Q Now that the INS has been abolished what will happen to my pending application?

A Even though the INS has been renamed the “Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services” (BCIS) and is now part of the Department of Homeland Security, all five of the service centers and all of the district Offices are still operating. Your application will be processed as usual (i.e., slowly).

Q I can no longer access the INS Web site. Does it still exist?

A Yes. It is now called the BCIS Web site. You can access it at or at

Q Didn’t the filing fees for immigration applications drop in January?

A Yes, they did. The average filing fee dropped 25 percent on Jan. 24, but if you didn’t already submit your application, it is too late since the discount rates expired on Feb. 27.

Q I am subject to Special Registration. Will I be arrested if I register? What happens if I don’t register?

A If you are illegally present in the U.S., you risk deportation. On the other hand, if you willfully fail to register you may forever lose your right to obtain any immigration benefits in the future.

Q I applied for adjustment of status over a year ago, but since then I have been laid off from my job. Will my application will denied? If so, what happens then?

A Since your application has been pending for over 180 days, you may be able to take advantage of the “180-day portability” rule. You must find another job in the same or a similar occupation, and notify the government of your change of employment.

Q I have been offered employment as a nursing supervisor. I have a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Am I eligible for an H-1B visa?

A You very well might be. See the INS memorandum on this subject

Q I am a medical resident who will finish my residency at the end of June. I am subject to the two-year home residency requirement. What are my options?

A Your options are plentiful and are increas-ing daily. Most state departments of health sponsor up to 30 physicians per year for J waivers. Also, a number of federal agencies also sponsor physicians for J waivers. In the next month, two more federal agencies will begin to sponsor physicians—the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Delta Regional Authority (DRA). For more information, see

Carl Shusterman is a former INS Trial Attorney and a specialist in immigration and naturalization law. You can reach him at (213)

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