USCIS Issues New Policy Guidance to Rescind Longstanding Memos for H-1B Visa Petitions

Practice Areas

By: Brittany Simmons, Angelita Chavez, and Gladys Gervacio


On June 17, 2020, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) rescinded two long-standing policy memoranda for adjudicating certain H-1B petitions and issued new policy guidance. The policy guidance is effective immediately and applies to all H-1B petitions, including pending petitions, appeals, and denials.

New Policy Guidance

  1. The employer-employee relationship can be established by meeting only one of the “hire, pay, fire, supervise, or otherwise control the work of” factor under 8 CFR 214.2(h)(4)(ii).
  2. A bona-fide job offer for a specialty occupation position must exist at the time of the H-1B petition filing.
  3. Contracts and legal agreements between the petitioner and third parties are suggested but not required evidence. The contracts and agreements do however help establish the employer-employee relationship and availability of work.
  4. Evidence of day-to-day assignments are not required but may help establish that the position offered is in a specialty occupation. The USCIS may deny a H-1B petition if the petitioner has not established that the position is in a specialty occupation.
  5. Benching of H-1B workers remains prohibited by law. The USCIS may issue a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) or a Notice of Intent to Revoke (NOIR) for failure to maintain the beneficiary’s H-1B nonimmigrant status. Even if the H-1B beneficiary is paid while in a non-productive status (benched), this may count as a material change and thus can still affect their status.
  6. USCIS can use their discretion to deny Change of Status or Extension of Stay requests for subsequent H-1B filings after benching, but may approve the new employment or amended H-1B employment for Consular processing.
  7. USCIS may issue H-1B approvals for a shorter time period than the requested H-1B validity period and must provide an explanation as to why the validity period has been shortened.


For help applying for H-1B petitions, please contact your Chugh, LLP immigration attorney. Contact us at for an immigration consultation.


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