USCIS to Begin Accepting Applications under the International Entrepreneur Rule

Release Date:

WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today it is taking steps to implement the International Entrepreneur Rule (IER), in accordance with a recent court decision.

Although the IER was published during the previous administration with an effective date of July 17, 2017, it did not take effect because the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a final rule on July 11, 2017, delaying the IER’s effective date until March 14, 2018.  This delay rule was meant to give USCIS time to review the IER and, if necessary, to issue a rule proposing to remove the IER program regulations.

However, a Dec. 1, 2017, ruling from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in National Venture Capital Association v. Duke vacated USCIS’ final rule to delay the effective date. The Dec. 1, 2017, court decision is a result of litigation filed in district court on Sept. 19, 2017, which challenged the delay rule.

The IER was published during the previous administration to provide an unlimited number of international entrepreneurs a new avenue to apply for parole, enter the U.S., and use American investments to establish and grow start-up businesses. Parole is a discretionary grant made by the Secretary of Homeland Security and is granted only on a case-by-case basis for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit. The rule established new criteria to guide the adjudication of parole applications from certain foreign entrepreneurs, providing them with temporary permission to come to the country. The rule did not afford a path to citizenship, which only Congress can do.

On Jan. 25, 2017, President Trump issued Executive Order 13767, Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements, which requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to ensure that parole authority is exercised only on a case-by-case basis, and only when an individual demonstrates urgent humanitarian reasons or a significant public benefit due to the parole.

Guidance on how to submit IER applications is available on our International Entrepreneur Parole page.

While DHS implements the IER, DHS will also proceed with issuing a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) seeking to remove the Jan. 17, 2017, IER. DHS is in the final stages of drafting the NPRM.

For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit uscis.gov or follow us on Twitter (@uscis), YouTube (/uscis), Facebook (/uscis), and Instagram (@USCIS).

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Tools Outage

USCIS will conduct system maintenance on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017, from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Eastern).

During this time, our online tools may be unavailable, including:

  • Check My Case Status
  • e-Request
  • Change of Address Online
  • Check Processing Times
  • Civil Surgeon Locator
  • FOIA Status Check
  • Office Locator
  • Forms by Mail

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

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As CNMI Transitional Worker Program Draws Down, USCIS Announces Cap for Final Three Fiscal Years

Release Date:

WASHINGTON— Today, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the number of visas the agency will grant for the last three fiscal years (FYs) of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)-Only Transitional Worker (CW-1) program. Congress previously mandated that USCIS end the program by reducing the number of workers in the program to zero by Dec. 31, 2019.

Under the CW-1 program, employers in the CNMI can apply for permission to employ foreign workers who are ineligible to work in the territory under other nonimmigrant worker categories. The intent of phasing out this foreign worker program is to encourage the territory’s transition into the U.S. immigration system, as well as to bolster recruitment of U.S. workers in the CNMI.

The table below provides the cap for FY 2018, FY 2019 and FY 2020 until the end of the program:

Fiscal Year (FY) Cap
FY 2018 9,998
FY 2019 4,999
FY 2020 (until Dec. 31, 2019) 2,499

USCIS announced in May that the agency received a sufficient number of petitions to reach the maximum possible CW-1 cap for FY 2018. April 11, 2017, was the last day that USCIS accepted FY 2018 CW-1 petitions requesting an employment start date before Oct. 1, 2018. USCIS encourages employers to file petitions for CW-1 workers as early as possible within 6 months of the requested employment start date. Please note, however, that USCIS will reject a petition if it is filed more than six months in advance.

For more information about the CW-1 worker program, visit the CW-1: CNMI-Only Transitional Worker page or call the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283.

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Status of the Central American Minors Program

On Nov. 9, 2017, the Department of State stopped accepting new applications for the Central American Minors (CAM) refugee program. USCIS will stop interviewing CAM cases on Jan. 31, 2018. After that date, individuals with pending applications who have not been interviewed will receive a notice with further instructions.

The decision to terminate the CAM refugee program was made as part of the U.S. government review of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for FY 2018.

The CAM program was established in 2014 to provide certain minors in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras the opportunity to be considered, while still in their home country, for refugee resettlement in the United States. Individuals who were determined to be ineligible for refugee status were then considered by USCIS for the possibility of entering the United States under parole. The parole portion of the CAM program was terminated in August 2017. 

Please visit the Department of State’s website for more information. 

