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USCIS Will Accept Only the New Version of Form I-907 Beginning June 1

Beginning Monday, June 1, 2015 USCIS will accept only the new version (edition date: 01/29/2015) of Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service. The edition date is printed at the bottom of every page. We will reject previous editions of this form if you submit them on or after June 1.

We issued the new version on May 1 and have continued to accept old versions during the transition period, which ends Sunday, May 31.

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6th Annual SAVE User Forum

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The Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) Program

SAVE is an information service that helps public benefit-issuing agencies, institutions, and licensing agencies determine the immigration status of benefit applicants so only those entitled to benefits receive them. To qualify to use SAVE, your agency must be a federal, state or local government agency or licensing bureau that provides a public benefit or license, or is otherwise allowed by law to engage in an activity where the verification of immigration status is appropriate. 

Please note that individual citizens and private sector entities are NOT eligible to register with SAVE.

For Agencies That Have Not Yet Registered With SAVE:

Visit the SAVE Toolkit to learn about the advantages of registering your federal, state or local licensing or benefit-granting agency with SAVE.  You can also learn more about the advantages of registering with SAVE by participating in a SAVE Program Overview webinar.

For Agencies That Are Registered With SAVE:

SAVE invites registered agencies to attend the 6th Annual SAVE User Forum on Wednesday, June 24, 2015. The web-based Forum’s theme is: SAVE: Serving your Verification Needs.  SAVE staff will share recent SAVE innovations, highlight best practices and provide you the opportunity to share your experiences and comment on our services. Registered agencies should log in to the SAVE System for instructions on signing up for the User Forum.

This year’s forum offers two webinar sessions:

  • Session 1     9:00am to 12:00pm (Eastern Time)
  • Session 2     1:00pm to 4:00pm (Eastern Time)

You only need to register for one session since both sessions will provide the same information. However, you may sign up for both if space permits.

 

 

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Employment Authorization for Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses Final Rule in Effect Today, May 26, 2015

Certain H-4 dependent spouses may now apply for employment authorization under the H-4 rule. On February 24, 2015, USCIS announced that effective today, May 26, 2015, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would begin accepting applications for employment authorization from certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants who are seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident status. 

Starting today, you may apply for employment authorization under this rule if your H-1B nonimmigrant spouse:

  • Is the principal beneficiary of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker; or
  • Has been granted H-1B status under sections 106(a) and (b) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000 as amended by the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act (AC21).  AC21 permits H-1B nonimmigrants seeking lawful permanent residence to work and remain in the United States beyond the six-year limit on their H-1B status.

For more information on applying for employment authorization under the H-4 rule, please visit the Employment Authorization for Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses Web page and the list of Frequently Asked Questions that we have compiled since we announced the H-4 rule in February.

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USCIS Temporarily Suspends Premium Processing for Extension of Stay H-1B Petitions

Please note: This is an update to the alert that we issued on Tuesday, May 19 with the same headline. That alert can be found in the USCIS Archive.

Starting May 26, 2015, USCIS will temporarily suspend premium processing for all H-1B extension of stay petitions until July 27, 2015. During this time frame, petitioners will not be able to file Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, for a Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, requesting an extension of the stay for an H-1B nonimmigrant.

USCIS will continue to premium process H-1B extension of stay petitions filed with Form I-907 premium requests prior to May 26, 2015.

USCIS will refund the premium processing fee if:

  • A petitioner filed H-1B petitions prior to May 26, 2015, using the premium processing service, and
  • USCIS did not act on the case within the 15-calendar-day period.

Premium Processing Remains Available for Certain H-1B Petitions

Premium processing remains available for:

  • Form I-129 H-1B petitions subject to the H-1B cap and cap exempt petitions, as long as the petition is requesting:
    • A change of nonimmigrant status, or
    • Consular notification;
  • Form I-129 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of individuals who already have H-1B nonimmigrant status, as long as the petition is requesting:
    • Consular notification, or
    • An amendment of a previously approved petition that does not include a request for an extension of stay; 

Why We Are Suspending Premium Processing

This temporary suspension will allow USCIS to implement the Employment Authorization for Certain H-4 Spouses final rule in a timely manner and adjudicate applications for employment authorization filed by H-4 nonimmigrants under the new regulations. We anticipate receiving an extremely high volume of Form I-765 applications once the H-4 final rule becomes effective on May 26, 2015, and need to temporarily suspend premium processing to ensure that we can provide good customer service to both H-1B petitioners and H-4 applicants.

