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Practical, Interpretive Guidance of the Entire Asylum Process

Asylum Primer
Used by attorneys, government officials, law professors, law students, and nonprofit organizations, AILA's Asylum Primer will help you understand and resolve critical asylum issues and provide answers to help you through the asylum process--from the first meeting until you close the case.

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Agency Memos, Cables, Letters & Guidance

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  • USCIS Policy Memo on Adjudication of H-1Bs for Nursing Positions(512 KB - 7/22/2014)
    USCIS policy memo with guidance on the adjudication of H-1B petitions for nursing positions, including situations where an advanced practice registered nurse would qualify for an H-1B and what types of evidence could demonstrate specialty occupation. This memo supersedes any prior guidance.
    AILA Doc. No. 14072241.
  • USCIS Policy Memo on Custody and Residency Requirements for Abused Adopted Children(958 KB - 7/18/2014)
    USCIS policy memorandum providing guidance to USCIS officers in adjudicating Form I-360, filed by a self-petitioning adopted child, when the adopted child has been battered or abused. This memo revises Chapter 21.14 of the AFM and AFM update AD 13-15 and rescinds PM-602-0089.
    AILA Doc. No. 14071860.
  • USCIS Response to Ombudsman Recommendation on Employment Eligibility for Conrad State 30 Derivatives(584 KB - 7/16/2014)
    USCIS response to CIS Ombudsman recommendation on employment eligibility for derivatives of Conrad State 30 J-1 physicians. USCIS is open to J-2 dependents engaging in employment while in H-4 status, but does not agree that J-2 derivatives may change to an employment-authorized nonimmigrant status.
    AILA Doc. No. 14071656.
  • USCIS Policy Guidance on Changes to Dates of Birth and Names on Certificates of Citizenship(842 KB - 6/17/2014)
    USCIS Policy Manual guidance relating to changes to dates of birth (DOB) and names on certificates of citizenship, stating that USCIS will issue an initial, or replacement, Certificate of Citizenship with a new name or DOB if a U.S. state court order recognizes the new name or DOB.
    AILA Doc. No. 14061741.
  • USCIS Blog on Top Five Filing Mistakes Seen in Form I-601A Provisional Waiver Filings (7/3/2014)
    USCIS blog on Form I-601A, Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver, and the top filing errors seen by USCIS and how to avoid them. USCIS notes that it may delay processing or reject, return, or deny applications with these mistakes. Blog includes a link to a Form I-601A checklist.
    AILA Doc. No. 14070341.
  • USCIS Interim Memo on Implementing Statutory Changes on Intercountry Adoptions(556 KB - 7/3/2014)
    USCIS interim policy memo with guidance on the implementation of the Intercountry Adoption Universal Accreditation Act of 2012 and the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014 that impact the adjudication of intercountry adoptions. Comments are due by 8/13/14 and the memo is in effect.
    AILA Doc. No. 14070360.
  • USCIS Q&As from 1/28/14 Asylum Stakeholder Engagement(13234 KB - 7/2/2014)
    USCIS Q&As from the 1/28/14 USCIS asylum division quarterly stakeholder engagement. Topics covered include an update on the phased implementation of the asylee/refugee following to join process, personnel updates, RAIO combined training and asylum division officer training, and stakeholder Q&As.
    AILA Doc. No. 14070250.
  • USCIS Reminder: Passport Photos Required with DACA I-765 Submissions(558 KB - 7/2/2014)
    USCIS reminder that two passport-style photographs are required with the submission of Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. This is required for both initial and renewal DACA requests.
    AILA Doc. No. 14070242.
  • USCIS Q&As from Teleconference Between National Hockey League and VSC(736 KB - 7/1/2014)
    USCIS Q&As from a 6/27/14 teleconference between the National Hockey League (NHL) and VSC. USCIS notes that it stated several times that each petition must establish visa eligibility on its own merits and VSC does not maintain a central document depository for O and P nonimmigrant visa petitions.
