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 my.uscis.gov, along with other resources to help navigate the immigration process.


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Monday, December 28, 2015

Multiple Processing Statistics

USCIS I-485 Processing Statistics for fourth quarter of FY 2015:

http://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/USCIS/Resources/Reports%20and%20Studies/Immigration%20Forms%20Data/Adjustment%20of%20Status/I485_performancedata_fy2015_qtr4.pdf


USCIS I-130 Processing Statistics for fourth quarter of FY 2015:

http://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/USCIS/Resources/Reports%20and%20Studies/Immigration%20Forms%20Data/Family-Based/I130_performancedata_fy2015_qtr4.pdf


 USCIS L-1 Processing Statistics in FY 2015:

http://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/USCIS/Resources/Reports%20and%20Studies/Immigration%20Forms%20Data/Employment-based/I129-l1b_performancedata_fy2015_qtr4.pdf



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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.


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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.


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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.


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Monday, December 14, 2015

USCIS Seeks Comments on Proposed Changes to Form I-9


USCIS published a notice in the Federal Register on Nov. 24, 2015, to inform the public of proposed changes to Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. The public may provide comments on the proposed changes for 60 days, until Jan. 25, 2016.

Many of the proposed changes to Form I-9 are intended to help  reduce technical errors and help customers complete the form on their computer after they have downloaded it from uscis.gov. For instance, the form:
  • Checks certain fields to ensure information is entered correctly;
  • Provides additional spaces to enter multiple preparers and translators;
  • Includes drop-down lists and calendars;
  • Provides instructions on the screen that users can access to complete each field;
  • Includes buttons that will allow users to access the instructions electronically, print the form and clear the form to start over;
  • Provides a dedicated area to enter additional information that employers are currently required to notate in the margins of the form; and
  • Will generate a quick-response matrix barcode, or QR code, once the form is printed and can be used to streamline audit processes.
Other proposed changes include:
  • Requiring employees to provide only other last names used in Section 1, rather than all other names used;
  • Streamlining the certification in Section 1 for certain foreign nationals; and
  • Separating the instructions from the form to bring the form in line with USCIS’ practices.



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Monday, December 7, 2015

January 2016 Visa Bulletin

For December 2015 Visa Bulletin, please click here: http://blog.mygcvisa.com/2015/11/december-2015-visa-bulletin.html

January 2016 Visa Bulletin has been released (valid from January 1 to January 31 only). Please see below for more details.

Family Based:

Family-Sponsored All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA-mainland born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
F1 15MAY08 15MAY08  15MAY08 22DEC94 01JUN03
F2A 01AUG14 01AUG14 01AUG14 01JUN14 01AUG14
F2B 01APR09 01APR09 01APR09 08SEP95  01JAN05
F3 01AUG04 01AUG04 01AUG04 01AUG94 01NOV93
F4 22APR03 22APR03 22APR03 01APR97 22JUL92

Employment Based:


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Thursday, December 3, 2015

AAO Processing Times

From USCIS: The office that issued the unfavorable decision will first conduct an “initial field review” of the appeal. If that office does not take favorable action on the appeal, it will forward the appeal to the AAO and send the appellant a Notice of Transfer to the AAO. The initial field review should be completed within 45 days.

The appellate review should be completed within six months or less from the time when we receive the appeal after initial field review. The AAO is unable to provide case status information on appeals awaiting the initial field review. Appellants may contact the USCIS National Customer Service Center line at (800) 375-5283 (the TTY number is (800) 767-1833) to inquire about a case if, within 75 days of filing an appeal, USCIS has not sent any of the following:
  • An approval notice;
  • A request for evidence;
  • A Notice of Transfer to the AAO; or
  • Any other correspondence or action from the field office.
This chart shows the average amount of time it takes to receive a decision in a particular type of case after the case file is received by the AAO. Processing times are directly related to the volume of cases received. The appellate review should be completed within six months or less from the time when we receive the appeal.


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Monday, November 30, 2015

H- 1B Processing Statistics FY2015



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Friday, November 27, 2015

USCIS Will Host Naturalization Ceremonies to Honor Veterans and their Families

From USCIS: Veterans, service members and military spouses across the country will become U.S. citizens as they take the Oath of Allegiance at special Veterans Day naturalization ceremonies. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will highlight the sacrifices that military members and their families have made while serving our country. From Nov. 7-13, USCIS will welcome more than 10,000 new citizens in nearly 130 naturalization ceremonies across the country and around the world. Of those being naturalized, more than 255 are veterans, service members and military spouses.

