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USCIS Extended FY 2025 H-1B Cap Initial Registration Period to March 25

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on March 21, 2024, that it extended the initial registration period for the fiscal year (FY) 2025 H-1B cap. The initial registration period, which opened at noon ET on March 6, 2024, and was originally scheduled to run through noon ET on March 22, 2024. The new close date was noon ET on March 25, 2024. USCIS said it was “aware of a temporary system outage experienced by some registrants, and extended the registration period to provide additional time due to this issue.”

During this period, prospective petitioners and their representatives, if applicable, used USCIS online accounts to register each beneficiary electronically for the selection process and pay the associated registration fee for each beneficiary, USCIS said. The agency added that it still intends to notify selected registrants by March 31, 2024.


USCIS Clarifies Policy Guidance on Expedite Requests

.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on March 21, 2024, that it has updated guidance in its USCIS Policy Manual, effective immediately, to clarify how the agency considers expedite requests related to government interests and emergencies or urgent humanitarian situations, including travel-related requests. The update also clarifies how to make an expedite request and explains how USCIS processes expedite requests.

USCIS said it “may expedite cases identified as urgent by federal, state, tribal, territorial, or local governments of the United States because they involve public interest, public safety, national interest, or national security interests.” When an expedite request is made by a federal government agency or department based on government interests, USCIS generally defers to that agency or department’s assessment.

The update also clarifies that USCIS will consider expediting Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, to benefit requestors in the United States “when they have a pressing or critical need to leave the United States, whether the need to travel relates to an unplanned or planned event, such as a professional, academic, or personal commitment.”

When the need is related to a planned event, USCIS said it considers whether the applicant timely filed Form I-131, and whether processing times would prevent USCIS from issuing the travel document by the planned date of departure.


USCIS Implements Streamlined Process to Shorten Wait Times for EADs, SSNs for Refugees

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on March 12, 2024, that it has begun implementing a streamlined process to provide Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) more efficiently to eligible refugees after they are admitted into the United States. The process shortens the wait time for an EAD to approximately 30 days instead of several months, USCIS said. All individuals admitted into the United States as refugees on or after December 10, 2023, will receive EADs pursuant to this new process.

The new process is fully automated and no longer requires refugees to apply for an EAD. USCIS will digitally create a Form I-765 (EAD) for arriving refugees and begin adjudicating it as soon as they are admitted into the United States. USCIS indicated that after it approves a refugee’s Form I-765, refugees “will generally receive their EAD within one to two weeks,” although timeframes may vary depending on delivery times. USCIS will mail the EAD via U.S. Postal Service Priority Mail to the refugee’s address of record. USCIS asks that refugees allow a total of 30 days before inquiring.

USCIS will also electronically provide the Social Security Administration with the information required to assign a Social Security number and mail a Social Security card to the refugee.

USCIS noted that this process does not apply to Follow-to-Join Refugees admitted into the United States based on an approved Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition. Additionally, refugees seeking a replacement or renewal EAD will still need to complete and submit Form I-765, USCIS said.


USCIS Issues Guidance Clarifying Anti-Discrimination Policy for USCIS Employees and Contractors Interacting With Public

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued guidance on March 15, 2024, to further clarify its anti-discrimination policy pertaining to USCIS employees and contractors interacting directly or indirectly with members of the public. The guidance “is controlling and supersedes any related prior guidance,” USCIS said. The agency noted that its policy is “to treat the public in a nondiscriminatory manner regardless of whether they belong to a class or group specifically protected under federal anti-discrimination laws or other legal authorities.” The new policy guidance:

  • Clarifies USCIS’ anti-discrimination policy, specifically pertaining to USCIS employees interacting directly or indirectly with members of the public.
  • Confirms that USCIS provides agency-wide training on its anti-discrimination policy to all its employees and contractors who interact directly or indirectly with members of the public.
  • Affirms that USCIS is committed to providing consistent public service in accordance with its mission statement and core values.


E-Verify Updates Tutorial

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on March 13, 2024, that E-Verify updated its tutorial and knowledge test “to accurately reflect E-Verify’s processes, images, branding, and resources, and to provide new and existing users with an improved experience.” The tutorial requirement and process have not changed. USCIS said that new users must complete all lessons and pass the knowledge test with a score of 70% or above to begin using E-Verify. The agency noted:

  • Existing users who successfully completed the knowledge test before this update can review the new content but are not required to retake the tutorial. Users may review or retake the tutorial by navigating to the “Take Tutorial” option under the Resources menu in their account.
  • Users who were in the process of completing the tutorial but had not yet passed the knowledge test will have their progress reset. These users must start the tutorial over and complete the knowledge test to gain access to their accounts.

Visa Final Action Dates Advance in April, Non-Minister Religious Workers Category Set to Expire

The Department of State’s Visa Bulletin for April 2024 notes that little to no additional forward movement in final action dates for visa categories is expected in the coming months because the final action dates for many categories advanced for April 2024, in many cases by several months to a year.

