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Revised Guidance for SEVIS Workarounds and STEM OPT Transition Number: 1605-01

To: DSOs and PDSOs at SEVP-certified schools only (for F and M students) Date: May 5, 2016
Re: Revised Guidance for SEVIS Workarounds and STEM OPT Transition Number: 1605-01

Download original document: STEM OPT transition

General Information

After consultation with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) is revising its guidance on the handling of 24-month extensions of optional practical training (OPT) to include special instructions for students whose:

  • Post-completion OPT ends before May 23, 2016, and
  • Eligibility is based on a prior science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)

    degree

    USCIS and SEVP developed special filing instructions for a limited number of students who become eligible on May 10, 2016 for a STEM extension based on a prior degree or for a seven- month extension of approved STEM OPT and who must file their applications before May 23, 2016. These students cannot meet the technical requirements for filing because:

  •   SEVP will deploy the STEM-related functionality into the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) on May 13, 2016
  • Designated school officials (DSOs) need time to generate and send the Form I-20 to students who may be out of state
  • Students need time to sign the Form I-20 and send a copy of it with the application for employment authorization (Form I-765) to USCIS

    The chart below, originally released on April 4, 2016, has been revised to include guidance for these students.

Student Scenario

Required Actions

New 24-month STEM OPT requests

  • Designated school official (DSOs) will be able to use the current functionality to recommend extensions of OPT. SEVIS will automatically calculate the 24-month OPT end date.
  • For cases where the filing deadline is close to May 10, 2016, DSOs can file the STEM extension under the existing 17- month rules. USCIS will send requests for evidence (RFEs) for STEM extensions that are pending with them on May 10, 2016. DSOs will be able to convert the case after USCIS issues the RFE.
  • DSOs must enter the following information into the “Explain how employment is related to student’s course of study” field:

    I have reviewed the Form I-983. It is completed, signed and addresses all program requirements.

  • If the recommendation is based on a prior degree, DSOs must

Student Scenario

Required Actions

enter the following information into the “Explain how employment is related to student’s course of study” field:

Extension based on prior STEM degree: (Enter information on: qualifying major, qualifying degree level, Classification of Instructional Program (CIP) code, date of degree, school awarding degree, school location, awarding school code and class of admission at time of degree.)

Note: New applications received by USCIS on or after May 10, 2016, must meet the new requirements.

Special instructions for students who are eligible for a STEM extension based on a PRIOR degree and whose current post-completion OPT ends before May 23, 2016:

  • Students should file the Form I-765, “Application for Employment Authorization,” with USCIS without the Form I-20, “Certificate for Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status,” but include a statement that indicates the following:

    Due to new regulations, I must apply for the 24-month STEM extension of my OPT before SEVIS supports it. I am eligible based on a prior degree. I will provide a
    Form I-20 with the extension recommendation after USCIS requests it.

    Note: These applications cannot arrive at USCIS before May 10, 2016.

  • Students should wait to send the Form I-20 to USCIS until after USCIS requests it.

17-month STEM OPT extensions pending on May 10, 2016

  • USCIS will issue an RFE asking for a Form I-20 with the 24-month STEM recommendation.
  • After receiving the RFE, the DSO should convert the OPT recommendation from a 17-month to a 24-month STEM OPT recommendation using the functionality in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) Release 6.26 deployed on May 13, 2016.
  • DSOs must enter the following information into the “Explain how employment is related to student’s course of study” field:

    I have reviewed the Form I-983. It is completed, signed and addresses all program requirements.

    Note: A completed Form I-983, “Training Plan for STEM OPT Students.” and a USCIS-issued RFE are required before converting the recommendation from a 17-month OPT extension to a 24-month OPT extension.

Student Scenario

Required Actions

17-month STEM OPT extensions approved before
May 10, 2016

  • The filing period is May 10, 2016, through Aug. 8, 2016. Some students do not have the full application period. Students must have at least 150 days of approved STEM OPT left on the day that USCIS receives their Form I-765. Once the functionality is available, DSOs must recommend the seven-month extension in SEVIS.
  • DSOs must enter the following information into the “Explain how employment is related to student’s course of study” field:

    I have reviewed the Form I-983. It is completed, signed and addresses all program requirements.

    Special instructions for students whose filing deadline for the seven-month STEM OPT extension is before May 23, 2016:

Students should file the Form I-765 with USCIS without the Form I-20 but include a statement that indicates the following:

Due to new regulations, I must apply for the seven-month extension of my STEM OPT before SEVIS supports it. I will provide a Form I-20 with the extension recommendation after USCIS requests it.