    AILA Doc. No. 14070142.
  • DHS Fact Sheet on Temporary Detention Facility for Adults with Children in Expedited Removal(654 KB - 6/25/2014)
    DHS fact sheet on the establishment of a temporary detention facility for adults with children in expedited removal on the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center's Artesia, NM campus, to hold and expedite removal of the increasing number of these individuals crossing the southern U.S. border.
    AILA Doc. No. 14062544.
  • USCIS Interim Memo on Changes to U Nonimmigrant Status and Adjustment Under VAWA 2013(1012 KB - 6/30/2014)
    USCIS interim memo dated 6/15/14 providing guidance on changes to U nonimmigrant status and adjustment of status provisions under the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA) of 2013. Comments accepted until 08/08/14 and memo is in effect.
    AILA Doc. No. 14063041.
  • USCIS Interim Memo Supplementing Previous Guidance on Child Status Protection Act (CSPA)(973 KB - 6/30/2014)
    USCIS interim memo dated 6/6/14 on evaluating claims of “extraordinary circumstances” for late filings when applicant must have sought to acquire LPR status within one year of visa availability pursuant to the CSPA. Comments accepted until 7/11/14 and memo is in effect.
    AILA Doc. No. 14063040.
  • USCIS PowerPoint from June 2014 CSC Open House on Forms I-765 and I-539 Filing Tips(776 KB - 6/24/2014)
    USCIS PowerPoint from 6/11/14 California Service Center (CSC) Open House on filing tips for Form I-765 Optional Practical Training (OPT) and Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status.
    AILA Doc. No. 14062453.
  • USCIS PowerPoint from June 2014 CSC Open House on Lifecycle of Form I-130(883 KB - 6/24/2014)
    USCIS PowerPoint from 6/11/14 California Service Center (CSC) Open House on the lifecycle of Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.
    AILA Doc. No. 14062452.
  • USCIS PowerPoint from June 2014 CSC Open House on Form I-130(593 KB - 6/24/2014)
    USCIS PowerPoint from 6/11/14 California Service Center (CSC) Open House on conversion of Form I-130 to Form I-360 for surviving spouses, INA §204(l), and Humanitarian Reinstatement under INA §205 and 8 CFR 205.1(a)(3)(C)(2).
    AILA Doc. No. 14062451.
  • USCIS PowerPoint from June 2014 CSC Open House on CSC Employment Branch(949 KB - 6/24/2014)
    USCIS PowerPoint from 6/11/14 California Service Center (CSC) Open House on a general overview of the CSC Employment Branch.
    AILA Doc. No. 14062450.
  • USCIS PowerPoint from June 2014 CSC Open House on ELIS Filing Tips for Form I-539(1666 KB - 6/24/2014)
    USCIS PowerPoint from 6/11/14 California Service Center (CSC) Open House on ELIS Filing Tips for Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status.
    AILA Doc. No. 14062449.
  • USCIS Message on Form I-693 and Filing for Adjustment of Status(748 KB - 6/24/2014)
    USCIS message providing guidance on submitting Form I-693 when applying for adjustment of status in light of new policy that starting 6/1/14, USCIS will limit the validity period for all Forms I-693 to one year from the time of submission to USCIS.
    AILA Doc. No. 14062448.
  • USCIS Reminder to Use Revised Form I-821D, Dated 6/4/14(528 KB - 6/20/2014)
    USCIS reminder that revised Form I-821D, Consideration for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), dated 6/4/14, must be used to submit initial or renewal requests. USCIS will reject any previous versions of Form I=821D. The last day to use previously accepted versions was 6/5/14.
    AILA Doc. No. 14062042.
  • CIS Ombudsman Recommendations to USCIS on Notices to Appear(11906 KB - 6/12/2014)
    The CIS Ombudsman provides recommendations on improving the quality and consistency in Notices to Appear (NTA), including that USCIS issue additional guidance, require USCIS attorneys to review NTAs prior to issuance, and create a working group to improve tracking and coordination.
