AILA 2016 Open Forum Updates


Last week our very own managing attorney Jacob Sapochnick, Esq., and associate attorney Yingfei Zhou, Esq. had the pleasure of attending the 2016 American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Conference on Immigration Law in Las Vegas, Nevada. Together, they bring you the most up to date information on the new N-400 online filing system and new N-400 form, the new customer service tool EMMA—a computer-generated virtual assistant, information regarding delays in adjudication of H-1B extension/transfer applications and Employment Authorization applications, filing tips for H-1B extensions, updates on EB-1C Multinational Executive/Manager green cards, Employment Authorization eligibility for spouses of E-2 and L-1 visa holders, and updates on Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) Decisions.

New Naturalization Form and N-400 Online Filing System

  1. USCIS recently published a new N-400 form on 04/13/2016. Applicants may use the previous 09/13/2013 version until 08/09/2016. Any naturalization applications received on or after 08/10/2016 containing the old form with revision date 09/13/2013 will be rejected and returned to the sender.
  1. USCIS is currently testing a new N-400 online filing system. This system will be available to applicants without legal representation and will eventually become available to applicants represented by an immigration attorney.

New Customer Service Tools EMMA

  1. USCIS is introducing a new customer service tool called EMMA – a computer-generated virtual assistant who can answer your questions and even take you to the right spot on the USCIS website. EMMA is USCIS’ version of ‘Siri’ and is designed to help you navigate the USCIS website. EMMA is available in the Spanish language. So far, EMMA has managed to answer 80% of questions asked.

Delays in adjudication of H-1B Extensions/Transfer Applications and EAD applications

  1. Delays in the adjudication of H-1B Extensions/Transfer Applications have arisen due to capacity issues. During the conference, USCIS acknowledged that there is significant delay in H-1B extension/transfer adjudication and processing of employment authorization applications. Currently the processing time for H-1B extension/transfer is about 7-8 months. Employment authorization processing sometimes takes longer than 90 days. This is due to USCIS’ lack of personnel and the work load imbalance among service centers. USCIS will make efforts to prioritize the type of petitions received. USCIS encourages applicants to follow up with USCIS if they do not receive an update on H-1B extension/transfer within 210 days of filing.

 Direct Filing Address for H-1B Extensions without change of employment

  1. H-1B extensions without any change on employment terms can be filed directly with the Nebraska Service Center.

EB-1C Multinational Executive/Manager Green Card

  1. Premium processing service is NOT immediately available for EB-1C Multinational Executive/Manager green card.

Employment Authorization for E-2 and L-1 Spouses

  1. E-2 and L-2 spouses are eligible for employment authorization (EAD) for basically the same period of stay that the L-1 and E-2 principle is approved for.

AAO Decisions

  1. AAO decisions are available to search on USCIS website.

For more information please contact our office.