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  • H-1B Cap Premium Processing to Begin April 27 On April 27, 2015, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin premium processing for cap-subject H-1B petitions requesting premium processing, including petitions seeking an exemption for ...
    Posted Apr 14, 2015, 7:12 PM by Sumiyia Jafri
  • AILA: Deluge of H-1B Applications Exposes Artificial Limit as Roadblock to Economic Growth from Outdated System AILA Doc No. 15004070 | Dated April 7, 2015FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEApril 7, 2015CONTACTS:George Tzamaras202-507-7649gtzamaras@aila.orgBelle Woods202-507-7675bwoods@aila ...
    Posted Apr 8, 2015, 10:52 AM by Sumiyia Jafri
  • USCIS Reaches FY 2016 H-1B Cap Release Date: April 07, 2015WASHINGTON – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has reached the congressionally mandated H-1B cap for fiscal year (FY) 2016. USCIS has also received ...
    Posted Apr 7, 2015, 9:56 PM by Sumiyia Jafri
  • USCIS Message: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Renewal U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reminds recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) that their current period of DACA and employment authorization could expire if they wait ...
    Posted Apr 7, 2015, 9:52 PM by Sumiyia Jafri
  • The 2014 H-1B Filing Window Is Here Employers should assess their FY 2014 H-1B needs NOW, and file cap-subject petitions on March 29, 2013. On April 1, 2013, the USCIS will begin accepting new H ...
    Posted Jan 20, 2013, 2:30 AM by Sumiyia Jafri
Showing posts 1 - 5 of 25. View more »

H-1B Cap Premium Processing to Begin April 27

posted Apr 14, 2015, 7:12 PM by Sumiyia Jafri   [ updated Apr 14, 2015, 7:12 PM ]

On April 27, 2015, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin premium processing for cap-subject H-1B petitions requesting premium processing, including petitions seeking an exemption for individuals with a U.S. master’s degree or higher. USCIS first announced in a news release that it would temporarily adjust its premium processing practice due to the historic premium processing receipt levels, combined with the possibility that the H-1B cap will be met in the first 5 business days of the filing season.

USCIS provides premium processing service for certain employment-based petitions and guarantees a 15-calendar-day processing time.

For H-1B petitions that are not subject to the cap and for any other visa classification, the 15-day processing period for premium processing service begins on the date that USCIS receives the request. However, for cap-subject H-1B petitions, including advanced degree exemption petitions, the 15-day processing period set by 8 CFR 103.7(e)(2) will begin on April 27, 2015, regardless of the date on the Form I-797 receipt notice, which indicates the date that the premium processing fee is received.

We encourage H-1B applicants to subscribe to the H-1B Cap Season email updates located on the H-1B FY2016 Cap Season Web page.

    Last Reviewed/Updated: 04/14/2015

    AILA: Deluge of H-1B Applications Exposes Artificial Limit as Roadblock to Economic Growth from Outdated System

    posted Apr 8, 2015, 10:52 AM by Sumiyia Jafri   [ updated Apr 8, 2015, 10:52 AM ]

    AILA Doc No. 15004070 | Dated April 7, 2015

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    April 7, 2015

    CONTACTS:
    George Tzamaras
    202-507-7649
    gtzamaras@aila.org
    Belle Woods
    202-507-7675
    bwoods@aila.org

    WASHINGTON, DC — Leslie A. Holman, President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), commented on today's announcement from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that the agency has received more than enough petitions to reach the 85,000 maximum new H-1B visas that are available for fiscal year 2016, with the following statement:

    "The H-1B program helps employers address temporary specialty-skilled workforce needs, make U.S. businesses more competitive, create jobs and grow the economy. But, once again, our country's outdated and inefficient immigration laws are blocking economic gains and business growth by artificially limiting the number of new H-1B visas that can be issued in any one year. This year, as in the past several as the recovery really got going, a deluge of petitions for H-1B visas were filed that exceeds the limit, and now USCIS will be holding a lottery to determine which of those petitions will actually be considered. All others will be returned, without even a review.

