U.S. Immigration Updates– Week of July 17, 2023

Department of Homeland Security Adds Eight Qualifying Fields to STEM Designated Degree Program List

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has amended the DHS STEM Designated Degree Program List by adding eight qualifying fields of study and a corresponding Department of Education Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code for each. No CIP codes from the existing list are being removed.

The eight added fields and CIP codes are:

· Landscape Architecture (04.0601)

· Institutional Research (13.0608)

· Mechatronics, Robotics, and Automation Engineering Technology/Technician (15.0407)

· Composite Materials Technology/Technician (15.0617)

· Linguistics and Computer Science (30.4801)

· Developmental and Adolescent Psychology (42.2710)

· Geospatial Intelligence (43.0407)

· Demography and Population Studies (45.0501)

The list is used to determine whether a degree obtained by certain F-1 nonimmigrant students following the completion of a program of study qualifies as a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) degree as determined by DHS, as required for the F–1 student to be eligible to apply for a 24-month extension of post-completion optional practical training (OPT).

DHS noted that “[i]nterested parties, including members of the public, may nominate a CIP code for inclusion on, or removal from, the STEM list.” Nominations may be submitted by email to the SEVP Response Center at SEVP@ice.dhs.gov, with the subject line ‘”Attention:

SOURCE: DHS notice, 88 Fed. Reg. 44381 (July 12, 2023). https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2023-

 

DOS: August Via Bulletin Announces Several Retrogressions

The Department of State’s Visa Bulletin for August includes the following information:

· Establishment of Worldwide employment-based first preference (EB-1) final action date. An EB-1 final action date will be established for Rest of World countries, Mexico, and Philippines in August. Rest of World countries, Mexico, and Philippines will be subject to a final action date of 01AUG23. It is likely that in October the category will return to “Current” for these countries.

· Retrogression in employment-based first preference (EB-1) for India. The EB-1 final action date for India will retrogress in August. India will be subject to an EB-1 final action date of 01JAN12. It is likely that in October the final action date will advance.

· Retrogression in employment-based third preference (EB-3) for Rest of World countries, Mexico, and Philippines. The Rest of World, Mexico, and Philippines EB-3 final action dates will retrogress in August to 01MAY20.

SOURCES: Department of State’s Visa Bulletin (August 2023). https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/legal/visa-law0/visa-bulletin/2023/visa-bulletin-for-august-2023.html

 

USCIS Expands Personalized Processing Times to Work Authorization and Travel Document Applications

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on July 12, 2023, that it is expanding myProgress (formerly known as personalized processing times) to Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, and Form I-131, Application for Travel Document. MyProgress is also available for applicants with a USCIS online account who file Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, among others.

USCIS said that myProgress provides personalized estimates of wait times for major milestones, including final case decisions. USCIS noted that although estimates are based on historical patterns of cases with similar specifics, they “are not a guarantee of speed, cannot take into consideration all possible unique application processing delays, and may over- or underestimate the true processing time.”

To view estimated case timelines, applicants must first create a USCIS online account or log into their account and select their pending application. If they e-filed or linked one of the applicable forms to their online account using an online access code, they will see a myProgress tab for their application. The myProgress tab displays the estimated wait time until their case has a decision, along with a checkmark beside three milestones as they are completed:

· Confirmation that the application was received;

· Completion of the biometric services appointment (if required); and

· Decision on the pending case. Applicants should visit the public Check Case Processing Times (webpage to determine if they are eligible to file an Outside of Normal Processing Times service request, USCIS said. SOURCE: USCIS alert (July 12, 2023). https://www.uscis.gov/newsroom/alerts/uscis-expands-myprogress-to-form-i-765-and-form-i-131

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