Immigration

Simplifying the Obstacle to Maximize Success

With the regulatory landscape of immigration uncertain, securing nonimmigrant visas and permanent residence for foreign nationals is becoming more complex and challenging than ever before. Recognizing that immigration issues impact businesses and personal lives, we help our clients navigate the consular and immigration maze and vigorously advocate on their behalf.  By clearly understanding our clients’ business objectives at the outset, we work with employers to develop strategies that minimize delays and protect their global workforce.

Tarter Krinsky & Drogin’s Immigration Practice provides full immigration services to major multinational financial institutions, corporations, leading energy companies, and not-for-profit institutions, as well as high-level executives and entrepreneurs.

In contrast to larger firms, we offer the same depth of experience but with the benefit of more hands-on personal attention. We understand these matters are intricate, time-sensitive and personal, so we don’t waste anyone’s time or resources by overstaffing. 

We’ve been around the block a few times. Our deep technical experience with the most complicated applications and our understanding of the changing regulatory landscape gives us the ability to keep matters moving. We recognize that the transfer of senior executives directly impacts companies’ business goals and that working in tandem with our clients to develop innovative solutions is often the difference between a transfer happening smoothly or not at all. Our attorneys frequently interact with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, the U.S. Department of State consular posts and the U.S. Department of Labor.

Employment-based Immigrant Visas
Our work includes PERM labor certification applications, extraordinary ability petitions that allow employers to hire superior talent in the global marketplace, and the transfer of managers and executives in multinational corporations and banks.

Deeply familiar with its complex and stringent regulations, we have developed a niche focus on national visa waiver petitions and O-1 nonimmigrant visas for individuals who possess extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. We have worked with numerous multinational corporations to secure visas for their high-level executives, ensuring the seamless function of their operations.

Non-immigrant Visas
We help clients who are citizens of other countries obtain non-immigrant visas of all types, including work, investment, student, trainee, extraordinary ability and tourist visas.

Family-based Immigration
Many of our corporate clients are U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who seek our counsel because they want to sponsor family members from other countries for immigration benefits in the United States. These family members may include spouses, sons and daughters, and parents of U.S. citizens, and spouses and unmarried sons and daughters of permanent residents.

Citizenship
We provide assistance with all stages of citizenship applications as well as advice regarding renunciation of U.S. citizenship and permanent residence.

Name Title Direct Dial Vcard
Diawara, Mariya Paralegal Paralegal 212.216.1171 VCard
Gaines, Gwendolyn L. Paralegal Paralegal 212.216.1168 VCard
Koerner, Andrew S. Counsel Counsel 212.216.8097 VCard
Levine, Roxanne H. Partner Partner 212.216.1122 VCard
  • Filing and Registration Fees to Increase for H-1B Cap, Nonimmigrant Petitions, Residence Applications and U.S. Citizenship Applications
    December 5, 2019

    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a final rule requiring employers to pay a $10.00 non-refundable fee for each H-1B cap registration submitted, once the electronic system is implemented. This final federal rule becomes effective on December 9, 2019 and will affect H-1B cap-subject petitions filed in the April 2020 cap season.

  • Traveler Beware! Holiday Travel for Foreign National Nonimmigrants – Tips for Departing and Returning to the United States Safely
    December 2, 2019

    For foreign nationals working in the United States on temporary work visas, it is best to plan well in advance for international travel. Verify all immigration documents are in order prior to your departure for that long-anticipated holiday visit to friends and family to assure that the return trip is not bumpy!

  • DACA Case Reaches Supreme Court for Oral Argument
    November 21, 2019

    Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments regarding the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) ability to lawfully terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy (DACA).

  • Poland Becomes Newest Country Admitted to Visa Waiver Program
    November 11, 2019

    On Monday, November 11, Poland became the newest country admitted to the Visa Waiver Program, which was authorized by Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin K. McAleenan on November 6. Inclusion in the program requires that foreign countries meet certain criteria, including completing bilateral security agreements and meeting the mandatory B1/B2 (tourist and business visitor) visa refusal rates. The B1/B2 visa refusal rate for Poland was just under 3 percent at the end of fiscal year 2019. The approval of Poland’s entry to the Visa Waiver Program appears to have been expedited as the vetting process can take several months.

  • Significant Changes in Store for H-1B Filings in 2020
    October 23, 2019

    New regulations proposed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are slated to take effect for the 2021 H-1B cap filing period, which starts on April 1, 2020. Proposed in January 2019, the new regulations mandate that U.S. petitioning companies register their company and the name and background information of an intended foreign national beneficiary online with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). DHS has proposed a fee of $10.00 per each electronic registration. This registration process is not mandated for cap-exempt H-1B petitions, which encompass institutions of research and universities, colleges and some hospitals, which might be affiliated with institutions of research and some other limited exceptions.

  • Public Charge Rule Delayed as Federal Courts Issue Nationwide Injunctions
    October 17, 2019

    The Public Charge Rule, which had been scheduled to be implemented on October 15, 2019, was halted by U.S. District Courts in New York, California and Washington state late last week. The preliminary injunctions issued in New York and Washington were nationwide and the California injunction covers the states included in the San Francisco-based Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge George Daniels of the U.S. District Court in Manhattan issued his nationwide preliminary injunction stating that the government did not adequately explain why it was changing the definition of a public charge or why a change was needed.

  • Presidential Order Issued Denying Immigrant Visas to Those Who Cannot Pay for Health Insurance
    October 8, 2019

    On Friday, October 4, President Trump issued an unexpected proclamation ordering consular officials to bar immigrants seeking to live in the United States unless they "will be covered by approved health insurance" or can evidence they have the financial resources to pay for "reasonably foreseeable medical costs," expected to take effect on November 3.