    AILA Doc. No. 14061242.
  • USCIS ELIS Immigrant Fee Payment Guide(2383 KB - 6/11/2014)
    USCIS Electronic Immigration System (ELIS) immigrant fee step-by-step payment guide.
    AILA Doc. No. 14061141.
  • USCIS FAQs on Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Updated 6/5/14) (6/5/2014)
    USCIS updated its Consideration for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals process page on 4/9/14 with information on renewals. FAQs were last updated on 1/18/13.
    AILA Doc. No. 12080365.
  • USCIS Fact Sheet for Juvenile Courts on Special Immigrant Juvenile Status(898 KB - 6/2/2014)
    USCIS fact sheet for juvenile courts with information on special immigrant juvenile status, including the role of juvenile courts, which courts may issue an order, role of USCIS, and helpful tips.
    AILA Doc. No. 14060248.
  • USCIS Fact Sheet for Child Welfare Workers on Special Immigrant Juvenile Status(928 KB - 6/2/2014)
    USCIS fact sheet for child welfare workers with information on special immigrant juvenile status, including who is eligible, the role of child welfare workers, and processing for obtaining SIJ classification and lawful permanent resident status.
    AILA Doc. No. 14060247.
  • CBP Revised Use of Force Policy Handbook(10286 KB - 5/30/2014)
    CBP 5/30/14 revised use of force policy handbook, incorporating recommendations from the Police Executive Research Forum and DHS Office of Inspector General, such as requiring additional training in the use of safe tactics and instituting the requirement to carry less-lethal devices.
    AILA Doc. No. 14053046.
  • USCIS Policy Alert on Form I-693 Validity Period(611 KB - 5/30/2014)
    USCIS policy alert that starting 6/1/14, USCIS will limit the validity period for all Forms I-693 to one year from the time of submission to USCIS and provides guidance on either submitting the Form I-693 concurrently or subsequent to the adjudication of the benefit application.
    AILA Doc. No. 14053043.
  • ICE Directive on Sexual Abuse and Assault Prevention and Intervention(727 KB - 5/23/2014)
    ICE directive, dated 5/22/14, establishing policy and procedures for prevention of sexual abuse or assault of individuals in ICE custody and providing agency-wide policy and procedures for timely notification of sexual abuse and assault allegations, prompt and coordinated response, and monitoring.
    AILA Doc. No. 14052300.
  • CBP FOIA Office FAQs (5/7/2014)
    CBP FOIA Office frequently asked questions addressing FOIAonline, access to I-94 arrival/departure records and arrival/departure history, expediting a FOIA request, receiving FOIA records in A-File, CBP FOIA Reading Room, CBP Background Investigation (BI), and FOIA appeals.
    AILA Doc. No. 14050700.
  • DHS Memo to DHS Leadership on Departmental Unity of Effort(2075 KB - 4/24/2014)
    DHS memo from Secretary Johnson, “Strengthening Departmental Unity of Efforts,” on enhancing the effectiveness and unity of DHS operations to better fulfill mission responsibilities, including initial focus areas intended to build organizational capacity to develop action plans and implement change.
    AILA Doc. No. 14042461.
  • CBP I-94 FAQs(592 KB - 4/22/2014)
    CBP posted I-94 frequently asked questions, including what records a traveler has access to, obtaining travel records for previous or expired passports, filing a FOIA request, and the I-94 automation process.
    AILA Doc. No. 14042232.
  • Updated Asylum Division Officer Training Course on Credible Fear Determinations(1005 KB - 4/18/2014)
    Updated lesson plan on credible fear determinations for the USCIS Asylum Division Officer Training Course.
    AILA Doc. No. 14041846.
  • USCIS Asylum Division Memo Releasing Revised Credible Fear Lesson Plan(820 KB - 4/18/2014)
    USCIS memo releasing a revised credible fear lesson plan for its officer training course. The changes are made in light of an increase in credible fear referrals and include increased emphasis on the requirement for individuals to “demonstrate a substantial and realistic possibility of succeeding.”
