On September 28, 2022, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that certain Permanent Resident Cards (also known as green cards) would automatically be valid for twenty-four months from the expiration date of the green card based on a properly filed application to renew an expiring or expired green card.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that premium processing is now available for certain previously filed Form I-140 immigrant petitions seeking classification under the EB-1C multinational executive and manager and the EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) categories. This is the third phase of the planned expansion of premium processing services by USCIS in an agency-wide effort to increase efficiency and reduce backlogs caused by COVID-19, among other things
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently published updated statistics in connection with immigrant visa usage for fiscal year (FY) 2022. According to the report, as of July 31, 2022, USCIS and the U.S. Department of State (DOS) had used a total of 210,593 employment-based immigrant visas, leaving a balance of more than 70,000 visas to be allocated before the end of the fiscal year on September 30, 2022. Given the short timeline and the significant number of unused visas, many people are asking if all of the remaining visas will be used.
On August 18, 2022, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a proposed rule in the Federal Register that would grant it broader authority to permit alternative document inspection procedures for I-9 document verification in lieu of the physical inspection requirement.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is encouraging certain employment-based adjustment of status (green card) applicants with approved I-140 petitions to complete their medical examinations before the end of the fiscal year (FY) on September 30, 2022.
E-Verify is phasing out a policy instituted at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic that had granted employees additional time to contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) to resolve discrepancies with their E-Verify submissions.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently updated its policy guidance related to O-1A nonimmigrants of extraordinary ability in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Notably, the guidance states that evidence establishing that a beneficiary is named on a competitive government grant or stipend for STEM research may be “a positive factor indicating [the] beneficiary is among the small percentage at the top of the beneficiary’s field.”
On July 25, 2022, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced an extension of flexibility periods for responding to USCIS requests and for filing forms I-290B and N-336 through October 23, 2022.
The U.S. Department of State’s July 2022 Visa Bulletin indicates a significant advancement for Indian nationals in the second preference category for employment-based (EB-2) visas.
On May 24, 2022, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began implementing an expansion of the agency’s premium processing service for certain pending Form I-140 petitions. Specifically, the expansion of premium processing services applied to the EB-1C multinational executive and manager and the EB-2 National Interest Waver (NIW) I-140 categories.
On June 15, 2022, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) ombudsman published formal recommendations on how the federal agency can address certain systemic issues.
Employers that accepted expired Form I-9 employment eligibility verification documents under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) policy of flexibility during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic must update their Forms I-9 by July 31, 2022, the department confirmed.
On July 25, 2022, the flexibility period for responding to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requests and for filing forms I-290B and N-336 will expire.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently announced that as of June 12, 2022, international airline passengers (regardless of citizenship or vaccination status) are no longer required to provide proof of a negative viral COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before boarding a flight to the United States.
Employers and employees alike often inquire as to who may pay immigration sponsorship fees for certain nonimmigrant petitions and the permanent residency (green card) process. The answer often depends on a few details, including the specific immigration process, who is requesting the fee, the visa type, and the specific expense.
The U.S. Department of State’s June 2022 Visa Bulletin reflects a significant advancement in the EB-2 India category. This has provided an opportunity for many applicants for permanent residence to move forward with the filing, adjudication, and approval of their I-485, Application[s] to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, the final step in the green card process. While a positive development for many, this forward movement has also created a challenge for certain H-1B extensions.
On May 24, 2022, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced an expansion of the agency’s premium processing service for certain pending Form I-140 petitions in the EB-1C multinational executive and manager and the EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) categories, which have experienced lengthy processing delays in recent years.
On May 3, 2022, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a temporary final rule (TFR) that increases the automatic extension period for expiring employment authorization documents (EAD) for renewal applicants in certain categories for up to 540 days.
On April 25, 2022, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency announced an extension of compliance flexibility related to Form I-9 employment eligibility verification requirements until October 31, 2022.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently published fiscal year (FY) 2023 H-1B cap registration statistics, confirming that more than 48,000 prospective petitioners submitted 483,927 registrations—an approximate 57 percent increase over the number of registrations submitted in the FY 2022 filing season. USCIS selected 127,600 FY 2023 registrations in the initial lottery, representing roughly 26 percent of the total registrations.
On March 29, 2022, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it would implement three new actions to reduce lengthy processing times that resulted from COVID-19–related delays.
Starting from 6 April 2022, Biometric Residence Card (BRC), Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), and Frontier Worker Permit (FWP) holders in the United Kingdom will evidence their right to work by using the Home Office online service.
On March 29, 2022, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it had completed the initial H-1B regular cap and master’s cap selection process for fiscal year (FY) 2023. Continuing its use of an electronic preregistration system to conduct the random selection lottery, USCIS confirmed that it has sent notifications to registrant employers and their representatives about selection results.
On March 18, 2022, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it would update the USCIS Policy Manual to address acceptable evidence of work authorization for E and L nonimmigrant spouses. The updates, provided in response to the settlement agreement reached in the class action Shergill v. Mayorkas, also address Forms I-94 issued by USCIS prior to January 31, 2022.
On March 2, 2022, the U.S. Department of State added Ukraine to the Homeless Nationalities list. The Department of State defines a homeless visa applicant as someone who is “a national of a country in which the United States has no consular representation or in which the political or security situation is tenuous or uncertain enough that the limited consular staff is not authorized to process [immigrant visa] applications.”
On March 16, 2022, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the designation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Afghan nationals for eighteen months. Under the designation, TPS will apply to nationals of Afghanistan who have continuously resided in the United States since March 15, 2022. The TPS designation is based on the ongoing armed conflict by the Taliban and the “extraordinary and temporary conditions” in Afghanistan that prevent Afghan nationals from returning safely.
For nearly two decades, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has signaled its intention to modernize with the creation of an electronic filing system (officially known as the Electronic Immigration System or ELIS). At its inception in 2005, ELIS was reported to be a $500 million dollar investment that would be completed and implemented by 2013. However, a recent report noted that ELIS is expected to cost upwards of $3.1 billion dollars, and all signs indicate that USCIS is far from implementing the system.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced the designation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Ukrainian nationals for eighteen months. TPS status will apply to nationals of Ukraine who have continuously resided in the United States since March 1, 2022. According to DHS, this designation is based on “the extraordinary and temporary conditions” in Ukraine that “result from the full-scale Russian military invasion” that prevent Ukrainian nationals from returning safely.