Immigration News Briefs – March 2023

State Department Plans Pilot Program for Visa Renewal in US

Bloomberg News reported on February 9, 2023, that the U.S. State Department will launch a pilot program later this year offering visa renewal options in the US for H-1B specialty occupation workers and other temporary visa holders who are currently required to travel abroad.

Reestablishing the practice of stateside visa renewals, which were discontinued in 2004, will save those applicants from having to leave the country, and will reduce the workload of consular offices abroad, Julie Stufft, deputy assistant secretary for visa services in the Bureau of Consular Affairs, told Bloomberg Law in an interview.  The stateside renewal option will be available to H and L visa holders and could eventually be expanded, Stufft said.

A stateside renewal process would be immensely beneficial for beneficiaries impacted by numerous consular closures and months-long wait times for visa interviews.

FY 2024 H-1B Cap Initial Registration Period Opens on March 1

USCIS announced that the initial registration period for the fiscal year 2024 H-1B cap will open at noon Eastern on March 1 and run through noon Eastern on March 17. During this period, prospective petitioners and representatives will be able to complete and submit their registrations using its online H-1B registration system. USCIS will assign a confirmation number to each registration submitted for the FY 2024 H-1B cap. Prospective H-1B cap-subject petitioners or their representatives are required to use a myUSCIS online account to register each beneficiary electronically for the selection process and pay the associated $10 H1B registration fee for each registration submitted on behalf of each beneficiary.

Prospective petitioners submitting their own registrations (U.S. employers and U.S. agents, collectively known as “registrants”) will use a “registrant” account. Registrants will be able to create new accounts beginning at noon Eastern on Feb. 21. Representatives may add clients to their accounts at any time, but both representatives and registrants must wait until March 1 to enter beneficiary information and submit the registration with the $10 fee. Prospective petitioners or their representatives will be able to submit registrations for multiple beneficiaries in a single online session. Through the account, they will be able to prepare, edit, and store drafts of registrations prior to final payment and submission of each registration.

If enough registrations are received by March 17, USCIS will randomly select registrations and send selection notifications via users’ myUSCIS online accounts. USCIS intends to notify account holders by March 31. An H-1B cap-subject petition, including a petition for a beneficiary who is eligible for the advanced degree exemption, may only be filed by a petitioner whose registration for the beneficiary named in the H-1B petition was selected in the H-1B registration process.

USCIS Extends Green Card Validity for Conditional Permanent Residents with a Pending Form I-751 or Form I-829

USCIS is extending the validity of Permanent Resident Cards for petitioners who properly file form I-751 or I-829 for 48 months beyond the card’s expiration date. This change started on January 11, 2023, for Form I-829 and will start on January 25, 2023, for Form I-751.

USCIS has updated the language on Form I-751 and Form I-829 receipt notices to extend the validity of a Green Card for 48 months for individuals with a newly filed Form I-751 or Form I-829. It will issue new receipt notices to eligible conditional permanent residents who previously received notices with an extension shorter than 48 months and whose cases are still pending. These receipt notices can be presented with an expired Green Card as evidence of continued status. By presenting the updated receipt notice with an expired Green Card, an applicant remains authorized to work and travel for 48 months from the expiration date on the front of the expired Green Card.

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