Are your I-140 Petitions and EB I-485 Applications Languishing at the Texas Service Center?
In late 2008, the Texas Service Center (“TSC”) launched a special initiative for AILA members to expedite processing of pending I-140 petitions that have languished beyond the published USCIS processing times as well as pending Employment-Based (EB) I-485 applications for beneficiaries with current Priority Dates according to the monthly Dept. of State (“DOS”) Visa Bulletin. This program, branded the “EB I-485 I-140 Initiative Standard Operating Procedure,” provides a forum for AILA practitioners to notify TSC via a special E-mail address of I-140 petitions and AOS applications that are overripe for processing and should be “streamlined.” By identifying a list of I-140 Receipt Numbers or A numbers for AOS applicants in the text of a single e-mail communication, practitioners can notify officers at TSC to pull these files off the shelf and begin reviewing them before they gather more dust. Sound simple enough? In reality, however, busy practitioners without the benefit of a dedicated Case Management System (“CMS”) might find themselves scrambling on a monthly basis to pore through stacks of physical files to conduct the necessary analysis of their docket of pending EB cases in order to come up with the necessary information to e-mail to TSC. Consider the number of steps and time investment involved for your time-pressed legal staff to complete the following procedure on a monthly basis:
1. Review the DOS Visa Bulletin each month to determine the latest Priority Dates for EB preference categories.
2. Generate monthly spreadsheets or review other tracking mechanisms (if any) to determine which Foreign Nationals with pending EB I-485 cases at TSC have visa numbers that have just become available.
3. Pull the physical case files for these Foreign Nationals to find their A numbers.
4. Locate the special email address to send the expedited “Streamline” request to TSC.
5. Generate an e-mail to TSC and list the A numbers in the text message area of the e-mail and send.
6. Print multiple copies of or photocopy the e-mail message and place hard copies into each Foreign National’s physical file to document sending TSC expedite notification for each person.
7. Repeat a similar procedure for Pending I-140s that fall outside the published processing times by consulting the monthly TSC Processing Report.
Sound like a lot of time-consuming work? It is! By contrast, practitioners with a CMS like LawLogix EDGE at their disposal can simply update a single customized Visa Priority Date report (see our prior blog on intelligent visa priority tracking) once a month with the click of a button to provide all the necessary information to send to TSC.
Start by customizing your Priority Date report to show pending I-140’s and EB I-485’s with case Filing Dates, Receipt Number and client A number information. After this one-time customization has been setup, your work is basically done for you by the CMS, and this time consuming project can be completed very quickly and efficiently in three easy steps going forward:
1. Update and review your CMS monthly Visa Priority Date report to locate applicants with current priority dates and Employment Based AOS Processes filed with TSC.
2. Generate a secure E-mail message within your CMS to the TSC Streamline Notification Email address which can be stored in your system’s Address Book for future ease of reference. The A numbers identified on the report in Step 1 above can be inserted on separate lines in the Message field.
3. Before sending the message, include a cc of the E-mail to each Foreign National’s electronic file in your CMS (without requiring to send them separate e-mails) so you can effortlessly document which individuals were included in the monthly Request to Expedite email sent to TSC.
And that’s all there is to it! For tracking I-140 Petitions that are taking longer than the projected processing times, the same Priority Date report can be used to generate the list of I-140 Receipt numbers (annotated with filing dates) to send a separate system generated e-mail to TSC. So by all means take advantage of the special initiative for expediting those languishing I-140 and Employment Based AOS cases at the Texas Service Center, but do not take up a lot of your or your staff’s valuable time in doing so. Rely on CMS reporting and communication tools like those found in LawLogix EDGE to quickly perform the analysis for you. Your Foreign Nationals and your staff will thank you!
Want to learn more about this time saving feature? Current EDGE clients can contact Customer Support hereor by calling us at 602-357-4240 ext. 2 for complete details. New clients interested in learning more about the LawLogix EDGE system can contact us here or call 602-357-4240 ext. 1. Also, please visit our website at www.lawlogix.com for general information.