Tag Archives: USCIS

USCIS Issues Limited Help to Employers Facing RFEs and NOIDs

On March 27, 2020 and March 30, 2020, USCIS announced limited help to employers facing requests for evidence (RFE) and notices of intent to deny (NOID) during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The announcement will permit employers who receive an RFE, NOID, Notice of Intent to Revoke (NOIR), Notice of Intent to Terminate (NOIT), or appealable … Continue Reading

COVID-19 and U.S. Immigration Updates: Considerations for Those Who May Be Stuck Abroad or Can’t Make a Scheduled Appointment

The United States is now under a national emergency due to the COVID-19 epidemic. While USCIS remains open and is accepting all mail at the time of writing, it has canceled all in-person appointments, including interviews, biometrics and InfoPass appointments, through April 7, 2020. All appointments will be automatically rescheduled by USCIS when possible. While all … Continue Reading

Closure Updates for U.S. Immigration Agencies and Restrictions on International Travel

Update: USCIS Closure extends until at least April 7. With the spread of COVID-19 and the attempt to prevent its spread, in addition to the travel bans in place by the President, U.S. government agencies are starting to shut down.  Furthermore, other countries are starting to follow suit and shut its borders in an attempt … Continue Reading

Suspension of Premium Processing for I-129 and I-140 Petitions

Effective March 20, 2020, USCIS will temporarily suspend premium processing for all I-129 petitions and I-140 petitions due to COVID-19.  For petitions filed prior to March 20, 2020, USCIS will process the petition accordingly, but if no action has been taken within the 15-day window, USCIS will refund the premium processing fee. In addition, USCIS will … Continue Reading

USCIS Will Accept Electronic Signatures

Due to COVID-19, USCIS will accept benefit forms and documents without an original, wet signature for submissions dated after March 21, 2020, but with no announced end date. This means the document can be scanned, faxed, or photocopied from an original signature. USCIS notes that the documents with the original signatures must be retained if USCIS … Continue Reading

USCIS Encourages Rescheduling of Appointments Due to Sickness

The USCIS website has links to its various field offices where biometrics and interviews take place around the country.  The website has now been updated to include a link that designates USCIS Office Closings.  This is helpful when there are last minute closures and a rescheduling notice has not been sent in time:  See USCIS … Continue Reading

U.S. Immigration and Coronavirus Disease 2019 – Facts, Thoughts, Questions and Answers

Travel to the U.S. – Suspensions and Restrictions (Updated March 15, 2020) The White House has published three Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)-related proclamations relating to travel to the United States: Jan. 31, 2020: Proclamation 9984, Proclamation on Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Persons who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus. … Continue Reading

Compliance During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Escalation

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has just been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, and is spreading throughout the United States and beyond. As a result, some businesses, public organizations, and even some countries are going on lockdown over health concerns. Some businesses are hiring employees remotely and asking employees to work from home. As part of … Continue Reading

Leadership Changes at USCIS

There are reported leadership changes at USCIS.  According to reports, Joe Edlow, chief counsel of USCIS, has been appointed deputy director for policy, assuming responsibilities of Mark Koumans, deputy USCIS director and interim leader, who takes a new deputy director for operations role.  According to reports, Mr. Koumans may return to DHS in a new … Continue Reading

USCIS Revises Forms in Response to Public Charge Inadmissibility Final Rule

The Public Charge Inadmissibility Final Rule was issued in August 2019 and was to go into effect October 2019, when a preliminary injunction with national scope was granted that prevented the Department of Homeland Security from implementing the rule. On Jan. 27, 2020, the Supreme Court stayed the national injunction, and DHS may now implement the … Continue Reading

Effective Feb. 1, Form I-130 Petitions Only Processed Domestically by USCIS or Internationally by DOS

Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, one of the most widely filed USCIS forms, is filed by a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident petitioning for an immediate or close relative intending to immigrate to the United States. Until now, petitioners had the option of filing Form I-130 with the USCIS, directly with the USCIS … Continue Reading

USCIS Releases a New Form I-9

On Jan. 31, 2020, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) published in the Federal Register a notice announcing a new version of the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification (I-9 Form). The I-9 Form is required to be used by certain employers to verify each individual they hire for employment in the United States is legally … Continue Reading

Iranian Nationals No Longer Eligible for Changes to E-1 and E-2 Status or Extensions of E-1 and E-2 Status

