USCIS Resumes Premium Processing for Some Categories of Applicants Seeking H-1B Visas
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
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.
NEW PRACTICE ADVISORY DESCRIBES HOW TPS RECIPIENTS MAY APPLY FOR PERMANENT RESIDENCE
Immigration Help Available to Those Affected by Hurricane Irma
Trump Administration Announces End of DACA
SPECIAL IMMIGRATION RELIEF FOR THE VICTIMS OF HURRICANE HARVEY
USCIS offers immigration services that may help people affected by unforeseen circumstances, including disasters such as Hurricane Harvey. The following measures may be available on a case-by-case basis upon request:
- Changing a nonimmigrant status or extending a nonimmigrant stay for an individual currently in the United States. Failure to apply for the extension or change before expiration of your authorized period of admission may be excused if the delay was due to extraordinary circumstances beyond your control;
- Re-parole of individuals previously granted parole by USCIS;
- Expedited processing of advance parole requests;
- Expedited adjudication of requests for off-campus employment authorization for F-1 students experiencing severe economic hardship;
- Expedited adjudication of employment authorization applications, where appropriate;
- Consideration of fee waivers due to an inability to pay;
- Assistance for those who received a Request for Evidence or a Notice of Intent to Deny but were unable to submit evidence or otherwise respond in a timely manner;
- Assistance if you were unable to appear for a scheduled interview with USCIS;
- Expedited replacement of lost or damaged immigration or travel documents issued by USCIS, such as a Permanent Resident Card (Green Card); and
- Rescheduling a biometrics appointment.
Call Immigration Solutions LLC at 617-536-0584 or email email@example.com for assistance to obtain Special Immigration Relief.
USCIS WLL CONDUCT INTERVIEWS FOR ALL EMPLOYMENT BASED AND DERIVATIVES' REFUGEE/ASYLEE GREEN CARD PETITIONS
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that it will begin expanding in-person interviews for certain immigration benefit applicants whose benefit, if granted, would allow them to permanently reside in the United States. This change complies with Executive Order 13780, “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States,” and is part of the agency’s comprehensive strategy to further improve the detection and prevention of fraud and further enhance the integrity of the immigration system.
Effective Oct. 1, USCIS will begin to phase-in interviews for the following:
- Adjustment of status applications based on employment (Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status).
- Refugee/asylee relative petitions (Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition) for beneficiaries who are in the United States and are petitioning to join a principal asylee/refugee applicant.
Previously, applicants in these categories did not require an in-person interview with USCIS officers in order for their application for permanent residency to be adjudicated. Beyond these categories, USCIS is planning an incremental expansion of interviews to other benefit types.
USCIS asserted that conducting in-person interviews will provide USCIS officers with the opportunity to verify the information provided in an individual’s application, to discover new information that may be relevant to the adjudication process, and to determine the credibility of the individual seeking permanent residence in the United States. This change will most likely result in longer processing times for the adjudication of all Green Card applications.
Supreme Court Decision Affecting Trump's Travel Ban
On June 26, 2017, the Supreme Court granted certiorari and consolidated two key cases in the travel and refugee ban litigation. In addition, the Court granted a partial stay of the injunctions that had been preventing implementation of Section 2(c), Section 6(a), and Section 6(b) of Executive Order 13780 (EO 13780). In its ruling, the Court held that Section 2(c) and 6(a) of EO 13780 “may not be enforced again foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” The Court clarified that the sort of "bona fide relationship" that qualifies for individuals is a "close familial relationship" to a person in the U.S. As for a "bona fide relationship" to a U.S. entity, the Court indicated that the relationship must be “formal, documented, and formed in the ordinary course.” The Court also held that a refugee with a credible claim of a "bona fide relationship" with a U.S. person or entity may not be excluded, even if the 50,000 cap on refugees has been reached.
HAITI’S DESIGNATION FOR TPS IS SET TO TERMINATE ON JULY 22, 2017
US Citizenship & Immigration completed a review of the conditions in Haiti and has concluded that the conditions no longer support its designation for TPS. As a result, USCIS has recommended that the Department of Homeland Security to terminate Haiti’s TPS designation effective January 22, 2018. This will allow for the extension of TPS benefits for affected individuals for an additional 6 months and for a period of orderly transition before the TPS designation is terminated.
USCIS WILL ISSUE REDESIGNED GREEN CARDS AND EMPLOYMENT AUTHORIZATION DOCUMENTS
On April 19, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced it was redesigning the Permanent Resident Card (also known as a Green Card) and the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) as part of the Next Generation Secure Identification Document Project. USCIS will begin issuing the new cards on May 1, 2017.