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San Francisco Bay Area Immigration Blog

USCIS to Halt Premium Processing of H1-B Visas for Up to Six Months

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced that it will suspend expedited processing of visas for skilled workers in specialty occupations.  The suspension will start on April 3, 2017, and last up to six months.  Premium processing allows for an H1-B visa petition to be adjudicated within 15 days of filing, for a fee

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TRAVEL ADVISORY: 9th Circuit Upholds Temporary Restraining Order of Trump’s Travel Ban Aimed at Muslims

On January 27, 2017, Donald Trump signed an Executive Order (hereinafter “EO”) called “Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals.” The EO immediately (1) Implements a travel ban from seven designated Muslim countries for 90 days; (2) Suspends refugee admissions for 120 days; and (3) Suspends interview waivers at US consulates abroad. On February 3, 2017, a Federal District Court Judge

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Employers Must Now Use New I-9 Form

Employers must now use the new version of Form I-9 when verifying the identity and work eligibility of new employees. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services accepted the old version through January 21, 2017. Starting January 22, 2017 employers must use the new form only. USCIS will hold a stakeholder teleconference on January 31, 2017, to

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New Final Rule Expands Options for International Entrepreneurs

DHS published a final rule which will allow some international entrepreneurs more flexibility when applying to enter the US to start and/or expand their businesses. The new final rule, which was published on January 17, 2017 – just days before Trump’s inauguration – will take effect on July 17, 2017, unless the new GOP-led Congress

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New Legal Standard Issued for National Interest Waiver Cases

Foreign workers who can prove their work is in the “national interest” to the country can obtain permanent residency in the US without having to go through the Department of Labor PERM labor certification process. This puts such “national interest” workers on a quicker and often times cheaper pathway to obtaining their green cards through

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Obama Ends “Wet-foot, Dry-Foot” Policy for Cuban Migrants

President Obama announced the immediate end of a 21-year policy known as “wet-foot, dry-foot,” which for many years has allowed Cuban immigrants without documentation to be paroled (allowed to stay) in the U.S. once they set foot on U.S. soil without permission. Often, those fleeing Cuba made the treacherous 90-mile journey from Cuba to Florida

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Supreme Court to Hear Challenge to Obama Immigration Actions

In January, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it would hear the case against President Obama’s executive action that would allow millions of undocumented immigrants relief from deportation, and the ability to obtain work permits. The challenge is led by twenty-six states arguing that the President’s executive action far exceeds the scope of his presidential

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Changes to E-1 and E-2 Visa Processing in Canada

Effective March 1, 2016, all new Canadian E-1 and E-2 visa applicants, as well as Canadian entities with expired registrations, must now apply to the U.S. Consulate General in Toronto. The U.S. Embassy in Ottawa and U.S. consular posts in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, and Montreal will offer E-1 and E-2 visa appointments for employees (and

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Exorbitant Wait Times for Hearing Dates in Overworked Immigration Courts

According to a September 21, 2015 TRAC report, immigration courts throughout the nation continue to experience severe backlogs and delays. In January 2015, thousands of individuals in immigration proceedings were issued hearing notices dates in 2019, approximately five years from now: on November 29th, 2019. The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) stressed that the

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DHS Issues New STEM OPT Proposed Regulations

On October 19, 2015 DHS published a proposed regulation that will significantly change the F-1 Optional Practice Training program if the rule becomes final. The proposed rule expands STEM OPT benefis, but also responds directly to an August 12, 2015 decision from the US District Court for the District of Columbia which vacated the 2008

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