[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 209 (Wednesday, October 29, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 64299-64305]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-25622]


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DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

8 CFR Part 103

[CIS No. 2517-11; Docket No. USCIS-2012-0006]
RIN 1615-AC01


Notices of Decisions and Documents Evidencing Lawful Status

AGENCY: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, DHS.

ACTION: Final rule; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is amending its
regulations governing when U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
(USCIS) will issue correspondence, notices of decisions, and documents
evidencing lawful status in the United States to an applicant,
petitioner, attorney, or accredited representative. Specifically, this
final rule explains how USCIS will issue requests, notices, cards, and
original documents to applicants, petitioners, and their attorneys or
accredited representatives of record. This final rule also amends the
regulations to allow represented applicants to specifically consent to
and request that any notices, decisions, and secure identity documents
be sent solely to the official business address of the applicants'
attorney or accredited representative, as reflected on a properly
executed Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited
Representative. Further, through this final rule, DHS clarifies USCIS
notification practices relating to represented parties. These changes
will conform USCIS notice procedures to account for the full range of
stakeholder norms, including industry preferences, in response to
stakeholder comments.

DATES: Effective Date: This final rule is effective on January 27,
2015.
Comment Date: Written comments on the final rule must be submitted
on or before December 29, 2014. Written comments on the Paperwork
Reduction Act (PRA) section of this final rule (regarding the revisions
to the Form G-28, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or
Accredited Representative and Form G-28I, Notice of Entry of Appearance
as Attorney in Matters Outside the Geographic Confines of the United
States) must be submitted on or before November 28, 2014.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by DHS docket number
USCIS-2012-0006 by one of the following methods:
Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.
Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
Email: You may submit comments directly to USCIS by email
at uscisfrcomment@uscis.dhs.gov. Include DHS docket number USCIS-2012-
0006 in the subject line of the message.
Mail: Comments may be submitted to: DHS, USCIS, Office of
Policy and Strategy, Chief, Regulatory Coordination Division, 20
Massachusetts Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20529-2140. To ensure proper
handling, please reference DHS docket number USCIS-2012-0006 on your
correspondence. This mailing address may be used for paper, disk, or
CD-ROM submissions.
Hand Delivery/Courier: Laura Dawkins, Chief, Regulatory
Coordination Division, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services,
Department of Homeland Security, 20 Massachusetts Avenue NW.,
Washington, DC 20529-

[[Page 64300]]

2140. Contact Telephone Number is (202) 272-8377.
Please refer to the PRA section of this final rule for
instructions on how to submit comments regarding the revisions to Form
G-28, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited
Representative and Form G-28I, Notice of Entry of Appearance as
Attorney in Matters Outside the Geographic Confines of the United
States).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Minas Khoudaghoulian, Chief,
Adjustment and Naturalization Branch, Service Center Operations
Directorate, Washington, DC, 20 Massachusetts Ave. NW., Washington, DC
20529. Email: Minas.Khoudaghoulian@uscis.dhs.gov. Telephone: (202) 272-
1785.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Public Participation

All interested parties are invited to participate in this
rulemaking by submitting written data, views, or arguments on all
aspects of this final rule. DHS and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration
Services (USCIS) also invite comments that relate to the economic,
environmental, or federalism effects that might result from this final
rule. Comments that will provide the most assistance to USCIS in
implementing these changes will reference a specific portion of the
final rule, explain the reason for any recommended change, and include
data, information, or authority that supports a recommended change.
Instructions: All submissions must include the agency name and DHS
Docket No. USCIS-2012-0006 for this rulemaking. Regardless of the
method used for submitting comments or material, all submissions will
be posted, without change, to the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov, and will include any personal information you
provide. Therefore, submitting this information makes it public. You
may wish to consider limiting the amount of personal information that
you provide in any voluntary public comment submission you make to DHS.
DHS may withhold information provided in comments from public viewing
that it determines may impact the privacy of an individual or is
offensive. For additional information, please read the Privacy Act
notice that is available via the link in the footer of http://www.regulations.gov.
Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or
comments received, go to http://www.regulations.gov.

