Thursday, January 7, 2016

Latest Visa Bulletin

Monday, January 4, 2016

USCIS Launches Virtual Assistant - Emma Gives Customers Another Option for Finding Answers

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services launched a virtual assistant named “Emma” today on, allowing customers to quickly find accurate information. She answers questions in plain English and navigates users to relevant USCIS web pages.

She is named after Emma Lazarus, whose famous words are inscribed at the base of the Statue of Liberty.

Emma was developed in response to a growing interest in self-help tools and to enhance our customer service. USCIS call centers currently receive many questions concerning general information requests that can be provided through the Web. Now Emma will help provide that information.

Although Emma can currently answer many questions our customers commonly ask, her knowledge base is still growing. As customers ask more questions, Emma gets smarter and can better assist future customers.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

USCIS Offers Civics Practice Test in Spanish

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) launched an online Spanish-language civics practice test today, joining the English version released earlier this year.

The questions are presented in English with Spanish subtitles and focus on basic U.S. government and history topics.

The goal is to help Spanish-speaking lawful permanent residents studying for the naturalization test with retaining the information and gaining a firmer grasp of English.

The civics test is normally conducted in English; however, certain applicants may be eligible to take the civics test in the language of their choice due to age and time as a permanent resident, a disability, or other exceptions and accommodations.

The practice tests were developed as part of the Task Force on New Americans initiatives and are available at, along with other resources to help navigate the immigration process.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

EB-5 Regional Centers Must File Form I-924A by December 29

USCIS reminds all approved EB-5 regional centers with a designation letter dated on or before Sept. 30, 2015, that they must file Form I-924A, Supplement to Form I-924, for fiscal year 2015 no later than Dec. 29, 2015.

Regional centers are required to submit Form I-924A every year to demonstrate continued eligibility for the regional center designation. See 8 CFR 204.6(m)(6).
Regional centers may be terminated for:
  • Failure to provide USCIS with required information (which includes failing to file the required annual Form I-924A).
  • Failure to promote economic growth.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Transferring Forms I-600 Filed on Behalf of Children from the Republic of Korea from National Benefits Center to USCIS Seoul Field Office

Since Oct. 1, 2015, the USCIS National Benefits Center (NBC) no longer issues final approval of Forms I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, filed on behalf of children from the Republic of Korea (ROK).   Instead, NBC will transfer cases that appear to be approvable to the USCIS Field Office in Seoul (USCIS Seoul). This internal change will not impact the processing of these cases.

How You Will Be Affected

Petitioners may continue to file Form I-600 petitions in the United States with the USCIS lockbox for processing by the NBC. Once we receive your Form I-600, the NBC will review it to ensure that it is complete and contains all required documentation, including evidence of legal custody (or guardianship) and compliance with the Intercountry Adoption Universal Accreditation Act of 2012. If necessary, the NBC will issue a Request for Evidence or Notice of Intent to Deny, and will issue a Denial notice if you fail to establish that the child qualifies for classification as an orphan.

After the NBC completes its review and processing, you will receive a Notice of Transfer letter from the NBC notifying you that the case has been sent to USCIS Seoul. This letter will explain that after you have taken the necessary steps to adopt the child in ROK, you will need to submit the following to USCIS Seoul to continue processing:

  • A legible, certified copy of the Adoption Decree and Certificate of Irrevocable Judgment; and
  • Evidence the single parent, or if married at least one parent, saw the child before or during the adoption proceedings or visa processing in order to obtain IR-3 visa classification for the child.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

USCIS Announces Addition of 16 Countries Eligible to Participate in the H-2A and H-2B Visa Programs

USCIS and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in consultation with the Department of State, have added Andorra, Belgium, Brunei, Colombia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, San Marino, Singapore, Taiwan**, and Timor-Leste to the list of countries whose nationals are eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B Visa programs for the coming year. The notice listing the eligible countries published on Nov. 18, 2015 in the Federal Register. DHS reserves the right to add countries to the eligible countries list at any time, and to remove any country at any time DHS determines that a country fails to meet the requirements for continued designation.

Secretary of Homeland Security Johnson and Secretary of State Kerry have agreed that Moldova will no longer be designated as an eligible country to participate in the H-2B program because Moldova is not meeting the standards in the regulation for the H-2B program participation. Nationals of Moldova may still participate in the H-2A program because Moldova continues to meet the standards in the regulation for H-2A program participation.

The H-2A and H-2B Visa programs allow U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural and nonagricultural jobs, respectively. Typically, USCIS only approves H-2A and H-2B petitions for nationals of countries the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as eligible to participate in the programs. USCIS, however, may approve H-2A and H-2B petitions for nationals of countries not on the list if it is determined to be in the interest of the United States.