We will monitor our workloads closely and may resume accepting premium processing requests before July 27, 2015, if we determine that we can once again provide customers with the level of service offered with premium processing.

Expedited Processing

Petitioners may request expedited processing for their H-1B extension of stay petition during the temporary suspension of premium processing. We will review all expedite requests on a case-by-case basis and grant the requests at the discretion of the Director. The burden is on the petitioner to demonstrate that one or more of the expedite criteria have been met.

For further information on how to request expedited processing, please see our Expedite Criteria webpage.
 

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Revised Form I-765 Now Available

***Please note that you may not apply for employment authorization under the new H-4 rule until May 26, 2015***

USCIS recently published the revised Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization with a 02/13/15, edition date. You can download the revised form and details about who may file and where to file Form I-765 from the USCIS forms page.

The revised Form I-765 contains the eligibility category (c)(26) for certain H-4 dependent spouses to apply for employment authorization. If you are filing under the new H-4 rule, please provide the receipt number of your H-1B principal spouse’s most recent Form I-797 Notice of Approval for Form I-129.

Please note that you may not apply for employment authorization under the new H-4 rule until May 26, 2015. While USCIS will continue to accept versions of the form with edition date 05/27/08 or later, H-4 applicants should use the 02/13/15 version of the form to prevent delays or the need for USCIS to issue you a request for evidence. For more information about the H-4 rule and eligibility for employment authorization under the H-4 rule, please visit our Employment Authorization for Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses Web page

USCIS recommends that you download the revised form, which prompts customers to fill out the form completely and helps improve USCIS’ ability to process the form.

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EB-5 Interactive Series: Expenses that are Includable (or Excludable) for Job Creation

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) invites you to participate in the second engagement of the informational series “EB-5 Interactive” on Thursday, June 4, from 1 to 2:15 p.m. (Eastern). The topic of discussion will be expenses that are includable (or excludable) for purposes of estimating job creation.

Economists from the Immigrant Investor Program will make a short presentation and answer non-case specific stakeholder questions concerning this topic.

Why This Is Important

In the Immigrant Investor Program, regional centers and immigrant investors must submit evidence of job creation as a result of investment in a new commercial enterprise. Immigrant investors must file a Form I-526 petition accompanied by evidence that the investment will directly or indirectly create full-time jobs for at least ten qualifying people.

Most regional centers and immigrant investors rely on multiplier tables (also known as input-output modeling) to estimate the number of jobs created. To obtain a valid result, the inputs must be eligible expenses for job creation purposes.

Some types of expenses, such as transfers and transactions costs, are ineligible or limited in their job creation capabilities.

See 8 C.F.R. sections 204.6(m)(3)(ii), 204.6(j)(4)(iii) and 204.6(m)(3)(v).

Who Should Participate

This session is open to the public, but may be most useful to those who have submitted, or will be submitting, Form I-924, Application For Regional Center Under the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program and Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur.

To register for this session, please follow the steps below:
 

  •  Visit our registration page to confirm your participation
  •  Enter your email address and select “Submit"
  •  Select “Subscriber Preferences”
  •  Select the “Event Registration” tab
  •  Provide your full name and organization
  • Complete the questions and select “Submit”


Once we process your registration, you will receive a confirmation email with additional details. If you have any questions regarding the registration process, or if you have not received a confirmation email within two business days, please email us at Public.Engagement@uscis.dhs.gov.

*Note to Media: This engagement is not for press purposes. Please contact the USCIS Press Office at (202) 272-1200 for any media inquiries.

We look forward to engaging with you!

