Frances Rayer

Member

Recent Publication:

FY2025 H-1B Lottery Registration Begins [Alert]

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that the initial registration period for the FY2025 H-1B Cap Lottery will open on March 6, 2024, and run through March 22, 2024.

Frances P. Rayer is experienced in the immigration field, where she represents institutional clients and multinational corporations who are seeking to employ foreign nationals in the United States on either a temporary or permanent basis.

The majority of Fran’s practice focuses on the area of employment-based immigration for institutional clients, multinational corporations, and universities. Her clients come from a wide variety of industries, including technology, telecommunications, health care, biotechnology, pharmaceutical, engineering, and education. She assists clients in acquiring employment-based visas for key employees so they will be authorized for employment in the United States. She advises companies on employee documentation requirements and I-9 and E-Verify compliance issues.

She has experience representing clients before the Department of Labor, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Immigration Board of Appeals, and the EOIR. She speaks frequently on immigration-related and employer compliance issues under the immigration laws. Frances was a member of the court-appointed Liaison Committee, where she represented Chinese refugees seeking asylum in the United States having arrived aboard the Golden Venture.

Fran has been selected by her peers for inclusion on The Best Lawyers in America® list since 2005 and was named 2017 "Lawyer of the Year." She is also listed in the Pennsylvania Super Lawyers® magazine.

News

Best Lawyers Honors More Than 200 Cozen O'Connor Attorneys to its Best Lawyers in America 2024 Edition

August 17, 2023

Best Lawyers selected 232 Cozen O’Connor lawyers from 24 of the firm’s U.S. offices for inclusion in the 2024 edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

Legal 500 Recognizes Six Cozen O’Connor Practice Areas and 16 Attorneys in its 2023 Guide

July 10, 2023

Cozen O'Connor's Aviation (Litigation/Regulation), Construction, L&E, M&A (Midmarket), Shipping (Finance and Litigation/Regulation) practices were ranked by the Legal 500.

More Than 200 Cozen O’Connor Attorneys Named Best Lawyers and Ones to Watch

August 22, 2022

210 Cozen O’Connor lawyers from 24 of the firm’s nationwide offices for inclusion in the 2023 edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

200 Cozen O’Connor Attorneys Named Best Lawyers and Ones to Watch By The Best Lawyers In America

August 20, 2020

Best Lawyers selected 200 Cozen O’Connor lawyers from 23 of the firm’s nationwide offices for inclusion in the 2021 edition of The Best Lawyers in America© (Copyright 2020 by Woodward/White, Inc., of Aiken, SC).

138 Cozen O’Connor Attorneys Named to the Best Lawyers in America

August 28, 2019

Best Lawyers selected 138 Cozen O’Connor lawyers from 21 of the firm’s national offices for inclusion in the 2020 edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

Publications

FY2025 H-1B Lottery Registration Begins [Alert]

February 05, 2024

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that the initial registration period for the FY2025 H-1B Cap Lottery will open on March 6, 2024, and run through March 22, 2024.

Renewal of H-1B Nonimmigrant Visas in the United States [Alert]

January 03, 2024

Kelli Natrin and Fran Rayer discuss the Department of State's domestic visa renewal pilot program to alleviate backlogs and wait times at consulates abroad.

H-1B Worker Domestic Visa Renewal Pilot Program [Alert]

December 04, 2023

The State Department recently announced a new pilot program for H-1B visa holders allowing them to renew their H-1B visa stamps while remaining in the U.S.

USCIS Offers Clarification of Policy on L-1 Petition [Alert]

October 23, 2023

Last week, USCIS issued policy guidance clarifying two points with respect to the L-1 petition for intracompany transferees.

2025 Diversity Visa Lottery Registration [Alert]

October 02, 2023

Frances Rayer and Elizabeth Olivera outline the process for the 2025 Diversity Immigrant Visa Program/Green Card Lottery, opening on Thursday, October 5, 2023.

USCIS Field Office Appointments Can Now Be Scheduled Online [Alert]

August 22, 2023

USCIS announced a new online form for individuals, attorneys, and accredited representatives to request an in-person appointment without having to call.

USCIS Expands myProgress to Form I-765 and Form I-131 [Alert]

July 17, 2023

USCIS is expanding myProgress, which provides applicants with online access to updates on their case.

