USCIS Fee Hikes Effective April 1 – 4 Key Takeaways for Employers

On January 31, 2024, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a Final Rule to announce new filing fees for immigration and naturalization benefit requests. The rule is set to take effect on April 1, 2024. As a predominantly fee-funded agency, USCIS justifies the fee increase – the first since December 2016 – as essential …

Trade Nafta (TN) Visa Holders Are NOT Free Agents – Spotting the Unauthorized Nonimmigrant for Form I-9 Compliance

Employers continue to face compliance challenges in determining whether a new hire is work authorized for Form I-9 purposes, given the dynamic changes in immigration policy and regulation.  For instance, this year alone, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has posted significant updates on the Form I-9 Central news page, including: The increase of the …

65,000 More Reasons to Get Ready: Essential H-2B Filing Strategies for FY2024

On November 3, 2023, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (“D.H.S.”) with support of the Department of Labor (“D.O.L.”) announced that it expects to make available an additional 64,716 H-2B temporary nonagricultural visas for Fiscal Year (F.Y.) 2024. This increase is in addition to the existing mandated 66,000 H-2B visas that are allotted each F.Y.  …

New Public Charge Questions Add More Challenges for Adjustment of Status Applicants

On December 9, 2022, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the release of a new version (12/23/22) of Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, in connection with a new regulation addressing the public charge ground of inadmissibility, which would take effect on December 23, 2022. When must the new Form …

DHS PUBLISHES NEW FINAL RULE ENDING TRUMP-ERA PUBLIC CHARGE RESTRICTIONS

On September 9, 2022, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a lengthy Final Rule concerning the implementation of the public charge ground of inadmissibility[1] after several years of federal court litigation. This Final Rule will be effective on December 23, 2022, and apply to applications postmarked (or electronically submitted) on or after that …

USCIS Makes COVID-19 Signature Policy Permanent

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, USCIS announced several “flexibilities” to facilitate immigration filings in the face of significant logistical challenges. One of those flexibilities was a much-needed suspension of the “wet ink” signature requirement for certain immigration forms. After sustained success and positive feedback on what was supposed to be a temporary rule, …

Top Three Employment-Based USCIS Adjustment of Status FAQs at the End of Fiscal Year 2022

There is no denying that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact employment-based adjustment of status (AOS) applicants for legal permanent residence. For example, consular closures and limited immigrant visa processing operations during the pandemic have contributed to almost doubling the available number of employment-based immigrant visas for allocation in FY 2022. These increased immigrant visa …

Attracting and Retaining Foreign Talent in STEM Fields – Overview of STEM Initiatives

On July 28, 2022, USCIS published online resources to provide an overview of some temporary and permanent pathways for foreign nationals to remain in the United States (U.S.) and work in the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). These online resources break down various non-immigrant and immigrant channels through which STEM professionals can seek temporary …

USCIS EXTENDS LIMITED AUTOMATIC EXTENSION OF WORK AUTHORIZATION FROM 180 TO 540 DAYS

On May 3, 2022, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a Temporary Final Rule (TFR) that would increase the automatic extension period for Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) for certain designated categories of EAD renewal applicants who timely filed Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization before their EAD’s current expiration. This rule was issued in …

USCIS Expands Credit Card Payment Pilot Program

After years of testing its pilot program, USCIS recently announced an expansion of credit card payments to most USCIS forms. Because the vast majority of forms and other filings require payment of fees that are often substantial, this expansion will give employers, foreign nationals, and attorneys alike much more flexibility. Which Applications and Petitions Qualify …