    AILA Doc. No. 14041845.
  • DACA SOP for Form I-821D and Form I-765(4629 KB - 4/3/2014)
    The National Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Forms I-821D and I-765, prepared by the Service Center Operations Directorate. Manual is dated April 4, 2013, version 2.0 and was provided to AIC and NILC in response to a FOIA request.
    AILA Doc. No. 14040340.
  • ICE Director Letter to Rep. Thompson on Detainers(590 KB - 3/28/2014)
    A 2/25/14 letter from Acting ICE Director Daniel H. Ragsdale to Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) clarifying that immigration detainers are not mandatory as a matter of law, but instead rely on the cooperation of law enforcement.
    AILA Doc. No. 14032846.
  • USCIS Request for Comments on Fraud and Willful Misrepresentation Inadmissibility and Waiver Guidance(727 KB - 3/25/2014)
    USCIS requests comments on updated and comprehensive policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual on the fraud and willful misrepresentation ground of inadmissibility and the corresponding waiver. Comments are due 4/7/14.
    AILA Doc. No. 14032550.
  • CIS Ombudsman Recommendation on Employment Eligibility for Derivatives of Conrad 30 Physicians(685 KB - 3/25/2014)
    CIS Ombudsman recommendation that USCIS publish new regulations and issue policy guidance on employment eligibility for derivatives of Conrad State 30 program J-1 physicians, permitting independently eligible J-2 dependents to change to other employment-authorized nonimmigrant classifications.
    AILA Doc. No. 14032545.
  • CBP Guidance on Exercises of Discretion and Prosecutorial Discretion(581 KB - 3/18/2014)
    CBP guidance, obtained through FOIA litigation filed by AIC, on CBP policies related to exercises of discretion and prosecutorial discretion. Includes information on waivers of documentary requirements, parole, deferred inspection, voluntary return, and NTA release. The litigation is still pending.
    AILA Doc. No. 14031849.
  • USCIS to Reopen I-601A Denials Based on “Reason to Believe”(689 KB - 3/18/2014)
    USCIS notice that starting on 3/18/14, USCIS will reopen all I-601A waiver applications that were denied prior to 1/24/14, solely because of a prior criminal offense, in order to determine whether there is reason to believe the prior criminal offense might render the applicant inadmissible.
    AILA Doc. No. 14031846.
  • USCIS on the Impact of Immigration Status on ACA Benefits(468 KB - 3/13/2014)
    USCIS alert with helpful resources on the impact of immigration status on eligibility for health care benefits under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
    AILA Doc. No. 14031340.
  • USCIS Policy Manual Update on Vaccination Requirements for Pregnant or Immuno-Compromised Applicants(508 KB - 3/11/2014)
    USCIS notice of a technical update to the USCIS Policy Manual to replace the list of vaccines contraindicated for pregnant or immuno-compromised applicants with a reference to the CDC’s Vaccination Technical Instructions, to ensure that the Policy Manual includes the most up-to-date information.
    AILA Doc. No. 14031146.
  • DHS Use of Deadly Force Policy (6/25/04)(577 KB - 3/7/2014)
    DHS policy on use of deadly force, dated 6/25/04, establishes that DHS may use deadly force only when the officer has a reasonable belief that the subject of such force poses an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to the officer or to another person.
    AILA Doc. No. 14030749.
  • ICE Interim Use of Force Policy (7/7/04)(7091 KB - 3/7/2014)
    ICE interim use of force policy, dated 7/7/04, intended to create a comprehensive policy to unify operational elements in the critical area of firearms and the related disciplines. Policy includes general guidelines, reporting requirements, intermediate force devices, and marine enforcement.
    AILA Doc. No. 14030747.
  • CBP Redacted October 2010 Use of Force Policy Handbook (3/7/2014)
    CBP released a redacted version of its October 2010 Use of Force Policy Handbook from the Office of Training and Development.
