Posts in Immigrant Visas.
Time 6 Minute Read

As we previously reported, President Biden is rescinding the international travel restrictions that have drastically hindered US business and tourist travel for almost 2 years.  Beginning at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Time on Monday, November 8, 2021, travelers will no longer need a valid National Interest Exception if they have been in China, Iran, the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Brazil, South Africa, or India within the past 14 days.  Instead, they – and all air travelers to the US, with some very limited exceptions – will have to prove they are “fully vaccinated” before boarding a US-bound flight.

Time 3 Minute Read

On January 31, 2020, President Trump issued a Presidential Proclamation amending Presidential Proclamation 9723, commonly called the “Travel Ban.”  This new proclamation imposes travel restrictions on certain nationals of countries the administration has determined to have inadequate identity-management practices, national security and public safety information practices, and otherwise pose a national security or public-safety risk.

Time 3 Minute Read

On September 19, 2019, Congress tried and failed to eliminate the per-country limit for employment-based green cards. This latest effort, a bill known as the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019 (HR 1044) easily passed in the House 365-65, but stalled in the Senate where it has been blocked by Senator David Perdue (R-GA) who has placed a hold on the bill preventing a vote.

While there is consensus that the current per-country limit for the issuance of employment-based green cards is flawed, unfair and in need of an overhaul, how to achieve that is at the center of the ...

Time 5 Minute Read

While employment-based green card applicants are seeing unprecedented backlogs in their priority dates, notably in the EB-1 category reserved for “priority workers”, family-sponsored green card applicants are seeing their priority dates advance at a pace not seen in the last few years.

This development is happening almost unnoticed in the shadow of the media’s focus on the southern border and other aspects of preference-based immigration such as the administration’s proposal for a point-based system and a proposal in Congress to eliminate per-country limitations ...

Time 2 Minute Read

Applicants for US visitor, student, and work-related nonimmigrant visas, as well as family-based and employment-based immigrant visas (“green cards”), now have to provide information about the social media platforms used over the preceding 5-year period.  The updated visa application forms seek information about the most popular social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube.  Applicants also have the opportunity to provide information about social media platforms not listed in the drop-down menus.  For each platform, applicants must ...

Time 3 Minute Read

The Visa Bulletin is released monthly by the Department of State and is used to determine when a sponsored foreign national can submit the final step of the green card process. The complete visa bulletin can be found here.

Below is a summary of the September Visa Bulletin, including Final Action Dates and changes from the previous month:

China: EB-1 remains stalled at January 1, 2012, EB-2 retrogresses to January 1, 2013, and EB-3 continues to move forward - advancing four months to November 1, 2014

India: EB-1 remains at January 1, 2012, EB-2 falls behind nearly two years to January 1 ...

Time 1 Minute Read

The Visa Bulletin is released monthly by the Department of State and is used to determine when a sponsored foreign national can submit the final step of the green card process. The complete visa bulletin can be found here.

Below is a summary of the August Visa Bulletin, including Final Action Dates and changes from the previous month:

  • China: EB-1 remains backlogged to January 1, 2012, EB-2 moves forward - advancing two months to March 1, 2015 - and EB-3 leaps ahead eighteen months to July 1, 2014
  • India: EB-1 remains stuck at January 1, 2012, EB-2 freezes at March 15, 2009, and EB-3 advances two ...
Time 1 Minute Read

The Visa Bulletin is released monthly by the Department of State and is used to determine when a sponsored foreign national can submit the final step of the green card process. The complete visa bulletin can be found here.

Below is a summary of the July Visa Bulletin, including Final Action Dates and changes from the previous month:

  • China: EB-1 remains backlogged to January 1, 2012, EB-2 jumps ahead four months to January 1, 2015, while EB-3 reverses course and retrogresses to January 1, 2013
  • India: EB-1 remains stalled at January 1, 2012, EB-2 continues to creep forward, moving to March ...
Time 1 Minute Read

The Visa Bulletin is released monthly by the Department of State and is used to determine when a sponsored foreign national can submit the final step of the green card process. The complete visa bulletin can be found here.

