Monday, April 29, 2013

Current State Of CIR - Part 2

A month ago we had posted the first article on the Current State Of CIR at that time. To read that article, please click here: http://blog.mygcvisa.com/2013/03/current-state-of-cir.html

A lot has changed since then. The biggest movement was that the Senator "Gang Of 8" finally released the summary of first draft on April 16 and then the complete CIR bill on April 17. As soon as the CIR bill was released, there was action from both sides - those supporting the bill and those opposing the bill (anti-immigration groups).

This bill was considered as a compromise between Democrats and Republicans. Neither side got everything that they wanted. President Barack Obama said he is going to support this bill.

Democrats (including Nancy Pelosi who is the Minority Leader in House) are also in support of the bill. Initially there was also support from many House Republicans. However the conservative Republicans have become more cautious.

House Republicans recently said they will tackle the immigration issue in bite-size pieces, shunning pressure to act quickly and rejecting the comprehensive approach embraced in the Senate and endorsed by President Barack Obama, a key committee chairman said Thursday.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (Republican) declined to commit to finishing immigration legislation this year, as Obama and a bipartisan group in the Senate want to do.“It is not whether you do it fast or slow, it is that you get it right that’s most important,” Goodlatte said at a press conference to announce the way forward on immigration in the House. He said that while he hopes to produce a bill this year, “I’m going to be very cautious about setting any kind of arbitrary limits on when this has to be done.”


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Saturday, April 27, 2013

USCIS I-485 & I-140 Processing Statistics As Of 02/28/2013


USCIS I-140 Processing Statistics as of 02/28/2013

 TSC NSC National
Pending 8,877 7,965 16,904
Customer action waiting 1,646 2,937 4,583
Completed 3,529 3,369 6,899
New receipts 3,397 2,399 5,996


USCIS EB I-485 Processing Statistics as of 02/28/2013


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Thursday, April 25, 2013

I-485 Application: Documents, Filing, FP, RFE, EAD, AP, Tracking, etc

For complete steps for NVC/Consular Processing, please click here: http://blog.mygcvisa.com/2013/09/nvc-consular-processing-steps.html

Since a lot of our readers are going to file I-485 applications in the coming months, we decided to write an article on how to file I-485 application and also explain process AFTER filing I-485 applications. It applies to both EB and FB category applicants.

Did you know: In EB category, only employers can file PERM and I-140 application. However I-485 application can be filed either by YOU or your employer.

If your case is simple, we recommend filing the I-485 application yourself. You can save anywhere from $1000 to $5000 or more in lawyers fees. If your case is not straight forward, then it is highly recommended to use a lawyer to review your case and help you file the I-485 applications.

Important Note: If you are outside US, do not file I-485 application. You would have to go for consular processing. Please see complete steps for consular processing.

Please see below documents for filing I-485 application(s):

Documents Needed: Always send a photocopy of documents mentioned below, unless specifically mentioned that originals should be sent

1. I-485 form (new edition coming soon). Remember to always use black ink, fill all section (use N/A if applicable). Remember to date and sign the form.
2.  Form I-485A - ONLY if you are applying under status 245(i). See Filing Instructions. Fees is additional $1000
3. Filing Fees (see section below)
4. Form G-325A - Biographic Information Sheet only for applicants between 14 and 79 years of age
5. Evidence of eligibility:
   a. EB category: I-140 Approval notice (or I-140 pending notice if PD is current)
   b. FB category: I-130 Approval notice (or I-130 pending notice if PD is current)
   c. K1 Fiance: Fiance petition approval notice + marriage certificate + Form I -94
   d. Asylum: Copy Of letter or Form I-94 that shows date asylum granted.
6. Criminal History (if applicable): Please see page 3 of I-485 instruction document.
7. Copy of birth certificate
8. Copy of passport page with non immigrant visa(s)
9. Two identical recent passport color photos
10. Form I-693 Medical Examination (signed and sealed by USCIS designated physician)

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

CIR Bill: S.744: Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013

The first draft of CIR bill (S.744) was released around 2:00 AM on April 17, 2013. Please see the summary below. Remember this is only a bill (not law). It will first be debated and modified in Senate for about two months. Then it will be sent to House. This bill will then again be debated in House and modified further - which may takes some more time. See this article: How a bill becomes law.