Many current and former military members and their families are eligible for citizenship, including expedited screening and overseas processing, under special provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Since Oct. 1, 2001, when data collection on military naturalizations began, more than 109,000 service members have become U.S. citizens, including individuals serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, South Korea, Germany, Japan and elsewhere. In 2015 alone, USCIS hosted nearly 175 naturalization ceremonies at military installations in the U.S. and abroad.

“On Veterans Day, we salute the men and women who have so courageously served our country and defended the freedoms that it was built upon. Among our brave veterans are thousands of immigrants, many of whom vowed to defend their new home even before they were citizens,” USCIS Director León Rodríguez said. “It is because of their extraordinary sacrifices, and those of their families, that we can enjoy the rights and liberties of living in this great country.”


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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

USCIS Updates Welcome Guide for New Immigrants

USCIS has published an updated Welcome to the United States: A Guide for New Immigrants. The guide contains practical information to help new immigrants settle into everyday life in the United States, including how to find a place to live, how to get a Social Security number and how the U.S. system of government works.
                                                                     
Available in 14 languages, this publication has recently been updated to include:
  • Revised and updated general information on policies, programs and resources;
  • A refreshed layout and design;
  • A new chapter called “Taking Care of Your Money” on personal finance, taxes and financial scams; and
  • A new chapter called “Understanding Education and Health Care” on the education system, adult education programs and the health insurance marketplace.


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Monday, November 23, 2015

Latest USCIS Visa Bulletin Predictions

Charles Oppenheim recently discussed expected movements in various visa bulletin categories.

Charles Oppenheim is the Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division within Department of State (DOS). Please see the important details below:

FAMILY-sponsored categories (potential monthly movement)

Worldwide dates:
F1:   Three to six weeks
F2A: Three to six weeks
F2B: Up to one month
F3:   Two to four weeks
F4:   Three or four weeks

EMPLOYMENT-based categories (potential monthly movement)

Employment First: Current

Employment Second:
Worldwide: Current
China: Forward movement of this date during FY-2015 has resulted in a
         dramatic increase in demand. Little, if any movement is likely
         during the coming months.
India: Up to eight months.


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Friday, November 20, 2015

NEW 9 FAM-e

From USCIS: On November 18, 2015, the legacy Volume 9 of the Foreign Affairs Manual (9 FAM) will be replaced by the 9 FAM-e. As of this date the 9 FAM-e will become the authoritative source for visa guidance.

The new 9 FAM-e represents the revision and reorganization of more than 4,000 pages of the legacy 9 FAM content that traditionally paralleled Volume 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

While the new 9 FAM-e overhauls language and organization, it does not alter substance. Guidance is not changed, but rather presented in an improved way. The former interpretive and procedural notes, along with appendices were merged.


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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Scheduled expiration of two employment visa categories

Employment Fourth Preference Certain Religious Workers (SR): 

Pursuant to Section 132 of Public Law 114-53, the non-minister special immigrant program expires on December 11, 2015. No SR visas may be issued overseas, or final action taken on adjustment of status cases, after midnight December 10, 2015.

Visas issued prior to this date will only be issued with a validity date of December 10, 2015, and all individuals seeking admission as a non-minister special immigrant must be admitted (repeat, admitted) into the U.S. no later than midnight December 10, 2015.


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Monday, November 16, 2015

USCIS Releases New Edition of Three Forms

USCIS is publishing improved forms in easier-to-use formats and with new data collection technologies. Read more about USCIS Form Improvements Initiative.



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Friday, November 13, 2015

January 2016 Visa Bulletin Predictions

For December 2015 Visa Bulletin, please click here: http://blog.mygcvisa.com/2015/11/december-2015-visa-bulletin.html

For the official January 2016 Visa Bulletin, please click here: http://blog.mygcvisa.com/2015/12/january-2016-visa-bulletin.html

Please see January 2016 Visa Bulletin Predictions below (for both Family Based and Employment Based):

Starting from October 2015 visa bulletin, DOS has decided to break its visa bulletin into two categories. The first category is "final action date" which is same as the previous visa bulletin. Dates in this category is when USCIS will start approving I-485 application.

The second category is "dates for filing visa application". The dates in this category is when applicants can start filing their I-485 application. This will be useful since applicant can file EAD application and after 180 days can change employer even if PD is not current.

The data below is for "final action date".

