Government Forms

I-539 applications for dependents no longer eligible for “courtesy” Premium Processing Service

As discussed in a prior post, USCIS began in March 2019 to require a new version of the Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, and introduced a biometrics fee and appointment requirement for each applicant.  The Form I-539 has never been eligible for the government’s 15-day Premium Processing Service (PPS), but a particular subset of I-539 applicants — the dependents of principal nonimmigrants (e.g., the H-4 spouse of an H-1B worker) — have, until recently, benefited from “courtesy” PPS of the I-539 if it was filed with the principal’s own PPS’d application or petition.  

USCIS to release new version of Form I-539 and 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.

New Form I-9 Released

News Release from Jewell Stewart & Pratt PC On November 14, 2016, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a revised version of Form I-9, "Employment Eligibility Verification," the form used by employers to verify the identity and employment authorization of all new hires in the United States.  Because the form is significantly different fron the prior version and permits on-screen form-filling, it is critical for employers to review the new form and the associated instructions. The new I-9 form is dated "11/14/2016N," which would ordinarily indicate that prior versions are not acceptable after November 14, 2016; however, USCIS separately indicated that the new version is not mandatory until January 22, 2017.  Until then, employers may use either the new I-9, or the immediate past version, "03/08/2013N." When the new I-9 was released, USCIS did not release an updated M-274 Handbook for Employers, Guidance for Completing Form I-9. When the M-274 is updated, the revision will be available on the USCIS website.

© Jewell Stewart & Pratt PC 2016

New Form I-9 approved; prior versions invalid after 01/21/2017

News Release from Jewell Stewart & Pratt PC The U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS) has announced that the Office of Management & Budget has approved a revised Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. USCIS must publish a revised form by 11/22/2016.

Employers may continue to use the current version of Form I-9 (revision date 03/08/2013) until 01/21/2017. After 01/21/2017, all previous versions of Form I-9 will be invalid.

© Jewell Stewart & Pratt PC 2016

CBP announces Electronic Visa Update System details

News Release from Jewell Stewart & Pratt PC From November 29, 2016, all People’s Republic of China (PRC) passport holders carrying a 10-year visa will be required to have a valid Electronic Visa Update System (EVUS) enrollment when traveling to the United States.

EVUS is the online system used by nationals of the PRC holding a 10-year B1/B2, B1, or B2 visa. Visitors update their basic biographic information on EVUS to facilitate their travel to the United States.

U.S. Customs & Border Patrol (CBP) recommends that travelers enroll in EVUS as early as possible, or at least 72 hours before they are scheduled to leave for the United States. The fee to enroll is $8, and enrollments are valid for two years or until the traveler obtains a new passport or visa, whichever comes first.

If PRC travelers do not update their information at least every two years, or upon obtaining a new passports after EVUS becomes effective, they will not be able to use their 10-year visas. For more information, see the full announcement on the CBP website.

© Jewell Stewart & Pratt PC 2016

Locating Form I-94 on www.cbp.gov

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has now fully implemented the automation of Form I-94 at all air and sea ports. On entering the United States a foreign national no longer receives a paper copy of Form I-94. Instead, they must visit the CBP website at www.cbp.gov/I94, enter their personal details, and print a copy of their I-94 there. CBP has advised doing this after each entry into the U.S., because their system does not currently store data on any entry other than the most recent one. It does not appear that CBP’s eventual expansion of I-94 data retention will encompass more than five years of entries in any case.

DOL online labor certification registry now live

News Release from Jewell & Associates, PC

In January the Department of Labor (DOL) announced that it would make copies of various documents submitted to it by employers available to the public in a searchable Labor Certification Registry (LCR). These include documents submitted in PERM labor certification, H-1B, H-1B1, H-2A, H-2B, and E-3 cases.

On July 1, 2013, the LCR went live, providing public access to redacted copies of documents related to these cases. For PERM labor certifications DOL will redact the employer’s and employee’s names, but not the position’s job description, minimum requirements, salary, prevailing wage, or worksite address. DOL will also not redact company contact information, such as the name of the individual listed as the company contact on the labor certification and his or her e-mail address, or information about the employer and employee’s attorney.

You can access the LCR here, and read DOL’s Federal Register notice here.

By Christopher Beckerson. © Jewell & Associates, PC 2013

New I-9 Form mandatory as of May 7, 2013

News Release from Jewell & Associates, PC

USCIS has revised the Employment Eligibility Verification form (Form I-9) that employers use to verify the identity and employment eligibility of employees.  The new I-9 bears a revision date of ``(Rev. 03/08/13) N''  and has been available for use since March 8, 2013. Prior versions of Form I-9  -- (Rev. 08/07/09) Y and (Rev. 02/02/09) N -- can no longer be used by the public effective May 7, 2013.

According to USCIS's notice in the Federal Register (78 FR 15030, 3/8/13), the newly revised Form I-9 makes several improvements designed to minimize errors in form completion. The key revisions to Form I-9 include:

  • Adding data fields, including the employee's foreign passport information (if applicable) and telephone and email addresses.
  • Improving the form's instructions.
  • Revising the layout of the form, expanding the form from one to two pages (not including the form instructions and the List of Acceptable Documents).

Note that employers do not need to complete the new Form I-9 (Rev. 03/08/13)N for current employees for whom there is already a properly completed Form I-9 on file, unless re-verification applies.

© Jewell & Associates, PC 2013

DOL announces online labor certification registry

News Release from Jewell & Associates, PC

The Department of Labor (DOL) has announced that it will make copies of H-1B, H-1B1, E-3, H-2A, H-2B, and PERM labor certification documents, as submitted by employers, available to the general public through its iCERT system in a searchable Labor Certification Registry (LCR).

The LCR will provide access to copies of labor certification and labor condition application (LCA) documents in a single location. Public access to the LCR will begin on July 1, 2013. It will provide the following features:

  • An interactive map displaying all labor certification and LCA documents posted within the last 30 calendar days;
  • A “quick search” feature allowing queries by employer name, job title, industry, state or territory, zip code radius, and/or visa classification;
  • An advanced search feature allowing queries by occupation, industry, education and training, range of wage offers, worker positions requested, and dates of employment;
  • Search results in table format with sortable column headings, the ability to filter the search results, and quick links to view or download the document; and
  • Access to OFLC's latest program performance reports and case file datasets to allow in-depth statistical research and analysis.

DOL’s stated aim for the LCR is to provide extra transparency for the labor certification system while protecting information in compliance with privacy and confidentiality statutes. Data to be redacted in the documents should include the employer’s Federal Employer Identification Number and revenue, and the name, address and class of admission of the foreign worker.

For more information see the Federal Register, here.

By Christopher Beckerson. © Jewell & Associates, PC 2013

Form I-129 Export Control Attestation Not Required Until 2/20/2011

News Release from Jewell & Associates, PC – December 27, 2010 On Dec. 22, 2010, USCIS announced that Petitioners will not be required to complete the attestation regarding export controls on the new version of the Form I-129 until Feb. 20, 2011. Please see our previous posting regarding the new Form I-129 here: /blog/?p=294. The USCIS Alert is located here: http://tinyurl.com/2dchnxk.

© Jewell & Associates, PC 2010