H-1B working at 3rd party location

If you are on H-1B, it is essential that the work address where your H-1B is filed matches the actual address where you work. If your office moves or you will be working at two locations, make sure to discuss this change with whoever filed your H-1B.

This is especially important for those who are working at 3rd party locations. For those working at 3rd party locations, you will need to supply additional information.

Please see the related announcement from USCIS below.

Announcement from USCIS on 2/22/18:

WASHINGTON—The H-1B visa program generally allows a foreign employee to work for a specific sponsoring American employer. As is true in many employment situations, the location of work can change. USCIS has published a policy memorandum making clear that USCIS may request detailed documentation to ensure a legitimate employer-employee relationship is maintained while an employee is working at a third-party worksite.

In publishing this policy, USCIS clarifies existing regulatory requirements relating to H-1B petitions filed for workers who will be employed at one or more third-party worksites. This policy memorandum makes clear that employers must provide contracts and itineraries for employees who will work at a third-party location.

The guidance, effective Feb. 22, 2018, explains that, in order for an H-1B petition involving a third-party worksite to be approved, the petitioner must show by a preponderance of evidence that, among other things:

  • The beneficiary will be employed in a specialty occupation; and
  • The employer will maintain an employer-employee relationship with the beneficiary for the duration of the requested validity period.

When H-1B beneficiaries are placed at third-party worksites, petitioners must demonstrate that they have specific and non-speculative qualifying assignments in a specialty occupation for that beneficiary for the entire time requested on the petition. While an H-1B petition may be approved for up to three years, USCIS will, in its discretion, generally limit the approval period to the length of time demonstrated that the beneficiary will be placed in non-speculative work and during which the petitioner will maintain the requisite employer-employee relationship.

The updated policy guidance aligns with President Trump’s Buy American and Hire American Executive Order and the directive to protect the interests of U.S. workers. Employment-based petitioners who circumvent the worker protections outlined in the nation’s immigration laws not only injure U.S. workers (e.g., their wages and job opportunities), but also the foreign workers for whom they are petitioning.

For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit uscis.gov or follow us on Twitter (@uscis), YouTube (/uscis), and Facebook (/uscis).



F1 Visa Holders: CPT vs OPT

CPT is Curricular Practical Training. In CPT, you can receive work authorization for your off-campus work. CPT exists while you are a student, it is not available after graduation. You must be getting academic credit for the work that you do. The work also must be related to your academic program. You cannot postpone graduating from your program just so that you do CPT. So, if you have completed your academic requirements or you have the ability to complete your program, you cannot postpone graduation to do CPT.

CPT can be counted against OPT. If you use 365 days of full-time CPT during your program, for that same program you are ineligible for OPT. Full-time CPT means that you are working over 20 hours a week (including 20.5 hours). It does not matter if the position is paid or unpaid. When counting your days, you count the full period you are authorized, which will include weekends.

OPT is Optional Practical Training. OPT comes in two forms: Pre-Completion OPT (Pre-OPT) and Post-Completion OPT (Post-OPT). These are both options benefits that an F1 visa holder can apply to by mailing a packet to USCIS. When both are processed, you will receive an EAD card.

Pre-completion OPT is used while you are a students. You apply with an I-765 and processing time is around 90 days. You Pre-OPT time will take away 1/2 of your post-completion OPT time. So, for example, if you work for 6 months on Pre-OPT, you will lose 3 months of Post-OPT. For the time and financial investment of Pre-OPT, I think it’s really best to use it when you have a job lined up or if you believe this company will hire you after graduation. Pre-OPT is granted for 20 hours a week and you must work in a position related to your field.

Post-Completion OPT is used after graduation. You can only apply up to 90 days before your program ends. If you have applied for Pre-OPT, you must wait for that EAD card to be issued before you can apply for Post-OPT. You don’t need a job to apply for Post-Completion OPT. You must work in a field related to your studies. On Post-OPT, you have 90 days of unemployment time. If you do not find a position in that time, you are technically violating your status and should depart the U.S.

If you are in a STEM field, you are eligible to apply for a 2-year extension of your Post-OPT.  In order to do this, you must have an E-Verified employer job offer and have the employer complete an I-983.

Updates to Turkey’s visa issuance


Rather than summarizing what is going on with visa issuance in Turkey, I want to provide you with these useful Questions and Answers on the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Turkey website:

The U.S. Embassy in Ankara and the Consulate General in Istanbul offer Non-Immigrant Visa interviews by appointment only. All visa applicants should follow instructions at www.usvisa-info.com to schedule an appointment.

Questions Regarding the Re-Opening of Limited Visa Services

Q. I already have a valid non-immigrant visa; can I use it?

A. Yes, individuals with valid visas may continue to travel to the United States.

Q. Have non-immigrant visa (NIV) interviews in Turkey resumed?

A. We have resumed processing non-immigrant visas, but only on a limited basis. Therefore, a reduced number of appointments will be available.

