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.
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.
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.
USCIS has announced that the H-1B cap has been reached for FY 2016 for both the regular cap and the advanced degree exemption (also known as the "Masters Cap") on April 7, 2015.
Today USCIS Director Leon Rodriguez announced that, effective May 26, 2015, eligibility for employment authorization will be extended to certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants who are seeking employment-based lawful permanent residence.
We are getting updates from the U.S. Department of State and from other sources that the global database used by the Department of State to process U.S. visa applications and passports has crashed, resulting in delays for millions of people around the world waiting for travel documents. The problems with the Consular Consolidated Database have resulted in "significant performance issues, including outages" in the processing of applications for passports, visas and reports of Americans born abroad since Saturday. State Department spokesman Marie Harf said that the crash has resulted in an "extensive backlog" of applications.