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USCIS Resumes Premium Processing for H-1B applications

Posted March 11, 2019Stephanie WedelArticles, H-1B

USCIS announced that it will resume premium processing on Tuesday, March 12, for all H-1B petitions. If you received a request for evidence (RFE) for a pending petition, you should include the RFE response with the premium processing request. When an H-1B petitioner properly requests the agency’s premium processing service, USCIS guarantees a 15-day processing time. If USCIS does not take action within the 15‑calendar day processing time, USCIS refunds the petitioner’s premium processing service fee and continues with expedited processing of the petition.   If you or your employee received a transfer notice for a pending H-1B petition, and you are requesting premium processing service, you must submit the premium processing request to the service center now handling the petition. You should also include a copy of the transfer notice with your premium processing request to avoid possible delays associated with the receipt of your premium processing request. If your petition was transferred and you send your premium processing request to the wrong center, USCIS will forward it to the petition’s current location. However, the premium processing clock will not start until the premium processing request has been received at the correct center.    If you have any further questions regarding the addition of premium processing, please reach out to your designated Meltzer Hellrung LLC attorney.

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U.S. Embassy in Tunis to Process Libyan Immigrant Visas

Posted March 11, 2019Kristen KellarArticles

Libyan nationals living in Libya will soon need to go to the U.S. Embassy in Tunis, Tunisia for immigrant visa processing. The National Visa Center will begin scheduling appointment at the Embassy in Tunis for Libyan nationals beginning in April 2019.

The U.S. Embassy in Casablanca, Morocco was responsible for processing these applications, but will no longer do so due to visa restrictions on Libyan nationals by the Moroccan government. The National Visa Center will reach out to anyone affected and will send new appointment notices.

If you have any questions about the change in processing location, please reach out to your designated Meltzer Hellrung LLC attorney. 

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U.S. Embassy in Bogota to Process Venezuelan Immigrant Visas

Posted March 11, 2019Kristen KellarArticles

The U.S. Embassy in Bogota, Colombia will soon begin processing immigrant visas for Venezuelan residents. In April 2019, the National Visa Center will begin scheduling appointment for immigrant visa interviews in Venezuela.

Previously, the U.S. Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela processed visa cases, but services were shut down in January due to an ordered departure of non-emergency personnel. Nonimmigrant visa applications for Venezuelan residents must be submitted to a U.S. Embassy or Consulate outside of Venezuela.

If you or your employee is a resident of Venezuela and have questions about visa applications, please reach out to your designated Meltzer Hellrung LLC attorney.

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I-94 Changes for Tecate Port of Entry

Posted March 8, 2019Articles
CBP has announced changes for citizens of Mexico who require I-94 travel permits. Citizens of Mexico will only be allowed to obtain I-94 documentation at the port's pedestrian facility beginning March 25, 2019. Travelers will be required to leave their vehicle in Mexico and enter a facility to apply for an I-94 travel document. CBP officials state that the purpose of this change is to provide a more efficient and systematic procedure.  For a faster way to apply for an I-94, travelers may use the online I-94 application:  https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home If you have any questions regarding this change, please reach out to your designated Meltzer Hellrung LLC attorney.    

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USCIS Updates Form I-539

Posted March 4, 2019Stephanie WedelArticles

USCIS announced that it will be updating the Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. This form will be available March 8, 2019, and beginning on March 22, 2019, USCIS will only accept the 02/04/2019 edition. Because both the new and old versions will be accepted from March 8th  to March 21st,  USCIS will not be able to issue receipt notices for applications made using the new forms until March 25th, but the receipt will reflect the actual date that the application was received by USCIS. USCIS stated that it cannot accept multiple versions of a form at the same time.  

The newest I-539 will require each applicant to complete and sign a Form I-539A, Supplemental Information for Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status.  Parents or guardians may sign on behalf of children under the age of 14 or any applicant who is not mentally competent.  

In addition to the I-539A, each applicant and co-applicant will need to attend biometrics appointments (fingerprinting) and pay an $85 biometric service fee. USCIS has indicated it anticipates an average of 17 days from receipt of the application until biometrics are completed, though this is not guaranteed.  USCIS will try to give at least 1 week notice for these biometrics appointments. Background checks will not be required for applicants under the age of 14.  

Along with the updated forms, USCIS has also suggested that wet-ink signatures will not be required.  A scan, fax or copy will also be accepted for the Form I-539.  

The I-539 is typically submitted to change to or extend dependent cases from within the United States, such as H-4, L-2, TD, etc. 

The newly revised form will likely impact processing timelines with the addition of the biometrics appointments.  Previously, although the Form I-539 was not eligible for Premium Processing, USCIS had generally processed these forms at the same time as the premium processed primary applications.  With the new processes, this will no longer be possible.  

For further information regarding this change, please reach out to your designated Meltzer Hellrung LLC attorney.

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