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NEWS & uPDATES
USCIS Aims to Decrease Processing Times by Transferring Cases for Interviews Outside Normal Jurisdictions
USCIS plans to decrease differences in processing times based on location for Forms N-400 and I-485. Applicants may receive notices for an interview at a field office outside of their normal jurisdiction. Biometric appointments will still be held at applicants’ nearest application support center.> Full News
USCIS Issues Policy Alert on Controlled Substance-Related Activity and Good Moral Character Determinations
Effective April 19, 2019, USCIS issued guidance to clarify that violation of federal controlled substance law, including for marijuana, remains a conditional bar to establishing good moral character for naturalization even where that conduct would not be a state law offense.> Full News
Why Is Your Case Taking So Long?
USCIS Processing Delays Have Now Hit Crisis Levels. American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) provides a flyer that helps clients with long-pending USCIS cases understand the broader context of current processing delays.> Full News
USCIS Will Begin Premium Processing for Certain FY2020 Cap-Subject H-1B Petitions on May 20, 2019
On May 20, USCIS will begin premium processing for FY 2020 cap-subject H-1B petitioners requesting a change of status on their Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker. Petitioners who do not file Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, concurrently with an FY 2020 cap-subject H-1B petition requesting a change of status must wait until premium processing begins on May 20 to submit Form I-907.
New I-539 Will Become Mandatory on March 22, 2019
On March 8, the USCIS posted a new version of form I-539 online for persons seeking to extend or change their status. Although the current form I-539 can be used until March 21, after that the USCIS will accept only the new form. In addition, a new I-539A supplement will be required. Each family member of the primary Form I-539 applicant must sign and submit a separate Form I-539A and the forms must be submitted together. It will take even longer than it does now (6-9 months) to extend or change your status or to get an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). New I-539 Procedure requires that applicants will have to appear at a USCIS Application Support Center to have their biometrics (fingerprints and a digital photo) taken. This includes both the principal applicant and their dependents who are also applying for an extension/change of status, whatever their age. Each person will have to pay an $85 biometrics fee.
USCIS resumes premium processing for all petitions today.
USCIS resumes premium processing on Tuesday, March 12, for all H-1B petitions. If you received a request for evidence (RFE) for a pending petition, you should include the RFE response with the premium processing request. When an H-1B petitioner properly requests the agency’s premium processing service, USCIS guarantees a 15-day processing time. If we do not take certain adjudicative action within the 15‑calendar day processing time, USCIS refunds the petitioner’s premium processing service fee and continues with expedited processing of the petition.
USCIS Resumes Premium Processing for H-1B Petitions Filed on or Before December 21, 2018.
USCIS Resumes Premium Processing for H-1B Petitions Filed on or Before December 21, 2018. For pending H-1Bs that have been transferred, a premium processing request must be submitted to the service center now handling the petition.> Full News
DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY TO INCREASE PREMIUM PROCESSING FEE AS OF OCTOBER 1
DHS published a final rule in today's Federal Register increasing the premium processing filing fee by 14.92 percent, changing it from $1,225 to $1,410. The rule is effective October 1, 2018, and applications postmarked on or after that date must include the new fee..> Full News
USCIS Extends and Expands Suspension of Premium Processing for H-1B Petitions
USCIS announced that it is extending the previously announced temporary suspension of premium processing for cap-subject H-1B petitions and, beginning 9/11/18, will be expanding this temporary suspension to include certain additional H-1B petitions. The suspension is expected to last until 2/19/19.> Full News
USCIS Provides Clarification of STEM OPT Extension Reporting Responsibilities and Training Obligations
USCIS is updating the Optional Practical Training Extension for STEM Students (STEM OPT) page of our website to clarify the reporting responsibilities for participating in the STEM OPT program > Full News
USCIS Policy on Accrued Unlawful Presence by Nonimmigrant Students and Exchange Visitors.
USCIS sent information on May 11, 2018 regarding a policy memorandum that changes how it will calculate unlawful presence for students and exchange visitors in F, J, and M nonimmigrant status, including F-2, J-2, or M-2 dependents, who fail to maintain their status in the United States.> Full News
USCIS Completes the H-1B Cap Random Selection Process for FY 2019
On April11, USCIS used a computer-generated random selection process to select enough H-1B petitions to meet the congressionally-mandated and the U.S. advanced degree exemption, known as the master's cap, for fiscal year (FY) 2019.
USCIS received 190,098 H-1B petitions during filing period, which began April 2, including petitions filed for the advanced degree exemption. USCIS announced on April 6, that it had received enough H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap of 65,000 and the master's cap of 20,000. USCIS will reject and return all unselected petitions with their filing fees unless the petition is a prohibited multiple filing.
USCIS conducted the selection process for the master's cap first. All unselected master's cap petitions then became part of the random selection process for the 65,000 cap.
USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions hat are otherwise exempt from the cap. Petitions filed for the current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap, and who still retain their cap number, will also not be counted towards the FY 2019 H-1B cap. USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions filed to:
* Extended amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the United States.
* Change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers.
* Allow current H-1B workers to change employers.
* Allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position.
US CONSULATE WAIT TIMES
USCIS WILL TEMPORARILY SUSPEND PREMIUM PROCESSING FOR FY2019 H-1B CAP PETITIONS
USCIS announced that starting 4/2/18, it will begin accepting H-1B petitions subject to the FY2019 cap. USCIS will temporarily suspend premium processing for all FY2019 cap-subject petitions. This suspension is expected to last until 9/10/18.> Full News
EB-5 Processing Time Report Updated on 03/14/18
Attached is the link that shows the form number, form name and processing times for the following forms that are processed by the Immigrant Investor Program Office (IPO).> Full News
USCIS ISSUES POLICY MEMO ON H-1BS INVOLVING THIRD-PARTY WORKSITES
USCIS issued a policy memorandum, effective 2/22/18, establishing policy related to H-1Bs filed for workers who will be employed at one or more third-party worksites. Unless specifically exempted in this memo, this guidance applies to all USCIS officers adjudicating Form I-129 H-1B petition.> Full News
EB-5 PROCESSING TIME REPORT
USCIS has released the updated EB-5 Processing Time Report on February 15, 2018 with processing dates as of December 31, 2017. > Full News
EB-5 INVESTOR CAN REINVEST FUNDS FROM FRAUD-WRACKED EB-5 DEAL
A Florida federal judge has agreed to allow the court-appointed receiver for the failed Jay Peak EB-5 investment project to sink up to $67 million of immigrant investors’ money into a New York-based project that could give investors a chance to still get their green cards. U.S. District Judge Darrin P. Gayles signed off Tuesday on the request by Michael Goldberg, the receiver for the failed $350 million Vermont ski project, to funnel a portion of a $150 million settlement secured last year from Raymond James & Associates Inc. into a development project known as One Wall Street.
SIGNIFICANT INCREASE IN EB-5 INVESTMENT REQUIREMENTS AND OTHER PROGRAM CHANGES PROPOSED BY USCIS
On January 13, 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) proposed significant changes to the EB-5 immigrant investor program, including higher investment amounts and exclusive federal authority to designate Targeted Employment Area (TEAs), the rural and high-unemployment areas that qualify for EB-5 investment at lower thresholds. > Full News
Resources & LINKS
To serve our clients with today's most up-to-date information, the following is a list of links that we hope you will find useful.