How Has the New Form ETA 9089 Changed the PERM Process? [Alert]

July 13, 2023

The Department of Labor (DOL) has updated Form ETA9089 and incorporated it into the Foreign Labor Application Gateway (FLAG) system.

New Online Tool to Reschedule a Biometric Services Appointment [Alert]

July 10, 2023

Fran Rayer and Beth Olivera discuss USCIS's new self-service tool.

FY2024 H-1B Registration Recap [Alert]

May 10, 2023

USCIS received enough electronic registrations during the initial registration period to reach the FY 2024 H-1B cap.

I-9 Inspection Changes Beginning August 30, 2023 [Alert]

May 10, 2023

DHS and ICE announced that employers will have 30 days to reach compliance with Form I-9 requirements after the COVID-19 flexibilities sunset on July 31, 2023.

USCIS Extends Temporary Suspension of Biometrics Submission [Alert]

April 19, 2023

USCIS has extended the temporary suspension of the biometrics submission requirement for certain applicants filing Form I-539.

Selecting Gender on USCIS Forms [Alert]

April 05, 2023

USCIS announced requestors may select their gender on USCIS forms (or change a prior gender selection) without the need to provide supporting documentation.

USCIS Removed 60-Day Rule for Form I-693 [Alert]

April 05, 2023

USCIS announced it will be issuing policy guidance to remove the requirement that the civil surgeon's signature be dated no more than 60 days before filing.

USCIS Updates Policy on Time Frames for Paper-Based Filings and Responses [Alert]

March 31, 2023

USCIS announced that it will now consider a filing or response submitted on paper timely if it is received by the end of the next business day.

USCIS Ends COVID-Related Flexibilities [Alert]

March 28, 2023

USCIS announced that certain flexibilities it first announced in March 2020 to address the COVID-19 pandemic will end on March 23, 2023.

USCIS Completes H-1B FY24 CAP Initial Electronic Registration Selection Process [Alert]

March 28, 2023

USCIS announced it received enough electronic registrations during the initial registration period to reach FY2024 H-1B numerical allocations (H-1B Cap).

Evidence of Status for Legal Permanent Residents [Alert]

March 22, 2023

USCIS recently announced a new process for lawful permanent residents to receive temporary evidence of their lawful permanent resident status by mail.

FY2024 H-1B Cap Lottery Registration [Alert]

January 30, 2023

USCIS announced that the initial registration period for the FY2024 H-1B Cap Lottery will begin on March 1, 2023, and run through March 17, 2023.

USCIS Will Bundle Processing of I-129, I-539, and I-765 Applications [Alert]

January 25, 2023

As the result of a settlement of a class action lawsuit challenging H-4 and L-2 adjudication delays, USCIS has agreed to resume bundling some applications.

USCIS Extends Green Card Validity for Some Conditional Permanent Residents [Alert]

January 24, 2023

USCIS announced it will extend the validity of Green Cards for those who properly file Form I-751 for 48 months beyond the card’s expiration date.

USCIS Announces Final Phase of Premium Processing Expansion [Alert]

January 13, 2023

USCIS announced it is implementing the final phase of its planned premium processing expansion for Form I-140.

DOS Extends Interview Waivers for Certain Nonimmigrant Visa Applicants [Alert]

January 03, 2023

Beth Olivera and Fran Rayer discuss the Department of State's announcement that they are extending the authority of consular officers to waive in-person interviews for certain nonimmigrant visa categories through December 31, 2023.

Possible Options for Nonimmigrant Workers Following Termination of Employment [Alert]

December 28, 2022

Beth Olivera and Fran Rayer discuss the USCIS's recently released information regarding nonimmigrant workers whose employment is terminated, either voluntarily or involuntarily. This release gave a detailed summary of the possible options for nonimmigrant workers who were terminated from their employment.

USCIS Announces Extension of Certain Flexibilities [Alert]

October 26, 2022

USCIS granted 60 more days to respond to Notices of Intent to Deny/Revoke/Rescind & Requests for Evidence if issued between March 1, 2020, and January 24, 2023.

Diversity 2024 Immigrant Visa Lottery Program Announced [Alert]

October 07, 2022

Although the current administration has stated its desire to eliminate the DV Lottery program, it will go forward this year.

USCIS Extends Temporary Waiver for Medical Examinations [Alert]

October 04, 2022

USCIS will extend the temporary waiver of the "60-day rule" for Form I-693.