Quick Summary:

Family Based:

Family-Sponsored All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA- mainland born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
F1 08MAY08 08MAY08 08MAY08 15DEC94 01JUN03
F2A 15JUL14 15JUL14 15JUL14 08JUN14 15JUL14
F2B 01APR09 01APR09 01APR09 01OCT95 01JAN05
F3 22JUL04 22JUL04 22JUL04 22JUL94 08NOV93
F4 15APR03 15APR03 15APR03 08APR97 01AUG92

Employment Based:


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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

December 2015 Visa Bulletin Analysis

For December 2015 Visa Bulletin, please click here: http://blog.mygcvisa.com/2015/11/december-2015-visa-bulletin.html

Please see below analysis of December 2015 Visa Bulletin:

Starting from October 2015 visa bulletin, DOS has decided to break its visa bulletin into two categories. The first category is "final action date" which is same as the previous visa bulletin. Dates in this category is when USCIS will start approving I-485 application.

The second category is "dates for filing visa application". The dates in this category is when applicants can start filing their I-485 application. This will be useful since applicant can file EAD application and after 180 days can change employer even if PD is not current.

EB1: All EB1 categories are current and should continue to remain current for fiscal year. Demand continues to be around 1050 every month (per the latest pending inventory).

EB2 ROW: This category continues to remain current. Per the latest report, demand in EB2ROW has increased significantly (11,000+ for year 2014 alone). However, since it can get spillover from EB4, EB5 and EB1 categories, this category is expected to remain current for FY 2016.

EB2 China: Due to higher demand, EB2 China  did not move forward in this visa bulletin. However, it is likely to continue to move forward in the next few months.

EB2 India: EB2 India had another big jump in this visa bulletin. It moved forward by 10 months after  moving forward by 7 months in previous visa bulletin. Currently EB2 India has demand from two categories: there are applicants in EB2 who have not yet filed their application as well as applicants who will be porting from EB3 India to EB2 India.


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Friday, November 6, 2015

December 2015 Visa Bulletin

For November 2015 Visa Bulletin, please click here: http://blog.mygcvisa.com/2015/10/november-2015-visa-bulletin.html

December 2015 Visa Bulletin has been released (valid from December 1 to December 31 only). Please see below for more details.

Family Based:

Family-Sponsored All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA-mainland born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
F1 01APR08 01APR08  01APR08 08DEC94 01JAN03
F2A 15JUN14 15JUN14 15JUN14 08MAY14 15JUN14
F2B 01MAR09 01MAR09 01MAR09 08SEP95  01DEC04
F3 01JUL04 01JUL04 01JUL04 08JUL94 22OCT93
F4 22MAR03 22MAR03 22MAR03 01APR97 01JUL92

Employment Based:


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Monday, November 2, 2015

Updated Instruction for Using the DOS Visa Bulletin

Beginning with the November 2015 Department of State (DOS) Visa Bulletin, if USCIS determines that there are more immigrant visas available for a fiscal year than there are known applicants for such visas, we will state on www.uscis.gov/visabulletininfo that applicants may use the Dates for Filing Visa Applications chart.

Unless otherwise stated on our website, the Application Final Action Date chart will be used to determine when individuals may file their adjustment of status applications.

We anticipate making this determination each month and posting the relevant chart on our website within one week of DOS’ publication of the Visa Bulletin.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

USCIS Uses Secure Laminates on Certain Forms

From USCIS: On Oct. 5, 2015, USCIS began applying secure laminates to certain secure forms that authorize travel to the United States.

The affected forms are:
  • Form I-797F, Transportation Letter, and
  • Form I-512L, Parole Authorization Letter.  
The secure, transparent laminates provide an extra layer of fraud protection and authenticity. They contain state-of-the-art technology to deter counterfeiting, prevent tampering and allow for quick and accurate authentication by frontline inspectors in the field.


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Monday, October 26, 2015

H-1B, L-1 Additional Fees Expire

From USCIS: H-1B and L-1 petitions filed on or after Oct. 1, 2015, should not include the additional fee that was previously required by Section 402 of Public Law 111-230, as amended by Public Law 111-347, for certain H-1B and L-1 petitions.

The additional fee required by Public Law 111-230, as amended, expired on Sept. 30, 2015.

All other H-1B and L-1 fees, including the Base fee, Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee, and American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998 (ACWIA) Fee when applicable, are still required.

Petitions with incorrect fees may be rejected. Petitioners are reminded that USCIS prefers separate checks for each filing fee.


