UPDATE: USCIS will resume premium processing on petitions for H1B extension on July 13, 2015. The Agency had suspended H1B extension premium processing in May 2015.
On May 26, 2015, USCIS began a temporary suspension of H1B extension premium processing until July 27, 2015. During this period, USCIS did not accept Premium Processing Requests for H1B extensions of stay. However, they continued premium processing of H1B Extension petitions with filing dates prior to May 26, 2015.
President Obama announced to the nation US Immigration Executive Action on November 20, 2014. Prior to that time, the President requested US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Johnson and Attorney General Eric Holder to undertake a rigorous and inclusive review to inform recommendations on reforming the US immigration system through executive action.
On May 6, 2014, DHS announced proposals for H4 spouse work authorization (work authorization for H4 spouses of certain H1B holders), among other things, in an attempt to attract and retain highly skilled immigrants in the US. Specifically, on May 12, 2014, the DHS published two proposed rules: (1) to extend employment authorization to H4 spouses of certain H1B workers; and, (2) to enhance opportunities for highly-skilled workers by removing obstacles to their remaining in the US. more »
On February 28, 2014, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson announced the designation of Chile into the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), thereby streamlining travel to the United States for eligible Chilean passport holders. more »
Statement from Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, July 1, 2013: “After the June 2013 Supreme Court decision holding that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional, President Obama directed federal departments to ensure the decision and its implication for federal benefits for same-sex legally married couples are implemented swiftly and smoothly. To that end, effective immediately, I have directed USCIS to review immigration visa petitions filed on behalf of a same-sex spouse in the same manner as those filed on behalf of an opposite-sex spouse.” USCIS Same-Sex Marriage FAQ Update of August 7, 2013, is below. more »
On September 28, 2012, USCIS announced a new Canadian TN filing option, and also reminded US employers of current filing options for Canadian L-1 intracompany transferees. more »
A recent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by attorney David Rudman of Chicago shows that USCIS has been seriously underutilizing annual H-1B numbers by about 15%. That is, USCIS has not been issuing enough H-1B numbers to meet the annual H-1B quota over the last 5 years. During this time, USCIS appears to have issued 45,000 fewer H-1B visas than it should have. It is likely that it has done the same this year as well. more »
CBP no longer provides admission stamps on Forms I-20 and DS-2019 for prospective and returning international students and scholars (traveling with F, M or J visas) seeking admission to the US as of August 10, 2012. more »
The new Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will be implemented on August 15, 2012. USCIS is now finalizing the process through which certain qualified individuals may request consideration of deferred action. The new DHS Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy will enable certain young people who came to the US as children, and who meet a set of other qualifications, to receive what is known as “deferred action” (relief from deportation) on a case-by-case basis. more »
USCIS Service Centers appear to be applying a more restrictive approach to F-1 OPT filing deadlines (Optional Practical Training), creating unexpected OPT denials, according to the AILA Students and Scholars Committee. more »