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USCIS Guidance on DACA Renewal Requests Affected by Mail Service Issues

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has received reports that the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has identified USPS mail service delays that affected a number of DACA renewal requests. Because the DACA policy has been rescinded and individuals can no longer request deferred action under DACA, and in light of the mail service delays identified by USPS, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke has directed USCIS to accept DACA renewal requests from individuals who resubmit their DACA renewal request with individualized proof that the request was originally mailed in a timely manner and that the cause for receipt after the Oct. 5, 2017, deadline was the result of USPS mail service error. Affected DACA requestors who do not have such proof may contact USPS, which will review the cases on an individual basis and provide a letter if appropriate. USCIS will not accept requests that do not include individualized proof that the request was originally mailed in a timely manner to be received by the October 5 deadline, and that the cause for receipt after the Oct. 5, 2017, deadline was the result of USPS mail service error.

In addition, USCIS had discovered certain cases in which the DACA requests were received at the designated filing location (e.g., at the applicable P.O. Box) by the filing deadline, but were rejected. USCIS will proactively reach out to those DACA requestors to inform them that they may resubmit their DACA request. If a DACA requestor does not receive such a notification and believes that his or her DACA request was received at the designated filing location by the filing deadline, he or she may resubmit his or her DACA request with proof that the request was previously received at the designated filing location on or before the filing deadline.

Additional guidance is forthcoming.

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Update to Form I-102, Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival-Departure Document

Purpose of Form

For a nonimmigrant to apply for a new or replacement Form I-94 or I-95 Nonimmigrant Arrival-Departure Document.

Number of Pages

Form 4; Instructions 7.

Edition Date

10/19/17. Starting 01/12/2018, we will only accept the 10/19/17 edition. Until then, you can use the 12/23/16 edition. You can find the edition date at the bottom of the page on the form and instructions.

Where to File

NOTE:  If U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued you Form I-94, I-94W, or I-95 with incorrect information (ex: misspelled name, incorrect date of birth, visa classification, or date of admission), you should not file Form I-102. You will need to go to the nearest CBP port of entry (POE) or the nearest CBP deferred inspection office (DIO), in person, to have the information corrected.  For locations and hours of operation visit the CBP’s Web site at www.cbp.gov.

If you were admitted at an air or sea port of entry and issued an electronic Form I-94, you should go to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Web site at www.cbp.gov/I94 in order to obtain a paper version of Form I-94, including replacement Forms I-94.  Follow the instructions you received from CBP on how to do this.

File this form with a USCIS Lockbox facility. Important filing tips, as well as additional information on fees and customer service, are listed on our Lockbox Filing Tips webpage. See chart of filing locations on our Direct Filing Addresses for Form I-102, Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Departure Document page.

E-Notification: If you want to receive an e-mail and/or a text message that your Form I-102 has been accepted at a USCIS Lockbox facility, complete Form G-1145, E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance and clip it to the first page of your application.

Filing Tips for Form I-102, Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival-Departure Document

Complete all sections of the form. The form will be rejected if these fields are missing:

  • Part 1. Information About You
    • Family Name
    • U.S. Mailing Address
    • Date of Birth
  • Part 2. Reason for Application

Don’t forget to sign your form! We will reject any unsigned form.

Filing Fee

Special Instructions

Note on Filing Fees for I-102: You do not need to pay a fee to request a correction to your Form I-94, I-94W, or I-95 if the error(s) on your document was made by USCIS, through no fault of your own.

This page can be found at: https://www.uscis.gov/i-102

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USCIS Updates Policy to Ensure Petitioners Meet Burden of Proof for Nonimmigrant Worker Extension Petitions

Release Date:

WASHINGTON — Under updated policy guidance (PDF, 97 KB), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is instructing its officers to apply the same level of scrutiny to both initial petitions and extension requests for certain nonimmigrant visa categories. The guidance applies to nearly all nonimmigrant classifications filed using Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker.

“USCIS officers are at the front lines of the administration’s efforts to enhance the integrity of the immigration system,” said USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna. “This updated guidance provides clear direction to help advance policies that protect the interests of U.S. workers.”  

As before, adjudicators must thoroughly review the petition and supporting evidence to determine eligibility for the benefit sought. The updated guidance instructs officers to apply the same level of scrutiny when reviewing nonimmigrant visa extension requests even where the petitioner, beneficiary and underlying facts are unchanged from a previously approved petition. While adjudicators may ultimately reach the same conclusion as in a prior decision, they are not compelled to do so as a default starting point as the burden of proof to establish eligibility for an immigration benefit always lies with the petitioner.

The previous policy instructed officers to give deference to the findings of a previously approved petition, as long as the key elements were unchanged and there was no evidence of a material error or fraud related to the prior determination. The updated policy guidance rescinds the previous policy.

Under the law, the burden of proof in establishing eligibility for the visa petition extension is on the petitioner, regardless of whether USCIS previously approved a petition. The adjudicator’s determination is based on the merits of each case, and officers may request additional evidence if the petitioner has not submitted sufficient evidence to establish eligibility.

