Office of the Center Director 24000 Avila Road
California Service Center P. O. Box 30040
Laguna Niguel, CA 92607-0040


NAFSA SUMMARY AND QUESTIONS

CSC/NAFSA Liaison Meeting

Date: June 13, 2001


SUMMARY:

The delay in cashing checks and issuing receipt notices has been due to a "front log" in the mailroom at the CSC. Presently, I-129's are current, all I-765's are in files, but have not yet been receipted or been through data entry. Very soon they expect I-765's to be processed within 90 days, however they may then slow up again due to overwhelming case loads in other areas. In addition, for cases where there are returned RFE's (Request for Further Evidence), there has been no matching of cases after April 30.

There will be a new email address for EAD concerns by the beginning of July. Meanwhile, EAD problem cases can be sent to the [email protected] the mailbox for Division I concerns (I-539's etc). In the subject line of the message put either "Division III Inquiry" or "I-765 Inquiry". It is still possible to fax inquiries, also.

Students who have applied for an EAD prior to completing the 9 month in status time because they are on a one year program, are definitely eligible to apply. If they have been denied, it has been in error. To rectify this error, send a message to Elliott Cook of Division III through the mailbox listed above. In the meantime, they should use the interim card process through the District office.

For I-129 inquiries, Division II has a new email box: [email protected] Premium processing for H-1B's is expected to go into effect on July 30, 2001.

There is no longer any backlog on waiver cases. The I-612 & I-129 approvals should be received within days of each other. For waiver problems, fax Division V, attention Joe Hackbarth.

For changes of address, it is best to call the telephone # on the I-797 receipt notice to report it, or send the CSC a change of address card with the WAC# on it. (Do not notify Division VII as was previously reported.)

There was some confusion at the meeting about red-striped envelopes for the RFEs. It seems some people were receiving them and some were not. Besides, the envelopes are usually too small to use for the evidence which needs to be returned. It is helpful to place the specially-coded envelopes on the outside of the RFE so INS can easily determine where to route it. Mary will look into why these envelopes aren't uniformly being sent out.

 

QUESTIONS:

DIVISION I:

Question: In the past, it has been possible-on a case by case basis only-for certain I-539's (for example, a change of status to J-1 visiting scholar from F-1 Student) to be treated as an "expedite" if there was an offer of employment. As of 5/11/2001 JIT, I-539's have a data entry date of 7/28/2000-a backlog of approximately one-year. Might it be possible to continue requesting and obtaining an expedite when the COS from one status to another involves an offer of employment?

Answer: CSC will continue to entertain these requests.

 

Question: Address the conversion problem at CSC.

Answer: The conversion problem has been corrected.

 

Question: Address the fax receipt problem at CSC.

Answer: The fax receipt problem has been corrected. The Fax machine in Division I has been repaired.

 

Question: An inquiry was sent to Division I regarding an expedite on a change of status from L-2 to J-1. They responded by saying they are working on cases filed in July, which most likely means they have declined to expedite it. At one time there was an agreement that CSC would expedite COS applications to F-1 and J-1 if employment was part of the visa status. Please explain the status of this procedure. This will become more serious as we approach the fall term.

Answer: We will continue to entertain these cases.

 

Question: Checks are still not being cased/receipt notices are still not being sent out. One case involves an I-140 (Fed Ex confirmed delivery 4/19/01) and another is an Adjustment of Status applicant (Post Office confirmed delivery 5/7/01). Please Update regarding cashing of checks, and sending of receipt notices.

Answer: The cashing of checks and printing of receipt notices is delayed due to the increase in mailroom receipts resulting from The Life Act. In some instances, depending on form type, receipts have tripled. The CSC has implemented an aggressive plan to work off the front log. We are currently processing I-140's with the mail receipt of April 24 and I-485's with the mail

Receipt date of April 23.

 

DIVISION II:

Question: The receipt notices for H-1B's are late and come back "all over the place". As an example, I always send our applications with USPS return receipt. Even those are not sent back. Yesterday, I received one for an application sent in late April-But still no official CSC receipt notices for that file, nor any H-1B applications sent in early May.

Answer: The delay in receipt notices is based on a large front log with our contractor. This delay is impacting applications and petitions across CSC Divisions. A month long overtime project was created two weeks ago to address the front log problem. All previously front-logged I-129's were current and on the shelves as of June 1, 2001, in order to enable us to efficiently begin our Premium Processing. Receipt notices should be arriving at the petitioner's addresses daily now. If you are still concerned about an I-129 petition that was filed with CSC before June 1, 2001, feel free to write to Sheila at [email protected]

 

Question: Yesterday, I received an RFE for an H-1B application with COS from J-1 for a Chinese researcher. I had attached a copy of his CSC receipt notice for Form I-612 (Application to Waive Foreign Residence Requirement). I thought we had an agreement with CSC that the adjudicating officer would "pull" the waiver application and approve the COS based on that receipt? Or Not?

Answer: Regarding J's with the two-year residency requirement, it is the current policy of Division II to look in our CLAIMS system for and "no objection" I-612 that has been or can be adjudicated. If it has been adjudicated favorably for the beneficiary, the job is complete. If it can be, the officer will pull the file, adjudicate it and the I-129 accordingly.

The "no objection" I-612's were not a high priority for the Division that had them previously. However, after a meeting with the management of Division II and Division V (the Division currently responsible for waivers and no objection letters). Division V hascompleted 400+ "no objection" I-612's that were backlogged.

Since the petitioner provided a "no objection" I-612 receipt notice, it seems the RFE for this particular beneficiary was in error. Please e-mail Sheila at [email protected] with the WAC number and she will be happy to review the case.

