Immigration Update

Immigration Security Checks

For an explanation of how security checks for various immigration benefits are conducted, see this US government fact sheet

H-1B Visa Reform Act of 2004

20,000 cap exemption for U.S. masters and higher. Up to 20,000 aliens with masters or higher level degrees from U.S. institutions of higher education will be exempt from the H-1B cap each year. Petitions for such individuals that are filed after the 20,000 exemptions are granted will be counted against the cap. Note: this does not impact the general exemption from the cap for individuals employed by institutions of higher education; that exemption remains. Effective date: March 8, 2005.

Law Affecting H-1B Visa Holders and permanent residency applicants

The American Competitiveness for the 21st Century Act of 2000, effective October 17, 2000

H-1B Provisions:

  1. Educational institutions and other non-profits are now exempt from the annual quota on H-1B visas.
  2. Foreign nationals already in the U.S. in H-1B status for one employer may start work for a new employer as soon as the new employer has filed an H-1B petition with the Immigration Service.
  3. Foreign nationals who have reached their maximum 6 years in H-1B status may get extensions of H-1B status in increments of one year, provided:
    • there is an employment-based I-485 or I-140 petition pending with the Immigration Service AND
    • at least 365 days have passed since the Labor Certification was first filed or, for those who are exempt from the Labor Certification requirement, since the I-140 was first filed with the Immigration Service (this means 365 days after the Priority Date).

In such cases, H-1B extensions may continue to be granted until the Immigration Service has made a final decision on the I-140 or I-485.

Permanent Residence Provisions:

Foreign nationals who have filed an I-485 based on EB-1 (outstanding professors/researchers), EB-2 (advanced degree professionals/aliens with exceptional ability) or EB-3 (skilled workers/professionals) may change employers if:

  • the I-485 has been pending with Immigration for more than 180 days and
  • the new job is in "the same or a similar occupational classification as the job for which the petition was filed."

Green Card Holders

If your green card has an expiration date, you may need to think about renewing it soon. The Immigration website has information about the procedure.

The expiration date means that the cardexpires, not that your permanent resident status expires. You should renew the card to be able to travel abroad and for employment purposes.

UTHSC campus 

Contact Us

Office of International Affairs
One Stop Student Services
910 Madison Avenue, Suite 105
Memphis, TN 38163

Phone: (901) 448-8484
Fax: (901) 448-1370

Hours of operation:
8 a.m. to 5 p.m., M-F