  • Diversity Lottery Registration Program Available to Eligible Applicants Starting October 2
    September 27, 2019

    On October 2, this year's Diversity Lottery Registration Program (DV lottery) becomes available to applicants from eligible countries. You can enter the DV lottery here. Entries can only be submitted electronically. All entries must be submitted between noon on Wednesday, October 2, 2019 EDT through noon on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 EST. There is no cost to apply.

  • International Student Visa Issuance Down More Than 40% Since 2015 – How Will This Affect the U.S. Economy?
    September 5, 2019

    Recent figures disclosed by the U.S. State Department show that the number of F-1 and J-1 foreign student and exchange visitor visas issued annually fell by 42.5 percent between 2015 and 2018, prompting the American Immigration Council (AIC) to note that the United States has become a less welcoming destination for international students.

  • The Department of Homeland Security Issues Final “Public Charge” Rule in the Federal Register – Lawsuits Ensue
    August 14, 2019

    The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released its final rules for public inspection, vastly constricting the number of immigrants who might be deemed eligible for lawful permanent residence. As previously detailed in our October 2018 article, applicants for permanent residence must prove under current law that they would not likely become public charges to the United States and rely on public benefits. Now, the grounds for determination will be expanded to include those with limited income, lack of education and skills, age or health-related issues.

  • USCIS Announces Plan to Reduce Wait Times for Citizenship and Green Card Interviews in United States
    August 7, 2019

    On June 17, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced it is embarking upon a strategy to decrease processing times based on location for applications for U.S. citizenship and applications for adjustment of status.

  • USCIS Issues New EB-5 Immigrant Investor Regulations
    July 30, 2019

    The EB-5 immigrant investor program, first introduced in the early 1990s, has not had an overhaul since its inception. Major changes will apply to all I-526 petitions filed on or after the Effective Date of November 21, 2019. Anyone filing during the next four months, therefore, would be eligible to file immigrant petitions at the current investment level. It is expected that with the rush to filing, the wait times for high volume countries including China and India will be prolonged by many years. Some of the larger Regional Centers that attract most of the EB-5 capital typical for their projects will likely no longer qualify under the new regulations and there is some question whether the new rule will become law. Lawsuits or congressional action could stymie implementation of the new regulations.

  • Traveling to the U.S. This Summer? Here's What You Need to Know
    July 15, 2019

    As is the case with most countries, foreign nationals are generally required to have a passport valid for six months beyond the period of their intended stay to be admitted to the United States. Foreign nationals planning to stay for more than 90 days generally also need to have a valid visa. Visa requirements can be waived under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) if the foreign national is a citizen of an eligible country or are lawful permanent residents of the United States or Canada.

  • Major Changes for the Business Community: Department of Homeland Security Releases Spring Regulatory Agenda
    June 26, 2019

    The Department of Homeland Security released its Spring 2019 Regulatory Agenda, announcing the agency's priorities and how it plans to continue furthering the current administration's immigration-related goals.

  • Tarter Krinsky & Drogin’s Top 10 Legal Alerts from the First Half of 2019
    June 25, 2019

    As we head into summer, we would like to share with you some of our most popular legal alerts from the first half of 2019. Our top-read alerts range from construction, labor and employment, tax, corporate and securities, immigration, cooperatives and condominiums, commercial leasing, real estate, litigation and intellectual property, reflecting the broad array of our full-service practice. We hope that our alerts have been valuable to you and your colleagues, and demonstrate our commitment to providing helpful information to you.

  • U.S. Department of State Imposes Additional Vetting for Visa Applicants Heading to the United States
    June 12, 2019

    The U.S. Department of State has added a new social media question to its immigrant and nonimmigrant visa application forms. Effective June 1, applicants filling out Forms DS-160 and DS-260 must provide the government with a list of all phone numbers, email addresses, international travel and deportation statuses from the last five years, as well as to the usernames for each social media platform (i.e. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) they have used in that time frame.

  • Artificial Reproductive Technology Advances Challenge Current U.S Citizenship Laws
    May 28, 2019

    Recent developments regarding the U.S. Department of State’s policy relating to children born abroad to same-sex couples are slowing making their way through the U.S. federal courts for final determinations regarding the continued viability of current citizenship rules. It remains to be seen whether these challenges will result in these cases reaching the Supreme Court. The challenges have arisen due to state-of-the-art technology facilitating the birth of children to surrogates, the status of the noncitizen parent sperm donor who might be married to a U.S citizen and the immigration status of that parent and where the child is born.

  • Temporary Injunction by U.S. Federal District Judge Creates Reprieve for International Students Studying in the United States
    May 21, 2019

    On May 3, 2019, a Federal District Court in North Carolina granted a preliminary injunction preventing U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) from enforcing its August 9, 2018 policy memorandum, which expanded situations in which international students might commence accruing unlawful presence, thus subjecting them to three- and ten-year bars from reentry to the United States.

  • Major Changes for Canadian Citizens Entering the United States on an L-1 Visa
    May 9, 2019

    Unannounced changes at the Canadian border have disrupted Canadian L-1 intra-company transferee visa applicants' admission to the United States. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) appears to have shifted its longstanding policy of adjudicating L individual or blanket L petitions for intra-company Canadian citizens applying for admission at U.S. ports of entry from Canada when presenting renewals of L visa requests.

  • Non-Immigrant Visa Updates: USCIS Completes H-1B Lottery Selections; After Long Wait, E-2 Visas for Israeli Investors to Become Available
    April 22, 2019

    Updated news from USCIS this spring includes final H-1B lottery selection news and a boon for Israeli investors who will be eligible to apply for E-2 treaty investor visas at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv.