USCIS Extends Validity Period for Green Card Renewals [Alert]

September 29, 2022

Effective September 26, 2022, USCIS began automatically extending the validity of Green Cards to 24 months for lawful permanent residents who file a Form I-90.

Update on USCIS Expansion of Premium Processing [Alert]

September 19, 2022

On September 15, 2022, USCIS announced the next phase of the premium processing expansion for certain petitioners.

USCIS Has Used Nearly All Employment-Based Immigrant Visas for FY2022 [Alert]

September 08, 2022

On 9/6/22, USCIS announced it has used nearly all available EB visas for this fiscal year and will exhaust the 281,507 EB visas by the end of the month.

USCIS Announces the H-1B cap for FY23 Has Been Reached [Alert]

August 25, 2022

Fran Rayer discusses USCIS's announcement that it has received a sufficient number of petitions to reach the congressionally mandated 65,000 H-1B regular cap and the 20,000 H-1B advanced-degree exemption for fiscal year 2023 (FY23).

USCIS Extends COVID-19 Flexibilities and Permanently Adopts Reproduced Signature Flexibility [Alert]

August 22, 2022

Fran Rayer discusses certain flexibilities with respect to various petitions filed with USCIS and the possibility of USCIS extending these flexibilities indefinitely.

Expansion of Premium Processing for Certain Previously Filed EB-1 and EB-2 I-140 Petitions Continues [Alert]

July 18, 2022

We previously alerted our readership in May 2022 that USCIS was implementing premium processing for certain I-140 petitions in the EB-1 and EB-2 categories. The availability of premium processing for previously filed I-140 petitions referred only to EB-1 multinational executive and manager I-140 petitions and EB-2 petitions filed for advanced degree professionals or members of the professions with an advanced degree or exceptional ability petitions seeking a national interest waiver.

USCIS to Implement Premium Processing for Certain Petitions [Alert]

May 25, 2022

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced premium processing for certain petitioners.

USCIS Increases Automatic Extension Period of Employment Authorization Docs

May 04, 2022

This May, USCIS announced a Temporary Final Rule increasing the automatic extension period for certain Employment Authorization Documents for up to 540 days.

DHS Extends Form I-9 Flexibility through October 31, 2022

April 28, 2022

On April 25, 2022, DHS and ICE announced an extension of flexibilities of the Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form until October 31, 2022.

CBP Implementing ESTA for Visa Waiver Program Travelers at Land Ports of Entry [Alert]

April 05, 2022

Fran Rayer and Beth Olivera discuss the CBP's interim final rule implementing the ESTA requirements for noncitizens who intend to enter the United States.

H-1B Lottery for Fiscal Year 2023 Completed [Alert]

April 04, 2022

Fran Rayer and Beth Olivera discuss USICS's announcement that it had received enough electronic registrations during the initial registration period to reach the FY 2023.

USCIS Announces New Action Plan to Reduce Backlogs [Alert]

April 01, 2022

Fran Rayer and Beth Olivera discuss the USCIS plan aimed to increase efficiency and reduce burdens to the legal immigration system.

FY2023 H-1B Cap Lottery Registration [Alert]

January 31, 2022

Beth Olivera and Fran Rayer discuss the initial registration period for the FY2023 H-1B Cap Lottery. It will begin on March 1, 2022, and run through March 18, 2022.

Completing Form I-9 for EAD Automatic Extensions for Nonimmigrant Dependent Spouses [Alert]

November 22, 2021

Fran Rayer and Beth Olivera discuss USCIS's new policy that automatically extends employment authorization for dependent spouses in L-2 and E-1/E-2/E-3 status and also automatically extends employment authorization for certain H-4 spouses.

Employment Authorization Policy for Nonimmigrant Dependent Spouses [Alert]

November 16, 2021

Beth Olivera and Fran Rayer discuss USCIS's new policy guidance to address the structural changes for nonimmigrant H-4 and L-2 spouses seeking employment authorization.

UPDATE: President Biden Lifts COVID-19 Travel Ban [Alert]

October 28, 2021

Fran Rayer and Beth Olivera discuss President Biden's proclamation lifting travel restrictions on people traveling from Brazil, China, India, Iran, Ireland, the Schengen Area, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.

Update: Travel Bans to be Rescinded; Proof of Vaccination will be Required [Alert]

October 19, 2021

Beth Olivera and Fran Rayer discuss Biden's easing of travel restrictions on all fully vaccinated international travelers.

