DHS Announces Continuation of International Entrepreneur Parole Program

USCIS announced on May 10, 2021 that the Department of Homeland Security is withdrawing a 2018 notice of proposed rulemaking that proposed to remove the International Entrepreneur (IE) program from DHS regulations. The withdrawal means that the IE parole program will remain a viable program for foreign entrepreneurs to create and develop start-up entities with high growth potential in the United States.

Under the IE program, parole may be granted to up to three entrepreneurs per start-up entity, as well as their spouses and children. Entrepreneurs granted parole are eligible to work only for their start-up business. Their spouses may apply for employment authorization in the United States, but their children are not eligible for such authorization based on this parole. USCIS announce that they will plan information sessions and other outreach activities to the public. Fore more information about the IE program, please refer to USCIS International Entrepreneur Parole page.

USCIS Issues Policy Guidance on Deference to Previous Decisions

On 04/27/2021, USCIS issued policy guidance in its Policy Manual, instructing officers to give deference to prior determinations when adjudicating extension requests involving the same parties and facts unless there was a material error, material change, or new material facts. This update is in accordance with President Biden’s executive order, Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans.

With this update, USCIS is reverting in substance to prior long-standing guidance issued in 2004, which directed officers to generally defer to prior determinations of eligibility when adjudicating extension requests involving the same parties and facts as the initial petition or application. In 2017, USCIS rescinded the 2004 guidance.

Related Link: Policy Guidance

F-1 Students Seeking OPT Can Now File Form I-765 Online

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on April 12, 2021, that F-1 students seeking optional practical training (OPT) can now file Form I-765, online if they are filing under one of these categories:

  • (c)(3)(A) – Pre-Completion OPT;
  • (c)(3)(B) – Post-Completion OPT;
  • (c)(3)(C) – 24-Month Extension of OPT for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students.

Please note that the option to file Form I-765 online is only available to F-1 students filing Form I-765 for OPT. If an applicant submits Form I-765 online to request employment authorization on or after April 15, but is eligible for a different employment authorization category, USCIS will deny the application and retain the fee.

To file Form I-765 online, individuals must first create a USCIS online account at myaccount.uscis.gov. This free account allows you to submit forms, pay filing fees, track case status, communicate with USCIS through a secure inbox, and respond to Requests for Evidence.

Including Form I-765, USCIS currently accepts eleven (11) forms to be filed online, which can be found on Forms Available to File Online.

OFLC Releases Public Disclosure Data and Selected Program Statistics for Q2 of Fiscal Year 2021

On April 20, 2021, The Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) has released a comprehensive set of public disclosure data (through the second quarter of fiscal year 2021) drawn from employer applications requesting prevailing wage determinations and labor certifications for the PERM, LCA (H-1B, H-1B1, E-3), H-2A, H-2B, CW-1, and Prevailing Wage programs.

The public disclosure files include all final determinations OFLC issued for these programs during the October 1, 2020, through March 31, 2021, reporting period of fiscal year 2021. OFLC has also released selected program statistics for the second quarter of fiscal year 2021 for the PERM, H-1B, H-1B1, E-3, H-2A, H-2B, CW-1, and Prevailing Wage programs. Related link: Public Disclosure Files and Selected Program Statistics.

Including Form I-765, USCIS currently accepts eleven (11) forms to be filed online, which can be found on Forms Available to File Online.

DHS Secretary Announced that 2019 Public Charge Rule Has Been Vacated

On March 9, 2021, DHS Secretary made a statement that the government will no longer defend the 2019 public charge rule as doing so is neither in the public interest nor an efficient use of limited government resources.the Department of Justice is no longer pursuing appellate review of judicial decisions invalidating or enjoining enforcement of the 2019 public charge rule. Today, the Department of Justice dismissed its pending appeals in the Supreme Court and Seventh Circuit, and is in the process of doing so in the Fourth Circuit. Following the Seventh Circuit dismissal this afternoon, the final judgment from the Northern District of Illinois, which vacated the 2019 public charge rule, went into effect. As a result, the 1999 interim field guidance on the public charge inadmissibility provision (i.e., the policy that was in place before the 2019 public charge rule) is now in effect.

Accordingly, the USCIS has stopped applying the 2019 public charge file rule to all pending applications and petitions since March 9, 2021. USCIS also has removed content related to the vacated rule from all affected USCIS forms and posted updated versions of these forms. Since April 19, 2021, USCIS only accepts the 03/10/21 version of the following related forms:

  • I-864, I-864A, I-864EA, I-864W;
  • I-539, I-539A;
  • I-129, I-129CW, I-129CWR;
  • I-485, I-485A, I-485J; and I-912