Dear Clients and Readers,
We hope this newsletter finds you well. In this edition, we bring you important updates on various immigration matters. Please take a moment to review the following key highlights:
DOS Stateside Visa Renewal Pilot Begins January 29, 2024
The Department of State (DOS) will initiate a pilot program for domestic visa renewals starting January 29, 2024. The program, set to conclude on April 1, 2024, is designed to streamline the H-1B visa renewal process domestically. Eligible principal H-1B applicants can participate, subject to specific criteria.
Department of Labor Seeks Input on Schedule A Occupations Expansion
The Department of Labor invites public commentary on the potential expansion of the “Schedule A” list, exempting certain occupations from the PERM labor certification process. Submissions are due by February 20, 2024.
DOS Extends Interview Waiver Flexibilities for Nonimmigrant Visa Applicants
DOS, in collaboration with DHS, announced the continuation of interview waivers for certain nonimmigrant visa applicants. This decision reflects the national interest, allowing consular officers discretion in waiving in-person interviews for specific categories, including first-time H-2 visa applicants and other nonimmigrant visa classes.
CBP Stampless Entry and Other Technological Initiatives
Custom and Border Protection (CBP) has fully implemented the Simplified Arrival program across all U.S. airports, a move towards a more automated and paperless entry system. This includes the stampless entry initiative and other technological advancements aimed at enhancing the travel experience and processing. CBP continues to refine these technologies and seeks feedback on the use of its various mobile applications.
USCIS Issues Policy Guidance for International Students
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has released comprehensive policy guidance for F and M student nonimmigrant classifications. This new guidance aims to bring clarity to international students and educational institutions on topics like employment authorization, change of status, and practical training, among others
Key updates include:
- Clarification on the requirement for F and M students to have a foreign residence they do not intend to abandon, while still allowing them to be beneficiaries of permanent labor certification applications or immigrant visa petitions.
Details on how F students can extend their Optional Practical Training (OPT) if employed by startup companies, provided certain requirements are met, such as adherence to the training plan and compensation standards.
DHS Announces TPS Re-Registration Period Extensions
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has published a Federal Register notice announcing the extension of re-registration periods for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, and Sudan. This extension aligns with DHS's September announcement and provides additional time for individuals from these countries to re-register and maintain their status.
We hope you find this information valuable. If you have any questions or require legal assistance related to any of these updates, please don't hesitate to contact us. We are here to help.
Keshab Raj Seadie, Esq.
Law Offices of Keshab Raj Seadie, P.C.
Disclaimer: This newsletter is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Always consult an attorney for personalized advice.