As reported by the USCIS, on May 12, 2016, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin premium processing for cap-subject H-1B petitions requesting premium processing, including petitions seeking an exemption for individuals with a U.S. master’s degree or higher. USCIS first announced in a news release that it would temporarily adjust its premium processing practice due to the historic premium processing receipt levels, combined with the possibility that the H-1B cap will be met in the first 5 business days of the filing season. 

USCIS provides premium processing service for certain employment-based petitions and guarantees a 15-calendar-day processing time. 

For H-1B petitions that are not subject to the cap and for any other visa classification, the 15-day processing period for premium processing service begins on the date that USCIS receives the request. However, for cap-subject H-1B petitions, including advanced degree exemption petitions, the 15-day processing period set by 8 CFR 103.7(e)(2) will begin on May 12, 2016, regardless of the date on the Form I-797 receipt notice, which indicates the date that the premium processing fee is received. 

We encourage H-1B applicants to subscribe to the H-1B Cap Season email updates located on the H-1B FY2017 Cap Season Web page.

To learn more, read here.

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USCIS announced that it has made its website easier to use on a mobile device. According to USCIS, approximately 30% of its website users visit using a mobile device.

To read more, click here.

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USCIS provides I-485 employment-based (EB) inventory statistics updated on 1/12/16, including a chart with EB I-485 inventory pending at service centers and field offices, as well as charts broken down by individuals born in “all other chargeability,” China, India, Mexico, and the Philippines.

To view chart, click here.

 

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A report from the Congressional Research Service (CRS) detailing the current laws on family-based immigration and the associated issues. It also covers potential legal and policy challenges involved in reforming the system.

To read more, click here.

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According to the American Immigration Lawyer Association, USCIS has determined that for family-sponsored filings, you may use the Dates for Filing Visa Applications chart for March 2016. USCIS has determined that for employment-based filings, the Application Final Action Dates in the DOS Visa Bulletin for March 2016 must be used.

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The FY2017 cap filing period opens on April 1, 2016. It is anticipated that the volume of H cap petitions this season will be at least as high as last year, when USCIS received approximately 233,000 cap-subject petitions during the first five business days in April. The number of H-1B petitions received by USCIS is expected to exceed the annual quota of 65,000 “regular” cap petitions and 20,000 advanced degree cap petitions.

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According to USCIS, The new edition of Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, is dated 11/20/15. (Starting 04/16/16, USCIS will only accept the 11/20/15 edition. Until then, you can use the 03/05/15 and 10/15/15 editions. The edition date appears at the bottom of each page of the form and instructions.)

For more on USCIS recently updated forms, see the Forms Updates page.

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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services updated Form I-912P, HHS Poverty Guidelines for Fee Waiver Request based on the 2016 federal poverty guidelines. This form indicates the income threshold for certain benefit types that are eligible for a request to waive government filing fees. In addition the I-131 Application for Travel Document was updated. The current edition is dated January 22, 2016.

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According to the American Immigration Lawyers Association, USCIS released updated processing time reports dated December 15, 2015, with processing dates as of October 31, 2015, for the California Service Center (CSC), the Nebraska Service Center (NBC), the Texas Service Center (TSC), the Vermont Service Center (VSC), the National Benefits Center (NBC), and the Immigrant Investor (EB-5) Program.  

 

 

 

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According to the American Immigration Lawyers Association, USCIS has determined that for family-sponsored filings, you may use the Dates for Filing Visa Applications chart for January 2016. USCIS has determined that for employment-based filings, the Application Final Action Dates must be used for January 2016.

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