Immigration News

USCIS Will Temporarily Suspend Premium Processing for Fiscal Year 2019 H-1B Cap Petitions

Date: 03/21/2018

Starting April 2, 2018, USCIS will begin accepting H-1B petitions subject to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 cap. We will temporarily suspend premium processing for all FY 2019 cap-subject petitions, including petitions seeking an exemption for individuals with a U.S. master’s degree or higher. This suspension is expected to last until Sept. 10, 2018. During this time, we will continue to accept premium processing requests for H-1B petitions that are not subject to the FY 2019 cap. We will notify the public before resuming premium processing for cap-subject H-1B petitions or making any other premium processing updates.

During this temporary suspension, we will reject any Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, filed with an FY 2019 cap-subject H-1B petition. If a petitioner submits one combined check for the fees for Form I-907 and Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, we will reject both forms. When we resume premium processing, petitioners may file a Form I-907 for FY 2019 cap-subject H-1B petitions that remain pending.

Requesting Expedited Processing

While premium processing is suspended, a petitioner may submit a request to expedite an FY 2019 cap-subject H-1B petition if it meets the criteria on the Expedite Criteria webpage. It is the petitioner’s responsibility to demonstrate that they meet at least one of the expedite criteria, and we encourage petitioners to submit documentary evidence to support their expedite request. We review all expedite requests on a case-by-case basis and will grant requests at the discretion of USCIS office leadership.

Why We Are Temporarily Suspending Premium Processing for These Petitions

This temporary suspension will help us reduce overall H-1B processing times. By temporarily suspending premium processing, we will be able to:

Process long-pending petitions, which we have currently been unable to process due to the high volume of incoming petitions and the significant surge in premium processing requests over the past few years; and
Prioritize adjudication of H-1B extension of status cases that are nearing the 240 day mark.
We encourage H-1B petitioners to subscribe to email updates on the H-1B FY 2019 Cap Season webpage.

Re-Registration Period Opens for Syrians with Temporary Protected Status

Date: 03/05/2018

WASHINGTON—Current beneficiaries of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) under Syria’s designation who want to maintain their status through Sept. 30, 2019, must re-register between March 5, and May 4, 2018. Re-registration procedures, including how to renew employment authorization documentation, have been published in the Federal Register and on the USCIS website.

All applicants must submit Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status. Applicants may also request an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) by submitting a completed Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, when they file Form I-821, or separately at a later date. Both forms are free on USCIS’ website at uscis.gov/tps.

USCIS will issue new EADs with a Sept. 30, 2019, expiration date to eligible Syrian TPS beneficiaries who timely re-register and apply for EADs. However, given the timeframes involved with processing TPS re-registration applications, USCIS is automatically extending the validity of EADs with an expiration date of March 31 for 180 days, through Sept. 27.

To be eligible for TPS under Syria’s current designation, individuals must have continuously resided in the United States since Aug. 1, 2016, and have been continuously physically present in the United States since Oct. 1, 2016, along with meeting the other eligibility requirements.

On Jan. 31, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen announced her determination that the conditions supporting Syria’s TPS designation continue. The secretary made her decision after reviewing country conditions and consulting with appropriate U.S. government agencies. Before the 18-month extension ends, the secretary will review conditions in Syria to determine whether its TPS designation should be extended again or terminated.

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

DHS Extends TOS for Syria But Refused to Re-Designate

Date: 02/01/2018

On January 31, 2018, The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) decided to extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for approximately 7,000 Syrian, who are currently in the US. This decision only allows current TPS holders to renew their status.
DHS refused to re-designate Syria for TPS, thus inhibiting the Syrians fleeing violence and persecution to apply for protection in the US. Unfortunately, this will have a devastating impact on Syrian nationals who have sought safe haven in the United States since 2016. Moreover, it will undermine family reunification for an estimated 2,000 Syrian nationals in the US.

TPS allows nationals from designated countries facing humanitarian disasters and/or domestic strife to legally stay in the US. TPS does not confer a path to permanent residency, but it rather provides a safe haven until beneficiaries can return to their home without harm.

In 2016 United States and Citizenship Services renewed TPS for Syrians and stated that “the return of Syrian nationals to Syria would pose a threat to their personal safety” due to Syria’s ongoing civil war.” Syrians who enter the US undergo numerous levels of security and background checks and have been thoroughly vetted and screened. It is essential that TPS remains available for Syrian nationals until peace is restored in the country The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee declared that “it is unconscionable that DHS would refuse to re-designate Syria for TPS when Syria remains a battleground where the US military is actively involved.”

