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AILA Practice Pointers and Alerts

Practice Alert: New I-129 Edition

4/19/2019
AILA alerts members that USCIS has released a new version for Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker. The new edition is dated 1/31/19 and starting 5/20/19, USCIS will only accept this edition.
AILA Doc. No. 19041932

Practice Alert: System Error at the VSC Affecting Approval Notices

4/17/2019
AILA received reports from members of multiple-beneficiary petitions approved by the Vermont Service Center (VSC) that are missing the name of the first beneficiary (alphabetically, by surname) from the I-797B approval notice. AILA reached out to the VSC Premium Processing Unit.
AILA Doc. No. 19041799

Attorney General Barr Strips Bond Eligibility From Asylum Seekers: Matter Of M-S- Analysis And Q&A

4/17/2019
AILA, NIJC, Human Rights First, and Women’s Refugee Commission provide analysis and Q&A on Matter of M-S-.
AILA Doc. No. 19041739

Practice Alert: I-94 Numbers Will Be Alphanumeric Starting in May 2019

4/17/2019
AILA alerts members that CBP updated its website with a notice informing stakeholders that beginning in May 2019, the format for I-94 numbers will change from numeric to alphanumeric. CBP mentioned that this change would not have an impact on validity of already issued I-94 records.
AILA Doc. No. 19041738

Practice Pointer: Stopped Payment or Bounced Checks and Use of Credit Cards to Pay USCIS Filing Fees

4/16/2019
AILA’s USCIS HQ (Benefits Policy) Liaison Committee provides a practice pointer regarding stopped or bounced checks and credit card payments at USCIS Lockbox facilities, and reminds practitioners of the consequences of a stopped payment or bounced check on a benefit request filed with USCIS.
AILA Doc. No. 19041735

Practice Pointer: Determining Whether INA §212(e) Is Triggered by the J-1 Skills List

4/9/2019
AILA’s DOS Liaison Committee provides recommendations for how to determine whether a J-1 exchange visitor client is subject to the home residency requirement by utilizing the DOS Skills List published in the Federal Register.
AILA Doc. No. 18031939

Practice Pointer: Revised USCIS Interview Waiver Guidance for Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence

4/8/2019
AILA’s USCIS HQ (Benefits Policy) Liaison Committee provides a practice pointer on the 11/30/2019 USCIS policy memorandum, which provides guidance to officers on waiving the interview requirement for Form I-751 and sets forth the factors that officers must consider before an interview may be waived.
AILA Doc. No. 19040830

ILRC Issues USCIS Fraud Tip Form Fact Sheet and Template Comment

3/29/2019
USCIS published for notice and comment a proposed form for receiving information from the public concerning purported immigration fraud. The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) has created a fact sheet on the form, as well as a comment template, that advocates can use to oppose the proposal.
AILA Doc. No. 19040800

Practice Alert: Problems with Feeing in Motions and Applications with Local USCIS Field Offices

4/2/2019
AILA has received reports of difficulties experienced at local USCIS offices when attempting to fee in an EOIR motion/application via an InfoPass appointment, or in emergency situations via walk-in. AILA solicited examples and raised several to the attention of USCIS and the CIS Ombudsman.
AILA Doc. No. 19040230

Practice Alert: Additional 30,000 H-2B Visas to be Made Available for the Remainder of FY2019

4/23/2019
On 3/29/19, DHS Secretary Nielsen, in consultation with DOL Secretary Acosta, relayed to congressional offices that an additional 30,000 H-2B visas would be allocated for the remainder of FY2019. On 4/22/19 DHS sent a final rule governing the allocation of these visas to OMB.
AILA Doc. No. 19032933

Practice Alert: DOL Delays in Completing Business Verification (FEIN) Requests

3/27/2019
The DOL Liaison Committee provides a practice alert on DOL delays in completing business verification (FEIN) requests, reminding members seeking verification that they should check the status of a request in the DOL iCert portal system for time-sensitive filings.
AILA Doc. No. 19032770

Practice Pointer: Expert Opinion Testimony - Yes, It’s Evidence USCIS Should Consider!

