• 24Oct
    USCIS News Comments Off on USCIS Updates Policy to Ensure Petitioners Meet Burden of Proof for Nonimmigrant Worker Extension

    WASHINGTON — Under updated policy guidance, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is instructing its officers to apply the same level of scrutiny to both initial petitions and extension requests for certain nonimmigrant visa categories. The guidance applies to nearly all nonimmigrant classifications filed using Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker.

    “USCIS officers are at the front lines of the administration’s efforts to enhance the integrity of the immigration system,” said USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna. “This updated guidance provides clear direction to help advance policies that protect the interests of U.S. workers.”

    As before, adjudicators must thoroughly review the petition and supporting evidence to determine eligibility for the benefit sought. The updated guidance 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. While adjudicators may ultimately reach the same conclusion as in a prior decision, they are not compelled to do so as a default starting point as the burden of proof to establish eligibility for an immigration benefit always lies with the petitioner.

    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. The updated policy guidance rescinds the previous policy.

    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. The adjudicator’s determination is based on the merits of each case, and officers may request additional evidence if the petitioner has not submitted sufficient evidence to establish eligibility.

    Interim and final policy memos are official USCIS policy documents and are effective the date the memos are issued.

    If you have any questions in connection with the foregoing, please contact our firm’s Immigration Law Group at (973) 602-3455.

  • 13Oct
    H-1B Visa News Comments Off on Client Alert: Important Information Related to H-1B and Diversity Visa Programs

    Premium Processing Now Available for All Petitioners Seeking H-1B Visas

    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) resumed premium processing on October 3, 2017 for all H-1B visa extension of stay petitions. Premium processing is now available for all types of H-1B petitions.

    H-1B visas provide skilled workers for a wide range of specialty occupations, including information technology, engineering, and mathematics. When a petitioner requests the agency’s premium processing service, USCIS guarantees a 15-calendar day processing time. If that time is not met, the agency will refund the petitioner’s premium processing service fee and continue with expedited processing of the application. Continue reading:

    If you have any questions in connection with the foregoing, please contact our firm’s Immigration Law Group at (973) 602-3455.

  • 10Oct
    Consular Processing Updates Comments Off on Government of Turkey Suspension of Visas to U.S. Citizens on October 8, 2017 – A Message to U.S. Citizens

    The government of Turkey announced the immediate suspension of visa services to U.S. citizens, effective October 8, 2017.  According to the government’s announcement, this includes the issuance of physical “sticker” visas at border posts, and the online Turkish electronic visa (e-visa).  U.S. citizens planning travel to Turkey, and who have questions regarding this regulation should contact the closest Embassy or Consulate of Turkey, or the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    The U.S. Embassy in Ankara, the Consulate General in Istanbul, the Consulate in Adana and the Consular Agency in Izmir remain open, and continue to provide services to U.S. citizens in Turkey.

    If you have any questions in connection with the foregoing, please contact our firm’s Immigration Law Group at (973) 602-3455.

  • 03Oct
    H-1B Visa News Comments Off on Premium Processing Now Available for All Petitioners Seeking H-1B Visas

    USCIS LogoWASHINGTON — U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) resumed premium processing today for all H-1B visa extension of stay petitions. Premium processing is now available for all types of H-1B petitions.

    H-1B visas provide skilled workers for a wide range of specialty occupations, including information technology, engineering, and mathematics. When a petitioner requests the agency’s premium processing service, USCIS guarantees a 15-calendar day processing time. If that time is not met, the agency will refund the petitioner’s premium processing service fee and continue with expedited processing of the application.

    In addition to today’s resumption of premium processing for H-1B visa extension of stay petitions, USCIS had previously resumed premium processing for H-1B petitions subject to the annual cap, petitions filed on behalf of physicians under the Conrad 30 waiver program, as well as interested government agency waivers and certain H-1B petitions that are not subject to the cap.

    For more information on how the H-1B visa program is being used, visit the Buy American, Hire American: Putting American Workers First page. This page provides data and information about the hiring practices of employers who use H-1B visas to hire foreign workers.

    If you have any questions in connection with the foregoing, please contact our firm’s Immigration Law Group at (973) 602-3455.

  • 03Oct
    USCIS News Comments Off on New USCIS Form to Obtain Simultaneous Work Authorization Document and Social Security Number

    USCIS LogoWASHINGTON – Based on a new information-sharing partnership between U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA), foreign nationals in certain categories or classifications can now apply for work authorization and a social security number using a single form – the updated Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.

    To lawfully work in the United States, foreign workers in some categories and classifications need both an employment authorization document (EAD) from USCIS, and a Social Security number (SSN) from the SSA. Previously, applicants needed to submit a Form I-765 to USCIS for an EAD, and then submit additional paperwork in-person at their local Social Security office to obtain an SSN. Continue reading:

    If you have any questions in connection with the foregoing, please contact our firm’s Immigration Law Group at (973) 602-3455.