As part of the series of executive actions initiated by President Barack Obama in November 2014, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson directed the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to work with the Department of State to streamline processing for employment-based immigrant visas; to consider extending and expanding the “optional practical training” period that foreign student graduates can remain and be temporarily employed in the U.S. (currently up to 12 months for most students, and up to 29 months for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics students); to expand the availability of the “national interest waiver” and the “significant public benefit parole” to inventors, researchers, and founders of start-up enterprises; to issue clarification on eligibility for L-1B inter company transferred visas; and to improve the continuity or portability of employment-based immigration visas when an individual changes jobs or employers in a same or similar occupational classification.

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Another memo from Secretary Johnson outlines improvements in the application process for U.S. citizenship (“naturalization”), including credit card processing, studying fee waivers, and expanding a public awareness/media campaign.

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