Meeting Invitation

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USCIS Draft Guidance on When to File an Amended H-1B Petition after the Simeio Solutions Decision

On April 9, 2015, USCIS’ Administrative Appeal Office (AAO) issued a precedent decision, Matter of Simeio Solutions, LLC, which held that employers must file amended H-1B petitions when a new Labor Condition Application for Nonimmigrant Workers (LCA) is required due to a change in the H-1B worker’s worksite location. Specifically, the decision stated:

  1. When H-1B employees change their place of employment to a worksite location that requires employers to certify a new Labor Condition Application for Nonimmigrant Workers (LCA) to the Department of Homeland Security, this change may affect the employee’s eligibility for H-1B status; it is therefore a material change for purposes of 8 C.F.R. §§ 214.2(h)(2)(i)(E) and (11)(i)(A) (2014). 
  2. When there is a material change in the terms and conditions of employment, the petitioner must file an amended or new H−1B petition with the corresponding LCA.  

This precedent decision represents the USCIS position that employers are required to file an amended petition before placing an H-1B employee at a new worksite. USCIS will accept comments on the below draft guidance for a limited period of time.

When You Must File an Amended Petition

You must file an amended H-1B petition if your H-1B employee changed or is going to change his or her place of employment to a worksite location outside of the metropolitan statistical area (MSA) or an “area of intended employment” (as defined at 20 CFR 655.715) covered by the existing approved H-1B petition, even if a new LCA is already certified and posted at the new location.

Note: Once you file the amended petition, your H-1B employee can immediately begin to work at the new location. You do not have to wait for a final decision on the amended petition for your H-1B employee to start work at the new location.

When You Do NOT Need to File an Amended Petition

  • A move within an MSA: If your H-1B employee is moving to a new job location within the same MSA or area of intended employment a new LCA is not required. Therefore, you do not need to file an amended H-1B petition. However, you must still post the original LCA in the new work location within the same MSA or area of intended employment. For example, an H-1B employee moving to a new job location within the New York City MSA (NYC) would not trigger the need for a new LCA, but you would still need to post the previously obtained LCA at the new work location. This is required regardless of whether an entire office moved from one location to another within NYC or if just one H-1B employee moves from one client site to another within NYC. 
  • Short term placements: Under certain circumstances, you may place an H-1B employee at a new job location for up to 30 days, and in some cases 60 days (where the employee is still based at the original location), without obtaining a new LCA. See 20 CFR 655.735. In these situations, you do not need to file an amended H-1B petition. 
  • Non-worksite locations: If your H-1B employee is only going to a non-worksite location, you do not need to file an amended H-1B petition. A location is considered to be “non-worksite” if:
    • The H-1B employees are going to a location to participate in employee developmental activity, such as management conferences and staff seminars;
    • The H-1B employees spend little time at any one location; or
    • The job is “peripatetic in nature,” such as situations where their primary job is at one location but they occasionally travel for short periods to other locations “on a casual, short-term basis, which can be recurring but not excessive (i.e., not exceeding five consecutive workdays for any one visit by a peripatetic worker, or 10 consecutive workdays for any one visit by a worker who spends most work time at one location and travels occasionally to other locations).” See 20 CFR 655.715.  

Filing Amended H-1B Petitions

  • If your H-1B employees were changing worksite locations at the time of the Simeio Solutions decision, you have 90 days from the date of this web alert (May 21, 2015) to file amended petitions for H-1B employees who changed their place of employment to an MSA or area of intended employment requiring coverage by a new or different LCA than that submitted with the original H-1B petition. Therefore, if you have not filed an amended petition for an H-1B worker who moved worksite locations before May 21, 2015, you have until August 19, 2015 to file an amended petition.
  • If your H-1B workers changed their worksite location before the Simeio Solutions decision, USCIS will not take adverse action against you or your employees if you, in good faith, relied on prior non-binding agency correspondence and did not file an amended petition due to a change in an MSA or area of intended employment by May 21, 2015. However, as noted above, you must now file an amended petition for these H-1B employees by August 19, 2015.
  • If you do not file an amended petition for these employees by August 19, 2015, you will be out of compliance with USCIS regulation and policy and thus subject to adverse action.  Similarly, your H-1B employees would not be maintaining their nonimmigrant status and would also be subject to adverse action.
  • If your amended H-1B petition is denied, but the original petition is still valid your H-1B employee may return to the worksite covered by the original petition as long as the H-1B employee is able to maintain valid nonimmigrant status at the original worksite. 
  • If your previously-filed amended H-1B petition is still pending, you may still file another amended petition to allow your H-1B employee to change worksite locations immediately upon your latest filing. However, every H-1B amended petition must separately meet the requirements for H-1B classification and any requests for extension of stay.  In the event that the H-1B nonimmigrant beneficiary’s status has expired while successive amended petitions are pending, the denial of any petition or request to amend or extend status will result in the denial of all successive requests to amend or extend status. See Memorandum from Michael Aytes, Acting Director of Domestic Operations (Dec. 27, 2005) for similar instructions about portability petitions.