    "This year, yet again, we see the serious shortcoming in the H-1B visa process. Market demand should factor into how many visas are granted. The inverse happens, as we saw during the economic downturn, when demand for H-1Bs slowed. So why, when the economy is bouncing back, are we throwing obstacles up in its way? How much more obvious can the problem of lack of visas be?

    "If a company was using dial-up internet these days we'd be surprised at the time they're wasting and the productivity they're losing. So why is our country stuck with an outdated visa cap that makes businesses run less efficiently? It's long past time that our immigration system be upgraded to one that actually meets our economic needs and fits the 21st century global economy."

    ###

    The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.

    Cite as AILA Doc. No. 15004070.

    USCIS Reaches FY 2016 H-1B Cap

    posted Apr 7, 2015, 9:56 PM by Sumiyia Jafri

    Release Date: April 07, 2015

    WASHINGTON – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has reached the congressionally mandated H-1B cap for fiscal year (FY) 2016. USCIS has also received more than the limit of 20,000 H-1B petitions filed under the U.S. advanced degree exemption.

    USCIS will use a computer-generated process, also known as the lottery, to randomly select the petitions needed to meet the caps of 65,000 visas for the general category and 20,000 for the advanced degree exemption.

    USCIS will first randomly select petitions for the advanced degree exemption. All unselected advanced degree petitions will become part of the random selection process for the 65,000 general limit. The agency will reject and return filing fees for all unselected cap-subject petitions that are not duplicate filings.

    Before running the lottery, USCIS will complete initial intake for all filings received during the filing period, which ended April 7. Due to the high number of petitions, USCIS is not yet able to announce the date it will conduct the random selection process.

    USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap. Petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap, and who still retain their cap number, will also not be counted toward the congressionally mandated FY 2016 H-1B cap. USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions filed to:

    • Extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the United States;
    • Change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers;
    • Allow current H-1B workers to change employers; and
    • Allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position. U.S. businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in occupations that require highly specialized knowledge in fields such as science, engineering and computer programming.

    We encourage H-1B applicants to subscribe to the H-1B Cap Season email updates located on the H-1B Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Cap Season Web page. For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit uscis.gov or follow us on Facebook (/uscis), Twitter (@uscis), YouTube (/uscis) and the USCIS blog The Beacon.

      Last Reviewed/Updated: 04/07/2015

      USCIS Message: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Renewal

      posted Apr 7, 2015, 9:51 PM by Sumiyia Jafri   [ updated Apr 7, 2015, 9:52 PM ]

      U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reminds recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) that their current period of DACA and employment authorization could expire if they wait too long to request renewal.

       

      We strongly encourage you to submit your renewal request 150 to 120 days before your current period of DACA and employment authorization will expire. Timely filing will help ensure USCIS has sufficient time to consider your request.

       

      On March 27, 2015, USCIS began mailing renewal reminder notices to DACA recipients 180 days prior to the expiration date of their current period of DACA. Previously, these reminder notices were mailed 100 days in advance.

       

      USCIS continues to accept initial and renewal requests for two-year grants of DACA under the guidelines established in 2012. A federal district court order issued on February 16, 2015, enjoining USCIS from implementing the expanded DACA guidelines did not impact USCIS’ ability to continue processing DACA requests under the 2012 guidelines.

       

      You may request renewal of DACA if you met the initial DACA guidelines and you:

       

      •  Did not depart the United States on or after August 15, 2012, without advance parole;
      •  Have continuously resided in the United States since you submitted your most recent, approved DACA request, up to the present time; and
      •  Have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

       

      Visit uscis.gov/daca or uscis.gov/acciondiferida to get updates and all the information you need to make an initial or renewal request for DACA.

       

      As always, we encourage you to beware of immigration scams. Visit uscis.gov/avoidscams or uscis.gov/eviteestafas to learn how to protect yourself and how to find authorized legal services.

      The 2014 H-1B Filing Window Is Here

      posted Jan 20, 2013, 2:30 AM by Sumiyia Jafri

      Employers should assess their FY 2014 H-1B needs NOW, and file cap-subject petitions on March 29, 2013. 