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Friday, October 23, 2015

DHS to Create Filipino WWII Veterans Parole Program

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is creating a parole program to allow certain family members of Filipino and Filipino-American World War II veterans to receive parole to come to the United States.

This parole program was announced in November 2014 by President Obama and Secretary Johnson as part of the executive actions on immigration and is detailed in the White House report, Modernizing and Streamlining Our Legal Immigration System for the 21st century, issued in July 2015.  The program may enable these eligible family members to provide support and care to their aging veteran family members who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents.

Parole, as provided for under the Immigration and Nationality Act, gives DHS discretion, on a case-by-case basis, to permit individuals to come to the United States for a temporary period of time based upon urgent humanitarian reasons or for significant public benefit. Parole does not give the individual any permanent right to remain in the United States. 


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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Revised International Office Pages Now Available

From USCIS: USCIS published revised versions of its 25 international offices pages on USCIS.gov. The International Operations Division of USCIS made changes to the pages to improve functionality, navigation and customer focus.

The new Web pages feature:
  • Increased use of links back to main USCIS pages (e.g., the main Forms page), which helps standardize information across the pages.  Updates will then be centralized, which will lead to more accurate information. 
  • Ability to expand menu items for easy access to  information on what services are available. This navigation allows customers to more clearly see who may receive what services abroad.
  • Improved graphics, including incorporation of icons and pictures, for a more user-friendly experience.
  • Hyperlinks embedded throughout the Web page (previously we referenced links in the right rail) to streamline page navigation.

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Monday, October 19, 2015

I-140 And I-485 Workload Transfers

From USCIS: To improve efficiency, USCIS recently rebalanced the workload distribution of certain Form I-140 petitions and employment-based Form I-485 applications between the Texas Service Center and the Nebraska Service Center.

Unless you are submitting a Form I-907 together with a Form I-140 petition for a worksite in one of the states listed below, please continue to file your forms as indicated on the form instructions and at:

 

New Direct Filing Address for Certain Form I-140 Petitions Starting October 19, 2015


We are changing the direct filing address for Form I-140 petitions, submitted together with Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing, with a worksite location in any of the following states:
  • Maryland
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
Starting October 19, 2015, you must file these forms with the Nebraska Service Center at the appropriate address listed below:

Regular Mail:
Premium Processing
USCIS Nebraska Service Center
P.O. Box 87103  
Lincoln, NE 68501-7103 
Express Delivery:
Premium Processing
USCIS Nebraska Service Center
850 S. Street
Lincoln, NE 68508

Note: If you are filing Form I-907 to upgrade a pending Form I-140 to premium processing, mail the Form I-907 to the service center that has the pending Form I-140.

 

How to Track the Status of Your Case


Enter your receipt number at Case Status Online to check the status of your case. You can also sign up to receive automatic case status updates by email.

You can ask us about the status of your case if you do not receive a decision within the published processing time. You may submit an inquiry using e-Request or call the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283. For TDD, call 1-800-767-1833. When asking about your case status, tell us your original receipt number and indicate whether your case was transferred to a new location.

If we send you any notice (such as a Request for Evidence), please read the notice carefully and follow the instructions.

If you move while your case is pending, you must inform us of your new address as soon as possible so that you continue to receive notifications. You can update your address online or by calling the National Customer Service Center.

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Friday, October 16, 2015

DOS Publishes Updated Visa Bulletin for October 2015

From USCIS: Department of State (DOS) published an updated Visa Bulletin for October 2015. This bulletin supersedes the bulletin for October 2015 that was originally published on Sept. 9, 2015.

Following consultations with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Dates for Filing Applications for some categories in the Family-Sponsored and Employment-Based preferences have been adjusted to better reflect a timeframe justifying immediate action in the application process. The Dates for Filing Applications sections on pages 4 and 6, which have been adjusted, have been identified in bold type and highlighted.

Applicants should use the chart published by DOS on Sept. 25 when filing for adjustment of status. This chart has also been updated on uscis.gov. Please be advised that DHS will rely on this revised bulletin rather than the bulletin published on Sept. 9, 2015, when considering whether an individual is eligible to file his or her application for adjustment of status.

The Dates for Filing Applications chart is a part of the revised procedures for determining visa availability for applicants waiting to file for adjustment of status that USCIS announced on Sept. 9, 2015. Continue reading below for more information.

Background Information


USCIS, in coordination with Department of State (DOS), is revising the procedures for determining visa availability for applicants waiting to file for employment-based or family-sponsored preference adjustment of status. The revised process will better align with procedures DOS uses for foreign nationals who seek to become U.S. permanent residents by applying for immigrant visas at U.S. consulates and embassies abroad.


