A Brief Overview of the U.S. Immigration System

The history of the United States has been deeply intertwined with immigration, as people from various parts of the world have sought freedom and a better life on American shores since its earliest days. The U.S. government has established a structured immigration system to facilitate the legal entry of those who aspire to live and thrive in this country.

Starting from September 13, affirmative asylum applicants are required to furnish their own interpreters.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued a reminder to affirmative asylum applicants about an important change in interview procedures, effective September 13, 2023. If you are an affirmative asylum applicant and are not proficient in English or prefer to conduct your interview in a language other than English, it is now your responsibility to bring a qualified interpreter to the asylum interview.

USCIS Hits H-2B Visa Cap for FY 2024 First Half

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has reached the congressionally mandated cap for H-2B visas, which provide temporary nonagricultural employment, for the first half of fiscal year (FY) 2024. New petitions requesting employment starting before April 1, 2024, were accepted until the final receipt date of October 11, 2023. Any new cap-subject H-2B petitions received after this date, seeking employment before April 1, 2024, will be rejected.

USCIS Provides Updated Guidelines for Asylum Applications After EOIR Dismissal or Termination of Removal Proceedings

Starting October 16, 2023, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is implementing new guidelines for asylum applications submitted by individuals whose removal proceedings were dismissed or terminated by the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR).

If your removal proceedings were dismissed or terminated by EOIR and you opt to pursue an asylum claim, you must send the most current version of Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal, to the USCIS lockbox with jurisdiction over your place of residence.

TPS Extended: El Salvador, Honduras, Nepal and Nicaragua

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued Federal Register notices to extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designations for El Salvador, Honduras, Nepal, and Nicaragua for a duration of 18 months. This decision follows Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas' June 13, 2023 announcement to revoke the 2017 and 2018 terminations of these TPS designations and reinstate them for 18 months.

Temporary Protected Status Extended: Ukraine

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced an 18-month extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Ukraine, effective from October 20, 2023, through April 19, 2025. This decision is a response to the ongoing armed conflict and exceptional, temporary conditions in Ukraine, which make it unsafe for individuals to return.

Important Updates on DACA

On September 13, 2023, a ruling was issued by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, declaring the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Final Rule to be unlawful. The ruling expanded upon the original injunction and order of vacatur issued on July 16, 2021, to now encompass the Final Rule.

USCIS Grants Fee Exemption for All Form I-539 Applicants’ Biometric Services

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced the waiver of the biometric services fee for Form I-539, the Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. 

Starting on October 1, the $85 biometric services fee is no longer required as part of the application process for Form I-539. If your application is postmarked on or after October 1, you are exempt from paying this fee.