II. Background

USCIS generally sends original notices and documents to the
applicant or petitioner who requested the immigration benefit. See 8
CFR 103.2(b)(19). Under certain limited circumstances, notices to an
unrepresented applicant or petitioner may be sent to a location or
person designated by the applicant or petitioner. Examples of such
situations would include a Violence Against Women Act self-petitioner
who provides a ``safe'' address for mail or an applicant who is subject
to legal guardianship. If the applicant or petitioner is represented by
an attorney or accredited representative (collectively referred to as
representatives), USCIS also will send a courtesy copy of such notices
and documents to the representative. See 8 CFR 103.2(a)(3), 292.5(a).
In this rule, DHS updates and clarifies how applicants, petitioners,
and their representatives will be notified of actions taken on their
immigration benefit requests.
Prior to 1994, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS),\1\
generally mailed two copies of every approval and denial notice in
cases in which the applicant or petitioner was represented--one to the
representative and one to the applicant or petitioner. See Changes in
Processing Procedures for Certain Applications and Petitions for
Immigration Benefits, 59 FR 1455, 1463 (Jan. 11, 1994). In 1991, as
part of a broader rule designed to simplify and streamline filing and
processing of immigration benefits, INS proposed new notice procedures.
See Changes in Processing Procedures for Certain Applications and
Petitions for Immigration Benefits, 56 FR 61201, 61207 (Dec. 2, 1991).
Specifically, INS proposed that, where an applicant or petitioner is
represented, all notices, cards and documents issued at approval would
be sent to that representative. Documents produced after an approval
notice was sent out, however, would be mailed directly to the
applicant, with no confirmation to the representative. Id. Commenters
on that proposed rule pointed to past problems with attorneys and
accredited representatives receiving courtesy copies and argued that
INS should continue to issue separate notices as a safeguard. See 59 FR
1455. INS agreed with the commenters and in the final rule required
that separate notices would be sent to the applicant or petitioner and
his or her authorized representative. Id. at 1463.
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\1\ The Homeland Security Act of 2002 transferred primary
authority for the administration and enforcement of the immigration
and naturalization laws to the Secretary of Homeland Security. See
Public Law 107-296, section 1102(2), 116 Stat. 2135 (Nov. 25, 2002),
as amended by Pub. L. 108-7, section 105(a)(1), 117 Stat. 11 (Feb.
20, 2003) (codified at 8 U.S.C. 1103(a)); see also 6 U.S.C. 271(b)
(transfer of INS immigration benefits adjudication functions to
USCIS).
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III. Reason for This Change

On August 29, 2011, DHS published a final rule addressing USCIS's
transformation initiative--a program to change USCIS business processes
from a paper-based process to an electronic environment. Immigration
Benefits Business Transformation, Increment I, 76 FR 53764 (Aug. 29,
2011) (August 2011 final rule). The August 2011 final rule removed
references to form numbers, form titles, expired regulatory provisions,
and descriptions of internal procedures, many of which will change as
USCIS transitions from paper forms to its electronic immigration system
USCIS Electronic Immigration System, also known as USCIS ELIS. DHS did
not alter substantive provisions of the regulations but updated
language in the regulations to facilitate filing and adjudication in an
electronic environment. Among the provisions amended in the August 2011
final rule was 8 CFR 103.2(b)(19), which governs how USCIS will notify
applicants, petitioners, and their representatives of actions taken on
their immigration benefit requests. See 76 FR at 53780. Before the
August 2011 rule, 8 CFR 103.2(b)(19) provided that notices and secure
documents would go directly to the applicant or petitioner, where the
applicant and petitioner were unrepresented. The rule also provided
that when applicants or petitioners were represented, USCIS would also
send notices to the attorney of record or accredited representative. In
the August 2011 final rule, DHS revised 8 CFR 103.2(b)(19). See 76 FR
at 53781.
In response to the August 2011 final rule, many USCIS stakeholders,
including several large employers, colleges, universities, and law
firms, asked USCIS to clarify its notification process. Some
stakeholders noted that it is a common business practice for employers
to have their representatives receive and distribute documents to their
international workforce. They also noted that USCIS has routinely sent
original notices to attorneys or accredited representatives. The
stakeholders asked USCIS to clarify that the August 2011 final rule did
not change this practice and urged that USCIS maintain its current
practice.
DHS agrees that a clarification is needed. DHS has been informed by
stakeholders that large corporations,

