Last Friday, December 23, 2016, a day when many law offices were closed and people were traveling home for the holidays, US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) posted numerous new form versions. The forms all have an effective date of December 23, 2016, and the USCIS website indicates that no other versions of the forms are acceptable, apart from the Form I-129. No prior notice or alert of these changes were provided in advance, and many lawyers and practitioners are understandably quite upset.
The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) contacted USCIS and “made it clear that it should have given notice to stakeholders and to demand a grace period during which prior form versions could be submitted.” AILA also noted that vendors who provide immigration forms programs need time to reprogram and update their case management software systems. USCIS responded that while it “strongly encourages” applicants to use the new version of the forms, they are “aware that there may be older editions of the forms that have already been completed and are in the queue to be mailed and/or filed. USCIS said that it will be flexible and will apply discretion when receipting forms, rather than rejecting them outright.”
Affected forms include: I-90, I-102, I-129, I-129CW, I-129F, I-130, I-131, I-131A, I-140, I-191, I-192, I-212, I-290B, I-360, I-485, I-485 Supplement A, I-525, I-539, I-600, I-600A, I-601, I-601A, I-612, I-690, I-694, I-698, I-751, I-765, I-800, I-800A, I-817, I-824, I-910, I-924, I-924A, I-929, I-942, I-942P, N-300, N-336, N-400, N-470, N-600, and N-600K.
We will provide updates as we receive them.
UPDATE DECEMBER 29, 2016:
USCIS released a statement today regarding the new versions of the forms. The release of the new forms, USCIS says, coincided with the date—December 23, 2016—that the updated fee schedule went into effect. While they “strongly encourage” customers to submit these new form versions—which include the new fees and have an edition date of 12/23/16—USCIS indicates that they will accept prior versions of the forms (with the exception of Form N-400) until February 21, 2017. It’s very important to note that all filings postmarked December 23, 2016 or later must include the new fees or USCIS will reject them.
As for the N-400, Application for Naturalization, they will only accept the 12/23/16 edition. The updated forms are currently available only at uscis.gov/forms, where they can be downloaded for free.