USCIS Resumes Premium Processing Service for All H-1B Petitions, Clarifies PPS for Cap Petitions

Updated March 19, 2019:

On March 11, 2019, USCIS announced that it would resume Premium Processing Service for all H-1B petitions, effective on March 12, 2019. The USCIS news alert is posted here. Two days later, USCIS clarified via AILA liaison that H cap petitions were not covered by the March 11 announcement.

JSP Principals Phyllis Jewell, Wendy Stewart, and Claire Pratt Recognized by Who’s Who Legal

Jewell Stewart & Pratt is happy to announce that firm principals Phyllis Jewell, Wendy Stewart, and Claire Pratt were selected by Who’s Who Legal (“WWL”) in Corporate Immigration for 2019. Nominees are selected based upon a comprehensive, independent survey of both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. 

Only specialists who have met stringent independent research criteria are listed. The publication features leading corporate immigration attorneys who come highly regarded for their experience in assisting corporate entities navigate the increasingly complex regulatory environments in jurisdictions around the world through sophisticated immigration planning and counseling advice.

The firm’s WWL profile may be found here; and Claire Pratt’s biography may be found here.  Kudos to Phyllis, Wendy, and Claire!

© Jewell Stewart & Pratt PC 2019

USCIS Resumes Premium Processing Service for H-1B Cases Filed on or before December 21, 2018

On February 15, 2019, USCIS announced that it would resume premium processing service (“PPS”) for H-1B cases filed on or before December 21, 2018. USCIS previously announced that it would also resume PPS for FY 2019 “cap” cases – i.e., those petitions filed in last year’s H-1B lottery that are not yet adjudicated.

USCIS to Release New Version of Form I-539, Require Biometrics from all Applicants

On February 11, 2019, USCIS announced that, on March 11, 2019, it will release a new version of the Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant status. The form is commonly used for dependents’ status extensions, among other applications. The form, when released, will have an immediate effective date of March 11, 2019, which means that any applications filed on or after that date must use the new form.

USCIS announces final changes to cap-subject H-1B visa petition processing

On January 30, 2019, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) announced a final rule effective April 1, 2019 that changes the way cap-subject H-1B petitions will be processed in two ways: first, petitioners seeking to file petitions will have to register electronically with USCIS during a designated registration period; and second, the order in which cap-subject petitions are selected in years when demand exceeds supply (i.e., when a lottery is required) has been reversed.  We discussed these changes in depth when they were proposed, in our December 3, 2018 blog post.

DHS publishes proposed changes to cap-subject H-1B visa petition processing

On December 3, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that would make changes to the way cap-subject H-1B petitions are processed. There are two proposed changes: first, petitioners seeking to file petitions will have to register electronically with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) during a designated registration period; and second, the order in which cap-subject petitions are selected in years when demand exceeds supply has been reversed. These changes are made pursuant to President Trump’s Buy American and Hire American Executive Order, issued in 2017.

JSP congratulates its most recent Certified Specialist!

Jewell Stewart & Pratt (JSP) is pleased to announce that attorney Jennifer Carr has been accorded the status of a “Certified Specialist, Immigration & Nationality Law” by the California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization. This is a rare distinction that only 39 immigration lawyers in San Francisco have achieved. JSP now counts five Certified Specialists in its attorney ranks, with Jennifer joining Phyllis Jewell, Wendy Stewart, Claire Pratt, and Christopher Beckerson.    

The legal specialization application process is wholly voluntary and represents an extraordinary achievement in the practice of immigration law in California. The process is also arduous, requiring a written exam, professional references, and case experience that includes the full range of immigration matters, including deportation/removal proceedings, employment- and family-based applications, to naturalization. Very hearty congratulations to Jennifer for reaching this milestone!

© Jewell Stewart & Pratt PC 2018

Update on work authorization for certain H-4 dependents

As mentioned in our prior post, the Trump administration was due to propose new regulations by the end of February 2018, eliminating the ability of certain H-4 dependents to work.  Although it has not yet issued proposed regulations, there is now an updated timeline for that to occur.  On September 21, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) submitted a status report in the ongoing litigation in Save Jobs USA vs. U.S. Department of Homeland Security over the regulation allowing H-4 employment.  The status report for the case, which is being held in abeyance pending the issuance of a new rule, indicated that DHS’s proposed rule will be sent to the Office of Management & Budget (“OMB”) for notice and comment within three months. 

Instructions for the 2020 Diversity Visa Lottery Program now available

The U.S. Department of State’s instructions for the 2020 Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (DV-2020) are now available. Entries for the DV-2020 program must be submitted electronically between October 3 and November 6, 2018.

There are no changes in eligibility this year. Eligibility requirements and entry instructions are on the U.S. Department of State’s DV lottery web site.

The congressionally-mandated Diversity Immigrant Visa Program is administered annually by the Department of State under Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). This law provides for a class of immigrants known as diversity immigrants, with visas made available to persons from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States. For fiscal year 2020, 50,000 diversity visas will be available.

© Jewell Stewart & Pratt PC 2018