July was a very active month for US Immigration. GLF provided updates via our Google Business Page, LinkedIn and Twitter handles on numerous US Immigration matters including:

  1. USCIS allows resubmission of certain FY 2021 H-1B petitions
  2. NIE once issued remains valid for 12 months
  3. DHS was sued by a group of Plaintiffs alleging that the H-1B lottery selection process was unlawful
  4. Welcome Policy Change from USCIS for COS to F-1

We at GLF post regular updates on our Google Business Page, LinkedIn and Twitter handles. Additionally, we also periodically send out GLF Newsletters when the subject matter is extensive and relevant for a detailed analysis. Presented below is a consolidated summary of all updates posted on GLF’s various social media handles for July 2021.

USCIS is allowing resubmission of FY2021 petitions that were wrongfully rejected or administratively closed solely because the requested start date was after October 1, 2020. These rejections affected many filings during the second set of filings last year. USCIS having been sued in this matter, is now open to refiling. These Petitions can be now resubmitted as follows:

  • Applicable filing fees.
  • FY 2021 H-1B cap registration selection notice
  • Rejection or administrative notice
  • Brightly colored coversheet indicating that it was a refiling of FY 2021 H-1B cap case that was originally rejected solely because of the Start date.

USCIS has agreed that if the Petition is properly resubmitted, they would consider the petition to have been filed on the original receipt date. The Petitions must be sent to the following address:

  • USPS-USCIS TSC, Attn: H-1B CAP Filings FY21, 6046 N Belt Line Rd., STE 107, Irving, TX 75038-0010
  • FedEx, UPS, and DHL Deliveries- USCIS TSC, Attn: H-1B CAP Filings FY21,6046 N Belt Line Rd., STE 107, Irving, TX 75038-0010
  • Forms I-129/I-907 Premium Processing- USCIS TSC, Attn: H-1B CAP Filings FY21, 6046 N Belt Line Rd., STE 907, Irving, TX 75038-002

DOS extended the validity of National Interest Exceptions (NIE) for travelers who were subjected to travel restrictions under COVID-19 related Presidential Proclamations. NIE will remain valid for 12 months from date of approval and for multiple entries.

NIE extension applies to travelers from China, Iran, India, Brazil, South Africa, the Schengen area, United Kingdom, and Ireland, who currently have approved NIEs. Currently NIEs are being given to those who are seeking to provide vital support or provide executive direction for critical infrastructure in United States. Those eligible includes journalists; humanitarian travelers, individuals involved with  public health response or national security. For all travelers needing visa, who believe their travel to be under national interest should review the website of the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for instructions.

Travelers without a valid NIE approval but have either a valid visa or a valid ESTA authorization under the Visa Waiver Program, must approach the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate before traveling.

A lawsuit was filed by a group of 510 H-1B applicants in the US District Court for the District of Columbia challenging the H-1B Cap Registration Regulations that took effect from April 1, 2019, regs at 8 CFR §214.2(h)(8)(iii), as being unlawful.

Plaintiffs had alleged that the current registration process was exploited as it allowed multiple registrations for a single individual. Multiple registrations, as the suit alleged, amplified the chances of beneficiaries getting selected in the lottery while diminishing chances of others who only had one registration entry through a single employer.

Plaintiffs claimed that DHS was making rules outside its authority when it implemented the cap registration rules as it prioritizes H-1B lottery registrations while ignoring the INA’s mandate pursuant to INA §214(g)(1), (3) (7). Assuming that creation of the cap registration rules was within the Lawful exercise of DHS’s rule-making authority, USCIS had implemented the cap registration rules in a manner that is random and unreliable. The registration process does not provide a method for “aliens who are subject to the numerical limitations” to have future petitions adjudicated in the “order in which petitions are filed.” Plaintiffs plead the Court to set aside the Cap Registration Rules and to order DHS to limit the number of registrations per “alien” to one.

USCIS announced that applicants are no longer required to submit subsequent applications for extension or change of nonimmigrant status when the Change of Status (COS) application to F-1 status is pending. If the applicant’s nonimmigrant status remained unexpired at the time of filing of the initial COS application and they remain eligible for a COS, they are good to stay.

Earlier the applicants applying for COS to F-1 had to renew their Nonimmigrant status up to 30 days before the program start date listed on the Form I-20. Since processing of the COS to F-1 COS was difficult to align with the varying program start dates, students often had to file for extensions so that they would not have a “gap” in their status. USCIS will now grant F-1 status effective from the date of approval, which now can be earlier than 30 days before the academic program start date.

If an applicant receives an approval before 30 days of program start date, they must ensure that they do not violate the conditions of their F-1 status during that time.

At GLF, we will continue to follow further developments in the above discussed and other matters, while we provide updates through our Newsletter as and when they become available. GLF receives numerous emails and phone calls every day seeking comments on various proposed bills and media reports that are often inaccurate. It is our job to separate fact from fiction and advice clients on important and relevant updates. The best way to receive accurate information is through GLF Newsletters.

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