Interim and final policy memos are official USCIS policy documents and are effective the date the memos are issued.

Learn more about our Buy American, Hire American initiatives.

For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit uscis.gov or follow us on Twitter (@uscis), YouTube (/uscis), Facebook(/uscis), and Instagram (@USCIS

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USCIS Makes Additional Data on Employment-Based Visa Programs Available in Support of ‘Hire American’ Executive Order

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has posted additional data about the agency’s employment-based visa programs on its website. This new information reflects USCIS’ commitment to transparency in carrying out President Trump’s Buy American and Hire American Executive Order.

Datasets now available on the webpage include:

L-1 Datasets: The L-1 program (L-1A and L-1B) allows companies to transfer certain categories of employees from their foreign operations to their operations in the U.S.

H-1B Datasets: The H-1B program allows U.S. companies to temporarily hire foreign workers who will perform services in a specialty occupation.

H-2B Dataset: The H-2B program allows employers to hire foreign workers to fill temporary nonagricultural jobs when U. S. workers are not available. The below dataset applies to the one-time increase in H-2B visas for FY 2017.

Employment Authorization Document (EAD) Reports: EADs provide proof that certain foreign nationals are eligible to work in the United States for a specified period of time.

USCIS continues to consider a combination of rulemaking, policy memoranda, and operational changes to protect the economic interests of U.S. workers, and to prevent fraud and abuse within the immigration system.

The Buy American, Hire American webpage also includes a new USCIS policy issued to support the initiative and ways the public can report fraud and abuse in the H-1B and H-2B programs. The page also provides information on E-Verify, which is a USCIS tool available to help employers verify the work eligibility of new employees.

The data listed above and other employment-based datasets are also available at https://www.uscis.gov/tools/reports-studies/immigration-forms-data.

For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit uscis.gov or follow us on Twitter (@uscis), Instagram (/uscis), YouTube (/uscis), and Facebook(/uscis).

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Changes to Direct Filing Addresses for Form I-129 Petitions

On October 12, 2017, USCIS will change the direct filing addresses for certain petitioners of Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker. The changes are as follows:

  • Petitioners will now file Form I-129 according to the state where the company or organization’s primary office is located. Previously, petitioners filed Form I-129 based on the beneficiary’s temporary employment or training location.
  • Petitioners located in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Texas will now file Form I-129 at the California Service Center.

Starting November 11, 2017, USCIS may reject Form I-129s that are filed at the wrong service center.

Please see our Direct Filing Addresses for Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker page to determine where to file your Form I-129.

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Immigration Help Available to Those Affected by Natural Disasters

We offer immigration services that may help people affected by unforeseen circumstances, including disasters such as natural disasters.

The following measures may be available on a case-by-case basis upon request:

  • Changing a nonimmigrant status or extending a nonimmigrant stay for an individual currently in the United States. Failure to apply for the extension or change before expiration of your authorized period of admission may be excused if the delay was due to extraordinary circumstances beyond your control;
  • Re-parole of individuals previously granted parole by USCIS;
  • Expedited processing of advance parole requests;
  • Expedited adjudication of requests for off-campus employment authorization for F-1 students experiencing severe economic hardship;
  • Expedited adjudication of employment authorization applications, where appropriate;
  • Consideration of fee waivers due to an inability to pay;
  • Assistance for those who received a Request for Evidence or a Notice of Intent to Deny but were unable to submit evidence or otherwise respond in a timely manner;
  • Assistance if you were unable to appear for a scheduled interview with USCIS;
  • Expedited replacement of lost or damaged immigration or travel documents issued by USCIS, such as a Permanent Resident Card (Green Card); and
  • Rescheduling a biometrics appointment.

Note: When making a request, please explain how the impact of a natural disaster created a need for the requested relief.

To learn how to request these measures, call the National Customer Service Center at 800-375-5283. For customers who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf/blind or have speech disabilities which require accommodation: TTY / ASCII: 800-877-8339,  voice: 866-377-8642, video relay service (VRS): 877-709-5798.

Visit our Office Closings page to determine if an office is open and to learn about rescheduling appointments. In particular, if your InfoPass appointment was affected by a natural disaster, you can reschedule your appointment online or by calling the National Customer Service Center.

All Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, requirements remain in place. Those affected by natural disasters should review Form I-9 acceptable documents and receipts for more information on how to complete the form if an employee’s documents are lost, stolen, or damaged. Visit I-9 Central for more information.

Visit our Special Situations page or call the National Customer Service Center for more information about how we provide assistance to individuals affected by unforeseen circumstances.

Learn more about the federal government response to recent hurricanes:

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