Lawful permanent residents may receive temporary evidence of their lawful permanent resident (LPR) status by mail, rather than physically visiting a field office, USCIS has announced.

LPRs eligible for delivery of temporary evidence of status will be mailed a Form I-94 with ADIT stamp, DHS seal, and a printed photo of the LPR obtained from USCIS systems.

Like the “in person” stamp, the “delivery” form is an acceptable travel document and an acceptable List A receipt for Form I-9 and E-Verify purposes.

To request temporary evidence of status, applicants must call the USCIS Contact Center, and:

  • The officer at the Center will verify the applicant’s identity, physical mailing address, and whether that address can receive UPS or FedEx express mail.
  • The officer will then create an in-person appointment, if necessary, or submit a request to the field office to initiate the creation of temporary evidence.
  • If temporary evidence need to be created, USCIS will review the request and mail the applicant a Form I-94 with ADIT stamp, DHS seal, and a printed photo of the LPR obtained from the USCIS database.

The “delivery” Form I-94 will look the same as the “in-person” form, except that the printed photo will be on the top right, instead of the top left, of the form.

If the applicant’s identity cannot be confirmed over the telephone, the applicant will still need to appear in person. Others with urgent needs or who do not have a useable photo in the USCIS system will also have to appear in person.

The purpose of the new process is to provide a more efficient way for individuals to receive temporary evidence of status without needing to schedule an appointment and travel to a USCIS field office.

Jackson Lewis attorneys are available to assist with this new process.

USCIS has expanded premium processing for F-1 students to pending Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) applications based on Optional Practice Training (OPT) and STEM OPT. On April 3, 2023, the same will be extended to new EAD applications for OPT and STEM OPT. The cost for this premium processing will be $1,500 and the timeframe will be 30 calendar days. These applications may be filed by mail or online.

This expansion of premium processing should help students and their employers who otherwise might be dealing with a lack or a gap in employment authorization. Timely filed STEM applicants have been eligible for a 180-day extension of their initial EADs, but given USCIS delays, that has not always been long enough.

In January 2023, USCIS announced that all I-140 immigrant visa petitions in the EB-1 category (including international executives and managers) and EB-2 National Interest Waiver categories are eligible for premium processing. The associated fee is $2,500 and the guaranteed timeframe is 45 days. While this, too, is longer than the “usual” 15 days, making premium processing available to international executives and managers and national interest waiver petitioners will move these green card cases forward and make it possible for certain spouses to apply for employment authorization once the I-140s are approved.

These changes are all part of a plan set out by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in March 2022. At that time, DHS said it would make premium processing available to Form I-140 petitions, I-539 applications to change or extend status, and I-765 applications for employment authorization. This plan delighted petitioners and applicants (although costs were raised and timelines expanded), but it was not clear how long it would take to implement. DHS explained that the new premium processing would be put into effect when the revenues existed to cover potential costs (such as hiring staff) without adversely affecting other processing times, and that DHS would effectuate the new benefits “as soon as feasible.” DHS noted that some of these changes would not be available until 2025.

In May 2023, premium processing may become available for certain exchange visitors with pending I-539 applications.

If you have questions about the new premium processing, Jackson Lewis attorneys are available to assist.

USCIS shared updated guidance on how it will evaluate evidence for petitions seeking O-1B classification as individuals of Extraordinary Ability in the Arts or in the Motion Picture and Television Industry (MPTV).

The updated guidance, released on March 3, 2023, is found in the USCIS Policy Manual, Volume 2, Part M, Chapter 4 O-1 Beneficiaries.

While O petitions are specifically for those with extraordinary ability, the petitions can be a useful substitute for eligible individuals who are not eligible for or do not “win” an H-1B visa in the Cap lottery.

The guidance is effective immediately and seeks to assuage stakeholder concerns for better transparency in the application of evidentiary requirements for the O-1B classification, while making the adjudication process more consistent and predictable. Compared to the O-1A requirements (which are more straightforward), the O-1B criteria have long been considered amorphous and overlapping, creating some confusion as to the kinds of evidence needed to meet each individual requirement. The latest changes aim at demystifying this category and the types of evidence needed for each.

Key updates include:

1. A new O-1B Chart in the Appendix

(joining its previously issued O-1A sister Chart). The Chart provides examples of evidence for each O-1B criterion that may be used to satisfy the O-1B requirements. USCIS also provides extensive “relevant considerations” that it uses to evaluate the evidence.

