Category Archives: USCIS

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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

Temporary Protected Status Extended for Sudan, El Salvador, Haiti, and Nicaragua

The Department of Homeland Security filed a notice Thursday, Feb. 28 extending Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for four countries – Sudan, El Salvador, Haiti, and Nicaragua – as a result of federal court action. The approximately 300,000 affected immigrants in the United States will be allowed to extend their stays until January 2020. Please check back with us for … Continue Reading

USCIS Reports Increased Processing Times

USCIS released telling data containing average processing times per form and petition type for fiscal years 2014 to 2018. While the normal pendency period for almost every type of case has increased since 2014, there have been significant delays for certain types of petitions. Foreign nationals seeking green cards have experienced longer wait times than … 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

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

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

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

DHS Details Extension of Temporary Protected Status for Somalia Beneficiaries

Following the July 20 announcement of the granting of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Somalian beneficiaries, the Department of Homeland Security published a notice on Aug. 27 with instructions for the 18-month Somalian TPS extension from Sept. 18, 2018 through March 17, 2020. The 60-day re-registration period runs from Aug. 27, 2018 through Oct. 26. 2018. … Continue Reading

September 2018 Visa Bulletin Updates

The Department of State (DOS) recently released the September 2018 Visa Bulletin. The charts below show movement in employment-based categories. Referring to the Final Action Dates, following are updates from the September Visa Bulletin: EB-1: Mainland China and India had no movement, with a cutoff date of Jan. 1, 2012, while El Salvador/Guatemala/Honduras, Mexico, Philippines, and Vietnam … 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 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
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