USCIS announced today that the existing provisional waiver process (also known as "stateside waivers") will be expanded to allow family members of U.S. citizens AND lawful permanent residents (LPRs) who are statutorily eligible for immigrant visas to apply.
On September 3, 2015, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson announced his decision to designate Yemen for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) due to the ongoing, widespread, armed conflict in the country that has resulted in a severe humanitarian emergency. This designation will allow nationals of Yemen (and people without nationality who last habitually resided in Yemen) who are currently residing in the U.S. to apply for temporary protection.
On June 24, 2015, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson announced his decision to designate Nepal for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) due to the devastating magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck Nepal on April 25, 2015, and the subsequent aftershocks. This designation will allow nationals of Nepal (and people without nationality who last habitually resided in Nepal) who are currently residing in the U.S. to apply for temporary protection.
The Department of State (DOS) has informed the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) that DOS will need to approve any potential I-193 waiver applicant before he or she can apply at a U.S. port of entry. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is accepting I-193 Applications for Waiver of Passport and/or Visa for urgent travel to the U.S. for travelers affected by the DOS technical difficulties preventing visa issuance. Applicants will now be required to contact the embassy or consulate where they would have applied for the visa, or where the application is pending in cases where the interview has already taken place, and explain why they need to urgently travel without the visa. If the embassy or consulate agrees that the reason for travel is sufficiently urgent and the applicant is eligible (no criminal issues, immigration issues, etc.), the post will issue a travel letter, which then must be presented to CBP with the I-193 application.
The U.S. Department of State (DOS) Bureau of Consular Affairs is reporting that they are again experiencing technical problems with the Consular Consolidated Database (CCD). This is the same database that crashed last summer causing the U.S. passport and visa system to go down worldwide. The Department of State has said, however, that the current problems with the CCD are not the same as those previously experienced.
On May 26, 2015, USCIS began accepting applications for employment authorization from H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants who have already begun the employment-based permanent residence process. The eligibility requirements for H-4 employment authorization were previously outlined in our February 24, 2015, blog post DHS Extends Eligibility for Employment Authorization to Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses.
We, like many others around the world, have been closely watching the crisis in Nepal due to the 7.8 earthquake that struck on April 25, 2015, and have great concern over how it will affect nationals of Nepal, their families and their communities.
USCIS has announced that all data entry has been completed the data entry for all FY 2016 H-1B cap-subject petitions chosen in this year's lottery. USCIS states that they will now begin returning petitions that were not chosen in the lottery, but that the timeframe for returning the petitions is unknown at this time due to the high volume of applications that were received.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that they will begin premium processing for cap-subject H-1B petitions requesting premium processing on April 27, 2015. The 15-day processing period set by 8 CFR 103.7(e)(2) will begin on April 27 regardless of the date on the Form I-797 receipt notice.
USCIS has announced that the H-1B random selection process (also known as the "lottery") for FY 2016 was conducted on April 13, 2015. Through this computer-generated process, USCIS has selected enough petitions to meet the 65,000 general cap and to meet the 20,000 advanced degree exemption (also known as the "Master's cap"). USCIS will reject and return all unselected petitions unless the petition is found to be a duplicate filing.