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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

December 2015 Visa Bulletin Predictions

For November 2015 Visa Bulletin, please click here: http://blog.mygcvisa.com/2015/10/november-2015-visa-bulletin.html

Please see December 2015 Visa Bulletin Predictions below (for both Family Based and Employment Based):

Starting from October 2015 visa bulletin, DOS has decided to break its visa bulletin into two categories. The first category is "final action date" which is same as the previous visa bulletin. Dates in this category is when USCIS will start approving I-485 application.

The second category is "dates for filing visa application". The dates in this category is when applicants can start filing their I-485 application. This will be useful since applicant can file EAD application and after 180 days can change employer even if PD is not current.

The data below is for "final action date".

Quick Summary:

Family Based:

Family-Sponsored All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA- mainland born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
F1 01APR08 01APR08 01APR08 08DEC94 01DEC02
F2A 22JUN14 22JUN14 22JUN14 08MAY14 22JUN14
F2B 08MAR09 08MAR09 08MAR09 22SEP95 01DEC04
F3 08JUL04 08JUL04 08JUL04 22JUN94 15OCT93
F4 01APR03 01APR03 01APR03 08APR97 15JUL92

Employment Based:


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Monday, October 12, 2015

November 2015 Visa Bulletin Analysis

For November 2015 Visa Bulletin, please click here: http://blog.mygcvisa.com/2015/10/november-2015-visa-bulletin.html

Please see below analysis of November 2015 Visa Bulletin:

Starting from October 2015 visa bulletin, DOS has decided to break its visa bulletin into two categories. The first category is "final action date" which is same as the previous visa bulletin. Dates in this category is when USCIS will start approving I-485 application.

The second category is "dates for filing visa application". The dates in this category is when applicants can start filing their I-485 application. This will be useful since applicant can file EAD application and after 180 days can change employer even if PD is not current.

EB1: All EB1 categories are current and should continue to remain current for fiscal year. Demand continues to be around 1050 every month (per the latest pending inventory).

EB2 ROW: This category continues to remain current. Per the latest report, demand in EB2ROW has increased significantly (11,000+ for year 2014 alone). However, since it can get spillover from EB4, EB5 and EB1 categories, this category is expected to remain current for FY 2016.

EB2 China: EB2 China had a relatively small one month forward movement. In previous bulletin,  it moved forward by 6 years after retrogressing by nearly 8 years in earlier visa bulletin. It is likely to continue to move forward in the next few months.

EB2 India: EB2 India had a big jump in this visa bulletin. It moved forward by 15 months after  retrogressing by 7 months in previous visa bulletin. Currently EB2 India has demand from two categories: there are applicants in EB2 who have not yet filed their application as well as applicants who will be porting from EB3 India to EB2 India.


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Monday, October 5, 2015

November 2015 Visa Bulletin

For October 2015 Visa Bulletin, please click here: http://blog.mygcvisa.com/2015/09/october-2015-visa-bulletin.html

November 2015 Visa Bulletin has been released (valid from November 1 to November 30 only). Please see below for more details.

Family Based:

Family-Sponsored All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA-mainland born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
F1 22FEB08 22FEB08  22FEB08 01DEC94 01JUN02
F2A 15MAY14 15MAY14 15MAY14 01APR14 15MAY14
F2B 08FEB09 08FEB09 08FEB09 22AUG95  01NOV04
F3 15JUN04 15JUN04 15JUN04 15JUN94 08OCT93
F4 01MAR03 01MAR03 01MAR03 01APR97 15JUN92

Employment Based:


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Friday, October 2, 2015

USCIS Launches Spanish-Language myE-Verify and Expands Services

From USCIS: USCIS announced the launch of a Spanish-language myE-Verify, plus the addition of Case Tracker and Case History services to the English and Spanish myE-Verify websites. myE-Verify is a one-stop shop for employees and job seekers to access features for identity protection in E-Verify and visibility into the E-Verify process.

“Since its inception, myE-Verify has provided employees with valuable online tools and resources regarding the employment eligibility verification process,” said USCIS Director León Rodríguez. “We are delighted to rlease our myE-Verify services for our Spanish-language customers.”

myE-Verify gives U.S. workers and jobseekers a free and secure way to participate in the E-Verify process by accessing features dedicated to employees, including Self Lock, Self Check, Case History, Case Tracker and the Employee Rights Toolkit.

