• February 2024

    The initial registration period for the FY 2025 H-1B cap will open at noon Eastern on March 6, 2024, and run through noon Eastern on March 22, 2024. USCIS has announced several significant changes to the H-1B program aimed at strengthening the integrity of and reducing the potential for fraud in the H-1B registration process. Steps have been implemented to reduce the potential for “gaming” the registration system and ensuring each beneficiary has the same chance of being selected, regardless of the number of registrations submitted on their behalf. USCIS is also making updates to the H-1B registration accounts, increasing fees associated with the registration and filing of H-1B petitions and launched online filing options for H-1B petitioners.

  • December 2023

    The registration period for H-1B cap-subject petitions is approaching! As a reminder, the annual H-1B cap is set at 65,000, with an additional 20,000 numbers available for individuals who have earned an advanced degree from an accredited U.S. educational institution. Once these caps have been reached, employers will be unable to file new cap-subject H-1B petitions until the registration period opens again in 2025.

  • June 2023

    Previously the Department of State announced the NIV Consular processing fees would increase. This Client Alert is to notify MVA Immigration Clients that the effective date of the final rule (88FR 18243) which raises some NIV Consular processing fees and the fee for a Border Crossing Card for Mexican citizens age 15 and over is delayed from 05/30/2023 until 06/17/2023.

  • June 2023

    This Client Alert is to Notify MVA Clients who are Employers that Certain Pandemic Era Policies are Ending. During the pandemic, DHS implemented an inspection deferral policy. Under this policy, employers with employees working remotely could remain compliant by following these steps: 

  • January 2023

    As many Employers and Foreign Nationals are likely aware, the H-1B CAP Season for USCIS 2024 Fiscal Year rapidly approaches. On Friday USICS announced it will open H-1B CAP registration at noon (12PM ET) on March 1, 2023, and registration will run through noon (ET) on March 17, 2023. In light of the news, we recommend Employers and Foreign Nationals consider the following information as we prepare to register those who are eligible.

  • January 2023

    In response to a Lawsuit (Edakunni v. Mayorkas) filed on behalf of Spouses of H-1B and L-1 Visa Holders, USCIS has reached a settlement agreement which it will implement effective today, January 25, 2023.

  • February 2022

    In mid-November a settlement between U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) and the litigants in the Shergill v. Mayorkas lawsuit resulted in a change in USCIS policy regarding spousal work authorization.  Specifically, under the terms of the settlement, E and L dependent spouses would be work authorized incident to status. This means that they no longer would be required to apply for separate employment authorization documents after entering the U.S. 

  • December 2021

    On December 23, 2021, in consultation with the Department of Homeland Security, the Secretary of State authorized consular offices through December 31, 2022, to waive in-person interview requirements for certain nonimmigrant visa applicants.

  • December 2021

    As outlined in our earlier alert, there is now a vaccine requirement for foreign nationals seeking nonimmigrant entry to the United States after international air travel.  

  • October 2021

    The long awaited Presidential Proclamation rescinding the current COVID-19 travel bans was issued on October 25, 2021. The proclamation becomes effective on November 8, 2021 at 12:01 am EST and replaces the existing bans with a vaccination requirement for foreign nationals seeking nonimmigrant entry to the United States after international air travel. In addition, three Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Orders on vaccination, testing, and contact tracing were issued as well as technical instructions to provide implementation details to the airlines and their passengers. Below is an overview of these orders and the technical instructions for implementation.

  • July 2021

    On July 6, 2021, the Department of State (DOS) issued guidance stating that national interest exceptions (NIEs) issued in the last 12 months are being automatically extended for 12 months from the date of approval, and for multiple entries, as long as they are used for the purpose under which they were granted. The extension applies to NIEs for travelers subject to Presidential Proclamations 9984 (China), 9992 (Iran), 10143 (Schengen Area, U.K., Ireland, Brazil, and South Africa), and 10199 (India). The official guidance from DOS can be found here. More information on the Geographic COVID-19 Related Travel Bans can be found here

  • March 2021
  • January 2021

    Extension of Presidential Proclamations 10014 and 10052

    On December 31, 2020, President Trump signed a Presidential Proclamation on Suspension of Entry of Immigrants and Nonimmigrants Who Continue to Present a Risk to the United States Labor Market. This proclamation extends Presidential Proclamations (P.P.) 10014 and 10052 through March 31, 2021.

  • MVA COVID-19 Resource Center, August 2020

    Since our last update, there have been a variety of important changes impacting the U.S. immigration system amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. These changes include continued flexibility in the compliance realm as well as the resumption of in-person services in the U.S. and abroad, to name a few. The most significant changes and updates are highlighted below.