  • USCIS Has Received Sufficient Number of H-1B Cap Cases – Now What?
    April 9, 2019

    On April 5, USCIS announced that it has received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to meet the Congressionally mandated 65,000 H-1B regular "bachelor's degree" cap cases for this fiscal year. USCIS will next determine if it has received a sufficient number of petitions to meet the 20,000 H-1B advanced degree exemption petitions, known as the "master's cap," which USCIS is expected to announce soon.

  • USCIS Phasing in New Two-Tiered Premium Processing Procedure and H-1B Cap Selection Update
    March 26, 2019

    On March 19, USCIS made a surprise announcement - it will be phasing in a new two-tiered premium processing procedure and establishing a new H-1B data hub on its website. On April 1, USCIS will commence accepting cap-subject H-1B petition filings for employment start dates effective October 1, 2019 - the start date of the 2020 fiscal year. Recently, USCIS suspended premium processing for all H-1B cap cases. It has slowly resumed premium processing for H-1B filings as its resources permit.

  • USCIS Resumes H-1B Premium Processing and Administration Announces Intent to Close Many USCIS International Offices
    March 13, 2019

    In this alert, Immigration partner Roxanne Levine reports on two business immigration updates - 1.) On March 11, USCIS announced that it would resume premium processing for all H-1B petition filings. 2.) The administration announced this week that it intends to shut down its USCIS international division, which services U.S. citizens, permanent residents and refugee applicants in its worldwide locations in order to furnish more staff with resources to handle lengthy backlogs in asylum applicants from tens of thousands of migrants crossing the southern border. Learn more about the implications of these developments.

  • Newly Released USCIS Data Confirms Increase in Number of Requests for Evidence and Denials of Non-Immigrant Visa Petitions
    March 11, 2019

    USCIS recently provided updated data showing there has been a decline in approvals and higher rates of requests for evidence (RFE) for several key employer-sponsored non-immigrant visa categories.

  • Premium Processing Returns for a Limited Number of H-1B Visa Petition Submissions
    February 21, 2019

    USCIS announced that, as of Tuesday, February 19, it has resumed premium processing for all H-1B petitions filed on or before December 21, 2018. An expedited process for facilitating swift adjudication of non-immigrant petitions, premium processing had been suspended in the H-1B context. USCIS further advised that if a transfer notice was received from the agency, premium processing submissions should be submitted to the service center where the petition has been transferred.

  • Rescission of H-4 Dependent Visa Holder Employment Authorization Expected Before March 18, 2019 and Changes to 1-539 Request for Extension of Stay Form
    February 19, 2019

    Changes in the business immigration arena continue to affect non-immigrants in significant ways. By March 18, 2019, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is expected to publish a proposed regulation rescinding employment authorization documentation (EAD) for the H-4 spouse of H-1B visa holders.

  • Important H-1B Business Immigration Updates on Pre-Registration Requirements and Premium Processing
    February 4, 2019

    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has updated its H-1B pre-registration policy for the upcoming cap season and clarifies new developments related to H-1B processing. In this alert, we explore how each of these impacts business immigration today.

  • First Preference Employment Category (EB-1) Brings Unprecedented Backlogs
    January 29, 2019

    The U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act reserves a first preference employment-based immigrant visa category for foreign nationals who qualify as aliens of extraordinary ability, outstanding professors, researchers, multinational executives or managers. These individuals have historically benefited from a fast-track path to securing lawful permanent resident status in the United States, known colloquially as the EB-1 immigrant visa category.

  • New Developments Regarding the H-1B Cap Filing Process for 2020 Fiscal Year Filing
    January 7, 2019

    We welcome 2019 with the anticipation of yet another H-1B lottery filing season, this one filled with some major changes. Traditionally, the H-1B visa category has been utilized by U.S. companies to hire international talent and it is unlikely that will change given the low unemployment rate in the United States and the desire of U.S. corporations to remain competitive in the global workplace.

  • USCIS to No Longer Allow InfoPass Appointment Scheduling Without Pre-Authorization
    December 19, 2018

    On October 30, USCIS announced that it will expand its Information Services Modernization Program to more field offices because it believes that most inquiries at local district offices can be accomplished through online email submissions or calls to its 800 number rather than at in-person appointments. The goal of the program is to require that a person speak to the USCIS National Customer Center by phone before being able to schedule an in-person appointment, known as an InfoPass appointment, at a field office.

  • Updated L-1 Policy Memo from USCIS Clarifying the One Year of Continuous Employment Abroad Requirement
    December 11, 2018

    In November 2018, USCIS issued an updated policy memorandum clarifying the terms of visa eligibility for L-1 visa designates who may have worked abroad for a qualifying entity overseas and, in the interim, held a different nonimmigrant status in the United States. The USCIS policy memo clears up confusing, inconsistent and conflicting language in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) regarding the L-1 visa, which is reserved for executives, managers and specialized knowledge personnel transferred to the United States from overseas affiliated offices.

  • Big Changes Coming to the H-1B Cap Filing Process – New Online Registration System to Be Introduced in 2019
    December 6, 2018

    On December 3, 2018, USCIS proposed a rule removing the current requirement for U.S. employers to file cap-subject H-1B petitions commencing April 1 each year. USCIS plans to introduce a new online registration system, which would become effective in 2019 and would require that employers file an online registration form at least two weeks in advance of the April 1 traditional filing date.

  • Recent Updates on the Status of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program
    November 16, 2018

    On November 8, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals blocked the Trump administration's attempt at ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. In response, the Department of Justice asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case, which, if the court agrees, could settle as soon as June 2019.

  • Immigration Update: Change to Medical Examination Requirement for all U.S. Permanent Resident Applicants
    November 12, 2018

    All applicants for U.S. permanent residence who apply through adjustment of status proceedings or immigrant visa processing at U.S. consular posts abroad must undergo a medical examination as part of the prerequisite requirements to qualify for this benefit.