Re-Registration Period Now Open for Salvadorans

Date: 01/23/2018

WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that current beneficiaries of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) under El Salvador’s designation who want to maintain their status through the effective  termination date of Sept. 9, 2019, must re-register between Jan. 18, 2018, and March 19, 2018.

Re-registration procedures, including how to renew employment authorization documents, have been published in the Federal Register and on uscis.gov/tps.

All applicants must submit Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status. Applicants may also request an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) by submitting a completed Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, at the time of filing Form I-821, or separately at a later date. Both forms are free for download on USCIS’ website at uscis.gov/tps.

USCIS will issue new EADs with a Sept. 9, 2019, expiration date to eligible Salvadoran TPS beneficiaries who timely re-register and apply for EADs. Given the timeframes involved with processing TPS re-registration applications, however, USCIS recognizes that not all re-registrants will receive new EADs before their current EADs expire on March 9, 2018. Accordingly, USCIS has automatically extended the validity of EADs issued and currently valid under the TPS designation of El Salvador for 180 days, through Sept. 5, 2018.
On Jan. 8, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen determined that the statutory conditions supporting El Salvador’s TPS designation on the basis of an environmental disaster are no longer met. Secretary Nielsen made her decision to terminate TPS for El Salvador after reviewing country conditions and consulting with appropriate U.S. government agencies. To allow time for an orderly transition, she also delayed the effective date of the termination for 18 months from the current expiration date of March 9, 2018. As a result of the delayed effective date, El Salvador’s TPS designation will end on Sept. 9, 2019.  
Salvadorans with TPS may wish to consult with qualified immigration attorneys or practitioners about their eligibility for another immigration status or benefit, or whether there is any other action they may want to take regarding their individual immigration circumstances.
For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit uscis.gov or follow us on Twitter (@uscis), YouTube (/uscis), and Facebook (/uscis).

YOU CAN RENEW DACA!

Date: 01/16/2018

Due to a federal court order, USCIS has resumed accepting requests to renew a grant of deferred action under DACA.  Until further notice, and unless otherwise provided in this guidance, the DACA policy will be operated on the terms in place before it was rescinded on Sept. 5, 2017.

Individuals who were previously granted deferred action under DACA may request renewal by filing Form I-821D (PDF), Form I-765 (PDF), and Form I-765 Worksheet (PDF), with the appropriate fee or approved fee exemption request, at the USCIS designated filing location, and in accordance with the instructions to the Form I-821D (PDF) and Form I-765 (PDF).  USCIS is not accepting requests from individuals who have never before been granted deferred action under DACA.  USCIS will not accept or approve advance parole requests from DACA recipients.

If you previously received DACA and your DACA expired on or after Sept. 5, 2016, you may still file your DACA request as a renewal request.  Please list the date your prior DACA ended in the appropriate box on Part 1 of the Form I-821D.

If you previously received DACA and your DACA expired before Sept. 5, 2016, or your DACA was previously terminated at any time, you cannot request DACA as a renewal (because renewal requests typically must be submitted within one year of the expiration date of your last period of deferred action approved under DACA), but may nonetheless file a new initial DACA request in accordance with the Form I-821D and Form I-765 instructions. To assist USCIS with reviewing your DACA request for acceptance, if you are filing a new initial DACA request because your DACA expired before Sept. 5, 2016, or because it was terminated at any time, please list the date your prior DACA expired or was terminated on Part 1 of the Form I-821D, if available.

Deferred action is a discretionary determination to defer a removal action of an individual as an act of prosecutorial discretion.  Further, deferred action under DACA does not confer legal status upon an individual and may be terminated at any time, with or without a Notice of Intent to Terminate, at DHS’s discretion.

Information on EADs for TPS Honduras and Nicaragua

Date: 01/12/2018

USCIS has automatically extended the validity of employment authorization cards for individuals with Temporary Protected Status from Honduras and Nicaragua.

If your employee has an Employment Authorization Document (Form I‐766, often referred to as an "EAD") with an original expiration date of January 5, 2018 and containing the category code "A‐12" or "C‐19," this EAD is automatically extended and the employee may continue to work without a new one (and without a receipt notice) through the end of the automatic extension period.  TPS Honduras EADs have been automatically extended for six months, through July 4, 2018.  TPS Nicaragua EADs have been automatically extended for 60 days, through March 6, 2018.  

