The State Department advised that all visa-issuing embassies and consulates are back online, though problems are still occurring with some online immigrant visa application forms. DOS stated that it will continue scheduling visa interviews and issuing nonimmigrant and immigrant visas after recently experiencing technical problems with their visa systems. Further, DOS stated it expects to clear the nonimmigrant visa backlog early this week.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued draft guidance on when to file an amended H-1B petition pursuant to the USCIS Administrative Appeal Office (AAO) precedent decision in Matter of Simeio Solutions, LLC. The decision held that employers must file amended H-1B petitions when a new Labor Condition Application for Nonimmigrant Workers (LCA) is required due to a change in the H-1B worker’s worksite location.
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Effective May 26, 2015, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) temporarily suspended premium processing for all H-1B Extension of Stay petitions until July 27, 2015. Petitioners will not be able to file Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, for a Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, requesting an extension of the stay for an H-1B nonimmigrant during this period.
Premium processing requests filed prior to May 26, 2015 will be processed by USCIS. However, USCIS will refund the premium processing fee if:
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The Visa Bulletin for June 2015 has been issued by the Department of State. There was forward movement in most employment-based and family-based visa categories.
Also announced in the bulletin, the Kentucky Consular Center has registered and notified the winners of the DV-2016 diversity lottery, which makes available 50,000 permanent resident visas annually to persons from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.
For more information, please read the June 2015 Visa Bulletin here.
Jenna is an Intern with the firm and is not a practicing attorney.
Airline travel can be a long, unpleasant process. Long lines are part of the problem. In the past, frequent fliers received complimentary TSA PreCheck status, but no more.
To make your future travel easier, review the Department of Homeland Security Trusted Traveler programs to see which program meets your traveling needs. Note that if you apply for Global Entry, you do not need to apply for TSA PreCheck.
While no one is guaranteed expedited entry, these programs will improve your odds and hopefully make your summer vacation travel a little easier. For more information about the programs, click here.
President Obama has asked Congress to take Cuba off the list of countries that sponsor terrorism. The President made a formal recommendation to Congress, setting in motion a 45-day review process during which lawmakers can take steps to block the move. However, Congress is not expected to block it and lawmakers would have to enact a joint resolution to do so, which the President could then veto. Removing Cuba from the list will eliminate some sanctions, including restrictions on foreign assistance, a ban on defense exports and other financial regulations, though the embargo will remain in place.
On April 13th, USCIS announced that it finished the computer-generated lottery to select petitions to meet the FY2016 cap. USCIS stated it will begin premium processing for H-1B cap cases no later than May 11, 2015. USCIS noted that it received nearly 233,000 H-1B petitions during the FY2016 filing period (first week in April).
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced it has reached the congressionally mandated H-1B cap for the fiscal year (FY) 2016. USCIS will use a lottery system in order to randomly select the petitions needed to meet the caps of the 65,000 visas available for the general category. The same lottery process will be used for the 20,000 petitions filed under the U.S. advanced degree exemption.
The advanced degree exemption petitions will be randomly selected by USCIS first. All unselected advanced degree petitions will then become part of the random selection process for the 65,000 general limit. Following this, all unselected cap-subject petitions, that are not duplicate filings, will be rejected and returned with the filing fees. Due to the high volume of petitions, USCIS is unable to announce the date it will conduct the random selection process, as USCIS is still in the process of completing the initial intake for all the filings received during the filing period.
Congress finally passed a funding bill to keep the Department of Homeland Security (including USCIS) open. It will now be sent to President Obama’s desk for his signature (he is expected to sign the bill). The bill will fund DHS through September 2015. The bill that passed does not include language that would prohibit the implementation of the President’s November 2014 executive actions on immigration which was the problem with earlier versions.