Note: These applications cannot arrive at USCIS before May 10, 2016.

Students should wait to send the Form I-20 to USCIS until after USCIS requests it.

Available Resources

The following resources are available to assist with the transition:

  • 35TUSTEM OPT HubTU35 on Study in the States
  •  35TUUSCIS Optional Practical Training Extension for STEM Students (STEM OPT)U35T page
  • 53TUSEVIS Release 6.26 Planning GuideU35T
  • 35TUPlanning Tool for 7-Month Extension of STEM OPTU35T
  • 35TUPlanning Tool for 24-Month Extension of STEM OPTU
  • 35TUSEVIS Workarounds for STEM OPT Webinar recording and slidesU35T
  • 35TUSTEM OPT Rule Implementation in SEVISU page35T

    Comments

    To comment on this Broadcast Message, please email [email protected] with “Broadcast Message 1605-01 – Comment” entered in the subject line.

    Disclaimer

    The Broadcast Message is not a substitute for applicable legal requirements, nor is it itself a rule or a final action by SEVP. It is not intended to, does not, and may not be relied upon to create

any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law by any party in any administrative, civil, or criminal matter.

 

 

If you are looking for an experienced American immigration lawyer to assist you with Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) or in obtaining an H-1B visa, other employment based visa, or in your Green Card application, call us to discuss your case at 724-940-5901 (PA) or contact us online. We know that time is critical and will respond as soon as possible.

Ventresca & Ventresca, LLP serves clients nationwide (including New York, Florida, and California) and around the world.

Ventresca & Ventresca Pittsburg Immigration Attorneys proudly serve all of Pittsburgh including Cranberry Township, Wexford, Warrendale, Allegheny County and Butler County

USCIS completes H1B data entry

USCIS Completes Data Entry of Fiscal Year 2017 H-1B Cap- Subject Petitions

Release Date: May 02, 2016

USCIS announced on May 2, 2016, that it has completed data entry of all fiscal year 2017 H-1B cap- subject petitions selected in our computer-generated random process. USCIS will now begin returning all H-1B cap-subject petitions that were not selected. Due to the high volume of filings, USCIS is unable to provide a definite time frame for returning these petitions. USCIS asks petitioners not to inquire about the status of submitted cap-subject petitions until they receive a receipt notice or an unselected petition is returned. USCIS will issue an announcement once all the unselected petitions have been returned.

Additionally, USCIS is transferring some Form I-129 H-1B cap subject petitions from the Vermont Service Center to the California Service Center to balance the distribution of cap cases. If your case is transferred, you will receive notification in the mail. After receiving the notification, please send all future correspondence to the center processing your petition. If you are filing a Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing, to upgrade your Form I-129 H-1B petition to premium processing, send the completed Form I-907 with the appropriate fee to the center processing your petition.

 

If you are looking for an experienced American immigration lawyer to assist you in obtaining an H-1B visa, other employment based visa, or in your Green Card application, call us to discuss your case at 724-940-5901 (PA) or contact us online. We know that time is critical and will respond as soon as possible.

Ventresca & Ventresca, LLP serves clients nationwide (including New York, Florida, and California) and around the world.

Ventresca & Ventresca Pittsburg Immigration Attorneys proudly serve all of Pittsburgh including Cranberry Township, Wexford, Warrendale, Allegheny County and Butler County

USCIS Reaches FY 2017 H-1B Cap

USCIS Reaches FY 2017 H-1B Cap

Release Date: April 07, 2016

WASHINGTON – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has reached the congressionally mandated H-1B cap for fiscal year (FY) 2017. USCIS has also received more than the limit of 20,000 H-1B petitions filed under the U.S. advanced degree exemption.

USCIS will use a computer-generated process, also known as the lottery, to randomly select the petitions needed to meet the caps of 65,000 visas for the general category and 20,000 for the advanced degree exemption.

USCIS will first randomly select petitions for the advanced degree exemption. All unselected advanced degree petitions will become part of the random selection process for the 65,000 general cap. The agency will reject and return filing fees for all unselected cap-subject petitions that are not duplicate filings.

Before running the lottery, USCIS will complete initial intake for all filings received during the filing period, which ended April 7. Due to the high number of petitions, USCIS is not yet able to announce the date it will conduct the random selection process.

USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap. Petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap, and who still retain their cap number, will also not be counted toward the congressionally mandated FY 2017 H-1B cap. USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions filed to:

Extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the United States; Change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers;
Allow current H-1B workers to change employers; and
Allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position.