3/22/2019
AILA’s California and Vermont Service Center Liaison Committees provide a practice pointer intended to equip practitioners with legal authority for USCIS’s consideration of an expert opinion when responding to a Request for Evidence (RFE) and including an expert opinion.
AILA Doc. No. 19032230

Practice Alert: Ongoing Technical Difficulties with Form DS-3035

3/20/2019
AILA’s DOS Liaison Committee provides on update on ongoing technical difficulties with Form DS-3035 addressed during the October 2018 liaison meeting.
AILA Doc. No. 19032031

Practice Pointer: When Is a Photocopy of an Original Signature Acceptable?

3/20/2019
AILA’s USCIS HQ (Benefits Policy) Liaison Committee provides a practice pointer summarizing the signature requirements for each form type, in particular designating which form instructions explicitly designate that a copy of an original “wet” signature will be accepted by USCIS.
AILA Doc. No. 19010900

Practice Alert: Filing Subsequent L-1 Petitions for Canadian Applicants at Ports of Entry

4/25/2019
AILA has been in discussions with CBP related to what appeared to be an unannounced policy change in L-1 adjudications at the port of entry under NAFTA. CBP has begun to interpret NAFTA’s implementing regulations to require that petition “extensions” must be filed with USCIS.
AILA Doc. No. 19030730

Practice Alert: USCIS Updates Filing Addresses for I-129 Petitions

3/11/2019
AILA’s California Service Center Liaison Committee provided a practice alert notifying members that USCIS has recently updated its filing addresses for Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker.
AILA Doc. No. 19031100

Practice Alert: USCIS Publishes Revised Form I-539 and New Form I-539A

3/8/2019
On 3/8/19, USCIS published to its website revised Form I-539 and new Form I-539A and instructions for these forms. USCIS will continue accepting Form I-539 with an edition date of 12/23/16 until 3/21/19, as long as it is received by USCIS by that date.
AILA Doc. No. 19021234

Practice Alert: AILA’s EB-5 Committee Provides an Update on EB-5 Visa Backlog

3/6/2019
AILA’s EB-5 Committee provided a practice alert on the EB-5 visa backlog. Special thanks for AILA members Bernard Wolfsdorf, Robert Blanco, and Carolyn Lee for their contributions.
AILA Doc. No. 19030631

Practice Pointer: Filing Tips and Resources for FY2020 Cap-Subject H-1B Petitions

3/25/2019
In preparation for the FY2020 H-1B nonimmigrant visa cap season, AILA provides practical filing tips and related resources.
AILA Doc. No. 19030601

Practice Pointer: Understanding and Addressing the “Five-Year Bar” When Applying for a Visa

2/28/2019
The DOS Liaison Committee issued a practice pointer on the five-year bar under INA §212(a)(6)(B) and the grounds of inadmissibility for an individual who without reasonable cause, fails to appear for a removal proceeding or has an in absentia removal order and is now seeking admission to the U.S.
AILA Doc. No. 19022840

Practice Alert: Alternative Options After Suspension of Visa Processing at U.S. Consulate in Caracas, Venezuela

2/26/2019
DOS has confirmed that while the U.S. Consular Section in Caracas, Venezuela, is unable to process immigrant (IV) and nonimmigrant visas (NIV), the U.S. Embassy in Bogota, Colombia, has been designated as the primary filing location for IV applications. NIV applicants may file at any consular post.
AILA Doc. No. 19021333

Practice Alert: EB-5 Modernization Regulation Pending Review at OMB

2/25/2019
AILA alerts members that a final regulation relating to EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program Modernization was sent to OMB on 2/22/19 and is currently pending review. Once OMB completes its review, a notice of final rulemaking will be published in the Federal Register.
AILA Doc. No. 19022542

Practice Alert: EOIR Policy Memos Impact Docketing of Family Unit and Asylum Cases

2/25/2019
Members have reported that IJs are scheduling asylum seekers’ individual hearings very quickly. This has resulted in many respondents making requests for a continuance which stops the “asylum clock.” Please share any feedback or observations about EOIR’s implementation of PM 19-04 and PM 19-05.
AILA Doc. No. 18121332

Practice Alert: Proposed H-4 EAD Rescission Regulation Pending Review at OMB

2/22/2019
AILA notes that the proposed DHS H-4 EAD rescission regulation is currently pending review with OMB. Once OMB completes review, a notice of proposed rulemaking will be published in the Federal Register and open for public comment.
AILA Doc. No. 19022203