To the extent possible, you should submit receipt notices of prior petitions. USCIS will determine, on a case-by-case basis, whether a petition was filed before the current I-94 expired.

For More Information

If you have any questions about filing an amended H-1B petition, please visit our Customer Contact Center.

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FAQs: Employment Authorization for Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses

On February 26, 2015, USCIS hosted a teleconference about new regulatory changes, effective May 26, 2015, that extend employment authorization to certain H-4 dependent spouses of certain H-1B nonimmigrants who have already started the process of seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident status. Those eligible include H-4 dependent spouses of principal H-1B nonimmigrants who:

You can find these regulatory changes in sections 214.2(h)(9)(iv), 274a.12(c)(26), and 274a.13 of title 8 of the Code of Federal Regulations (8 CFR 214.2(h)(9)(iv), 8 CFR 274a.12(c)(26), and 8 CFR 274a.13).

Please note that you may not apply for employment authorization under these regulations until May 26, 2015. If granted employment authorization under these regulatory changes, H-4 dependent spouses will receive a Form I-766, Employment Authorization Document (EAD), as proof of that authorization.

We are posting these Frequently Asked Questions in response to this stakeholder teleconference. Please use the hyperlinks below to navigate to the topics of your choice:

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Determining If You May Apply for Employment Authorization

  1. As an H-4 nonimmigrant, would my employment authorization be limited to just my H-1B spouse’s time under AC21? For example, if my H-1B spouse’s petition is approved for the remaining time left in the 6-year period of admission plus the one year under AC21 §§ 106(a) and (b), and my H-4 status is granted the same period of time, how long will my employment authorization be valid for?

      Your employment authorization expiration date generally will match your H-4 nonimmigrant status expiration date. USCIS may grant employment authorization for the maximum time allowed even if the AC21 §§ 106(a) and (b) portion of your H-1B spouse’s extension is only for part of the full validity period. Under this scenario, your H-1B spouse’s extension has been granted under AC21 §§ 106(a) and (b), so you would be eligible for employment authorization for as long as your H-4 status is valid.

  1. Is this a one-time opportunity?

      No, this is not a one-time opportunity. If you are a H-4 nonimmigrant who obtains employment authorization under 8 CFR 274a.12(c)(26), you may file to renew your employment authorization and receive a new EAD as long as you remain eligible for employment authorization as described in 8 CFR 214.2(h)(9)(iv).

  1. Do I need to be in the United States to apply for employment authorization based on my H-4 status?

      Yes, you must be in the United States to apply for employment authorization. You must be in H-4 status to be eligible for employment authorization, and an individual outside of the United States cannot be in H-4 status.

  1. Am I eligible for employment authorization if USCIS revoked my H-1B spouse’s approved Form I-140 petition? 

      In order to qualify for employment authorization as an H-4 nonimmigrant, your H-1B spouse must have been granted H-1B status under sections 106(a) and (b) of AC21 or be the beneficiary of an approved Form I-140. If USCIS revokes the Form I-140 petition, your H-1B spouse is no longer the beneficiary of an approved Form I-140. Therefore, you would not qualify for employment authorization based on that eligibility criterion. You may still qualify for employment authorization if your H-1B spouse has received an extension of stay under sections 106(a) or (b) of AC21. 

