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New Policies for 2020, Part 1

Provided by Humera Subhani Email Provided by Humera Subhani
February 2020
New Policies for 2020, Part 1

H1B registration update
The USCIS is announcing the implementation of the H-1B registration process for H-1B cap-subject petitions. The initial H-1B petition registration period will begin on March 1, 2020. Starting then, USCIS will require H-1B cap-subject petitioners, including those eligible for the advanced degree exemption, to first register electronically with USCIS and pay the associated H-1B registration fee before being eligible to properly file an H-1B cap-subject petition for Fiscal Year 2021 H-1B numerical allocations. USCIS intends to close the initial registration period on March 20, 2020 and will announce the actual end date on its website. After the initial registration period closes, USCIS will conduct the initial selection process, and petitioners with selected registrations will be eligible to file an H-1B cap-subject petition for those selected registrations during the associated filing. Petitioners must register using an online account. USCIS will provide step-by-step instructions on its website at www.uscis.gov.

USCIS fees increase
The January 2020 Khabar column laid out the fee increases to take effect this year. Some significant increases include an 83% increase for Citizenship (N-400) application—from $640 to $1,170. The cost to file an adjustment application with ancillary benefits (work/travel permits) will increase to $2,195 from $1,225 and there will be new fees for DACA and Asylum petitions, which were previously filed at no charge. Employment-based cases are also facing large hikes in fees.

The earliest that the fee increase can take place is in March 2020, so many applicants are filing before the new rates will be effective.

Citizenship testing—also moral character
A DHS memorandum released in May 2019 and titled “Revision of the Naturalization Civics Tests” announced there would be changes in the exam questions about U.S. government and history, as well as the oral test of knowledge of the English language. The change could take effect as early as December 2020, although no start date has been announced. DHS has remained silent on how exactly the testing will change, but there may be pilot testing in the fall with volunteers. Based on the comments of the Trump administration, applicants can assume that the testing will be more challenging than in previous revisions.

Dec 2019 guidance details 15 examples of “unlawful acts,” such as drunk driving, bank fraud, not filing or paying taxes, and lying to the government.

APPLICATION FINAL ACTION DATES FOR February  2020

 

FAMILY

India

Pakistan/Bangladesh

1st

22Aug13

22Aug13

2A

Current

Current

2B

22Aug14

22Aug14

3rd

22Nov07

22Nov07

4th

22Nov04

01Jul06

 

 

EMPLOYMENT

India

Pakistan/Bangladesh

1st

01Jan15

01Dec18

2nd

19May09

Current

3rd

08Jan09

Current

Other

08Jan09

Current

4th

Current

Current

5th

01Sep18

Current1B

 


DATES FOR FILING VISA APPLICATIONS - February 2020

 

FAMILY

India

Pakistan/Bangladesh

1st

22Mar14

22Mar14

2A

01Dec19

01Dec19

2B

22Apr15

22Apr15

3rd

22Jul08

22Jul08

4th

22Jul05

22Jul07

 

 

EMPLOYMENT

India

Pakistan/Bangladesh

1st

15May17

Current

2nd

01Jul09

Current

3rd

01Feb10

01Janl9

Other

01Feb10

01Janl9

4th

Current

Current

5th

Current

Current1B

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/legal/visa-law0/visa-bulletin/2020/visa-bulletin-for-february-2020.html

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