Immigration News

The US Embassy Jerusalem, Tel Aviv Branch has confirmed that E-2 visa applications will be accepted as of Wednesday, May 1, 2019.

Date: 04/12/2019

A formal ceremony marking this historic accomplishment is tentatively scheduled to take place on Monday, May 6, 2019, with Ambassador Friedman as the keynote speaker.  The Israel-America Chamber of Commerce  will sponsor the first US and Israel Treaty Investor Seminar immediately following the convocation, with participation from the US Consul, Tel Aviv Branch, and Director of the Israel Population and Immigration Authority. Further information may be found at https://www.e2visa.co.il/.

USCIS has launched an H-1B Employer Data Hub to provide information to the public on employers petitioning for H-1B workers

Date: 04/01/2019

USCIS has launched an H-1B Employer Data Hub to provide information to the public on employers petitioning for H-1B workers. The data hub is part of USCIS’ continued effort to increase transparency in employment-based visa programs by allowing the public to search for H-1B petitioners by fiscal year (back to FY 2009), NAICS code, employer name, city, state, or ZIP code. This will give the public the ability to calculate approval and denial rates and to review which employers are using the H-1B program. Data for individual fiscal years is available to download on the H-1B Employer Data Hub Files page. To help the public use the data hub and understand the terminology in it, USCIS has also created the Understanding Our H-1B Employer Data Hub page.
USCIS will provide cumulative quarterly updates and annual releases of the data and it anticipates updating the H-1B Employer Data Hub quarterly. For example, data for the first quarter (October-December) of a fiscal year will be provided in April of that fiscal year.
 

Premium Processing Begins for Certain Cap-Subject H-1B Petitions on May 20

Date: 04/01/2019

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.

On March 19, we announced that we would offer premium processing in a two-phased approach during the FY 2020 cap season to best manage premium processing requests without fully suspending it. In the past few years, we had to suspend all premium processing for H-1B petitions due to high demand. Based on feedback from the public, we are using this phased approach to benefit petitioners and ensure efficient premium processing. The first phase includes FY 2020 cap-subject H-1B petitions requesting a change of status and the second phase will include all other FY 2020 cap-subject petitions.

Premium processing for all other FY 2020 cap-subject H-1B petitions will not begin until at least June 2019. We will notify the public with a confirmed date for premium processing for cap-subject petitioners not requesting a change of status. At this time, premium processing for H-1B petitions that are exempt from the cap, such as extension of stay requests, remains available.

Pre-paid Mailer Temporary Suspension

Starting on May 20 and continuing through the end of June 3, we will not use pre-paid mailers to send out final notices for premium processing for FY 2020 cap-subject H-1B petitions requesting a change of status. Instead, we will use regular mail. We will be doing this due to resource limitations as we work to process all premium processing petitions in a timely manner. The process for printing approval notices and sending them by regular mail is fully automated, whereas use of the pre-paid mailers requires a separate and more time-consuming manual process. As such, and given the initial surge of premium processing requests for H-1B cap petitions and its impact on USCIS resources, using pre-paid mailers may actually delay the issuance of an approval notice, compared to the standard process or otherwise negatively affect our ability to timely process premium processing petitions. After the two-week period, we intend to resume sending out final notices in pre-paid mailers provided by petitioners, when operationally feasible. We will be following a similar process when premium processing resumes for the second phase of FY 2020 cap-subject H-1B petitions.

USCIS Resumes Premium Processing for All H-1B Petitions

Date: 03/12/2019

USCIS will resume 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.

If Your H-1B Petition Was Transferred

If you received a transfer notice for a pending H-1B petition, and you are requesting premium processing service, you must submit the premium processing request to the service center now handling the petition. You should also include a copy of the transfer notice with your premium processing request to avoid possible delays associated with the receipt of your premium processing request. If your petition was transferred and you send your premium processing request to the wrong center, USCIS will forward it to the petition’s current location. However, the premium processing clock will not start until the premium processing request has been received at the correct center.

