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EIG Dispatch – February 27, 2015

March 6, 2015

Highlights

  • New Work Permit Conversion Process in Brazil
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection Launches Pilot Program to Review Electronic I-94 Errors
  • H-4 Employment Authorization Effective May 26, 2015

New Work Permit Conversion Process in Brazil

Foreign nationals holding temporary work visas can now apply for permanent work visas directly with the Brazilian Ministry of Justice. Foreign nationals must submit their applications at least 30 days before the expiration of their valid temporary work visa. Prior to this rule, foreign nationals were required to submit their application for a permanent work visa, along with their passport, to the appropriate Federal Police office. The police then stamped the passport and forwarded the application to the Ministry of Justice.

This new process funnels applications directly to the Ministry of Justice and no longer requires foreign nationals to submit their original passport. Instead, the Ministry of Justice will accept a valid, notarized copy of the foreign national’s entire passport. The new process is expected to expedite permanent work visa applications.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Launches Pilot Program to Review Electronic I-94 Errors

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is taking action to correct I-94 electronic issues. The Houston Field Office has launched a pilot program to accept e-mail requests to evaluate issues with electronic I-94s that may contain errors, including incorrect dates, biographical information, and classes of admission. As of this announcement only the Houston Field Offices are participating in the pilot program. The pilot program will end on January 15, 2016.

Travelers arriving at or near any of the Houston Field Office locations may submit a request to: CBPHOUI94@cbp.dhs.gov. The request should include the following information:

1.  A statement setting forth the issue and requesting that the issue be resolved;
2.  A copy of the passport biographical page;
3.  A copy of the United States visa, if applicable;
4.  A copy of the most recent admission stamp in the passport;
5.  A copy of the boarding pass or flight information;
6.  The person’s address and telephone number in the United States; and
7.  The Form DHS 590, Authorization to Release Information to Another Person, if applicable.

H-4 Employment Authorization Effective May 26, 2015

As an update to our previous report, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director León Rodriguez announced that employment authorization for certain H-4 dependent spouses will go into effect on May 26, 2015. Eligible individuals include H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B visa holders who have an approved I-140 from a current or previous employer, or H-1B visa holders who have a PERM application that was filed at least 365 days prior to reaching the end of the sixth year of H-1B status (AC21). USCIS predicts the new regulation will have an impact on approximately 55,000 H-4 dependent spouses per year.

To apply, eligible H-4 dependent spouses must file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization and supporting evidence, including evidence of lawful status and proof of the marital relationship. Upon approval, the H-4 dependent spouse will receive a Form I-765, Employment Authorization Document and may begin working in the United States. It has not yet been announced what the maximum duration of the work authorization will be though it is likely that the validity period will be 1 to 2 years, not to exceed the applicant’s current H-4 status.

USCIS will not consider applications submitted before May 26, 2015. EIG will work closely with clients to prepare the filings of employment authorization applications for eligible H-4 dependent spouses.