Tag Archives: H-1B

Key Changes to this Year’s H-1B Cap that You Should Know

Premium Processing Available U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting cap-subject H-1B petitions on April 1, 2019, for employment start dates effective Oct. 1, 2019, the start of the 2020 fiscal year. Rather than suspending premium processing for cap-subject H-1B petitions, USCIS announced that it will implement a two-phased approach to requests for … Continue Reading

USCIS Resumes Premium Processing for all H-1B petitions

Effective immediately, USCIS has resumed premium processing for all H-1B petitions. The resumption applies to new petitions as well as those that are currently pending with USCIS. This means that, for the first time in recent history, premium processing will likely be available for petitions filed during the annual H-1B cap-filing season in April. It … Continue Reading

Travel During H-1B Cap Season- Do’s and Don’ts

H-1B cap season is once again around the corner. On March 29, 2019, hundreds of thousands of H-1B cap petitions will be shipped to USCIS Service Centers in Vermont and California for selection in this year’s cap season. Assuming premium processing does not come back, the wait time for that receipt notice seems to stretch … Continue Reading

Changes in H and L Visa Processing in China

The Department of State (DOS) and Mission China announced that changes have been made to consolidate the processing in China of H and L visa applications for foreign nationals seeking to work in the United States. Starting March 1, 2019, all interviews for H and L visas will be conducted only at the U.S. Embassy … Continue Reading

DHS Publishes Final Rule for H-1B Lottery

On Nov. 30, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security issued the notice of proposed rulemaking to amend its H-1B cap-subject lottery process. On Jan. 31, 2019, USCIS will publish the final rule after a 30-day comment period. The final rule encompasses a pre-registration process and a modified selection process. The registration process will be suspended for FY … Continue Reading

USCIS Resumes Premium Processing for Fiscal Year 2019 H-1B Cap Petitions

Starting on Monday, Jan. 28, USCIS will resume premium processing for all fiscal year (FY) 2019 H-1B cap petitions, including those eligible for the advanced degree exemption (the Master Cap). This applies to any H-1B cap petition filed in or before April 2018. Any petitioner who has received requests for evidence (RFEs) regarding their pending … Continue Reading

OMB Completes Review of H-1B Preregistration Rule

On January 25, OMB posted on Reginfo.gov that it has completed review of a USCIS regulation- Registration Requirement for Petitioners Seeking to File H-1B Petitions (RIN 1615-AB71). OMB review of this Final Rule is the last step in the regulatory process before final agency action by USCIS. Please check back as we will continue monitoring this … Continue Reading

UPDATE: The iCERT Portal System is currently unavailable

The Department of Labor provided an iCERT update this afternoon: IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT (Updated January 2, 2019, 12:00PM EST): Within the first five minutes of opening the semi-annual H-2B certification process on January 1, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor iCERT system had an unprecedented demand for H-2B certifications with more than 97,800 workers requested in … Continue Reading

The iCERT Portal System is Currently Unavailable

The Department of Labor announced an iCERT service interruption on Jan. 1: IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: We sincerely apologize for the major service interruption in the iCERT System early in the morning of January 1, 2019. Due to overwhelming filing demand, the Department’s technology staff is working diligently to investigate the cause of the system outage and … Continue Reading

Notice of Proposed Rule for H-1B Cap Season: Summary and Real-World Implications

On Nov. 30, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security issued the notice of proposed rulemaking to amend its H-1B cap-subject lottery process that USCIS conducts every year. The proposed rule seeks to amend the way H-1B cap-subject petitions are submitted for the lottery, and also the way H-1B cap-subject petitions are randomly selected. USCIS proposes a … Continue Reading

DOL Implements New LCA Form Effective Nov. 19, 2018

The Labor Condition Application (LCA) Form, ETA 9035, is a required form for non-immigrant visa categories including the H-1B, H-1B1 (Chile/Singapore) and E-3 (Australia). Pursuant to The Department of Labor’s plans to better protect American workers, confront fraud, and increase transparency, a new version of the LCA form took effect on Nov. 19, 2018. This form includes … Continue Reading

USCIS Continues to Increase Number of RFEs and Denials Issued

Since President Trump issued his “Buy American and Hire American” Executive Order in April 2017, USCIS has been issuing Requests for Evidence (RFEs) at unprecedented rates. While the H-1B visa category was specifically targeted as one requiring stricter scrutiny and reform efforts, USCIS has also focused on other visa types for significant adjudication and approval … Continue Reading

USCIS Publishes a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to Remove Employment Authorization for Certain H-4 VISA Holders

As an update (to this recent posting), we clarify that USCIS recently indicated in the Fall Unified Agenda the posting of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in November 2018 (see RIN 1615-AC15) on this regulation. Please check back as this and other H-1B regulatory actions are anticipated in the near future. U.S. Department of Homeland … Continue Reading

USCIS Proposes Increase to Premium Processing Fee

On Aug. 31, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposed a final rule in the Federal Register to increase the premium processing fee for certain visa petitions to $1,410, effective Oct. 1, 2018. Premium processing, a service offered for certain petitions, requires U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to adjudicate a petition (i.e., approve, … Continue Reading

USCIS Extends and Expands Suspension of Premium Processing for H-1B Petitions

USCIS is extending the temporary suspension of premium processing for cap-subject H-1B petitions and, beginning Sept. 11, 2018, will be expanding this temporary suspension to include certain additional H-1B petitions. The suspensions are expected to last until Feb. 19, 2019.  While H-1B premium processing is suspended, USCIS will reject any request for premium processing filed with … Continue Reading

USCIS Completes the H-1B Cap Random Selection Process for FY 2019

USCIS has announced that it received 190,098 H-1B petitions during the filing period for FY2019, which began on April 2, 2018, including petitions filed for the advanced degree exemption.  This year’s number of petitions is lower than the 199,000 H-1B petitions filed in FY2018.  Per the regulations, on April 11, USCIS conducted its random lottery … Continue Reading

Temporary Suspension of Premium Processing for FY2019 H-1B Cap Cases

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) announced a temporary suspension of premium processing for 2019 Fiscal Year H-1B cap-subject petitions, including those cases seeking exemption on the basis of the beneficiary having obtained a U.S. masters or higher degree. It is expected that the temporary suspension will last until Sept. 10, 2018. The reason for … Continue Reading

New USCIS Memo Formalizes Additional Requirements for H-1Bs at Third Party Worksites

In support of its efforts to combat H-1B fraud and consistent with President Trump’s Buy American Hire American initiative, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will now require employers sponsoring H-1B workers at third-party worksites to include additional information and documentation in their H-1B filings. The new policy memorandum “Contracts and Itineraries Requirements for … Continue Reading

OMB OIRA Releases Unified Agenda and USCIS Regulatory Priorities, Including H-1B, EB-5, and More

On Dec. 14, the Office of Management and Budget Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OMB) published the biennial Unified Agenda.  A long-standing outgrowth of previous regulatory reform efforts, the Unified Agenda offers the public the “current thinking” of federal agencies on upcoming Agency regulatory priorities. Of importance to the immigration community, DHS USCIS posed … Continue Reading

New Trump Administration Policy in Support of Buy American, Hire American Toughens Visa Extension Process

For over a decade, filing an extension of nonimmigrant status in visa categories such as the H-1B was a fairly routine process for cases involving the same employer and same underlying facts.  This changed yesterday. As part of the Trump Administration’s Buy American, Hire American: Putting American Workers First initiative, USCIS rescinded a long-standing policy … Continue Reading
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