Latest News

USCIS Updates Answers for Civics Test

Are you preparing for the naturalization test?

As you study for the U.S. history and government (civics) test, make sure that you know the most current answers to these questions.  Periodically, answers change to reflect the results of federal and state elections and appointments or to clarify content and ensure consistency in terminology. The revised answers to the questions below are effective immediately.

Question

Update

USCIS Casework Transfers to Balance Workloads and Decrease Processing Times

Workload Transfer from the Vermont Service Center to the Nebraska Service Center

USCIS recently began transferring certain casework from the Vermont Service Center (VSC) to the Nebraska Service Center (NSC) to balance workloads and decrease processing times.

The NSC will now process some:

Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, for petitioners requesting H-1B nonimmigrant classification;

New STEM Designated Degree Program list - ICE

The STEM Designated Degree Program list is a complete list of fields of study DHS considers to be science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) fields of study for purposes of the 24-month STEM optional practical training extension described at 8 CFR 214.2(f). Under 8 CFR 214.2(f)(10)(ii)(C)(2), a STEM field of study is a field of study “included in the Department of Education’s Classification of Instructional Programs taxonomy within the two-digit series containing engineering, biological sciences, mathematics, and physical sciences, or a related field.

Temporary Protected Status Extended for Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone for Six Months

DHS extended the designations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for an additional six months. Although there have been significant improvements in the conditions in all three countries since their designations for TPS in November 2014, the lingering effects of the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak and continued recovery challenges support this six-month extension. The extended designation is effective May 22, 2016, through Nov. 21, 2016.

Potomac Service Center Now Processing Certain Form I-765 Cases

On March 1, USCIS began transferring certain cases to the Potomac Service Center (PSC) from other service centers to balance workloads. The affected casework includes Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, filed by F-1 and M-1 students seeking Optional Practical Training (OPT) and J-1 dependents.

USCIS Will Accept H-1B Petitions for Fiscal Year 2017 Beginning April 1, 2016

On April 1, 2016, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting H-1B petitions subject to the fiscal year (FY) 2017 cap. U.S. businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in occupations that require highly specialized knowledge in fields such as science, engineering and computer programming.

The congressionally mandated cap on H-1B visas for FY 2017 is 65,000. The first 20,000 H-1B petitions filed for individuals with a U.S. master’s degree or higher are exempt from the 65,000 cap.

DHS Final Rule for F–1 Nonimmigrant Students With STEM Degrees and CapGap Relief

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposes to amend F-1 nonimmigrant student visa regulations on optional practical training (OPT) for certain students with degrees in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) from U.S. institutions of higher education. Specifically, the proposal would allow such F-1 STEM students who have elected to pursue 12 months of OPT in the United States to extend the OPT period by 24 months (STEM OPT extension). This 24-month extension would effectively replace the 17-month STEM OPT extension currently available to certain STEM students.