2.  Clarity on “comparable evidence.”

To use “comparable evidence,” a beneficiary must explain why a particular O-1B evidentiary category does not apply to their occupation and how their new evidence is comparable to that category. However, USCIS reiterates that, in order to use comparable evidence, the evidentiary category need not be completely inapplicable to the beneficiary’s occupation – it is enough for the beneficiary to demonstrate the O-1B is not “easily applicable” to the beneficiary’s profession.

The increased clarity of evidentiary requirements and a more streamlined and predictable adjudication pattern, we hope, will benefit employers wishing to sponsor O-1B candidates. Analyses of a particular candidate’s background to determine eligibility should become more precise and effective, allowing employers to make these sponsorship decisions with greater clarity as to a candidate’s chances of seeing an O-1 petition approved.

Jackson Lewis attorneys are available to assist in analyzing, strategizing and preparing visa petitions for prospective employees.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has published instructions on how to apply for the extended and redesignated Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Somalia.

In February 2023, DHS extended and redesignated TPS for Somalia until September 17, 2024.

Applications for re-registration and employment authorization document (EAD) extensions should be made during the reregistration period: March 13, 2023, through May 12, 2023.

Those with current EADs set to expire on September 17, 2021, or March 17, 2023, will be granted automatic extensions of EADs until March 17, 2024, while they wait for their new EADs to be approved. For more information on automatic extensions for Somalia and other TPS countries, please see our work authorization tool.

Individuals who have already applied for EAD extensions need only reregister. When their EAD cases are adjudicated, they will have September 17, 2024, expiration dates.

Those who wish to make initial applications for TPS and EADs beyond general eligibility requirements must have entered the United States on or before January 11, 2023, and must have been continuously physically present in the United States since March 18, 2023.

Somalian students in F-1 status may request work authorization or increased work hours while school is in session – and still maintain their F-1 status if they are experiencing severe economic hardship due to the crises in Somalia.

Please see the instructions in the Federal Register for specific information.

Jackson Lewis attorneys are available to assist in making applications and determining whether those with expired EADs continue to have work authorization.

U.S. passport renewals are taking longer. Applying for renewals well in advance of travel abroad may be particularly important if you also need a visa in the new passport.

Moreover, many countries require that your passport be valid for at least 3 months, or even 6 months, beyond the period of your intended stay abroad. Checking the current requirements for the country (or countries) to which you plan to travel should be among your first steps. (The United States has a similar requirement for those entering from certain countries.)

Early in 2023, routine renewals were taking 6-9 weeks, and expedited renewals were taking 3-5 weeks. Now, it is 8-11 weeks and 5-7 weeks, respectively, and that does not include mailing times.

If time is an issue:

  • Rush passports may be available within 3 business days for life-or-death emergencies.
  • Special appointments can be made for those with urgent travel. Urgent travel appointments, however, cannot be made unless the travel is within the next 14 days. Pay extra for faster delivery to and from the passport agency. Priority Mail Express can get the application to the agency faster than regular mail. Pay an extra fee for 1-2-day delivery back from the agency. To request this, you must include the fee with your check or money order payable to the “U.S. Department of State.” Make sure to check the latest fees with the U.S. Department of State. Do not submit a pre-paid return envelope. (If you are renewing a passport card (not a passport book), it will be sent back to you by First Class mail. It is impossible to request 1-2-day delivery for a passport card.)
  • Passport expeditors or courier companies are private entities, some of which are registered at U.S. passport agencies and may submit expedited passport application on behalf of their client.

To avoid even more delays, make sure you carefully follow all the instructions on the Department of State website.

There was a pilot program for renewing passports online, but that program was closed on March 8, 2023. The Department of State expects to launch a fully online renewal program later in the year following the feedback from the pilot program.

Passport renewal delays are not new. The worst backlogs started when passport agencies were locked down during the COVID-19 pandemic. Up to 2 million renewal applications were delayed then, and it could take 4-6 months to get a passport at that time. Americans who were stranded abroad with expired passports were allowed to enter the United States with their expired passports. Things started to turn around in 2022, but processing times are creeping up again.

Jackson Lewis attorneys are available to assist with any passport or travel questions you may have.

With migrant “encounters” at the southern border much in the news, the Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Swanton Sector along the northern border has recorded encounters increasing at a rate never seen before.

