News

On June 26, 2017 the Supreme Court of the United States allowed a limited version of President Trump’s travel ban to take effect. Please see the below information and resources regarding this update.

  • The ban affects individuals from Libya, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, who have “no connection to the United States at all”;
  • The ban does not apply to lawful permanent residents or U.S. citizens who have dual nationality with a designated country;
  • The ban cannot be enforced against foreign nationals who have a “bona-fide relationship with a person or entity in the US”; and
  • These relationships must be “formal, documented, and forms in the ordinary course, rather than for the purpose of evading EO-2”.

 

For further information, please click here: http://www.nafsa.org/Professional_Resources/Browse_by_Interest/International_Students_and_Scholars/Travel_Advisory_for_Nationals_of_Certain_Countries_Pursuant_to_Executive_Orders/

 

Please contact us if you have further questions or concerns about how this may affect you. Please contact us prior to any international travel.

Updated: June 27, 2017

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USCIS has announced that starting on April 3, 2017 they will temporarily suspend premium processing for all H-1B petitions, which may last up to 6 months. A case filed with Premium Processing guarantees that a petition is reviewed by USCIS within 15 days of filing.

This suspension will affect all H-1B cases that are filed on or after April 3rd including all H-1B CAP cases. USCIS will reject any cases requesting Premium Processing that are filed during the suspension period.

During the period where Premium Processing is suspended, we may submit a request to expedite an H-1B petition where USCIS will decide whether it meets the USCIS Expedite Criteria, https://www.uscis.gov/forms/expedite-criteria. This may be provided at an additional cost and does not have any timeframe guarantee.

During the suspension period, Beneficiaries with H-1B Extensions and Transfers filed continue to have work authorization even while their case is pending. For H-1B Transfers, the individual may begin working for a new company as soon as the Transfer application is received by USCIS. For H-1B Extensions, work authorization is automatically extended for 240 days beyond expiration once the Extension is filed with USCIS.

*Updated    03/10/17

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There have been certain updates to the travel restrictions outlined in President Trump’s Executive Order of 01/27/2017 concerning individuals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.  As of this morning, 01/31/2017, these include the following:

  • According to the UK Foreign Office, British passport holders are not affected by these measures.  This includes British nationals who hold dual nationality with one of the designated countries.

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/usa

  • According to Global Affairs Canada, individuals travelling with a Canadian passport or a valid Canadian permanent resident card are not affected by the Executive Order.  This includes individuals who have passports from one of the designated countries.

https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/united-states

 

*Updated 01/31/17

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On Friday, January 27th, President Trump issued an Executive Order titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States.”  This Order relates to visa issuance, screening procedures, and refugees, and has important implications for foreign nationals from certain countries seeking to (re-)enter the United States.  There remains uncertainty regarding the details and the enforcement of this action.  Please read this email carefully.  If you believe you could be impacted by this action, we advise against international travel at this time.

Who is impacted by the travel ban?

Section 3(c) of the Executive Order suspends the immigrant and nonimmigrant entry of nationals from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen for 90 days from the date of the order.  The order does not define what it means to be “from” one of these countries.  The broadest reading of this text would include individuals who are citizens or nationals of those countries (including dual nationals), as well as people who are temporary residents in, or were born in, those countries.

On Sunday evening, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a statement confirming that individuals from the designated countries who are already lawful permanent residents of the United States will be admitted “absent the receipt of significant derogatory information”.  We are awaiting further clarification of how this will be interpreted and applied by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers.

What should I do if I am impacted?

If you are a citizen, national, or temporary resident of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen (including dual nationals), or were born in one of these countries, we advise the following:

  • If you are currently in the United States, we advise against international travel;
  • If you are currently outside the United States, you should not attempt to enter the United States unless you are a lawful permanent resident (green card holder).  If  you are a lawful permanent resident, please be prepared for additional questioning on arrival;
  • If you are unsure whether the order impacts you, or whether you are able to travel, please contact us immediately.

What else does the Executive Order do?

The Executive Order suspends the visa interview waiver program that enabled certain qualifying individuals to obtain or renew visa stamps without first attending an interview at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.  This covers all foreign nationals, regardless of nationality or origin.

  • If you were planning to use the visa interview waiver program to obtain a new visa stamp, you will need to arrange an appointment at your local Consulate or Embassy to do so;
  • If you have recently submitted your request for a visa using the visa waiver interview dropbox, please contact us immediately.

What happens next?

The Executive Order contains certain conditions that, if not met, will lead to the extension of the temporary travel bans, and could result in individuals “from” additional countries being prevented from entering.  This could include Pakistan, for example.

What impact do the recent Court decisions have?

Recent decisions by federal courts in New York and Massachusetts address the detention and removal of foreign nationals from the designated countries who have already arrived in the U.S. and are being detained at ports of entry.   The decisions do not impact the application of the Executive Order to individuals who are abroad, or who are planning to travel in the future.

How will Goss Associates help?

We are actively involved with local and national organizations that are leading the court challenges. We are closely monitoring the situation and will provide updates regarding the interpretation and application of the Executive Order via email and on our website under (http://www.gossimmigration.com/news/).

Please also contact us through updates@gossimmigration.com at any time if you believe that you may be affected by any of the provisions.

*Updated 01/30/17

 

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* Released on the USCIS website on February 24, 2015:

DHS Extends Eligibility for Employment Authorization to Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses of H-1B Nonimmigrants Seeking Employment-Based Lawful Permanent Residence

WASHINGTON – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director León Rodríguez announced today that, effective May 26, 2015, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is extending eligibility for employment authorization to certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants who are seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident (LPR) status. DHS amended the regulations to allow these H-4 dependent spouses to accept employment in the United States.

Finalizing the H-4 employment eligibility was an important element of the immigration executive actions President Obama announced in November 2014. Extending eligibility for employment authorization to certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants is one of several initiatives underway to modernize, improve and clarify visa programs to grow the U.S. economy and create jobs.

“Allowing the spouses of these visa holders to legally work in the United States makes perfect sense,” Rodríguez said. “It helps U.S. businesses keep their highly skilled workers by increasing the chances these workers will choose to stay in this country during the transition from temporary workers to permanent residents. It also provides more economic stability and better quality of life for the affected families.”

Eligible individuals include certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants who:

  • Are the principal beneficiaries of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker; or
  • Have been granted H-1B status under sections 106(a) and (b) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000 as amended by the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act. The Act permits H-1B nonimmigrants seeking lawful permanent residence to work and remain in the United States beyond the six-year limit on their H-1B status.

DHS expects this change will reduce the economic burdens and personal stresses H-1B nonimmigrants and their families may experience during the transition from nonimmigrant to lawful permanent resident status, and facilitate their integration into American society. As such, the change should reduce certain disincentives that currently lead H-1B nonimmigrants to abandon efforts to remain in the United States while seeking lawful permanent residence, which will minimize disruptions to U.S. businesses employing them. The change should also support the U.S. economy because the contributions H-1B nonimmigrants make to entrepreneurship and science help promote economic growth and job creation. The rule also will bring U.S. immigration policies more in line with those laws of other countries that compete to attract similar highly skilled workers.

Under the rule, eligible H-4 dependent spouses must file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, with supporting evidence and the required $380 fee in order to obtain employment authorization and receive a Form I-766, Employment Authorization Document (EAD). USCIS will begin accepting applications on May 26, 2015. Once USCIS approves the Form I-765 and the H-4 dependent spouse receives an EAD, he or she may begin working in the United States.

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