  1. My H-1B spouse’s approved Form I-140 was filed by a previous employer. Am I eligible for employment authorization?

      For you to qualify for employment authorization based on your H-4 status, your H-1B spouse must have been granted H-1B status under sections 106(a) and (b) of AC21 or be the beneficiary of an approved Form I-140. USCIS does not require that the approved Form I-140 be filed by your spouse’s current employer or by the same employer who filed your H-1B spouse’s Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker.

  1. What happens to my employment authorization if USCIS revokes my H-1B spouse’s Form I-140?

      We have the discretion to revoke your employment authorization if your H-1B spouse no longer has an approved Form I-140 or is no longer eligible for H-1B status under sections 106(a) and (b) of AC21. Both you and your H-1B spouse must be maintaining your nonimmigrant status for you to be eligible for employment authorization under 8 CFR 274a.12(c)(26).

  1. If I am granted H-4 employment authorization, can I work anywhere (including starting my own business)? 

      Yes. If you are granted employment authorization based on your H-4 status, your employment authorization is unrestricted. This means that your employment authorization is not limited to a specific employer. It also does not prohibit self-employment or starting a business.

  1. Can I employ other people?

      As noted above, employment authorization based on H-4 status under 8 CFR 274a.12(c)(26) is unrestricted. Such employment authorization does not prohibit self-employment, including situations where the H-4 nonimmigrant hires individuals as employees of their business.

Applying for Employment Authorization

  1. Can I file the following applications/petitions concurrently? 
    1. An H-1B extension of stay petition, an H-4 extension of stay application, and an application for employment authorization?

      Yes. You may file your Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization together with your Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status and the Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker filed on behalf of your H-1B spouse. For extensions of nonimmigrant status, the Form I-129 for your H-1B spouse can be filed no more than six months before the date that the employer needs your spouse to work.

  1. A new H-1B petition, a new H-4 change of status application, and an application for employment authorization?

      Yes, but this scenario is possible only if your H-1B spouse has an approved Form I-140 or is requesting an extension of stay under sections 106(a) and (b) of AC21. Your spouse’s employer can file Form I-129 for your H-1B spouse no more than six months before the date the employer needs your spouse to work.

      Please note that under this scenario, we cannot adjudicate your Form I-765 until we make a determination about both your H-1B spouse’s eligibility for H-1B status under sections 106(a) and (b) of AC21 and your eligibility for H-4 nonimmigrant status. 

      In either of the above scenarios, USCIS will not begin the 90-day interim EAD clock until we make a decision on your spouse’s H-1B status and your H-4 status. 

  1. Will the Form I-765 be a paper-based application, or will it be an electronic application?

      If you are applying for employment authorization based on your H-4 nonimmigrant status, you must file a paper Form I-765 application. We will not accept electronic Form I-765 applications.  

  1. What evidence should I, as an H-4 nonimmigrant, submit to demonstrate my eligibility for employment authorization?

      When applying for employment authorization based on your H-4 nonimmigrant status, submit the following with your application to demonstrate eligibility:

  • Evidence of your H-4 nonimmigrant status;
  • Evidence of your qualifying spousal relationship with the H-1B principal nonimmigrant (such as a copy of your marriage certificate);
  • Evidence of your spouse’s H-1B nonimmigrant status, such as:
    • A copy of Form I-797, Notice of Approval, for Form I-129 filed on your H-1B spouse’s behalf (if already approved and not being filed with your application for employment authorization);
    • A copy of your H-1B spouse’s Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Record;
    • The receipt number of the approved Form I-129 filed on behalf of your H-1B spouse (if already approved and not being filed with your application for employment authorization); and/or
    • A legible copy of the personal data pages of your H-1B spouse’s passport, the visas on which he or she last entered the United States, and the latest U.S. admission stamps in his or her passport.
    • If you are applying for employment authorization based on your spouse’s grant of H-1B status under AC21 §§ 106(a) and (b), include the following evidence:
  • Evidence that your H-1B spouse is the beneficiary of a Permanent Labor Certification Application filed at least 365 days before the expiration of his or her six-year limitation of stay as an H-1B nonimmigrant. Such evidence may include, but is not limited to:
    • A copy of a print out from the Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) website or other correspondence from DOL showing the status of  the Permanent Labor Certification Application filed on your H-1B spouse’s behalf; or
    • If DOL certified the Permanent Labor Certification, a copy of Form I-797, Notice of Receipt, for Form I-140 establishing that Form I-140 was filed within 180 days of DOL certifying the Permanent Labor Certification Application; OR
  • Evidence that your H-1B spouse’s Form I-140 was filed at least 365 days before the expiration of his or her six-year limitation of stay as an H-1B, and the Form I-140 remains pending. Such evidence may include, but is not limited to:
    • A copy of your H-1B spouse’s Form I-797 Receipt Notice for Form I-140; or
    • The receipt number of your H-1B spouse’s the pending Form I-140 filed on behalf of the H-1B spouse.
    • If you are applying for employment authorization based on your spouse being a beneficiary of an approved Form I-140, include evidence that the Form I-140 filed on your H-1B spouse’s behalf has been approved.  Such evidence may include, but is not limited to:
      • A copy of the Form I-797 Approval Notice for Form I-140; or
      • A copy of the Form I-797 Receipt Notice for Form I-140 along with an explanation about why the Form I-797 Approval Notice is unavailable.

