Business Immigration in a Minute by Honigman LLP

  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) has released H-1B statistics for FY2022. During the FY2022 H-1B cap registration period in March 2021, employers submitted 308,613 registrations for selection in the cap lottery, which is 12% more than in the FY2021 filing season. Despite the increase in registrations, however, USCIS only selected 87,500 registrations in the initial Master’s and Bachelor’s cap lotteries to meet the annual quota of 85,000, or 28% of the total number of registrations. This year’s selection rate of 28% represents a significant decline over the previous year, when 124,415 registrations – or 45% – were selected from the 274,237 total registrations received. In FY2021, 106,100 cases were initially selected in the March Master’s and Bachelor’s cap lotteries and a second selection process took place in August with an additional 18,315 cases selected. The second lottery in FY2021 was prompted by the low volume of filings from the initial selection, presumably due to the COVID-19 pandemic. USCIS is continuing to monitor the FY2022 filing rates through the filing closing date of June 30, 2021 to determine whether there is a need to select additional registrations to reach the FY2022 cap.

  • The Department of State (“DOS”) recently added language to its updated announcement regarding the criteria for a National Interest Exception (“NIE”) for direct travel to the United States from one of the COVID-19 restricted countries. DOS announced that individuals who are seeking to provide vital support or executive direction for critical infrastructure, or directly linked supply chains, are in the national interest for purposes of approving an NIE under the geographic proclamations restricting travel due to COVID-19. These proclamations restrict the entry of individuals physically present in China, Iran, India, the Schengen Area, United Kingdom, Ireland, Brazil, or South Africa within the 14-day period prior to their attempted entry into the United States. Foreign nationals who are granted NIEs are not subject to the 14-day travel restriction and may travel directly to the United States.

  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) recently announced that I-94 applications can now be filed through the CBP One mobile application. The CBP One I-94 form provides a mobile app version of CBP’s I-94 website, providing a more convenient way for travelers to apply for an I-94 up to seven days prior to arrival, review their past travel history, check their I-94 expiration date, and obtain proof of their electronic I-94 from their mobile device. To further streamline the I-94 process at the land borders, CBP will no longer print the I-94 stub at land ports of entry.

  • DOS released the July 2021 Visa Bulletin. In addition to final action dates and dates for filing for employment-based immigrant visa and adjustment of status cases, it contains notes on the diversity visa category and diversity category rank cut-offs which will apply in August. All first employment-based preference countries of chargeability are current for the month of July. For July 2021, employment-based applicants must use the final action dates chart for adjustment of status applications.

  • Effective June 25, 2021, the USCIS Vermont Service Center will no longer receive any incoming mail at the St. Albans, Vermont facility. Mail sent to the previous addresses will be forwarded for one year, but any mail sent to the previous addresses after June 2022 may be returned to the sender by the U.S. Postal Service or the courier service used. Please see the USCIS chart for the updated addresses. The new addresses will not be in effect until June 25, 2021, so petitioners and applicants should use the St. Albans addresses through June 24, 2021.

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