  • How Canada's Legalization of Cannabis at the U.S. Border May Impact Certain Canadians Entering the United States
    November 5, 2018

    With the legalization of cannabis in Canada comes a new wave of uncertainty at U.S. ports of entry. In response to Canada's legalization of cannabis, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency released a statement on October 9, 2018 clarifying the U.S. position on Canadian citizens "working in or facilitating the proliferation of the legal marijuana industry in Canada, coming to the U.S."

  • U.S. Colleges and Universities Sue Trump Administration Over New Unlawful Presence Policy of International Students
    October 25, 2018

    A group of U.S. colleges and universities, including The New School in New York City and Haverford College in Pennsylvania, have sued the Trump administration this week regarding the issuance of a new regulation affecting the status of foreign students and their ability to maintain lawful presence in the United States.

  • A Brief Analysis of the Department of Homeland Security's "Public Charge" Proposed Regulations
    October 18, 2018

    On October 10, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a proposed rule in the Federal Register suggesting changes to the "public charge" rules and how these rules would affect nonimmigrants and immigrants seeking admission to the United States.

  • Immigration Provisions of the New United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, Formerly NAFTA
    October 9, 2018

    The United States, Mexico and Canada recently reached a trilateral agreement on September 30, 2018 as part of the renegotiation of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Known going forward as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the immigration provisions in the agreement appear not to have suffered any significant changes and have been rearranged somewhat, to the relief of many on all sides of the border.

  • Diversity Lottery Registration Program Available to Eligible Applicants Starting on October 3
    September 28, 2018

    This year's Diversity Lottery Registration Program (DV lottery) becomes available to applicants from eligible countries on October 3, 2018. Entries can only be submitted electronically. You can enter the DV lottery here. All entries must be submitted between noon on October 3, 2018 EDT and noon on November 7, 2018 EDT. There is no cost to apply.

  • Department of Homeland Security Proposes Removal of the International Entrepreneur Final Rule
    September 20, 2018

    The International Entrepreneur Rule (IE Final Rule) was created to allow international entrepreneurs to temporarily stay in the United States for up to 30 months (potentially renewable for another 30 months) to enable them to grow their businesses here in the United States. The IE Final Rule applied to international entrepreneurs who could show, through evidence of "substantial and demonstrated potential for rapid business growth," that they would be able to provide significant public benefits to the United States.

  • USCIS to Increase Premium Processing Filing Fee as of October 1, 2018
    September 12, 2018

    U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that effective October 1, it will increase the premium processing fee charge for I-129 nonimmigrant worker petitions and I-140 immigrant petitions. Premium processing fees will increase to $1410.00 per petition. This is close to a 15 percent increase in the filing fee, which was last raised in 2010. Here's what the change means for employers.

  • Premium Processing Suspended for H-1B Cap Cases and Expanded to Include Other H-1B Categories
    August 31, 2018

    On August 28, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the temporary suspension of premium processing (expedited processing) for H-1B cap petitions. This process has permitted a U.S. petitioner to secure fast-track processing of H-1B filings for a fee of $1410.00, effective on October 1, 2018. This is the first time USCIS has increased the fee since 2010. USCIS will adjudicate premium processing requests within 15 calendar days. The suspension, which was expected to terminate on September 10, will now likely last until February 19, 2019. Many of the H-1B cap visa applicants are foreign students in F-1 status. This new USCIS policy signals that foreign students will no longer be permitted to be eligible to work in the United States as of October 1, 2018.

  • Federal Judge Upholds Ruling That DACA Must Be Restored; What Happens Next?
    August 22, 2018

    On Friday, August 3, U.S. District Court Judge John Bates upheld his prior order to continue the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), delivering another blow to Trump administration efforts to end deportation protections for young undocumented immigrants, ordering the government to continue the Obama-era program. However, he won't require the administration to process new applications while it appeals his ruling.

  • Challenges to Employment-Based Immigration: Piecing Together the Invisible Wall Brick by Brick
    August 14, 2018

    While the Trump administration continually vocalizes its intolerance of illegal immigration, it has been quietly and effectively working to build an "invisible wall" to block legal immigration. One major avenue of legal immigration this invisible wall has hit is employment-based immigration.

  • Implementation of USCIS's New Policy on Notices to Appear Memorandum Postponed
    August 6, 2018

    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently issued a new policy memorandum, dated June 28, 2018, in which it updated its guidelines for issuing Notices to Appear (NTAs). Due to concerns of the economic impact of the guidelines, USCIS announced a postponement to the memorandum's implementation on July 30, 2018.

  • Foreign Nationals in the United States – What Documents Should I Carry with Me?
    July 24, 2018

    Clients often ask us what specific documents they should carry with them while they are in the United States, whether they find themselves in their hometown or have need for domestic U.S. travel. In addition, highways and roads located on the U.S./Canada and U.S./Mexico border have traditionally been monitored up to 100 miles inland. Here's what you should know.

  • USCIS Expands Authority to Deny Immigration Benefits Filings Without Requests for Evidence
    July 17, 2018

    On July 13, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a new guidance memo for its adjudicators indicating that commencing on September 11, 2018, adjudicators may deny any and all applications or petitions without first issuing requests for evidence or notices of intent to deny if the original submission filed with the agency lacks initial evidence to establish eligibility for the specific benefit sought.

  • Effectively Preparing for USCIS Site Visits
    July 9, 2018

    Just over a year ago, President Trump signed his "Buy American, Hire American" executive order which has since reshaped American immigration law. As part of this directive, the Department of Justice (DOJ) began an aggressive site visit program to ensure employers of foreign nationals are in total compliance with H-1B and L-1 visa requirements. These visits by the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (FDNS) are typically unannounced. As such, it is important to be prepared in advance. Here is some general information on what to expect and how to prepare.

