Petitioners are advised that the Department of State Visa Office is conducting random telephonic interviews with petitioners of approved nonimmigrant visa petitions to verify factual information relating to the beneficiaries and the proposed employment. This verification process conducted through the Kentucky Consular Center (KCC) may involve research on petitioners, including review of the company website, company contact information, and use of Google earth to confirm existence of a physical office. Telephonic interviews may include questions confirming submission of petition, date of incorporation, physical location of petitioner, number of employees, names of shareholders, location of attorney of record, and other general questions regarding petitioner’s business operations.
On Aug. 13, 2010, President Obama signed into law Public Law 111-230, which requires the submission of an additional $2000 for certain H-1B petitions and $2250 for certain L-1 petitions. Those who are subject to the additional fees include petitioners who employ 50 or more U.S. employees and more than 50 percent of its U.S. employees are in H-1B or L status (including L-1A, L-1B and L-2). For example, ABC company has 60 employees and has 35 employees in H-1B and L-1 status. ABC Company would be required to pay the additional fee for all new H-1B and L-1 petition filings. Extension of status petitions are not subject to the additional fee. The new fees are effective immediately, applying to all petitions submitted on or after Aug. 14, 2010 through Sept. 20, 2014.
As of August 13, 2010, the USCIS has received approximately 29,700 Bachelor's degree petitions and 12,300 U.S. Master's degree petitions. The USCIS will continue to accept H-1B petitions for FY2011 with an October 1, 2010 start date until the quota of 65,000 Bachelor’s degree petitions and 20,000 U.S. Master’s degree petitions is met.
The new visa bulletin is out at this link: http://travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_5113.html. Employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current for all countries; EB-2 remains current, except for India and China which are at May 2006; EB-3 is at Dec. 2004 for all countries, except for India (Jan. 2002), China (Oct. 2003), and Mexico (currently unavailable); EB-3 other workers is at March 2003 for all countries, except India (Jan. 2002)and Mexico (currently unavailable); EB-4, religious workers, EB-5, and targeted employment areas and regional centers are all current. Family based petitions are backlogged, with the most recent date at Jan. 2010.
USCIS has added new online customer service options, including online inquiry and improved case status information features. The electronic inquiry is currently only available for case status information on Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card (Form I-90) and Application for Naturalization (Form N-400) cases that are outside normal processing times. Another added feature is online case status notification and change of address now available in Spanish. For more information on the new customer service features, visit http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.5af9bb95919f35e66f614176543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=1bb8d3e85433a210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD&vgnextchannel=68439c7755cb9010VgnVCM10000045f3d6a1RCRD
USCIS has announced revised filing instructions for numerous petitions, including its Form I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker), Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative), and Form I-539 (Application to Extend/Change Non-Immigrant Status). The new forms instruct petitioners to file their applications at USCIS Lockbox facilities rather than at USCIS Service Centers.
Please be advised that the Nebraska Service Center (NSC) has been experiencing delays in the processing of I-765 EADs and I-131 Advance Paroles. Therefore, we recommend that EAD and AP renewals be filed 4 months prior to the expiration date, the earliest date USCIS will accept renewal applications. For EAD applications that have been pending for more than 90 days, an interim EAD card can be issued. Please contact our office for assistance with expedite procedures for your pending I-765 or I-131 application if your current work authorization is about to expire or if you have an emergent need to travel.
USCIS has announced that beginning October 1, 2010, domestic offices and U.S. territories, including the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam, will no longer be accepting cash payments. Other payment options will include money orders, credit cards, and checks (including personal checks).
In an effort to increase aviation security, DHS has announced its "If You See Something, Say Something” campaign which seeks the public’s support in reporting any suspicious aviation activity. Also, DHS will streamline the pre-screening process for passengers and crews traveling to and from the U.S. by allowing the carrier to submit a single manifest to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's on-line data system.