July 05, 2024 - Weekly Immigration News Update

Posted by Keshab R. Seadie | Jul 05, 2024 | 0 Comments

Dear Clients and Colleagues,

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:

DHS Extends and Redesignates Haiti for TPS, Extends Relaxed Employment Options for Haitian F-1 Students

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced an extension and redesignation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haiti, which will now run from August 4, 2024, through February 3, 2026. This move provides crucial relief for Haitians in the United States as the country continues to face extraordinary and temporary humanitarian crisis conditions.

Key Details

  • Extended TPS Period: Haiti's TPS status is extended for 18 months, from August 4, 2024, to February 3, 2026.
  • Registration for New Applicants: Eligible individuals can submit initial TPS applications from July 1, 2024, through February 3, 2026. They can also apply for TPS-related employment authorization documents (EADs) and travel permissions during this time.
  • Re-registration for Current Beneficiaries: Current Haitian TPS beneficiaries must re-register between July 1, 2024, and August 30, 2024, to extend their benefits.
  • Support for Haitian F-1 Students: DHS has extended the relaxation of employment authorization rules for Haitian students in F-1 status who are experiencing severe economic hardship due to the crisis in Haiti.

USCIS Updates Guidance for Family-Based Immigrant Visas

Effective immediately, USCIS has updated its guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual on family-based immigrant visa petitions, which includes Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, and in limited situations, family-based Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant. The updated guidance addresses the correction of approval notice errors, requests for consular processing or adjustment of status on behalf of the beneficiary, and routing procedures for approved petitions.

Key Updates

  • Current Address and Processing Preference: Petitioners submitting Form I-130 must inform USCIS of the beneficiary's current address and whether the beneficiary prefers consular processing with the Department of State National Visa Center (NVC) or adjustment of status in the United States, if eligible. Providing accurate information ensures that the approved petition is either kept for adjustment of status processing or sent to the NVC for consular processing.
  • Avoiding Delays: Inaccurate information can delay the immigrant visa or adjustment of status process. If incorrect information is provided and the petition is kept unnecessarily, petitioners must generally file Form I-824, Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition, with the appropriate fee, to transfer the petition to the NVC.
  • Discretionary Decisions: If a petition does not clearly indicate the beneficiary's preference for consular processing or adjustment of status, USCIS will use discretion to decide whether to send the approved petition to the NVC or keep it for adjustment of status processing, based on evidence of the beneficiary's most recent location.
  • Correcting Errors: The updated guidance explains how petitioners can contact USCIS to correct errors or update a pending or approved Form I-130, including updating the beneficiary's location and indicating their preference for consular processing or adjustment of status.
  • Approval and Denial Criteria: General guidance is also provided on how USCIS decides whether to approve or deny a family-based immigrant petition, including relevant notices.


These updates are aimed at promoting more efficient processing of family-based immigration petitions, ensuring that the beneficiary's preference for consular processing or adjustment of status is clear, and providing clear procedures for addressing errors or changes in the beneficiary's situation.

How to Successfully Respond to H-1B RFEs

The H-1B visa is a coveted work visa for foreign professionals seeking employment in the United States. However, receiving a Request for Evidence (RFE) from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can be a daunting obstacle in the H-1B application process. An RFE indicates that USCIS requires additional information or documentation to make a decision on your petition. Successfully responding to an RFE is crucial to the approval of your H-1B visa. Here are five critical areas of concern that often arise in H-1B RFEs and strategies to address them effectively.

  1. SOC Code and Job Zone Relations


    USCIS often scrutinizes the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code and the Job Zone assigned to the H-1B position to determine if the job qualifies as a specialty occupation.


    Accurate SOC Code Selection: Ensure the SOC code accurately reflects the job duties. Provide a detailed job description that aligns with the selected SOC code.

    Job Zone Analysis: Demonstrate that the position falls within Job Zones 4 or 5, which typically require a bachelor's degree or higher. Include industry reports and authoritative sources that support the educational requirements of the position.

  2. Proving Specialty Occupation through Industry Standards and Expert Opinion Letters


    USCIS may question whether the job qualifies as a specialty occupation that requires a specific bachelor's degree or higher.


    Industry Standards: Provide documentation from industry associations, publications, and authoritative sources that establish the position as a standard occupation requiring a specialized degree.

    Expert Opinion Letters: Obtain letters from industry experts or academic professionals who can attest to the specialized nature of the position. Ensure the experts' credentials and the basis of their opinions are thoroughly documented.

  3. Availability of the Specialty Occupation Job at the Employer's Office or Client Site


    USCIS may doubt whether the specialty occupation position is available at the employer's office or at the client site where the employee will be working.


    Employer's Office: Provide organizational charts, photos, and descriptions of the employer's facilities, highlighting the presence of similar positions.

    Client Site: If the employee will work at a client site, include a detailed itinerary, client letters, and contracts that clearly outline the employee's duties and the nature of the work being performed.

  4. Proving Maintenance of Status


    USCIS may request evidence that the beneficiary has maintained lawful status in the U.S. throughout their stay.


    Comprehensive Documentation: Provide all I-94 records, previous visa approvals, and records of employment authorization. Ensure there are no gaps in employment or status.

    Continuous Employment: Submit pay stubs, employment verification letters, and other documentation that demonstrate continuous employment during the period in question.

  5. Responding to Complicated CPT Employment RFEs


USCIS may raise issues regarding Curricular Practical Training (CPT) employment, especially if there are concerns about the nature and duration of the employment.


Proper CPT Authorization: Provide documentation from the academic institution, including CPT authorization letters, course descriptions, and evidence that the CPT employment is an integral part of the curriculum.

Employment Details: Include detailed information about the CPT employment, such as offer letters, job descriptions, and evidence of academic supervision and evaluation.

General Tips for Responding to RFEs

  • Thorough Review: Carefully review the RFE to understand all the issues raised by USCIS.
  • Detailed Responses: Provide detailed and well-organized responses to each issue. Avoid generic statements; instead, use specific examples and documentation.
  • Professional Assistance: Consider seeking assistance from an experienced immigration attorney who can help navigate the complexities of the RFE response process.

Successfully responding to an H-1B RFE requires meticulous preparation and a strategic approach. By addressing these critical areas of concern effectively, you can enhance your chances of securing an H-1B visa approval.

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.

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