If you cannot submit the evidence listed on the Basis for Work Authorization section, you must demonstrate your inability to submit such evidence and instead submit secondary evidence, such as an attestation that lists information about the underlying Form I-129 or Form I-140 petition. 

Such attestation can include the receipt number of the most current Form I-129 extension of stay filed on your H-1B spouse’s behalf or the receipt number of the approved Form I-140 petition filed on your H-1B spouse’s behalf, and the petitioner’s/beneficiary’s names in the underlying Form I-129 or I-140. If you cannot obtain such secondary evidence, explain your inability to do so and submit two or more sworn affidavits by non-parties who have direct knowledge of the relevant events and circumstances.

  1. Will USCIS require me to submit original documents with my application for employment authorization?

      As noted in the instructions for Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, you may submit a legible photocopy of an original document with your application, unless we later specifically request the original document in a request for evidence. If you submit original documents when not required, those documents may remain a part of the record and will not be automatically returned.

  1. Will premium processing be available for Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization?

      No. Premium processing is not available for Form I-765 applications filed by H-4 dependent spouses under 8 CFR 274a.12(c)(26).

  1. What if my Form I-539 for H-4 status is still pending on May 26, 2015? Can I file Form I-765 immediately? Will USCIS match my Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization to my pending Form I-539?

      If you have filed a Form I-539 and it is still pending on May 26, 2015, we encourage you to wait until your Form I-539 has been adjudicated before filing a Form I-765. This will prevent delays in the adjudication of your Form I-765. Additionally, because we anticipate a high volume of filings, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to match your Form I-765 with your Form I-539. 

How We Will Adjudicate Your Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765)

  1. Will USCIS cut off Forms I-765 after receiving the anticipated number of applications stated in the rule?

      No. There is no cap on Forms I-765 filed based on H-4 dependent spouse eligibility under 8 CFR 274a.12(c)(26).

  1. Does USCIS expect any changes to the Form I-140 immigrant petition process based on this regulation change?

      No. We do not anticipate any changes in the way officers adjudicate Form I-140 immigrant petitions.

  1. I am an F-1 nonimmigrant who possesses Optional Practical Training (OPT) employment authorization. Would there be continuous employment if I file a petition requesting H-4 nonimmigrant status concurrently with an EAD?

      As an F-1 nonimmigrant who has employment authorization under OPT, you are allowed to work only as long as the OPT authorization remains valid. Filing an application to change status from F-1 to H-4 nonimmigrant status and/or an application for employment authorization based on H-4 status does not extend your employment authorization under OPT or any previously granted employment authorization. If you file a Form I-539 requesting to change your nonimmigrant status to H-4 and you include a Form I-765, we will adjudicate your Form I-765 only after we adjudicate your Form I-539 and grant you H-4 status.

  1. Will USCIS backdate the beginning validity date on the EAD to the start of my H-4 status if the Form I-539 is adjudicated before Form I-765?  

      No. We will not backdate the validity date of your EAD to the time your H-4 status was granted. Your EAD will be valid beginning on the date that USCIS adjudicates your Form I-765 or the date you acquire qualifying H-4 status, whichever is later. Additionally, your EAD will expire when your H-4 nonimmigrant status expires.

