In certain circumstances, individuals can file Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, online. The online filing is restricted to a single applicant (without co-applicants, or legal or accredited representation) and can be used in the following scenarios:
- B-1 temporary visitor for business;
- B-2 temporary visitor for pleasure;
- F-1 academic student with a specific status expiration date;
- F-2 spouse or child of an academic student with a specific expiration date;
- M-1 vocational student; or
- M-2 spouse or child of an M-1 student.
Individuals can also now file the following USCIS forms online:
Premium processing for Fiscal Year 2020 cap-subject H-1B petitioners requesting a change of status (i.e. F-1 to H-1) will begin on May 20, 2019. If you did not request premium processing with the H-1b petition, you can still request it after May 20.
For all other FY2020 H-1B cap-subject petitions (i.e. consulate process), it will begin in June 2019 or later. USCIS now engages in a two-phased approach.
Premium processing for H-1B cap-exempt petitions, such as extension of stay requests, remains available.
USCIS confirmed to AILA’s that it is “not anticipating any procedural changes for the FY2019 H-1B cap season.” It also does not anticipate that premium processing will be suspended for non-cap H-1B petitions, though there may be a short suspension of premium processing for H-1B cap-subject petitions. [See AILA Doc. No. 18012505.]
International students choose to study in the U.S. for many different reasons, and many choose to stay and work after they graduate from U.S. colleges and universities. The Pew Research Center analyzed U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) data and found that more and more high-skilled foreign graudates find jobs in the United States under the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program. The OPT program provides an important opportunity for foreign graduates to work in the U.S. for up to 12 months or 36 months, depending on their field. Many students choose to take advantage of the OPT programs to utilize the skills they learned.
The Pew Research Center found that the federal government approved nearly 700,000 OPT applications between 2008 and 2014. Below are the interesting findings:
- The annual number of OPT approvals rose from 28,497 in 2008 to 136,617 in 2014.
- Many of those working in the U.S. under the OPT program go on to apply for H-1B visas to stay longer in the U.S.
- Those with STEM majors had a higher employment rate (73%) than non-STEM majors (57%).
- Foreign students from India and China accounted for more than half (57%) of all those who were approved for OPT.
To read the full report by Neil Ruiz: click here.
Today, USCIS announced that it has resumed premium processing for certain cap-exempt H-1B petitions. Premium processing will resume for petitions that may be exempt from the cap if the H-1B petitioner is:
- * An institution of higher education;
- * A nonprofit related to or affiliated with an institution of higher education; or
- * A nonprofit research or governmental research organization.
Effective immediately, those cap-exempt petitioners who are eligible for premium processing can file Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service for Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker. Form I-907 can be filed together with an H-1B petition or separately for a pending H-1B petition. On June 26, 2017, USCIS resumed premium processing for H-1B petitions filed on behalf of physicians under the Conrad 30 waiver program and interested government agency waivers.
Now you have your H-1b, how do you get your employer to sponsor you for an employment-based green card? The visa number backlogs vary enormously based on the applicant’s nationality. It is always better to start early.
The procedure for an employer to sponsor foreign nationals for lawful permanent residence (a.k.a. green card) is composed of three phases: the PERM labor certification, the visa petition, and the application for permanent residence.
I. PERM Labor Certification
A foreign national seeking to obtain U.S. lawful permanent residence through employment must be the beneficiary of an approved application for permanent employment certification. This application requires the employer to test the labor market to determine whether there are any qualified and available U.S. workers who are immediately available to accept the offered position of intended employment. The U.S. employer is required to obtain a prevailing wage determination (PWD) from the National Prevailing Wage Center (NPWC). After obtaining a PWD, the employer is required to take required recruitment steps.
II. The Visa Petition
If the PERM application is certified and the employer wishes to proceed to the next step, filing the employment-based immigrant petition (Form I-140) with USCIS, the beneficiary will be required to provide documentation to establish that he or she met the advertised requirements for the position on the date that the PERM application was filed. To file the immigrant visa petition, the employer must also establish that it has the ability to pay the beneficiary of the PERM application at least the prevailing wage as determined by the formal PWD requestor the offered wage, which may be higher than the prevailing wage.
III. Application for Lawful Permanent Residence
The last phase of the process allows the employee file his or her Form I-485, applications for adjustment of status (the application that grants permanent residence). At the end of this step, the employee will be granted permanent residence, and, shortly thereafter, be issued a “green card” as evidence of permanent residence. In the event of a backlog in the employment-based priority dates, the beneficiary and family members will not be able to file concurrent I-485 applications. They will need to wait until their priority date becomes current before they can file these applications.
移民局2017年4月11日宣布，已经采用计算机随机选择过程或彩票选择足够的H-1B申请，以满足2017年度的65,000个一般类别 (Regular Cap) 和20,000个高级学位 (Master’s Cap) 的名额。移民局将拒绝并返还所有未选择以及重复的申请。 USCIS在4月3日开始的申请期间收到了199,000份H-1B申请。这一数字比去年申请期间的23.3万份申请减少了15.7％。虽然总体申请数量与去年相比有所减少，但今年是连续第五年USCIS在H-1B申请的第一周内就接受足够的申请。