U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is publishing an update to its Policy Manual to clarify that a current or former service member who received an uncharacterized discharge may be eligible for naturalization under sections 328 and 329 of the Immigration and Naturalization Act.
Previously, USCIS had interpreted the requirement for a separation “under honorable conditions” in INA 328 and INA 329 to require a separation characterized as either Honorable or General-Under Honorable Conditions. This policy guidance changes the USCIS interpretation of “under honorable conditions” to encompass Uncharacterized discharges as well as Honorable and General-Under Honorable Conditions discharges.
This interpretation aligns with a Department of Defense instruction on the interpretation of discharges and with a recent district court decision. This guidance will be effective upon publication of the Policy Manual update and will apply to all pending and future applications. Applicants whom USCIS previously denied can submit a new application without fee.
USCIS will no longer accept combined fee payments For EB-5, Immigrant Investor Program applications or petitions.
Beginning Sept. 1, 2022, USCIS will no longer accept a single, combined fee payment when an applicant or petitioner files Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Standalone Investor, or Form I-526E, Immigrant Petition by Regional Center Investor, together with Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, Form 131, Application for Travel Document, or Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. Petitioners may combine the fee payment for Forms I-485, I-131 and I-765. However, petitioners must send a separate fee payment for Form I-526 or I-526E.
If a petitioner or applicant submits a single, combined fee payment for Form I-526 or I-526E and the other forms, we will reject the forms for improper fee payment and return the fee.
USCIS is transitioning to electronic processing of immigration benefit requests. As we complete this transition, we will be using multiple systems to receipt and process various types of immigration benefit requests. The Form I-526 and I-526E petitions and related applications are not all processed in the same system, so a separate payment instrument for each of these forms is required. We acknowledge that using multiple checks or payments for petitions and related applications is more burdensome than using one payment. However, we believe that the advantages of electronic processing to both the agency and to the public outweigh the impact of submitting individual fee payments.
For more information on the EB-5 program, visit our EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program webpage. (PR)