On September 12, 2011, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services changed their long standing practice for the distribution of original approval notices for petitions and applications seeking immigration benefits, including the change or extension of nonimmigrant stay. Notices have previously been sent to counsel of record, but now are sent directly to the petitioner or applicant. Employers and individuals have immediately noted several unattended consequences of this change in long-standing policy.
Many approval notices include a revised or extended Form I-94, Arrival and Departure Record. This original document advises foreign nationals of their current nonimmigrant status and the date on which that status expires. Many governmental agencies, including the state motor vehicle departments, will not provide services to foreign nationals (for example, a driver’s license) unless the original document is provided. The distribution to the petitioner, usually the employer, complicates this process.