While Waiting for USCIS to Adjudicate Your Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765)

  1. Can I travel while my Form I-765 is pending?

      You may travel if you are in valid H-4 status and meet all the admission requirements, including having a valid H-4 nonimmigrant visa. However, traveling outside of the United States could cause delays in your case. While you are outside of the United States, we may need additional information to make a decision on your Form I-765 or we may issue a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) with an opportunity to respond. If you do not respond on time to a Request for Evidence (RFE) or to the NOID, we may deny your case as abandoned.  Additionally, travel outside of the United States may also cause possible delays if we need to reschedule your appointment at an Application Support Center.

      Finally, please note that if you file Form I-765 concurrently with Form I-539 requesting a change to H-4 status from a different nonimmigrant classification, we will deny your Form I-539 as abandoned if you travel abroad while your Form I-539 is pending. In this case, we would also deny your Form I-765.  

  1. How long will it take USCIS to adjudicate my Form I-765?

      The timeline will vary from case-to-case. Currently, the processing time for Form I-765 is 90 days (3 months). Please note that if you file a Form I-765 based on your H-4 nonimmigrant status under 8 CFR 274a.12(c)(26) concurrently with a Form I-129 and Form I-539, the processing timeline will not begin until we have made a decision on your spouse’s eligibility for H-1B status and/or your eligibility for H-4 status. Processing may also be delayed if the evidence included with these benefit requests does not establish eligibility and we need to issue an RFE or NOID.

Once You Receive Employment Authorization

  1. Can I use my EAD to enter and exit the country?

      No. An EAD issued to an H-4 dependent spouse under 8 CFR 274a.12(c)(26) is not an entry document. If you have H-4 nonimmigrant status and depart the United States, you must use your valid passport and H-4 nonimmigrant visa (unless you are visa exempt) or other travel document to return to the United States. 

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USCIS Publishes Filing Guidance for Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses

USCIS has published information to help eligible H-4 dependent spouses who want to apply for employment authorization under the Employment Authorization for Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses final rule.

You can view the information on:

Please note that you may not apply for employment authorization under this rule until May 26, 2015. Until the H-4 rule takes effect on May 26, 2015, USCIS will not accept any Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization requesting employment authorization based on your H-4 status. If you submit a Form I-765 before May 26, 2015 USCIS will reject your application and return it and the filing fee to you. You would then need to re-submit the application on or after May 26, 2015.

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Tip Sheet: Applying for Form N-600K, Application for Certificate of Citizenship

You should use Form N-600K to apply for the naturalization of a child under the age of 18 who regularly resides outside the United States. The form is also used to issue a Certificate of Citizenship for the child.

NOTE: The information provided in this document only applies if you have not automatically acquired U.S. citizenship at birth or acquired U.S. citizenship after birth under Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) section 320. Please refer to Form N-600 FAQ for additional information about becoming a U.S. citizen under INA section 320. 

Eligibility

A child who was born outside the United States and who regularly resides outside the United States may have a Form N-600K filed on his or her behalf by a U.S. citizen parent (or if the parent died within the last five years, by a U.S. citizen grandparent or U.S. citizen legal guardian). To be eligible for U.S. citizenship the child must:

  1. Have at least one parent is a U.S. citizen, whether by birth or naturalization;
  2. Be under 18 years of age;
  3. Be residing outside the United States in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent;
  4. Be temporarily present in the United States in accordance with lawful admission to complete the Form N-600K process and is maintaining that lawful status; and
  5. Have a U.S. citizen parent who has been physically present in the United States or American Samoa or Swains Island for no less than five years. At least two of these years were after the U.S. citizen parent’s 14th birthday.
    • If the U.S. citizen parent fails to meet the physical presence requirement, the child must have a U.S. citizen grandparent(s) who was physically present in the United States for a period or for multiple periods totaling not less than five years, at least two of which were after the U.S. citizen grandparent’s 14th birthday.

NOTE: Children of active duty U.S. armed forces members do not have to be temporarily in the United States in accordance with lawful admission to complete the Form N-600K process.