Here is a quick overview of the CIR bill. The complete CIR bill is 844 pages.

Please remember that each clause/amendment/item listed below MAY have a different effective date (ranging from immediate to 18+ months). We have listed some of the new effective dates below (but not all).

It is unknown whether many of these changes apply to new applicants only or would it be applicable to existing applications also.

Employment Based Immigration:

1. Following people are excluded from annual cap of 140,000 (unlimited visa)
    a. All derivative beneficiaries (spouse and children)
    b. All EB1 applicants
    c. PhD holders (all fields)
    d. Certain physician who have completed the foreign residency requirements under section 212(e) or obtained a waiver of these requirements or an exemption requested by an interested State agency or by an interested Federal agency under section 214(l)
    e. Applicants with MS/PhD in STEM fields from accredited US institution + this degree received in less than 5 years from (I-140) petition filing date + have current job offer

All these applicants would not have to file PERM applications. They can directly file concurrent I-140 and I-485 application. They can also concurrently file EAD/AP application when filing I-485 application.

2. EB categories which are subject to annual cap of 140,000:
    a. EB2 category: 40%  (or 56,000 visas each year instead of 40,040) + unused EB5 visas
    b. EB3 category: 40% (or 56,000 visas) + unused EB2 visas
    c. EB4 category: 10% (or 14,000 visas) + unused EB3 visas
    d. EB5 category: 10% (or 14,000 visas) + unused EB4 visas
    e. EB1 category: Unlimited
 
3. Startup visas for foreign entrepreneurs.

4. Eliminate 7% per country cap; effective first FY from the date when this bill becomes law. This means if CIR passes after Oct 1 (FY2014), then this will be effective from FY 2015.

5. Recapture unused visas from 1992 to 2013 starting from FY 2015

Note: Beneficiaries currently account for 55% of total visas. Hence removing them from cap will increase visas for everyone by around 2.22 times. Example: Currently 100 visas are allotted to 45 primary applicants (and remaining 55 to their beneficiaries). Removing beneficiary from cap will allot all 100 visas to 100 primary applicants (and their 122 beneficiaries). Hence 222 allotted visas will actually use only 100 visas from USCIS (or 2.22 times more visas).

Merit Based Immigration (to be enacted 5 years later):

The merit based visa, created in the fifth year after enactment, awards points to individuals based on their education, employment, length of residence in the US and other considerations. Those individuals with the most points earn the visas. Those who access the merit based pathway to earn their visa are expected to be talented individuals, individuals in our worker programs and individuals with family here. 120,000 visas will be available per year based on merit. The number would increase by 5% per year if demand exceeds supply in any year where unemployment is under 8.5%. There will be a maximum cap of 250,000 visas.

Family Based Immigration:

1. Change annual cap from 226,000 to 161,000. Following is the allocation:
     a. Unmarried adult children of U.S. citizen: 35%
     b. Married adult children of U.S. citizen under age 31 at the time of filing: 25%
     c. Unmarried adult children of lawful permanent resident: 40%

Annual cap change from 226,000 to 161,000 is effective 18 months after date of enactment. Though the annual cap will decrease, overall the number of family based immigration visas issued will increase (because of  expanded definition of immediate relative).

2. Expand V visa to to allow following individuals with an approved family petition (I-130) to live in the U.S:
    a. Unmarried adult children of permanent residents/U.S. citizen
    b. Married adult children of U.S. citizen under 31 years at time of filing the petition.

3. No more visa for siblings (brothers/sisters) of U.S. citizens 18 months after enactment of CIR. Hence this will remove F4 category.