2023 Diversity Visa Lottery Registration [Alert]

October 12, 2021

Fran Rayer and Elizabeth Olivera discuss the 2023 diversity visa lottery registration program.

Travel Bans To Be Rescinded; Proof of Vaccination To Be Required [Alert]

September 21, 2021

Fran Rayer and Beth Olivera discuss Biden administration's plans to ease travel restrictions on all international travelers coming into the United States.

Green Card Applicants Must Receive the COVID-19 Vaccine [Alert]

August 30, 2021

Fran Rayer and Beth Olivera discuss the CDC's new policy requiring immigrants inside the United States seeking adjustment of status to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

USCIS Biometric Services Appointments [Alert]

August 02, 2021

Beth Olivera and Fran Rayer discuss USCIS 's decision that it will no longer accept written requests to reschedule biometric services appointments at application support centers

USCIS Updates Policies to Improve Immigration Services [Alert]

June 10, 2021

Fran Rayer and Elizabeth Olivera discuss the USCIS's new policy updates to the policy manual that will clarify the criteria and circumstances for expedited processing; improve the existing request for evidence and notice of intent to deny guidance; and increase the validity period for initial and renewal employment authorization documents for certain noncitizens with pending adjustment of status applications.

U.S. Citizens May Return to the U.S. on Expired Passports [Alert]

May 27, 2021

Fran Rayer and Elizebeth Olivera discuss the CBP and DOS announcement that U.S. citizens with expired U.S. passports may return to the United States.

USCIS Suspends Biometrics Requirements for Certain I-539 Petitions [Alert]

May 17, 2021

Fran Rayer and Beth Olivera discuss USCIS suspending the biometric requirements for certain I-539 applicants for a two-year period beginning on May 17, 2021.

Biden Bans Travel from India [Alert]

May 03, 2021

Fran Rayer and Beth Olivera discuss Biden's restriction on travel to India.

USCIS’ New Guidance to Defer to Prior Approvals for Extension Petitions [Alert]

April 28, 2021

Fran Rayer and Elizabeth Olivera discuss USCIS's new policy guidance to address the issue of deference to prior approvals when adjudicating a request for an extension.

President Biden Lifts Travel Ban on New Green Card Holders [Alert]

February 26, 2021

Fran Rayer and Elizabeth Olivera discuss Biden revoking Trump's travel ban.

USCIS Expands Premium Processing to E-3 Petitions [Alert]

February 26, 2021

Fran Rayer and Elizabeth Olivera discuss E-3 premium processing service. The E-3 classification applies only to nationals of Australia who are coming to the United States solely to perform services in a specialty occupation.

I-9 Documentation Review Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic [Alert]

February 25, 2021

Fran Rayer and Elizabeth Olivera discuss DHS's and ICE's new flexibility policy when it comes to in-person verification of identity and employment eligibility documentation for Form I-9

FY2022 H-1B Cap Lottery Registration [Alert]

February 08, 2021

Fran Rayer and Elizabeth Olivera discuss the timing for the initial registration period for the FY2022 H-1B Cap Lottery.

USCIS Extends Flexibility Deadlines for Responding to Requests [Alert]

February 01, 2021

Beth Olivera and Fran Rayer discuss USCIS decision to extend deadlines for responding to specific requests from the agency. USCIS will consider a response to the qualifying requests and notices timely filed if they are received within 60 calendar days after the response due date set on the request or notice.

Premium Processing Fee Increase Effective Immediately (10/19/2020)

October 16, 2020

Fran Rayer and Elizabeth Oilvera discuss USCIS's announcement that it will increase fees for premium processing, to take effect Monday, October 19, 2020.

Sweeping Changes to the H-1B Program To Go into Effect [Alert]

October 08, 2020

Fran Rayer and Elizabeth Olivera discuss the DHS and DOL's interim final rules on H-1B, H-1B1, and E-3 visas.

2022 Diversity Immigrant Visa Lottery Program Announced [Alert]

October 06, 2020

Fran Rayer discusses the process for the 2022 Diversity Immigrant Visa Program.

Changes to USCIS Fee Schedule and Forms [Alert]

September 08, 2020

On August 3, 2020, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a Final Rule that alters the USCIS filing Fee Schedule. On average, the filing fees were increased overall by approximately 20 percent.

Resumption of Visa Services at the U.S. Consulates [Alert]

July 15, 2020

Fran Rayer and Beth Olivera discuss the resumption of Visa services at certain U.S. embassies and consulates around the world.

