Courtney B. Noce

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DHS Issues New Rules for Searching Electronic Devices at the Border

Travelers continue to experience heightened scrutiny at U.S. Ports of Entry. Whether the travel is for business or pleasure, travelers often carry an electronic device such as a cell phone or laptop. The current administration’s focus on border security has made travelers increasingly concerned about how to protect personal and corporate data contained on electronic devices.… Continue Reading

Abeyance on H-4 EAD Lawsuit

On Sept. 27, 2017, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) made a motion requesting the abeyance of the court’s decision in Save Jobs USA v. United States Department of Homeland Security, commonly referred to as “the H-4 EAD lawsuit,” until Dec. 31, 2017. The motion requests the delay to allow DHS time to evaluate the H-4 … Continue Reading

New USCIS and SSA Information-sharing Program

On Oct. 2, 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the release of an updated Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization which allows an applicant to apply for their social security number without going to a Social Security Administration (SSA) office.  Previously a foreign national would first have to apply for their Employment Authorization … Continue Reading

New DOS Rule Regarding Misrepresentation – An End to the 30/60 Day Rule

On Sept. 1, 2017, the U.S Department of State (DOS) updated the Field Adjudicators Manual (FAM) at 9 FAM 302.9-4(B)(3).  The Field Adjudicators Manual (FAM) serves to guide consular officers in their adjudications process, and this particular section provides guidance regarding “misrepresentation” by applicants “at the time of visa application or to DHS when applying … Continue Reading

Denial of Advance Parole Applications Due to International Travel Adversely Impacts U.S. Companies

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is denying Advance Parole (AP) applications when an applicant travels internationally while the application is pending with USCIS.  This represents a big adjudication shift by USCIS, which has for several years allowed certain AP applicants to travel abroad while waiting for USCIS to approve an AP application.  By making … 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

New Development: DOS & CBP Release Additional Guidance on Travel Ban Following Monday’s Supreme Court Ruling

On June 26, 2017, the Supreme Court partially lifted the injunctions granted by the Fourth and Ninth Circuits on President Trump’s second Executive Order commanding a temporary travel ban. The Supreme Court narrowed the application of travel ban, which will now only apply to nationals from the six designated countries “who lack any bona fide … Continue Reading

Proposed California Law Would Increase Employer Responsibilities When Faced With Immigration Worksite Enforcement Actions

In response to the Trump administration’s stance on immigration enforcement, California is considering legislation (Assembly Bill 450 (Chiu)) which would prohibit employers from providing federal immigration officials with access to nonpublic areas of the workplace without a judicial warrant. While aiming to provide new protections to workers, the bill’s broad language does not eliminate any employer … Continue Reading

Increased Scrutiny for Identified Populations & Social Media Review

We continue to see immigration as a moving target with recent news of four cables issued by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson guiding implementation of increased security protocols and vetting for consular posts around the world. Secretary Tillerson issued initial cables March 10 and 15 in anticipation of the new Travel Ban scheduled to take effect … 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

Dramatic Increase in Wait Times at U.S. Consular Posts Across India

According to a June 13, 2016 practice alert from AILA, appointment wait times for nonimmigrant visa interviews in India have soared.  This dramatic increase is likely the result of a reported increase in visa demand of over 80 percent in the past 5 years.  Unfortunately the AILA DOS Liaison Committee has indicated that they anticipate wait … Continue Reading

June 2016 – Monthly AILA Check-In with Charlie Oppenheim

Charlie Oppenheim is the chief of Visa Control and Reporting Division for the U.S. Department of State (DOS) where he is responsible for providing analysis and prediction for immigrant preference categories.  After the release of the July 2016 visa bulletin Mr. Oppenheim provided the following information regarding employment-based petitions to AILA: EB-2 and EB-3 – China: … Continue Reading

High L-1B Denial Rates and Inconsistencies in Approval Rates for Indian Nationals

L-1B petitions for the transfer of specialized knowledge workers continue to receive increased scrutiny from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”).  As discussed in our blog post on June 5, 2015, the recent years have marked a notable increase in Requests for Evidence and ultimate petition denials for this particular visa category.  USCIS statistics … Continue Reading

Original Visa Bulletin Not Restored

On September 28, 2015, several highly-skilled immigrant workers from India and China filed a federal class action lawsuit in the State of Washington against the U.S. Department of State (“DOS”) and U.S. Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) over revisions to the October 2015 Visa Bulletin (Revised Visa Bulletin).  A temporary restraining order was subsequently filed … Continue Reading

The July 2015 Visa Bulletin Brings Little Change

The Department of State’s July Visa Bulletin announced only a few modest changes in employment-based visa processing. Most significantly, the EB-3 subcategory for professionals and skilled workers will become unavailable for the Philippines. Additionally, Indian nationals seeking classification under the EB-2 preference category will see no change from the month of June.  Those seeking classification … Continue Reading

Texas Law Requiring E-Verify For State Agencies to Take Effect September 1, 2015

E-Verify is a federal, Internet-based system used to determine whether an employee is lawfully able to work in the United States.  The system is managed by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and works by comparing employment eligibility data collected on I-9 forms with records maintained by the U.S. Social Security Administration and the Department of … Continue Reading

SEVIS and SEVP System Outage – J, F, and M Students Travel Warning

The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is used by the Department of State and The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) to monitor nonimmigrant exchange visitors and students during their time in the United States.  SEVIS is a web-based system used for critical processes such as issuance of documentation necessary to obtain visas, … Continue Reading

L-1 Denial Rates Very High According to USCIS Stats

Recent data released by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reveals that denial rates on L-1B nonimmigrant visas remain high.  The L-1B visa is an intracompany transferee visa for individuals with “specialized knowledge.”  More specifically the visa requires “special knowledge possessed by an individual of the petitioning organization’s product, service, research, equipment, techniques, management, or … Continue Reading

As Expected: 2016 H-1B Cap Met, USCIS to Conduct Lottery

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced yesterday that it has reached the H-1B cap for fiscal year (FY) 2016 and will no longer be accepting H-1B cap cases.  USCIS has yet to provide the number of petitions received; however, last year’s FY2015 cap was oversubscribed by approximately 87,500 petitions.  We anticipate the numbers to … Continue Reading
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