4. Immediate Relative now include a child or spouse of an alien admitted for lawful permanent residence.

5. Recapture unused visas from 1992 to 2013; effective first FY from the date when this bill becomes law

6. Increase per country cap from 7% to 15%.


Following applicants are excluded from annual FB cap (they have unlimited visas):

1. Spouses and minor children of permanent residents

2. Spouses and minor children of U.S. citizen

3. Parents of U.S. citizen

Note: If a U.S. citizen sponsors their parents, then they can also (indirectly) sponsor their minor sibling (brother/sister). This is because the minor sibling would be considered derivative beneficiary of parents and hence would be able to immigrate with them.


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Sunday, April 14, 2013

EB3 Category: Future Visa Bulletin Movement

We have received a LOT of questions on EB3 ROW movements. So we decided to create a post exclusive to all EB3 categories and help answer many questions.

For EB2 category movement (Aug - Dec 2013), please click here: http://blog.mygcvisa.com/2013/06/eb2-india-prediction-2013-2014.html

For USCIS/DOS prediction for Aug-Oct 2013 VB, please click here: http://blog.mygcvisa.com/2013/06/uscis-prediction-for-august-to-october.html

Q. Why did the dates move 5-7 months in many EB3 categories?
A. As we mentioned in few earlier posts, visa allocation is simply a matter of supply and demand. The supply is fixed at around 140,000 per year + any spillover from FB category (which is 18,000 this year).

The demand however is NOT fixed. It changes every day and due to many factors involved, the future demand cannot be predicted (maybe except that it will keep growing). Based on latest PERM application filings, demand is 20% higher than last year.

The I-485 pending inventory gives an idea about how much demand is currently there for various EB categories. It does not include consular processing cases which is about 25%-30%  (changes every year).

Currently the I-485 pending inventory has data for EB3 categories till Aug 2007 only. Since EB3ROW reached July 2007 in April 2013 VB, USCIS/DOS has no idea what the demand is after Aug 2007. Hence to find out this demand USCIS/DOS has started moving dates forward.

Q. Why are dates been moved so aggressively?
A. USCIS/DOS allocates visa quarterly. EB3ROW gets 40,040 of 140,000 total visas. Hence every quarter it gets allotted 10,010 visas. Since USCIS/DOS do not currently know how many applicants would be filing I485 applications after Aug 2007 PD, it is creating a "pipeline" of cases. Some cases are processed faster than others by USCIS. Hence to reduce delay and make sure that all available visas are allotted by Sept 30 (end of fiscal year), it is going to aggressively move dates for next few visa bulletins.

Q. How long would USCIS/DOS continue to aggressively move dates for EB3ROW?
A. As long as it takes to allot all available visas. Rough estimate is:
May 2013 VB: 5 months
June 2013 VB: 9 months
July 2013 VB: 5-6 months (expected)
Aug & Sept VB: TBD

If USCIS receives enough cases to fill the allotted quota by (say) Aug 2013 VB, it will stop moving dates forward (or can even retrogress dates to make sure allotted visas count stays within the permissible limits).


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Predictions: Visa Bulletin June 2013

For July 2013 Visa Bulletin Predictions, please click here: http://blog.mygcvisa.com/2013/05/visa-bulletin-july-2013-predictions.html

For June 2013 Visa Bulletin, please click here: http://blog.mygcvisa.com/2013/05/visa-bulletin-june-2013.html

Please see below prediction for June 2013 Visa Bulletin (for both Family Based and Employment Based):

Quick Summary:
  • EB1, EB4, EB 5: Current
  • EB2 Rest Of World: Current
    EB2 China: 6 weeks
    EB2 India: TBD. See article: EB2 India Analysis & Prediction
  • EB3: 1 week to 4 months
  • F1 to F4: 1 week to 4 months

Please Note: These numbers includes the 18,000 additional visas (spillovers) from FB category to EB category. USCIS seems to have slowly started applying these spillovers to EB categories.

