Immigration News

USCIS to Begin Accepting Applications under the International Entrepreneur Rule

Date: 12/15/2017

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today it is taking steps to implement the International Entrepreneur Rule (IER), in accordance with a recent court decision.

The IER was published during the previous administration to provide an unlimited number of international entrepreneurs a new avenue to apply for parole, enter the U.S., and use American investments to establish and grow start-up businesses. Parole is a discretionary grant made by the Secretary of Homeland Security and is granted only on a case-by-case basis for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit. The rule established new criteria to guide the adjudication of parole applications from certain foreign entrepreneurs, providing them with temporary permission to come to the country. The rule did not afford a path to citizenship, which only Congress can do.

On Jan. 25, 2017, President Trump issued Executive Order 13767, Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements, which requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to ensure that parole authority is exercised only on a case-by-case basis, and only when an individual demonstrates urgent humanitarian reasons or a significant public benefit due to the parole.

Guidance on how to submit IER applications is available on our International Entrepreneur Parole page.

While DHS implements the IER, DHS will also proceed with issuing a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) seeking to remove the Jan. 17, 2017, IER. DHS is in the final stages of drafting the NPRM.

For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit uscis.gov or follow us on Twitter (@uscis), YouTube (/uscis), Facebook (/uscis), and Instagram (@USCIS).

Supreme Court Allows Trump Travel Ban to Take Effect

Date: 12/05/2017

The Supreme Court on Monday allowed the third version of the Trump administration’s travel ban to go into effect while legal challenges against it continue. The court’s orders mean that the administration can fully enforce its new restrictions on travel from eight nations, six of them predominantly Muslim. For now, most citizens of Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad and North Korea will be barred from entering the United States, along with some groups of people from Venezuela. The restrictions vary in their details, but in most cases, citizens of the countries will be unable to emigrate to the United States permanently and many will be barred from working, studying or vacationing here. Iran, for example, will still be able to send its citizens on student exchanges, though such visitors will be subject to enhanced screening. Somalis will no longer be allowed to emigrate to the United States, but may visit with extra screening.

TPS FOR NICARAGUA IS SET TO EXPIRE WHILE TPS FOR HONDURAS IS EXTENDED

Date: 11/13/2017

 

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the termination of the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Nicaragua, with a delayed effective date of January 5, 2019. This means that all Nicaraguans who are currently on TPS will either have to leave the US after this date or change status to a new visa category (if eligible). DHS also determined that additional information was necessary regarding the TPS designation for Honduras, and as a result, it will be automatically extended to July 5, 2018.

Trump Third Travel Ban has been Blocked

Date: 10/18/2017

 

On October 16, 2017, Judge Derrick K. Watson, a federal judge, in the state of Hawaii largely blocked the Trump administration from implementing the third travel plan decreed by the Trump Administration. The latest ban was set to fully go into effect in the early morning hours of October 17 barring various types of travelers from Syria, Libya, Iran, Yemen, Chad, Somalia, North Korea, and Venezuela. Judge Watson wrote that the latest ban "suffers from precisely the same maladies as its predecessor: it lacks sufficient findings that the entry of more than 150 million nationals from six specified countries would be 'detrimental to the interests of the United States.'" This means that there is an injunction that prevents the government from barring nationals from Syria, Libya, Iran, Yemen, Chad and Somalia. Nevertheless, the bar remains for nationals of Venezuela and North Korea.

DoD Announces Policy Changes to Lawful Permanent Residents and the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) Pilot Program

Date: 10/17/2017

The Department of Defense announced today a change to policies regarding initial screening of Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) and qualifying service for the purposes of military naturalization. These changes reflect lessons learned from the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) Pilot Program. While the Department recognizes the value of expedited U.S. citizenship achieved through military service, it is in the national interest to ensure all current and prospective service members complete security and suitability screening prior to naturalization.

On October 13, 2017 DoD authorized a change to two policies:
(1)           Initial security and suitability screening for LPRs, and;
(2)           Certifications of honorable service for the purposes of expedited naturalization.
Effective immediately, all LPRs must complete a background investigation and receive a favorable military security suitability determination (MSSD) prior to entry in the active, reserve, or guard service.
This is a change from the current policy, which allows for LPR recruits to ship to initial military training as long as their background investigation had been initiated, and they had cleared all other entry screening requirements.

Effective immediately, in order for a foreign national entering service in the active, reserve, or guard service to receive a certification of honorable service for the purposes of expedited naturalization (citizenship), he or she must:

-      Complete all security and suitability screening requirements and receive a favorable MSSD, and;
-      Complete the initial military training requirements of the service of which they are a member, and;
-      Complete at least 180 consecutive days of active duty service, or at least one year of satisfactory service in the selected reserve.
This is a change from the current practice of certification of honorable service for the purpose of expedited naturalization after “one day of service.”
For currently serving service members, to include those in the Delayed Training Program, they must complete all security and suitability screening requirements prior to a certification of honorable service. Those who may have received a certification of honorable service prior to the completion of all security and suitability screening requirements will have that certification recalled and decertified until, at a minimum, screening requirements are complete.
DoD and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) have established a process to allow for the review and recertification of recalled forms once the individual completes requisite screening requirements.