  • President Trump’s Travel Ban Approved by U.S. Supreme Court
    June 28, 2018

    Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion of Trump v. Hawaii, the case on the third iteration of President Trump’s travel entry ban. This version of the ban was issued as a presidential proclamation in September of last year. It prohibits emigration and restricts travel to America from seven countries, most of which are predominantly Muslim. This case has been highly controversial since Mr. Trump issued his first travel ban a week after he took office. This is the first time the Supreme Court has considered the merits of a policy so controversial and political that it has essentially consumed the administration since day one. 

  • U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions Steps in on Immigration Court Ruling
    June 15, 2018

    On June 11, 2018, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions overturned an immigration appeals court decision granting asylum to a Salvadoran woman, Ms. A.B., fleeing domestic abuse. This decision rejects nearly two decades of precedent and is the latest development in defining asylum eligibility.

  • New Memorandum of Understanding Increases Collaboration Between the DOJ and USCIS
    June 11, 2018

    On May 11, 2018, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) announcing an increase in their collaboration to "better detect and eliminate fraud, abuse and discrimination by employers bringing foreign visa workers to the United States." This new MOU expands the ongoing partnership established in 2010 between the USCIS and the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division. Now, the DOJ’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) and the USCIS’s Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (FDNS) will "collaborate to identify the types of information” relevant to each other’s investigations and “promptly share that information” with each other. 

  • The U.S. State Department to Release New Limitations on Student Visas for Chinese Nationals
    June 8, 2018

    In December 2017, the White House released a new National Security Strategy aimed at reducing “economic theft by non-traditional intelligence collectors” and protecting American intellectual property by tightening visa procedures. On May 29, 2018, as part of the new strategy, the State Department released plans for new visa restrictions on Chinese students studying STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). These new restrictions are expected as early as June 11, 2018.

  • For Students in the United States on Visas, USCIS Policy Change Brings New Risks
    May 29, 2018

    A new policy memo governing accrual of unlawful status is poised to impact students staying in the United States on F, J and M visas (academic, vocational and exchange students and their dependents) with significant immigration consequences if they fail to comply with new, punitive rules. Accrual of unlawful status has significant consequences – it can impact a student or exchange visitor's ability to receive future U.S. immigration benefits. Indeed, an overstay can result in bars of U.S. reentry lasting three years, ten years or possibly forever. Here’s what employers (and those on the affected visas) need to know.

  • Implications of the Impending Termination of Temporary Protected Status for Hundreds of Thousands and Related I-9 Compliance Issues
    May 21, 2018

    On May 4, 2018, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced that it will terminate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for immigrants from Honduras. The effective date will be January 20, 2020.

  • The Trump Administration's Efforts to Rein in H-1B Visas - What You Need to Know
    May 11, 2018

    The H-1B visa category has been modified many times over the past 65 years. H-1B visas facilitate the entry of foreign national professionals, while also providing safeguards that maintain the integrity of the U.S. labor market. The H-1B is considered to be a major workhorse among non-immigrant visa options - it allows U.S. companies to avail themselves of global talent to ensure that they and our country remain competitive in the world market.

  • Canada's Cannabis Act and Its Impact on Canadians Seeking Entry to the United States
    May 3, 2018

    In September 2018, the Canadian government is slated to pass the Cannabis Act which will amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act that is currently in effect in Canada. The Act will legalize the possession of cannabis in small amounts and will permit Canadians to grow and purchase cannabis.

  • Immigration Update: DACA Preserved (for now) and Supreme Court Travel Ban Decision Looms
    May 1, 2018

    A Federal District Court Judge recently ordered that DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program protections must stay in place and that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which administers the program, must resume accepting new applications. The judge characterized the Trump administration's decision to phase out DACA as "arbitrary and capricious because the department failed to adequately explain its conclusion that the program was unlawful".

  • Social Media Vetting Scheduled to Begin at Consular Posts on May 29, 2018
    April 24, 2018

    On March 30, 2018, the U.S. Department of State issued a notice of request for public comment in the Federal Register regarding a new rule it intends to apply to all visa applications by foreign nationals for visitor visas, temporary work visas and immigrant visas. This rule includes a proposal that an estimated 14.7 million people annually will be asked to submit their social media usernames for the past five years prior to submitting their visa application.

  • USCIS Completes the Random Selection Process of Fiscal Year 2019 H-1B Cap Filings
    April 17, 2018

    On April 12, 2018, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it had completed the H-1B cap lottery selection process.

  • What to Do After Your Company Has Filed all of its H-1B Petitions now That the April 1st Deadline Has Passed
    April 3, 2018

    The frenzy of H-1B preparation and filing has finally ended. H-1B petitions will be reviewed by officers at one of the two United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Service Centers accepting petitions. USCIS has announced that it has received in excess of the maximum 85,000 petitions by the fifth business day of April. What is next?

  • U.S. Citizenship Services Mission Statement Changed to Align with "Buy American, Hire American" Policies Under the Trump Administration
    March 21, 2018

    On February 22, 2018, L. Francis Cissna, the Director of U.S. Citizenship Services (USCIS) announced a significant change to the agency's mission statement that aligns with the Trump Administration's "Buy American, Hire American" directives designed to protect American workers. This change will go into effect immediately.

  • Recent Updates on Immigrant Protection Legislation Under the Trump Administration
    March 15, 2018

    States, counties and municipalities are all passing legislation opposing the Trump administration's crackdown on the undocumented. The latest includes Westchester County, New York, which approved a bill on March 12 protecting the undocumented, but stopped short of calling it a sanctuary law.

