Articles Posted in DHS

New H-1B rules are changing the immigration landscape for U.S. employers and foreign workers in the United States.

In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick shares all you need to know about these important changes.

Did you Know? In February of this year, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a final rule in the Federal Register that changed the H-1B registration process and enhanced the H-1B program’s integrity to safeguard against fraud. These changes resulted in a significant drop in the number of eligible H-1B registrations for fiscal year 2025 by 40%.


Overview


The H-1B visa is one of the most popular work visas used by professionals with U.S. job offers to work in specialty occupations. To be eligible for this visa category, applicants must have at least a bachelor’s degree or higher, or the equivalent work experience in the specialty occupation.

Current laws limit the annual number of qualifying foreign workers who may be issued the H-1B visa to 65,000 with an additional 20,000 reserved for the H-1B advanced degree exemption for those with U.S. master’s degrees (or higher). Unfortunately, the high demand for the H-1B visa, makes the lottery process extremely competitive considering that thousands upon thousands of employers compete for the very limited number of visas available every year.

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Welcome back to ImmigrationLawyerBlog! In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses a new rule from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that will provide relief to nearly 800,000 applicants seeking a renewal of their employment authorization document also known as a work permit by automatically extending certain EADs from 6 months to 18 months.


Overview


On April 4, 2020, USCIS announced a temporary final rule (TFR) that increases the automatic extension period for employment authorization and EADs available to certain EAD renewal applicants from up to 180 days (6 months) to up to 540 days (or 18 months) from the printed expiration date of a previously issued EAD. 

Effective April 8, 2024, this temporary final rule will apply to two categories of EAD applicants:

(1) applicants who timely and properly filed their Form I-765 applications on or after October 27, 2023, if the application is still pending on April 8, 2024; and

(2) applicants who timely and properly file their Form I-765 application on or after April 8, 2024 and on or before September 30, 2025 (540 days after publication of this temporary final rule in the Federal Register).

Applicants must have one of these qualifying eligibility categories to receive an automatic extension of their employment authorization and/or EAD validity: A03, A05, A07, A08, A10, A12, A17*, A18*, C08, C09, C10, C16, C19, C20, C22, C24, C26*, and C31.  These eligibility categories are published on the USCIS Automatic EAD Extension webpage.

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Did you know? The May 2024 Visa Bulletin was recently released by the Department of State. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick talks about the exciting movement we are seeing in almost all the family-sponsored categories in the month of May, and what we can expect to see for the employment-based categories in the coming months.


Adjustment of Status Filing Chart May 2024


For the month of May 2024, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will continue to use the Dates for Filing Chart for all family-sponsored preference categories, and the Final Action Dates Chart for all employment-based preference categories, when applying for adjustment of status to permanent residence in the United States.


What Can We Expect to see in the Month of May?


Family-sponsored categories


FINAL ACTION DATES FOR FAMILY-SPONSORED PREFERENCE CASES


The Final Action Dates Chart for the family-sponsored categories advanced for nearly all categories as follows:

  • F1 Mexico will advance by 5.5 months to October 15, 2001
  • F1 Philippines will remain the same at March 1, 2012
  • F1 All other countries will advance by 4.9 months to July 8, 2015
  • F2A Mexico will advance by 2.8 months to November 8, 2020
  • F2A Philippines will advance by 8.7 months to June 1, 2021
  • F2A All other countries will advance by 8.7 months to June 1, 2021
  • F2B Mexico will advance by 4.3 months to March 1, 2004
  • F2B Philippines will remain at October 22, 2011
  • F2B All other countries will advance by 4.3 months to April 1, 2016
  • F3 Mexico will advance by 10.4 months to July 22, 1999
  • F3 Philippines will advance by 1.8 months to August 1, 2002
  • F3 All other countries will advance by 3 months to January 1, 2010
  • F4 Worldwide and China will advance by 1.4 months to July 22, 2007
  • F4 India will advance by 1 month to January 15, 2006
  • F4 Mexico will advance by 3.3 months to January 22, 2001
  • F4 Philippines will advance by 2.8 months to September 8, 2003

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Have you ever wondered why new immigration cases are being approved faster than older pending cases? If so, then you may be interested to learn why this is happening, as well as how the review process is conducted by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and what you can do if you are facing this situation.