Federal Register notices announcing the extensions:
x Honduras
x Nicaragua

In addition, some EAD holders, including those with TPS who already applied to renew an EAD, may choose to show their existing EAD with a qualifying I‐797C receipt notice.  For both TPS Honduras and TPS Nicaragua, this combination of documents allows the employee to work through July 4, 2018 (instead of until March 6 for a TPS Nicaragua employee who chooses to show their automatically‐extended EAD only). More information on when an employee can choose to show their EAD and I‐797C is available in this USCIS Fact Sheet.

If you have an existing employee who presented an EAD that has now been automatically extended, the employee's Form I‐9 should be updated to reflect the extension:
1. For Section 1, the employee may:
a. Draw a line through the expiration date.
b. Write the new expiration date above the previous date.
‐ TPS Honduras employees as well as TPS Nicaragua employees who choose to show their EAD and qualifying receipt notice should write, "July 4, 2018."
‐ TPS Nicaragua employees who choose to show only their automatically‐extended EAD should write, "March 6, 2018."
c. Initial and date the correction in the margin of Section 1.

2. For Section 2, employers should:
a. Draw a line through the expiration date written in Section 2.
b. Write the new expiration date above the previous date.
‐ "July 4, 2018" for all TPS Honduras employees as well as TPS Nicaragua employees who show their EAD and qualifying receipt notice.
‐ "March 6, 2018" for TPS Nicaragua employees who choose to show only their automatically‐extended EAD.
c.  Initial and date the correction in the margin of Section 2.

For more information:
x Visit USCIS's webpage on TPS.
x Call the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) of the U.S. Department of Justice at 1‐800‐255‐8155 (1‐800‐237‐2515 TTY).

Statement from the White House Press Secretary: Is Immigration Reform in the U.S. on the Radar?

Date: 01/10/2018

President Donald J. Trump just concluded a successful bipartisan and bicameral meeting on immigration reform.  During the closed-door portion of the meeting, they reached an agreement to negotiate legislation that accomplishes critically needed reforms in four high-priority areas: border security, chain migration, the visa lottery, and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy.

https://visaserve.com/lawyer/2018/01/10/Immigration/Statement-from-the-Press-Secretary_bl32875.htm?utm_source=white+house+update&utm_campaign=White+House+update&utm_medium=email

Re-Registration Period Now Open for Nicaraguans with Temporary Protected Status

Date: 12/20/2017

TPS Nicaragua Ending in January 2019

 
WASHINGTON— Current beneficiaries of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) under Nicaragua’s designation who want to maintain that status through the program’s termination date of Jan. 5, 2019, must re-register between Dec. 15, 2017 and Feb. 13, 2018. Re-registration procedures, including how to renew employment authorization documentation, have been published in the Federal Register and on www.uscis.gov/tps. 

All applicants must submit Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status. Applicants may also request an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) by submitting a completed Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, at the time of filing Form I-821, or separately at a later date. Both forms are free on USCIS’ website at http://www.uscis.gov/tps.

USCIS will issue new Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) with a Jan. 5, 2019 expiration date to eligible Nicaraguan TPS beneficiaries who timely re-register and apply for EADs.  Given the timeframes involved with processing TPS re-registration applications, however, DHS recognizes that not all re-registrants will receive new EADs before their current EADs expire on Jan. 5, 2018.  Accordingly, DHS has automatically extended the validity of EADs issued under the TPS designation of Nicaragua for 60 days, through March 6, 2018.  Additionally, Nicaraguan TPS beneficiaries who timely re-register and properly file applications for an EAD will have the validity of their current EADs automatically extended for up to 180 days from the date their current EADs expire, through July 4, 2018.

In November, former Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke determined that conditions in Nicaragua no longer support its designation for TPS. Duke made her decision to terminate Nicaragua’s TPS designation after reviewing country conditions and consulting with appropriate U.S. government agencies. However, Duke delayed the effective date of the termination by one year from the current expiration date of Jan. 5, 2018, to allow time for an orderly transition for those affected.  With the delayed effective date, Nicaragua’s TPS designation will end Jan. 5, 2019.

Nicaraguans with TPS may wish to consult with qualified immigration attorneys or practitioners about their eligibility for another immigration status or benefit, or whether there is any other action they may want to take regarding their individual immigration circumstances.

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

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.

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