  • MVA COVID-19 Resource Center, June 2020

    Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S., the Trump Administration has issued a variety of Executive Orders aimed at restricting U.S. Immigration. Yesterday, the White House announced the continuation of its order suspending the entry of certain immigrants as well as announced additional restrictive measures directed at suspending the entry of nonimmigrant workers. Specifically, this latest Proclamation will suspend the entry of new H-1B, H-2B, L-1, certain J-1 nonimmigrants, and their accompanying dependents unless they qualify for one of the limited stated exemptions. The application of the ban to Canadian nationals seeking admission in these categories, who are not required to obtain a visa to enter the United States, is still unclear.

  • MVA COVID-19 Resource Center, April 2020

    In March, MVA provided a comprehensive summary regarding the impact the COVID-19 pandemic was having on U.S. immigration. Below is a roundup of the most important information impacting U.S. immigration since that summary.

  • MVA COVID-19 Resource Center, April 2020

    On April 8, 2020, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper issued Executive Order 130 (the “Executive Order”) to provide necessary waivers to expand health care resources for treatment of COVID‑19 patients and to provide additional waivers for certain child care, emergency management, food establishment, elder care, developmental disability, mental health and substance use disorder treatment services, and social services. The complete Executive Order is linked here: https://files.nc.gov/governor/documents/files/EO130-Meeting-North-Carolinas-Health-and-Human-Services-Needs.pdf.

  • MVA COVID-19 Resource Center, April 2020

    While striving to assist our clients and customers in responding to the outbreak, we also need to think about when it is over. There will be many losers, but also inevitably winners, either real or perceived. Helping the distressed and others harmed by the outbreak is hard and critical work. Managing the response to those who helped the winners will be unpredictable and complex. Right now, we cannot fully know the winners. Will it be customers that supply a desperately needed product or those that have sold at an opportune time? Our actions will be viewed through hindsight layered with emotions.

  • MVA COVID-19 Resource Center, March 2020

    H-1B Electronic Registration Selection Process Completed U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that the annual limit for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 H-1B cap-subject petitions has been met and that the lottery selection process has been completed.

  • MVA COVID-19 Resource Center, March 2020

    In an effort to help slow the spread of COVID-19, both U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and U.S. Department of State (US DOS) announced that in-person services were being temporarily suspended.

  • March 2020

    COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) Travel Ban - European Schengen Region On March 11, 2020, by Presidential Proclamation, President Trump ordered the suspension of travel to the U.S. from the Schengen region. 

  • TechTarget, December 2019

    Charlotte Immigration Associate Amanda Franklin was quoted in the TechTarget article titled, “H-1B lottery change may drive increase in visa applicants.”

  • December 2018

    On April 1, 2019, USCIS will begin accepting cap subject H-1B professional worker petitions for a start date of October 1, 2019 (FY2020).

  • November 2018

    Charlotte Immigration Associate Amanda Franklin was quoted in the Society For Human Resource Management’s (SRHM) article titled, “Stay Error-Free When Disposing of Old I-9s,” that was published on November 2.

  • October 2018

    With the holiday season rapidly approaching, now is the best time for visa holders to review their travel documents and plan for renewals if necessary.

  • September 2018

    Online registration for the DV-2020 program begins on Wednesday, October 3, 2018 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT), and concludes on Tuesday, November 6, 2018 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Standard Time (EST).Eligibility requirements and instructions for the DV Lottery can be found in the Federal Register. There is no fee to register for the program, however applicants must apply online by submitting an Electronic Diversity Visa Entry Form (E-DV Entry Form or DS-5501) at dvlottery.state.gov. The registration via this site will open at noon EDT on Wednesday, October 3, 2018.

  • August 2018

    USCIS announced that it will continue the current suspension of premium processing service for H-1B cap-subject petitions through an estimated date of February 19, 2019. In addition, as of September 11, 2018, USCIS will expand the suspension of premium processing services to all H-1B petitions filed at the Vermont and California Service Centers, excluding certain cap-exempt filings.

  • August 2018

    In its September Visa Bulletin, U.S. Department of State (DOS) announced that the final action dates for several employment-based (EB) visa categories will significantly retrogress as of September 1, 2018. This retrogression is expected to be temporary and as of October 1, 2018 (the first month of fiscal year 2019), the final action dates are anticipated to be returned to those established for August.

  • May 2018

    Vacation season is just around the corner. Whether you are a tourist, U.S. permanent resident, or hold a temporary visa, having the proper documentation is essential to your international travel. Discovering an expired document too late can derail your travel plans and be costly to rectify. This brief guide will help you get a jump on organizing documents such as your passport, ESTA registration, green card or nonimmigrant visa.  

  • May 2018

    USCIS has announced that it has completed all data entry of FY2019 H-1B cap-subject petitions selected in the computer-generated "lottery" process. The data entry process includes the receipt of petitions selected in the lottery.