The new Spanish-language myE-Verify will also have the following services, which are currently  available on its English counterpart, launched in 2014:
  • myE-Verify accounts – Employees and job seekers in the U.S. can set up free and secure personal accounts to manage the use of their information in E-Verify and Self Check.
  • Self Lock – myE-Verify account holders can lock their Social Security numbers in E-Verify to prevent others from using their identities in E-Verify.
  • Self Check – Individuals can confirm their own employment eligibility by checking databases that E-Verify queries.
  • Resource Center – This section of the myE-Verify site contains information in multimedia formats to educate employees about their rights and the responsibilities of employers in the eligibility verification process.

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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Temporary Protected Status Extended for Haiti

From USCIS: Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson has extended Haiti’s designation for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for an additional 18 months. The extended designation is effective Jan. 23, 2016, through July 22, 2017.

Current TPS Haiti beneficiaries seeking to extend their TPS status must re-register during a 60-day period that runs from Aug. 25, 2015, through Oct. 26, 2015. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) encourages beneficiaries to re-register as soon as possible once the 60-day re-registration period begins. USCIS will not accept applications before Aug. 25, 2015.

The 18-month extension also allows TPS re-registrants to apply for a new Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Eligible TPS Haiti beneficiaries who re-register during the 60-day period and request a new EAD will receive one with an expiration date of July 22, 2017. USCIS recognizes that some re-registrants may not receive their new EADs until after their current EADs expire. Therefore, USCIS is automatically extending current TPS Haiti EADs bearing a Jan. 22, 2016, expiration date for an additional six months. These existing EADs are now valid through July 22, 2016.

Haiti was initially designated for TPS on Jan. 21, 2010, after a major earthquake devastated the country. Following consultations with other federal agencies, the Department of Homeland Security has determined that current conditions in Haiti support extending the designation period for current TPS beneficiaries.


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Monday, September 28, 2015

USCIS Discontinues Legacy e-Filing System

From USCIS: USCIS will discontinue its legacy e-Filing system in order to maintain data security standards and focus resources on the replacement Electronic Immigration System. The legacy e-Filing system has offered online filing for several USCIS forms. After the system is decommissioned, you must use paper forms when filing all categories of:
  • Form I-131, Application for Travel Document
  • Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker
  • Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization
  • Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status
  • Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service

 

If you started a draft form

The last day to start new forms in the e-Filing system is Aug. 30. You must complete and submit all forms by Sept. 20. If you are unable to do so, you will need to file a paper form.

 

If you have a pending case

If you have a pending case that you submitted through the legacy e-Filing system, you do not need to take any action. USCIS will adjudicate your case to completion.

 

Filing paper forms

After Sept. 20, you must file the paper versions of the forms listed above. For filing instructions, visit:


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Friday, September 25, 2015

DHS Announces Temporary Protected Status Designation for Yemen

From USCIS: Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson announced his decision to designate Yemen for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months due to the ongoing armed conflict within the country. Yemen is experiencing widespread conflict and a resulting severe humanitarian emergency, and requiring Yemeni nationals in the United States to return to Yemen would pose a serious threat to their personal safety.

As a result of Yemen’s designation for TPS, eligible nationals of Yemen residing in the United States may apply for TPS with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The Federal Register notice posted today provides details and procedures for applying for TPS.

The TPS designation for Yemen is effective September 3, 2015, and will be in effect through March 3, 2017. The designation means that, during the designated period, eligible nationals of Yemen (and people without nationality who last habitually resided in Yemen) who are approved for TPS will not be removed from the United States and may receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). The 180-day TPS registration period begins today and runs through March 1, 2016.

To be eligible for TPS, applicants must demonstrate that they satisfy all eligibility criteria, including that they have been both “continuously physically present” and “continuously residing” in the United States since September 3, 2015. Applicants also undergo thorough security checks. Individuals with certain criminal records or who pose a threat to national security are not eligible for TPS. The eligibility requirements are fully described in the Federal Register notices and on the TPS Web page at www.uscis.gov/tps.


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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

USCIS Simplifies the Immigrant Fee Payment Process

From USCIS: USCIS has simplified the process for paying the USCIS Immigrant Fee online in our electronic immigration system. The revised payment process reduces the amount of information an immigrant must provide to USCIS.

Additionally, in response to customer feedback, anyone can now pay the USCIS Immigrant Fee for an immigrant. For example, a family member, friend, employer, attorney, or accredited representative can pay the fee as long as they have the immigrant’s Alien Registration Number (A-Number) and DOS Case ID.