U.S. businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in occupations that require highly specialized knowledge in fields such as science, engineering and computer programming.

We encourage H-1B applicants to subscribe to the H-1B Cap Season email updates located on the H-1B Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Cap Season Web page.

                        AILA Doc. No. 16040730. (Posted 4/7/16)


If you are looking for an experienced American immigration lawyer to assist you in obtaining an H-1B visa, other employment based visa, or in your Green Card application, call us to discuss your case at 724-940-5901 (PA) or contact us online. We know that time is critical and will respond as soon as possible.

 

Ventresca & Ventresca, LLP serves clients nationwide (including New York, Florida, and California) and around the world.

Ventresca & Ventresca Pittsburg Immigration Attorneys proudly serve all of Pittsburgh including Cranberry Township, Wexford, Warrendale, Allegheny County and Butler County

Changes to the Visa Waiver Program Enacted in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016

On December 18, 2015, the 2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 2029) was signed into law including provisions that change the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Changes to the VWP include:

  • Individuals who have been present in Iraq, Syria, Iran, or Sudan at any time on or after March 1, 2011, are not eligible to participate in the VWP (excluding military and national security exemptions).
  • Nationals of Iraq, Syria, Iran, or Sudan are excluded from participating in the VWP. (Please note that an individual may be a national of a particular country, even if he or she has never resided in that country and/or does not have a passport issued by that country).

AILA Doc No. 15122130 | Dated December 21, 2015

 

For more information on changes to the Visa Waiver Program, please contact: Lisa M. Ventresca at 724-940-5901 (PA) or contact Lisa Ventresca online. We will respond as soon as possible.

President Obama announces executive action on immigration

On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced a series of executive actions that will effect the immigration community.  Please refer to http://www.uscis.gov/immigrationaction for details on his offered initiatives and check back to our website for the latest on continuing coverage as to the progress of such initiatives.

Update on Receipt Notices for FY2014 H-1B Cap Cases

USCIS has started the data entry process for H-1B petitions selected in the lottery. Premium processing cases are being handled first and data entry for those cases should be completed by April 15. USCIS announced on March 15, 2013, that the 15-day premium processing clock will start on April 15. (AILA Doc. No. 13031549)

 

Donald Neufeld, Associate Director of the Service Center Operations (SCOPS) Directorate, has stated that data entry for non-premium cases will likely not be completed until sometime in May, and rejection notices for petitions not selected in the lottery will be sent out after that. Please note that when the cap was reached on the first day in 2008, USCIS did not complete data entry and issue receipt notices until late in May. (AILA Doc. No. 08061261)

 

Cite as “AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 13041600 (posted Apr. 16, 2013)”

Unlawfully present immediate relatives able to become lawful permanent residents

Effective March 4, 2013, immediate relatives of U.S. citizens who are not eligible to adjust status will soon be able to become lawful permanent residents, under certain circumstances. Individuals who have accrued more than six months of unlawful presence will be able to file a provisional unlawful presence waiver, and upon approval, then depart the U.S. to consular process for the immigrant visa.

 

Secretary Napolitano Announces Final Rule to Support Family Unity During Waiver Process

Release Date:
January 2, 2013
For Immediate Release
DHS Press Office

 

WASHINGTON—Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today announced the posting of a final rule in the Federal Register that reduces the time U.S. citizens are separated from their immediate relatives (spouse, children and parents), who are in the process of obtaining visas to become lawful permanent residents of the United States under certain circumstances. The final rule establishes a process that allows certain individuals to apply for a provisional unlawful presence waiver before they depart the UnitedStates to attend immigrant visa interviews in their countries of origin. The process will be effective on March 4, 2013 and more information about the filing process will be made available in the coming weeks at http://www.uscis.gov/.
“This final rule facilitates the legal immigration process and reduces the amount of time that U.S. citizens are separated from their immediate relatives who are in the process of obtaining an immigrant visa,” said Secretary Napolitano.

 

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) received more than 4,000 comments in response to the April 2, 2012 proposed rule and considered all of them in preparing the final rule.

 

“The law is designed to avoid extreme hardship to U.S. citizens, which is precisely what this rule achieves,” USCIS Director Mayorkassaid. “The change will have a significant impact on American families by greatly reducing the time family members are separated from those they rely upon.”

 

Under current law, immediate relatives of U.S. citizens who are not eligible to adjust status in the United States to become lawful permanent residents must leave the U.S. and obtain an immigrant visa abroad. Individuals who have accrued more than six months of unlawful presence while in the United States must obtain a waiver to overcome the unlawful presence inadmissibility bar before they can return to the United States after departing to obtain an immigrant visa. Under the existing waiver process, which remains available to those who do not qualify for the new process, immediate relatives cannot file a waiver application until after they have appeared for an immigrant visa interview abroad and the Department of State has determined that they are inadmissible.