Practice Alert: DOS Considers Reorganization of Consular Affairs Attorneys

2/21/2019
AILA has learned that DOS is considering a reorganization that would result in Bureau of Consular Affairs lawyers becoming part of the Office of the Legal Adviser.
AILA Doc. No. 19022134

Practice Alert: Omnibus Spending Bill Provides Limited H-2B Cap Relief for FY2019

2/19/2019
On February 15, 2019, President Trump signed an omnibus spending bill which includes a provision providing limited cap relief to H-2B employers during FY2019. The Secretary of Homeland Security has yet to announce how many additional H-2B visas will be made available for the remainder of FY2019.
AILA Doc. No. 19021940

Practice Pointer: H-1B Petitions for the Same Beneficiary and Considerations for the FY2020 H-1B Cap Season

2/15/2019
AILA’s USCIS Service Center Operations Liaison Committee provides a practice pointer discussing the potential consequences of employers filing a FY2020 H-1B cap-subject petition while a FY2019 petition for the same beneficiary remains pending.
AILA Doc. No. 19021547

Practice Pointer: Validity of Form I-693 Medical Exams

2/15/2019
AILA’s National Benefits Center Liaison Committee provides a practice pointer discussing the October 16, 2018, USCIS announcement that it was updating its policy guidance regarding the period of validity of Form I-693.
AILA Doc. No. 19021540

Practice Pointer: Prudential Revocation of Nonimmigrant Visas

2/13/2019
AILA’s DOS Liaison Committee provides information concerning the legal authority to revoke a visa, as well as when a revocation becomes effective. The committee also provides an update from the 10/18/18 DOS liaison meeting, in which the committee addressed several issues concerning visa revocations.
AILA Doc. No. 18072406

Practice Pointer: Arguing Against Pretermission of Asylum Cases in Immigration Court in the Aftermath of Matter of A-B- and Matter of E-F-H-L-

2/11/2019
This practice pointer describes arguments that attorneys may make when immigration judges pretermit asylum applications without affording the applicants an individual calendar hearing at which they can present testimony and other evidence in support of their asylum cases.
AILA Doc. No. 19021130

Practice Alert: Update on USCIS Practice of Denying Pending Forms I-131 for Abandonment Due to International Travel

2/8/2019
USCIS indicated that if an applicant files Form I-131 to request an advance parole document and departs the United States without possession of an advance parole document that is valid for the entire time the applicant is abroad, USCIS will consider the pending Form I-131 to be abandoned.
AILA Doc. No. 17081867

Practice Alert: Changes to the USCIS InfoPass Scheduling Process

2/14/2019
AILA provides information and updates on the expansion of the Information Services Modernization Program. Under the program, in-person appointments will be scheduled only for document services and emergencies.
AILA Doc. No. 18020500

Practice Alert: Long-Pending I-765 and I-131 Applications at the NBC

1/31/2019
AILA provides a practice alert on long-pending EAD/AP applications at the National Benefits Center.
AILA Doc. No. 18100503

Practice Alert: DHS Publishes Final Regulation Governing H-1B Cap Subject Petitions

1/31/2019
DHS released a copy of a final rule that amends the regulations governing H-1B petitions that are filed under the H-1B cap. Note, DHS is suspending the electronic registration requirement for the FY2020 H-1B cap filing season.
AILA Doc. No. 18111639

Practice Alert: DHS Issuing NTAs with Fake Times and Dates

1/31/2019
AILA updated its practice alert discussing DHS issuance of NTAs with fake hearing dates and times following the Supreme Court’s decision in Pereira v. Sessions, and requests case examples related to January 31 hearings. Special thanks to the AILA EOIR Liaison Committee.
AILA Doc. No. 18091858

Practice Alert: Technical Issues Causing Online Form DS-160 to Time Out

1/31/2019
AILA has received reports of technical problems with the functioning of the online Form DS-160, causing the form to time out after only a few minutes. According to a recent update from the Department of State, this issue has been identified and resolved.
AILA Doc. No. 19013141

Practice Alert: DOS and Mission China Alert to Changes in H and L Processing

1/30/2019
The Department of State (DOS) and Mission China shared information concerning a plan to consolidate the processing of H and L visa applications. Starting 3/1/19 interviews will now be held only at the U.S. Embassy Bejing, U.S. Consulate General Guangzhou, and U.S. Consulate General Shanghai.
AILA Doc. No. 19013039

Filing DACA Applications in the Wake of Federal Court Rulings

1/29/2019
AILA updated its practice alert after the Supreme Court took no action on a November 2018 request by the Trump administration to expedite a ruling on the court decisions that keep the DACA program in place.
AILA Doc. No. 18011035

Practice Alert: What Happens If the Government Shuts Down?

