Tag Archives: USCIS

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

November 2018 Visa Bulletin Updates

The Department of State (DOS) November 2018 Visa Bulletin shows movement in employment-based categories. The EB-1 category remained retrogressed for November 2018. Although it is likely that there will be some forward movement in December 2018 for EB-1 India, it will probably NOT return to “current” this calendar year. The EB-2 India category will likely move … Continue Reading

Proposed Immigration Rule – Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds

USCIS has proposed rules that could deny entry to non-immigrants seeking admission to the United States and adjustment of status to permanent residence to immigrants if they rely on public benefits for food, housing or medical care, and other forms of public assistance. The proposed rule – “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds” – is published in … Continue Reading

Challenges with “Function Manager” Positions in the L-1A and EB-1 Multinational Manager Classifications

In today’s world of evolving multinational organizations, from hierarchical to flat structures, and increased scrutiny of the L-1 visa category by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the challenges of the “function manager” position within the L-1A visa and First Preference Employment-based immigrant visa for Multinational Managers or Executives (EB-1 MM) classifications continue to cause … 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

UPDATE: USCIS Postpones Implementation of New Policy Memoranda on Notices to Appear

As previously reported, on June 28, 2018, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a Policy Memorandum titled “Updated Guidance for the Referral of Cases and Issuance of Notices to Appear (NTAs) in Cases Involving Inadmissible and Deportable Aliens.”  USCIS has announced that because it is waiting for operational guidance on the Policy Memo from … Continue Reading

USCIS Issues Two New Policy Memoranda on Notices to Appear and Denials in Lieu of RFEs and NOIDs – What This Means for You

On June 28, 2018, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a Policy Memorandum titled “Updated Guidance for the Referral of Cases and Issuance of Notices to Appear (NTAs) in Cases Involving Inadmissible and Deportable Aliens.” Later, on July 13, 2018, the USCIS issued a Policy Memorandum titled “Issuance of Certain RFEs and NOIDs.” … Continue Reading

DHS Announces Additional 15,000 H-2B Visas for 2018

Today, Secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, announced an additional 15,000 H-2B temporary nonagricultural visas will be available for Fiscal Year 2018.  DHS had been under political pressure to release additional H-2B visas by businesses and industry groups citing labor workforce needs.  Groups had been calling for the immediate release of additional H-2Bs to help … Continue Reading

USCIS Announces Termination of TPS for Nepal; Continues Trend with Other TPS Nations

On April 26, 2018, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen announced, after reviewing country conditions and consulting with various U.S. government agencies, that the grounds for Nepal’s TPS designation on the basis of an environmental disaster are no longer met and as such, termination of the designation is required by statute. As a result, … Continue Reading

USCIS Issues Policy Alert on Revising Policy Manual Regarding Tenant-Occupancy Methodology

USCIS issued a policy alert on May 16, 2018, to announce that it will revise its policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual.  The changes will be effective as of May 15, 2018.  The policy guidance reverses the previous stance on the tenant occupancy economic methodology.  The new policy guidance does not consider the tenant-occupancy … 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

FY2019 H-1B Cap Met

USCIS announced today, April 6, 2018, that the FY 2019 H-1B cap is now closed because it has received a sufficient number of H‐1B petitions to reach the 65,000 statutory cap as well as the 20,000 advanced degree exemption. The announcement did not provide details about the total number of H-1B petitions filed.  USCIS will … Continue Reading

USCIS and CBP to Implement Form I-129 Pilot Program for Canadian L-1 Nonimmigrants

From April 30, 2018, to Oct. 31, 2018, the USCIS California Service Center (CSC) and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the Blaine, Washington, port of entry (POE) will implement a joint agency pilot program for Canadian citizens seeking L-1 nonimmigrant status under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). This pilot is … Continue Reading

Under New H-1B Rule Interpretation, You May be More Closely Related than You Think

On March 23, 2018, USCIS significantly changed its interpretation of the H-1B rules by issuing a policy memorandum adopting the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) decision Matter of S- Inc.  The issue addressed in Matter of S- Inc. is the meaning of the term “related entities” in cases where multiple employers file cap-subject H-1B petitions for … 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

Homeland Security Inspector General Issues Report on USCIS Processing Times for Green Cards

On March 14, USCIS released an Inspector General’s report on Green Card Processing Times.   The report found that green card processing times exceeded the existing 120-day goal by taking an average of 282 days to complete. The report identified processing times are greatly affected by interviews and vetting occurring at USCIS. The report made two … Continue Reading

USCIS Finalizes Guidance on Signature Requirements – With Limited Exceptions, USCIS No Longer Accepts Power of Attorney Signatures

On Feb. 16, 2018, USCIS published the final policy memorandum on signature requirements, which changed its existing rules for signatures on written requests filed with USCIS. Effective March 18, 2018, all paper filings with the USCIS must include a handwritten ink signature and USCIS will no longer accept signatures of individuals based on power of … 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

USCIS’ Recap on Activities since Buy American, Hire American

Since the introduction of the Executive Order “Buy American, Hire American” (BAHA), federal agencies, including DHS and USCIS, are following the directive to focus on protecting U.S. workers and U.S. resources.  The USCIS website was updated as of Dec. 20, 2017 regarding BAHA and below are key highlights from this update, which is essentially a … Continue Reading

USCIS Provides Filing Instructions For Likely Short-Lived International Entrepreneur Rule and Errors Found in Instructions

Filing Instructions Published Dec. 14, 2017 – the International Entrepreneur Rule (IER) was finally implemented with USCIS’ publication of instructions on how international entrepreneurs can file Form I-941, Application for Entrepreneur Parole, in order to stay in the U.S. and develop business. While not offering a path to U.S. permanent residence or U.S. citizenship, the IER … 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
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