We inform you about the major changes to the U.S. immigration system that occurred in the month of June.
Decreased Processing Times
USCIS implemented a national strategy to decrease differences in processing times based on location for Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, and Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. Since 2015, USCIS has experienced an increase in processing times that were not initially projected. The increased filing volumes resulted in some disparity in the processing times among field offices. As USCIS shifts caseloads between its field offices to decrease processing times, applicants may be scheduled to appear for an interview at a field office outside of their normal jurisdiction. USCIS says caseload changes will not affect where applicants attend their biometrics appointments.
Visa Bulletin July
F2 is current for July
E-1 & E-2 Change of Status for New Zealand Nationals
Under Public Law 115-226, certain New Zealand nationals can now request a change of status to the E-1 nonimmigrant trader classification and the E-2 nonimmigrant investor classification. Starting June 10th, eligible New Zealand nationals already in the United States in a lawful nonimmigrant status can file Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, to request a change of status to E-1 or E-2 classification. A qualifying employer can also file Form I-129 on their behalf.
Spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age of E-1 and E-2 nonimmigrants, and employees who are already in the United States may also seek to change their status to E-1 or E-2 classification as dependents by filing Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status.
Any Form I-129 and Form I-539 for a New Zealand national requesting a change of status to E-1 or E-2 classification filed before June 10th, 2019, will be rejected. However, you can refile together, with the required fee, on or after June 10th.
USCIS Reaches H-2B Cap
USCIS received enough petitions to reach the additional maximum 30,000 visas made available for returning workers under the H-2B cap for fiscal year 2019. USCIS started accepting H-2B petitions on May 8th under the temporary final rule that increased the cap by up to 30,000 additional H-2B nonimmigrant visas for returning workers through the end of fiscal year 2019. Cap-subject petitions received after June 5th will be returned, along with any accompanying filing fees. USCIS is still accepting H-2B petitions that are exempt from the congressionally mandated cap. This includes petitions for:
- Current H-2B workers in the United States petitioning to extend their stay and, if applicable, change the terms of their employment or change their employers.
- Fish roe processors, fish roe technicians, and/or supervisors of fish roe processing.
- Workers performing labor or services in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands and/or Guam from November 28th, 2009, until December 31st, 2029.
At Panteva Law Group LLC, we are committed to helping clients with all of their immigration matters. Whether you need assistance with employment immigration or family-based immigration, we have the skills and experience you need to secure a positive outcome in your case. Request a case review today!