Q. I already have an upcoming appointment for a visa. Do I need to make another appointment or take any other action?

A. If you already have an appointment for a future date, and you have not been notified that it was cancelled, you do not need to take further action. You may verify your appointment by logging into to our website at https://ais.usvisa-info.com (https://ais.usvisa-info.com) . We look forward to seeing you on the interview date you previously selected.

Q. My appointment for a visa interview was cancelled. Can I reschedule my appointment?

A. Yes, if your appointment was cancelled, we invite you to please go back into the internet-based appointment system and choose any open date to schedule a new appointment. Here is the link: https://ais.usvisa-info.com/tr-tr/niv

Q. I have an upcoming visa appointment, but I would like to have an appointment on an earlier date. Can I do that?

A. First, check the calendar at the internet-based appointment system (https://ais.usvisa-info.com/tr-tr/niv) and see what is available. An earlier appointment may have opened since you last checked.

If earlier appointments are not available, and if you have urgent travel needs, you may qualify for an expedited appointment. To request an expedited appointment, you must log in to your profile at www.usvisa-info.com. Please click on Group Actions on the Appointment Summary Page, select Request Expedite, and explain in detail why you need an earlier appointment. A consular officer will review your request. If your request is approved, the officer will reschedule your appointment. You can see if your request was approved on the same website.

Q. I made a visa appointment outside of Turkey. What should I do now? Can I get a refund if I cancel this appointment?

A. If you have made an appointment for a visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate outside of Turkey, you can choose to keep that appointment or schedule a new appointment at either Embassy Ankara or Consulate General Istanbul. However, if you choose to now book a new appointment in Turkey, you will need to pay an application fee in Turkey; fees are not transferrable between countries, or refundable.

Q. What can I do if my request for an expedited appointment is denied?

A. You may apply for any type of non-immigrant visas at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate outside of Turkey, whether or not you maintain a residence in that country. Please note that an applicant applying outside of Turkey will need to pay the application fee for services in that country, even if a fee has previously been paid for services in Turkey. All fees are non-refundable. We recommend contacting the U.S. Embassy or Consulate first, to ensure they are accepting applications.

The new I-765!

Please note there is a new I-765 available! The new I-765 allows for you to concurrently apply for an EAD card and a Social Security Number (SSN). Soon USCIS will have the right to return or deny your case if you do not use the correct form. So, make sure you have the proper documentation!

Your Social Security Number is a lifetime number. So, if you already have an SSN, you should not request a new one on your I-765. This number stays with you for life, it does not change between jobs.

You only get 10 SSN cards per lifetime, so make sure to always know where yours is.


Travel ban as of 10/18/2017

The latest version of the travel ban was set to take place today, October 18th, 2017, however, it has blocked. The ban from North Korea and Venezuela is still in action.

If you are from a country that was listed on any travel ban this year, and you plan on traveling, discuss this with your school DSO or an immigration attorney. If you are considering traveling, it is safest if you already have a valid multiple entry visa and a passport that will be valid for at least 6 months from the day you plan to reenter the US.


The travel ban is


USCIS released information update on Executive Order of ‘Hire American’ telling us how many H1Bs have been issued this year so far

In order to provide transparency in carrying out Trump’s Buy American and Hire American Executive Order, USCIS has posted information on their yearly trends of H1B approvals.

As you can see, in the report, this year, 336,107 foreign nationals applied for H1B visas and 197, 129 received visas. This differs from the previous years where only about 50,000 people don’t receive visas.

It is possible that there are more denials, however, I would argue that we need to wait until we have another update from USCIS. I don’t believe that this chart takes into consideration the H1Bs that have not yet been approved. In the field, I have noticed more than normal amounts of Requests for Evidence (RFEs) being issued. This means that many people were not approved by October 1st, 2017, and their H1B petitions are still pending today. This chart only states how many people applied and were approved, it does not show information about pending cases.

Before we worry that H1B petition numbers are completely being cut, let’s see what numbers are like once the cases with RFEs have been resolved.


What is going on with visas in Turkey?

Currently, all diplomatic facilities in Turkey have suspended non-immigrant visa issuance. Non-immigrant visas are not being issued out of these facilities.

Some important things to note about this recent update:

-This is not a ban on Turkish passport holders, this is a suspension of embassy/consulate visa issuance inside of Turkey. It seems that a Turkish passport holder could get a visa in another country.

-No current valid visas will be revoked;

-If you have any travel plans outside of the US, please speak to your school or lawyer.

Media coverage has stated multiple times that both countries hope to resolve this as quickly as possible. So, hopefully, it will.