Foreign Students Can Remain in the U.S. Even if All Classes Will Be Online

July 15, 2020

Fran Rayer and Beth Olivera discuss the settlement in President and Fellows of Harvard College et al. v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security et al., allowing foreign students to remain in the United States even if all classes will be online.

USCIS Announces Possible Furloughs of 13,400 Immigration Employees [Alert]

July 01, 2020

Fran Rayer and Elizabeth Olivera discuss the furloughs at USCIS.

Immigration COVID-19 FAQ

July 01, 2020

Frances Rayer and Elizabeth Olivera addressed common questions related to immigration and COVID-19.

Presidential Proclamation Extending Suspension of Immigration from Abroad [Alert]

June 23, 2020

Fran Rayer, Scott Bettrigde, Daniela Berisiartu Barshel, and Elizabeth Olivera discuss President Trump's extension of Proclamation 10014.

USCIS Resumes Premium Processing Services for Form I-129 and Form I-140 Petitions [Alert]

May 29, 2020

Fran Rayer and Elizabeth Olivera discuss USCIS decision to resume offering premium processing services for cases involving Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, and Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, in phases over the month of June.

Presidential Proclamation Temporarily Suspends Immigration from Abroad [Alert]

April 23, 2020

Fran Rayer, Scott Bettridge, Daniela Barshel, and Elizabeth Olivera discuss what President Trump's temporary suspension of certain categories of immigrants from entering the United States means and who is impacted.

USCIS Announces Cancellation of all In-Person Appointments and Interviews to Combat COVID-19 [Alert]

March 18, 2020

Fran Rayer and Beth Olivera explain what the USCIS canceling all face-to-face appointments, interviews, and events, including asylum interviews and citizenship ceremonies, means for applicants and petitioners.

USCIS Announces Suspension of Premium Processing for H-1B Cap Cases To Be Filed Beginning April 1 [Alert]

March 17, 2020

Fran Rayer discusses the temporary suspension of premium processing service for fiscal year (FY) 2021 cap-subject H-1B petitions.

H-1B Electronic Registration Process Operational for the Fiscal Year 2021 Cap Season [Alert]

December 16, 2019

Learn about the changes USCIS announced for its online registration system that will be implemented in the 2020 H-1B lottery.

USCIS Proposed Rule with Adjustments to Fee Schedule and Other Changes

November 25, 2019

Fran Rayer discusses the proposed increased fees for green cards applications, associated work and travel authorizations, and citizenship filing fees.

SSA No-Match Letters and Employer Obligations [Alert]

November 18, 2019

Fran Rayer and Velika A. Nespor discuss what employers should do when they receive an SSA no match letters.

DHS Extends TPS Documentation for Six Countries

November 07, 2019

Fran Rayer discusses the extension of Temporary Protected Status related documentation for beneficiaries under the TPS designation for El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, and Sudan through January 4, 2021.

Pennsylvania Law Passed Requiring Mandatory Use of E-Verify in the Construction Industry [Alert]

October 11, 2019

Michael Hanlon and Fran Rayer discuss the new Pennsylvania law affecting the construction industry that goes into effect on October 6, 2020.

2021 Diversity Immigrant Visa Lottery Program Announced [Alert]

October 02, 2019

Frances P. Rayer discusses what you need to know about the 2021 Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, including dates the lottery is open and who is eligible to enter.

Department of State Requests Social Media Profile Identifiers [Alert]

July 01, 2019

Velika A. Nespor and Frances Rayer discuss the new requirements for all nonimmigrant and immigrant visa applicants.

TPS Extended For Sudan, Nicaragua, Haiti, and El Salvador [Alert]

March 06, 2019

Velika Nespor and Frances Rayer discuss USCIS's automatic extension of TPS status until January 2, 2020.

Events & Seminars

Past Events

2019 Labor and Employment Law Update

June 20, 2019 - Philadelphia, PA

2018 Labor and Employment Law Update

June 13, 2018 - Philadelphia, PA

Education

  • Widener University School of Law, J.D., magna cum laude, 1989
  • St. Joseph's University, M.S., summa cum laude, 1981
  • Gwynedd Mercy College, B.S., magna cum laude, 1979

Awards & Honors

Best Lawyers in America 2006-2024

JD Supra Readers’ Choice Awards, Top Author 2022

  • Pennsylvania