H-1B cap update – USCIS reports 201,011 petitions received

Today USCIS announced that it received 201,011 H-1B petitions in the filing period that began on April 1. On April 10 USCIS used a computer-generated random selection process (commonly known as a “lottery”) to select a sufficient number of petitions needed to meet the cap. USCIS says that it conducted the selection process for all beneficiaries first, as described in its January 30, 2019 regulation, and then selected a number projected to reach the advanced degree exemption from the remaining eligible petitions. Any petitions not randomly selected will be rejected and returned with the filing fees.

© Jewell Stewart & Pratt PC 2019

H-1B "regular" cap reached for FY 2020

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on April 5 that it has received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to reach the statutory H-1B visa “regular cap” for fiscal year (FY) 2020. USCIS will next determine whether it has received a sufficient number of petitions to meet the 20,000 H-1B visa U.S. advanced degree exemption, known as “the master’s cap.”

USCIS is expected to use a computer-generated random selection process (commonly known as the “lottery”) for all FY 2020 cap-subject petitions received through April 5, 2019. This year, the agency will conduct the selection process for “regular cap” first, and the “master’s cap” second, as discussed in our prior blog posts. The exact day of the random selection process has not yet been announced.

© Jewell Stewart & Pratt PC 2019

USCIS resumes Premium Processing Service for all H-1B petitions, clarifies PPS for cap-subject 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 petitions 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 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.

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.