Form I-9 Verification During EAD Production Delays
Due to Employment Authorization Document (EAD) Production delays, USCIS announced on August 19, 2020 that certain employees may now use Form I-797, Notice of Action to evidence work authorization in lieu of an EAD for Form I-9 Purposes.
The following must apply for the Form I-797 to count as a List C document for Form I-9 compliance:
- The Form I-797 must have an Approval Notice date on or after December 1, 2019 through and including August 20, 2020.
- The Form I-797 must inform an applicant of approval of an Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765).
If the document is eligible, it should be entered as a List C (#7) document that establishes employment authorization. Employees may present their Form I-797 until December 1, 2020.
DHS Extends Flexibility in Requirements Related to Form I-9 Compliance
DHS announced that it has extended the flexibilit in rules related to Form I-9 compliance during the COVID-19 pandemic by an additional 30 days, until September 19, 2020. These include prosecutorial discretion to defer the physical presence requirements associated with the Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) under section 274A of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
Visa Issuance Dates Revised for Mexican E-1, E-2, L-1, and H-1B Visas
Effective August 4, 2020, Mexican nationals may now benefit from increased visa validity periods for the following categories: E-1 Treaty Trader, E-2 Treaty Investor, L-1 Intracompany Executives, Managers or Specialized Knowledge personnel, and H-1B Specialty Occupation Professionals. These increased validity periods are also accompanied by increases in processing fees.
According to the current reciprocity schedule, E-1 and E-2 visas for Mexican nationals can now be issued for up to 48 months. Previously, the maximum validity period was 12 months. For Mexican nationals in the L-1 category, the increased visa validity period has also been increased to 48 months from 12 months. H-1B visas for Mexican nationals can now be issued for up to 36 months.
These updates, which are the first in a decade, may signal improved international cooperation in relation to Mexican investor visa policies. Despite these newest updates, H and L applicants will still experience delays in obtaining visas due to executive orders restricting issuance until December 31, 2020. E visa applicants may also experience delays due to backlogs and increased processing times at the U.S. Consulate General in Ciudad Juarez.
These increased validity periods will ensure Mexican nationals in these categories will benefit from visas authorizing return to the U.S. for a prolonged period of time, without having to plan for additional visa renewals and consular delays due to COVID-19. For E and L visas specifically, applicants may also benefit from having a longer time to achieve business targets before newer companies have had a chance to fully mature.
USCIS Selects Additional Registrations for the FY2021 H-1B Cap
USCIS has started to select additional registrants for the FY2021 H-1B Lottery. These registrations were previously in reserve. USCIS has determined that it needs to increase the number of registrations projected to meet the H-1B regular cap or the advanced degree exemption allocation. As such, the agency is now selecting from registrations held in reserve to meet the H-1B regular cap or advanced degree exemption allocation.
Registrants and representatives will not be notified until the end of the fiscal year if they are not selected. The status of registrations not selected as part of any initial random selection process and not denied will remain as “Submitted.”
Fee Increases Take Effect October 2, 2020
On August 3, 2020, USCIS published a final rule that significantly increases certain immigration and naturalization benefit request fees. The rule, which will be effective October 2, 2020, also removes certain fee exemptions, changes fee waiver requirements, alters premium processing time limits, and modifies inter-country adoption processing. Any application, petition, or request postmarked on or after October 2, 2020, must be accompanied with the fees set forth in the final rule.
Notably, the Final Rule creates separate fees and forms for each visa classification filed on Form I-129, with fees increasing as much as 75% for an L-1 petition. Moreover, the rule removes the reduced filing fees for minor Adjustment of Status applicants. The filing fee for all applicants will change to $1,130, in addition to separate fees for Forms I-765 ($550) and Forms I-131 ($590) filed in connection with applications for adjustment of status.
For additional information regarding how you may benefit from these updates, please contact the experienced Monty & Ramirez immigration attorneys at email@example.com.