1/28/2019
Drawing on information from government announcement and past government shutdowns, AILA provides an overview as to how this shutdown may impact immigration-related agencies. We will update this practice alert as new information becomes available.
AILA Doc. No. 17042640

Practice Alert: Foreign Labor Certification Wage Library Back Online

1/23/2019
After being down for almost a day, as of 1/23/19 it appears that the Department of Labor Foreign Labor Certification (FLC) wage library is back online.
AILA Doc. No. 19012245

Practice Alert: USCIS Checklists Do Not Replace Statutory, Regulatory, and Form Instruction Requirements

1/21/2019
AILA’s USCIS HQ (Benefits Policy) Liaison Committee provides a practice alert regarding USCIS’ checklists of required initial evidence and reminds members of the importance of consulting the applicable statute, regulations, and form instructions before submitting a benefit request to USCIS.
AILA Doc. No. 19012200

Practice Alert: AILA’s Case Liaison Assistance Process for USCIS Service Centers

1/17/2019
Due to changes to USCIS’s public inquiry escalation process, AILA has updated its individual case liaison assistance procedures for cases pending at the USCIS Service Centers.
AILA Doc. No. 16061604

Practice Pointer: New USCIS L-1 Policy Ushers in Restrictive Interpretation of the One-Year Abroad Requirement

1/17/2019
This Practice Pointer breaks down the policy changes implemented by the November 15, 2018, USCIS memo, “Satisfying the L-1 1-Year Foreign Employment Requirement,” which became effective on November 29, 2018. Special thanks to Vaman Kidambi, Kathleen Campbell Walker, and Turid Owren.
AILA Doc. No. 19011730

Practice Alert: Payment of Visa Fees at U.S. Consulates in Mexico

1/11/2019
AILA’s DOS Liaison Committee provides updates from a conversation from the 10/18/18 liaison meeting with DOS concerning payment of visa fees at U.S. consulates in Mission Mexico.
AILA Doc. No. 19011130

Practice Alert: Accessing Older Versions of the FAM Through Internet Archive Websites

1/11/2019
AILA’s DOS Liaison Committee provides guidance for using internet archive websites, such as the Wayback Machine, to access older versions of the Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) and other agency documents.
AILA Doc. No. 19011132

Practice Pointer: Resolving PIMS Issues and Understanding KCC’s Role

1/10/2019
AILA’s Department of State Liaison Committee provides assistance in resolving common issues with the Petition Information Management Service (PIMS) and understanding the Kentucky Consular Center’s (KCC’s) role in fraud review and consular returns.
AILA Doc. No. 18031336

Practice Alert: iCERT System Outage Updates for All Users

1/9/2019
On January 7, the iCERT system reopened. DOL indicates that as of January 8, the OFLC has received approximately 5,276 H-2B applications covering more than 96,400 workers. Members encountering issues in accessing or filing through the system are encouraged to contact DOL at h2b.ombudsman@dol.gov.
AILA Doc. No. 19010231

Practice Pointer: LegalNet Scope of Review of Nonimmigrant Visa Refusals

1/9/2019
The Department of State Liaison Committee discusses the scope of LegalNet review for inquiries concerning nonimmigrant visa refusals under INA section 214(b), as well as refusals based on unfavorable findings from DHS.
AILA Doc. No. 19011001

Practice Pointer: Filing Mandamus to Request Adjudications of H-1Bs for Cap-Gap Beneficiaries

1/8/2019
AILA’s Administrative Litigation Task Force provides a practice pointer regarding filing mandamus actions in district court to request adjudications of H-1B petitions for F-1 cap-gap beneficiaries, which includes a sample mandamus complaint for H-1B cap-gap cases.
AILA Doc. No. 18100370

Practice Alert: FY2019 H-1B Cap-Subject Petitions Still Pending with the CSC

1/2/2019
AILA provides a practice alert regarding FY2019 H-1B cap-subject petitions which remain pending with the California Service Center. USCIS has indicated that it is unable to provide a timeframe for the processing of these cases but that it is working diligently to process them as soon as possible.
AILA Doc. No. 19010232