USCIS Conducts Second Random Selection from Previously Submitted FY 2022 H-1B Cap Registrations
USCIS recently determined that it needed to select additional registrations to reach the FY 2022 numerical allocations. On July 28, USCIS selected previously submitted electronic registrations using a random selection process. The petition filing period based on registrations selected on July 28 will begin on Aug. 2 and close on Nov. 3. Individuals with selected registrations will have their myUSCIS accounts updated to include a selection notice, which includes details of when and where to file.
Filing Location Updates for Certain Forms I-131
On July 22, USCIS adjusted the addresses for certain applicants filing Form I-131, Application for Travel Document. USCIS has not changed any filing locations but have refined attention lines and ZIP codes to improve internal processes at its lockboxes.
USCIS Expands Credit Card Payment Pilot Program to Form I-140 When Requesting Premium Processing
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced that it has expanded a previously announced pilot program at the Nebraska Service Center (NSC) for accepting credit card payments using Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions, for certain applicants applying for premium processing.
Applicants for Change of Status to F-1 Student No Longer Need to Submit Subsequent Applications to ‘Bridge the Gap’
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced new policy guidance that eliminates the need for individuals who have applied for a change of status (COS) to F-1 student to apply to change or extend their nonimmigrant status while their initial F-1 COS application is pending.
Extension of validity for National Interest Exceptions (NIEs) for Travelers from China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and India
On June 29, 2021, the Department of State extended the validity of National Interest Exceptions (NIE) for travelers subject to restrictions under Presidential Proclamations (PPs) 9984, 9992, 10143, 10199, and similar subsequent PPs related to the spread of COVID-19. Unless otherwise indicated, existing NIEs will be valid for 12 months from the date of approval and for multiple entries, as long as they are used for the purpose under which they were granted.
DHS releases Interagency Strategy for Promoting Naturalization
The Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services released the Interagency Strategy for Promoting Naturalization, a whole-of-government approach to breaking down barriers to U.S. citizenship and promoting naturalization to all who are eligible, as outlined in President Biden’s Executive Order 14012.
USCIS Extends Flexibility for Responding to Agency Requests
In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is extending the flexibilities it announced on March 30, 2020, to assist applicants, petitioners, and requestors who are responding to certain RFEs, NOIDs, NOIRs, and decisions. This flexibility applies to the listed documents if the issuance date listed on the request, notice, or decision is between March 1, 2020, and Sept. 30, 2021, inclusive.
USCIS Will Allow Resubmission of Certain FY 2021 H-1B Petitions Rejected or Closed Due to Start Date
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced today it will accept resubmitted fiscal year (FY) 2021 H-1B cap-subject petitions that were rejected or administratively closed solely because the requested start date was after Oct. 1, 2020.
Vermont Service Center Address Change
Effective June 14, 2021, the Vermont Service Center will no longer receive any incoming mail at the St. Albans, VT facility, which is being decommissioned.
USCIS Announces Lockbox Filing Flexibilities
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will offer filing flexibilities to provide relief to certain applicants and petitioners impacted by delays at a USCIS lockbox. These flexibilities only apply to benefit requests submitted to a USCIS lockbox and not to USCIS service centers or field offices.
USCIS Updates Policies to Improve Immigration Services
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has issued new policy updates in the USCIS Policy Manual to clarify the criteria and circumstances for expedited processing; improve request for evidence (RFE) and notice of intent to deny (NOID) guidance; and increase the validity period for initial and renewal employment authorization documents (EADs) for certain noncitizens with pending adjustment of status applications.
USCIS Eases Visitor Restrictions for Fully Vaccinated Individuals
Due to updated guidance from the CDC, USCIS has updated its visitor policy. Fully vaccinated individuals no longer have to wear a face covering. Individuals two years old and older who are not fully vaccinated must still wear a face covering.
DHS Issues Final Rule to Remove Vacated H-1B Rule from Code of Federal Regulations
The Department of Homeland Security has issued a final rule that removes from the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) an interim final rule (IFR) issued in October 2020, which has since been vacated by a federal district court.
National Interest Exceptions for Certain Travelers from China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, Schengen Area, United Kingdom, and Ireland
On April 26, 2021, the Secretary of State made a national interest determination regarding categories of travelers to be excepted from Presidential Proclamations (PPs) 9984, 9992, and 10143 related to the spread of COVID-19. As a result of this determination, together with national interest determinations already in place, travelers subject to these proclamations, due to their presence in China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, the Schengen area, the United Kingdom, and Ireland, who are seeking to provide vital support for critical infrastructure; journalists; and students and certain academics covered by exchange visitor programs, among others, may now qualify for a National Interest Exception (NIE).
USCIS Temporarily Suspends Biometrics Requirement for Certain Form I-539 Applicants
Effective May 17, 2021, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will temporarily suspend the biometrics submission requirement for certain applicants filing Form I-539, Application To Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, requesting an extension of stay in or change of status to H-4, L-2, and E nonimmigrant status. USCIS will allow adjudications for those specific categories to proceed based on biographic information and related background checks, without capturing fingerprints and a photograph. This suspension will apply through May 17, 2023, subject to affirmative extension or revocation of the suspension period by the USCIS director.