Please use the below table to determine where you should send your premium processing request if USCIS transferred your petition:

If your petition was transferred to the… Send your premium processing request to…
Nebraska Service Center
USPS:

USCIS Nebraska Service Center
P.O. Box 87129
Lincoln, NE 68501-7129

FedEx, UPS, and DHL deliveries:

USCIS Nebraska Service Center
850 S Street
Lincoln, NE 68508

Vermont Service Center
USPS, FedEx, UPS, and DHL deliveries:

USCIS Vermont Service Center
Attn: I-129 H-1B
30 Houghton Street
St. Albans, VT 05478-2399

Please do not reply to this message.  See our Contact Us page for phone numbers and e-mail addresses.

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H-2B Cap Reached for FY 2019

Date: 02/25/2019

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has received enough petitions to meet the congressionally mandated H-2B cap for the second half of fiscal year (FY) 2019. Feb. 19, 2019, was the final receipt date for new cap-subject H-2B worker petitions requesting an employment start date before Oct. 1, 2019. USCIS will reject new cap-subject H-2B petitions received after Feb. 19 that request an employment start date before Oct. 1, 2019.

On Feb. 19, the number of beneficiaries USCIS received petitions for surpassed the total number of remaining H-2B visas available for the H-2B cap for the second half of FY 2019. In accordance with regulations, USCIS determined it was necessary to use a computer-generated process, commonly known as a lottery, to ensure the fair and orderly allocation of H-2B visa numbers to meet, but not exceed, the remainder of the FY 2019 cap. On Feb. 21, USCIS conducted a lottery to randomly select petitions from those received on Feb. 19. As a result, USCIS assigned all petitions selected in the lottery the receipt date of Feb. 22. Premium processing service for petitions selected in the lottery also began on that date.

USCIS continues to accept H-2B petitions that are exempt from the congressionally mandated cap. This includes petitions for:

Current H-2B workers in the United States petitioning to extend their stay and, if applicable, change the terms of their employment or change their employers;
Fish roe processors, fish roe technicians, and/or supervisors of fish roe processing; and
Workers performing labor or services in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands and/or Guam from Nov. 28, 2009, until Dec. 31, 2029.
U.S. businesses use the H-2B program to employ foreign workers for temporary nonagricultural jobs. Currently, Congress has set the H-2B cap at 66,000 per fiscal year, with 33,000 for workers who begin employment in the first half of the fiscal year (Oct. 1 - March 31) and 33,000 for workers who begin employment in the second half of the fiscal year (April 1 - Sept. 30) plus any unused numbers from the first half of the fiscal year, if any. However, unused H-2B numbers from one fiscal year do not carry over into the next.

 

 

USCIS Resumes Premium Processing for H-1B Petitions Filed on or before Dec. 21, 2018

Date: 02/21/2019

USCIS will resume premium processing on Tuesday, Feb. 19, for all H-1B petitions filed on or before Dec. 21, 2018. If you received a transfer notice for a pending H-1B petition, and you are requesting premium processing service, you must submit the premium processing request to the service center now handling the petition. You should also include a copy of the transfer notice with your premium processing request to avoid possible delays associated with the receipt of your premium processing request. Additionally, if you received a request for evidence (RFE) for a pending petition, you should also include the RFE response with the premium processing request. If your petition was transferred and you send your premium processing request to the wrong center, USCIS will forward it to the petition’s current location. However, the premium processing clock will not start until the premium processing request has been received at the correct center.

Please use the below table to determine where you should send your premium processing request if USCIS transferred your petition:

If your petition was transferred to the…

Send your premium processing request to…

Nebraska Service Center

USPS:

USCIS Nebraska Service Center
P.O. Box 87129
Lincoln, NE 68501-7129

FedEx, UPS, and DHL deliveries:

USCIS Nebraska Service Center
850 S Street
Lincoln, NE 68508

Vermont Service Center

USPS, FedEx, UPS, and DHL deliveries:

USCIS Vermont Service Center
Attn: I-129 H-1B
30 Houghton Street
St. Albans, VT 05478-2399

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.