If you would like to know more about this topic, we invite you to watch our video.


Overview


Q: My case has been pending with USCIS for several months. I have recently learned that USCIS has been giving recently filed cases priority over older cases, why is that?


USCIS Review Process


To understand this issue, let’s first discuss how USCIS accepts and reviews cases once they are received by the agency.

After you submit your application including your forms and filing fees, the first thing USCIS will do is input the receipt of your application into their system and send a notice to you by mail confirming the date your materials were received and accepted as a complete filing. This receipt is known as the Notice of Action.

USCIS will create a new file and assign a case number to your application which will appear on your Notice of Action, which you can use to check the status of your application on the USCIS website and by telephone.

Your case will then be sorted and routed to the appropriate service center or field office that will oversee the evaluation of your application. The office that will be given jurisdiction over your case is determined by a number of factors including but not limited to, your case type, agency workloads, and the date of receipt.

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If you are holding any crypto assets, such as bitcoin, Ethereum, or any other blockchain cryptocurrency, can you use those assets to move to the United States?

In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses the use of crypto assets as the source of funds for E-2 visa investment purposes and everything you need to know about this topic.


Overview


Is there a way to move to the United States using crypto assets?


Yes. The visa type that can be used for this purpose is the E-2 Treaty Investor nonimmigrant visa, which allows qualifying applicants to start and manage their businesses in the United States, by making an irrevocable investment in their business and hiring U.S. workers.

The E-2 visa allows foreign nationals to live and work for their U.S. business for an initial duration of two years. Thereafter, investors may apply for E-2 extensions in increments of up to two years each. One of the great advantages of the E-2 visa is that there is no limit to the number of extensions you can apply for, so long as you maintain a sincere intention to depart the United States when your visa status expires.

Additionally, this visa allows your spouse and unmarried children under age 21 to accompany you to the United States by seeking the E-2 classification as your dependents.

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In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick analyzes the April 2024 Visa Bulletin and discusses the significant movement in the employment based categories and modest movement in the family-sponsored preference categories for the month of April. We also discuss our predictions on what to expect from the Visa Bulletin in the coming months.

If you would like to know more about this topic, we invite you to watch our video.


Adjustment of Status Filing Chart April 2024


For the month of April 2024, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will use the Dates for Filing chart for family-sponsored filings to determine eligibility for I-485 adjustment of status filings (green card filings inside the US).

For employment-based preference categories, USCIS will use the Final Action Dates chart to determine eligibility for I-485 adjustment of status filings (green card filings inside the US).


What Changes Can Be Seen Next Month?


Family-sponsored categories

Dates for Filing

The Dates for Filing chart remains unchanged from the previous month except for the following categories:

  • F4 India will advance by 1.5 months to April 8, 2006, and
  • F4 Philippines will advance by 1 year to April 22, 2005

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUZ6U-Wasd4

The H-1B cap season is now in full swing. Electronic registrations for the fiscal year 2025 H-1B work visa lottery opened on March 6th and will close at noon eastern time on March 22nd.

If you want to know how you can prepare for the upcoming lottery and learn about the recent changes made to the program, we invite you to watch our video.


Overview


The H-1B visa program is one of the most common work visas for professionals seeking to work for U.S. employers in specialty occupations that require a bachelor’s degree or the foreign equivalent. Every year, during the month of March, 65,000 H-1B work visas are up for grabs, and an additional 20,000 visas are available for those holding a U.S. advanced degree (master’s degree or higher from accredited U.S. institutions of higher education).