      On April 1, 2013, the USCIS will begin accepting new H-1B petitions for the 2014 Fiscal Year, for employment start dates on or after October 1, 2013. This year is predicted to be the shortest season yet, with many anticipating the H-1B quota will be reached in under a week. Employers who wish to secure a cap-subject H-1B visa this year should be prepared to file their petitions on March 29, 2013 to ensure an April 1, 2013 receipt date. Even the slightest delay could mean missing out on a number this year, and being forced to wait until the next season begins on April 1, 2014. This would make matters extremely difficult for employees without work authorization or valid nonimmigrant status, forcing them to sit tight until October of 2014 before being permitted to work in the United States.

      Every Fiscal Year, the USCIS makes 65,000 cap-subject H-1B visas available under the General Cap, and 20,000 available under the Master’s Cap. The latter are reserved for foreign nationals holding a master’s degree or higher, and the former are reserved for all other foreign nationals. After a couple slow years where the H-1B cap was reached 8 and 10 months after the filing window opened, last year’s filings showed a sudden turnaround – the H-1B cap was reached in a mere 2 months. Prompted by news of an improving economy, this year’s cap is expected to be reached even sooner – within a matter of days.

      Given last year’s numbers, employers are strongly encouraged to file all new H-1B petitions on March 29, 2013. The unpredictability of this year’s filing season makes it critical for employers to immediately begin evaluating their H-1B needs for petition start dates of October 1, 2013 and later. Acting now will allow employers sufficient time to prepare petitions, including the time required to file and receive certification of the Labor Conditions Application (LCA), a prerequisite for H-1B filings. Recent LCA processing delays make advance preparation even more important. LCA processing can take anywhere from one to four weeks. Employers must be mindful of this fact to guarantee a timely approval of the LCA to allow for a March 29, 2013 H-1B petition filing.

      How Do I File for a Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver?

      posted Jan 10, 2013, 3:34 PM by Sumiyia Jafri

      The gadget spec URL could not be found

      How Do I Request Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)?

      posted Jan 10, 2013, 3:27 PM by Sumiyia Jafri   [ updated Jan 10, 2013, 3:31 PM ]

      The gadget spec URL could not be found

      Implementation of New USCIS Immigrant Fee Feb. 1, 2013

      posted Jan 10, 2013, 3:20 PM by Sumiyia Jafri   [ updated Jan 10, 2013, 3:21 PM ]

      New fee allows USCIS to recover the costs of processing immigrant visas after individuals receive their visa packages from the Department of State abroad.  



      WASHINGTON—On Feb. 1, 2013,U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin collecting a new USCIS Immigrant Fee of $165 from foreign nationals seeking permanent residence in the United States. This new fee was established in USCIS’s final rule adjusting fees for immigration applications and petitions announced on Sept. 24, 2010.

      USCIS has worked closely with the Department of State (DOS) to implement the new fee which allows USCIS to recover the costs of processing immigrant visas in the United States after immigrant visa holders receive their visa packages from DOS. This includes staff time to handle, file and maintain the immigrant visa package, and the cost of producing and delivering the permanent resident card. The implementation of this new fee is further detailed in a Federal Register notice scheduled for publication tomorrow.

      In order to simplify and centralize the payment process, applicants will pay online through the USCIS website after they receive their visa package from DOS and before they depart for the United States. DOS will provide applicants with specific information on how to submit payment when they attend their consular interview. The new fee is in addition to fees charged by DOS associated with an individual’s immigrant visa application.

      USCIS processes approximately 36,000 immigrant visa packages each month. Prospective adoptive parents whose child will enter the United States under the Orphan or Hague processes are exempt from the new fee.

      For more information visit our USCIS Immigrant Fee webpage.


      Source

      2013 Diversity Visa Lottery Program Opens October 4, 2011, and Closes November 5, 2011

      posted Sep 30, 2011, 6:56 AM by Sumiyia Jafri   [ updated Sep 30, 2011, 7:03 AM ]

      Diversity Visa Lottery Program Green Card
      The 2013 Diversity Visa Program (DV-2013) will open at noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4), Tuesday, October 4, 2011, and will close at noon, EDT, Saturday, November 5, 2011. Applicants must submit entries electronically during this registration period using the electronic DV entry form (E-DV) at www.dvlottery.state.gov. Paper entries will not be accepted. We strongly encourage applicants not to wait until the last week of the registration period to enter. Heavy demand may result in website delays. No entries will be accepted after noon, EDT, on November 5, 2011.

