Posts in State Department.
Time 2 Minute Read

On October 15, the White House and State Department announced that, beginning November 8, foreign travelers may board US-bound flights or cross US land borders without first obtaining National Interest Exceptions, as long as they can prove they are fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

Time 3 Minute Read

The Department of State (DOS) has updated its reciprocity schedule with shortened visa validity periods for French citizens. Specifically L-1/L-2 visas are now valid for 17 months and E-1/E-2 visas are now valid for 25 months.  Prior to this recent change, both visa categories were eligible for validity periods of 60 months.

Who is eligible for L-1/L-2 and E-1/E-2 visas?

  • The L-1 visa is used to transfer foreign employees who have been employed abroad by a company that is related to the US L-1 petitioner. It is available to multinational managers, executives, and employees with ...
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

On May 18, 2018, after receiving a notice from the Government of Ecuador terminating that country’s bilateral investment treaty with the United States, the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Trade Representative announced the termination in the Federal Register.  The treaty has been in force since 1997.

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 May Visa Bulletin, including Final Action Dates and changes from the previous month:

  • China: EB-1 remains backlogged to January 1, 2012, EB-2 creeps forward one month to September 1, 2014, and EB-3 freezes at June 1, 2015
  • India: EB-1 remains backlogged to January 1, 2012, EB-2 remains at December 22, 2008, and EB-3 advances three months to May 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 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 1 Minute Read

On Tuesday, January 16, 2018, the new US Embassy in London will be operational for all US visa, consular,  and US citizen services.

The new address is: 33 Nine Elms Lane, London SW11 7US.  Any appointments already scheduled will be held at the new address.

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 December Visa Bulletin, including Final Action Dates and changes from the previous month:

  • China: EB-1 remains current, EB-2 creeps forward two weeks to July 1, 2013, and EB-3 advances five weeks to March 8, 2014
  • India: EB-1 remains current, EB-2 advances 3 weeks to November 1, 2008, and EB-3 remains frozen at October 15, 2006 for the fourth month in ...
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

Following the Supreme Court’s recent decision to allow the partial implementation of Executive Order 13780, “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States” (“EO”), the State Department issued a cable to all diplomatic and consular posts instructing them how to implement the EO, which begins tonight at 8:00 PM EDT.  The ban applies to aliens from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.  Consular officers are instructed to first determine if a visa applicant meets the general visa issuance requirements without regard to the EO and, if so ...

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 at January 1, 2012, EB-2 advances three weeks to March 22, 2013 and EB-3 reverses course and falls behind EB-2, retrogressing more than two years to January 1, 2012
  • India EB-1 holds steady at January 1, 2012, EB-2 continues its slow forward ...
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 State Department registration period for the Congressionally mandated 2018 Diversity Visa (DV) lottery begins October 4, 2016, and ends on November 7, 2016. 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 ...
Time 1 Minute Read
Due to security concerns and international passport standards, as of January 1, 2016, US passport holders running out of blank pages in their passports will no longer be able to apply to the State Department to add blank pages.  Individuals will need to apply for new passports by mail.  In addition to the standard 28-page passport, the State Department now offers a 52-page passport.  Frequent international travelers may wish to opt for the 52-page passport to avoid any delays that may occur during the passport renewal process ...
Time 1 Minute Read
The U.S. Department of State has announced it will suspend all consular services, worldwide, on Friday, October 9, 2015, due to a consular systems upgrade. Application Service Centers (ASCs) that provide biometrics and fingerprinting services to U.S. consulates will also close that day. Appointments that have already been scheduled for that day will be rescheduled. Each individual consular post will provide instructions for expedited or emergency rescheduling on its website.
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 Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs continues to experience technical problems related to visa issuance at all of the US embassies and consulates. The problem was caused by a hardware failure on June 9, which prevents the embassies and consulates from processing and transmitting biometric data checks required for visa issuance. While most posts are still scheduling and honoring previously reserved visa interviews, applicants must wait for the system to be repaired before their passports will be returned containing their new visas. Those in the United States ...
Time 1 Minute Read
The Department of Homeland Security today announced it will negotiate with ten airports in Belgium, the Dominican Republic, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, and the United Kingdom to open preflight inspection offices, where U.S. Customs & Border Protection agents will inspect travelers for immigration, customs and agriculture requirements before they board U.S.-bound flights.  After a year-long analysis by DHS, the Department of State, and the Transportation Security Administration, these ten airports were selected, from more than twenty that ...
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

If automatic spending cuts ("sequestration") take place at midnight tonight, wait times for visa appointments at US embassies and consulates will likely increase.

At its Daily Press Briefing on February 27, 2013, the Department of State warned that it will have to reduce the numbers of officers who process visa applications worldwide, and said, "We could have major setbacks in really the herculean effort we’ve made to reduce wait times."

At its press briefing on February 28, 2013, the Department elaborated:  "Sequestration threatens all of our operations because it cuts across ...

Time 1 Minute Read

The U.S. Embassy in Mexico City has announced that, as of July 1, 2012, individuals seeking to renew their visas at the embassy and consulates in Mexico no longer must attend a visa interview appointment, as long as their current visas are still valid or expired within the past 48 months. Previously, only those whose visas had expired within the past 12 months were exempt from interview.

Note that even those applicants who are exempt from interview under the new policy must still attend an appointment at the Applicant Service Center ("ASC") for biometrics and fingerprinting. Additional ...

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

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 2 Minute Read

Department of State Managing Director for Visa Services, Ed Ramotowski, announced yesterday that, due to their robust economies and currency strength against the U.S. dollar, 44% more U.S. visas have been issued in Brazil this year than last year and 35% more in China.  DOS described its efforts to keep up with this skyrocketing demand.

Time 1 Minute Read
On August 11, 2010, the State Department published its final revised rule on J-1 Interns and Trainees.  The revised rule makes 3 key changes.  First, host companies no longer must provide a Dun & Bradstreet report  Second, program sponsors may interview candidates by phone rather than only in person or by videoconference.  And third, both interns and trainees may participate in unlimited J-1 programs as long as they will develop more advanced skills or train in a different field of expertise in each new program.  Interns must still be enrolled full-time in a foreign college or university or ...
Time 1 Minute Read
Qualifying foreign nationals planning to visit the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) must now register under the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) before traveling to the United States without a visa.  ESTA is designed to identify those individuals who may be a security or law enforcement risk.  The application takes only a few minutes to complete and can be completed online. Once approved, the ESTA authorization is valid for two years and can be renewed as often as required.  Individuals who qualify for the VWP but who will be traveling to another ...

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