U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published revised Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status and new Form I-539A, Supplemental Information to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status.  Applicants may continue to file the current Forms I-539 and Supplement A until March 21, 2019; as of March 22, 2019, only the revised I-539 and I-539A will be accepted by USCIS.  The I-539A may not be filed as a stand-alone form.

According to USCIS, it may verify the information provided on the I-539/I-539A before or after the application is processed.  In addition, USCIS has a variety of tools to verify the information provided, including, but not limited to: public records and information; the Internet; interviews; and unannounced physical site inspections of residences and locations of employment.  This information will be used to assess an applicant’s compliance with relevant law and to determine eligibility for immigration benefits.  Applicants will have an opportunity to respond to any adverse or derogatory information.

As we previously noted, expanding biometrics requirements to I-539 applicants is a significant change in how USCIS previously adjudicated Form I-539 and may be an indication of further expansion of biometrics and other vetting tools into the nonimmigrant petition world.

If you need assistance with the new requirements or other immigration related issues, please contact us.

Natalie Tynan is a former DHS lawyer who focuses on immigration compliance and related issues.

This week, Tom Homan, acting Director of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), announced that he has instructed Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the investigative branch of ICE, to quadruple the number of worksite inspections.  Danielle Bennett, spokeswoman for the agency, confirmed this directive and added “ICE’s worksite enforcement strategy continues to address both employers who knowingly hire unauthorized workers and the workers themselves.”

What does this mean for U.S. employers? This means that employers should expect to see increased HSI visits during which HSI will conduct not only I-9 audits to ensure that employers are complying with established employment eligibility verification requirements, but also other investigations related to compliance with immigration and labor regulations.

Continue Reading Employers Should Take the Necessary Steps to Prepare for Increased Worksite Inspections

On Friday, March 3, 2017, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that premium processing service will be suspended for all H-1B petitions received on or after April 3, 2017. This suspension may remain in place for up to 6 months.
Continue Reading USCIS To Temporarily Suspend Premium Processing for All H-1B Petitions