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USCIS-General

Global Immigration Partners > USCIS-General

USCIS Updates Policy Guidance on Certain First-Preference Immigrants

In a Policy Alert issued today, USCIS updates its guidance relating to two evidentiary criteria pertaining to extraordinary ability and outstanding researcher/professor petitions to more closely align with recently issued nonimmigrant guidance for the O-1 visa. First, the policy clarifies that “published material” about the candidate (or the candidate’s work in the case of an outstanding researcher or professor) in professional or major trade publications or other media is no longer limited to printed articles. Rather, a petitioner may submit other forms of evidence, including a transcript of audio or video coverage. Second, the guidance confirms that, in the extraordinary ability...

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USCIS Issues Policy Guidance to Address Work Authorization Documentation for L and E Dependent Spouses

In a Policy Alert published on March 18, 2022, USCIS confirmed that following its November 2021 announcement that E and L dependent spouses are now work authorized incident to valid status, USCIS will begin making system modifications to reflect new Class of Admission (COA) codes to distinguish between E and L spouses and children. As of January 30, 2022, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) began issuing Form I-94 with the following codes for E and L spouses: E-1S, E-2S, E-3S, and L-2S. An unexpired Form I-94 that reflects one of these new COA codes for E and L spouses is...

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E and L Dependent – New Class of Admission Code

GIP Employer Alert – E and L Derivative Status Admission Codes Updates   This past November, as part of an earlier settlement agreement, the USCIS agreed to make work authorization incidental to L or E dependent status. As such, these dependent spouse categories are no longer required to apply for employment authorization separately. It has just been confirmed that as of January 31st, 2022, CBP will issue I-94s to L and E spouses upon entry into the US that will reflect updated Class of Admission (COA) codes. For I-9 purposes, I-94s with the new COA code can be used in lieu of the...

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Employer Alert (STEM Expansion)

Employer Alert: Recent Immigration Policy Changes to Promote STEM Fields On January 21, 2022, the Biden Administration released a series of policies aimed to attract and retain talent in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (“STEM”) fields in the United States. These policies include: Expansion of STEM fields relating to Optional Practical Training (“OPT) for F-1 students: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has updated and expanded its list of STEM fields to include 22 new fields of study, which includes Business Analytics, Mathematical Economics, and Financial Analytics, just to name a few.  This addition will enable F-1 student visa holders to...

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H-1B Visa CAP Registration and Lottery

H-1B Visa Cap Registration and Lottery   David B. Raft, Senior Supervising Attorney  A prospective employer may file a H-1B petition to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (or USCIS for short) to qualify an individual for employment in a ‘specialty occupation,’ which is a position which requires the knowledge gained in completing at least a Bachelor’s Degree in a specific academic field (or one closely related to it).  The H-1B visa category is subject to an annual quota, with there being a total of 65,000 new H-1B visa numbers available each US Fiscal Year. An additional 20,000 are available to individuals that graduated with an advanced degree from a qualified academic...

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June Visa Bulletin Update

Visa Bulletin Update Rapid Forward Movements in FINAL ACTION DATE CHART Benjamin Brueggemann, Senior Supervising Attorney We have seen rapid forward movements in the major employment-based categories, EB-2 and EB-3, over the past few months.  This is a direct result of the record number of visas available this fiscal year.  We remind the reader that the U.S. Department of State announced that 261,500 visas are available this fiscal year, as opposed to the regular allotment of 140,000 visa.  This is an increase of 120,000 visa.    The first half of the fiscal year, we have not seen as many adjudications of adjustment of status applications or consular processing of immigrant visas. ...

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Visa Bulletin Update: USCIS Flips Script and Opts To Use Final Action Date Chart for Adjustment of Status Filings

Benjamin Brueggemann, Senior Supervising Attorney  As of the January 2021 Visa Bulletin, USCIS opted to flip the script and move forward with adjustment of status filings using the Final Action Date Chart, rather than the Filing Date Chart as they have done since the beginning of the new Fiscal Year, which started October 2020.  For employment-based cases, USCIS has, historically, always used the Filing Date Chart at the beginning of the fiscal year and then gradually switched to using the Final Action Date chart for adjustment of status filings.  Although this is not a new concept, the timing of when USCIS chooses the Final Action...

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President Biden’s Immigration Updates & Proposed Immigration Legislation

James K. Gotcher, Senior Partner  Brandon D. Neuman, Attorney   Katie W. Wu, Attorney  Although having only been recently inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States on January 20th, 2021, President Joseph R. Biden immediately began the rollout of his immigration agenda, promising an end to the strict immigration policies of the preceding Trump Administration. In his first day in office, President Biden signed a series of executive actions and memoranda that reversed the course of immigration, including, but not limited to: Reversing the travel ban on predominantly Muslim countries. In an executive order, President Biden moved to repeal a prior executive order from the Trump Administration that restricted entry into the United States from predominantly Muslim countries. In addition, he instructed the State...

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Adjustment of Status Processing (January 2021)

Michelle A. Choe, Attorney  In September of 2020, the October visa bulletin was released which aggressively advanced the filing dates for the EB-3 category in India and China. This significant movement caused USCIS to receive an influx of I-140 downgrade petitions and Adjustment of Status applications. The USCIS received more applications than it could handle in a reasonable time. As a result, our office is still waiting on receipt notices for cases that were filed in October 2020. On December 15, 2020, The USCIS issued a statement that confirmed it is still experiencing delays in issuing receipt notices for filed petitions and applications. Although the statement asserts that the receipt notices should be issued within 30 days of the filing, our office is expecting a 60–90-day delay. In addition to delays in issuing receipt notices, we...

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USCIS Changes H-1B CAP Rules

Employer Alert: USCIS Changes H-1B CAP Rules On January 7, 2021, USCIS announced that it will promulgate a Final Rule changing how it administers the H-1B lottery for new H-1B visas.  The rule will change the lottery process from the system in place for many years, where registrants are selected without regard to the merits of their cases, to one where USCIS will give preference to registrations whose proposed salaries are relatively high in comparison to others.  In brief, the rule will result in an increased number of selections for relatively highly paid workers and a reduction in selections for lower paid workers.  The effect,...

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