Meet the Co-chairs - TAGLAW
Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC
Author: Monika Jones
The in country application process is currently going through a major overhaul. From the beginning of November, the Home Office started gradually introducing changes to the way the applications are being submitted and processed. Various immigration categories are transitioning in accordance with different timescales, but overall most of the in country applications will follow a similar unified process eventually.
Now Accepting Applications From October 3, 2018 Through November 6, 2018
50,000 permanent residency visas become available each year for those who have completed the equivalent of a U.S. high school education, or have worked for at least two years within the last five in a qualifying occupation and were born in countries with less than 50,000 immigrant visas issued in the last five years. Once chosen, successful applicants need to respond quickly.
The Immigration Group at Ryan Swanson advises employers to start early preparation of H-1B petitions subject to the annual quota or cap for the 2019 fiscal year. Based on prior years, it is anticipated that USCIS will start accepting H-1B cap-subject petitions on Monday, April 2, 2018, for at least five business days, until April 6, 2018.
Congress has imposed an annual limit of 65,000 H-1B visas available to individuals with a Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent), and an additional 20,000 H-1B visas available to individuals who have a U.S. master’s degree. Last year, USCIS received nearly 199,000 H-1B petitions in the first week, and fewer than 50% of the H-1B petitions were selected in the lottery.
USCIS has started denying Form I-131 advance parole applications where the applicant has traveled abroad during the pendency of the application. USCIS is denying the pending Form I-131 application even if the applicant has a separate valid advance parole document or a valid H or L visa to return to the United States while his or her I-485 application is pending. In the denial notification, USCIS points to the Form I-131 instructions at page 6 where it states that "[i]f you depart the United States before the advance parole document is issued, your application for an advance parole document will be considered abandoned."
This shift in policy contravenes USCIS’s prior longstanding policy, which allowed an applicant for advanced parole to travel abroad while the application was pending, as long as the individual had other valid means of being readmitted to the United States.
The U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services has recently changed its policy regarding the adjudication of Advance Parole Travel Document applications (Form I-131).
The Advance Parole Travel Document (“Advance Parole”) is a travel authorization granted to qualified applicants of pending Form I-485 Adjustment of Status Applications. With the exception of H, K, L, and V visa holders, beneficiaries of pending Adjustment of Status Applications are prohibited from traveling internationally until they are issued an Advance Parole by the USCIS. An adjustment applicant who departs the United States before the Advance Parole is issued will have his or her adjustment of status application denied based on abandonment.