USCIS Announces How New H-1B Registration Process will be Implemented

On January 9, 2020, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) published a notice in the Federal Registerannouncing the implementation of the registration process for H-1B cap-subject petitions for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021.  The initial H-1B petition registration period will begin on Sunday, March 1, 2020.  Starting on this date, USCIS will require H-1B cap-subject petitioners, including those eligible for the advanced degree exemption, to first register electronically with USCIS and pay the associated $10 H-1B registration fee before being eligible to properly file an H-1B cap-subject petition for FY2021 H-1B numerical allocations. USCIS intends to close this initial registration period on Friday, March 20, 2020.  However, the agency plans to announce the actual end date on its website.  After the initial registration period closes, USCIS will conduct the initial selection process, and petitioners with selected registrations will be eligible to file an H-1B cap-subject petition for those selected registrations during the associated filing period.   Participation in Registration  Before a petitioner can file an H-1B cap-subject petition, including those eligible for the advanced degree exemption, the petitioner must first electronically register with USCIS.  USCIS will not consider an H-1B cap-subject petition to be properly filed unless it is based on a valid registration selection for the applicable fiscal year.  […]
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New H-1B Lottery Registration Tool: What You Need to Know

Background  On January 31, 2019, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a final rule making significant changes to the H-1B visa lottery process.  This rule added an electronic registration requirement for petitioners seeking to submit H-1B cap-subject petitions and reversed the order by which USCIS selects petitions under the H-1B cap and the advanced degree exemptions.  In September 2019, USCIS published a proposed rule that would require petitioners seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions to pay a $10 fee for each electronic registration they submit to USCIS for the H-1B selection process.  The registration fee is part of an agency-wide effort to modernize and more efficiently process applications to live or work in the United States.  What is it? On December 6, 2019, USCIS announced it has completed a successful pilot testing phase and is implementing the electronic registration process in the upcoming H-1B lottery.  Employers seeking to file FY2021 H-1B cap-subject petitions, including those eligible for the advanced degree exemption, must first electronically register and pay an associated $10 fee for each electronic registration they submit to USCIS.   When will it start? Under this new process, employers seeking H-1B workers subject to the cap, or their authorized representatives, will complete a registration […]
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Employment Based Visas

Every fiscal year, approximately 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas are made available to qualified applicants under the provisions of US immigration law. Employment based immigrant visas are divided into five preference categories. These five preference categories include priority workers and persons with extraordinary ability, professionals holding advanced degrees and persons of exceptional ability, skilled workers, professionals, and unskilled workers, certain special immigrants, and immigrant investors.  Certain spouses and children may accompany or follow-to-join employment-based immigrants. Based on your approved petition, your spouse and minor unmarried children, younger than 21, may apply for immigrant visas with you. Like you, they must fill out required application forms, obtain required civil documents, pay the required fees, and undergo medical examinations.  To be considered for an immigrant visa under some of the employment-based categories listed above, the applicant’s prospective employer or agent must first obtain a labor certification approval from the Department of Labor. Once received (and if required), the employer must then file an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, Form I-140, with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for the appropriate employment-based preference category. However, persons with extraordinary abilities category may file their own petitions. Employment based immigrant visa cases take additional time […]
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Travelling While on a Work Visa

If you are currently working in the U.S. on one of many non-immigrant visas, it is important to know whether your category imposes any restrictions on your activities while present here. The general rule of thumb is that you must remain in compliance with the purpose for which your visa was originally issued for the entire length of your stay. For example, if you are in the U.S. on a work visa, you may not use that same visa for any other purpose – for example, to study. One of the most popular non-immigrant work visas is the H-1B for skilled, educated individuals. This is a temporary visa that allows foreign nationals to work for one specific employer. The H1-B applicant is required to continuing working for the sponsoring employer for their entire duration of their stay. If they wish to switch employers, they must submit an H1-B Change of Employer petition to the government. If you hold an H-1B, or another type of temporary work visa like an E, H, L, O or TN, and you would like to take a vacation in the U.S. either after your job ends or before you switch to a different employer, there […]
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New EB-5 Rule Nearly Doubles Minimum Investment

USCIS has recently published a final regulation changing the EB-5 Program that awards permanent resident status to certain investors who create at least ten new jobs for U.S. workers. This new EB-5 rule will be effective for I-526 filings arriving at USCIS on or after November 21, 2019. The new EB-5 investments must be at least $900,000...
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USCIS Proposes Filing Fee Increases

On November 14, 2019, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a proposed regulation, which would substantially increase the filing fees for many types of immigration benefits. The agency’s notice of proposed rulemaking, which is published in the Federal Register, explains that the proposed regulation would increase costs for most petitioners and applicants...
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Modernizing NEXUS AIR Processing at Canadian Airports

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) just recently announced it will be modernizing the way NEXUS members are processed at Canadian airports. The existing NEXUS kiosks that use iris recognition technology will be replaced with new, modernized NEXUS kiosks that use facial verification technology. This new process will first launch in fall 2019 at Vancouver International Airport, with other Canadian airports following in the ensuing months. NEXUS members can enter Canada using the NEXUS self-serve kiosks at designated airports, regardless of where they are coming from. For example, a member returning to Canada from overseas and arriving in Toronto can use a NEXUS kiosk in Toronto. If you are a NEXUS member, you will need your passport the first time you use a new kiosk. You will be prompted to upload your passport photograph during your first passage for storage and identity verification purposes. Members who do not have a passport will be referred to an officer for identity verification. It is important to note that declarations cannot be completed at the new kiosks. If you have something to declare, you will have to do so verbally at a clearly marked area in customs after using the kiosk. This modernization […]
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