Family Based:

Family-Sponsored All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA- mainland born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
F1 01MAY06 01MAY06 01MAY06 15AUG93 01SEP99
F2A 08APR11 08APR11 08APR11 15MAR11 08APR11
F2B 22JUN05 22JUN05 22JUN05 15JUN93 15SEP02
F3 15AUG02 15AUG02 15AUG02 08APR93 08NOV92
F4 08MAY01 08MAY01 08MAY01 15SEP96 15NOV89

Employment Based: 


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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Analysis: Visa Bulletin May 2013

For May 2013 Visa Bulletin, please click here: http://blog.mygcvisa.com/2013/04/visa-bulletin-may-2013.html

EB1: All EB1 categories continues to remain current. Though EB1 China and EB1 India have already used up their annual quota (and currently using visas from EB1 ROW), this category should continue to remain current this fiscal year.

EB5: This category is current. Though usage of EB5 worldwide is 75% higher than last year - we are expecting EB5 to remain current this fiscal year. There was a possibility of EB5 China retrogressing due increase in demand from Oct to Dec 2012. However since the demand has decreased, it can use the spillover from EB5 ROW and hence there wont be any retrogression for EB5 China.

EB4: This category continues to remain current.

EB2 ROW: This category continues to remain current. Charles Oppenheim from Visa Office had earlier mentioned of a possible EB2ROW retrogression if demand is high. Due to expected EB/FB spillovers in next few visa bulletins, we do not expect this category to retrogress.

EB2 India: As per Charles Oppenheims predictions, there was (again) no movement in this category. You can read this article on why EB2 India is not moving forward since May 2012. However there is a possibility of EB2 India FINALLY moving forward in the next visa bulletin.

EB2 China: As expected EB2 China moved forward by 6 weeks this month. Since EB2 China has already reached 2008, most of the EB/FB spillover from EB1, EB4 and EB5 should go to EB2 India in the last quarter.


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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Visa Bulletin May 2013

For analysis of May 2013 Visa Bulletin, please click here: http://blog.mygcvisa.com/2013/04/visa-bulletin-may-2013-analysis.html

May 2013 Visa bulletin has been released (valid from May 1 to May 31 only). Please see below for more details.

Family Based:

Family-Sponsored All Charge-ability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA- mainland born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
F1 01APR06 01APR06 01APR06 08AUG93 01JUN99
F2A 01MAR11 01MAR11 01MAR11 01FEB11 01MAR11
F2B 15MAY05 15MAY05 15MAY05 01MAY93 08SEP02
F3 08AUG02 08AUG02 08AUG02 01APR93 22OCT92
F4 01MAY01 01MAY01 01MAY01 08SEP96 01OCT89


Employment Based:


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Monday, April 8, 2013

Updated Analysis: May 2013 Demand Data

For May 2013 Demand Data, please click here: http://blog.mygcvisa.com/2013/04/demand-data-for-may-2013-visa-bulletin.html

Demand Data Analysis:

Every month each country in each category is eligible to get 233 visas (7% * 28.6% * 140,000)/12. This does not include the 18,000 additional spillover from FB category to EB category in FY 2013.

EB2 India: Till Jan 2005, the numbers went up from 375 to 425. This means there was 425 -375+233=283 cases ported. The porting rate is remaining constant around 300 cases per month in EB2 India category. Similarly the numbers increase by 125 to 450 per month for other time periods (year 2006 to 2010).

Based on analysis, the porting rate from EB3 India to EB2 India should remain around 300 per month for month of June and July 2013. For the month of August 2013 and September 2013, the porting rate could easily increase to 1000+ per month.

The is because in FY 2013, EB category will be getting 18000 unused visa from FB categories.  Hence USCIS/DOS will most likely move dates forward in July 2013 VB for EB2 India to around 2007-2008. We will soon publish another post on how far EB2 India and other categories could go from July to Sept VB.

Tip: There is over 95% probability that the dates for EB2 India can retrogress back to Dec 2004 (or early 2005) from FY 2014 - which is from October 2013 Visa Bulletin.

EB2 China:  The demand prior to Jan 2009 has decreased  by 400 (2,975 to 2,575). Since there is no demand in EB2 China before Jan 2009, all of FB/EB spillover in EB2 category should be applied to EB2 India (which is backlogged till Sept 2004).