The bulletin also notes that the non-minister special immigrant program (EB-4 SR category) expires on March 22, 2024, absent congressional reauthorization. If extended, the category will be subject to the same final action dates as the listed EB-4 categories per applicable foreign state of chargeability, the bulletin states.


Certain Updated Forms Take Effect April 1 With No Grace Period

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a reminder that under the new fee final rule effective April 1, 2024, the new 04/01/24 editions of several forms will be required, including:

Note: USCIS will only accept the 04/01/24 edition of these forms if they are postmarked on or after April 1, 2024.

USCIS explained that although it usually provides “a grace period when publishing new forms, the forms listed above include changes necessary for us to administer the new fees.” Beginning April 1, 2024, applicants and petitioners must submit the 04/01/24 edition of these forms with the appropriate fee listed on the USCIS Fee Schedule G-1055. USCIS said it will reject earlier versions of the above forms.


Reminder: Premium Processing Fees Have Increased

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reminded employers that fees for Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing, increased as of February 26, 2024. The new fees are:

  • $2,805 if you are requesting premium processing of Form I-129 requesting E-1, E-2, E-3, H-1B,
    H-3, L (including blanket L-1), O, P, Q, or TN nonimmigrant classification.
  • $1,685 if you are requesting premium processing of Form I-129 requesting H-2B or R nonimmigrant classification.
  • $2,805 if you are requesting premium processing of Form I-140 requesting EB-1, EB-2, or EB-3 immigrant visa classification.
  • $1,685 if you are requesting premium processing of Form I-765 with eligibility category (C)(3)(A), (C)(3)(B), or (C)(3)(C).
  • $1,965 if you are requesting premium processing of Form I-539 seeking change of status to F-1, F-2, M-1, M-2, J-1, or J-2 nonimmigrant status.

USCIS said that if it receives a Form I-907 postmarked on or after February 26, 2024, with the incorrect filing fee, it will reject the Form I-907 and return the filing fee. For filings sent by commercial courier (e.g., UPS, FedEx, and DHL), the postmark date is the date reflected on the courier receipt, USCIS said.


Eligible Ukrainians Can Apply for Re-Parole

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on February 27, 2024, that eligible Ukrainian citizens and their immediate family members who are physically present in the United States can now be considered for re-parole to continue to temporarily remain in the United States.

Ukrainian citizens and their immediate family members who were paroled into the United States on or after February 11, 2022, can apply for re-parole under this process, USCIS said. The agency will consider these applications “on a discretionary, case-by-case basis for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit,” as with any parole application.

If USCIS approves the re-parole application, the applicant may then file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, in category (c)(11) to apply for a new Employment Authorization Document as proof of employment authorization consistent with the re-parole period.


DOS Implements New Visa Restrictions for Transportation Operators Facilitating Irregular Migration

The Department of State (DOS) has implemented a new visa restriction policy that “targets owners, executives, and senior officials of charter flight, ground, and maritime transportation companies providing transportation services designed for use primarily by persons intending to migrate irregularly to the United States.”

The new policy expands and supersedes the Nicaragua policy on charter flights issued in November 2023.


Klasko News


2024 Klasko’s Spring Seminar for Universities and Healthcare Institutions
Klasko will be hosting a spring seminar for universities and healthcare institutions on April 30, 2024! Register here!


Maria Mihaylova published senior associate Maria Mihaylova’s article Immigration: The Election-Year Pawn.


Andrew Zeltner
Drew Zeltner presented to Princeton University to discuss visa options beyond OPT.

Tim D’Arduini | Allie Dempsey | Nick Lowrey
On March 20th, Tim, Allie, and Nick delve into the transformative implications of the Executive Order (EO) on Artificial Intelligence for immigration. Register here!

Elise Fialkowski
On March 29th, Elise Fialkowski spoke at the 21st Washington International Education Conference.


William Stock
On April 12th, Bill Stock will be presenting at the 2024 AILA PHL Chapter’s Annual CLE Conference on a panel entitled Case Management for a More Efficient Immigration Practice.

Daniel Lundy
On April 12th, Daniel Lundy will be presenting at the 2024 AILA PHL Chapter’s Annual CLE Conference on a panel entitled How and When to Mandamus.

Romina Gomez
On April 12th, Romina Gomez will be presenting at the 2024 AILA PHL Chapter’s Annual CLE Conference on a panel entitled Navigating the New PERM Form 9089.

Elise Fialkowski | Ari Ratush | Nick Lowrey
On April 17th, Elise, Ari, and Nick will be presenting to the University of Delaware on immigration options for post-grads.


Why EB-5 Is Better
In this blog, Ron Klasko reflects on why EB-5 in 2024 is in its golden era.

Immigration: The Election-Year Pawn
In this article, Maria Mihaylova covers how immigration has become a hot topic in this year’s election and addresses the concerns of immigration practitioners regarding its misrepresentation.

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This newsletter was prepared with the assistance of ABIL, the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers, of which Klasko Immigration Law Partners is an active member.

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