Those who wish to have a chance of being selected must submit an online electronic registration before the deadline of March 22nd.  Once the registration period has closed, USCIS will select enough registrations to meet the annual H-1B visa cap from the pool of applicants who have registered.


About the Electronic Registration System


The online electronic registration system was first introduced by USCIS in 2019 to streamline the H-1B selection process, without requiring U.S. employers to first submit complete paper filings by mail.

The electronic registration process allows U.S. employers and their prospective employees to first compete for the limited number of H-1B visas available, and once selected U.S. employers can submit complete filings to USCIS on behalf of the foreign worker.

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Do you have a visa that has been pending for an unreasonable period at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy abroad, or perhaps that has been stuck in administrative processing for years with no decision? If so, you may be interested to learn of possible solutions to resolve your case matter.

In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick tells you everything you need to know about this important topic, including a discussion about the writ of mandamus lawsuit, and how it can help compel a decision in certain cases where there has been an unreasonable delay.

If you would like to know more about this topic, we invite you to watch our video.


Overview


Mandamus Lawsuits for Immigration Delays


A mandamus lawsuit also known as a writ of mandamus, is filed in federal court to compel a government body to fulfill their legal duty, for instance by issuing a decision on a visa application or immigration benefit, that has been unreasonably delayed by the agency.

The purpose of the mandamus lawsuit is to hold the government accountable where they have failed to act, as required by U.S. immigration law, to make a decision on an application. In cases where the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or the Department of State (DOS) has failed to fulfill its duty, the mandamus lawsuit may be appropriate to help move a case forward to its final decision.

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In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses the latest updates in the March 2024 Visa Bulletin including slight advancements in the employment based categories and major movement in the family-sponsored preference categories in the month of March. We also discuss our predictions on what to expect from the Visa Bulletin in the coming months.

If you would like to know more about this topic, we invite you to watch our video.


Adjustment of Status Filing Chart March 2024


For the month of March 2024, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will use the Dates for Filing chart for family-sponsored filings to determine eligibility for I-485 adjustment of status filings (green card filings inside the US).

For employment-based preference categories, USCIS will use the Final Action Dates chart to determine eligibility for I-485 adjustment of status filings (green card filings inside the US).


What Changes Can Be Seen Next Month?


Employment-based categories

Dates for Filing

  • The March Dates for Filing remain the same as February 2024, with the exception of the employment-based fourth preference category, EB-4 which will advance by 4 months to January 1, 2020.

Movement in the Final Action Dates

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If you are in participating in the H-1B visa program as an employer or beneficiary, you may be interested to learn all about the recent changes being made to strengthen the program and improve the H-1B registration selection process. Recently, the Department of Homeland Security published a final rule in the Federal Register, which will go into effect on March 4, 2024, just in time for this year’s H-1B cap season to kick off.

Learn all about these changes in this video, including filing fee increases and new fraud prevention measures being implemented to ensure H-1B beneficiaries have an equal chance of being selected in this year’s lottery.


Overview


FY 2025 H-1B Registration Period Begins at Noon ET March 6, 2024

The initial registration period for the FY 2025 H-1B cap season will open at noon Eastern on March 6, 2024, and run through noon Eastern on March 22, 2024. During the registration period, prospective petitioners and their representatives, if applicable, must use a USCIS online account to register each beneficiary electronically for the selection process and pay the associated registration fee for each beneficiary ($10 per registration and $215 per registration starting in fiscal year 2026).


Final Rule Brings New Changes to the H-1B Cap Electronic Registration Process


In anticipation of the H-1B cap season, on January 30, 2024, the United States Citizenship, and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the publication of the final rule, “Improving the H-1B Registration Selection Process and Program Integrity.”

The purpose of the final rule is to strengthen the integrity of the program and reduce the potential for fraud in the H-1B electronic registration process, to prevent beneficiaries or their employers from gaming the electronic registration process to their advantage.

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