Category Archives: USCIS

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EAD Validity Extended for Six Months for TPS El Salvador

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will automatically extend the validity of Employment Authorization Document (EAD) cards issued under Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for El Salvador. The automatic extension will be for 6 months, through Sept. 9, 2017. Those who have an EAD issued under the TPS designation for El Salvador that expired Sept. … Continue Reading

Effective April 3, 2017, USCIS Will Temporarily Suspend Premium Processing for All H-1B Petitions

Late Friday evening on March 3, 2017, The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) announced that it will temporarily suspend its premium processing service for all H-1B petitions, including CAP-subject H-1B petitions.  The temporary suspension will begin on Monday, April 3, 2017, and may continue for up to 6 months.  This procedural change is intended … Continue Reading

Technical Error by USCIS Results in H-1B Approval Notices Incorrectly Listing Class as “1B1” Instead of “H-1B”

Due to a technical error, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) recently began issuing H-1B approval notices on Form I-797 that incorrectly list the class as “1B1.”  This technical error affected H-1B approval notices for H-1B petitions that were filed with the Vermont, Nebraska, and California Service Centers. The California Service Center confirmed … Continue Reading

USCIS Reissuing Employment Authorization Document (EAD) Receipt Notices for Certain EAD Categories Filed Between July 21, 2016 and Jan. 17, 2017

Beginning Feb. 16, 2016, USCIS began reissuing receipt notices on Form I-797 to applicants who continue to have pending applications for renewed employment authorization (EAD applications) under certain categories that were originally filed between July 21, 2016 and Jan. 16, 2017. EAD applications that were filed during this window did not fall within the benefits of … Continue Reading

March 2017 Visa Bulletin Update

The Department of State’s (DOS) March 2017 Visa Bulletin showed some minor movement in some employment-based categories, with more significant movement in other employment-based visa categories. The Worldwide EB-1 category remains current for all categories, including individuals born in mainland China, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Mexico, and the Philippines. The cutoff date for worldwide … Continue Reading

GT Alert – Preparing for H-1B Cap Season in Fiscal Year 2018

This year’s H-1B cap is fast approaching. USCIS will start accepting new H-1B petitions for Fiscal Year 2018 on April 1, 2017. Although the federal government annually allocates 65,000 H-1B visas to eligible foreign national employees, USCIS receives far more H-1B petitions within the first weeks or even days of April during each fiscal year … Continue Reading

New Framework for Adjudicating National Interest Waivers

USCIS has established a new standard for adjudicating national interest waiver petitions by naming the Administration Appeals Office’s (AAO) Dec.27, 2016 decision, Matter of Dhanasar, 26 I&N Dec. 884 (AAO 2016), a precedent decision. This decision vacates Matter of New York State Dep’t of Transp., 22 I&N Dec. 215 (Acting Assoc. Comm’r 1998), which established … Continue Reading

Greenberg Traurig’s Nataliya Rymer Cited in the USCIS’s Proposed Rule Addressing EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program Modernization

Greenberg Traurig attorney, Nataliya Rymer, was recently cited in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) seeking to amend the current EB-5 regulations, which was published in the Federal Register pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act. Rymer’s article U.S. Department of State Announces EB-5 Visas for China Unavailable Until October 1, 2014, which appeared in the National … Continue Reading

REMINDER: New USCIS Fees go into Effect Today

The new U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Fee Schedule, which was first proposed May 4, 2016, and subsequently adopted as final Oct. 24, 2016, has gone into effect. Filing fees for various types of immigrant and nonimmigrant petitions and applications are increasing by an average of 21 percent; until this change, fees had not … Continue Reading

Reminder: Many USCIS Filing Fees Will Increase on December 23, 2016

On May 4, 2016, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register inviting public comment on a proposed increase in the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Fee Schedule, which we previously wrote about. This proposed rule was subsequently adopted as final on Oct. 24, 2016, and … Continue Reading

Another Clean extension of the EB-5 Regional Center program — Proposed Continuing Resolution Through April 28, 2017

The U.S. House of Representatives and Senate have passed the Continuing Resolution (CR) legislation to keep the government open through April 28, 2017. As with the CR in late September that extended the EB-5 Regional Center program and the other three immigration programs, this CR will create a clean extension through April 28.  The legislation extends … Continue Reading

Summary of OIG Report on USCIS Green Card Issuance

Getting the green card is typically the last step in the Lawful Permanent Resident application process, one that immigrants look forward to for many months or even years. Unfortunately, as confirmed by a recent report by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), USCIS has experienced many problems lately with correct and timely green card … Continue Reading