Child Born Out of Wedlock

If the child was born out of wedlock, the child must meet the following additional requirements if he or she is seeking citizenship through his or her U.S. citizen father:

  1. The child must be legitimated by the father. This means that the father must go through the process to legally become the child’s father. A child born to parents who are not married is not considered legitimate and does not have the right to inherit the father’s estate or to receive financial support;
  2. The child must be in the legal custody of the father at the time of such legitimation; and
  3. The child must be legitimated before reaching his or her 16th birthday.

Adopted Child

If adopted, the child must meet all of the requirements to qualify as an “adopted child” under one of the following:

  1. Section 101(b)(1)(E) of the INA;
  2. As an “orphan” under section 101(b)(1)(F) of the INA; or
  3. As a Hague Convention adoptee under section 101(b)(1)(G) of the INA.

Please visit our Web page on Adoption for additional information.

An adopted child under section 101(b)(1)(E) of the INA must meet the following additional requirements:

  1. The adoption order must have been granted before the child’s 16th birthday (or the child’s 18th birthday if the child is the birth sibling (including a half-sibling) of another adopted child who qualified for immigration under either section 101(b)(1)(E) or (F) or (G) based on the other child’s adoption by the same adoptive parent(s);
  2. The adoptive parents must have had legal custody of the child for at least two years; and
  3. The child must have resided with the adoptive parents for at least two years.

NOTE: If a child has been battered or was treated extreme cruelty by the adoptive parent or by a family member of the adoptive parent living in the same household, USCIS may waive the 2-year legal custody and residence requirements.

Orphan Child

An orphan under section 101(b)(1)(F) of the INA must be the beneficiary of an approved Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, in order to file Form N-600K.

Adoption under the Hague Convention

A child who is being adopted in accordance with the Hague Convention must be the beneficiary of an approved Form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an immediate relative, in order to file Form N-600K.

Filing Form N-600K

A U.S. citizen parent(s) may file Form N-600K. If the U.S. citizen parent is deceased, the U.S. citizen parent’s parent (child’s grandparent) may apply. The grandparent must also be a U.S. citizen. A U.S. citizen legal guardian may also be eligible to apply.

A U.S. citizen grandparent or U.S. citizen legal guardian may file Form N-600K on the child’s behalf if Form N-600K is filed within five years of the death of the U.S. citizen parent. You should refer to Form N-600K instructions for more information.

The table explains whether you are able to file Form N-600K on behalf of your child based on where you live.

I am a U.S. citizen parent and I live...My child lives...Then
In the United States, andIn the United States

You may not file Form N-600K. If you believe your child may already be a U.S. citizen, you may file Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship.

You may also apply to the Department of State for a U.S. passport for your child.

Visit to Department of State’s website for information about applying for a U.S. passport for your child. 

Outside the United States, andIn the United StatesYou may not file a Form N-600K. If your child resides in the United States and you believe your child may already be a U.S. citizen, you may file Form N-600.
In the United States, andOutside the United States

You may not file a Form N-600K. The law requires that your child must reside abroad and in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent.

If your child resides in the United States and you believe your child may already be a U.S. citizen, you may file Form N-600.

See our Forms Web page for information about Form N-600.

If You Are In the Military

Your child may naturalize overseas as long as you are a U.S. citizen on official U.S. military orders overseas. Service while on active duty with the U.S. armed forces counts as presence in the United States.

Filing If Your Child Recently Turned 18 Years of Age

If your child has just turned 18 he or she may not be able to file Form N-600K. Form N-600K must be adjudicated and the oath of allegiance must be administered before your child turns 18 years of age. When you file your Form N-600K, you will provide a preferred interview date. You may ensure that the requested date is before your child turns 18. Please allow a minimum of 90 days for USCIS to review the form and the documentation that you submit before the interview date. If you fail to provide sufficient evidence to establish your child’s eligibility before his or her 18th birthday, USCIS may not be able to process your Form N-600K which may result in USCIS denying your Form N-600K. Therefore, your child would no longer be eligible for a Certificate of Citizenship.

You may contact the USCIS National Customer Service Center for more information at 1-800-375-5283.

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