The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced that it will reopen on its own motion H- 1B petitions which were denied for healthcare specialty occupations because the beneficiary did not possess a Master’s or higher degree in the field. Additional information about the USCIS Headquarters Memorandum reversing the interpretation limiting the H-1B classification for a certain healthcare occupations is contained in our firm’s previous Immigration Update dated June 1, 2009.

In its guidance regarding the Motions to Reopen, the USCIS indicated that it will only review denied petitions for which it has received a written request for review from the petitioning employer or its representative. These requests must be received by August 14, 2009. The request must be sent to the initial adjudicating Service Center by e-mail. The USCIS has established special e-mail addresses for both the California Service Center and the Vermont Service Center for this issue. The USCIS stated that Petitioners should explain in the e-mail how the beneficiary meets the standard set forth in its previous Memorandum. If sufficient evidence about the eligibility of the beneficiary for H-1B classification is not contained in either the e-mail and/or the initial filing, the USCIS indicated that it may request additional evidence. If the Petition was denied on other grounds or the Petitioner can not evidence the Beneficiary’s eligibility for H-1B status, the USCIS indicated that the original denial of the Petition will be affirmed.