Trump Administration Rumored to Be Looking at H-1B Extensions Under AC21

Recently, we have seen several news stories discussing a rumored government proposal to eliminate H-1B extensions beyond the standard six-year limit. No such action has yet been taken, and to date H-1B visa holders may continue to request extensions based on the provisions of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act (AC21). Under current law, extensions beyond the initial H-1B period of six years are available to foreign nationals with pending green card petitions.

Ninth Circuit Partially Affirms Preliminary Injunction of the Travel Ban

On January 27, 2017, President Trump issued Executive Order 13769, entitled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States,” (EO1), which went into effect immediately. In EO1, the president invoked his claimed authority to suspend the immigrant and nonimmigrant entry of nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen into the United States for a period of at least 90 days.

House Passes Bill Enhancing Security of Visa Waiver Program in Wake of Paris Terror Attacks

In the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill on Tuesday, December 8, 2015, to tighten security measures and impose new restrictions on the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). The VWP permits citizens of 38 designated countries, mostly in Europe, to travel to the United States for business or tourism for 90 days or less without a visa. The bill, which passed in the House by a vote of 407 to 19, would prohibit anyone who has traveled to Iraq, Syria, Iran, or Sudan within the past five years from participating in the program; require the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to terminate a country’s participation in the program if the country fails to share counterterrorism information; require all VWP countries to use electronic passports with chips that contain biometric information; and mandate that participating countries more thoroughly screen travelers against international counterterrorism databases.

Federal Judge Grants Preliminary Injunction to Block Executive Action on Immigration While Related Regulations Proceed

Executive Action on Immigration Halted On February 16, 2015, Judge Andrew S. Hanen of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas ordered a temporary injunction to halt key portions of President Obama’s recent executive action on immigration. Specifically, the order blocks the implementation of the new Deferred Action for…..

Cap-Subject H-1B Petitions for FY 2015 Should Be Filed on March 31, 2014 to Be Received by USCIS on April 1, 2014

The filing period for “new” H-1B petitions to be counted against the annual H-1B quota (the “H-1B cap”) for FY 2015 begins on Tuesday, April 1, 2014. Note that petitions need to be mailed on March 31 to ensure receipt by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on April 1. New H-1B petitions subject to

Cap-Subject H-1B Petitions for FY 2015 Should Be Filed on March 31, 2014

The filing period for “new” H-1B petitions to be counted against the annual H-1B quota (the “H-1B cap”) for FY 2015 begins on Monday, March 31, 2014. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will accept cap-subject H-1B petitions for FY 2015 on Tuesday, April 1, 2014 to request an employment start date of October 1,

DOMA and Immigration: Practical Implications of the Supreme Court’s Decision

On June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court of the United States issued its decision in United States v. Windsor. The Court ruled that a provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which had denied federal benefits to same-sex partners, is unconstitutional. The legal impact of the Supreme Court’s ruling means that same-sex spouses

Supreme Court Decision on DOMA Should Provide Equal Access to Immigration Benefits

On June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court of the United States struck down a provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that denied federal benefits to same-sex partners. In a 5-to-4 ruling in United States v. Windsor, the court held that “DOMA is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment.” This decision is likely to have profound impact in the area of immigration law.

Be Vigilant! New Reports of USCIS Telephone Scam

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and Ogletree Deakins have received reports of a telephone scam that is targeted at foreign nationals and designed to fraudulently elicit money and personal information. In a common scenario, the caller poses as an officer of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and…..

Cap-Subject H-1B Petitions for FY 2014 Should Be Filed on March 29, 2013

The filing period for “new” H-1B petitions to be counted against the annual H-1B quota (the “H-1B cap”) for FY 2014 begins on Monday, April 1, 2013. The initial filing date for petitions seeking H-1B status with an effective date of October 1, 2013 is Friday, March 29, 2013. (Petitions actually need to be mailed

Expansion of the Interview Waiver Program at U.S. Embassies and Consulates in India

As we reported in the October/November 2012 issue of the Immigration eAuthority, in September 2012, a new visa processing system aimed at streamlining and standardizing visa application procedures for all applicants, was implemented at all U.S. consular posts in India. The new initiative went into effect in conjunction with the earlier Interview Waiver Program (IWP),

DHS Announces Taiwan’s Admission into the Visa Waiver Program

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced that, beginning November 1, 2012, Taiwan will be the latest country to be eligible to participate in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). The VWP enables eligible citizens of participating countries to enter the United States for business or tourism without obtaining a U.S. visa, and to stay

New U.S.-Russia Visa Agreement Facilitates Travel for Business and Tourism

Under the terms of an agreement simplifying the U.S.-Russia bilateral visa program, American and Russian travelers for business or tourism are now eligible to receive three-year, multiple-entry visas authorizing stays for up to six consecutive months. The agreement took effect on September 9, 2012, meaning that U.S. and Russian citizens with business or tourist visas issued before that date are still subject to the terms and validity dates of the visas already in their possession.

Reminder: Diversity Visa (“Green Card”) Lottery Deadline

The application period for the Department of State’s (DOS) Diversity Visa (DV) (“green card”) lottery for Fiscal Year 2014 began on October 2, 2012. Interested persons have until 12:00 noon Eastern Daylight Time on November 3, 2012 to apply. Winning applicants must process their green cards between October 1, 2013 and September 30, 2014.

Stricter Scrutiny of Labor Certifications—Increase in Audits and Supervised Recruitment by the DOL

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has indicated that it will further expand its use of “integrity” measures in the permanent labor certification program. These measures include the conduct of audit investigations and DOL-supervised recruitments of PERM cases submitted to the DOL.

U.S. Consulates in India Implement New System Aimed at Rationalizing Nonimmigrant Visa Application Process

The U.S. Embassy in India announced, on September 5, 2012, that it is implementing a new visa processing system at all U.S. consular posts in India. The new system will streamline and standardize the visa application procedures for all applicants, including those who are still required to attend interviews, by simplifying fee payment and appointment scheduling.

Staggered Implementation of North Carolina’s E-Verify Law to Commence in October 2012

On June 23, 2011, North Carolina’s E-Verify legislation (HB 36) was signed into law. The law requires all cities, counties, and private employers with 25 or more employees in North Carolina to verify the employment authorization of new hires through E-Verify. E-Verify is an internet-based system, administered by the government,…..