Category Archives: USCIS

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USCIS Issues New Visa Bulletin Tutorial for I-485 Applications

USCIS has issued a new online tutorial for immigrants that will help determine when a Form I-485, Application for Adjustment of Status, can be filed with USCIS.  For those immigrants who have a family-based or employment-based immigrant petition filed or approved on their behalf, the new Visa Bulletin tutorial details how to determine your priority … Continue Reading

USCIS Releases New Edition of I-9 and Handbook for Employers

On July 17, 2017, United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) released a new Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.  The new Form I-9 contains minor changes to the instructions and list of acceptable documents.  More specifically, the instructions now reflect the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment practice’s new name, Immigrant and Employee … Continue Reading

August 2017 Visa Bulletin Update

The Department of State’s (DOS) August 2017 Visa Bulletin showed some minor forward movement in some employment-based categories, with no movement or retrogression in other employment-based visa categories. Referring to the Final Action Dates, the following are the updates for the August Visa Bulletin: The Worldwide EB-1 category for India and China remains stalled at Jan. … Continue Reading

USCIS to Resume H-1B Premium Processing for Physicians under the Conrad 30 Waiver Program

Starting Monday, June 26, USCIS will resume premium processing for all H-1B petitions filed for medical doctors under the Conrad 30 Waiver program, as well as interested government agency waivers. As background, the Conrad 30 program allows certain medical doctors to stay in the United States on a temporary visa after completing their medical training … Continue Reading

USCIS Issues Guidance Regarding Adjustment of Status Application Filing Dates for July 2017

USCIS has determined that for July 2017, the Final Action Dates chart in the Department of State (DOS) Visa Bulletin must be used for both family-sponsored filings and employment-based preference filings. By way of background, individuals who are present in the United States are eligible to file a Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status in … Continue Reading

DHS Rescinds Memorandum Addressing Expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents

The Nov. 20, 2014 DAPA memorandum, which to date has not been implemented, directed U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) “to establish a process, similar to DACA, for exercising prosecutorial discretion through the use of deferred action, on a case-by-case basis” to certain undocumented parents who have “a son or daughter who is a U.S. … Continue Reading

USCIS Adopts Policy Clarifying Eligibility Criteria for U.S. Master’s Degree H-1B Cap

On May 23, 2017, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) adopted as official policy the Administrative Appeals Office’s (AAO’s) decision in Matter of A-T-Inc. Specifically, USCIS announced that to be eligible for the H-1B U.S. master’s cap, an individual must have earned a U.S. master’s degree from a school that qualified as a “U.S. … Continue Reading

June 2017 Visa Bulletin Update: EB-1 Final Action Dates Retrogression for China and India

According to the June 2017 Visa Bulletin released by Department of State and effective June 1, there will be significant retrogression in the EB-1 category for individuals born in mainland China and India. While the current cutoff date for worldwide chargeability in the EB-1 category will remain current, the final action dates for Chinese and … Continue Reading

USCIS to Begin Issuing Redesigned ‘Green Cards’ Starting May 1, 2017

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on April 19, 2017 that the agency will begin issuing revamped Permanent Resident Cards (commonly referred to as “green cards”) and Employment Authorization Documents (EAD Cards) as a part of the Next Generation Secure Identification Document Project,  a multi-agency initiative aimed at modernizing security measures through advanced biometrics technologies. … Continue Reading

Agencies Open H-1B Cap Season with Initiatives to Combat Fraud and Abuse

The U.S. immigration agency’s busiest day of the year was marked with reminders about the dark side of the H-1B visa program.  Acceptance of H-1B cap-subject petitions started on April 3, 2017. But the flurry of H-1B filings were met with announcements from agencies involved with the H-1B program about measures designed to tighten policies … Continue Reading

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
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