• 29Jun
    H-1B Visa News Comments Off on USCIS Updates H-1B Cap Count

    The annual cap for new H-1B visas is set by Congress at 65,000 new visas per year, not including the 20,000 H-1B visas available under the U.S. advanced degree cap exemption. As of April 1st, the “filing season” for new H-1B visas was officially underway.

    USCIS has recently announced that, as of June 18, only 22,900 H-1B petitions filed under the regular cap and 9,700 H-1B petitions filed under the Master’s exemption cap have been received.

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  • 22Jun
    Consular Processing Updates Comments Off on Department of State Increases Fees For Consular Processing of Visa Applications, Effective June 4

    The U.S. Department of State (“DOS”) published an interim final rule that raises the fees that U.S. consular posts charge for processing nonimmigrant visas. Prior to June 4, the fee was $131 for all nonimmigrant visa categories. Under its new fee schedule, the DOS now charges varying fees depending on the visa classification sought.

    The new, tiered fee structure was created to cover the higher unit costs for processing certain categories of nonimmigrant visas that tend to be more complicated and require a more in-depth consideration than other categories of nonimmigrant visas.

    Therefore, effective June 4, the fee for business (B-1), tourist (B-2), student (F-1), and exchange visitor (J-1) visas was increased to $140. The visa application fee for temporary workers and trainees (H-1), intracompany transferees (L-1), extraordinary ability applicants (O-1), performers (P), cultural exchange participants (Q), and religious workers (R) increased to $150. The visa application fee for treaty traders (E-1) and treaty investors (E-2) increased to $390. The visa application fee for fiances of American citizens (K-1) increased to $350. All other visa categories will have bear the standard application fee of $140.

    The new fee schedule is applicable to everyone applying for a visa on or after June 4, 2010. Applicants who have already paid the current visa application fee of $131 for appointments on or after June 4, 2010, will be required to pay the difference.

    This interim final rule became effective on June 4, 2010. To read the entire post in the Federal Register, please click here.

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  • 15Jun
    E-Verify System Comments Off on USCIS Launches Redesigned E-Verify Employer Web Interface

    E-Verify is a web-based system which permits enrolled businesses to determine whether their employees are legally authorized to work in the United States.

    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) has recently launched a redesigned website for employers using USCIS’ E-Verify Program.  According to the USCIS press release, the recent updates include improved navigational tools to enhance ease-of-use, minimize errors, support compliance with the terms of use, and enable real-time validation of employers enrolling in E-Verify against commercial data.

    A new home page, along with a new “case alerts” feature, improved case management, and streamlined tutorials are among the purported improvements to the E-Verify website. The new interface also has enhanced security features such as masking Social Security numbers to further protect privacy and ensure that only valid companies enroll in E-Verify.

    According to the press release, all current E-Verify enrollees are required to complete an updated tutorial.  There are actually two separate tutorials which take a total of about 20 minutes to complete.  Click here to view the tutorials.

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