Category Archives: USCIS

Subscribe to USCIS RSS Feed

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

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

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
LexBlog