July 31, 2023 Update
USCIS to Conduct Second Random Selection for FY 2024 H-1B Cap
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on July 27, 2023, that it will soon select, using a random process, additional registrations from previously submitted electronic registrations for the fiscal year (FY) 2024 H-1B cap. In March 2023, USCIS conducted an initial random selection. The initial filing period for those with selected registrations for FY 2024 was April 1, 2023, through June 30, 2023. USCIS noted that only petitioners with selected registrations for FY 2024 are eligible to file H-1B cap-subject petitions.
USCIS said it will announce when the second selection process is completed and all prospective petitioners with selected registrations have been notified that they are eligible to file an H-1B cap-subject petition for the beneficiary.
USCIS will update the myUSCIS accounts of those with selected registrations to include a selection notice, which includes details of when and where to file. SOURCE: https://www.uscis.gov/newsroom/alerts/uscis-will-conduct-second-random-selection-from-previously-submitted-fy-2024-h-1b-cap-registrations
Department of State Proposes Rule Providing for Third-Party Attendance at Certain Appointments
On July 26, 2023, the Department of State (DOS) proposed a rule to allow private attorneys, interpreters, and other third parties to attend certain appointments at passport agencies and centers and at U.S. embassies and consulates abroad to assist the person requesting services (the applicant/requester).
DOS said the rulemaking will apply only to appointments in support of an application for a U.S. passport, either domestically or overseas; to appointments related to a request for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad or a Certificate of Loss of Nationality of the United States (CLN); and to other appointments for certain other services offered by American Citizens Services (ACS) units at U.S. embassies and consulates overseas (posts).
DOS will accept comments on the proposed rule until September 25, 2023.
SOURCE: DOS proposed rule, 88 Fed. Reg. 48143 (July 26, 2023). https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2023-07-26/pdf/2023-15744.pdf
July 2023 Monthly Review
USCIS Updates Policy Manual on Public Charge Inadmissibility Ground
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has incorporated information into its Policy Manual on the categories of adjustment of status applicants to whom the public charge ground of inadmissibility applies “to make it easier to identify whether the public charge ground of inadmissibility applies to a specific adjustment of status category.”
USCIS said the update is intended to help applicants respond accurately to questions related to the public charge ground of inadmissibility on Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, which will provide officers with the information they need to adjudicate the application and, if applicable, make a public charge inadmissibility determination without issuing a Request for Evidence for this information.
SOURCE: USCIS alert (July 20, 2023). https://www.uscis.gov/newsroom/alerts/uscis-updates-policy-manual-to-make-it-easier-to-identify-who-is-subject-to-the-public-charge-ground
USCIS: Revised I-9 Form Is Expected August 1st
On August 1, 2023, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will publish a revised version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. Among the updates is a checkbox employers enrolled in E-Verify can use to indicate that they remotely examined identity and employment authorization documents under an alternative procedure authorized by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) related to temporary COVID-19 flexibilities. Under the alternative procedure, the employer must examine and retain copies of documents and must conduct a live video interaction with the employee.
Employers who were participating in E-Verify and created a case for employees whose documents were examined during COVID-19 flexibilities (March 20, 2020, to July 31, 2023) may choose to use the new alternative procedure starting on August 1, 2023, to satisfy the physical document examination requirement by August 30, 2023. Employers who were not enrolled in E-Verify during the COVID-19 flexibilities must complete an in-person physical examination by August 30, 2023, USCIS said.
In addition to the new checkbox, USCIS said the revised Form I-9:
· Reduces Sections 1 and 2 to a single-sided sheet;
· Is designed to be a fillable form on tablets and mobile devices;
· Moves the Section 1 Preparer/Translator Certification area to a separate, standalone supplement that employers can provide to employees when necessary;
· Moves Section 3, Reverification and Rehire, to a standalone supplement that employers can print if or when rehire occurs or reverification is required;
· Revises the Lists of Acceptable Documents page to include some acceptable receipts as well as guidance and links to information on automatic extensions of employment authorization documentation; and
· Reduces instructions from 15 pages to 8 pages.
