Livestream with Attorneys Jacob Sapochnick and Marie Puertollano Discussing H-1B Visa Changes, DOS Updates, and More…

In this live stream, attorneys Jacob Sapochnick and Marie Puertollano discuss recent topics in immigration including the upcoming H-1B season, changes to the H-1B visa program, U.S. Embassy Updates for China and Russia, I-751, and affirmative asylum updates.

Mandatory Registration Requirement for H-1B Petitioners

Beginning with the H-1B season for FY 2021, all petitioners seeking to file an H-1B cap-subject petition on behalf of a foreign worker will be required to submit to a mandatory registration process. Only those whose registrations are selected, will be eligible to file an H-1B cap-subject petition during the associated filing period.

Each petitioner will be required to electronically register through the USCIS government website. The registration period will last for a minimum period of 14 calendar days and begin at least 14 calendar days before the first day of filing in each fiscal year. USCIS will provide the public with at least 30 days advance notice of the opening of the initial registration period for the upcoming fiscal year via the USCIS website.

As part of that registration process, Petitioners will be asked to provide basic information regarding the petitioner and beneficiary including, but not limited to: (1) the employer’s name, employer identification number (EIN), and employer’s mailing address; (2) the employer’s authorized representative’s name, job title, and contact information (telephone number and email address); (3) the beneficiary’s full name, date of birth, country of birth, country of citizenship, gender, and passport number; (4) if the beneficiary has obtained a master’s or higher degree from a U.S. institution of higher education; (5) the employer’s attorney or accredited representative, if applicable (a Form G-28 should be also submitted electronically if this is applicable); and (6) any additional basic information requested by the registration system or USCIS.

The petitioner will also be required to attest, within the registration system, that the contents of each registration are true and accurate and that the petitioner intends to employ the beneficiary consistent with the registration.

Reversing the System of Selection

Beginning this H-1B season, USCIS will change the order of selection of H-1B petitions. USCIS will first select H-1B petitions submitted on behalf of all beneficiaries, including those that may be eligible for the advanced degree exemption. USCIS will then select from the remaining eligible petitions, a number projected to reach the advanced degree exemption.

According to USCIS, “Changing the order in which USCIS counts these allocations will likely increase the number of petitions for beneficiaries with a master’s or higher degree from a U.S. institution of higher education to be selected under the H-1B numerical allocations.”

DOS Update for Chinese H and L Applicants

Beginning March 1, 2019, applicants with an approved H or L petition must continue their visa processing at the US Embassies in Beijing, Guangzhou, or Shanghai. All other consular units will not process these visa types beginning March 1st.

USCIS Field Office Closure in Moscow

Due to a significant decrease in workload, USCIS will permanently close its field office in Moscow, Russia, on March 29, 2019. The last day the office will be open to the public and accepting applications is Feb. 28, 2019.

The USCIS field office in Athens, Greece, will assume jurisdiction over immigration matters in the Russian Federation, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.  The U.S. Embassy in Moscow will assume responsibility for certain limited services previously provided by USCIS to individuals residing in Russia.

I-751 Update

USCIS recently released a memo that states that all applicants for I-751 will be scheduled for a mandatory in person interview. We believe that although such a memo has been released, USCIS will continue to schedule interviews for I-751 petitions, on a case-by-case basis due to lack of personnel to handle in-person interviews for all applicants.

Affirmative Asylum Case Updates

You may now check the status of your asylum case on the USCIS website by visiting

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