  • Proposed Changes to Family-Based Immigration Under President Trump: Would Your Family Be Affected?
    March 5, 2018

    President Trump has communicated his desire to cut down on family-based immigration, or what he calls "chain migration,” a longstanding pillar of the American immigration system that enables citizens and permanent residents to bring their relatives to the United States.

  • How Recent Updates in U.S. Immigration Policies May Affect Your Business
    February 28, 2018

    U.S. immigration news continues to make headlines. Here are some updates on how your business could be affected by them.

  • Tax Debtors Could Lose U.S. Passports Under New Law
    February 1, 2018

    On December 3, 2015, the "Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act" (FAST ACT) was passed by Congress and signed into law on December 4, 2015. An important, but widely overlooked provision of the law, which went into effect on January 1, 2018, is the provision by which the U.S. government may revoke or deny the U.S. passport of an individual with a "seriously delinquent tax debt."

  • The Narrowing of the NAFTA Visa Category for Canadian and Mexican Citizens Classified as Economist - a Warning Shot to Employers
    January 2, 2018

    On December 20, 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) publicized a policy memorandum it originally released on November 20, 2017, narrowing the scope of those eligible for the TN Economist visa classification. The memorandum stated that applicants qualifying for the profession of Economist must "engage in activities consistent with the profession of economist," which marks a departure from how occupations that fell under this visa category were interpreted until the release of this guidance.

  • The H-1B Filing Season for 2018 is Just Around the Corner
    December 11, 2017

    On April 1, 2018, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting cap subject H-1B petitions for professional workers who will start employment on October 1, 2018. In past years, the high demand for these visas – and the limited supply of them – has resulted in an oversubscription of petition filings. There are only 65,000 visas available per fiscal year, with an additional 20,000 set aside for those who have graduated from master’s degree programs in the United States.

  • Supreme Court Upholds Travel Ban Pending Challenges in Lower Courts – What Businesses Need to Know
    December 6, 2017

    On December 4, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the administration’s current travel ban targeting people from six Muslim-majority countries to go into effect. The ban, which is the third iteration of travel restrictions introduced by the administration, will remain in effect while legal challenges continue in lower courts. The nine justices, with two justices dissenting, granted the administration’s request to lift two injunctions imposed by lower courts that had partially blocked the ban, implemented by the administration after the inauguration of President Trump in January.

  • The Impact of U.S. Immigration Changes Over the Past Year Under the Trump Administration: What You Need to Know
    November 15, 2017

    In this alert, Roxanne Levine explores the impact on businesses of sweeping U.S. immigration changes over the past year under the Trump Administration. The policy changes she discusses include: increased worksite enforcement by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, increased challenges in the H-1B visa petition area, the increase in personal interviews related to adjustment of status applications, the implications of the USCIS’s rescinding its policy of giving deference to previously adjudicated nonimmigrant petitions where parties, facts and circumstances of the case remained the same and the State Department’s change in policy to issuance of timing of activities in the United States.

  • U.S. Citizenship Services Rescinds Former Deferential Policy Regarding Nonimmigrant Visa Petitions
    October 31, 2017

    U.S. Citizenship Services (USCIS) rescinded its long-honored policy guidelines that were instituted in April 2004, and were in effect until October 23, 2017 regarding giving deference to the adjudication of prior nonimmigrant petitions on behalf of new petition filings.

  • October 2017 Update on Changes to U.S. Immigration Policies Under the Trump Administration and Latest Travel Ban News
    October 19, 2017

    The Trump administration proposes to make sweeping changes to U.S. immigration policies. On October 8, 2017, the White House issued an Immigration Principles and Policies Statement, which was followed by separate supporting statements from the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of Justice.

  • U.S. Department of State Announces Revised Registration Dates for Diversity Lottery Program and Voids all Prior Entries Submitted to Date for October 2017
    October 17, 2017

    On Monday, October 16, the U.S. Department of State announced that due to a technical issue, the DV-2019 entry period that commenced on October 3 has been closed. The Department of State further advised that all entries submitted between October 3 and October 10 would be voided and excluded from the system.

  • USCIS Announces Sweeping Changes to Policies Involving In-Person Interviews, H-1B Premium Processing, Employment Authorization and Refugee Admissions Targets
    October 4, 2017

    On September 28, 2017, the Office of the Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) Ombudsman hosted a stakeholder call that offered more details about the new personal interview requirements for employment-based adjustment of status applicants. USCIS confirmed that only cases filed before March 6, 2017 will be adjudicated by the USCIS Service Centers under prior procedures without requiring an interview.

  • Travel Ban Update: New Presidential Proclamation Restricts Travel to the United States From Eight Countries
    September 27, 2017

    On September 24, President Trump issued the "Presidential Proclamation Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats." This proclamation serves to update and expand the preexisting immigration order that was signed in March 2017 and expired on September 24, 2017.

  • Registration for This Year's Diversity Lottery Program Starts on October 3, 2017: Here's What to Know
    September 19, 2017

    The U.S. State Department administered DV Lottery Program awards immigrant visas (green cards) to individuals hailing from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. This year there are 50,000 DV visas available. The dates established for electronic DV Lottery applications are between noon on October 3, 2017, and noon on November 7, 2017, Eastern Standard Time.

  • DACA Rescinded by Trump Administration: What Employers Need to Know
    September 8, 2017

    On September 5, 2017, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program, which was created by Executive Action in June 2012 will be terminated in six months.

  • Longstanding U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services Policies Reviewed and Reversed by Trump Administration With Substantial Effect on Applicants for U.S. Permanent Residence
    September 7, 2017

    Two longstanding policies adhered to by U. S. Citizenship Services have been reversed by the Trump administration and the U.S. Department of Justice.

