Miscellaneous FAQs, Part I

Surrender of I-94: How can an applicant show eligibility if he or she has surrendered the I-94 to USCIS in applying for adjustment of status to permanent resident?

Ask for other documents the applicant may have that show eligible status. Sometimes, s/he might have an expired passport or work authorization card that showed a previous status. If s/he has no other original documentation showing the earlier status, but has a photocopy of the information and adequate identity documentation, the Office of Refugee Services may be able to verify the earlier status from its database. Otherwise, it may be necessary to request to file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with USCIS to verify the "class of admission."

How do you file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with USCIS to verify an applicant's previous status?

See Chapter 5 for instructions on filing a FOIA request with USCIS or with the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR). The request must be written. USCIS suggests using Form G-639 (see Chapter 5). The latest version of this form can be downloaded from the USCIS website: www.uscis.gov/g-639. EOIR will not accept Form G-639.Be sure to have the client sign the FOIA request and have the signature notarized, as neither USCIS nor EOIR will provide the information unless the individual has given a release for the information to be given to the service provider. USCIS also suggests including a daytime phone number for the requestor in case of questions.

Interim Eligibility with Self-Declaration of Eligible Immigration Status: If an applicant signs a Self-Declaration of Eligible Immigration Status (see Exhibit 5-1), can the individual be served on an interim basis while waiting for further documentation of status from DHS?

No, the Self-Declaration does not replace documentation of an eligible status. The Declaration should be used only when eligibility has been confirmed but other information may be needed. If the continued eligibility of a Cuban or Haitian client in removal proceedings is unclear, for instance, the Self-Declaration could be used while further investigating the issuance of a final order of removal. The Declaration could also be used if you lacked other required information that would not affect eligibility, such as the nationality of a refugee or asylee. Check first with the Office of Refugee Services if uncertain about using the Self-Declaration to provide interim service in a particular situation.

Application for Adjustment: If someone can show a Work Authorization document with a "C09" code, is he or she eligible for refugee program services?

No, since the "C09" code on a work authorization card shows only that the person has applied for permanent resident status. Just as with permanent residents, the person must show that he or she held a prior status that was eligible for services.

Deferred Inspection: Is someone with a “C14” code on the Employment Authorization Document eligible for refugee program services?

No, the “C14” code on the Employment Authorization Document does not demonstrate eligibility. Any of the DHS agencies (ICE, USCIS, CBP) can grant deferred action in unusual circumstances when an applicant has a pending application. For example, a battered spouse might be granted deferred action while waiting for visa availability. The applicant should have some documentation related to the deferred action that may help providers determine if there is a basis for eligibility.

How long should a case remain pending for secondary verification from USCIS?

Setting a suspense date for follow up in two-three weeks is a good idea. If responses are routinely delayed more than a month, alert the Refugee Services (RS) and the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), particularly if a significant number of clients cannot be served at all pending a response.

Alien Number: Can you tell where an applicant entered the United States by his or her alien number or other information about eligibility for refugee programs?

No, the alien number does not provide information on entry point or eligibility. Sometimes providers may see a sequence of numbers for refugees or others who are processed in the same place at the same time.

Incorrect or Missing Alien Number: What should an applicant do if his or her alien number is missing, incorrect or appears to be the same as one assigned to someone else?

If an individual's alien number is missing, appears incorrect or to duplicate the number already assigned to someone else, s/he should contact the nearest DHS/CIS and request assistance. Some offices can resolve the error themselves; in other cases the individual will be instructed what to do next.

Alien Number-Trafficking Victims: Do trafficking victims have to show an alien number?

Victims of severe forms of human trafficking certified by the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Refugee Resettlement, are eligible for benefits and services to the same extent as refugees. Victims of severe forms of human trafficking may not have been issued an alien number and are not required to present DHS documentation of immigration status. The ORR letter is acceptable proof of status and provides the identity, eligible status, and the date of status.

Second Alien Number: Which alien number should be used if an applicant has two alien numbers?

A significant number of individuals applying for adjustment to permanent resident in the summer of 2007 may have been issued documentation with a second alien number to facilitate the processing of receipts by USCIS. In those cases, USCIS has announced that at a future date the newly assigned alien numbers will be reconciled with previous alien numbers that may exist for each applicant and the newly assigned alien number will be deleted. The temporary alien number will also appear on the EAD card. Verify both numbers and document both numbers in the client’s file. The reconciled number should be used in the Refugee Services Data System (RSDS) to identify the client.  If the applicant has two numbers for some other reason, such as use of different names or a second entry, the applicant should notify USCIS and ask for help to reconcile their file number. Contact the Grants Administration Unit at Refugee Services if necessary for help in resolving the issue.