  • April 2018

    USCIS announced today that it has completed the "H-1B Cap Lottery" to select the number of petitions necessary to meet the H-1B cap for fiscal year (FY) 2019. This year, USCIS received 190,098 H-1B petitions during the filing period, which began on April 2, 2018.

  • April 2018

    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) announced today that it has received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to reach the statutory caps for fiscal year 2019, which begins on October 1, 2018.

  • March 2018

    USCIS announced that it will temporarily suspend premium processing service for H-1B petitions that are subject to this year’s H-1B cap. This suspension of premium processing will not apply to non-cap subject H-1B petitions, such as petitions for extension or amendment of H-1B status.

  • January 2018

    Congress must pass stopgap legislation to avert a shutdown of the federal government by Friday, January 19th at midnight. The bill, if passed, would fund the government through February 16, 2018, setting up another potential showdown just weeks from now.  The stopgap legislation narrowly passed in the House, but is expected to face opposition in the Senate.

  • January 2018

    This week, USCIS clarified that it is not considering changing its interpretation of the H-1B extension of status provisions offered in the American Competitiveness in the Twenty First Century Act (AC21).

  • January 2018

    On April 1, 2018, USCIS will begin accepting cap subject H-1B petitions for a start date of October 1, 2018. Due to the high demand for H-1B visas, we encourage employers to take time now to identify any employees who require H-1B sponsorship, such as:

  • December 2017

    On April 1, 2018, USCIS will begin accepting cap subject H-1B professional worker petitions for a start date of October 1, 2018. Due to the high demand for H-1B visas, we encourage employers to take time now to identify any employees who may require first time H-1B sponsorship, such as:

  • November 2017

    With the holiday season rapidly approaching, now is the best time for visa holders to review their travel documents and begin planning for renewals if necessary. Planning ahead can alleviate much of the stress of international travel. Here are a few questions to ask while planning your travels:

  • October 2017

    On Sunday, October 8th, the U.S. State Department (DOS) announced that effective immediately, the issuance of nonimmigrant visas to Turkish citizens will be halted.

    The U.S. Mission to Turkey has suspended nonimmigrant visa services at all U.S. diplomatic facilities in Turkey. This decision came after the arrest of a U.S. consulate employee in Istanbul and it is not clear when this suspension will be lifted.

  • October 2017

    The October 1st start date for H-1B cap-subject petitions is rapidly approaching. Foreign nationals who were selected in this year's H-1B lottery and their petitioning companies should remember several key points about the H-1B status, travel and visa issuance.

  • October 2017

    USCIS announced that it has resumed premium processing for all H-1B visa petitions after a six month suspension of the program for these petitions.

  • September 2017

    On September 24, 2017, the Trump Administration announced an expansion of its previous travel ban, adding several countries to the list designated in the original travel ban (Executive Order 13780).

  • September 2017

    USCIS has recently enacted two policy changes in regards to permanent residency applicants applying for Adjustment of Status (AOS). These changes impact applications for Advance Parole Travel Authorization (AP) as well as requirements for in-person interviews for the final adjudication of the I-485 Application for Adjustment of Status.

  • September 2017

    USCIS has resumed premium processing for all H-1B visa petitions subject to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 cap. This includes petitions receipted in this year's H-1B lottery process, subject to the standard H-1B cap of 65,000 and the advanced degree cap of 20,000.

  • September 2017

    As of September 18, 2017, employers will be required to use the latest version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. Form I-9 is required to verify the identity and employment authorization of all employees, including U.S. citizens.

    USCIS released the new version of Form I-9 on July 17, 2017. Employers currently have the option to use the new version (dated 7/17/17 N) or continue using Form I-9 with a revision date of 11/14/16 N. However as of September 18, 2017, employers must use the new version.  

  • September 2017

    On September 5, 2017, the Trump Administration formally announced its intent to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as DACA. What follows is a practical guide on the impact of this latest decision for DACA beneficiaries and their employers.

  • August 2017

    On August 28, 2017, USCIS announced that it will begin expanding in-person interviews for certain permanent residency applicants, a change being implemented in response to Executive Order 13780, which pushed for more "uniform screening and vetting standards" in visa issuance.

  • August 2017

    On August 2, 2017, President Donald Trump announced his support for the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment ("RAISE") Act, introduced by Republican Senators Tom Cotton (AR) and David Perdue (GA).

    The bill, in its current form, aims to halve the number of people who receive legal permanent residence ("green cards") over a decade and purports to move the United States to a "merit-based" immigration system.

  • July 2017

    As of July 24, 2017, USCIS has resumed premium processing service for certain types of H-1B cap-exempt petitions. While premium processing is still not available for most H-1B petitions, USCIS announced that it will now accept premium processing requests for cap-exempt petitions if the H-1B petitioner is:

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