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The USCIS Visa Bulletin has important updates and new developments that you should be aware of. The latest version of the AM22 tech visa bulletin includes information on the amendments to the Federal Criminal Background Check (FCRA) rule, the requirement for spouses of US citizens who are non-immigrant workers to accompany their husbands or partners on travel, and information regarding the extension of the deadlines for securing both spouses' FCRA waivers and criminal history records. The AM22 tech Visa Bulletin also includes an important update regarding nonimmigrant status for workers who are in a tier one country and who are authorized to work in the United States. The bulletin also provides an important update on the biometric identification system for international travelers. Finally, the bulletin includes an important notice about the Universal Country Code (USC).

The AM22 tech Visa Bulletin includes a notice about changes to the Federal Insurance Requirements Regarding Student Aid. This notice clarifies that students who are not US citizens and who do not qualify for a US federal student loan and do not have permanent resident status in the United States may still qualify for an ITIN. There are specific benefits for this group of students, and they include:

The ITIN will be used to provide access to employment-based benefits such as Social Security and Medicare benefits. In general, the new rules affect persons who are non-immigrant alien students who have a demonstrated financial need for employment in the United States and cannot verify that all of their claims for eligible benefits have been submitted or processed under the current immigration rules. Applicants who have not submitted their eligible claims within the applicable deadlines will be required to attend a tutorial and then present additional documentary evidence to prove that they meet all of the eligibility requirements. There is some flexibility for applicants who cannot verify their claim because of a financial hardship.

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In order to be granted an ITIN, applicants must also complete and submit all forms associated with the visa application. These forms include the F-1 (Form SSA-1); I-9 (form 1020), and I-9 Information (form 1040). All of these documents must be mailed to the National Negative Application Service (NNAAS) at the address provided on the front page of the ITIN notice.

A new tightening of the Immigration Visa Bulletin will also be enforced. In consultation with Congress, USCIS will be required to provide notice six months prior to implementing a proposed increases in the number of non-immigrant visitor visas. The notice will specify that the annual cap on non-immigrant admissions will increase from the current level of 507 visas to one million immigrants over the next ten years. The increase is intended to reduce the numbers of non-immigrant tourists and investors. For any immigrant who is already in the United States and would be denied an immigrant visa under the new caps, they must apply for an immigrant visa before their status will be affected.

An immigrant who submits an ITIN application is also subject to a new NTA audit. If a non-immigrant alien is found to have submitted false information on their visa application, the applicant will be required to pay a penalty of $5000 or twice the cost of filing the false claim. Additionally, under the new regulations an alien who intentionally applies to reduce their eligibility criteria will be subjected to penalties. This includes a suspension of their current visa status.

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Currently, aliens wishing to apply for an immigrant visa are required to have a foreign language as well as a high school diploma or the equivalent. Applicants will need to attend a teaching degree or other recognized institute of higher education before they may proceed. This requirement is currently being enforced according to the recently enacted HIAPAA. The HIAPAA also requires aliens who are deaf or blind to also take a written language class. In addition to these new requirements, aliens who were formerly ineligible to receive an immigrant visa due to their status asylees will be allowed to apply once again.

For those who wish to apply for an immigrant visa, there is a limit of five grants that can be applied for each calendar year. For those who wish to increase their potential for receiving an immigrant visa and increase their chances of being granted approval, a multi-year visa application is your best option. However, there are times when an individual may qualify for an immigrant visa more than once within a year. In this case, they must submit an application for the first available grant and then wait for the results. An alien who submits multiple applications for the same type of grant may be subject to the same eligibility requirements as an individual who applies for one grant and then applies for another.

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