  • Recent Developments in U.S. Immigration Law: H-1B Visa Category, Nonimmigrant Visa Applications Abroad and Suspension of Nonimmigrant Visa Processing in Russia
    August 29, 2017

    U.S. immigration law practitioners are expecting a turbulent fall ahead with upcoming H-1B adjudications challenges by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, a suspension of nonimmigrant visa applications in Russia and closer scrutiny in general for nonimmigrants applying for temporary work visas at U.S. consular posts abroad.

  • The RAISE Act and Trump's Proposed New Legal Immigration System: What Might All This Mean for American Businesses?
    August 8, 2017

    On August 2, President Trump unveiled the RAISE Act, a Republican-sponsored bill, co-authored by Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton and Louisiana Senator David Purdue. According to The Washington Post, the bill's proposed changes could reduce annual legal immigration by 50 percent of today's roughly one million new green card holders down to 500,000. The bill would also reconfigure the current employment-based immigration system and institute a skills-based point system that would give certain immigrants priority based on such factors as age, educational level, offered annual salary, entrepreneurial investment and English language proficiency.

  • Employers Must Use New Form I-9 as of September 18, 2017
    July 27, 2017

    United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced a revised and updated version of Form I-9 that employers must use to verify identity and employment authorization of all new hires, effective September 18, 2017. Each employer that recruits, hires or refers employees for a fee in the United States is required to complete the Form I-9 within three days of the hiring of a new employee.

  • Early Summer 2017 U.S. Business Immigration Update
    June 28, 2017

    It has been a year of major policy shifts in U.S. immigration. In this alert, we provide an update on recent developments in business immigration in the United States.

  • The U.S. Department of Labor Announces Increased Enforcement Efforts of All Foreign Visa Worker Programs
    June 8, 2017

    On June 6, 2017, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta announced that the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) will conduct increased enforcement efforts encompassing all of the foreign visa worker programs administered by the USDOL, including the H-1B specialty occupation nonimmigrant visa, H-2A and H-2B seasonal and agricultural worker visa programs as well as the permanent foreign labor certification program.

  • How the Trump Administration is Seeking to Implement "Extreme Vetting" of Certain Visa Applicants
    May 15, 2017

    On May 4, 2017, the U.S. Department of State issued a notice in the Federal Register evidencing that it intends to carry out President Trump's goal of "extreme vetting." 

  • "Buy American, Hire American" and the H-1B Fallout
    May 9, 2017

    On April 18, 2017, President Trump signed a new executive order, "Buy American, Hire American." With the stated goals of promoting economic and national security, strengthening the middle class and protecting the economic interests of American workers, the new executive order focuses on promoting and protecting American goods and workers. The order specifically highlights the H-1B visa program as a target for reforms.

  • How Security Enhancements to Electronic Devices for Certain Airports With Commercial Flights to the United States Affects Travelers
    April 3, 2017

    On March 21, 2017, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released new restrictions on electronic devices carried on U.S.-bound direct flights from 10 airports in primarily Muslim countries.

  • Executive Travel Ban Update: President Trump Issues Narrower Executive Order
    March 8, 2017

    On March 6, 2017, President Trump signed a follow-up Executive Order (EO) revoking the original travel ban of January 27, 2017.

  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Suspends Premium Processing for all H-1B Petitions Commencing Monday, April 3, 2017
    March 6, 2017

    On March, 3, 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it was suspending premium processing for all H-1B petitions commencing April 3, 2017.

  • What Employers Should Know About How the January 27 Executive Order Reshapes the Current State of Immigration in the United States
    January 31, 2017

    On January 27, 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order (EO) dramatically reshaping the current state of immigration in the United States.

  • Does Security Trump All: Will Muslims Face Extreme Vetting Under the Trump Administration?
    January 12, 2017

    In December 2015, President-elect Trump called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” This idea of a Muslim ban has taken many iterations with the latest being an “extreme vetting” on Muslims entering the United States.

  • H-1B Cap Season - It's Time to Prepare for April 2017
    January 5, 2017

    On April 3, 2017, the filing period will begin for new H-1B petitions to be counted against the annual H-1B quota (H-1B cap) for the fiscal year beginning October 1, 2017. We strongly encourage employers to begin determining now which of their current or future employees will require H-1B status.

  • Immigration Policy and President Trump – Deciphering and Reconfiguring our Immigration System
    November 16, 2016

    During his campaign, President-elect Trump had promised to place the issue of immigration at the top of his agenda once sworn in as president in January 2017.

  • United States FY 2018 Diversity Visa Lottery Registration – Submit Tuesday, October 4, 2016 to Monday, November 7, 2016
    October 26, 2016

    The State Department will be accepting online registrations for the 2018 Diversity Visa (DV) Program commencing at noon on Tuesday, October 4, 2016 and closing on Monday, November 7, 2016 at noon EST.

  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security Increases Optional Practical Training for STEM Students
    April 7, 2016

    The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is amending its regulations regarding Optional Practical Training (OPT) for F-1 nonimmigrant students with qualifying degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) from accredited U.S. colleges or universities.

  • U.S. Revises Visa Waiver Program Requirements (ESTA)
    February 4, 2016

    On January 21, 2016, the U.S. implemented a long-expected change to the Visa Waiver Program. The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) permits visitors of certain countries to enter the U.S. without having to first obtain a B-1/B-2 visitor visa at a U.S. consular post abroad. Currently, 38 countries participate in the program.

  • Time to Start Preparing Your 2016 H-1B Petitions
    January 12, 2016

    On April 1, 2016, the filing period will begin for new H-1B petitions to be counted against the annual H-1B quota (H-1B cap) for the fiscal year beginning October 1, 2016.