The Latest Travel Ban

Purpose of the new ban: To address countries that do not have sufficient internal identification systems, and internal and/or external information sharing methods for citizens who are applying for visas to the US. The US will use this reasoning to restrict entries from those countries.

Impact (if H, F, J, or M visas are not mentioned, they are not affected):

Country Restrictions
Chad, Libya, Yemen Not issuing B-1/B-2
Iran Only issuing F, J and M visas, these are subject to high scrutiny
North Korea, Syria All suspended
Venezuela Gov’t officials and their relatives cannot apply for B-1/B-2.

All other categories subject to high scrutiny

Somalia All immigrant visas suspended, non-immigrant visas subject to high scrutiny

 Useful things to know about Implementation:

  • Immigrant and non-immigrant visas are treated differently
  • If subject to Executive Order 13780 (2nd travel ban from 3/2017), goes into effect ton 9/24, if not formally subject goes into effect on 10/18
  • Impacts those who do not have a visa by 9/24 or 10/18 and are outside of the US (not affected if you are outside but have a visa)
  • No visa issued prior will be revoked
  • The exceptions to the immigrant arrivals include: Lawful Permanent Residents, Advanced Paroles, dual citizenship, refugees/asylum seekers, among others


  • A waiver can be issued on a case-by-case basis at CBP to be granted entry
  • One of the reasons for filing for a waiver is:

The foreign national has previously been admitted to the United States for a continuous period of work, study, or other long-term activity, is outside the United States on the applicable effective date under section 7 of this proclamation, seeks to re-enter the United States to resume that activity, and the denial of reentry would impair that activity;

And what we need to be aware of:

  • DHS and the Secretary of State will review other countries’ actions every 180 days to evaluate if this needs updating and will release a notice


If your home country is not listed above, your entry to the US should not be impacted by this in relation to this order.  It is always possible that you face difficulties when entering due to other reasons. Always make sure to check with your school or lawyer prior to travels. 

Charlottesville, white nationalism, and being a visa holder


Everyone in the US must reflect on the events at Charlottesville.

The protesters were Unite the Right, White Nationalists, also sometimes called Alt-Right. These people that hold the belief that nonwhite persons are inferior. The event began with a white national protest wanting to keep a confederate statue of Robert E. Lee in place. This article provides good context for the debate removing confederate statues. The event was rooted in hate and violence. This ideology has been around forever, but with the new presidency, they have been given a safer platform to share their harmful beliefs, which is why you have been hearing about this a lot recently.

It is important for you as an F1, J1 or H1B visa holder to be aware of these organizations so that you can be aware that they exist all throughout the country. Be aware of their message, and find a place where you can outlet your feelings on these difficult topics. Historically, many people who hold this ideology will also have xenophobic and anti-immigrant perspectives. Some of these people will be politicians.

Even though you are not voting in the US, your input matters and people want to hear your opinions. Read about alt-right politicians. Let your community know your feelings and experience.

There are many news sources that might be run or strongly influenced by white nationalist ideology. As an informed reader, it’s your job to evaluate your new source and judge their perspective. Often times, these sources will share false information about immigration and immigrants, and this could feel scary or hurtful. I encourage you to dig deeper on facts and not to rely on one news source.

As an F1, J1 or H1B visa holder, you are permitted to protest. If you are arrested, this could put your visa in jeopardy. So, if you protest, please be careful. When protesting make sure to have proof of your status available (copies or on your phone) in case you are questioned by the authorities.

If you want to join the conversation on Charlottesville and other national events or find a safe space to learn more about what is going on, find a local social justice organization. To find a good group, talk to your peers, do a google search, or contact your university’s inclusion office for suggestions.



Are less F1 visas being issued in 2017?


Are less F1 visas being issued in 2017?

According to the information that has been presented to US Universities by our SEVIS and Department of State Representatives, there is not currently a higher denial rate for F1 visas. So, it’s not currently more difficult to get an F1 visa, but that doesn’t mean fewer visas haven’t been issued this year.

About denials:

If you get denied a visa you can reapply.

If you get denied, carefully review the reason on your INA form. The Department of State offers some information here.  It might also be helpful to review reasons for denials. This list is for all visa categories, not just F1.

Reminder: An F1 visa is a non-immigrant intent visa. This basically means you have to show that it’s not your long-term plan to immigrate to the US (ie, become a permanent resident/get a green card). So even if that might be your plan, in your appointment, you want to prove your plan to return to your home country.

How do we know the visa numbers for 2017?

For the true numbers on F1 visa issuance, we will need to wait for the Annual Visa Issuance Report.

Until then, do not let the current atmosphere surrounding US immigration drive you crazy. The current and constant conversation Trump is having surrounds immigration, and F1 is a nonimmigrant intent visa. So, mentally separate your nonimmigrant intent situation from immigration chatter and go for your interview.