    AILA Doc. No. 14030746.
  • CBP Memo on Use of Safe Tactics and Techniques(596 KB - 3/7/2014)
    CBP 3/7/14 memo from Michael Fisher, Chief of U.S. Border Patrol, clarifying existing guidelines contained in the CBP Use of Force Policy, to lessen the likelihood of deadly force situations and reduce the risk of injury or death to agents and others.
    AILA Doc. No. 14030745.
  • USCIS Employee Information Sheet on Form I-9(512 KB - 3/6/2014)
    USCIS Form I-9 Employee Information Sheet, updated on 1/28/14, including information for employees on the purpose of the Form I-9, instructions on completing Section 1 of the form, and who to call if they have questions or need more information.
    AILA Doc. No. 14030657.
  • USCIS Consolidated Guidance for Refugee and Asylee-Based Adjustments under INA §209(613 KB - 3/4/2014)
    USCIS policy alert that the USCIS Policy Manual has been updated to address adjustment of status applications filed by refugees and asylees under INA §209(a) and 209(b). The guidance in Volume 7 of the Policy Manual consolidates and supersedes the Adjudicator’s Field Manual and related policy memos.
    AILA Doc. No. 14030442.
  • CBP Memo on Policy of Nondiscrimination in Law Enforcement Activities(581 KB - 2/24/2014)
    CBP memo from Thomas Winkowski, Acting Commissioner of CBP, on the prohibition of the consideration of race or ethnicity in law enforcement, investigations, and screening activities, in all but the most exceptional circumstances including “compelling government interests.”
    AILA Doc. No. 14022441.
  • Guidance for Individuals Granted DACA by ICE (Updated 2/21/14)(1073 KB - 2/21/2014)
    USCIS guidance for those granted deferred action under the DACA process by ICE who have an EAD expiring in the next 120 days. DACA renewals must be approved prior to expiration of the initial period of deferred action to avoid a lapse in employment authorization or accrual of unlawful presence.
    AILA Doc. No. 14022042.
  • USCIS Affirmative Asylum Procedures Manual (November 2013)(3523 KB - 2/19/2014)
    USCIS Affirmative Asylum Procedures Manual from the Asylum Division, updated and revised as of November 2013, provides instruction for asylum office personnel on how to process affirmative asylum applications.
    AILA Doc. No. 03111341.
  • CBP Service Motion to Reopen Finding Utah Wrong Appropriation Conviction Not CIMT(663 KB - 2/19/2014)
    CBP service motion to reopen on Form I-192, finding that a conviction of wrongful appropriation, in violation of 76 6 404.5 of the Utah Criminal Code, does not constitute a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT) and thus has no effect on admissibility. Courtesy of J. Christopher Keen.
    AILA Doc. No. 14021946.
  • Q&As from Meeting Between AILA and USCIS Verification and ICE HSI(761 KB - 2/18/2014)
    Q&As from USCIS from the 11/19/13 meeting between the AILA Verification and Documentation Liaison Committee and the USCIS Verification Division and ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). Topics include I-94s and E-Verify, birth certificates, new barcode on Form I-9, E-Verify, and OSC.
    AILA Doc. No. 14021843.
  • ICE SEVP Sends Broadcast Message on Unpaid Employment(136 KB - 2/6/2014)
    A 2/6/14 broadcast message confirming SEVP's guidance on unpaid employment and noting some OPT STEM extension applications were erroneously denied by USCIS because applicants had or intended to work in volunteer or unpaid intern positions. AILA & NAFSA first raised this issue with USCIS in November.
    AILA Doc. No. 14020651.
  • CBP October 2010 Use of Force Policy Handbook(3897 KB - 2/4/2014)
    CBP Office of Training and Development’s October 2010 Use of Force Policy Handbook, which sets forth the policy for use of force within CBP and provides all CBP personnel with a single, unifying use of force reference.
