May 11, 2020 Updates

Military personnel and Veterans Can Now File Form N-400 Online, Naturalization Application reported by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service.

Legal permanent residents of the Armed Forces and veterans can apply for U.S. citizenship (submit form N-400) online, immigration service reported. “Online application allows foreigners to submit their forms electronically, verify the status of their case, and receive notifications,” said the Office of Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The new service is part of a list of efforts that the agency has implemented since Barack Obama’s administration (2009-2017) over the internet with the goal of modernizing the system and eliminating bureaucracy. The official added that the federal agency “has always been committed to supporting the immigration needs of those who currently serve or have served the United States in the Armed Forces.”

Millions of people around the world who applied for the Immigrant Visa Program popularly known as the Visa Lottery for the fiscal year 2021, were awaiting the arrival of May 5, 2020.

The U.S. State Department was required to disclose the names of those selected who, if they move forward in the process, could receive one of 55,000 permanent residence cards, or green cards, available to immigrants with historically low immigration rates. DV-2021 lottery participants were instructed to visit the Participant’s State Registry website to find out if they were randomly selected by computer among the qualified entries. DV-2021 participants were required to visit the Entrant Status Check section of the program’s website to confirm whether their registration was chosen using the confirmation number given to them when they submitted their applications. However, the State Department has postponed the implementation of this application to verify the results of the visa lottery until June 6, 2020. In a recent statement, the foreign policy agency said its resources are being used “in our role of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and we have priority in assisting U.S. citizens abroad.” “The delayed opening will not negatively affect our ability to pre-process and schedule DV-2021 interviews, which are scheduled to begin on October 1, 2020,” the agency said. Participant status verification for applicants of the 2021 Visa Lottery shall remain open until September 30, 2021, according to the official instructions of the Diversity Visa Program. State Department authorities remind applicants that Status Check is the only means by which participants are notified if they won the visa lottery. No notification letters are sent by mail, while embassies and consulates will not provide the list of selected ones, they reported.

First COVID-19 death of an immigrant detained in an ICE prison

This is the first death in an ICE prison from the coronavirus pandemic. The agency said that among the population of just over 29,000 inmates there are 704 positive cases of COVID-19. The immigrant was detained at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Otay Mesa detention center in San Diego, California. This is the first death of a coronavirus in an ICE prison in the country. The deceased immigrant has been hospitalized since late April, said Craig Sturak, a spokesman for the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said on his Twitter account that the immigrant died because the government refused to release him.

USCIS Expands Flexibility to Respond to Agency Requests

In response to the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service has expanded the flexibility to respond to agency requests that were previously announced on March 30 to assist applicants and petitioners. Date of issue of Notification/Request/Decision: this flexibility applies to the documents listed above if the date of issue indicated in the application, notification, or decision is between March 1, 2020, and July 1, 2020, inclusive. Deadline for responses: USCIS will consider any response to requests and notifications if you receive it within 60 calendar days of the response deadline indicated in the request or notification before taking any action. USCIS will consider any Form I-290B received up to 60 calendar days from the date of the decision before taking any action. USCIS has taken several steps to protect our workforce and communities, and to minimize immigration consequences for those seeking to obtain immigration benefits during this time.

USCIS will provide additional updates as the situation develops and follow the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Education and precautions are the strongest tools against COVID-19 infection.

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