your organization may qualify for a green card in the National Interest Waiver category, please contact one of the attorneys at Iandoli Desai and Cronin at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling us at 617-482-1010.
On March 23, 2016, USCIS published a chart listing all I-485 applications received, approved, denied, and pending adjudication between October 1, 2015 and December 31, 2015. The chart breaks down I-485 applications into four main categories: family-based applications, employment-based applications, humanitarian-based applications, and other applications. On the employment-based side, the most striking figure is the number of cases still pending: 125,161. While there appears to be a slight uptick in processing times of late, the vast majority of I-485 applications continue to take between six and eight months for adjudication.
Where these delays can cause considerable hardship to applicants with long-pending cases, we strongly urge all applicants with Employment Authorization Documents ("EADs") and/or advance parole issued based on a pending I-485 to track the expiration of those EAD/AP combo cards. When the EAD/AP combo card is due to expire within four months, applicants should immediately file for extensions of work and travel permission since USCIS may take up to 90 days to adjudicate the extensions. These extension requests do not require payment of additional filing fees, and the timing should be carefully considered in order to avoid interruptions in work authorization and cancellation of travel plans. For more information or to contact an attorney at Iandoli Desai & Cronin with questions about this process, please e-mail us at email@example.com.