The Swanton Sector encompasses 24,000 square miles at the northern border. The sector includes the entire state of Vermont, six upstate New York counties, and three New Hampshire counties abutting the provinces of Quebec and Ontario along the Canadian border. From October 2022 to January 2023, the rate of encounters increased 846% from the previous year. These crossings, like some of those at the southern border, are extremely dangerous. The northern border presents harsh winter weather conditions with high risk of hypothermia. The lives of border agents are also at risk as they conduct search and rescue missions in the sector.

Vulnerable migrants, including families with young children, are risking their lives as they encounter temperatures as low as -4 degrees Fahrenheit. The Swanton Sector chief patrol agent reported: “It cannot be stressed enough: not only is it unlawful to circumvent legal means of entry into the United States, but it is extremely dangerous, particularly in adverse weather conditions, which our Swanton Sector has in incredible abundance.”

The Swanton Sector is not the only northern sector experiencing increases in border apprehensions. The Grand Forks Sector, including Minnesota and North Dakota, reported 90 apprehensions from October 2022 through December 2022. The total apprehensions were 80 for the year before. The individuals crossing the northern border represent close to 20 nationalities. They generally will fly into Canada before trying to cross into the United States through areas of vast wilderness to avoid highly populated checkpoints on the border. While the numbers at the northern border may pale in comparison to those the southern border, the cold and snow make these crossings uniquely hazardous.

Of course, the flow of refugees is not just one way. Canada is also seeing a substantial increase in the number of irregular land crossings, especially at the New York-Quebec border. Due to the inconsistent increase in land crossings, Canadian patrols are experiencing problems managing that influx. Last year, the count was 39,000 crossing from New York to Quebec, with nearly 5,000 crossing in January of this year.

Under the Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) between the United States and Canada, individuals must seek asylum in the first country they enter. Those who attempt to cross at official ports of entry will be turned back. But those who cross at irregular border areas can end up resettling as they await adjudication of asylum claims in Canada. Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wants to discuss changes to this agreement with President Joe Biden during their planned meeting in March 2023.

USCIS has proposed raising its filing fees – and the burden of those increased fees will fall primarily on employers large and small. For example, the filing fee for an H-1B visa would be raised by 70% from $460 to $780. The registration fee for Cap H-1Bs would increase from $10 to $215. On top of that, a $600 surcharge will be added to all I-129, Nonimmigrant Worker Petitions, and all I-140, Immigrant Petitions for Alien Workers, to cover costs associated with asylum processing.

The original comment period on the proposed rule was scheduled to run until March 6, 2023. It has been reported that USCIS has received negative commentary about the employment visa increases and has decided to extend the comment period for another week, until March 13, 2023. According to DHS, the comment period is being extended due to technical issues.

Comments may be submitted directly through the Federal Register site at: If you have questions about submitting a comment, even with anecdotal evidence regarding the impact of the proposed increases, Jackson Lewis attorneys are available to assist.

Passport stamps used to be treasured mementos for some travelers, but they are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Instead, biometrics and electronic entry systems are being deployed. But that is not the only thing that is changing. Now, in many countries, e-Gates may take the place of customs officers.

E-Gates automate border control by comparing biometrics data found in electronic passports (ePassports) with biometrics captured “live” at the gate. Of course, not every country uses these and not everyone is eligible to use the automated “lanes.” The countries that are using e-Gate technologies at some their airports include Australia, France, Italy, Mexico, Portugal, and the United Kingdom. As these programs are rolled out, more countries are being added to the eligibility lists.

 To use e-Gates, individuals generally must have:

  • ePassports or a passport book containing an embedded chip with biometric data valid for 180 days from an eligible country; and
  • Be of a certain age – at least 16 or 18 years of age.

At e-Gates, the “contactless” process allows travelers to be inspected and admitted to the destination in an efficient manner and significantly reduces the delay at the customs and inspection windows.

While e-Gates provide a convenience and speedy process, some individuals may still be subjected to secondary inspection if the e-Gate system deems necessary and at some airports, a quick meeting with a customs officer is still required after passing through the e-Gate.

Although the United States currently does not have e-Gates, Automated Passport Control (APC) streamlines the entry process for U.S. citizens, U.S. legal permanent residents, Canadian citizens, eligible Visa Waiver Program participants, and certain U.S. visa holders by automating the primary inspection process. Travelers scan their passports, take a photograph and answer inspection-related questions verifying biographic and flight information at a kiosk. They will receive a receipt, which must be shown to the CBP Officer, along with their passport, to finalize inspection.