  • USCIS Permits Early Filings of Adjustment of Status Applications
    September 16, 2015

    On September 9, 2015, USCIS announced a major change to its process for accepting adjustment of status applications submitted by foreign nationals in the US.

  • U.S. Citizenship Services Announces Delays in Card Production
    August 31, 2015

    The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that they are experiencing delays in producing employment authorization and permanent resident cards.

  • Is Your Company Planning to File H-1B Petitions This Year?
    January 26, 2015

    On April 1, 2015, the filing period will begin for new H-1B petitions to be counted against the annual H-1B quota (H-1B cap) for the fiscal year beginning October 1, 2015. We strongly encourage employers to begin determining now which of their current or future employees will require H-1B status.

  • President Announces New Immigration Initiatives to Impact Business Community
    November 24, 2014

    In his speech to the nation on November 20, President Obama announced a number of initiatives that will significantly change the immigration process.

  • United States FY 2016 Diversity Visa Lottery Registration Open – Submit Before November 3
    October 1, 2014

    The State Department is now accepting online registrations for the 2016 Diversity Visa (DV) Program. The registration period will close on Monday, November 3, 2014 at noon EST. 

  • Is Your Company Planning to File H1-B Petitions This Year? It's Time to Prepare Petitions for Fiscal Year 2015!
    January 6, 2014

    On April 1, 2014, the filing period will begin for new H-1B petitions to be counted against the annual H-1B quota (H-1B cap) for the fiscal year beginning October 1, 2014. We strongly encourage employers to begin determining which of their current or future employees will require H-1B status.

  • Attorneys Have a 'Lot to Analyze' in Gauging the Impact of DOMA Ruling on Client Benefits
    June 28, 2013

    Lawyers say it will take time for same-sex couples to receive the federal benefits now available to them after Wednesday's ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court declaring the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional (NYLJ, June 27). And they warned that those wed in New York should remain wary about venturing into any of the 37 states where their marriages are not recognized.

  • Supreme Court Landmark Decision Paves Way for Same-Sex Spouse Immigration Benefits
    June 26, 2013

    In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act. This ruling will pave the way for same-sex spouses to be sponsored for family based permanent residence and included as derivatives in employment-based green card and nonimmigrant cases.

  • Is Your Company Planning to File H1-B Petitions This Year?
    March 1, 2013

    On April 1, 2013, the filing period will begin for new H-1B petitions to be counted against the annual H-1B quota (H-1B cap) for the fiscal year beginning October 1, 2013. We strongly encourage employers to begin determining which of their current or future employees will require H-1B status.

  • Deferred Action Program Update
    August 14, 2012

    US Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that commencing August 15th, it will begin to accept applications for deportation relief from young persons without immigration status who were brought to the USA as children.

  • Two Significant Developments in US Immigration Law
    June 19, 2012

    More significant news occurred on June 15, 2012 when President Obama, by Executive Order, announced that, effective immediately, individuals brought to the United States as children who do not pose a risk to national security or public safety and meet other key criteria will be eligible to receive “deferred action.” On June 8, the President also signed a bill into law allowing Israeli investors to apply for the E2 visa, which lets beneficiaries live and work in the USA for an extended period of time in order to oversee a major investment in the United States. The bill was approved in Congress on May 31.

  • H-1B Cap Reached for Fiscal Year 2013
    June 14, 2012

    The US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) announced that as of June 11, 2012, it had reached the statutory cap for both Regular and Master’s Degree H-1Bs for Fiscal Year 2013. The current annual cap on the H-1B category is 65,000 and 20,000 for the Master’s Degree. The USCIS will reject cap-subject petitions for H-1B specialty occupation workers seeking an employment start date in Fiscal Year 2013 that arrive after June 11.

  • Do Your Employees Need H-1B Visas? It’s Time to File Petitions for Fiscal Year 2013
    March 5, 2012

    On April 1, 2012, the filing period will begin for new H-1B petitions to be counted against the annual H-1B quota (H-1B cap) for the fiscal year beginning October 1, 2012. We strongly encourage employers to begin determining which of their current or future employees will require H-1B status.

  • Do Your Employees Need H-1B Visas? Its Time to File Petitions for Fiscal Year 2012
    March 1, 2011

    On April 1, 2011, the filing period will begin for new H-1B petitions to be counted against the annual H-1B quota (H-1B cap) for the fiscal year beginning October 1, 2011. We strongly encourage employers to begin determining which of their current or future employees will require H-1B status.

  • H1B Cap Visa Numbers
    January 26, 2011

    USCIS announced this week that there are only 19,800 H1B cap visa numbers remaining in the pool of H1B visas it allocates each fiscal year.  Once USCIS has received 19,800 H1B petitions, employers will only be permitted to employ H1B employees who have previously held H1B visa status, and new H1B petitions may only be filed commencing in April 2012 for October 1st, 2012 employment start dates.

  • Your Best Employee Has Only Two Years Left In H-1B Status. What Are Your Options?
    September 1, 2010

    One of your best employees is nearing the expiration of his eligibility to work in the United States in H-1B1 status. How do you protect both your company and your investment in this employee?

  • Foreign Investments Help Fund Commercial Development
    September 1, 2010

    In the wake of the financial meltdown and subsequent signs of economic recovery, opportunities are becoming more prevalent for those looking to diversify and expand their investments. Luckily, there are various ways to acquire funding for development projects that are both available and underutilized. The Employment-Based visa program is one such tool, particularly the EB-5 visa category. 

  • I-9 Forms – The Who, What, Why and Where
    June 1, 2010

    As immigration continues to grab the headlines, it is interesting to note that these reforms often directly affect hiring processes and procedures. As enforcement of immigration regulations increase in tandem with fines, and in some cases criminal prosecutions, it is important to review your firm’s I-9 procedures.


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