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Posts Tagged ‘USCIS’

USCIS Offices Preparing to Reopen on June 4

April 29, 2020 Leave a comment

On March 18, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) temporarily suspended in-person services at its field offices, asylum offices, and application support centers (ASCs) to help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). USCIS is readying offices to reopen on or after June 4. Employees in these offices are continuing to perform mission-essential services that do not require face-to-face contact with the public while the offices are closed.  While offices are temporarily closed, USCIS will continue to provide limited emergency in-person services. Please call the USCIS Contact Center for assistance with emergency services.

USCIS Contact Center: https://www.uscis.gov/contactcenter

H-1B Cap Electronic Registration Begins March 1, 2020

January 23, 2020 Leave a comment

For the first time, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is introducing electronic registration of H-1B cap cases this fiscal year, i.e. Fiscal Year 2021 (October 1, 2020 through September 30, 2021).  The Final Rule regarding H-1B visa lottery process added H-1B electronic registration requirement for employers seeking to submit H-1B cap-subject petitions for the FY2021.

Following are the H-1B cap updates for FY2021:

  • USCIS will require all H-1B cap-subject petitioners (employers) or the authorized representative (attorney filing an H-1B case) first electronically register and pay the H-1B registration fee of $10.00. This includes advanced degree exemption (U.S. Master’s cap) as well.
  • The initial registration period will start on March 1, 2020 and will close on March 20, 2020. Actual end date will be announced by the USCIS on its website.
  • USCIS intends to notify registrants with the selected registrations from the initial registration period no later than March 31, 2020. These notifications must be received before the petitioners or authorized representatives are able to file/submit the H-1B petition for the registered beneficiary.
  • If USCIS determines that it is necessary to re-open the initial registration period, it will announce the start of the re-opened registration period on their website.
  • An employer may only submit one (1) registration per beneficiary in any fiscal year. If more than one registration for the same beneficiary in the same fiscal year is submitted, USCIS will consider all filed registrations filed by the employer for that beneficiary invalid for that fiscal year.
  • Unselected registrations will be removed from the registration system at the end of the fiscal year by the USCIS.

USCIS will require the following information for electronic registration:

For the H-1B Employer/Petitioner

  • Completed Form G-28, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative
  • Legal name of the petitioner
  • If the petitioner has a “Doing Business As” name, the DBA name
  • Petitioner’s Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  • Petitioner’s primary U.S. office address (street number and address, city, state, province, and zip code)
  • Petitioner’s authorized signatory’s full legal name (first, middle, last), title, and daytime phone number and e-mail address
  • An attestation regarding the authorized signatory’s signature

For the H-1B Beneficiary

  • Beneficiary’s full legal name (first, middle, last)
  • Beneficiary’s date of birth
  • Beneficiary’s country of birth
  • Beneficiary’s country of citizenship
  • Beneficiary’s gender (Male or Female)
  • Does the Beneficiary have a U.S. Master’s degree or higher?
  • Beneficiary’s current passport number

We will provide further information and updates shortly regarding the H-1B cap filings as it becomes available.

October 2019 Visa Bulletin – Employment-Based Visa Numbers – Eligibility to File Adjustment of Status Applications

September 26, 2019 Leave a comment

For Employment-Based Preference Filings:
You must use the Dates for Filing chart in the Department of State Visa Bulletin for October 2019.

Employment-
based
All Chargeability
Areas Except
Those Listed
CHINA-
mainland
born
EL SALVADOR
GUATEMALA
HONDURAS
INDIA
MEXICO 
PHILIPPINES 
1st
01JUL19
01SEP17
01JUL19
15MAR17
01JUL19
01JUL19
2nd
C
01AUG16
C
01JUL09
C
C
3rd
C
01MAR17
C
01FEB10
C
C
Other Workers
C
01AUG08
C
01FEB10
C
C
4th
C
C
15AUG16
C
C
C
Certain Religious Workers
C
C
15AUG16
C
C
C
5th Non-Regional Center
(C5 and T5)
C
01JAN15
C
C
C
C
5th Regional Center
(I5 and R5)
C
01JAN15
C
C
C
C

May 2016 Visa Bulletin – Employment-Based Visa Numbers – Eligibility to File Adjustment of Status Applications

April 20, 2016 Leave a comment
Employment-
based
All Chargeability
Areas Except
Those Listed
CHINA-
mainland
born
INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES 
1st C C C C C
2nd C 01JUN13 01JUL09 C C
3rd C 01MAY15 01JUL05 C 01JAN10
Other Workers C 01APR08 01JUL05 C 01JAN10
4th C C C C C
Certain Religious Workers C C C C C
5th
Non-Regional
Center
(C5 and T5)
C 01MAY15 C C C
5th
Regional
Center
(I5 and R5)
C 01MAY15 C C C

USCIS Suspends Final Adjudication of Employment-Based Adjustment Applications for the Remainder of FY 2015

September 25, 2015 Leave a comment

Starting today, USCIS will suspend final adjudication of employment-based Form I-485 applications (Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) because the Department of State reports that the statutory cap has been reached for the employment-based preference categories for fiscal year (FY) 2015.  This suspension applies to all employment-based adjustment applications pending with USCIS through September 30, 2015 (the remainder of FY2015).

