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Expansion of HHS J-1 Waiver for Clinical Care Physicians

The US Department of Health and Human Services recently expanded the scope of its waiver of the two-year home residency requirement

The former waiver was available only to physicians working at Federally Qualified Community Health Centers (CHC), as designated by the government. The expanded waiver allows any facility, such as a hospital or private practice, to apply for an HHS waiver as long as the facility has an HSPA score of at least 7 and the physician will provide primary care treatment. 

Information about the waiver is available at https://www.hhs.gov/about/agencies/oga/about-oga/what-we-do/visitor-exchange-program/supplementary-b-clinical-care.html .

USCIS may reopen on June 4 for US naturalizations/citizenship

Today I received a message from the New England Chapter of AILA (American Immigration Lawyers Association) informing me that USCIS offices in Massachusetts plan to bring workers back into its offices on June 1 and reopen to the public on June 4 for limited services.

Once reopened, USCIS will focus on scheduled small-batch naturalization ceremonies. Also, USCIS will begin scheduling N-400 interviews.

We do not have information about when green-card/adjustment interviews, biometrics, or other in-person services will resume in Massachusetts.

Is your Green Card or I-751 Extension Letter expiring while USCIS is closed?

AILA has issued guidance on how to request an I-551 stamp in your passport if your green card and/or your I-751 Extension Letter expire while USCIS is closed through June 4 (or later).

AILA reports that by calling the USCIS hotline number, you can request an appointment at your local USCIS office to get an I-551 for emergency reasons. There is no list of emergency reasons that make it clear when USCIS will or will not allow you to go to the USCIS office for an I-551 stamp. Possible reasons could include that the I-551 stamp is needed to prove work authorization or for necessary international travel. AILA’s practice advisory notes that USCIS has not stated whether an expiring state driver’s license that can only be renewed with a valid I-551 will be reason enough for an emergency USCIS appoinment.

The USCIS customer service number is 1-800-898-7180.

USCIS Closure Extends to June 4, 2020

USCIS has extended its closure of in-person services until at least June 4, 2020. If you have an appointment scheduled between now and June 4, you can expect that it is cancelled and that USCIS will send you a notice regarding the cancellation and future rescheduling of the appointment.

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