• The USCIS has issued a reminder confirming that the recently revised Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, is now in effect. Employers should use the Form I-9 with the revision date of 02/02/2009 (see the lower right-hand corner of the form). Prior versions of Form I-9 are no longer acceptable for new hires..
  • The USCIS has provided guidance with regard to the ``Cap Gap`` regulations for foreign students employed pursuant to the Optional Practical Training (OPT) Employment Authorization Document. The current regulations provide for an automatic work authorization extension for foreign students in valid F-1 status (i.e., enrolled in school, working pursuant to the OPT, or in the 60 day ``grace period``) at the time of the H-1B Change of Status petition filing, during the period of their H-1B petition processing and, in case of the H-1B Change of Status approval, through Oct. 1, 2009 (i.e., H-1B approval effective date). Importantly, this ``cap gap`` measure does not provide for students` travel outside the U.S. during the ``gapped`` period. Rather, beneficiaries of this measure would not be able to return from a trip abroad to resume their employment until they are able to obtain their H-1B visa from a U.S. Consulate abroad (i.e., on or after Sept. 20, 2009). Consult immigration counsel before making travel plans for your OPT employees!
  • According to the government`s statistical data, the number of naturalization applications has subsided in fiscal year (FY) 2008. While during FY2007, nearly 1.5 million citizenship applications were filed, in FY2008, the number of applications barely exceeded 500,000. The likely reasons for the reduced number of applications: substantial increases in application filing fees, changes in the naturalization examination requirements, and the general condition of the U.S. economy.