USCIS will continue to accept adjustment of status applications that are filed when the foreign national’s priority date is earlier than the cut-off date published in the September Visa Bulletin for his or her preference category and country of birth/chargeability. USCIS will resume final adjudication of employment-based adjustment applications beginning October 1, 2015, when visa numbers are again available.

Applicants filing Form I-485 on or after October 1, 2015, should review the “When to File” section on the Visa Bulletin Info Web page to determine whether they are eligible to file Form I-485.

Visa Bulletin Changes and How to Read/Understand it

September 10, 2015 Leave a comment

Effective October 2015, the U.S. State Department’s visa bulletin will include two different charts each for family-based and employment-based visa preference categories.   The charts are:

  • Application Final Action Dates (dates when visas may finally be issued); and
  • Dates for Filing Applications (earliest dates when applicants may be able to apply).

Generally speaking, unless otherwise indicated in this visa bulletin itself, individuals seeking to file applications for adjustment of status (i.e. Form I-485) with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) must use the “Application Final Action Dates” chart for determining when they can file Form I-485 adjustment applications. The visa bulletin may indicate the ability for such individuals to instead use theDates for Filing Visa Applications” charts, when USCIS determines that there are more immigrant visas available for the fiscal year than there are known applicants for such visas.

For instance, the October 2015 visa bulletin clearly indicates for family-based visa category that “USCIS has determined that this chart (4.B.) may be used (in lieu of the chart in paragraph 4.A.) this month for filing applications for adjustment of status with USCIS.” and for employment-based visa category that “USCIS has determined that this chart (5.B.) may be used (in lieu of the chart in paragraph 5.A.) this month for filing applications for adjustment of status with USCIS. ”  This means that for October 2015, individuals seeking to file adjustment applications (whether in family-based or in employment-based categories) may use the chart listed in Dates for Filing [of Family-Based or Employment-Based] Applications to determine their priority dates for Form I-485 filing purposes.

Background and reason for the change in visa bulletin:

According to State Dept., this revised process will enhance its ability to more accurately predict overall immigrant visa demand and determine the cut-off dates for visa issuance published in the Visa Bulletin. This will help ensure that the maximum number of immigrant visas are issued annually as intended by Congress, and minimize month-to-month fluctuations in Visa Bulletin final action dates.  The Visa Bulletin revisions implement November 2014 executive actions on immigration announced by President Obama and Secretary of Homeland Security Johnson, as detailed in the White House report, Modernizing and Streamlining Our Legal Immigration System for the 21st century, issued in July 2015.

July 2015 Visa Bulletin – Employment-Based Immigrant Visa Numbers

June 11, 2015 Leave a comment
Employment- Based All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA – mainland born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
1st C C C C C
2nd C 01OCT13 01OCT08 C C
3rd 01APR15 01SEP11 01FEB04 01APR15 U
Other Workers 01APR15 01JAN06 01FEB04 01APR15 U
4th C C C C C
Certain Religious Workers C C C C C
5th
Targeted
Employment
Areas/
Regional Centers
and Pilot Programs
C 01SEP13 C C C

EB-2 and EB-3 Updates for India & China

March 28, 2015 Leave a comment

In a recent meeting on March 13, 2015, Charles (“Charlie”) Oppenheim, Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division, U.S. Department of State predicted the following for EB-2 and EB-3 China:

EB-2 India. After advancing 16 months in March 2015, EB-2 India will advance another eight months in April, to September 1, 2007. It is reasonable to expect EB-2 India to continue to advance at a steady pace for another couple of months before slowing or holding toward the end of the fiscal year.

EB-3 India. Mr. Oppenheim states that at this time, there is nothing which can be done to improve the India EB-3 cut-off date situation unless there is a legislative change. The amount of pre-adjudicated India EB-3 demand versus the annual limit prevents more than a one or two week monthly movement of this cut-off date. For example, at this time, more than 9,100 India EB-3 applicants with priority dates earlier than January 1, 2005 (alone) have already been reported to the Visa Office and the FY2015 annual limit is approximately 2,875.

 China EB-2 to EB-3 Downgrade Phenomenon (at least for FY2015). In April 2015, the EB-3 China cut-off date (currently October 22, 2011) will retrogress more than nine months to January 1, 2011. As a result, EB-3 China will return to its more “natural” position and will be three months earlier than EB-2 China (April 1, 2011). This will effectively end the EB-3 downgrade phenomenon.

For months, the cut-off date for EB-3 China has been later than EB-2 China due to insufficient EB-3 demand. As a result, EB-2 China beneficiaries filed EB-3 I-140 petitions in an attempt to take advantage of the earlier EB-3 cut-off date. This surge in demand required a correction to EB-3 China, resulting more than nine months of retrogression.

In November 2014, Mr. Oppenheim predicted that a correction would be required as early as February 2015. EB-3 China beneficiaries were fortunate that this phenomenon lasted two months longer than anticipated. EB-3 China beneficiaries with priority dates between April 1, 2011 and October 22, 2011 file them before the end of this month when the window will close.  It is reasonable to expect that filing now will not result in final action on their case in the foreseeable future.

Mr. Oppenheim continues to monitor EB-2 China, which will advance seven months to April 1, 2011 in April. He notes that additional forward movement in May remains possible if sufficient demand for EB-2 China does not materialize at the beginning of April. As was the case in EB-3 China, some corrective action may be required later in the year should there be excessive demand based on the movement of the EB-2 cut-off date.

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