    AILA Doc. No. 14020443.
  • USCIS Releases Revised N-400(510 KB - 2/4/2014)
    USCIS alert that it has revised and released an updated Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. USCIS will not accept older versions of the Form N-400 after 5/5/14.
    AILA Doc. No. 14020440.
  • USCIS Memo on Revised Procedures Regarding Trafficking Victims in the AAPM(633 KB - 1/30/2014)
    USCIS 11/26/13 memo from John Lafferty, Chief of the Asylum Division, announcing the issuance of revised procedures for asylum office personnel regarding the handling and identification of trafficking victims to replace current procedures in the Affirmative Asylum Procedures Manual (AAPM).
    AILA Doc. No. 14013055.
  • USCIS Memo on Changes to Case Categories Requiring Asylum Headquarters Review(595 KB - 1/30/2014)
    USCIS 1/27/14 memo from John Lafferty, Chief of the Asylum Division, with the revised categories of affirmative asylum cases that require USCIS Headquarters review. The revisions are effective immediately.
    AILA Doc. No. 14013044.
  • USCIS Policy Alert on Civil Surgeon Centralization at NBC(668 KB - 1/28/2014)
    USCIS guidance, issued in the USCIS Policy Manual, announcing that the civil surgeon designation process will be formalized with an application and filing will be centralized at the National Benefits Center (NBC) effective March 11, 2014.
    AILA Doc. No. 14012844.
  • USCIS Policy Alert with Guidance for Health-Related Grounds of Inadmissibility and Waivers(547 KB - 1/28/2014)
    USCIS guidance, issued in the USCIS Policy Manual, on the health-related grounds of inadmissibility under INA 212(a)(1) and corresponding waivers under INA 212(g). Policy Manual guidance updates old guidance and supersedes any prior guidance that may be inconsistent.
    AILA Doc. No. 14012843.
  • USCIS Issues Guidance on Provisional Waivers and “Reason to Believe”(525 KB - 1/24/2014)
    USCIS 1/24/14 memo instructing officers to review all evidence filed with an I-601A and, if it appears that the offense is not a CIMT or qualifies for the petty offense or youthful offender exception, to not find a reason to believe that the applicant may be inadmissible under INA 212(a)(2)(A)(i).
    AILA Doc. No. 14012455.
  • USCIS PowerPoint on the Humanitarian Parole Program(514 KB - 1/22/2014)
    Undated USCIS PowerPoint on the Humanitarian Parole Program under the Refugee, Asylum, and International Operations Directorate, including legal authority, who can apply, application form and documentation, re-paroles, and more.
    AILA Doc. No. 14012243.
  • USCIS Response to AILA on its Urging for TPS Designation for Philippines(512 KB - 1/6/2014)
    USCIS response to AILA’s 11/14/13 letter urging DHS Acting Secretary to designate the Philippines for TPS. Director Mayorkas indicates that DHS and USCIS are monitoring the situation in the Philippines and highlights non-TPS options available for individuals affected by the typhoon and its damage.
    AILA Doc. No. 14010644.
  • USCIS Policy Memo on Determining Habitual Residence in the U.S. for Children from Hague Convention Countries(551 KB - 1/3/2014)
    USCIS 12/23/13 policy memo clarifying the criteria to follow in determining whether or not the Hague Adoption Convention applies to the adoption in the U.S. of a child from a Hague Adoption Convention country other than the U.S. Comment period ends 1/17/14 and memo is in effect until further notice.
    AILA Doc. No. 14010341.
  • USCIS Revised H-1B Anti-Fraud Operational Guidance(1366 KB - 1/2/2014)
    In response to a FOIA request, USCIS released its 6/3/13 Revised H-1B Anti-Fraud Operational Guidance memorandum, which rescinds and supersedes a 10/31/08 policy memorandum (memo can be found at AILA Doc. No. 12052252). Special thanks to David Gluckman.
    AILA Doc. No. 14010245.
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