[[Page 64301]]

universities, and employers of foreign workers prefer having notices or
decisions regarding petitions they have filed on behalf of their
employees sent to one centralized location, such as the corporation's
in house counsel, the employer's legal representative, or the company's
human resources department. As previously stated, USCIS will continue
its prior practice of sending original notices for benefit requests to
attorneys or accredited representatives. Nevertheless, DHS does not
believe that the current regulations are sufficiently clear on this
point.
Consequently, in this final rule, DHS will amend its regulations in
several ways. First, USCIS will clarify that it will send notices only
to the applicant or petitioner when the applicant or petitioner is
unrepresented. See new 8 CFR 103.2(b)(19)(i). Second, if USCIS has been
properly notified that the person or entity filing the benefit request
is represented by an attorney or accredited representative recognized
by the Department of Justice, Board of Immigration Appeals, USCIS will
send notices to the applicant or petitioner who filed the benefit
request and to their attorney or accredited representative of record.
See new 8 CFR 103.2(b)(19)(ii)(A). Third, if provided for in the
applicable form, form instructions, or regulations for a specific
benefit request, an applicant or petitioner may request that USCIS send
original notices and documents only to the official business address of
their attorney or accredited representative, as reflected on a properly
executed Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited
Representative, with a courtesy copy being sent to the applicant or
petitioner for their records. See id. Fourth, for applications or
petitions filed electronically, USCIS will notify both the applicant or
petitioner and the authorized attorney or accredited representative
electronically of any notices or decisions. Electronic notification
will not be provided, however, if the applicant or petitioner
specifically requests to receive paper notices or decisions by mail, or
if USCIS determines that issuing a paper notice or decision for an
electronically-filed application or petition is warranted. See new 8
CFR 103.2(b)(19)(ii)(B). Fifth, USCIS has codified its current practice
of sending Form I-797, Notice of Action, as an approval notice with a
tear-off I-94, Arrival-Departure Record, to the applicant's or
petitioner's attorney or accredited representative. Currently,
applicants who are approved for an extension of stay or change of
status receive a Form I-797, Notice of Action that has a tear-off I-94,
which the applicant can use as evidence of his or her current lawful
status. For applicants or petitioners who are represented, USCIS will
continue to send these notices only to the official business address of
their attorneys or accredited representatives, as reflected on a
properly executed Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or
Accredited Representative, unless the applicant or petitioner
specifically request that USCIS instead send it to his or her mailing
address. Finally, USCIS will continue to send original secure
identification documents, such as Permanent Resident Cards and
Employment Authorization Documents, only to the applicant or petitioner
(when the alien is a self-petitioner), unless the applicant or self-
petitioner specifically consents to having the secure identification
document sent to his or her attorney of record or accredited
representative. The Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or
Accredited Representative or the online representative account profile
in USCIS's electronic immigration system must reflect the official
business address of the attorney or accredited representative in the
address section. See new 8 CFR 103.2(b)(19)(iii). These changes will
conform USCIS's notice procedures with industry norms in response to
stakeholder comments.

IV. Statutory and Regulatory Requirements

A. Administrative Procedure Act

The Administrative Procedure Act (APA) requires DHS to provide
public notice and seek public comment on substantive regulations. See 5
U.S.C. 553. The APA, however, provides limited exceptions to this
requirement for notice and public comment, including for ``rules of
agency organization, procedure or practice.'' 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(A).
This final rule addresses requirements that are procedural in
nature and does not alter the substantive rights of individuals. In
this final rule, DHS clarifies policies for sending notices, copies,
and originals of correspondence, decisions, and secure identification
documents to applicants, petitioners, attorneys and accredited
representatives. These minor changes to USCIS mailing procedures do not
alter a substantive right. Therefore, since this final rule is
procedural, notice and opportunity for public comment are not required.
See 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(A). DHS nevertheless invites comments on this final
rule and will consider all timely comments submitted during the public
comment period as described in the ``Addresses'' section.

B. Regulatory Flexibility Act

The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) mandates that DHS conduct a
regulatory flexibility analysis when it publishes any general notice of
proposed rulemaking. 5 U.S.C. 603(a). RFA analysis is not required when
a rule is exempt from notice-and-comment rulemaking. DHS has determined
that this rule is exempt from the notice-and-comment requirements in 5
U.S.C. 553, and, therefore, a regulatory flexibility analysis is not
required.

C. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

This final rule will not result in the expenditure by state, local,
and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of
$100 million or more in any one year, and it will not significantly or
uniquely affect small governments. Therefore, no actions were deemed
necessary under the provisions of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of
1995.

D. Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996

This final rule is not a major rule as defined by section 804 of
the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996. This
rule will not result in an annual effect on the economy of $100 million
or more; a major increase in costs or prices; or significant adverse
effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity,
innovation, or on the ability of U.S.-based companies to compete with
foreign-based companies in domestic and export markets.

E. Executive Order 12866 and Executive Order 13563

DHS does not consider this final rule to be a ``significant
regulatory action'' under Executive Order 12866, section 3(f),
Regulatory Planning and Review, as supplemented by Executive Order
13563. Based on DHS's preliminary analysis, this final rule is cost
neutral as it imposes no costs and does not result in discernible
monetary benefits. Accordingly, this final rule has not been submitted
to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review.
DHS is pursuing this regulatory action to accord its regulations
with industry norms and stakeholder requests. This final rule makes two
clarifications and one change. First, the regulation will clarify that
USCIS will send original notices and documents only to the applicant or
petitioner if he or she is not represented by an attorney or accredited

[[Page 64302]]

representative, recognized by the BIA, who has filed a Form G-28,
Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative
or a Form G-28I, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney in Matters
Outside the Geographic Confines of the United States. See 8 CFR
292.4(a), 292.5(a). Second, if the applicant or petitioner is
represented, USCIS generally will send original notices and documents
both to the applicant or petitioner and to their attorney or accredited
representative.
This regulation will allow applicants and petitioners to choose to
have USCIS mail original notices and documents only to their attorneys
or accredited representatives if USCIS indicates that this option is
available through the USCIS online application system, applicable
forms, form instructions, or regulations for a specific benefit
request. As stated earlier in this preamble, some stakeholders noted
that it is a common business practice for employers to have their
representatives receive and distribute documents to their international
workforce. Because this final rule provides that option for the
employer, employers will benefit from not being required to adjust
their internal processes to match USCIS notice practices. DHS may amend
a form in the course of regular program administration to expand the
options for the mailing of notices at its discretion, but will incur no
cost as a direct result of this final rule. Employers generally prefer
that original notices and documents from USCIS are sent only to their
representatives, thus DHS expects no cost to result from indicating to
which address applicants or petitioners want notices sent. In addition,
attorneys or representatives already transmit documents to the aliens
and petitioners they represent based on where the alien or petitioner
needs or desires to maintain the original, so this rule should impose
no additional record keeping burden.
DHS also is revising the regulation to provide that two originals
will be sent in the case of represented parties instead of the current
practice of sending one original and one courtesy copy. This will not
result in any additional costs because the costs for issuing an
original of a USCIS notice, such as printing and mailing, would be
similar to the costs for issuing a copy. Finally, the quantity of
notices and documents sent will not change, only where and how they are
sent. Therefore, DHS estimates that these two clarifications and change
will not result in a direct cost to USCIS or to an applicant or
petitioner, though applicants and petitioners may benefit from the
clarifications.

F. Executive Order 13132

This final rule will not have substantial direct effects on the
States, on the relationship between the Federal Government and the
States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the
various levels of government. Therefore, in accordance with section 6
of Executive Order 13132, DHS has determined that this rule does not
have sufficient Federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a
Federalism summary impact statement.

G. Executive Order 12988: Civil Justice Reform

This final rule meets the applicable standards set forth in
sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988.

