Final Rule on H-1B Visa Program
The final rule for the new H-1B lottery process becomes effective on April 1, 2019 for FY 2020. The new ruling favors foreigners with a U.S. Master’s or higher degree to have a better chance of receiving an H-1B visa. The reverse lottery process will now randomly select 65,000 H-1B petitions first and then select the 20,000 advanced degree exemption. The electronic registration requirement is suspended for FY 2020 until testing is completed. Read the final ruling.
Accrual of Unlawful Presence Policy
Effective August 9, 2018, nonimmigrants in F, J, or M status will begin accruing unlawful presence the day after an immigration status violation occurs. USCIS will count the days that a student or exchange visitor remains in the US after an immigration violation unless a timely-filed reinstatement is requested or the student or exchange visitor departs the country. Failure to reinstate or depart the US will cause the nonimmigrant to be subject to a 3 year, 10 year, or permanent bar from the US.
H-1B Cap Reached for FY-2019
The H-1B cap for fiscal year 2019 has been reached as of April 6, 2018. This includes the 65,000 cap and the 20,000 cap for Master’s degrees. On April 11, 2018, the computer-generated lottery system randomly chose cap-subject H-1B petitions from applications received April 2-6. USCIS will refund filing fees for those petitions that were not chosen in the lottery.
For more information about the H-1B cap: H-1B Cap Resource Page
Nonimmigrants who violated their immigration status prior to August 9, 2018 will begin accruing unlawful presence as of August 9. The unlawful presence clock will continue until the student or exchange visitor departs the country, in which they will also become inadmissible to the US.
Read more about the Accrual of Unlawful Presence.
Federal Review of Nepali Temporary Protected Status
UPDATE: TPS for Nepali citizens will terminate on June 24, 2019. EADs that expire on June 28, 2018 are automatically extended through December 21, 2018. If TPS re-registration is approved again and a new EAD was requested, then the new EAD expiration will be June 24, 2019. For additional information on this update, please see the links below.
USCIS TPS Notice
Federal Register Notice of Action
The US currently protects almost 9,000 Nepali people from the 2015 catastrophic earthquake. Nepal is slowly recovering but has faced subsequent natural disasters and political instability. A recent report shows that it is not safe for those with TPS to return home. Homeland Security will decide by April 25 if TPS will be renewed for Nepali citizens.
El Salvador TPS Status Terminated
On January 8, 2018, the US Department of Homeland Security announced that Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for El Salvadorans will not be renewed. The termination day is designated as September 9, 2019. See more information here. El Salvadorans can also seek free immigration advice.
Presidential Proclamation on Executive Order Travel Ban
On June 26, 2018, the US Supreme Court stated that Travel Ban 3.0 is now in effect for the following countries: Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, and Somalia. The travel ban was previously in effect since December 2017, but Supreme Court ruling now upholds all provisions and preliminary injunctions that had previously semi-blocked the ban.
On April 10, 2018, Chad was removed from the list of countries included in the travel ban and became effective on April 13, 2018. Updates and information can be found at the links below.
On December 4, 2017, the US Supreme Court stated that the travel ban affecting these 8 countries is now fully enforced. Continue to follow updates and reference resources with the links below.
Indefinite Entry Bar Under Executive Order
On September 24, 2017, President Trump issued a Proclamation on the Executive Order 13780 (from March 6, 2017) banning or restricting entry of certain foreign nationals to the United States. The eight countries that are included in the Proclamation are Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, and Somalia. Although Iraq is not included in this Proclamation, Iraqi nationals who arrive in the United States may experience additional scrutiny if they pose risk to the U.S.
For additional information and to read the Presidential Proclamation:
NAFSA Resources for the Executive Order Travel Ban