Friday, October 28, 2016

US CBP Clarifies Policies for Certain Nonimmigrant Admissions

From Morgan Lewis, 10/27/2016

The agency confirms the admissibility of certain nonimmigrants who hold visas from different employers.

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently clarified its policy on admissions to the United States after an applicant for admission changes employment or adds a concurrent employer. CBP confirmed that those applying for petition-based employment (H-1B, L-1, O-1, P-1, and R-1) who hold valid nonimmigrant visas need only present the valid visa and an I-797 approval notice for the new (or additional) employer. TN applicants may present either an I-797 approval notice issued by US Citizenship and Immigration Services or an employment letter from the new employer along with standard evidence of TN qualification. This formally confirms the CBP’s past practice of allowing certain nonimmigrants to be admitted to the United States with a petition approval in one employer’s name and a visa stamp in a different employer’s name.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Social Security Update for Foreign Nationals Who Applied at GSEP

If you applied for your SSN at the Graduate Student Employee Processing (GSEP) event in August, 2016 you may be wondering why you haven’t gotten your number yet.  Global HR has confirmed with the Social Security Administration that they are still in the process of approving those applications.  SSA has indicated that they have completed nearly half of the applications, but are still working on the rest.  If you have not yet received your SSN, don’t panic!  We expect to see the rest of the numbers approved in the very near future.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

USCIS Announces Final Rule Adjusting Immigration Benefit Application and Petition Fees

From USCIS, 10/24/2016

WASHINGTON – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced a final rule published in the Federal Register today adjusting the fees required for most immigration applications and petitions. The new fees will be effective Dec. 23.
USCIS is almost entirely funded by the fees paid by applicants and petitioners for immigration benefits. The law requires USCIS to conduct fee reviews every two years to determine the funding levels necessary to administer the nation’s immigration laws, process benefit requests and provide the infrastructure needed to support those activities.
Fees will increase for the first time in six years, by a weighted average of 21 percent for most applications and petitions. This increase is necessary to recover the full cost of services provided by USCIS. These include the costs associated with fraud detection and national security, customer service and case processing, and providing services without charge to refugee and asylum applicants and to other customers eligible for fee waivers or exemptions.
The final rule contains a table summarizing current and new fees. The new fees will also be listed on the Our Fees page on our website. Form G-1055 will not reflect the new fees until the effective date. Applications and petitions postmarked or filed on or after Dec. 23 must include the new fees or USCIS will not be able to accept them.
"This is our first fee increase since November 2010, and we sincerely appreciate the valuable public input we received as we prepared this final rule," said USCIS Director León Rodríguez. "We are mindful of the effect fee increases have on many of the customers we serve. That’s why we decided against raising fees as recommended after the fiscal year 2012 and 2014 fee reviews.  However, as an agency dependent upon users’ fees to operate, these changes are now necessary to ensure we can continue to serve our customers effectively.  We will also offer a reduced filing fee for certain naturalization applicants with limited means."
Read more about the new fee schedule on the Our Fees page. 
In preparing the final rule, USCIS considered all 436 comments received during the 60-day public comment period for the proposed rule published May 4.

Summary of Fee Changes Impacting Georgia Tech 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Online I-94 Application Now Available for Travelers at Land Ports of Entry

From GreenbergTraurig, 10/12/2016

On Sept. 29, 2016, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that it has enhanced the I-94 website for travelers arriving to the United States at land ports of entry.  Travelers now can apply and pay the $6 fee for their I-94 card online up to seven days prior to their entry.
An I-94 form is needed by all persons except U.S. Citizens, returning resident aliens, aliens with immigrant visas, and most Canadian citizens visiting or in transit.  Air and sea travelers will continue to be issued I-94 records during the admission process at the port of entry.  However, for those travelers seeking admission to the United States at a land port of entry, taking advantage of this new enhancement will quicken and simplify the admission process.
The application requires travelers to submit their biographic and travel information; in return, they will receive a provisional I-94 card after submitting the application and payment of the fee online.  The application collects the information that would otherwise be collected during the in-person inspection at the land port of entry, including name, date of birth, country of citizenship, passport details, visa details (if applicable), and petition/SEVIS number (if applicable).  To finalize the I-94 issuance process and admission, the traveler must present him or herself at the land port of entry within seven (7) days of the application, submit biometrics, and be inspected by a CBP officer.  Travelers always should be prepared to show evidence of their residence, employment and/or travel plans to the inspecting CBP officer, depending on the category of nonimmigrant admission being sought.
CBP expects for the new online I-94 application process to increase efficiencies during inspection and admission, decrease paper usage, and streamline the process at the land border, thereby reducing operating costs.  The secure website is easy to use and payment can be made via credit card, debit card, direct debit, or through PayPal.