H. Paperwork Reduction Act

Under the PRA, 44 U.S.C. chapter 35, all Departments are required
to submit to OMB, for review and approval, any reporting requirements
inherent in a rule. USCIS \2\ is revising the Notice of Entry of
Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative (Form G-28) and the
Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney In Matters Outside the
Geographical Confines of the United States (Form G-28I), and their
associated form instructions to prepare the forms for filing
availability in USCIS ELIS, to add a foreign address and foreign phone
number field, and to make plain language changes. In addition Forms G-
28 and G-28I are revised to add check-boxes that will implement the
changes this final rule makes to 8 CFR 103.2(b)(19). Specifically,
USCIS is revising the forms to provide that, for represented parties,
DHS will send all original notices regarding any application or
petition filed with DHS to both the applicants or petitioners and the
attorney of record or accredited representative either through the mail
or electronic delivery. However, on the Form G-28 and Form G-28I,
unless otherwise provided in the applicable regulations or form
instructions, the applicant or petitioner may instruct USCIS to send
any original notice regarding an application or petition that he or she
has filed with USCIS, including Requests for Evidence and notices of
decision, to the official business address of their attorney of record
or accredited representative as listed in the form. USCIS is also
revising the G-28/28I to provide that, for represented parties, DHS
will only send Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Record or any secure
identity document, such as a Permanent Resident Card or Employment
Authorization Document, for which he or she is approved, to the
applicant or petitioner (where the individual is a self-petitioner/
beneficiary), unless the applicant or self-petitioner/beneficiary
instructs USCIS to send the secure identity document to the official
business address of his or her attorney of record or accredited
representative. See new 8 CFR 103.2(b)(19)(i)-(iii).
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\2\ DHS is the authoritative regulatory actor that is carrying
out this rulemaking. USCIS is the component of DHS that manages its
forms and publishes Federal Register notices under the Paperwork
Reduction Act. Thus, USCIS is referenced as the actor in the
Paperwork Reduction Act section of this preamble with regard to the
form revisions.
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The revised Forms G-28 and G-28I have been submitted to the Office
of Management Budget (OMB) for review and approval under procedures
covered under the PRA. USCIS is requesting comments on this information
collection for 30-days until November 28, 2014. USCIS previously
published a notice in the Federal Register in connection with this
information collection on May 19, 2014 at 79 FR 28757.\3\ DHS received
8 comments in connection with this notice during the 60-day comment
period. Public comments were submitted by 7 individuals and one
organization. All of the comments are summarized and addressed as
follows.
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\3\ See Agency Information Collection Activities: Notice of
Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative; Notice
of Entry of Appearance as Attorney In Matters Outside the
Geographical Confines of the United States, Form G-28; G-28I;
Revision of a Currently Approved Collection, 79 FR 28757 (May 19,
2014).
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Two commenters requested that USCIS reprogram the Form G-28/28I
that may be completed on a computer (``fillable form'') to permit more
alphabetic characters than it currently permits attorneys to insert.
Both of these commenters also requested that the fillable data fields
permit the insertion of non-textual and special characters in addition
to alphabetic characters. In response, USCIS cannot expand the number
of characters permitted in the form's data fields or permit symbols and
special characters. The technology used for the bar coding of the forms
and the upload of the forms incorporates data standards that are
intended to insure the integrity of the data that is captured and
facilitate the flow of the data into information collection, storage
and reporting systems. The form data standards impose limits on the
size of fields and the use of special characters based on what past
results and research

[[Page 64303]]

