Texas Service Center to Begin Processing Form I-129 for L Visas

USCIS - On February 12, 2018, the Texas Service Center (TSC) will begin processing certain Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker petitions for L nonimmigrant classification, also known as L visas. The TSC will share this workload with the California Service Center to balance workloads and to provide flexibility as USCIS works towards improving processing times and efficiency. The Vermont Service Center will no longer process any new Form I‑129 petitions requesting L nonimmigrant classification. 

Petitioners requesting an L nonimmigrant classification should file their Form I-129 at the address indicated on the Direct Filing Addresses for Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker page. Starting March 12, 2018, USCIS may reject any of these applications that are filed at the wrong service center.

Congress Passes Stopgap Bill to Avoid Government Shutdown Against a Friday Deadline**

**which includes the EB-5 Program extension to January 19, 2018

WASHINGTON — Congress gave final approval on Thursday to legislation to keep the government funded into January, averting a government shutdown this weekend but kicking fights over issues like immigration, surveillance and health care into the new year.

The stopgap spending bill extends government funding until Jan. 19 while also providing a short-term funding fix for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, whose financing lapsed at the end of September.

Without New Laws or Walls, Trump Presses the Brake on Legal Immigration

A scientist recruited by the renowned Cleveland Clinic is stuck in India because his visa is delayed. An entrepreneur courted by Silicon Valley companies had his application denied. Many green card applicants have new interviews to pass.

The Trump administration has pursued its immigration agenda loudly and noticeably, ramping up arrests of undocumented immigrants, barring most travel from several majority-Muslim countries and pressing the case for a border wall.

But it has also quietly, and with much less resistance, slowed many forms of legal immigration without the need for Congress to rescind a single visa program enshrined in the law.

International Entrepreneur Rule

A Rule by the Homeland Security Department on 1/17/2017

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

This final rule amends Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations to implement the Secretary of Homeland Security's discretionary parole authority in order to increase and enhance entrepreneurship, innovation, and job creation in the United States. The final rule adds new regulatory provisions guiding the use of parole on a case-by-case basis with respect to entrepreneurs of start-up entities who can demonstrate through evidence of substantial and demonstrated potential for rapid business growth and job creation that they would provide a significant public benefit to the United States. Such potential would be indicated by, among other things, the receipt of significant capital investment from U.S. investors with established records of successful investments, or obtaining significant awards or grants from certain Federal, State or local government entities. If granted, parole would provide a temporary initial stay of up to 30 months (which may be extended by up to an additional 30 months) to facilitate the applicant's ability to oversee and grow his or her start-up entity in the United States.

DATES:

This final rule is effective July 17, 2017.

 

USCIS to Expand In-Person Interview Requirements for Certain Permanent Residency Applicants

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin expanding in-person interviews for certain immigration benefit applicants whose benefit, if granted, would allow them to permanently reside in the United States. This change complies with Executive Order 13780, “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States,” and is part of the agency’s comprehensive strategy to further improve the detection and prevention of fraud and further enhance the integrity of the immigration system.
 
Effective Oct. 1, USCIS will begin to phase-in interviews for the following:
 
• Adjustment of status applications based on employment (Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status).
 
• Refugee/asylee relative petitions (Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition) for beneficiaries who are in the United States and are petitioning to join a principal asylee/refugee applicant.
 
Previously, applicants in these categories did not require an in-person interview with USCIS officers in order for their application for permanent residency to be adjudicated. Beyond these categories, USCIS is planning an incremental expansion of interviews to other benefit types. 
 
“This change reflects the Administration’s commitment to upholding and strengthening the integrity of our nation’s immigration system,” said Acting USCIS Director James W. McCament. “USCIS and our federal partners are working collaboratively to develop more robust screening and vetting procedures for individuals seeking immigration benefits to reside in the United States.”
 

Ninth Circuit Stays Travel Ban Injunction, with Exception for Individuals with “Bona Fide Relationship”

The Ninth Circuit issued an order staying the district court's 10/20/17 preliminary injunction against entry restrictions on nationals of six Muslim-majority countries, except as to foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States. People with a qualifying family relationship include grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins. A qualifying relationship with an entity must be formal, documented, and formed in the ordinary course, rather than for the purpose of evading Presidential Proclamation 9645. The district court did not enjoin the Presidential Proclamation's entry restrictions against nationals of North Korea and certain nationals of Venezuela, and the travel ban remains in effect for those countries as originally stated in Presidential Proclamation 9645

Republican Senators David Perdue, Tom Cotton to unveil skills-based immigration bill at White House Wednesday

President Trump will join Republican Sens. David Perdue of Georgia and Tom Cotton of Arkansas at the White House Wednesday to unveil legislation that proposes a skills-based immigration system and seeks an overall lower level of legal immigration, two sources have confirmed to the Washington Examiner.

EB-5 Regional Center Termination Notices

USCIS is now proactively publishing Regional Center termination notices as they become available, which is consistent with our commitment to transparency in the EB-5 program. This is an important step in assisting investors, the EB-5 industry, and the public to understand the reasons why a regional center has been terminated and what types of regional center activities may trigger the end of a regional center’s designation. You can see a full listing of the Regional Centers that have been terminated on our, Regional Center Terminations page.  

Comprehensive Government Funding Bill Includes Language Extending EB-5 Program to September 30, 2017

The final paragraph of the TEXT OF THE HOUSE AMENDMENT TO SENATE AMENDMENT NUMBERED 1 TO H.R. 244, THE HONORING INVESTMENTS IN RECRUITING AND EMPLOYING AMERICAN VETERANS ACT OF 2017, Page 734 substitutes "September 30, 2015" with "September 30, 2017".    It remains possible that Congress could pass EB-5 legislation before September 30, 2017.  

Congress Passes Spending Bill To Avoid Shutdown, Again Punts On Health Care (and EB-5 Revision)

With the clock ticking, Congress on Friday (4/28/2017) managed to fulfill its basic function — keeping the federal government running.

The House and Senate approved a short-term measure that funds the government for another week. Lawmakers voted hours ahead of a midnight deadline to avoid a partial shutdown of federal agencies.

Friday's extension gives members of Congress more time — until midnight on May 5 — to try to reach a deal on a spending bill that will last through the rest of fiscal year 2017, which ends Sept. 30.