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Friday, April 5, 2013

Demand Data For May 2013 Visa Bulletin


For analysis of May 2013 Demand Data, please click here: http://blog.mygcvisa.com/2013/04/analysis-may-2013-demand-data.html

Note: Demand data was initially published on April 8, 2013 with two typos. The typos were corrected and a revised version was published again on April 9, 2013. The two changes made were:

1. EB3 ROW demand changed from 7,825 to 2,000
2. EB3 Philippines demand changed from 150 to 5,975.

We have posted both versions and sorted them by date published.
 
May 2013 Demand Data Published On: April 9, 2013




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USCIS Reaches FY 2014 H-1B Cap (More Details added)

If you missed the original article, please click here: USCIS Original Prediction For FY2014 H1B

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that it has received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap for fiscal year (FY) 2014. USCIS has also received more than 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of persons exempt from the cap under the advanced degree exemption.

After today, USCIS will not accept H-1B petitions subject to the FY 2014 cap or the advanced degree exemption.

USCIS will use a computer-generated random selection process (commonly known as the “lottery”) for all FY 2014 cap-subject petitions received through April 5, 2013.

The agency will conduct the selection process for advanced degree exemption petitions first. All advanced degree petitions not selected will be part of the random selection process for the 65,000 limit.

Due to the high number of petitions received, USCIS is not yet able to announce the exact day of the random selection process. Also, USCIS is currently not providing the total number of petitions received, as they continue to accept filings today.


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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Update: I-94 Automation Process

If you missed the original article, please click here: http://blog.mygcvisa.com/2013/03/updated-i-94-document-been-converted-to.html

CBP has finally released the official FAQ and POE implementation details. Please see complete details below:

Overview
To increase efficiency, reduce operating costs and streamline the admission process, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has automated CBP Form I-94. Traveler will no longer receive the paper form upon arrival except in limited circumstances. The traveler will be provided with a CBP admission stamp on their travel document. If a traveler needs a copy of their I-94 (record of admission) for verification of alien registration, immigration status or employment authorization, it can be obtained from. www.cbp.gov/I94.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Form I-94? 
Form I-94 is the Arrival/Departure Record issued to aliens who are admitted to the U.S., who are adjusting status while in the U.S. or extending their stay, among other things. A CBP officer generally attaches the I-94 to the non-immigrant passport for the air and sea ports of entry. The visitor must exit the U.S. on or before the departure date stamped on the I-94.

How will the new I-94 automation impact international travelers’ entry to the U.S.? 
 I-94 automation will not impact a traveler’s ability to enter the U.S. CBP will continue to create an I-94 record for all travelers who require one, but the paper form will be created in an electronic format and not provided to the traveler. If a traveler requires a paper version of Form I-94, it will be available at www.cbp.gov/I94 

Will CBP provide a traveler with any documentation or evidence showing status and time allowed in the U.S.? 
Yes. CBP will provide each traveler with an admission stamp that shows the date of admission, class of admission and admitted-until date. The electronic arrival/departure record can be obtained at www.cbp.gov/I94.


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H-1B Cap Petitions - Final Date Determination by USCIS

If you missed the original article, please click here: USCIS Prediction For FY2014 H1B Cap

The final date for H1B cap petitions will not be announced until next week at the earliest since the USCIS is required to keep receiving cap cases until the end of the business day Friday, 04/05/2013, even if they have already received more than enough numbers during the five-day period. 

The announcement of "final date" to receive H1B cases will be critically important. If the final date is determined to be Friday, 04/05/2013, then any cases which are received after Friday will be rejected for regular cap cases. All  remaining cases received during the five-day period (Apr 1 to 5) will be put into the random selection process by the computer.

If the final date is after Apr 6 then those cases which were received by Friday, April 5, 2013 will be safe, no matter what. 

Cases which are received after Friday, April 5, 2013, can be handled two ways. One option is to reject any cases which are received after the "final date," whatever that date may be. The second option is to put all the cases which are received on the final date and one day after the final date into the computer random selection process. For the reasons, employers will have nothing to lose keep filing the cap cases until they determine and announce the final date for the cap petitions


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