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Immigration Law Blog

Friday, April 20, 2018

Fiscal Year 2019 H-1B Cap Lottery Complete


On April 6, 2018, USCIS announced that it had received a sufficient number of H-1B cap petitions during the period between April 2, 2018 and April 6, 2018 to meet the congressionally mandated statutory cap of 65,000 and the U.S. advanced degree exemption (or Master’s cap) of 20,000 for Fiscal Year 2019.


Read more . . .


Friday, December 29, 2017

USCIS clarifies its position with respect to TN nonimmigrants employed as “Economists”

As of November 20, 2017, USCIS has clarified its position with respect to TN nonimmigrants employed as “Economists.”

 

Going forward, USCIS will consider an “Economist” an individual who engages in activity such as:

  • Conducts research, prepares reports, or formulates plans to address economic problems related to the production and distribution of goods and services or monetary and fiscal policy;
  • Collects and processes economic and statistical data using sampling techniques and econometric methods.

 

Excluded from this definition are Financial Analyst, Market Research Analyst, and Marketing Analyst occupations.

 

Therefore, individuals who work in these other occupations related to the field of economics are not eligible for TN classification as “Economists.”


Read more . . .


Thursday, October 26, 2017

Updated USCIS Policy Guidance Eliminates “Deference” Given To Prior Determinations Of Eligibility When Adjudicating Nonimmigrant Visa Extension Petitions


Updated policy guidance from the USCIS, effective as of October 23, 2017, instructs officers to apply the same level of scrutiny when reviewing nonimmigrant visa extension requests even where the petitioner, beneficiary, and underlying facts are unchanged from a previously approved petition.

The previous policy instructed officers to give deference to the findings of a previously approved petition, as long as the key elements were unchanged and there was no evidence of a material error or fraud related to the prior determination.

Under the law, the burden of proof in establishing eligibility for the visa petition extension is on the petitioner, regardless of whether USCIS previously approved a petition.


Read more . . .


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

UPDATE: USCIS Resumes Premium Processing for All Applicants Seeking H-1B Visas

10/3/2017 UPDATE:  U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has resumed premium processing for all H-1B petitions.  



Read more . . .


Thursday, September 14, 2017

Department Of State Issues Notice of Registration for the 2019 Diversity Immigrant Visa Program


The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has issued a notice providing information on how to apply for the 2019 Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, under which 50,000 diversity visas will be available.  The notice includes information on eligibility, entry period, completing the electronic entry form, selection of applicants, photo requirements, and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).  Applicants must submit entries for the 2019 diversity visa lottery electronically at Read more . . .


Thursday, September 14, 2017

USCIS Is Now Denying Pending Forms I-131 for Abandonment Due to International Travel


In the past, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has approved advance parole renewal applications for individuals who travel abroad during the pendency of the application with a valid Advance Parole document or a valid H, K, L, or V visa.  However, we have learned that the USCIS is now denying Form I-131 advance parole applications for abandonment in instances where the applicant has traveled abroad during the pendency of the application. The USCIS has confirmed that travelling internationally while an application for advance parole is pending will now result in the denial of that application, notwithstanding prior practice to the contrary.
Read more . . .


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

USCIS to Expand In-Person Interview Requirements for Certain Permanent Residency Applicants


The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that, effective October 1, 2017, it will begin expanding in-person interviews for certain immigration benefit applications that currently do not require interview for approval.

Hence, effective October. 1, 2017, USCIS will begin to phase-in interviews for the following applicants:

•  Adjustment of status applications based on employment (Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status).


Read more . . .


Friday, August 25, 2017

Client Alert: Green Card Applicants: USCIS Is Denying Pending Forms I-131 for Abandonment Due to International Travel


In a departure from previous policy, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has begun denying I-131 Applications for Advance Parole if the Applicant has departed the U.S. while the application is still pending.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) announced on August 18, 2017 that “it has received reports from members that USCIS has been denying Form I-131 advance parole applications for abandonment in instances where the applicant has traveled abroad during the pendency of the application.  The pending Form I-131 application is being denied even if the applicant has a separate valid advance parole document or a valid H, K, L, or V visa to return to the United States.
Read more . . .


Monday, July 17, 2017

The Two Paths to Asylum

“Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

This, according to Emma Lazarus’s famous poem “The New Colossus,” is what the Statute of Liberty cries to the world. It is a reminder that America opens its doors to the most desperate of immigrants, those whose very life is threatened if they return to their home country.  In this day and age many of these immigrants are refugees seeking asylum.

A refugee is “someone who is unable or unwilling to return to and avail himself or herself of the protection of his or her country of nationality or, if stateless, country of last habitual residence because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.”

There are actually two paths to asylum self-proclaimed refugees can take, known as affirmative and defensive asylum respectively. Which path is appropriate depends largely on the filer’s current immigration status.

Affirmative asylum is available to refugees who have been physically present in the United States for less than a year, regardless of their immigration status. An application for affirmative asylum is filed directly with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If a self-proclaimed refugee has been physically present in the United States for more than a year, he or she can still apply for affirmative asylum if he or she can show that circumstances that materially affect his or her eligibility for asylum have changed, or that extraordinary circumstances delayed his or her filing. He or she must apply for affirmative asylum within a reasonable amount of time given the circumstances.

Defensive asylum, as the name suggests, is a defense to deportation. It is filed with the immigration judge presiding over the self-proclaimed refugee’s removal proceeding.

The key to success in both affirmative and defensive cases is proving the applicant is truly a refugee as defined above. How the evidence is presented depends on the type of asylum.

Affirmative applications for asylum are heard by USCIS Asylum Officers. The process is a non-adversarial interview. Defensive applications are heard by Immigration Judges in adversarial (court-like) proceedings.

If you think you are a refugee, you should contact an experienced immigration immediately in order to apply for asylum.


Thursday, June 29, 2017

Redesigned Form for Green Card Applicants


June 29, 2017

Redesigned Form for Green Card Applicants


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has published a revised Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Form I-485). Form I-485 is the application required to be filed for adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident status while in the US. The new version of the Form I-485 should increase the efficiency of the adjudication process by reducing errors and requests for evidence.
Read more . . .


Friday, May 5, 2017

Update on Immigration News


On April 7, 2017, USCIS announced that it has received enough H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap of 65,000 visas for fiscal year (FY) 2018.

On May 3, 2017, USCIS announced its completion of data entry for all fiscal year 2018 H-1B cap subject petitions. USCIS will now begin returning all H-1B cap subject petitions not selected. Also USCIS will be transferring some H-1B cases from the Vermont Service Center to the California Service Center to better balance the distribution of cap cases. Petitioners and Attorneys will be notified via email if their case has been transferred.
Read more . . .


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