U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) resumed premium processing today for all H-1B visa extension of stay petitions. Premium processing is now available for all types of H-1B petitions.
The immigration landscape has changed in many ways during the first 6 months of the Trump administration. Below are 4 areas where our office has noticed significant changes from long established immigration practices of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS), US Department of State, (DOS), US Customs & Border Protection (CBP) and the Department of Labor (DOL):
- Challenges to Level 1 DOL wage designation for “entry-level” H-1B professional positions;
- Possible communications from DOS to the employer at the visa issuance phase confirming H-1B and L-1B worksite placement;
- Increased rate of NAFTA business visitor and TN visa challenges by CBP at the US-Canadian border; and
- Increased CIS H-1B unannounced site visits confirming terms of H-1B and possibly L-1 employment.
CIS has recently engaged in the practice of challenging H-1B CAP subject, extension and amendment petitions, by issuing Requests for Evidence (RFE’s) where the employer has designated a DOL Level 1 wage on their Labor Condition Applications (LCA’s). Read More
On March 3, 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a statement that it will temporarily suspend premium processing of all H-1B petitions filed on and after April 3, 2017 – the first day of the H-1B CAP filing season. This suspension will include all H-1B petitions, including CAP petitions subject to the undergraduate and Master’s degree quotas, as well as CAP- exempt petitions, extensions and change of status requests. USCIS advised that this suspension may continue for as long as six months. As a result of this suspension, please be aware of the following: Read More
New I-9 form version (11/14/2016 N) available now for use. The new form must be used beginning January 22, 2017, until then you may use either the new form or the current form 03/18/2013 N.
For more information about the new form, go to: https://www.uscis.gov/news/news-releases/uscis-revises-form-i-9-used-all-new-hires-us
The new form is online at: https://www.uscis.gov/i-9
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced in August 2016 that it has made changes to its I-94 website, https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/national-media-release/cbp-makes-online-i-94-application-payment-available-travelers, which allows travelers to apply and pay for their I-94 Arrival/Departure Record online before seeking U.S. admission at a land port of entry. An I-94 form is required for all travelers except U.S. Citizens, returning residents, aliens with immigrant visas, and most Canadian citizens visiting the U.S. Form I-94 provides travelers with evidence that they were lawfully admitted to the U.S. Air and sea travelers will continue to be issued I-94 records during the admission process at the port of entry.
The enhanced process is intended to expedite entry to the U.S. by allowing travelers to utilize a secure website where they can provide their personal and travel information up to 7 days prior to entry, as well as pay the $6 fee utilizing a credit or debit card, check debit, or even PayPal. Once the application and payment is submitted online, a provisional I-94 will be issued which must be printed out. Read More
USCIS announced that, effective December 23, 2016, it will increase its filing fees by a weighted average of approximately 21% for most applications and petitions. Some notable filing fee increases include: I-129 Petition for Non-Immigrant Worker (i.e., H-1B, L-1, H-2B) from $325 to $460; I-140 Immigrant Worker Petition from $580 to $700; and I-485 Application to Adjust of Status to Permanent Resident from $985 to $1140 (plus unchanged biometric fee of $85).
Please note that this is the first time in 6 years that USCIS has increased their fees. USCIS attributes these new fees to increased internal processing costs. We recommend that Employers and individuals should submit filings prior to the new fee effective date, if feasible.
Please see attached links for more details:
- USCIS Press Release: https://www.uscis.gov/news/news-releases/uscis-announces-final-rule-adjusting-immigration-benefit-application-and-petition-fees
- USCIS Fee Comparison Chart: https://www.uscis.gov/forms/our-fees