show are the parameters that provide the best results while still
serving the needs of respondents and DHS. As such, the data fields
cannot permit an unlimited number or type of characters. Nevertheless,
USCIS believes the data elements can accommodate the requirements of
most attorneys and accredited representatives. USCIS also provides a
new Part 6. Additional Information section in the form to allow
respondents to add or address any additional responses that may exceed
the current field limits.
One commenter requested that USCIS add a space on the Form G-28/28I
to indicate who is an authorized signatory for represented entities
that are filing the related immigration benefit request. USCIS
understands that who is an authorized signatory for an entity is not
defined on all USCIS forms or by regulations and it may not always be
clear. Nevertheless, Form G-28/28I is not the proper form for entities
to use to designate an authorized signatory because it is used only to
identify the petitioner/applicant's attorney or accredited
representative of record to DHS. DHS and USCIS will explore whether
this issue needs to be addressed in a future rulemaking, field office
guidance, form instructions, or other policy instruments. Meanwhile,
all benefit requests require the person signing the request to possess
the authority to file the request on the applicant or petitioner's
behalf. Where USCIS has reason to doubt the person's authority to sign,
we may send a request for evidence as necessary to establish that the
person has the requisite authority.
One commenter requested that USCIS move all signature blocks to the
same place at bottom of the page. USCIS is uncertain what the commenter
is requesting. The signature of the applicant, petitioner, or
respondent precedes the signature of the attorney or accredited
representative on the final page of the Form G-28/28I, and they are
followed only by a section of the form which permits necessary
additional information. The commenter is invited to submit clarifying
comments in response to this notice.
One commenter complained that USCIS regularly fails to associate a
new Form G-28/28I with the case when the form is filed to indicate that
a pending, previously unrepresented filer, now has representation, or
when the filer of the benefit request submits a new Form G-28/28I to
indicate that it has a new representative. USCIS endeavors to make sure
that each case reflects that it is subject to representation when a
valid Form G-28/28I is filed. Nonetheless, USCIS processes millions of
immigration benefit requests per year and much of the adjudication
continues to be a paper-reliant process. As cases are adjudicated,
files proceed through a number of steps, including intake, receipting,
background and security checks, and routing to the proper office for
further processing. As a result, immediately associating a subsequently
filed Form G-28/28I with the client's case is not always possible.
Nonetheless, USCIS appreciates the commenter's views and will strive to
improve the precision of its process and service to its customers. If
any attorney or accredited representative is concerned that his or her
G-28/G-28I has not reached the appropriate USCIS office, we encourage
you to contact the National Customer Service Line for information on
how to the notify the appropriate USCIS office handling your client's
case of your authorized representation.
One commenter has asked USCIS to revise the fillable form to allow
the attorney to write in the state two-letter abbreviations without
requiring that they search through an alphabetical listing of all state
abbreviations in a drop-down menu. USCIS agrees with this comment.
Thus, we will adopt the suggestion when we revise the form.
One commenter requested that the form permit a period to be placed
in the address data element so, for example, addresses such as North
Main Street may be N. Main, Court may be Ct., and Boulevard can be
Blvd. As stated previously, USCIS follows standards in form development
that insure the integrity of the data collected and uploaded into its
systems. In addition, guidance from the U.S. Postal Service about
addressing mail states: ``Avoid commas, periods, or other punctuation--
it helps your mailpiece speed through our processing equipment.'' See
https://www.usps.com/ship/addressing-tips.htm. Thus, the commenter's
suggestion is not adopted.
In the notice, USCIS requested comments on the new features of Form
G-28/G-28I regarding the USCIS notification practices relating to
represented parties that DHS is promulgating in this final rule. One
commenter suggested that DHS should send all original correspondence,
including notices, Permanent Resident Cards, and Employment
Authorization Documents, to the attorney of record when USCIS has been
informed that the filer is represented. The commenter suggested that
only courtesy copies be sent to the represented party, because their
clients often move and the mail may not make it to them at their new
address.
DHS and USCIS understand and appreciate the commenters view. As
stated elsewhere in this preamble, however, INS proposed in 1991 that
all notices, cards and documents be sent to the representative as the
commenter suggests. Commenters largely opposed the proposal and argued
that INS should continue to issue separate notices. See 59 FR 1455. INS
agreed with the commenters and in the final rule required separate
notices to be sent to the applicant or petitioner and his or her
authorized representative. Id. at 1463. One commenter on this notice
requested this change. The commenter's suggestion will not be adopted
and the represented client will be permitted to choose where notices
and secure identity documents are sent.
One commenter requested that USCIS add a column for Department of
State filings in Part 3, section 1, of the Form G-28/28I. The comment
did not expand on that request. Part 3 of the form is the Eligibility
Information for the Attorney. USCIS knows of no edit to that section
that would convey that the representation involves a filing at a U.S.
consulate or embassy. In addition, while several USCIS immigration
benefit requests permit filing at a U.S. consulate or embassy, the
commenter did not provide a reason why such a distinction is necessary
or helpful on Form G-28/28I and USCIS knows of none. Thus the
suggestion is not adopted. USCIS welcomes a comment on this notice from
the commenter clarifying the suggestion.
One commenter also requested that the Form G-28/28I be revised to
permit the attorney to enter a foreign state and province in Section 3,
parts 6d and 6e. Neither Form G-28 nor Form G-28I includes a Section 3,
nor do they include a part 6d or 6e. Perhaps USCIS has misunderstood
the comment, because both forms already permit inclusion of foreign
states and provinces. Thus no changes are made in response to this
comment. DHS invites the commenter to submit a scanned pen and ink
markup of his suggested edits in response to this 30-day notice that
shows the changes the commenter had in mind.
One commenter requested that USCIS add Internet hyperlinks to the
form and docket in addition to the docket number in all Federal
Register notices published for a form revision as required by the PRA.
USCIS appreciates how much more convenient it is to click on an
Internet hyperlink that takes you directly to the form or part of a Web
site upon which you wish to comment

