General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Division

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Practice Area Newsletter

American Bar Association - Defending Liberty, Pursuing Justice

Summer 2008

Vol. 4, No. 4

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No Need for Concern If You Have I-140 Receipt Notices on Which the EB Category Is Listed As “Unknown”

In the wake of 300,000 filings made between July 2007 and August 17, 2007, there have been many inquiries made about the issuance of I-140 receipt notices that indicate the employment-based (EB) category as “unknown.”  This has caused concern among individuals uncertain as to which category their case has been assigned. The USCIS has stated that this is a result of its exercising its discretion to eliminate the designation (that would require a clerk to first review the file to determine the category). In order to expedite the processing, given the heavy volume of filings  received, USCIS determined to dispense with including the designation, but has also indicated this will not have any effect on the validity of any petition.

In most cases, the notation of “unknown” on the I-140 petitions is not a result of any error by the applicant or USCIS’s processing department. Due to the increase of I-140/I-485 filings during the summer of 2007, USCIS was forced to streamline its processing procedure in order to ensure that receipt notices were processed and delivered to the applicants in a timely manner. Even with USCIS’s recognition of the need for speed, it took 10–12 weeks after August 17, 2007, to confirm the issuance of any appreciable number of receipts. This delay occurred even though the USCIS directed the receipting contractors to enter only the data fields that are required to process filings in order to expedite processing. USCIS has been indicating the correct EB category on the I-140 approval notices and add any additional information not initially indicated during the first screening process when the USCIS examiner reviews the petition.

You should still check all receipts carefully, however. There are many errors, including first and last name reverses, spelling errors, Country of Birth, and Date of Birth errors. If you see these types of errors, you should contact USCIS or your legal counsel to seek a correction.

Neil S. Dornbaum and Kathleen Peregoy are members of Dornbaum & Peregoy LLC Newark, New Jersey. Their practice is limited to immigration and naturalization with special emphasis on employment-based immigration. The firm is listed in Martindale-Hubbell’s “Preeminent Lawyers,” and both members are listed in “Best Lawyers in America.” They also appear in New Jersey Magazine’s listing of “Top Lawyers” for their work in immigration law, and the “Super Lawyers” publications.

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