New regulations from the Trump administration will make getting an extension on a non-immigrant visa a cumbersome task. The non-immigrant visas include the L-1 and H-1B visa which is widely used by IT professionals of India.
For more than 13 years, the policy of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service has been strict for new applicants, but those who required an extension had it much easier. Earlier, the burden of establishing proof of eligibility for such extensions fell on the USCIS. The federal agency has now stated that for those seeking an extension on such visas, the onus falls on the petitioner to provide proof and establish reason for extension at all times.
In the latest memorandum issued on 23 October 2017, the USCIS made it clear that the petitioner will have to take full responsibility to prove their eligibility for extension of non-immigrant status. This will be applicable for every extension sought.
The adjudicators are entrusted with the task of reviewing the U.S. visa extension requests, the supporting documents and merits, and must then determine whether the applicant is eligible. Officials can request for additional documentation if required in case the proof seems insufficient. The new instructions require the level of scrutiny for extensions to be on par with new U.S. visa applications. This is applicable even in cases where the petitioner, or the facts and supporting documentation has not changed since a previously approved petition.
Keeping in mind the Trump administration’s goals, these guidelines help protect the U.S. workers from replacement by overseas labour as well as help eliminate visa abuse and fraud. Under the new policy, only qualified H-1B workers can gain entry and extensions on their visa. The policy comes into effect immediately for new visa applicants as well as those who are already residing in the U.S. with a non-immigrant visa.