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New Regulations Open Doors to Foreign Start-Ups, Bypass Visa Application Process

“The problem with the French is that they don’t have a word for entrepreneur.” While certain U.S. president may or may not have said those words about the French, it is quite clear that the U.S. immigration regulations were missing, for a long time, a word or, rather a visa category, for entrepreneurs engaged in US start-ups. New Regulations published by the US Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) on January 17, 2017 attempt to rectify this problem and create an entirely new way for foreign entrepreneurs engaged in start-ups to gain legal entry into the United States.

New Law Increases H-1B and L-1 Petition Fees

The Appropriations Act of 2016 (Public Law 114 – 113), signed into law by Pres. Obama on December 18, 2015 increases fees for certain H-1B and L-1 petitioners. These petitioners must submit an additional fee or $4000 for certain H-1B petitioners and $4500 for certain L-1A and L-1B petitions postmarked on or after December 18, 2015.

DHS Proposes Changes to Regulations Affecting Work Visa Holders, including H-1B, L-1, E-1, E-2, and TN, and Applicants for Green Cards Sponsored by Employers

Much has already been said about proposed changes to DHS regulations related to certain employment-based immigrant and nonimmigrant visa programs, published on December 31, 2015. Much of what is being proposed is, in reality, no change at all. The DHS is simply amending its regulations consistent with provisions contained in the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000 (AC21) and the American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998 (ACWIA). Some would say this is 15-17 years overdue and they would not be wrong.

The Religious Green Card applications and EB5 Investor Visa pilot program visas are scheduled to expire on September 30, 2015

The Religious Green Card applications and EB5 Investor Visa pilot program visas are scheduled to expire/stop on September 30, 2015. This is because both programs are to sunset on September 30 unless the law is extended just like it has in the past. It is important to note that if you fall into one of these categories, you should file before the deadline.

Revision of Visa Bulletin Allows Earlier Filing of Adjustment of Status Applications

The State Department posted the Visa Bulletin for October 2015 in which the State Department has made significant changes. The change to the Visa Bulletin should shorten the time many people going through the green card process have to wait to be able to file an adjustment of status application, which is the final step in the green card process.

Some DACA recipients who received a three-year work permits must return them

If you received a letter or were contacted directly by USCIS regarding the recall of certain three-year work permits, you must IMMEDIATELY return your three-year work permit to your local USCIS office. If you fail to return your card, USCIS will terminate your DACA and all employment authorizations effective July 31, 2015.

Re-registration Deadline for Somalia TPS is set for July 31, 2015

July 31, 2015 is the deadline for current Somalia Temporary Protected Status beneficiaries for re-registering for the 18-month extension of TPS that runs from September 18, 2015 through March 17, 2017. Those who are eligible for TPS fail to re-register by the mentioned deadline; they may lose their TPS and work authorization.Details and procedures for re-registering for TPS is available on the USCIS website.

Modification to the Oath of Allegiance

Starting from July 21, 2015 new guidance (PA-2015-001) in the USCIS Policy Manual clarifies the eligibility requirements for modifications to the Oath of Allegiance. The Oath is a part of the naturalization process. Normally the candidates for citizenship declare that they will “bear arms on behalf of the United States” and “perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States” when required by the law.
According to the modified Oath of Allegiance the new guidance clarifies that a candidate: