DOS Fee Increase for NIV and Special Visa Applications Delayed until June 17
The implementation of fee increases for NIV application processing fees and Border Crossing Card fees has been delayed. Originally set to take effect on May 27, 2023, the new fees will now be implemented on June 17, 2023. It is important to note that all visa applicants must pay the fee amounts in effect on the day they submit their payment. Key fee changes include: Non-petition-based NIVs (B, C, D, F, I, J, M, TN/TD, S, T, U) will increase from $160 to $185. H, L, O, P, Q, and R category NIVs will increase from $190 to $205. E category NIVs will increase from $205 to $315. Border Crossing Cards for Mexican citizens aged 15 and over will increase from $160 to $185.
Options for Nonimmigrant Workers Following Termination of Employment
USCIS is going to prioritize the adjudication of the B-1/B-2 of the laid off workers. When nonimmigrant workers are laid off, it is crucial for them to understand their options to remain in the United States. In cases of termination, eligible workers may consider the following actions to maintain their authorized stay: File an application for a change of nonimmigrant status to another category such as F-1 or B-1 or B-2 visa. File an application for adjustment of status. File an application for a "compelling circumstances" employment authorization document. Be the beneficiary of a nonfrivolous petition to change employer. By taking one of these actions within the 60-day grace period, nonimmigrants can extend their authorized stay in the United States, even if they lose their previous nonimmigrant status. Failure to take act within the grace period may require departure within 60 days or when the authorized validity period ends, whichever is shorter.
USCIS Expands Premium Processing to Applicants Seeking to Change into F, M, or J Nonimmigrant Status
USCIS has announced the phased expansion of premium processing service for applicants filing Form I-539 and seeking a change of status to F-1, F-2, M-1, M-2, J-1, or J-2 nonimmigrant status. The expansion will be implemented in two phases: Starting June 13, 2023: USCIS will accept requests for premium processing service (Form I-907) from applicants with a pending Form I-539 seeking a change of status to eligible nonimmigrant categories. Starting June 26, 2023: USCIS will accept requests for premium processing service (Form I-907) when filed together with Form I-539 for applicants seeking a change of status to eligible nonimmigrant categories. Please note that premium processing for change of status requests is not available for extensions of stay in M-1 or M-2 status.
Food for Thought:
Recent ARB Decisions on LCA compliance:
- Amendment of LCA: In Huang v. Ultimo Software Solutions, Inc., the ARB affirmed the ALJ's finding that the respondent did not affect a bona fide termination of the H-1B worker's employment. The ALJ ordered back wages and an amendment to the LCA reflecting the worker's original assignment and subsequent reassignment.
- Applicable Pay Period: In Chettypally v. Premier IT Solutions, Inc., the ARB affirmed the ALJ's decision that the respondent effectuated a bona fide termination and had fulfilled its financial obligations. The ARB dismissed the arguments seeking additional back pay beyond the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) assessment, stating that the termination was not perfected until the worker learned of his discharge through the USCIS website, and the respondent reimbursed the worker by paying the WHD assessment.
We hope these updates and reminders are helpful in navigating the latest developments in nonimmigrant visa applications and premium processing. Should you have any questions or need assistance, our team is here to support you.
We have important news to share regarding the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designations for El Salvador, Honduras, Nepal, and Nicaragua. On June 13, 2023, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas made a significant decision that will impact TPS beneficiaries in these countries. Here are the details: Rescission of Termination and Extension of TPS Designations Secretary Mayorkas has rescinded the 2017 and 2018 terminations of the TPS designations for El Salvador, Honduras, Nepal, and Nicaragua. This means that TPS protections will continue for eligible individuals from these countries. The effective date of this decision is June 9, 2023.
Extension Period and Re-Registration
The TPS designations have been extended for a period of 18 months, with specific dates for each country: El Salvador: The TPS designation will be extended from September 10, 2023, through March 9, 2025. The re-registration period will be open for 60 days, from July 12, 2023, through September 10, 2023. Honduras: The TPS designation will be extended from January 6, 2024, through July 5, 2025. The re-registration period will be open for 60 days, from November 6, 2023, through January 5, 2024. Nepal: The TPS designation will be extended from December 25, 2023, through June 24, 2025. The re-registration period will be open for 60 days, from October 24, 2023, through December 23, 2023. Nicaragua: The TPS designation will be extended from January 6, 2024, through July 5, 2025. The re-registration period will be open for 60 days, from November 6, 2023, through January 5, 2024. Re-Registration Process Existing TPS beneficiaries who wish to extend their status must re-register during the designated 60-day re-registration period for their respective country. Please refrain from re-registering for TPS until the re-registration period for your country begins. USCIS will not be able to process your application before the effective date of the extension.
We hope these updates and reminders are helpful in navigating the latest developments in various visa matters. Should you have any questions or need assistance, our team is here to support you.
All the best,
Keshab Raj Seadie, Esq.