Below is a summary of the March Visa Bulletin, including Final Action Dates and changes from the previous month:

  • China: EB-1 retrogresses to January 1, 2012, EB-2 advances eight months to August 1, 2014, and EB-3 leaps ahead six months to June 1, 2015
  • India: EB-1 reverts to January 1, 2012, EB-2 creeps forward another week to December 22, 2008, and EB-3 jumps forward more ...
Time 1 Minute Read

The Visa Bulletin is released monthly by the Department of State and is used to determine when a sponsored foreign national can submit the final step of the green card process. The complete visa bulletin can be found here.

Below is a summary of the March Visa Bulletin, including Final Action Dates and changes from the previous month:

  • China: EB-1 remains current, EB-2 jumps ahead another two months to December 8, 2013, and EB-3 advances two months to November 15, 2014
  • India: EB-1 remains current, EB-2 creeps forward one week to December 15, 2008, and EB-3 moves forward one month to January 1 ...
Time 2 Minute Read

The Visa Bulletin is released monthly by the Department of State and is used to determine when a sponsored foreign national can submit the final step of the green card process. The complete visa bulletin can be found here.

Below is a summary of the February Visa Bulletin, including Final Action Dates and changes from the previous month:

  • China: EB-1 remains current, EB-2 advances nearly two months to October 1, 2013, and EB-3 jumps forward five months to September 15, 2014
  • India: EB-1 remains current, EB-2 continues a slow forward crawl –advancing 16 days to December 8, 2008, and EB-3 leaps forward an entire month to December 1, 2006
  • Philippines: EB-2 remains current and EB-3 advances two weeks to March 1, 2016
  • All Other Countries: All EB categories are current
Time 9 Minute Read

If 2017 is any indication, the new year will bring a fresh cascade of changes – both announced and unannounced, anticipated and unanticipated – in the business immigration landscape.  Few, if any, of these changes are expected to be good news for U.S. businesses and the foreign workers they employ.

In 2017, while much of the news media focused on the Trump Administration’s draconian changes to practices and policies that affected the undocumented – including ending the DACA Dreamer program, shutting down Temporary Protected Status for citizens of countries ravished by war and natural disaster, and aggressively enforcing at the southern border and in “sensitive” locations such as churches, courthouses, and homeless shelters – relatively less attention has been paid to the steady, incremental erosion of rights and options for legal immigrants, particularly those who are sponsored for work by U.S. employers, under the Administration’s April 2017 “Buy American / Hire American” executive order.  There is no doubt that such restrictions to the legal immigration system will continue to cause business uncertainty and disruption in 2018.  Here’s what to expect:

Time 1 Minute Read

The Visa Bulletin is released monthly by the Department of State and is used to determine when a sponsored foreign national can submit the final step of the green card process. The complete visa bulletin can be found here.

Below is a summary of the January Visa Bulletin, including Final Action Dates and changes from the previous month:

  • China: EB-1 remains current, EB-2 advances five weeks to August 8, 2013, and EB-3 advances six weeks to April 15, 2014
  • India: EB-1 remains current, EB-2 moves ahead 3 weeks to November 22, 2008, and EB-3 finally moves– advancing two weeks to November 1, 2006
Time 1 Minute Read

The Visa Bulletin is released monthly by the Department of State and is used to determine when a sponsored foreign national can submit the final step of the green card process. The complete visa bulletin can be found here.

Below is a summary of the November Visa Bulletin, including Final Action Dates and changes from the previous month:

  • China: EB-1 remains current, EB-2 moves ahead 24 days to June 15, 2013, and EB-3 only advances one month to February 1, 2014
  • India: EB-1 remains current, EB-2 advances 23 days to October 8, 2008, and EB-3 remains stalled at October 15, 2006
  • Philippines: EB-2 ...
Time 1 Minute Read
The Department of State has announced that due to technical issues the initial DV-2019 entry period of October 3, 2017, to November 7, 2017, has been closed.  The new DV-2019 entry period will begin at noon (EST) on October 18, 2017, and will remain open until noon (EST) on November 22, 2017. All entries received prior to October 18, 2017 will be cancelled and excluded from the system.  Applicants who submitted entries during that timeframe are advised to submit new entries to be considered in the DV 2019 lottery ...
Time 3 Minute Read

On Sunday, September 24, 2017, the White House identified eight countries as inadequately managing identity and security risk information for their citizens who seek admission to the United States or other U.S. immigration benefits and established the following restrictions for those countries:

