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Renewing Your Texas Driver License During Times of COVID19

US Citizens can renew their Texas drive licenses on line generally. (When you renew on line, you are asked to answer the question “Are you a US Citizen?” You check YES or NO.)

BUT what about everyone else who is NOT a US citizen?
1. DPS Driver license offices in Texas were closed in mid-March so an in person renewal is not possible.
2. Per order of the Governor of Texas, expiration dates for driver licenses, commercial driver licenses, and other identification forms have been waived.
3. The waiver or suspension was ordered to be in effect until 60 days after the DPS provides further public notice that normal driver license operations have resumed.
For more information about this waiver, go to the Texas Department of Public Safety’s website.

If you have a nonimmigrant visa classification with a specific expiration date, it is likely your Texas drive license will expire on the date your visa classification or status expires. In the past, you could go to the DPS office and show the USCIS notice of action or receipt showing that a petition or application to extend your status was pending with the USCIS. The DPS office generally would tell you that DPS would have to verify whether there was a pending application or petition. In most cases, you would receive a letter within 30 days or less advising you to come back to the DPS office and the renewal of your license would proceed. That is not possible now but you may continue to drive with the expired driver license pursuant to the COVID19 policy in effect since mid March.

April 2, 2020

COVID-19 & Impact on Immigration for Petitions and Applications Pending with USCIS (March 30, 2020)

The USCIS is continuing to process petitions and applications filed with the agency through its usual lockbox offices.  Receipts are being issued by USCIS with some occasional delays likely related to the number of employees and contractors working at any given time.  Petitions and applications are routed by the lockbox offices to specific regional centers for further processing and adjudication.  (This includes centers located in California, Nebraska, Texas, Vermont, Missouri and the Washington DC area.)  The receipts you receive from USCIS indicate which of these centers will be responsible for your petition and or application.  At some point, USCIS may transfer your petition or application to another center to speed up processing.  Essentially this is a work load adjustment.

USCIS Interviews.  As of March 18, 2020 USCIS ceased all in person interviews at its field offices for two weeks and then extended that date for another week until April 7.  Cancellation notices were sent by email and by mail.  USCIS has also cancelled all naturalization ceremonies for this same time period.  All biometric appointments have been cancelled with all Application Support Centers closed.  Based on President Trump’s social distancing announcement on Sunday, March 29, it seems likely that the cancellation of interviews, biometric appointments, and naturalization ceremonies will continue through the end of April.  Resets of interviews will come from the USCIS.  THERE IS NO NEED TO REQUEST A RESET.

 Waivers of Adjustment Interviews.  At this time, it is unknown whether USCIS may waive some interviews for adjustment of status applicants.  In the past, this had occurred for the parents of US citizens and for employment based applicants and their dependents—unless the applicant had any criminal record, including even minor traffic citations.  Time will tell how this will unfold.

Employment Authorization Documents & Biometrics.    TODAY March 30 the USCIS announced it will utilize the fingerprint records it has for individuals applying for renewals of employment authorization, including DACA applicants. remains to be seen. 

NOTE:  Applicants for Adjustment of Status (I485) seeking renewal of their employment authorization documents (EADs) who  file their I765 applications prior to expiration of their current EADs are authorized to continue their employment for up to 180 days after the expiration date of the current EADs—they must present the USCIS receipt and the soon to expire EAD to the employer.

Regional Service Center Adjudications.  These regional centers are continuing to adjudicate petitions and applications.  This includes the I129 petition filed by employers seeking to classify or extend a range of nonimmigrant visa classifications ranging from H1B to L1 to O1 to R1 among others.  This also includes the I539 applications for dependents of foreign nationals with these types of visa classifications.  This includes I140 immigrant visa petitions.  BUT there is NO premium processing:  it may be resumed in the future.  This includes I130 immigrant visa petitions filed on behalf of qualifying family members who are overseas or who are not eligible to adjust status in the United States.  This includes I129F petitions for fiancé/es of US citizens.  Times for the processing of these petitions varies widely.  Processing times are posted at

Permanent Resident Applications.  How these applications will be adjudicated is unclear at this time.  The National Benefit Center (NBC) in Lee Summit, Missouri handles these applications in terms of review and of scheduling of interviews by USCIS Field Offices.  If an NBC adjudicator determines an application requires additional evidence before it was deemed ready to move to a field office for an interview, then a Request for Evidence would be issued by the NBC.  Since no USCIS field office interviews are occurring at this time, many permanent resident applications are on hold.