      The Department of State administers the congressionally mandated Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, which is conducted on an annual basis under the terms of Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The INA provides a maximum of 55,000 Diversity Visas each fiscal year to be made available to persons from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. Since DV-1999, Congress has set aside 5,000 of this annual allocation to be made available for use under the Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NACARA).

      The annual program makes visas available to persons meeting the simple, but strict, eligibility requirements. A computer-generated, random drawing chooses selectees for Diversity Visas. The visas are distributed among six geographic regions, with a greater number of visas going to regions with lower rates of immigration, and with no visas going to nationals of countries sending more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States over the period of the past five years. No single country may receive more than seven percent of the available Diversity Visas in any one year.

      For DV-2013, natives of the following countries are not eligible to apply because the countries sent more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States in the previous five years:

      BANGLADESH, BRAZIL, CANADA, CHINA (mainland-born), COLOMBIA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, ECUADOR, EL SALVADOR, GUATEMALA, HAITI, INDIA, JAMAICA, MEXICO, PAKISTAN, PERU, PHILIPPINES, SOUTH KOREA, UNITED KINGDOM (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and VIETNAM.

      A native ordinarily means someone born within a particular country, regardless of the individual’s current country of residence or nationality. Persons born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan are eligible.

      Beginning with DV-2005, the Department of State implemented an electronic registration system in order to make the Diversity Visa process more efficient and secure. We utilize special technology and other means to identify those who commit fraud for the purposes of illegal immigration, or those who submit multiple entries.

      For DV-2013, the Department of State will once again implement an online process to notify entrants of their selection, and to provide information about the immigrant visa application and interview. Beginning May 1, 2012, DV-2013 entrants will be able to use their unique confirmation number provided at registration to check online through Entry Status Check at http://www.dvlottery.state.gov to see if their entry was selected. Successful entrants will receive instructions for how to apply for immigrant visas for themselves and their eligible family members. Confirmation of visa interview appointments will also be made through Entry Status Check.

      For detailed information about entry requirements, along with frequently asked questions about the DV program, please see the instructions for the DV-2013 Diversity Visa program available athttp://travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/types/types_1318.html.

      Media Note
      Office of the Spokesperson
      Washington, DC
      September 27, 2011


      PRN: 2011/1603

      USCIS Transformation: From Paper-Based to Electronic

      posted Sep 27, 2011, 12:46 PM by Sumiyia Jafri   [ updated Sep 27, 2011, 1:00 PM ]

      What is Transformation?

      U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Transformation is an agency-wide effort to move immigration services from a paper-based system to a modern, electronic environment. Transformation will deliver a simplified, web-based system for benefit seekers to submit and track 
      their applications. The new, account-based system will provide more accurate and secure customer service. It will also allow USCIS to process cases with great consistency and security. Customers will be able to use their online accounts to submit multiple applications, access communications from USCIS, respond to requests and view case status. 

      Through Transformation, USCIS is dedicated to redesigning our agency’s business processes to ensure we deliver the most effective and reliable operating model for the 21st century.  We are working toward this goal with ongoing input from key stakeholders, including our employees, 
      customers and federal partners.

      What Are the Benefits of Transformation?

      Benefits of Transformation
      Through the agency-wide Transformation effort, USCIS will revolutionize the way it does business by introducing online customer accounts for those seeking immigration benefits. Similar to online bank accounts, customer accounts will provide a single, electronic mechanism for customers to submit information and manage their benefit requests.  Transformation will also result in enhanced customer service and process quality by enabling USCIS to access all relevant information in the system about a customer.  This will facilitate more complete, accurate and timely responses to customer requests. 

      When Will Transformation Take Place?

      Phases of Transformation
      USCIS Transformation will be deployed in multiple phases to cover all benefit types in the immigration life cycle.  Select nonimmigrant benefit types will be deployed beginning in Winter 2011.

      Where Can I Learn More? 

      To learn more about USCIS Transformation and upcoming community engagement opportunities, visit the USCIS Transformation website at www.uscis.gov/transformation.  

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