United States Citizenship and Immigration Services

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is a federal agency under the umbrella of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that oversees lawful immigration to the United States. The USCIS... more +
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is a federal agency under the umbrella of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that oversees lawful immigration to the United States. The USCIS performs a broad variety of administrative functions, including processing visa and naturalization petitions, as well as applications for asylum and refugee status.  less -
News & Analysis as of

The Other EB Visa for Foreign Investors? EB-1(c) Visas as an Alternative to the EB-5 Visa

Overview - I have written a few articles regarding the over-promotion of the EB-5 visa program from the standpoint that frequently the foreign investor’s desire for a Green Card is over-zealous before considering all of...more

L-1B Specialized Knowledge Visa Category Guidance Goes into Effect August 31, 2015: Brave New World?

While the L-1B Adjudications Policy Memorandum published by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services on August 17, 2015, effective as of August 31, 2015, has many positive components, petitioners and practitioners...more

Expect Possible Delays Receiving Your Employment Authorization or Permanent Residence Cards

USCIS has confirmed that their card production facility in Corbin, KY is undergoing maintenance, and all card production work has now been transferred to their facility in Lee’s Summit, MO. A backlog of cases is expected, and...more

Federal Court Vacates STEM Extension Program

Current STEM OPT holders not affected until February 2016. A federal judge's ruling earlier this month invalidated the 17-month extension of optional practical training (OPT) for international students in the science,...more

New Specialized Knowledge Standards Coming for L-1B Transfers

Multinational companies wishing to transfer foreign national employees to the U.S. under the L-1B program will have to show the employee’s “specialized knowledge” by a “preponderance of evidence” under new guidance published...more

The New L-1B Adjudications Policy, Effective August 31

The recently issued U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) final policy memorandum on L-1B visas clarifies the requirements for a sponsoring multinational organization transferring international personnel to the...more

Cap Gap Expiration Approaching: Some Employees' Work Authorization May End on October 1, 2015

Fiscal year 2016 cap-subject H-1B petitions selected and approved by USCIS will be valid starting October 1, 2015. However, as October 1, 2015 approaches, many cap-subject H-1B petitions remain pending at both the California...more

What is going on with STEM OPT?

A recent federal court ruling has created uncertainty and speculation about the STEM OPT program. This summary is provided to inform employers and F-1 STEM students of the facts about the effect of this decision....more

USCIS Memorandum on Specialized Knowledge Workers to Go into Effect August 31st

In my HRLegalist blog post on April 2, 2015 I shared with our readers the news of the USCIS draft Policy Memorandum (“L-1B Memo” or “Memo”) offering clarification on the definition of “specialized knowledge.” The Memo...more

SEC Files Another Fraud Action Based on EB-5 Program

The EB-5 program is supposed to provide a path to a permanent green card. The program was designed to create that path for foreign national who invest specified sums in the U.S. that create jobs – a win win for everyone....more

USCIS Finalizes New Guidance on L-1B Specialized Knowledge Petitions

On August 17, 2015, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a final Policy Memorandum on L-1B visa adjudications (L-1B Memo). The L-1 (intracompany transferee) nonimmigrant visa classification permits...more

New Social Security Card Application Requisites Raise Eyebrows

On August 10, 2015, the Social Security Administration (SSA) adopted a final rule that, as of September 9, 2015, eliminates the requirement that applicants seeking to obtain a new or replacement Social Security number card...more

At the edge of a new frontier: USCIS begins transition to Electronic Immigration System

In July 2015, the White House announced a series of technology initiatives aimed at modernizing the application process for certain immigration benefits. As part of this effort, the United States Citizenship and Immigration...more

Obergefell Expands The Number Of Individuals Potentially Eligible To Apply For Immigration Benefits

Obergefell effectively expands the number of individuals who would be eligible to submit immigration applications on behalf of a same-sex spouse because same sex marriage is now legal across the country, rather than in a...more

Changes to Obligations for Filing H-1B Amendment Petitions Under Matter of Simeio Solutions, LLC

As of August 19, 2015, full enforcement of a recent Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) decision in Matter of Simeio Solutions, LLC, 26 I&N Dec. 542 (AAO 2015) will commence. On April 9, 2015, the AAO—the appellate body...more

USCIS Final Guidance on L-1B Adjudications Offers Some Comfort—But No Cure—for Employer Concerns

On August 17, 2015, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a policy memorandum aiming to clarify the standard required for L-1B specialized knowledge visas. The memorandum notably begins by reminding...more

Employment Law - August 2015 #2

The Customer Isn't Always Right—Especially When He Harasses Employees: Why it matters - Providing an important reminder about the potential for liability from customers, a new lawsuit was filed against a supermarket...more

USCIS Revises Preparer’s Declaration on Form I-129

USCIS recently published a new Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker. The new Form I-129 contains a revised “Petitioner’s Declaration” and revised “Preparer’s Declaration,”...more

Immigration Corner: Time to Get Simeio-Compliant, Faster H-1Bs, a Permanent Resident Card Refresher and Increased Security...

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has now published a final policy memorandum designed to bring employers into compliance with the ruling in Matter of Simeio Solutions, LLC and to assess whether H-1B...more

Immigration Alert: Decision Overturning 17-month OPT/STEM Extensions is stayed as USCIS scrambles to cure deficiencies

On August 12, 2015, Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dealt a blow to employers by vacating the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) 2008 interim rule expanding the...more

USCIS Releases Draft EB-5 Policy Guidance Clarifying Immigration and Project Related Issues Raised by Retrogression

Popularity of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program has surged in recent years among foreign investors from mainland China. As a result, the demand for EB-5 visas by foreign investors born in mainland China has exceeded total...more

August 2015 Immigration Alert

I. USCIS Issues Guidance on When an Amended H-1B Petition Is Required After Matter of Simeio Solutions, LLC - On July 21, 2015, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) released a policy memorandum...more

U.S. Visa Categories Leave Entrepreneurs Few Options

Many of Julie Ferguson’s immigration law clients are entrepreneurs seeking to launch startups in the United States. They come from all over the world, but Ms. Ferguson, who practices in Miami, sees especially high numbers...more

E-Verify Program Set to Expire

The E-Verify program is set to expire 9/30/15 unless it is reauthorized by Congress (cue scary movie soundtrack).  So what does that mean for employers who use E-Verify?  Will you be locked out of the system come October 1,...more

California's Special Restrictions on Who May Complete Form I-9

California's Secretary of State recently clarified whether an employer may use a notary public as its authorized representative to complete the Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification. In 1986, Congress passed the...more

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