  • North Korea / Syria:  All immigrant and nonimmigrant visas are suspended.
  • Chad / Libya / Yemen:  All immigrant visas and all B-1 business and B-2 tourist visas are suspended.
  • Iran:  All immigrant visas are suspended, as well as all nonimmigrant visas except F and M student visas and J exchange ...
Time 1 Minute Read

The State Department online registration period for the Congressionally mandated 2019 Diversity Visa (DV) lottery begins October 3, 2017 (at noon EST), and ends on November 7, 2017 (at noon EST). The DV lottery allows nationals from certain countries to apply for immigrant visas (“green cards”) outside of the normal immigrant visa process. Individuals already being sponsored for immigrant visas by family members or employers may participate as well. Requirements include being a national of an eligible country (although an applicant may qualify based on his or her spouse’s ...

Time 1 Minute Read

The Visa Bulletin is released monthly by the Department of State and is used to determine when a sponsored foreign national can submit the final step of the green card process. The complete visa bulletin can be found here.

Below is a summary of the October Visa Bulletin, including Final Action Dates and changes from the previous month:

  • China: EB-1 returns to current, EB-2 moves ahead one week to May 22, 2013, and EB-3 returns to the new normal, outpacing EB-2 and jumping ahead two years to January 1, 2014
  • India: EB-1 returns to current, EB-2 creeps ahead four weeks to September 15, 2008, and ...
Time 2 Minute Read

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court granted the Trump administration two victories in connection with Executive Order No. 13780, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” commonly known as the “Travel Ban.”

Time 2 Minute Read
President Trump signed today the long-awaited revised travel ban Executive Order entitled, “Protecting The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States”, effective 12:01 a.m, Eastern Standard Time on March 16, 2017.  The list of affected countries includes Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen; Iraq was removed from the list.  Key provisions are as follows:
Time 1 Minute Read

The Ninth Circuit has just issued a unanimous opinion upholding the Temporary Restraining Order against the Trump Administration’s Executive Order known as the “Travel Ban.” The 3-judge panel unanimously recognized that without the TRO, the states of Minnesota and Washington were likely to be harmed as parens patriae (i.e., legal protector) for their citizens, and also by damage inflicted on “operations and missions of their public universities and other institutions of higher learning,” and their “operations, tax bases, and public funds.”

Time 7 Minute Read

The fast pace of immigration developments under the new Trump administration continues. The following are some of the issues that are most important to individuals and businesses in the United States:

Time 1 Minute Read

We have learned that, as of the evening of January 27, 2017, all U.S. embassies and consular posts have been instructed to immediately suspend the issuance of both nonimmigrant and immigrant visas and cancel currently scheduled visa interviews for nationals of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Some diplomatic visa categories are exempt.

Time 4 Minute Read

The Administration has now signed the Executive Order entitled, “Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Entry into the United States by Foreign Nationals,” with immediate effect. Individuals from the designated countries should strongly consider not traveling outside the United States during the periods mentioned below. Key provisions are as follows:

1. The Order prohibits the “immigrant or nonimmigrant entry” into the United States by nationals of Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Somalia, Syria, Sudan and Libya for the next 90 days – until April 27, 2017.

Time 1 Minute Read

The Immigrant Investor Program, more commonly referred to as the EB-5 program, gives foreign entrepreneurs the opportunity to permanently reside and work in the United States after investing capital into an American commercial enterprise creating a sufficient number of full-time jobs.

In recent years, the number of EB-5 visa applications filed has surged. A large number of these applications relied on the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program, which is the part of the EB-5 program that provides for regional centers to facilitate larger capital raises. While legislators and ...

Time 1 Minute Read
The State Department registration period for the Congressionally mandated 2017 Diversity Visa (DV) lottery is underway. The DV lottery allows nationals from certain countries to apply for immigrant visas ("green cards") outside of the normal immigrant visa process. Individuals already being sponsored for immigrant visas by family members or employers may participate as well. Requirements include being a national of an eligible country (although an applicant may qualify based on his or her spouse’s nationality) and high school education or work experience. The online ...
Time 1 Minute Read

The U.S. Department of State has announced that, as of November 12, 2014, the National Visa Center ceased collecting original civil documents – birth and marriage certificates, police clearance certificates, etc. – from applicants for immigrant visas.  From now on, applicants will submit only photocopies of these documents to the NVC and take the originals to their visa interviews at U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide.

