By Jen Riddle
This month, USCIS published revised versions of Form G-28, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative, and the accompanying instructions. Beginning on April 13, 2015, all applicants and representatives must submit the new version of the G-28 form (edition date: 3/5/2015).
Notably, applicants will be able to inform USCIS how they would like to receive any case notices and secure documents. Part 4 of the new G-28 includes two boxes where applicants may request whether they would like USCIS to send notices on applications/petitions (receipt notices, biometric notices, approval notices, denials, notices of intent to deny, requests for evidence, including notices that include a tear-off Form I-94) either directly to them or to their legal representatives instead. Likewise, applicants may elect whether secure identity documents (such as permanent resident cards, work authorization documents, advance parole travel documents, naturalization certificates, and certificates of citizenship) should be mailed to them or to their representatives. USCIS indicates that it will still send courtesy copies of the two types of documents to the applicant. However, for applicants who file a victim protection request (such as T and U nonimmigrants and VAWA applicants), USCIS will send all notices and secure documents to the legal representative or person who signed as a preparer unless the applicant provides a different safe address.
These are changes that CLINIC advocated for with USCIS during the comment period on the proposed revisions last summer. The hope is that the option for an applicant to choose to have notices and identity documents mailed to a secure, permanent address will prevent the loss of such important paperwork. This option is of particular value to domestic violence victims who will be able to obtain important benefits documents without the risk of their abusers intercepting them in the mail as well as to immigrants who frequently move.
For cases submitted with a G-28 before April 13, 2015, USCIS will continue to send notices to the legal representative on record and no action is required by either the representative or the applicant. There is no need for a new G-28 to be filed for these cases unless the applicant wants to request that secure documents be sent to the legal representative, change their legal representative, or withdraw their legal representative. If an applicant wants documents mailed to the representative, he or she should submit a new Form G-28 to the USCIS office where the case is pending indicating the change in mailing preference. Applicants with old G-28s on file who want to change their legal representative should submit a new G-28 signed by their new representative (that also indicates their mailing preferences). Finally, applicants who wish to withdraw their legal representative should send a letter to USCIS stating that they wish to continue their case without any representation. Click here to read USCIS guidance on filing the new Form G-28.
Other minor additions and edits to the new G-28 form include:
- Legal representatives and applicants who have previously established an account in the USCIS Electronic Immigration System (USCIS ELIS) are asked to provide their USCIS ELIS account number
- Legal representatives are now asked for their fax number and mobile telephone number (if any)
- Applicants are now asked for their daytime telephone number, mobile telephone number (if any) and email address (if any), and
- The language of the form is edited to allow an individual being represented to identify himself or herself as a Requestor (in addition to the previous options of identifying as an Applicant, Petitioner, or Respondent).