May 03, 2024 - Weekly Immigration News Update

Posted by Keshab R. Seadie | May 03, 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:

USCIS Announces Selection Numbers for FY 2025 H-1B CAP

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has released the selection numbers for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2025 H-1B CAP, providing insights into this year's highly anticipated lottery process.

According to the USCIS report, the agency received registrations for approximately 442,000 unique beneficiaries for the H-1B visa program. From this pool of registrations, USCIS selected 114,017 beneficiaries, which accounts for approximately 25.8% of the total number of registrants.

The H-1B visa program is widely sought after by foreign nationals seeking employment in specialty occupations in the United States, particularly in fields such as technology, engineering, and healthcare. The selection process, which involves a random lottery system, determines which beneficiaries will have the opportunity to proceed with their H-1B visa applications.

This year's selection numbers highlight the continued high demand for H-1B visas and the competitive nature of the program. With a limited number of visas available each year, the lottery process remains a crucial aspect of the H-1B application process for employers and foreign workers alike.

USCIS's announcement provides transparency regarding the selection process and offers valuable information to employers, beneficiaries, and stakeholders involved in the H-1B visa program.

Reminder on Correct Required Fees Submission

We would like to draw your attention to an important update regarding the submission of correct required fees for certain employment-based petitions. USCIS is committed to ensuring that all filings are processed efficiently and accurately, and this includes the proper payment of fees.

New FAQ: How to Avoid Rejection for Incorrect Fees

To prevent your filing from being rejected at intake due to incorrect fees, it is essential to ensure that the payment you submit matches the correct fees due. Even if you submit an overpayment, your form may still be rejected if the correct fee is not included. For detailed guidance on filing fees, please refer to our Filing Fees page.

Specific Guidance for Certain Forms

For specific forms such as Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, and Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers, the required fees may vary based on your status as a nonprofit or small employer. It's crucial to answer the form's questions accurately to determine the proper payment.

Existing FAQs Highlights

We are also highlighting some existing FAQs for your convenience:

  • The Asylum Program Fee: This fee helps fund the asylum program and applies to certain forms such as Form I-129 and Form I-140. Special discounts are available for nonprofits and small employers.
  • Payment Methods: Payment of the Asylum Program Fee does not require separate paperwork. You may use one credit card form for all fees if paying online.
  • Fee Discounts: Small employers with 25 or fewer full-time equivalent employees qualify for discounted fees.
  • Definition of Full-Time Equivalent Employee: The number of full-time equivalent employees includes both full-time and part-time employees aggregated to full-time equivalents at the time of filing.


Ensuring the correct submission of required fees is crucial for the timely processing of your petitions. We encourage all petitioners to carefully review the guidance provided and reach out to us if further clarification is needed.

USCIS Aligns Definition of "Science or Art" with DOL's for Schedule A Cases

In a recent development, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced the adoption of the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) definition of "science or art" for Schedule A, Group II cases, effective immediately.


Employers sponsoring foreign nationals in the employment-based second or third preference (EB2/EB3) typically begin by filing a PERM labor certification with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). However, for Schedule A occupations where a shortage of qualified U.S. workers is recognized by the DOL, employers can directly submit the labor certification to USCIS. Schedule A comprises two groups: Group I, which includes registered nurses and physical therapists, and Group II, consisting of individuals with exceptional abilities in sciences or arts, excluding performing arts.

Updated Definition

The recent update brings the USCIS definition of "science or art" in line with that used by the DOL. Under this definition, "science or art" encompasses "any field of knowledge and/or skill with respect to which colleges and universities commonly offer specialized courses leading to a degree in the knowledge and/or skill." By adopting the DOL's definition, USCIS aims to ensure a standardized approach to evaluating Schedule A petitions. It's essential to note that while the definition has been updated, USCIS adjudications will continue to rigorously assess both the quantity and quality of evidence presented, maintaining stringent standards for immigration petitions.

This policy change underscores USCIS's commitment to streamlining processes and maintaining consistency in adjudications, ultimately benefiting both employers and foreign nationals navigating the immigration system.

Understanding the 60-Day Grace Period: Filing Transfer or Change of Status Petition

The 60-day grace period allows certain visa holders, including H-1B, L-1, O-1, E-3, and TN visa holders, to remain in the United States for up to 60 days following the end of their employment to either file for a transfer to a new employer or change their visa status.

To prove or count the start of the 60-day rule:

  1. Termination Date: The grace period begins on the last day of employment. This date is typically indicated in the termination notice or the end date of the employment contract.
  2. I-94 Departure Record: Visa holders can check their electronic I-94 departure record online to confirm the expiration date of their authorized stay. You must file a transfer or the change of status petition prior to the expiration of the I-94. 
  3. Employment End Date Confirmation: If applicable, obtain documentation from the employer confirming the end date of employment, such as a termination letter or employment contract.
    • The 60-day grace period, which allows certain visa holders to remain in the United States following termination of employment or authorized stay, begins from the formal date of termination as well as the date on the final pay stub.
    • It's crucial for visa holders not to solely rely on when their employer notifies USCIS for withdrawal of their H-1B visa, as employers may delay filing the withdrawal for up to a month or two after termination. In such instances, visa holders may find themselves in a precarious situation, potentially overstaying their authorized stay without realizing it.
    • In cases where the employer delays filing the withdrawal, visa holders are encouraged to take proactive steps to protect their status. This may include advocating for back wages through the Department of Labor (DOL) and petitioning USCIS to grant status since there was no bona fide termination.

Consult with an Immigration Attorney: For specific cases or if there is uncertainty regarding the start of the 60-day grace period, consulting with an immigration attorney experienced in visa matters can provide clarification and guidance.

During the 60-day grace period, visa holders are permitted to remain in the United States to make arrangements for their next steps, such as finding new employment, departing the country, or filing for a change of status. It's essential to adhere to the guidelines and regulations governing the grace period to avoid overstaying and potential immigration consequences.

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.

About the Author


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Contact Us Today

We serve clients throughout the United States including New York and New Jersey and in the following localities: New York City; Albany County including Albany; Dutchess County including Poughkeepsie; Erie County including Buffalo; Monroe County including Rochester; Nassau County including Mineola; Onondaga County including Syracuse; Orange County including Goshen; Putnam County including Carmel; Rockland County including New City; Suffolk County including Riverhead; Ulster County including Kingston; Westchester County including White Plains; Bergen County including Hackensack; Essex County including Newark; Hudson County including Jersey City; Middlesex County including New Brunswick; and Union County including Elizabeth. Attorney Advertising.