Posts tagged Visas.
Time 3 Minute Read

Seasoned business immigration attorneys recall “visa revalidation” with great fondness.  It is hard to imagine now, with visa appointment backlogs of months and even years at U.S. consulates all over the world, but it was once possible to send a passport to the Department of State’s Revalidation Division in St. Louis, Missouri, along with a few simple supporting documents, and within 10 to 12 weeks, get the passport back with a renewed visa in it.  Those were the days!

Time 4 Minute Read

In 2019, the large policy and enforcement shifts signposted in 2017 and 2018 continued to play out with stricter immigration enforcement across the board. While we don’t expect to see seismic shifts in the coming year, there are a few issues to watch for in 2020.

(1) H-1B “Specialty Occupation” Definition Change Likely to Stall in Court

USCIS has indicated it will be announcing an official change to the definition of “specialty occupation.” While we have already seen a detrimental shift in the H-1B adjudication process, this would be an official regulatory change. We expect that any attempt to re-interpret the H-1B statute as narrowly as possible will face a lengthy court battle.

Time 4 Minute Read

The President’s Executive Order, commonly called the “travel ban”, has raised many questions.  We answer the most frequently asked questions below, and will update them as additional information becomes available.

I am from one of the named countries and am outside of the United States.  Can I apply for a nonimmigrant (temporary) or immigrant (permanent) visa at a US consulate?

On January 27, 2017, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) provisionally revoked most valid nonimmigrant and immigrant visas issued to nationals from the seven countries subject to the travel ban. Certain diplomatic and other visa categories are exempt from this action. This move was largely symbolic since individuals subject to the travel ban are not permitted to enter the United States. However, if and when the travel ban is lifted, individuals from the listed countries would most likely need to reapply to a U.S. consulate abroad for a new visa before they could travel to the United States.

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
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 2 Minute Read

On March 20, 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor issued new FAQs providing more details on the latest developments in the ongoing federal court case challenging DOL's authority to issue and implement regulations for the H-2B temporary worker program.

Time 1 Minute Read

On March 17, 2015, the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services announced it will resume H-2B processing, but will continue to suspend premium (expedited) processing until further notice.

Time 1 Minute Read

On March 16, 2015, the U.S. Departments of Labor and Homeland Security jointly announced that they intend to release a joint Interim Final Rule by April 30, 2015, to resolve the agencies’ suspension of H-2B processing following a Florida federal court decision in Pérez v. Pérez.  See our blog entry of March 9, 2015, for details on that decision.  DOL also announced it will seek interim relief from the decision so that it may continue H-2B processing in the interval before the Interim Final Rule is promulgated.

In the joint statement, DOL and DHS acknowledged that “hardship” has ...

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 1 Minute Read

The Department of State reports that it is experiencing technical problems with its global passport and visa system. This problem is delaying the issuance of visas at this time. The embassies and consulates are still scheduling and conducting visa interviews; however, visa issuance will be delayed until the problem is resolved. This is a worldwide issue, and not specific to any one location. Those planning to travel abroad to obtain new visas must take this problem into consideration before departing the United States, as their return may be delayed. We will provide an update ...

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 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 U.S. Department of State (DOS) has announced that, as of June 4, 2010, nonimmigrant visa fees have increased at its U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide.  In the Federal Register notice announcing the move, DOS explained that increases are necessary because an independent study from August 2007 to June 2009 concluded the agency "is not fully covering its costs ... under the current cost structure."  Petition-based visa fees for temporary workers -- such as H-1B, L-1 and O-1 -- increased from $131 to $150.  E-1 (treaty trader) and E-2 (treaty investor) visa fees increased almost ...

Time 2 Minute Read

In recent months there have been multiple reports that some H-1B workers arriving at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey have been questioned extensively by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers about their employment in the United States.  In some cases H-1B workers have been refused entry and/or had their visas cancelled.  CBP headquarters has since confirmed that most of these incidents occurred as part of an enforcement action involving companies that are under investigation for immigration violations, presumably involving fraudulent H-1B petitions or inadequate documentation.  Based on the types of questions being asked by CBP, there are also indications of increased scrutiny of H-1B workers who are employed by consulting firms, based on the January 2010 Neufeld memo discussed in our previous blog entry Indian nationals who are employed by consulting firms appear to be the primary targets of these enforcement efforts.

Time 1 Minute Read

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced this afternoon that as of December 21, 2009, it has received sufficient H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap for Fiscal Year 2010 (10/1/2009 through 9/30/2010).  The H-1B cap applies only to petitions for new employment, and generally does not affect H-1B sponsors who request extensions or a change of employers.  Petitions that were received by USCIS on December 21st are subject to a random selection process and some will ultimately be rejected.  Employers who wish to sponsor an H-1B worker should contact Hunton & ...

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 ...

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