 

In order to obtain a provisional unlawful presence waiver, the applicant must be an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, inadmissible only on account of unlawful presence, and demonstrate the denial of the waiver would result in extreme hardship to his or her U.S. citizen spouse or parent. USCIS will publish a new form, Form I-601A, Application for a Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver, for individuals to use when applying for a provisional unlawful presence waiver under the new process. Under the new provisional waiver process, immediate relatives must still depart the United States for the consular immigrant visa process; however, they can apply for a provisional waiver before they depart for their immigrant visa interview abroad. Individuals who file the Form I-601A must notify the Department of State’s National Visa Center that they are or will be seeking a provisional waiver from USCIS. The new process will reduce the amount of time U.S. citizen are separated from their qualifying immediate relatives.

 

Details on the process changes are available at http://www.regulations.gov/.

 

Source: http://www.dhs.gov/news/2013/01/02/secretary-napolitano-announces-final-rule-support-family-unity-during-waiver-process

Streamlining visa issuance in India

U.S. Mission in India Expands Interview Waiver Program
New Delhi | November 19, 2012

 

In March of 2012, the United States Mission to India unveiled the Interview Waiver Program (IWP) which allows qualified individuals to apply for additional classes of visas without being interviewed in person by a U.S. consular officer. Following the success of the IWP, as part of continuing efforts to streamline the visa process, and to meet increased visa demand in India, the U.S. Mission is pleased to announce an expansion of the IWP. We expect this expansion to benefit thousands of visa applicants in India.
Under the current Interview Waiver Program, Indian visa applicants who are renewing visas that are still valid or expired within the past 48 months may submit their applications for consideration for streamlined processing, including waiver of a personal interview, within the following visa categories:

  • Business/Tourism (B1 and/or B2);
  • Dependent (J2, H4, L2)
  • Transit (C) and/or Crew Member (D) – including C1/D.
  • Children applying before their 7th birthday traveling on any visa class
  • Applicants applying on or after their 80th birthday traveling on any visa class

Under the expanded program, the following Indian applicants may also be considered for streamlined processing:

  • Children applying before their 14th birthday traveling on any visa class
  • Students returning to attend the same school and same program Temporary workers on H1-B visas
  • Temporary workers on Individual L1-A or Individual L1-B visas

The renewal application must be within the same classification as the previous visa. If the previous visa is annotated with the words “clearance received,” that applicant is not eligible for a waiver of a personal interview.
Not all applications will be accepted for streamlined processing. As always, consular officers may interview any visa applicant in any category. Applicants who are renewing their visas may still need to make an appointment for biometrics (fingerprint and photograph) collection, and all applicants must submit all required fees and the DS-160 application form.

 

This initiative is one of many steps the Department of State is taking to meet increased visa demand in India. In 2011, consular officers in India processed nearly 700,000 nonimmigrant visa applications, an increase of more than 11 percent over the previous year. Presently, applicants wait fewer than ten days for visa interview appointments and spend less than one hour at U.S. consular facilities in India. In September 2012, the U.S. Diplomatic Mission to India implemented a new visa processing system throughout India that further standardizes procedures and simplifies fee payment and appointment scheduling through a new website at www.ustraveldocs.com/in.

 

For more details about procedures for submitting a renewal application, please see http://www.ustraveldocs.com/in/in-niv-visarenew.asp.

AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 12112160. (Posted 11/21/12)

USCIS to begin accepting Deferred Action applications beginning August 15, 2012

USCIS has stated that it will make all forms and instructions available on August 15, 2012 and that it will not accept any filing for deferred action until such time. Consult with a qualified immigration attorney before requesting deferred action.

You may request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals if you:

 

  1. Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
  2. Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
  3. Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
  4. Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
  5. Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;
  6. Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
  7. Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

 

Please do not file before August 15. If you file early, your request will be rejected.

 

 


Affordable Care Act Individual Mandate is Upheld by the Supreme Court 5-4.


Affordable Care Act Individual Mandate is Upheld by the Supreme Court 5-4.

The individual mandate in Obamacare has been upheld 5-4 by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). Officially known as National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, the Act was upheld on the premise that it was not a mandate rather a tax which is within the scope of Congress to pass. For more information please see the following links.
http://healthcare-legislation.blogspot.com/



http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/national-federation-of-independent-business-v-sebelius/