On Tuesday, September 29, 2020, Federal District Court Judge Jeffrey White issued an order 2020-09-29 Order Granting dckt 98_0 enjoining US Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) and the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) from implementing proposed increases in filing fees, and the addition of a controversial filing fee for asylum, scheduled to become effective on

On March 30, 2020, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that the agency would allow flexibility in responding to certain agency notices, in an effort to minimize the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on individuals seeking immigration benefits.  The agency provided an additional 60 calendar days beyond the due date for responding to the

The new rules serve to implement Directive (EU) 2018/957 of 28 June 2018 (“Amending Directive”) amending Directive 96/71/EC (“Posted Workers Directive”) concerning the posting of workers in the framework of the provision of services.  The aim of Directive (EU) 2018/957 is to balance the relationship between the freedom to provide services

US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS), the agency within Homeland Security responsible for adjudicating applications and petitions seeking immigration and naturalization benefits, announced on Tuesday, August 25, 2020, that it will not engage in en masse staffing furloughs before the close of the fiscal year on September 30, 2020. As previously reported on Mayer Brown’s

On August 3, 2020, President Trump issued an Executive Order (“EO” or the “Order”) directing the heads of all agencies that enter into contracts to review the impact of contractors and their subcontractors employing H-1B visa holders on the wages and employment opportunities of US workers. Specifically, the EO directs all federal agencies to review

USCIS announced last week the implementation of adjustments that will slow the processing of Premium Processing Service cases, as well as increase filing fees for the majority of requests as part of a published Final Rule.

As covered in our previous blog post, a proposed Final Rule was reopened in January and the comment period extended to February 10.  On May 27, 2020, the USCIS Fee Rule went to the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information & Regulatory Affairs (OIRA).  OIRA completed its review on July 22, 2020, and the Final Rule was published on July 31, 2020.

In addition to lengthening processing for the Premium Processing Service and adjusting fees for petitions filed with USCIS, the Final Rule removes certain fee exemptions, changes fee waiver requirements, modifies intercountry adoption processing, and makes certain adjustments to filing requirements for nonimmigrant workers.

The Final Rule, including the adjusted fee amounts, is effective October 2, 2020.  Any application, petition, or request postmarked on or after that date must include the new fees under the Final Rule.

Adjustment to Premium Processing Timelines

As part of the Final Rule, USCIS has adjusted the processing time for its Premium Processing Service, which provides accelerated processing of some visa submissions for an additional filing fee ($1,440).  The Final Rule will increase the processing time from fifteen (15) calendar days to fifteen (15) business days.  This change will increase processing times associated with the Premium Processing Service, which will provide less flexibility to employers and lengthen the time required to secure approvals of work authorization.

Changes to Filing Fees for Nonimmigrant and Immigrant Petitions

The Final Rule adjusts the USCIS fee schedule to “provide for recovery of the estimated full cost of immigration adjudication and naturalization services,” according to the language in the published Final Rule.  DHS is adjusting USCIS fees by a weighted average increase of 20 percent, adding new fees for certain immigration benefit requests, establishing multiple fees for nonimmigrant worker petitions, and limiting the number of beneficiaries for certain forms.

Of particular note, USCIS has implemented varying filing fees for Form I-129, petitions with USCIS for H, L, O, E, and TN visas.  Under the Final Rule, each non-immigrant category will be subject to a separate fee rather than the current fee of $460.


Continue Reading USCIS Lengthens Premium Processing Timeline and Implements Fee Increases, Among Other Adjustments

USCIS Furloughs Postponed and Possibly Avoided

In June 2020, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) served notice on The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), the union representing the agency’s 13,400 fee-based employees, that absent approval by Congress of $1.2 billion requested as part of the pending stimulus bill to make up for a precipitous

On July 18, 2020, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued an extension of a temporary policy allowing certain employers to conduct remote review and inspection of I-9 documentation for new employees. The policy was set to expire on July 19, but has now been extended through August 19, 2020. The extension provides employers with additional

On Sunday, July 19, 2020, a temporary Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) policy allowing employers to conduct remote reviews of I-9 supporting documentation is set to expire. Unless the policy is extended, many employers will once again be required to conduct in-person inspections of new employees’ documentation, raising concerns about employers’ ability to comply