[[Page 64304]]

instead of being required to use one's intuition to navigate through
the parts of a Web site to find a desired document. We would adopt this
comment if we could. The timing and process of a Federal Register
notice, however, precludes USCIS from knowing the precise uniform
resource locator (URL) for viewing the forms until after it has been
published. In addition, for ease in handling comments, and maintaining
the docket, DHS wants to utilize the Federal Docket Management System
docket at http://www.regulations.gov for the official versions of the
forms and all comments received on each information collection request.
If a form cannot be found on the Internet, a copy will be provided upon
request as indicated in the Federal Register notice.
One commenter requests that USCIS change question 9 on the Form G-
28/28I to ask for the telephone number at which the individual can best
be reached, and not ask for a mobile number. USCIS understands the
comment and agrees that there should be a field to capture the daytime
telephone number for the applicant or petitioner as the primary contact
number. USCIS, however, will not delete the mobile telephone number as
a data element. USCIS asks for the mobile telephone number in Item
Number 9 to facilitate USCIS text message updates to the applicant and
petitioner or represented party. For clarification, USCIS will add the
words ``(if any)'' after the words ``Mobile Telephone Number'' to avoid
any implication that a mobile telephone number is mandatory.
One commenter asked USCIS to specify what notices and documents the
client will receive and what notices and documents the attorney will
receive if no box is checked on Form G-28/28I, if only box 2a is
checked, if only box 2b is checked, or if both boxes are checked on the
form. The commenter did not indicate where or in what manner they are
suggesting USCIS provide that information. Nevertheless, this final
rule explains what type of notices, documents, and situations to which
these changes apply much more in depth than what we provide in the
instructions for Form G-28/28I or the Federal Register notice. USCIS
believes the additional explanation in this final rule will clarify
this issue for the commenter. No additional changes will be made in
response to the comment.
One commenter requested that USCIS change the Form G-28/G-28I
signature requirements to conform to that of U.S. Immigration and
Customs Enforcement (ICE). The commenter stated that ICE does not
require represented parties to sign Form G-28 when they are in ICE
custody or detention. DHS regulations at 8 CFR 103.2(a)(3) and 8 CFR
292.4(a) require individuals to sign Form G-28/28I. The regulations
provide no exemption for individuals who are in the custody of law
enforcement. Thus, USCIS cannot adopt the commenter's suggestion.
Finally, two commenters expressed general and strong support for
the changes that USCIS proposed to make to the Form G-28. No commenters
opposed the proposed changes.
When submitting comments on this information collection, your
comments should address one or more of the following four points.
(1) Evaluate whether the collection of information is necessary for
the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including
whether the information will have practical utility;
(2) Evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of
the collection of information, including the validity of the
methodology and assumptions used;
(3) Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to
be collected; and
(4) Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those
who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated,
electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or
other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic
submission of responses.

Overview of Information Collection

(1) Type of information collection: Revised information collection.
(2) Abstract: This information collection is used by DHS to
determine eligibility of the individual to appear as an authorized
attorney or accredited representative. Form G-28 is used by attorneys
admitted to practice in the United States and accredited
representatives of charitable organizations recognized by the Executive
Office for Immigration Review, Board of Immigration Appeals. Form G-28I
is used by attorneys admitted to the practice of law in countries other
than the United States and applies only to representation in matters in
DHS offices outside the geographical confines of the United States. If
the representative is eligible, the form is filed with the case and the
information is entered into DHS systems for whatever type of
application or petition it may be.
(3) Title of Form/Collection: Notice of Entry of Appearance as
Attorney or Accredited Representative and the Notice of Entry of
Appearance as Attorney in Matters Outside the Geographical Confines of
the United States.
(4) Agency form number, if any, and the applicable component of the
Department of Homeland Security sponsoring the collection: Form G-28
and Form G-28I.
(5) Affected public who will be asked or required to respond:
Business or other for-profit. The information collected on Form G-28
and Form G-28I allows an attorney to identify his or her representation
of a person in matters either within the geographical confines of the
United States, or outside of the geographical confines of the United
States respectively.
(6) An estimate of the total number of annual respondents: For the
paper Form G-28, 2,223,700 respondents with an average response time of
.833 hour (50 minutes); for the USCIS ELIS-filed Form G-28, 281,950
respondents with and average response time of .667 hour (40 minutes);
for the paper Form G-28I, 25,057 respondents with an average response
time of .833 hour (50 minutes).
(7) An estimate of the total public burden (in hours) associated
with the collection: 2,057,943 annual burden hours.
Written comments and/or suggestions regarding the estimated public
burden and associated response time should be directed to DHS and to
the OMB USCIS Desk Officer. Comments may be submitted to DHS as
provided in the ADDRESSES section of this preamble and to the OMB USCIS
Desk Officer via facsimile at 202-395-5806 or via email at
oira_submission@omb.eop.gov. When submitting comments by email, please
make sure to add OMB Control Number 1615-0026 in the subject box. All
submissions received must include the agency name, OMB Control Number
and Docket ID.