ATTENTION DIVERSITY VISA, GREEN CARD LOTTERY APPLICANTS

Date: 10/16/2017

Due to a technical issue, the DV-2019 entry period that began on October 3 has been closed. Entries submitted during October 3-10 are not valid and have been excluded from the system; they will not count as a duplicate entry. The technical issue has been resolved and a new full entry period will begin at noon, U.S. Eastern Daylight Time on Wednesday October 18, 2017 and will run until noon Eastern Standard Time on Wednesday November 22, 2017. Only entries submitted during this period will be accepted and considered for selection in the lottery. Please throw away any confirmation number or other documentation that you have if you submitted an entry during Oct. 3-10.

The Deadline to Submit DACA Renewal Requests is October 5th

Date: 10/03/2017

Deadline to Submit DACA Renewal Requests Is October 5

USCIS issued a reminder regarding the October 5, 2017, deadline for DACA recipients to properly file renewal requests and associated applications for employment authorization. These requests must be properly filed and physically received by the agency at the proper filing location no later than October 5, 2017. Also, during the AILA SCOPS Liaison Committee call on September 27, 2017, USCIS confirmed that only persons whose current DACA expires between September 5, 2017, and March 5, 2018, are eligible to renew their deferred action grant.

NOW YOU CAN OBTAIN A SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER WHEN YOU FILE FORM I-765, APPLICATION FOR EMPLOYMENT AUTHORIZATION.

Date: 10/03/2017

Based on a new information-sharing partnership between U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA), foreign nationals in certain categories or classifications can now apply for work authorization and a social security number using a single form – the updated Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.

To lawfully work in the United States, foreign workers in some categories and classifications need both an employment authorization document (EAD) from USCIS, and a Social Security number (SSN) from the SSA. Previously, applicants needed to submit a Form I-765 to USCIS for an EAD, and then submit additional paperwork in-person at their local Social Security office to obtain an SSN.

The revised USCIS form includes additional questions that allow applicants to apply for an SSN or replacement card without visiting a Social Security office. Starting today, USCIS will transmit the additional data collected on the form to the SSA for processing. Moving forward, applicants who receive their approved EADs from USCIS should receive their Social Security card from SSA within the following two weeks.

EADs serve as documentation to show employers that an individual is authorized to work in the U.S. for a specific time period. SSNs are used to report wages to the government, and to determine an individual’s eligibility for certain benefits.

USCIS Resumes Premium Processing for Some Categories of Applicants Seeking H-1B Visas

Date: 09/25/2017

WASHINGTON — U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) resumed premium processing today for all H-1B visa petitions subject to the Fiscal Year year (FY) 2018 cap. The FY 2018 cap has been set at 65,000 visas. Premium processing has also resumed for the annual 20,000 additional petitions that are set aside to hire workers with a U.S. master’s degree or higher educational degree.

H-1B visas provide skilled workers for a wide range of specialty occupations, including information technology, academic research, and accounting. When a petitioner requests the agency’s premium processing service, USCIS guarantees a 15-day processing time. If the 15- calendar day processing time is not met, the agency will refund the petitioner’s premium processing service fee and continue with expedited processing of the application. This service is only available for pending petitions, not new submissions, since USCIS received enough petitions in April to meet the FY 2018 cap.

In addition to today’s resumption of premium processing for H-1B visa petitions subject to the FY 2018 cap, USCIS previously resumed premium processing H-1B petitions filed on behalf of physicians under the Conrad 30 waiver program, as well as interested government agency waivers and for certain H-1B petitions that are not subject to the cap. Premium processing remains temporarily suspended for all other H-1B petitions, such as extensions of stay.

USCIS plans to resume premium processing for all other remaining H‑1B petitions not subject to the FY 2018 cap, as agency workloads permit. However, remaining petitioners may submit a request to expedite their application if they meet the specific agency criteria. USCIS reviews all expedite requests on a case-by-case basis, and requests are granted at the discretion of the office leadership.

USCIS will release future announcements when they begin accepting premium processing for other H-1B petitions, not subject to the FY 2018 cap.

Temporary Protected Status for Sudan to Terminate in November 2018

Date: 09/25/2017

WASHINGTON—Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke has determined that conditions in Sudan no longer support its designation for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) after reviewing country conditions, and after Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials’ consultations with the appropriate U.S. government agencies. Acting Secretary Duke is extending benefits for beneficiaries of Sudan TPS for 12 months to allow for an orderly transition before the designation terminates on Nov. 2, 2018.

 

Current beneficiaries of Sudan’s TPS designation seeking to extend their TPS status must re-register. The deadline will be published in the Federal Register and on www.uscis.gov/tps later this week. Those who re-register and request a new employment authorization document (EAD) may receive an automatic extension of their expiring EAD for up to 180 days from the date their current EAD expires. If a beneficiary’s EAD request is approved, they will receive a new EAD with an expiration date of Nov. 2, 2018. TPS beneficiaries are strongly encouraged to re-register and file their EAD applications as early as possible to avoid lapses in documentation of employment authorization.

 

Although TPS benefits will no longer be in effect starting Nov. 2, 2018, TPS beneficiaries will continue to hold any other immigration status that they have maintained or acquired while registered for TPS. The Department of Homeland Security urges individuals who do not have another immigration status to use the time before the termination becomes effective in November to prepare for and arrange their departure from the United States or to apply for other immigration benefits for which they may be eligible.

 

Additional information about TPS is available at uscis.gov/tps. A Federal Register notice containing further details will be published soon.

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