Upgrade – DHS Finalizes Rules Affecting Employment-based Immigrant and Non-Immigrant Visa Programs

On Nov. 18, 2016, the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) published its final rule to “modernize and improve” employment-based non-immigrant and immigrant visa programs.  As stated by DHS, the primary purpose of the improvements is to enhance the ability of U.S. employers to hire and retain specific foreign national employees who are the beneficiaries of … Continue Reading

USCIS Releases New Form I-9; New Form Version Becomes Mandatory on January 22, 2017

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has released an updated version of the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. The new Form I-9, dated 11/14/2016 N, will become mandatory on Jan. 22, 2017, replacing the version dated 03/08/2013 N, which may continue to be used until Jan. 21, 2017.  Under federal immigration law, employers must maintain a … Continue Reading

Update on DHS Proposed Rules Affecting Employment-based Immigrant and Nonimmigrant Visa Programs

As reported, in December 2015, USCIS published a proposed rule on the Federal Register in which the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) seeks to improve job portability for highly skilled immigrants and clarify issues affecting foreign nationals in employment-based nonimmigrant visa categories like H-1B. The proposed regulations received almost 28,000 comments. On October 24, 2016, … Continue Reading

After Recent Country Condition Reviews, Temporary Protected Status Benefits for Citizens of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone to End May 20, 2017

On Sept. 22, 2016, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson extended the temporary protected status (TPS) designation for Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone through May 20, 2017.  The TPS designations for these countries were extended for six months to allow for the “orderly transition” of its citizens back home.  Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone were … Continue Reading

Department of State Issues October 2016 Visa Bulletin

This week, the Department of State released the Visa Bulletin for October 2016. EB-5 Unfortunately, the expected movement as the U.S. government begins a new fiscal year did not materialize for the EB-5 visa category. The date for final action for the EB-5 visa category for mainland China born applicants advanced only one week from … Continue Reading

USCIS Expands Eligibility for Unlawful Presence Provisional Waiver

In July 2016, USCIS announced a final rule expanding eligibility of immigrant visa applicants to provisional waivers of unlawful presence under INA section 212(a)(9)(B). Under the former rule promulgated in 2013, only applicants immigrating as immediate relatives (i.e., spouses, parents, or unmarried children of U.S. citizens under 21) could qualify for the waiver of the … Continue Reading

October 2016 Visa Bulletin – Dates for Filing

In October 2015 the Department of State (DOS) visa bulletin saw significant revisions with the addition of a second chart entitled “Dates for Filing.”   The new chart was met with much excitement from foreign nationals who continue to experience significant retrogression as it provided earlier filing dates for adjustment of status applications.  These applications carry … Continue Reading

USCIS Proposes International Entrepreneur Rule to Spur Innovation and Job Creation

On Aug. 26, 2016, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a notice of proposed rulemaking for an International Entrepreneur Rule, and provided an advance version of the proposed rule for public review. According to an announcement from USCIS, the proposed rule will allow the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to exercise discretion, on a … Continue Reading

USCIS Issues Guidance Regarding Adjustment of Status Application Filing Dates for September 2016

On Aug. 9, 2016, following the release of the September 2016 Visa Bulletin, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS) issued a statement explaining when to file Adjustment of Status applications for those seeking to become U.S. permanent residents under family-sponsored or employment-based preference immigrant visa categories. By way of background, individuals who are present in … Continue Reading

September 2016 Visa Bulletin Released

This week, the Department of State released the Visa Bulletin for September 2016. Given that visa numbers are issued based on the government fiscal year, we expect to see significant movement again in October 2016; for September 2016, the last month of FY2016, there were only minor changes with regard to movement of final action … Continue Reading

E-Verify Launches New Self-Service Feature

USCIS has announced that effective Aug. 21, E-Verify users will be able to use a new self-service feature to unlock their own user ID by answering the same security questions used to create their account.  The announcement also notes that users will have the option of contacting their program or corporate administrator, or calling 800-741-5023, … Continue Reading

USCIS Announces It Has Returned All FY 2017 Cap-Subject H-1B Petitions Not Chosen Through Random Selection

On July 8, 2016, USCIS announced that it had completed the process of returning all FY 2017 cap-subject H-1B petitions not chosen for adjudication in the random selection process.  Employers that have yet to receive a Notice of Receipt for cap-subject petitions submitted between April 1 and April 7, 2016, should receive them by July … Continue Reading
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