The NVC’s practice of requiring original documents is a long-standing one that has caused applicants additional stress, worry and expense in the ...

Time 2 Minute Read

As Congress failed to reach an agreement to avert the unthinkable, the US Government shut down at midnight.  This will affect some immigration-related government agencies:

  • US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS),which processes immigrant and nonimmigrant visa petitions, will continue operating.  Petitions already on file will continue to be processed, and new petitions will continue to be accepted.  eVerify will not be operating during the shutdown.
  • US Customs and Border Protection, which conducts inspections of those arriving by land, air, and sea, and enforces ...
Time 1 Minute Read

In light of the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor, which invalidated the Defense of Marriage Act, the USCIS has issued some helpful FAQs pertaining to family-based immigrant visa petitions. The State Department has not yet issued guidance on nonimmigrant visa applications by same-sex spouses.  We will update this blog when that guidance is issued.

Time 1 Minute Read

Starting today, March 4, 2013, USCIS will begin accepting applications for “provisional waiver” of unlawful presence from spouses, children and parents of U.S. citizens on Form I-601A.

As we explained in more detail in a previous post, these “immediate relatives” who qualify for the provisional waiver may now apply while they are still in the United States, and before they depart for their immigrant visa interviews at U.S. embassies and consulates in their home countries.  Before the provisional waiver process was established, they were required to travel abroad and be ...

Time 2 Minute Read

On January 3, 2013, DHS announced publication of its final rule for certain spouses, children and parents of U.S. citizens to obtain provisional waivers of unlawful presence from within the United States, prior to leaving in order to apply for required immigrant visas at US consulates in their home countries.  The new rule and procedures will become effective on March 4, 2013.

Time 1 Minute Read
The State Department has announced the registration period for the Congressionally mandated 2014 Diversity Visa (DV) lottery. The DV lottery allows nationals from certain countries to apply for immigrant visas ("green cards") outside of the normal immigrant visa process. Individuals already being sponsored for immigrant visas by family members or employers may participate as well. Requirements include being a national of an eligible country (although an applicant may qualify based on his or her spouse's nationality) and high school education or work experience. The online ...
Time 1 Minute Read

The serious immigrant visa retrogression we notified you about recently has worsened for Indian and Chinese nationals, and is now affecting previously unaffected visa categories, including EB-1 and EB-2 "Worldwide".

Time 1 Minute Read

While retrogression in the EB-2 China-mainland and India visa categories has been expected for some weeks, the State Department has now stated that effective March 23, 2012, no additional visas will be authorized for applicants in these categories with priority dates of August 15, 2007 or later. Fortunately, USCIS will continue to receive and process applications to adjust status for those with current priority dates under the April Visa Bulletin.  Individuals who submit their applications by the end of this month may be looking at an extended wait to receive permanent resident ...

Time 1 Minute Read

The Department of State announced increases in visa fees, effective April 13, 2012.  The machine-readable visa (MRV) fees will increase from $140 to $190 for the following nonimmigrant visas:  H, L, O, P, Q and R.  MRV fees for E and K visas will drop from $390 (E) and $350 (K), to $270 and $240, respectively.  All other nonimmigrant visas will increase from $150 to $160.  In addition, immigrant visa fees will drop for family-based cases ($330 to $230) and employment-based cases ($720 to $405).  Finally, Border Crossing Card (BCC) fees for Mexican nationals will increase from $14 to $15.  The ...

Time 1 Minute Read

Although immigrant visa beneficiaries from India and China have enjoyed the recent priority date advancement in the EB-2 visa category, that will likely change soon.  Charles Oppenheim, Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division at the State Department, predicts a priority date retrogression in the coming months that will last the remainder of the fiscal year.  Mr. Oppenheim stated that the EB-2 category for India and China will likely move from May 2010 back to August 2007, as early as May.  Those able to file their adjustment of status applications during the priority date ...

