Premium Processing Expansion for Certain F-1 Students
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (“USCIS”) has expanded premium processing for F-1 Students who have a pending Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization with USCIS and are seeking pre- or post-Optional Practical Training (“OPT”) or science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (“STEM”) OPT extensions. As of March 6, 2023, eligible F-1 students may now “upgrade” their pending Form I-765 applications for adjudication within thirty (30) days for a $1,500 fee. This premium processing service will be expanded to F-1 pre- and post-OPT and STEM extension students submitting Form I-765 along with Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, beginning April 3, 2023. Students should pay careful attention to current processing times for their applications prior to submitting Form I-907 to determine whether premium processing will be necessary for their case.
New Process for ADIT Stamping Announced by USCIS
Lawful permanent residents (“LPRs”) may now obtain their Alien Documentation, Identification, and Telecommunication (“ADIT”) stamps (i.e., I-551 stamps) by mail. The previous process required LPRs to visit a USCIS field office in order to obtain the stamp, which serves as temporary proof of LPR status and employment authorization. The new mail delivery process implemented by USCIS now allows LPRs to call the USCIS Contact Center to verify their personal identification information for ADIT stamping. The USCIS field officer will then have the discretion to submit a request to issue the ADIT stamp, which will be mailed to the requested address, or schedule an in-person appointment for the individual. USCIS notes that the implementation of new and more efficient processes will decrease the burden on the immigration system and streamline various procedures.
Close of H-1B Cap Registration
On March 20, 2023—three days after the intended H-1B cap registration deadline—the initial registration period for the fiscal year 2024 (“FY 2024”) H-1B cap ended. The deadline to register H-1B cap cases was extended by USCIS after myUSCIS users experienced technical issues using the H-1B Electronic Registration Process and were unable to complete payments for registration submission. On March 27, 2023, USCIS announced that they received enough electronic registrations during the initial registration period to meet the FY 2024 numerical allocations for the regular and master’s cap and notified all prospective petitioners of their selection statuses. Registrations that have been selected will see their myUSCIS status change to “selected” and these registrants may submit their H-1B cap-subject petitions during the filing period, which will last at least 90 days. Applicants who have not been selected may still have a chance to be selected for the H-1B cap if USCIS completes a subsequent selection (three lotteries were conducted in FY 2022). Contact immigration counsel to strategize alternatives for employees who were not selected under this year’s H-1B lottery.
End of USCIS’s COVID-related Flexibilities
Three years after the initial announcement of certain flexibilities implemented in response to the coronavirus (“COVID”) pandemic, USCIS no longer considers responses to certain notices or requests received within sixty (60) days of the indicated due date to be timely filed. This includes Requests for Evidence, Continuations to Request Evidence (N-14), Notices of Intent to Deny, Revoke, Rescind, Terminate, and Withdraw Temporary Protected Status proceedings, and Motions to Reopen certain N-400s. Responses to any USCIS notices or requests issued on and after March 24, 2023 must be submitted and dated by the deadlines as listed.
DID YOU KNOW?
Munsch Hardt’s Immigration Team successfully assisted a U.S. religious organization with obtaining employment visas for its clergy. Our team has extensive knowledge and experience in helping religious workers, including ministers and priests, obtain work authorization in the U.S.