The revised Form I-9 (edition date 08/01/23) will be published on uscis.gov on August 1, 2023. The related USCIS notice is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on July 25, 2023. USCIS said employers can use the current Form I-9 (edition date 10/21/19) through October 31, 2023. Starting November 1, 2023, all employers must use the new Form I-9.
SOURCES: USCIS alert (July 21, 2023). https://www.uscis.gov/newsroom/alerts/uscis-to-publish-revised-form-i-9; “Introduction of a New Version of Employment Eligibility Verification Form,” USCIS Federal Register notice (advance copy, to be published July 25, 2023). https://public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2023-15667.pdf
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
DOS: August Visa 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 Launches Online Rescheduling of Biometric Appointments
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has launched a new self-service tool allowing benefit requestors, and their attorneys and accredited representatives, to reschedule most biometric services appointments before the date of the appointment.
USCIS also clarified its guidance on policies and procedures related to “good cause” in this context.
USCIS said good cause exists “when the reschedule request provides sufficient reason for the benefit requestor’s inability to appear on the scheduled date.” Sufficient reasons may include but are not limited to:
· Illness, medical appointment, or hospitalization;
· Previously planned travel;
· Significant life events such as a wedding, funeral, or graduation ceremony;
· Inability to obtain transportation to the appointment location;
· Inability to obtain leave from employment or caregiver responsibilities; and
· Late delivered or undelivered biometric services appointment notice.
Previously, benefit requestors and accredited representatives could request to reschedule a biometric services appointment only by calling the USCIS Contact Center. With the new tool, those who have or create a USCIS online account can reschedule most requests for biometric services appointments without calling the Contact Center, USCIS said. The new tool, however, cannot be used to reschedule an appointment that already has been rescheduled two or more times, is within 12 hours, or has already passed. USCIS said it only accepts untimely rescheduling requests made to the USCIS Contact Center. It does not accept such requests by mail, in person at a USCIS office, or through the myUSCIS online rescheduling tool.
The biometric services appointment rescheduling tool can be accessed via a USCIS online account regardless of whether the pending case was submitted online or by mail, the agency said. Benefit requestors and accredited representatives can call the USCIS Contact Center to reschedule an appointment, but USCIS “strongly encourages users to use the new tool to save time, increase efficiency, and reduce call volume to the USCIS Contact Center.”
The USCIS Contact Center’s toll-free number inside the United States is 800-375-5283 (TTY 800-767-1833) Monday through Friday, 8 am to 8 pm ET. Outside the United States, the number is 212-620-3418.
SOURCES: USCIS news release, July 6, 2023: https://www.uscis.gov/newsroom/news-releases/uscis-launches-online-rescheduling-of-biometrics-appointments
USCIS Seeks Comments on Next Generation of E-Verify
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) seeks comments by August 28, 2023, on “E-Verify NextGen” (I-9NG), a new online “demonstration project” intended to further integrate the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, process with the E-Verify electronic work eligibility confirmation process “to create a more secure and less burdensome employment eligibility verification process overall for employees and employers.” This internet-based project “will permit employees to create their own secure account, resolve E-Verify tentative non-confirmations (also referred to as ‘‘mismatches’’) in advance and directly with the government, instead of through their employer, and then receive an electronic verification response that they can use and update with subsequent employers,” USCIS said.
The goal of E-Verify NextGen is “to streamline the employment eligibility verification and confirmation process for employers and employees” by:
· Resolving E-Verify mismatches and electronically issuing an employment authorized result to individuals who E-Verify finds to be work authorized;
· Allowing employees to receive notification of and resolve E-Verify mismatches directly with the government without requiring the employer to be an intermediary; and
· Removing the employer’s primary role in the mismatch resolution process. While employers would be informed about their employee’s mismatch, this process removes employers as the intermediary to communicate a mismatch to the employee. Affected employees are instead notified directly and provided the instructions required to resolve the mismatch.
SOURCE: USCIS notice, 88 Fed. Reg. 42093 (June 29, 2023). https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2023-06-29/pdf/2023-13786.pdf