As of Jan. 23, 2020, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will no longer accept requests for changes to E-1 or E-2 status or extensions of E-1 or E-2 status from Iranian nationals and their dependents (see USCIS notice concerning termination of eligibility). This change applies to Iranian nationals who are already in the United … Continue Reading

Continued Delays in Employment Authorization Document USCIS Processing Times

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) processing times for Employment Authorization Document (EAD) applications continue to increase despite already being at record highs. EADs are relied upon by many categories of foreign nationals to allow them to work lawfully in the United States. The processing times vary by USCIS Service Center, in addition … Continue Reading

Registration Requirement for Petitioners Seeking to File H–1B Petitions on Behalf of Cap-Subject Aliens

On Jan. 9, 2020, USCIS posted a Notice in the Federal Register announcing the implementation of the H-1B registration process for H-1B cap-subject petitions. USCIS notes: The initial H-1B petition registration period will begin on March 1, 2020. Starting on that date, USCIS will require H-1B cap-subject petitioners, including those eligible for the advanced degree … Continue Reading

USCIS Announces More Fees and Fee Increases—UPDATE: Extension of Comment Period

As we previously reported here, USCIS published a notice of proposed rulemaking for an adjustment of fees to meet operational needs. Today, USCIS announced an extension of the comment period on the proposed fee increases for future years from Dec. 16 to Dec. 30, 2019. USCIS stated: SUMMARY: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is … Continue Reading

USCIS Implements H-1B Registration for Next Year’s H-1B Lottery

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), after publishing the final rule for a new H-1B lottery process in January 2019 has announced that the testing period is now over for the registration process in relation to the H-1B lottery and implementation will go into effect for the  fiscal year 2021 H-1B cap. See the USCIS … Continue Reading

OMB Releases Fall 2019 Unified Regulatory Agenda; DHS & USCIS Expect Active Rulemakings

Twice a year, the Office of Management and Budget, in concert with the General Services Administration and its own Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, publish the Unified Regulatory Agenda (Unified Agenda). The Unified Agenda is a transparency program that publishes federal agency rulemakings in process. It is not a process set in concrete but … Continue Reading

EB-5 Update – New Regulations to Take Effect and Regional Center Program to be Extended Through Dec. 20, 2019 

The EB-5 Regional Center Program was set to expire on Nov. 21, 2019. On Nov. 18, Congress introduced a Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the government and extend vital programs such as EB-5 through Dec. 20, 2019. Leaders hope to use the additional time to extend current operations and complete fiscal matters and other priorities before … Continue Reading

Washington EB-5 Update

As a reminder to our readers, the Obama-era EB-5 Regional Center regulations – see July post for details – go into effect Nov. 21, 2019. USCIS has published a webpage resource to help explain the implementation of the upcoming regulations here. This is a period of significant change and activity on the EB-5 program. Clients are … Continue Reading

USCIS Announces More Fees and Fee Increases

Nearly 96% of the USCIS budget derives from fees. In our coverage of Congress, appropriations, continuing resolutions, and government shutdowns, we are reminded that USCIS is a fee-driven agency, as it does not depend on appropriations for its operations and, for example, remains open during government shutdowns over appropriations. We wrote last week about a … Continue Reading

$10.00 Fee for H-1B Electronic Registration

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced it will require a $10 non-refundable fee for each H-1B registration, once it implements the electronic registration system. The final rule, Registration Fee Requirement for Petitioners Seeking to File H-1B Petitions on Behalf of Cap-Subject Aliens, will be effective Dec. 9, 2019. Upon implementation of the electronic registration system, … Continue Reading

USCIS Announces Premium Processing Fee Increase for Certain Employment-based Petitions

On Oct. 30, 2019, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it is increasing the fee to request premium processing for certain employment-based petitions.  Beginning on Nov. 29, 2019, The premium processing fee will increase to $1,440 from the current fee of $1,410 for Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, and Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien … Continue Reading

Extension of El Salvador TPS Wind-Down Through Jan. 4, 2021, Announced

Today, El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele announced on Twitter a one-year extension (through Jan. 4, 2021) of the wind-down period of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for approximately 200,000 El Salvadorians working in the United States. Prior to today’s announcement and as previously reported, TPS status for El Salvador was extended in January 2018 through Sept. 9, 2019. Meanwhile, … Continue Reading
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