Keeping up with immigration news

CHANGES in the selection process of H-1B petitions. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced this January 2019 “a final rule amending regulations governing H-1B cap-subject petitions, including those that may be eligible for advanced degree exemption.”  According to the final rule, “effective April 1, USCIS will first select H-1B petitions (or registrations, once the registration requirement is implemented) submitted on behalf of all beneficiaries, including those that may be eligible for the advanced degree exemption. USCIS will then select from the remaining eligible petitions, a number projected to reach the advanced degree exemption. Changing the order in which USCIS counts these allocations will likely increase the number of petitions for beneficiaries with a master’s or higher degree from a U.S. institution of higher education to be selected under the H-1B numerical allocations.”

USCIS will begin accepting H-1B cap petitions for FY 2020 on April 1, 2019. The reverse selection order will apply to petitions filed for the FY 2020 H-1B cap season. 

Deferred Action (DACA) renewals. The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) reports that as of January 22, 2019, “the U.S. Supreme court had not taken action on the Trump Administration’s request to expedite a ruling on the court decisions that keep DACA program in place.” The new term for the Supreme Court starts this October 2019. For now, “DACA protections will likely remain in place” under current court rulings.

Individuals who were previously granted DACA may request renewal of their deferred action and their employment authorization with the appropriate fee or approved fee exemption request at the USCIS designated filing location, and in accordance with instructions in the Form I-821D and form I-765 applications.

USCIS is not accepting requests from individuals who have never been granted deferred action under DACA. Moreover, USCIS will not accept or approve applications for Advance Parole request from DACA recipients.

Credit card payments now accepted for filing fees. USCIS announced last year that it will accept credit cards as a form of payment for certain applications, such as Adjustment Applications. Previously, USCIS had begun to accept credit cards as a form of payment for Naturalization applications.

Consult with a licensed and experience attorney before filing. While it is very good news that (1) individuals are still able to file for renewal DACA requests; and that (2) more applications are now payable via credit card, individuals must nevertheless proceed with caution when filing for any application with USCIS. Just because it is easier now to file for an application does not mean that you should. We urge individuals to pause and take the time to consult with a licensed and experienced immigration attorney before submitting any application with USCIS.

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Atty. Lilli Berbano Baculi is an associate attorney with Chua Tinsay & Vega, A Professional Legal Corporation (CTV) – a full service law firm with offices in San Francisco, San Diego, Sacramento and Philippines. The information presented in this article is for general information only and is not, nor intended to be, formal legal advice nor the formation of an attorney-client relationship. Call or e-mail CTV for an in-person or phone consultation to discuss your particular situation and/or how their services may be retained at (619) 955-6277; (415) 495-8088; (916) 449-3923;;

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