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Monday, September 21, 2015

Transferring Cases From Vermont Service Center to California Service Center

From USCIS: In order to balance workloads, USCIS recently began transferring some cases from the Vermont Service Center to the California Service Center. The affected cases include:

How You Will Be Affected
If your Form I-130 case is being transferred, we will send you a notice listing the transfer date and the new location where your case will be processed. Your original receipt number will not change and this will not delay your case’s processing except for the additional time needed to transfer the file to the new location.

If your Form I-751 case is being transferred, we will send you a notice listing the transfer date and the new location where your case will be processed. Your original receipt number will not change and this will not delay your case’s processing except for the additional time needed to transfer the file to the new location.

The words “Case Type: CRI89 Approved Removal on Conditions” will be printed on the transfer notice. This refers to your pending Form I-751. The transfer notice may not contain the original receipt number of your pending Form I-751.

The filing location and instructions for these forms will not change. Please continue to file the forms at the address noted on the form instructions and on the USCIS website at www.uscis.gov.

How to Track the Status of Your Case
You can check the status of your case by entering your receipt number in Case Status Online. You can also sign up to receive automatic case status updates by email.


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Friday, September 18, 2015

Extension of Temporary Immigration Relief Measures for Individuals Affected by Typhoon Soudelor

From USCIS: On Aug. 2, 2015, Typhoon Soudelor caused extensive damage in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). USCIS reminds customers affected by Typhoon Soudelor that certain U.S. immigration benefits or relief may be available to them.

USCIS understands that a natural disaster can affect an individual’s ability to maintain lawful immigration status or obtain certain other immigration benefits. USCIS previously adopted temporary relief measures to assist individuals affected by Typhoon Soudelor through Sept. 2, 2015. USCIS is now extending these temporary relief measures by an additional 60 days through Nov. 2, 2015.

Eligible individuals may request or apply for temporary relief measures, including:
  • A change or extension of nonimmigrant status for an individual currently in the United States, even when the request is filed after the authorized period of admission has expired;
  • Extension or re-parole of individuals previously granted parole by USCIS;
  • Expedited adjudication of employment authorization applications; and
  • Assistance to lawful permanent residents (LPR) stranded overseas without immigration or travel documents, such as a Permanent Resident Card (Green Card). USCIS and the Department of State will coordinate on these matters when LPRs are stranded in a place that does not have a local USCIS office.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

USCIS Announces Revised Procedures for Determining Visa Availability for Applicants Waiting to File for Adjustment of Status

From USCIS: USCIS, in coordination with Department of State (DOS), is revising the procedures for determining visa availability for applicants waiting to file for employment-based or family-sponsored preference adjustment of status. The revised process will better align with procedures DOS uses for foreign nationals who seek to become U.S. permanent residents by applying for immigrant visas at U.S. consulates and embassies abroad.

This revised process will enhance DOS’s ability to more accurately predict overall immigrant visa demand and determine the cut-off dates for visa issuance published in the Visa Bulletin. This will help ensure that the maximum number of immigrant visas are issued annually as intended by Congress, and minimize month-to-month fluctuations in Visa Bulletin final action dates.

The Visa Bulletin revisions implement November 2014 executive actions on immigration announced by President Obama and Secretary of Homeland Security Johnson, as detailed in the White House report, Modernizing and Streamlining Our Legal Immigration System for the 21st century, issued in July 2015.

What is Changing


Two charts per visa preference category will be posted in the DOS Visa Bulletin:
  • Application Final Action Dates (dates when visas may finally be issued); and
  • Dates for Filing Applications (earliest dates when applicants may be able to apply).

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Monday, September 14, 2015

October 2015 Visa Bulletin Analysis

For October 2015 Visa Bulletin, please click here: http://blog.mygcvisa.com/2015/09/october-2015-visa-bulletin.html

Please see below analysis of October 2015 Visa Bulletin:

Starting from October 2015 visa bulletin, DOS has decided to break its visa bulletin into two categories. The first category is "final action date" which is same as the previous visa bulletin. Dates in this category is when USCIS will start approving I-485 application.

The second category is "dates for filing visa application". The dates in this category is when applicants can start filing their I-485 application. This will be useful since applicant can file EAD application and after 180 days can change employer even if PD is not current.

EB1: All EB1 categories are current and should continue to remain current for fiscal year. Demand continues to be around 1050 every month (per the latest pending inventory).

