[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 209 (Wednesday, October 29, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 64299-64305]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing 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