USCIS recently posted a notice that they are now accepting applications for naturalization from qualifying members of deceased service members at their Nebraska Service Center (NSC). All eligible applications that are received at the NSC will be handled by a team dedicated to processing these types of applications.
Spouses, children and parents of a deceased service member who was a citizen (even those who received citizenship after they passed away) and was serving honorably in active duty at the time of their death may submit their Applications for Naturalization (Form N-400) to the NSC at one of the following two addresses:
U.S. Postal Service Deliveries
Nebraska Service Center
PO Box 87426
Lincoln, NE 68501-7426
Express Mail and Courier Deliveries
Nebraska Service Center
850 S. Street
Lincoln, NE 68508
Members of the military seeking naturalization (and their spouses) should also submit their Applications for Naturalization to the applicable address listed above.
USCIS announced yesterday that it has revised Form I-766, the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to include the addition of a machine-readable area on the back of the card. This update is part of USCIS’s goal to limit cases of immigration fraud. The federal agency began issuing the revised EAD cards on May 11. The new card is compliant with International Civil Aviation Organization standards.
In addition to the new area on the back of the card, USCIS has also removed the two-dimensional bar code on the backside of the EAD and has moved the informational box of text to just beneath the card’s magnetic strip. These changes to the card are part of an extensive collaborative effort of various sections of the Department of Homeland Security, including USCIS, Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) recently published a research article on the future of the H-1B visa program. In the report, NFAP calls for greater availability of H-1B visas to ensure that the U.S. remains competitive in a global market. H-1B visas enable skilled foreign-born workers to enter and work under that nonimmigrant visa status in the U.S. for three years, enabling U.S. companies to recruit and hire from an international pool of talent.
NFAP comments that even when the economy is uncertain (as it is now), employers still consistently need talented persons on an ongoing basis and the annual cap of 65,000 H-1B visas will most likely be met before the end of the fiscal year.
The full article can be read online at http://www.nfap.com/pdf/1003h1b.pdf.
The Department of State has just published an interim final rule that proposes to change the fees for consular services for nonimmigrant visas and border crossing card application processing fees. The rule proposes to raise the fee for processing most non-petition-based nonimmigrant visas and Adult Border Crossing Cards from $131 to $140.
In addition, the rule creates new tiers of application fees for certain categories of petition-based nonimmigrant visas and treaty trader and investor visas. Additionally, the interim rule proposes to increase by one dollar the $13 Border Crossing Card fee for Mexican citizen minors who apply in Mexico and whose parent or guardian already has a card or is applying for one.
The Department of Labor (DOL) has just published online an H-1B Advisor, that provides information to both employers and employees regarding how to comply with H-1B-related attestations enforced by the Wage and Hour Division. At the end of each interactive section of the Advisor, visitors receive a results page based on the answers they provided at the end of the section.
Elaws Advisors were developed by DOL to help employees and employers understand their rights and their responsibilities in regards to Federal employment laws. Each advisor, including the H-1B Advisor, provides links to detailed information, including links to regulations, publications and relevant organizations.
Visit the H-1B Advisor online at http://www.dol.gov/elaws/h1b.htm.
USCIS announced this week that the Permanent Resident Card, also known as the Green Card, has been redesigned to include new security components. As of yesterday, all new issued Green Cards will use this revised format.
New features include the use of optical variable ink, an embedded radio frequency identification device, laser engraved fingerprints, a tamper resistant border and a micro-image of high resolution pictures of state flags and presidents.
This redesign resulted from a collaboration between the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The new cards are also green, relating more closely to the nickname for the Permanent Resident Card.
In a speech last week at a Cinco de Mayo reception in the White House’s Rose Garden, President Obama implied that immigration reform is not a priority agenda item. When asked about the issue of immigration, the president said, “I want to begin work this year, and I want Democrats and Republicans to work with me – because we’ve got to stay true to who we are, a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.” The President, however, did not provide any feedback when asked about a timetable for new major immigration legislation.
When the time comes for immigration reform, the President will face an uphill battle. Republicans’ focus is solely on securing national borders, and Democrats are split about the urgency of meaningful reform. Two leading blue-dog democrats, Nebraska’s Ben Nelson and Arkansas’ Blanche Lincoln, have commented that they would like to see the issue of immigration reform put off until 2011.
Two weeks prior, a small group of Democrats in the Senate completed a new immigration reform proposal; however, the proposal is not in a form that is ready for a vote and a vote will not happen, according to one Democratic aide, until there is confirmation that Republican lawmakers will go along with the legislation.
USCIS is still accepting H-1B cap-subject visas for Fiscal Year 2011. As of April 27, only 16,500 cap-subject H-1B petitions have been filed with USCIS and just under 7,000 H-1B petitions have been received for aliens with master’s degrees or higher. These rates are similar to those seen last year; both, however, are much lower than rates seen in previous years, when the annual cap would be reached in less than one week.
The H-1B standard annual cap is 65,000; the H-1B master’s exemption cap is 20,000. This year’s filing period opened on April 1, 2010. Petitions that are subject to the FY 2011 cap must request an employment start date of October 1, 2010 or after. Any petitions that request start dates prior to October 1, 2010 will be rejected by USCIS.