The previously announced temporary suspension of premium processing remains in effect for H-1B petitions to which it applied that were filed on or after Dec. 22, 2018. On Jan. 28, we resumed premium processing for FY 2019 cap-subject petitions, including those eligible for the advanced degree exemption. We plan to resume premium processing for the remaining categories of H‑1B petitions as agency workloads permit.

We will continue to notify the public via https://www.uscis.gov/ when we begin accepting premium processing for other categories of H-1B petitions.

Please do not reply to this message.  See our Contact Us page for phone numbers and e-mail addresses.

USCIS signature

USCIS RESUMES PREMIUM PROCESSING FOR FISCAL YEAR 2019 H-1B CAP PETITIONS:

Date: 01/28/2019

USCIS RESUMES PREMIUM PROCESSING FOR FISCAL YEAR 2019 H-1B CAP PETITIONS:

USCIS will resume premium processing on Monday, Jan. 28, for all fiscal year (FY) 2019 H-1B cap petitions, including those eligible for the advanced degree exemption (the “master’s cap”). Petitioners who have received requests for evidence (RFEs) for pending FY 2019 cap petitions should include their RFE response with any request for premium processing they may submit.

H-1B visas provide employers with skilled workers for a wide range of specialty occupations. When a petitioner 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. This service is only available for pending petitions, not new submissions, because USCIS has already received enough petitions to meet the FY 2019 cap.

The previously announced temporary suspension of premium processing remains in effect for all other categories of H-1B petitions to which it applied. USCIS plans to resume premium processing for the remaining categories of H‑1B petitions as agency workloads permit.

Visa Processing has been Suspended in Managua, Nicaragua

Date: 06/27/2018

The Department of State announced that all visa processing has been suspended in Managua, Nicaragua due to security reasons. The U.S. Embassy will resume operations when the security situation improves. It will analyze the situation on a daily basis and will resume normal operating status when it is possible for the Embassy to work more routine hours.

Supreme Court Upholds President Trump's Third Travel Ban

Date: 06/27/2018

The Supreme Court upheld President Trump's September 24, 2017 Proclamation (Travel Ban 3.0), which currently excludes nationals from seven countries, stating that the proclamation was "squarely within the scope of Presidential authority under the Immigration National Act." Chief Justice Roberts delivered the opinion of the Court, and Justice Kennedy, Thomas, Alito and Gorsuch joined. Justice Breyer filed a dissenting opinion, in which Justice Kagan joined. Justice Sotomayor filed a dissenting opinion, in which Justice Ginsburg joined.

USCIS to Conduct Lottery for Temporary Increase in FY 2018 H-2B Cap

Date: 06/06/2018

As previously announced, USCIS began accepting H-2B petitions on May 31, 2018, under the temporary final rule increasing the numerical limit, or cap, on H-2B nonimmigrant visas by up to 15,000 additional visas through the end of fiscal year (FY) 2018.

In the first five business days of filing, USCIS received petitions for more beneficiaries than the number of H-2B visas available under the FY 2018 supplemental cap. Accordingly, USCIS is required by regulation to use a computer-generated process, commonly known as a lottery, to randomly select the number of petitions required to meet the increased cap for FY 2018.

The lottery will include all H-2B cap-subject petitions received between May 31, 2018 and June 6, 2018.
USCIS will reject and return all unselected petitions with their filing fees, as well as any cap-subject petitions received after June 6.

All selected petitions will be assigned the same receipt date once the lottery is complete. Premium processing service for accepted petitions will begin on that receipt date.
USCIS will post another web alert once the lottery is completed.

For more information about the H-2B program, see Cap Count for H-2B Nonimmigrants.

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