Categories News & Updates USCIS

H-1B Cap Registrations Increased by 57% From Last Year

USCIS has notified all prospective petitioners with selected registrations that they are eligible to file an H-1B cap-subject petition for the beneficiary named in the applicable selected registration beginning April 1, 2022. The total number of registrations received by USCIS have reached the numerical allocations (H-1B cap), including the advanced degree exemption (master’s cap).

 

For FY 2023, USCIS received a total number of 483,927 H-1B registrations and has initially selected 127,600 registrations projected as needed to reach the FY 2023 numerical allocations. The number of registrations were much higher this year when compared to FY 2022, which had a total of 308,613 registrations – a 57% increase year over year.

 

For the FY 2022 Cap, USCIS conducted a second selection in July 2021 of an additional 27,717 registrations due to low filing volume from the initial selection, and also conducted a third selection in November 2021 of an additional 16,753 registrations. This resulted in a total of 131,970 selected registrations for FY 2022. Looking at the trend, it is expected that USCIS will conduct a second round of lottery selections for this year’s Cap around the beginning of July.

 

For each beneficiary registered, registrants’ online accounts will now show one of the following statuses:

 

Submitted: The registration has been submitted and is eligible for selection. If the initial selection process has been completed, this registration remains eligible, unless subsequently invalidated, for selection in any subsequent selections for the fiscal year for which it was submitted.

 

Based on the above, USCIS may conduct a second round of lottery for FY Cap 2023. There is no official notification on subsequent rounds as of yet.

 

Selected: Selected to file an H-1B cap petition.

 

Denied: If multiple registrations were submitted by or on behalf of the same registrant for the same beneficiary, the registration is denied. If denied as a duplicate registration, all registrations submitted by or on behalf of the same registrant for this beneficiary for the fiscal year are invalid.

 

Invalidated-Failed Payment: If a registration was submitted but the payment method was declined, rejected, disputed, or cancelled after submission, the registration is deemed invalid.

 

The period for filing the H-1B cap-subject petition will be at least 90 days. Selection in the registration process does not relieve the petitioner of submitting evidence or otherwise establishing eligibility, as registration only pertains to eligibility to file the H-1B cap-subject petition.

 

Please contact your Graham Adair attorney with any case specific questions, or contact us at info@grahamadair.com; +1 408 715 7067.

Categories Department of State News & Updates

TN Visa Processing in Mexico is Now Available Only at Three Consular Posts

The U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Mexico have resumed limited processing of nonimmigrant visas. TN Visa appointments are now available only in Mexico City, Ciudad Juarez, and Guadalajara. However, previously scheduled TN appointments in Tijuana will be honored, but expedited appointments cannot be accommodated, and new TN appointments cannot be made.

 

Since only three posts process TN visa appointments, applicants may experience significant delays for visa appointments. It is advised that applicants make note of this and plan accordingly. If applicants have an urgent need for travel, they may request an emergency appointment by following the guidance found here .

 

Applicants applying in the same visa class and whose previous visa expired within the last 48 months may be eligible for interview waiver.  Applicants may schedule a renewal appointment here. Routine appointments for applicants not ordinarily resident in Mexico are not available at this time.

 

The U.S. Department of State has extended the validity of visa payments (known as the MRV fee) until September 30, 2023, to allow all applicants who were unable to schedule a visa appointment as a result of the suspension of routine consular operations an opportunity to schedule and/or attend a visa appointment with the paid fee.

 

Please contact your Graham Adair attorney with any case specific questions, or contact us at info@grahamadair.com; +1 408 715 7067.

Categories News & Updates USCIS

USCIS Expands Premium Processing Services

In an effort to increase efficiency and reduce burdens to the overall legal immigration system, USCIS has announced three new actions intended to reduce backlogs, expand Premium Processing Services and provide timely access to Employment Authorization Documents (EADs).

 

Reducing Backlogs: To reduce backlogs, USCIS has established new internal cycle time goals. These goals are internal metrics and affect how long it takes the agency to process cases. As cycle times improve, processing times will follow, and applicants and petitioners will receive decisions on their cases more quickly. USCIS plans to achieve these new goals by the end of FY 2023. The new cycle time goals can be accessed here- https://www.uscis.gov/forms/filing-guidance.

 

Expansion of Premium Processing Service: USCIS intends to begin gradually implementing premium processing availability to include Form I-539, Form I-765 and additional classifications under Form I-140 in fiscal year 2022. First, USCIS plans to begin this phased implementation process by expanding premium processing eligibility to Form I-140 filers requesting EB-1 immigrant classification as a multinational executive or manager, EB-2 classification as a member of the professions with advanced degrees, and those with exceptional ability seeking a national interest waiver. A specific timeline has not yet been announced. We will provide updates on timing as they become available.

 

Access to EADs: USCIS had recently extended validity periods of certain EADs by providing an automatic 180-day extension. Now it aims to build on this progress to ensure certain individuals will not lose their work authorization status while their applications are pending. More updates on the EAD adjudication process will be released by USCIS in the coming days. We will monitor progress and provide updates.

 

Please contact your Graham Adair attorney with any case specific questions, or contact us at info@grahamadair.com; +1 408 715 7067.

Categories News & Updates USCIS

USCIS now approving EADs without APs to improve EAD processing times

USCIS has delayed the adjudication of I-131 Advance Parole applications for travel documents. Routinely, these forms are submitted and adjudicated concurrently with I-765 forms requesting work authorization for employment-based green card applicants. Approved applicants receive an EAD card (employment authorization document) with the notation “Serves as I-512 Advance Parole” included on the card.

 

However, recent applicants have been receiving their EADs without the advance parole notation. Without this notation, applicants cannot use the card for international travel. In the event that an applicant leaves without I-512 Advance Parole, they will not be allowed to reenter the country unless they have another means for entry, such as a temporary visa.

 

After the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) reached out to USCIS for comment, the agency confirmed that “the processing change is intentional as the agency is working through the EAD backlog and is prioritizing EAD adjudication as it seeks to avoid applicants experiencing a lapse or prolonged lapse in employment authorization. At present, there is no additional information available on the scope or duration of this procedural change.”

 

Current processing times for I-131 forms granting travel authorization are 10-20 months, while current processing times for I-765 requests for work authorization are 7-14 months at all major USCIS processing centers. We anticipate that processing times for Advance Parole will increase even more due to this change.

 

Please contact your Graham Adair attorney with any specific questions, or contact us at info@grahamadair.com; +1 408 715 7067.

Categories News & Updates

Spouses Will Now Receive Work Authorization Incident to Status

As we reported in a previous news release last November, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reached a settlement agreement with nonimmigrant plaintiffs in which it agreed to, among other things, recognize work authorization incident to status for the spouses of L visa holders.

 

Earlier this week, the DHS began implementation of this change and expanded its application to the spouses of E visa holders. U.S. Customs and Border Protection is now inputting new Class of Admission (COA) codes on I-94 admissions records generated for spouses of E and L visa holders upon entry into the United States. With this new COA code, E and L spouses will have work authorization incident to status, and the I-94 can be used as a List C document for I-9 purposes. The new COA code will only be applied to new entries into the U.S. made by E and L spouses on or after January 31, 2022.

 

Please contact your Graham Adair attorney with any specific questions, or contact us at info@grahamadair.com; +1 408 715 7067.