Tag Archives: USCIS

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 As part of the Trump Administration’s Buy American, Hire American: Putting American Workers First initiative, USCIS rescinded a long-standing policy … Continue Reading

GT Alert – New Immigration Policy Focuses On Alcohol-Related Charges

In an apparent change in policy, U.S. immigration authorities are now taking a hard-line approach to individuals who have alcohol-related charges or offenses, marking a significant shift in how U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the U.S. Department of State treat visa holders in this predicament. Employers and employees alike should take note of this … Continue Reading

USCIS Changes Locations To File Forms I-129

On Oct. 12, 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a major change in the direct filing addresses for certain Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker petitions. Previously, the filing center for these petitions was determined by the U.S. state or territory where the beneficiary’s worksite or training site was located. With USCIS’s … Continue Reading

The White House Releases Immigration Principles & Policies

On Oct. 8, 2017, the White House released the promised Immigration Principles & Policies (Principles & Policies) which outline the Trump Administration’s position on immigration. This document is broken into three parts: 1) Border Security, 2) Interior Enforcement, and 3) Merit-Based Immigration. A summary of each part is broken down below.… Continue Reading

Senate Confirms Lee Francis Cissna to Lead USCIS

On Oct. 5, the U.S. Senate approved the nomination of Lee Francis Cissna to lead the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency (USCIS) on a bipartisan vote of 54-43. All Republican senators supported the nomination and were joined by Democrat Senators Donnelly (IN), Heitkamp (ND), Manchin (WV) and McCaskill (MO). Senators Cochran (R-MS), Cortez Masto … Continue Reading

USCIS Approval Notices Cause Confusion due to Inconsistent Validity Periods

USCIS has begun issuing I-797A, Notice of Action Approval Notices containing inconsistent validity periods on the face of the document. Specifically, the top portion of the I-797A approval notices lists the approved visa classification (e.g., H-1B) and the authorized validity period of that visa classification (e.g., from Oct. 1, 2017, to Sept. 11, 2020). The … 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

USCIS to Resume H-1B Premium Processing for Petitions Filed under FY2018 Cap

USCIS announced today that it will resume its premium processing service for all H-1B petitions that are subject to this year’s H-1B cap.  This news provides much needed relief to employers and foreign nationals, particularly in those situations where an employee is relying on F-1 optional practical training (OPT) cap gap provisions for work authorization. … Continue Reading

GT’s Ian Macdonald Discusses Advance Parole Denials in Law360

Greenberg Traurig Shareholder Ian Macdonald was recently quoted in the Law360’s article, “Attorneys Sound the Alarm over Advance Parole Denials,” discussing an increase in advance parole (AP) renewal denials. Attorneys have noticed a shift in the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) handling of AP applications, particularly with an increase of renewal denials as early as … Continue Reading

Attorney General Jeff Sessions Announces the Rescission of DACA

On Sept. 5, 2017, Attorney General (AG) Jeff Sessions announced that the Trump Administration will end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).  DACA is a mode of temporary relief given to children (now college-aged or older) who entered the United States without inspection with their parents and allowed them to apply for temporary work … 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

Seeking Permanent Residence? USCIS Issues New Interview Requirements Taking Effect Oct. 1

The Department of Homeland Security announced on Aug. 28, 2017, that beginning on Oct. 1, USCIS will begin requiring in-person interviews at local District Offices for adjustment of status applications based on employment, as well as certain refugee/asylee relative petitions. In the past, USCIS did not require an in-person interview adjustment of status applications based … Continue Reading

USCIS Issues Policy Memorandum to Define “Affiliate” or “Subsidiary for Determining the H-1B ACWIA Fee

On Aug. 28, 2017, USCIS released a policy memorandum that clarified the definition of “affiliate” and “subsidiary” for purposes of determining the H-1B ACWIA fee.  The H-1B ACWIA fee is $1500 for H-1B petitioners who have 26 or more full-time equivalent (FTE) employees, and half that amount ($750) for H-1B petitioners who have 25 or … Continue Reading

Emerging Trends: USCIS Challenging Level 1 Wages and Computer Programmer Occupational Classification for H-1B Petitions

Over the past several months, some trends have developed which pose challenges for employers taking part in the H-1B program: 1. the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is issuing Requests for Evidence (RFEs) for H-1B petitions that challenge the H-1B position’s level 1 prevailing wage classification, the lowest permitted wage level for H-1B filings; … Continue Reading

September 2017 Visa Bulletin Update

The Department of State (DOS) recently released the September 2017 Visa Bulletin.  The charts show movement in some employment-based categories, with no movement in other employment-based visa categories. According to the September Visa Bulletin, the following are updates to Final Action Dates: EB-1: The Worldwide EB-1 category for India and China remains stalled at Jan. 1, … Continue Reading

Arizona, Maryland, and Wyoming To Participate in E-Verify Ride Program

As of July 31, 2017, Arizona, Maryland, and Wyoming are official participants in the federal government’s E-Verify enhancement program, RIDE. The Record and Information from DMVs for E-Verify (RIDE) verifies the validity of state-issued driver’s licenses and ID card information by matching data entered by employers into E-Verify against state departments of motor vehicles records. … Continue Reading

USCIS Posts Comprehensive Reports Containing H-1B and EAD Data

Under the heading “Transparency for U.S. Workers,” the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) uploaded five reports today containing comprehensive data regarding its H-1B and Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) adjudications. The H-1B reports “provide information about the hiring practices of employers who petition for foreign national workers.” The H-1B trend report contains statistics about the H-1B program … Continue Reading

USCIS to Resume Premium Processing for Certain Cap-Exempt Institutions

On June 20, the USCIS Ombudsman office held a teleconference on H-1B petition processing to discuss various topics, including premium processing.  Premium processing for H-1B petitions had been suspended in mid-March of this year so that resources could be focused on processing current petitions.  During the call, USCIS stated that it would bring back premium … Continue Reading

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
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