Here's What You Need to Know About the New USCIS Fee Rule:
🔹Separate Filing Fees for Form I-485, Form I-131, and Form I-765 (EAD), even when filed together!
➡️ 50% discount for Form I-765 (EAD) if filed with I-485;
➡️ Reduced Fee for I-485 Applicants under 14 years old;
➡️ Current fee for filing all 3 Forms together: $1,225.00. Under the New Fee Rule, the amount will be $2,330.00.
🔹 Biometrics Services Fee is now Included in the main benefit fee;
🔹 Certain Forms will have a discounted fee if filed online ($50.00 discount);
🔹 Premium Processing is now counted in business days;
🔹 New Asylum Program Fee for Employers Filing I-129, I-129CW; I-140:
➡️ For large employers: $600.00 Fee
➡️ Small Employers: $300.00 Fee
➡️ Nonprofits are exempted from this additional fee.
Now is the time to file your Immigration Forms!
As we gear up for the fiscal year (FY) 2025, it's time to prepare for the H-1B Cap Lottery Season! If you or your organization are considering sponsoring individuals for H-1B status, here's what you need to know:
Who is Eligible for the FY 2025 H-1B Cap?
Why Plan Early?
The H-1B Cap lottery is a highly competitive process with a limited number of slots available each fiscal year. Planning ahead allows you to strategize effectively, gather necessary documentation, and ensure a smooth application process for you or your employees.
How We Can Help:
At the Law Office of Julia L. Stommes we specialize in immigration law and H-1B Cap lottery filings. Our team can guide you through the process and maximize your chances of success.
The Brazilian Government decided to postpone its visa requirements for citizens of the U.S., Canada, and Australia until April 10, 2024. Tourist visa requirements were set to start on January 10, 2024.
Citizens of the U.S., Canada, and Australia, can enter the country visa-free for the next 3 months. However, starting April 10, 2024, they must obtain an Electronic Visa (eVisa) when traveling to Brazil for tourism, business, or transiting through Brazilian airports.
❗ USCIS has announced that will increase the filing fee for Premium Processing Service (Form I-907) starting on February 26, 2024.
The filing fee to request premium processing for many forms (such as I-140, H-1B, L-1A/L-1B, etc.) will increase from $2,500 to $2,805.
USCIS Announces Inflation Adjustment to Premium Processing Fees | USCIS
The State Department will launch a much-awaited pilot program in early 2024 to allow 20,000 H-1B visa holders to renew their visas in the United States.
The pilot program will not cover H-4 dependents, who will still be required to travel to renew their visas.
Additional information about the pilot program will be released by the State Department within the next weeks.
Congress approved a stopgap measure on Tuesday, November 14, 2023, which will fund certain federal agencies through January 19, 2024, and others—including immigration operations—through February 2, 2024. The Senate passed the short-term spending package on November 15, 2023, which now must be signed by President Joe Biden, preventing a government shutdown at midnight on November 17, 2023.
The funding for the U.S. Departments of Labor, Homeland Security, and State will last until February 2, 2024, therefore immigration operations remain uninterrupted through that date. Operations would be affected if lawmakers cannot negotiate and pass full-year spending bills or additional stopgap measures by February 2, 2024.
On October 30, 2023, the White House issued an extensive Executive Order regarding the “Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence.” The goal, according to the Administration, is to govern the development and use of AI to leverage its benefits while mitigating its substantial risks.
The order requests that federal agencies promote initiatives, including several immigration-related measures pertaining to the attraction and detention of foreign talent in the AI field. To comply with the order, the Department of State (DOS) and the Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) shall take appropriate steps to:
We all hope that this Executive Order will result in some positive policy changes and adjudication practices! We shall see…
Recently we posted that Israelis can now apply for an ESTA to come to the U.S. without needing a visa under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), but Israel is NOT the only country part of the VWP!
The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) permits citizens or nationals of certain countries to travel to the U.S. for business or pleasure for stays up to 90 days, without obtaining a visa. Travelers must apply online for an Electronic System for Travel Authorization, known as ESTA, at least 72 hours prior to travel.
What countries are included in the VWP? A total of 41 countries are included in the program, including Australia, Chile, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Japan, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and Spain. (List of all Visa Waiver countries here https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/tourism-visit/visa-waiver-program.html ). If you are a citizen or national of one of these countries, you most likely do not need a visa to come to the U.S. for business or pleasure and stay for up to 90 days!
What will you need to apply for an ESTA?
For how long will my ESTA be valid? In general, ESTA is valid for 2 years, but you will need to update your ESTA before expires if you (1) receive a new passport; (2) change your name; (3) change your gender; (4) change your country of citizenship; or (5) need to change your responses on the ESTA application.
On September 27, 2023, DHS and DOS announced that, starting on November 30, 2023, the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) would be updated to allow Israeli citizens and nationals to apply to travel to the U.S. for tourism or business purposes for up to 90 days without obtaining an U.S. visa.
On October 19, 2023, DHS announced that the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) for Israelis would start IMMEDIATELY! Under the VWP, citizens and nationals of Israel who wish to travel to the U.S. for business or tourism for up to 90 days do not need to obtain a B visa anymore**. Travelers must apply online for an ESTA up to 72 hours in advance of travel. ESTA authorizations are generally valid for two (2) years, but need to be renewed in certain circumstances, such as obtaining a new passport or name changes. Israelis with valid B-1/B-2 visas may continue to use them for business and tourist travel to the U.S.
ESTA applications may be found at esta.cbp.dhs.gov or download the “ESTA Mobile” app.
**In general, foreign nationals who are determined by ESTA to be ineligible for participation in the Visa Waiver Program— because of past immigration compliance or law enforcement issues—will need to apply for a B visa at a U.S. consulate.
The H-1B visa is the primary method for employing foreign nationals in the U.S. It is a very important visa for F-1 students who attend U.S. universities, as it is how they can work in the U.S. after they graduate. Due to the limit of H-1B visas in the U.S., many of these U.S.-educated foreign students are leaving the U.S. to share the knowledge they have gained here in other countries that have more flexible immigration systems. The U.S. has 85,000 visas available annually, which brings in approximately on average $2,500.00 in filing fee revenue plus on average creates 5 U.S. jobs per H-1B worker. There were over 781,000 applications for H-1B visa this past year and almost 700,000 applications were rejected, which could have brought in approximately $1.75 billion in revenue to the U.S. and possibly created 3.5 million U.S. jobs. Instead, Canada has realized the value of these U.S.-educated foreign students and has created a special visa program for them.
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