APC is available at airports in Albuquerque (NM), Newark (NJ), Oakland (CA), Ontario (CA), Philadelphia (PA), Salt Lake City (UT), St. Petersburg-Clearwater (FL), Stewart (NY), T.F. Green (RI), and Vancouver Seaport (Canada).

As more and more countries start using automation to improve their customs and entry process, it is important to check your arrival airports to see if an e-Gate system is available and exactly what the eligibility requirements are for using them. If an e-Gate is not an option, you can check for registered traveler programs that could also speed your entry. These “trusted traveler” programs are also available in the United States.

Finally, since your passport will no longer have stamps documenting your exits and entries, you should follow instructions from the relevant system to obtain that documentation and maintain your travel records.

If you have any questions about requirements for travel abroad including visa requirements, Jackson Lewis attorneys are available to assist.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed to an en banc rehearing in Ramos v. Mayorkas, potentially further extending Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for tens of thousands of individuals with current status from El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, and Sudan who have been in limbo waiting on a final ruling in the this case.

By way of background, in 2018, a federal district court in California issued a nationwide injunction preventing the Trump Administration from terminating TPS status for El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan. Soon thereafter, TPS beneficiaries from Honduras and Nepal were also given injunctive relief.

In 2020, a three-judge panel on the Ninth Circuit set aside the district court ruling, but the termination did not go into effect because the government agreed not to terminate status while the TPS plaintiffs sought a rehearing.

In 2021, the Biden Administration entered negotiations with the TPS plaintiffs about how to achieve some sort of permanent status. The Ramos case was paused during these negotiations, which lasted until October 2022 when there was an impasse. The government agreed that TPS protection would continue, and work authorization would be extended, for all those countries involved for at least one year if the program was terminated through litigation or until June 20, 2024 – whichever was later. The en banc rehearing is the next (but not necessarily the last) step in this process.

The Biden Administration continues defending the Trump Administration’s determination ending TPS for the designated countries based upon the argument that the courts cannot substitute its determination in this case. However, to the extent the Biden Administration has been open to granting TPS to other countries, including Afghanistan, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ukraine and Venezuela, and has extended and redesignated TPS for Burma, Haiti, South Sudan, Sudan, and Syria, it may be open to resolving this matter in a way more favorable to the class. Under the most recent regulations, the over 100,000 beneficiaries from El Salvador, Nepal, Nicaragua, and Honduras will remain subject to the government’s decision to extend their TPS to June 20, 2024, or will have their status extended for at least one year after the program is terminated through litigation.

Jackson Lewis attorneys will provide updates as the rehearing process moves forward.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy continues to be under attack. In Judge Andrew Hanen’s court in the Southern District of Texas, a coalition of Republican states filed a motion for summary judgment in a long-pending case alleging that the Biden Administration’s new DACA rule is no more valid than the original DACA policy.

The DACA policy was instituted in 2012 during the Obama Administration without going through the rulemaking process. It allows temporary protection from deportation for undocumented immigrants who came to the United States under the age of 16. The policy has been challenged for years through litigation at all levels of the federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court. Despite unfavorable rulings, the program continues, at least in part, based on litigation stays. Currently, “Dreamers” with DACA status may continue to renew their statuses and their employment authorization (EADs). New initial applications may be accepted by USCIS, but they cannot be adjudicated due to the current litigation. Even though the Biden Administration re-issued the new policy through a rulemaking process – DACA beneficiaries still remain in a kind of limbo today due to the litigation. The only permanent solution would be federal legislation, but that has yet to make its way through Congress.

The coalition of states led by Texas with their summary judgment motion is asking the court to invalidate the new Biden rule and provide a two-year “grace period” during which current DACA beneficiaries could continue to renew their DACA statuses and EADs while planning for their lives post-DACA.

DACA is not an immigration status nor is it pathway to a permanent residence, i.e., a green card. Most DACA recipients have limited options for relief. And those with options need to carefully examine their strategies and should consult with competent immigration counsels to avoid the risk of being barred from returning to the United States.

Jackson Lewis attorneys are available to assist those who are navigating these tricky waters by analyzing specific options and the risks involved.