 

Question: Related to the RFE's: I'm concerned that my RFE response will be filed with any other incoming new I-129 application-especially with the current mess with the "Contractor" of creating receipts. Per instructions I have to return my RFE to the regular the regular I-129 box. About three months ago, when I had an RFE, I was told to send it to Box 10590, in a specially coded return envelope. So, what's up?

Answer: If the RFE documentation is sent with the blue cover sheet which clearly lists the appropriate WAC number, there should be no problem. All RFE's should be sent to the RFE address that is listed on the red-striped envelopes.

 

Question: Line Quinsat, from Scripps Research Institute, would like to comment on the following: INS Agrees to Cease Denying H-1B Extensions based on the LCA date.

As previously reported, the Nebraska Service Center has been denying H-1B extensions where the "start" date inserted by the Department of Labor on the labor conditions application was after the date that the H-1B status expired. This problem came about because DOL has been inserting the date the LCA is processed as the "start" date, which, because of substantial delays in LCA processing, could be several weeks after the LCA was filed. Often, the extension request was filed with INS without the certified LCA in order to ensure that the petition was timely filed. Thus, when the LCA is later added to the filing, it has a later "start" date.

In an agreement between INS, DOL and AILA, the INS will treat as the "start" date, the date that the employer signed the LCA. If there is an issue with the signature date, INS will use the date the LCA was sent to DOL, as evidenced by the employer's proof of filing (usually the fax machine's "send" report). Therefore,it is important that the evidence of when the LCA was filed be submitted to the INS whenever an LCA that has not yet been Certified is used in the filing.

This agreement is reflected in the minutes of the May 10, 2001, ISD Teleconference. Those minutes have been approved by INS, and thus are suitable for presentation to INS if questions should arise.

Handling of extension requests that already have been denied on this basis is still under discussion, and that information will be posted to InfoNet as soon as it is available.

Answer: CSC is aware of this problem and, as of 5/16/01 upon advice of headquarters, has agreed to consider the date the ETA-9035 was signed by the employers as the valid from date rather than using the date electronically assigned by DOL on all LCA's sent after February 5, 2001.

On cases that were denied or adversely impacted based solely On the LCA date, please contact Sheila via the Division II.NAFSA email and she will pull the cases for review for a possible Service Motion to correct the error.

 

DIVISION III:

Question: I have had the fifth student come in this week who applied for EAD in middle to late February who reported that they had been informed either through TIERS or via local INS office Inquiry that an RFE was being sent to collect more information. In the past four years I have not had this many. I realize the Division III e-mail to Bert and Elliott is not operating, and Elliott was gone during this time frame. What is going wrong?

Answer: Without knowing what evidence is being requested, we cannot say why there has been an increase in requests for evidence.

 

Regarding those one year degree program people who applied Within 90 days of completion requesting permission to work after the completion of the program and 9 months of study. It was denied with the standard denial reference having had to complete nine months of study to apply. I have heard nothing in response to e-mail or fax. What can be done? I am having the student reapply just in case the situation is not resolved. It will be helpful to learn how NAFSA'ns are going to resolve these situations in the future.

Answer: The one year degree program people should not be denied for not having nine months of study. This would be error on the adjudicator's part.

 

Question: We URGENTLY need CSC to bring back [email protected] so problem cases can be solved more efficiently. The fax system does not appear to be working, and we cannot solve problems without direct contact with the INS. We are overwhelmed with CSC issues (problems) that in the past year were resolved by contacting the INS at the emailbox address. When will CSC bring back a way to contact Division III by e-mail?

Answer: There have been numerous technical problems with the e-mail system. The mailbox will be re-activated but the address may change. We expect to have the Division III mailbox back online by the end of June.

 

Question: In regards to correcting an EAD with errors, the CSC Had suggested that the DSO(and not the student) return the EAD to The following address:

California Service Center

24000 Avila Road, 2d Floor

Laguna Niguel, CA 92677

A special notation on the envelope should read "to be opened by the addressee only, work station 66." The CSC has stated that when they received the card the "system will be updated showing the EAD was destroyed and a re-Placement EAD ordered." We would like to know if this system is Still in place, and how long it takes for a replacement card to be issued. Also, since the replacement card will take nearly 80-90 Days to obtain can the student surrender the EAD card later, for Example after finding employment or traveling back home?

Could a new card be ordered by submitting a scanned copy of The EAD to the CSC by e-mail? If the request could be made by e-mail, would the CSC honor such a request if the original EAD is returned later?

Answer: If the I-765 is still at the Service Center, the replacement can be issued within three to five working days after receipt of the incorrect card. If the I-765 has been sent out to the National Records Center, it could take up to 30 days to issue the corrected card.

The replacement EAD will not be issued without receipt of the actual incorrect card. If the student wishes to surrender the card after travel or obtaining employment, that is their option. The corrections will be made and the replacement issued.

Keep in mind that the start date will remain as on the original EAD if that was not the error.

 

Question: Are the I-797 receipts for the I-765 OPT EAD applications showing the actual received date or is the date later due to delays in the mailroom?

Answer: The receipt notice will show the actual date the I-765 Was received in the Service Center.

 

GENERAL PROCEDURES COMMENTS:

The CSC must reinstate the e-mail contact for critical cases (lost files, and late adjudications) routine corrections-(spelling errors, etc.)-the fax system is not working. Division II has an e-mail system in place. The e-mail address is: [email protected]

When all other avenues have failed,and it is time to call the Director's Office, no one answers the phone. After 50-60 Rings,a voice comes on the line saying no one is answering, your Call is being disconnected. Please comment.

The phone in the Front Office is extremely busy at alltimes, but especially since the LIFE ACT. If you cannot get through, try the e-mail process or contact the NAFSA Liason.

 
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