USCIS Announces New Notice of Entry of Appearance Forms for Attorneys and Accredited Representatives
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced (PDF) that a revised Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative (Form G-28) and a new Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney in Matters Outside the Geographical Confines of the United States (Form G-28I) have been issued.
USCIS is providing a “grace period” until October 30, 2009, so that G-28s currently in the mail will be considered valid when received at the USCIS Lockbox facility or USCIS Service Center. After October 30, any previous versions of the G-28 that are received will be considered invalid. All G-28s filed before October 30 will be honored for previously filed cases as long as the G-28 was properly completed by an eligible attorney or accredited representative. The new G-28 is not required for receiving updates or interviews unless a new attorney is representing the applicant.
The new G-28I is for use by attorneys admitted to practice law who seek to appear before the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in matters outside of the U.S. Acceptance by a DHS entity of a completed G-28I does not itself constitute approval by the DHS entity for the attorney to represent the applicant or petitioner in the matter for which the G-28I was filed. The G-28I may not be filed for matters in DHS offices within the U.S.
The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has noted concerns with the short implementation timeframe for the new forms, as well as other issues, including the fact that the revised G-28 requires marking the form with specific USCIS form numbers to which the attorney’s appearance is related. AILA also noted that the revised form has separate areas that would be filled out if the matter is before Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or Customs and Border Protection (CBP). In practice, AILA noted, this could have serious implications where related issues are handled by different components of the Department of Homeland Security, such as when a file is transferred from USCIS to ICE for investigation.