• The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently has announced a new centralized filing location for certain H-1B cap exempt petitioners. Per the new guidance, institutions of higher education, nonprofit and government research organizations, and nonprofit entities affiliated with institutions of higher education are now required to file their new and extension H-1B proceedings with the USCIS California Service Center. Importantly, this change in filing location pertains only to the H-1B cap exempt employers and not to other H-1B petitions that may not be subject to cap. Filing locations for cap exempt petitions (e.g., extension of stay) from non-cap exempt petitioners have not changed.
  • The U.S. Congress has just approved the extension of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provisions for non-minister religious workers` permanent immigration to the U.S. The provisions previously sunset on March 6, 2009, and the new extension is valid until Sept. 30, 2009. Foreign nationals eligible for Form I-485 Adjustment of Status filing based on religious worker status should file these proceedings as soon as possible in order to maximize their chances for Green Card obtainment by Sept. 30, 2009.
  • The USCIS Vermont Service Center (VSC) has provided guidance with regard to status changes to and extensions of B visitor status. Per VSC, when justified by business or personal necessity, initial change of status to B may be granted for up to 1 year. B status extensions are limited to 6 months.
  • The USCIS is now using the 2009 Poverty Guidelines for immigration proceedings that require Forms I-864 or I-864EZ Affidavit of Support submission. Review the updated Poverty Guidelines for family-sponsorship based immigration filings.