Time 1 Minute Read
On September 22, 2011, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) introduced HR 3012 in the House.  The Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act would eliminate the annual cap on green card numbers for employment-based immigrants and increase the cap for family-based immigrants.  Currently, foreign nationals who are sponsored by their employers for permanent jobs in the US wait up to 8 or 9 years for a green card because per-country allocations -- originally set by Congress decades ago -- have never been raised to keep pace with changing economic and technological needs.  The long waiting lists create ...
Time 1 Minute Read
The State Department has announced the registration period for the Congressionally mandated 2013 Diversity Visa (DV) lottery.  The DV lottery allows nationals from certain countries to apply for immigrant visas ("green cards") outside of the normal immigrant visa process.  Individuals already being sponsored for immigrant visas by family members or employers may participate as well.  Requirements include being a national of an eligible country (although an applicant may qualify based on his or her spouse's nationality) and high school education or work experience.  The online ...
Time 1 Minute Read

As the results of the 2012 Diversity Visa Lottery are released, the State Department is again warning applicants about the increase in visa lottery scams.  The scams include letters notifying applicants that they have "won" and that they must quickly pay a fee in order to continue with the process.  Those chosen for participation in the program will not be notified by mail; rather, applicants must check their status online, and follow the instructions for registration.  The State Department's FAQs on this issue can be found HERE

Time 1 Minute Read

The USCIS announced that it will begin issuing combined advance parole and employment authorization documents (EADs) to adjustment of status applicants who apply for both concurrently with their Form I-485 adjustment of status applications. The new cards, which will resemble the current EADs, will be endorsed “Serves as I-512 Advance Parole”. Recipients of EADs should review them carefully to ensure they are endorsed for travel as well, otherwise they will need to have the "old style" advance parole document in-hand when departing the United States (unless they are ...

Time 1 Minute Read
The State Department has announced the registration period for the Congressionally mandated 2012 Diversity Visa (DV) lottery.  The DV lottery allows nationals from certain countries to apply for immigrant visas ("green cards") outside of the normal immigrant visa process.  Individuals already being sponsored for immigrant visas by family members or employers may participate as well.  Requirements include being a national of an eligible country (although an applicant may qualify based on his or her spouse's nationality) and high school education or work experience.  The online ...
Time 1 Minute Read

In its continuing effort to deter immigration fraud, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has unveiled a new permanent resident ("green") card with additional security features.  The new card is already being produced and issued to those granted permanent resident status.  The new card contains a pre-printed return address for easy return of the card to the USCIS if lost.  Employers should ensure that those responsible for completing I-9 verification forms are familiar with the new design.

Time 1 Minute Read
As of December 14, 2009, foreign nationals who apply for immigrant visas or adjustment of status are no longer required to receive the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination.  CDC will continue to require vaccination for mumps, measles, rubella, polio, tetanus and diphtheria toxoids, pertussis, Haemophilus influenzae type B, and hepatitis B.  Others will be required only if a public health need exists at the time, and the vaccine is (a) age-appropriate and recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices for the general U.S. population; and (b) against a disease ...
Time 1 Minute Read

On November 2, 2009, the Centers for Disease Control of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a final rule removing HIV infection from the list of "communicable diseases of public health significance," effective January 4, 2010.  The rule means that HIV-positive foreign nationals will no longer be inadmissible to the United States or require waivers in order to be approved for nonimmigrant or immigrant visas.  It also means HIV testing will no longer be part of immigration medical exams.  The entire rule may be read here

Time 1 Minute Read

On September 10, 2009, the U.S. Department of State released the October 2009 Visa Bulletin.  As anticipated, the news is not good.  Waiting lists for Indian and Chinese nationals whose U.S. employers have sponsored them for positions that require advanced degrees are backed up to early 2005.  For positions that require at least a bachelor's degree, wait lists stand at early 2002 for all nationalities except Indians (mid-2001).  Family-based categories are also painfully oversubscribed.  Depending on their nationalities, spouses and children of U.S. permanent residents must wait 4 ...

Time 1 Minute Read

After nearly 2 years, the USCIS has resumed the Premium Processing program for most immigrant visa petitions.  Under this program, employers and foreign nationals eligible to self-petition may request 15-day processing of their immigrant visa petitions (Form I-140) for an additional $1,000 filing fee.  If the USCIS issues a request for evidence, the 15-day processing period begins again upon receipt of the petitioner's response.  Unfortunately, this program does not apply to those qualifying under the EB-1 multinational executive/manager or EB-2 national interest waiver ...

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