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Lawyers comment on US immigration changes

Posted on October 5, 2012
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blankLaw firm, Gibney, Anthony and Flaherty, has released a statement on the latest changes to US immigration regulations.

The statement submitted by the law firm focuses on the changes to H-1B petitions for the fiscal year 2013. These changes came into effect on 1 October 2012.

Change of Status Filings:

For H-1B Cap petitions that were filed as “change of status”, from 1 October 2012, the beneficiary’s status will change from the current nonimmigrant status to H-1B if the beneficiary:

  • Was physically present in the US for the entire period from the date the petition was receipted by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) through the date the application was approved
  • Is physically present in the US on 1 October 2012 for the change of status to take effectAfter 1 October 2012, if the beneficiary departs the US, s/he must apply for an H-1B visa at a US Consulate abroad in order to reenter the US in H-1B status. Most US Consulates require a personal interview to apply for a visa, and most require four to six weeks to schedule an interview.

Actual visa processing times vary by Consulate. The beneficiary is advised to check the website of the Consulate they intend to visit for further information relating to the scheduling of an interview and visa processing information.

Consular Notification Filings:

For H-1B Cap petitions that were filed as ‘consular notification’, from 1 October 2012, the beneficiary’s status will not change from the current nonimmigrant status to H-1B without further action. In order to activate H-1B status, the beneficiary must depart the US, obtain an H-1B visa at a US Consulate abroad, and reenter the US using the H-1B visa. H-1B status will take effect upon the date of reentry into the USTaxes for F-1 and J-1:  F-1 students and J-1 exchange visitors who maintain valid status may be exempt from FICA tax withholding. However, it should be noted that once an F-1 or J-1 changes status to H-1B, they will no longer be exempt from Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax.

As previously reported, the H-1B cap has been reached for fiscal year 2013, which runs from 1 October 2012 to September 30 2013.  On 1 April 2013, USCIS will accept new applications for the fiscal year 2014, which runs from 1 October 2013 to 30 September 2014.

04 October 2012

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