Immigration News

by Lisa York Lisa York No Comments

Join CYA for a Zoom Presentation: 2023 H-1B Cap Survival Bootcamp

Interested in learning more about the 2023 H-1B Cap process? We’ll be hosting a 2023 H-1B Cap Survival Bootcamp presentation and discussion via Zoom on Friday, March 3rd from 12pm MST to 1pm MST. Space is limited! If you’d like to attend the presentation, please RSVP no later than 5pm on Friday, February 17th to reserve your spot.

by Breanne Johnson Breanne Johnson No Comments

Access to Counsel Act Reintroduced by House Rep. Jayapal

House Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-W.A.) recently reintroduced the Access to Counsel Act to ensure that U.S. citizens, green card holders, and other individuals with legal status are able to consult with legal counsel, relatives, or other interested parties to seek assistance if they are detained by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for more than one hour at ports of entry, including airports. Companion legislation will be introduced in the Senate in the coming weeks by Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA).

The Access to Counsel Act would:

  • Require the Department of Homeland Security to ensure that people with valid travel documents who present themselves at the border, airports, or other points of interaction can communicate with counsel and other interested parties if they are subjected to prolonged inspection by CBP. 
  • Allow counsel or a covered interested party the ability to advocate on behalf of the individual by providing information or documentation in support of the individual.
  • Invalidate any effort by CBP to persuade someone to relinquish their legal status (by executing an I-407 or Record of Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Resident Status) if that person has been denied access to counsel.

The Access to Counsel Act was originally introduced by Representative Jayapal in 2017 as a response to Donald Trump’s Muslim Ban.

by Lisa York Lisa York No Comments

USCIS Reaches Cap for Additional H-2B Visas

On February 1, 2023, USCIS announced that it has received enough H-2B petitions to reach the cap for the additional 18,216 H-2B visas that were made available for returning workers for the 1st half of fiscal year 2023, with start dates on or before March 31, 2023.  USCIS continues to accept H-2B petitions for the additional 20,000 H-2B visas allotted to nationals of Haiti, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

by Lisa York Lisa York No Comments

Time to Roll the Dice! The 2023 H-1B Lottery is On!

USCIS has announced that the registration period for this year’s H-1B Cap Lottery will be from 10am MT on Wednesday, March 1, 2023, until 10am MT on Friday, March 17, 2023. We anticipate that USCIS will notify the “winners” by the end of March 2023 and the 90-day filing period will be from April 2023 through the end of June 2023. However, we are still waiting for further details from USCIS regarding this year’s H-1B lottery.

by Lisa York Lisa York No Comments

USCIS Introduces New and Improved Green Cards & EAD Cards

On January 30, 2023, USCIS started issuing redesigned Green Cards (Form I-551 Permanent Resident Cards) and EAD Cards (Form I-765 Employment Authorization Document).  The newly designed cards contain state-of-the-art technology that continue to safeguard against secure document tampering, counterfeiting, and fraud.

The introduction of the new designs does not mean that currently issued cards are invalid. Current cards remain valid until their expiration date (unless otherwise noted, such as through an automatic extension of a Green Card or EAD as indicated on a Form I-797, Notice of Action, or in a Federal Register notice).

USCIS has stated that some Green Cards and EADs issued after January, 30, 2023, may still display the existing design format because USCIS will continue using existing cardstock until current supplies are depleted. Both versions of the cards are acceptable for Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification; E-Verify; and Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE).

Some older Green Cards do not have an expiration date. These older Green Cards without an expiration date generally remain valid; however, USCIS encourages applicants with these older cards to consider applying for a replacement card to prevent fraud or tampering should the card ever get lost or stolen.

To mitigate the risk of fraud and counterfeiting, USCIS redesigns the cards every three to five years.

by Lisa York Lisa York No Comments

USCIS Extends COVID-19-related Flexibilities for the Last Time

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is extending certain COVID-19-related flexibilities through March 23, 2023.

USCIS anticipates that barring changes presented by the pandemic, this will be the final extension of these accommodations. Requestors must comply with response requirements set forth in any request or notice dated after March 23, 2023.

Under these flexibilities, USCIS considers a response received within 60 calendar days after the due date before taking any action. The USCIS notices and requests eligible for this extension include:

  • Requests for Evidence;
  • Continuations to Request Evidence (N-14);
  • Notices of Intent to Deny;
  • Notices of Intent to Revoke;
  • Notices of Intent to Rescind;
  • Notices of Intent to Terminate regional centers;
  • Notices of Intent to Withdraw Temporary Protected Status; and
  • Motions to Reopen an N-400 Pursuant to 8 CFR 335.5, Receipt of Derogatory Information After Grant.

In addition, USCIS will consider a Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion, or a Form N-336, Request for a Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings (Under Section 336 of the INA), if:

  • The form was filed up to 90 calendar days from the issuance of a decision we made; and
  • We made that decision between Nov. 1, 2021, and March 23, 2023, inclusive.
by Lisa York Lisa York No Comments

USCIS will Adjudicate H-4 and L-2 Dependent Applications (and Employment Authorization Requests) at the Same Time as the Principal H-1B/L Petition

USCIS announced that starting on January 25, 2023, it will resume adjudicating both the Form I-129 for H-1B/L-1 nonimmigrants and the Forms I-539/I-765 for their H-4/L-2 dependents at the same time as long as the applications were filed together (whether premium processing was requested or not).  USCIS agreed to bundle these applications and adjudicate them at the same time as part of a class action settlement agreement.

by Caroline Lee Caroline Lee No Comments

Expansion of Premium Processing Service Continues

The expansion of U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services’ (USCIS) premium processing program has moved into a new phase!  At long last, premium processing will now include all multinational manager and executive I-140 petitions as well as National Interest Waiver (NIW) I-140 petitions.  Beginning January 30, 2023, USCIS will accept Form I-907 premium processing requests for all new and pending I-140 petitions for multinational executive and manager petitions and NIW petitions. These premium-processed I-140 petitions are to be adjudicated within 45 days.  In March 2023, USCIS plans to further expand premium processing to pending Form I-765s filed by F-1 students for Optional Technical Training (OPT) and STEM OPT.  This will be further expanded in April 2023 to initial OPT and STEM OPT applications. Exact details are expected to be announced in February 2023.

Premium processing allows petitions to be adjudicated much faster than the stated USCIS processing times, for an additional USCIS filing fee.  More and more employers and beneficiaries are electing to use premium process as USCIS processing delays have continued to increase in the post-Covid world.  Have questions about whether your petition is eligible for premium processing?  Reach out to the attorneys at CYA today!

by Caroline Lee Caroline Lee No Comments

New Version of Form I-485 to Take Effect, Incorporating Final Public Charge Rule

Beginning on December 23, 2022, applicants filing for adjustment of status to permanent resident in the United States must use the 12/23/22 version for Form I-485. Per U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the new version of the I-485 is revised to incorporate questions that address and implement the Department of Homeland Security’s final rule on the public charge ground of inadmissibility. Public charge inquiries are intended to determine whether an applicant for permanent residence is likely to become a public charge, or reliant on the United States government for financial assistance. The DHS final rule was published on September 9, 2022, and was intended to provide clarity and consistency for noncitizens on how DHS will administer the public charge ground of inadmissibility.

The public charge ground of inadmissibility has waxed and waned over the years in terms of its importance to the overall adjudication of permanent residence applications, but a public charge inquiry for applicants remains a central component of permanent residence applications. If you have questions about the effect of the new DHS rule on public charge on your permanent residence process, please reach out to our office to schedule a consultation today!