Emergencies.  USCIS adjudicators continue to work in field offices on adjudication of applications when individuals had been interviewed but that were pending RFE responses or resolution of other issues.  For emergencies it is possible to contact USCIS customer service by phone and attempt to schedule an in person appointment with USCIS in a local field office.  Generally, USCIS Customer Service has a very narrow view of what constitutes an emergency.

NOTE:  Changes come swiftly.  Stay tuned and stay in unless your work is essential.  And a SHOUT OUT of Thanks to all such essential workers from those in health care to those long haul drivers moving goods and so many others!

STILL THE SAME OLD DIVERSITY VISA LOTTERY (now open for filing online for the 2020 allocation of 50,000 immigrant visas)

YES, the Diversity Visa Lottery is alive and well.  MOST foreign nationals can file from October 3, 2018 through November 6, 2018 so long as they have completed the equivalent of a US high school education or have worked for at least two years within the last five years in a qualifying occupation.

The diversity visa lottery was established by the US Congress almost 30 years ago to increase the number of persons who could immigrate to the United States from countries with historically low rates of immigration.  Individuals born in the following countries are NOT eligible for the 2020 lottery:

Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Phillipines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam.  Note that persons born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan are eligible.

To apply and to get more information about qualification, go to www.dvlottery.state.govMultiple entries will disqualify you!!

Failure to list all your dependents could mean you will not be issued an immigrant visa, if you are chosen for a diversity visa.

Should you apply this year?  YES, as it could be the last year of the diversity visa lottery depending on what Congress does in 2019 in terms of immigration legislation.

Will My DACA status and my work authorization end or what can I do with my DACA status?

As of today, we believe the answer is “It depends.”  The information below is based on initial information and may be revised in the near future. 

FIRST, as of September 5, 2017, NO ONE can file for his or her first DACA.

SECOND, if you have your first DACA application on file with the USCIS, that application may be approved.

THIRD, if you have DACA status that expires on or before March 5, 2018, you can still file an I821D application to renew your status and an I765 application for work authorization—requesting two more years of DACA status. This must be filed before October 5, 2017.

FOURTH, IF your DACA status expires after March 5, 2018, you will not be able to file applications to renew your status.

FIFTH, there will be no more advance paroles granted for persons with DACA.

Now more than ever is the time to become an advocate.  You can contact the senators for your state and the congressman for your district.  But whenever possible, urge your coworkers, your fellow students, your USC relatives, your doctor, your dentist, members of your church to do the same.  Our elected representatives from Texas need to know that many, many us citizens support the bipartisan bills already introduced in congress to allow the DACA population to become permanent residents and to be allowed to remain in the united states.


Is Military Service Required? What is Selective Service Registration?

ALL males in the US, except for those with NONIMMIGRANT status (such as E, F, G, H, L among others), must register for Selective Service with the US Department of Defense, Selective Service between the ages of 18 and 26.  This requirement applies to US Citizen, Permanent Resident, and undocumented males.  This requirement does NOT apply to females. This registration can be completed on-line at or by mailing in a registration card available at US Post Offices and other locations.

This is strictly a Registration.  The United States does NOT have a draft or mandatory military service.

In order to be able to apply for college and university financial aid for federal grants and loans and for some scholarships, a male under 26 would have to be registered for Selective Service.  Otherwise he would not be eligible for the grants and loans.  This could include work study programs at a university.

If a permanent resident male under the age of 31 applies for naturalization (US citizenship) and has failed to register for Selective Service—assuming he was a permanent resident between the ages of 18 and 26—his application could be delayed or even denied in some cases.  (If the applicant did not know about the registration requirement, his affidavit of explanation would be required.)

KEY:  The Selective Service registration is important for all male permanent residents if they became permanent residents before their 26th birthday.