List of Subjects in 8 CFR Part 103

Administrative practice and procedure, Authority delegations
(Government agencies), Freedom of information, Immigration, Privacy,
Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Surety bonds.

Accordingly, DHS is amending part 103 of chapter I of title 8 of
the Code of Federal Regulations to read as follows:

PART 103--IMMIGRANT BENEFITS; BIOMETRIC REQUIREMENTS: AVAILABILITY
OF RECORDS

0
1. The authority citation for part 103 continues to read as follows:


[[Page 64305]]


Authority: 5 U.S.C. 301, 552, 552a; 8 U.S.C. 1101, 1103, 1304,
1356, 1356b; 31 U.S.C. 9701; Public Law 107-296, 116 Stat. 2135 (6
U.S.C. 1 et seq.); E.O. 12356, 47 FR 14874, 15557, 3 CFR, 1982
Comp., p. 166; 8 CFR part 2; Pub. L. 112-54.

Subpart A--Applying for Benefits, Surety Bonds, Fees

0
2. Section 103.2(b)(19) is revised to read as follows:


Sec. 103.2 Submission and adjudication of benefit requests.

* * * * *
(b) * * *
(19) Notification. (i) Unrepresented applicants or petitioners.
USCIS will only send original notices and documents evidencing lawful
status based on the approval of a benefit request directly to the
applicant or petitioner if the applicant or petitioner is not
represented.
(ii) Represented applicants or petitioners. (A) Notices. When an
applicant or petitioner is represented, USCIS will send original
notices both to the applicant or petitioner and his or her authorized
attorney or accredited representative. If provided in this title, on
the applicable form, or on form instructions, an applicant or
petitioner filing a paper application or petition may request that all
original notices, such as requests for evidence and notices of
decision, only be sent to the official business address of the
applicant's or petitioner's authorized attorney or accredited
representative, as reflected on a properly executed Notice of Entry of
Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative. In such instances,
a courtesy copy of the original notice will be sent to the applicant or
petitioner.
(B) Electronic notices. For applications or petitions filed
electronically, USCIS will notify both the applicant or petitioner and
the authorized attorney or accredited representative electronically of
any notices or decisions. Except as provided in paragraph
(b)(19)(ii)(C) of this section, USCIS will not issue paper notices or
decisions for electronically-filed applications or petitions, unless:
(1) The option exists for the applicant or petitioner to request to
receive paper notices or decisions by mail through the U.S. Postal
Service, by indicating this preference in his or her electronic online
account profile in USCIS's electronic immigration system; or
(2) USCIS, in its discretion, determines that issuing a paper
notice or decision for an electronically-filed application or petition
is warranted.
(C) Approval notices with attached Arrival-Departure Records. USCIS
will send an original paper approval notice with an attached Arrival-
Departure Record, reflecting USCIS's approval of an applicant's request
for an extension of stay or change of status, to the official business
address of the applicant's or petitioner's attorney or accredited
representative, as reflected on a properly executed Notice of Entry of
Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative or in the address
section of the online representative account profile in USCIS's
electronic immigration system, unless the applicant specifically
requests that the original approval notice with an attached Arrival-
Departure Record be sent directly to his or her mailing address.
(iii) Secure identity documents. USCIS will send secure
identification documents, such as a Permanent Resident Card or
Employment Authorization Document, only to the applicant or self-
petitioner unless the applicant or self-petitioner specifically
consents to having his or her secure identification document sent to
the official business address of the applicant's or self-petitioner's
attorney of record or accredited representative, as reflected on a
properly executed Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or
Accredited Representative or in the address section of the online
representative account profile in USCIS's electronic immigration
system.
* * * * *

Jeh Charles Johnson,
Secretary.
[FR Doc. 2014-25622 Filed 10-28-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 9111-97-P