EB2 ROW: This category continues to remain current. Per the latest report, demand in EB2ROW has increased significantly (11,000+ for year 2014 alone). However, since it can get spillover from EB4/EB5 and EB1 categories, this category is expected to remain current for FY 2016.

EB2 China: EB2 China had another big jump. It moved forward by 6 years after retrogressing by nearly 8 years in previous visa bulletin. It is likely to continue to move forward in the next few months.

EB2 India: EB2 India retrogressed by 7 months in this visa bulletin. Currently EB2 India has demand from two categories: there are applicants in EB2 who have not yet filed their application as well as applicants who will be porting from EB3 India to EB2 India.


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Friday, September 11, 2015

November 2015 Visa Bulletin Predictions

For October 2015 Visa Bulletin, please click here: http://blog.mygcvisa.com/2015/09/october-2015-visa-bulletin.html

Please see November 2015 Visa Bulletin Predictions below (for both Family Based and Employment Based):

Starting from October 2015 visa bulletin, DOS has decided to break its visa bulletin into two categories. The first category is "final action date" which is same as the previous visa bulletin. Dates in this category is when USCIS will start approving I-485 application.

The second category is "dates for filing visa application". The dates in this category is when applicants can start filing their I-485 application. This will be useful since applicant can file EAD application and after 180 days can change employer even if PD is not current.

The data below is for "final action date".

Quick Summary:

Family Based:

Family-Sponsored All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA- mainland born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
F1 15FEB08 15FEB08 15FEB08 01DEC94 01NOV01
F2A 22MAY14 22MAY14 22MAY14 08APR14 22MAY14
F2B 22FEB09 22FEB09 22FEB09 22AUG95 01NOV04
F3 15JUN04 15JUN04 15JUN04 22JUN94 15OCT93
F4 01MAR03 01MAR03 01MAR03 01APR97 08JUN92

Employment Based:


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Monday, September 7, 2015

October 2015 Visa Bulletin

For September 2015 Visa Bulletin, please click here: http://blog.mygcvisa.com/2015/08/september-2015-visa-bulletin.html

October 2015 Visa Bulletin has been released (valid from October 1 to October 31 only). Please see below for more details.

Family Based:

Family-Sponsored All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA-mainland born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
F1 15JAN08 15JAN08  15JAN08 22NOV94 01JUN01
F2A 15APR14 15APR14 15APR14 01MAR14 15APR14
F2B 15JAN09 15JAN09 15JAN09 01AUG95  01OCT04
F3 22MAY04 22MAY04 22MAY04 08JUN94 01OCT93
F4 08FEB03 08FEB03 08FEB03 22MAR97 01MAY92

Employment Based:


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Friday, September 4, 2015

Update for DACA Recipients Who Received 3-Year Work Permits

From USCIS: USCIS has accounted for over 99 percent of the approximately 2,600 identified invalid work permits requiring return. Twenty-two of the approximately 2,600 recipients failed to return their work permits or certify good cause for not doing so by the deadline of July 30, 2015. As a result, those 22 have been terminated from DACA.

The recall only applied to SOME individuals who received a card after the Feb. 16, 2015, court order. There are approximately 108,000 individuals who have valid 3-year DACA work permits and do not need to return them.

If you were affected by the recall and returned your invalid 3-year work permit, use Case Status Online to verify whether USCIS received your work permit.


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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

H-1B Processing Statistics for FY 2015 YTD



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Monday, August 31, 2015

New Updated FAQs for H-1B, H-1B1 and E-3 Programs

U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration Office of Foreign Labor Certification Frequently Asked Questions H - 1B, H - 1B1, and E - 3 Programs

1. In circumstances where the Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics cannot produce leveled wages for a specific geographic area and occupational code due to statistical limitations in the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) wage dat a, the OFLC Online Wage Library displays “N/A” for each wage level and the OFLC Nation al Prevailing Wage Center (NPWC ) assigns a standard default prevailing wage for these occupations (e.g., $90 per hour or $187, 200 per year). Since the NPWC consistently assigns the same default prevailing wage in these circumstances, can the employer be permitted to enter on its own the standard default prevailing wage and cite “OFLC Online Data Center” on the LCA, ETA Form 9035/ 9035E? 

Yes. Where the OFLC Online Wage Li brary displays “N/A” for each leveled wage covering a specific geographic area and occupational code, the employer is permitted, in lieu of obtaining a prevailing wage determination from the NPWC, to enter the following information in Section G of the LCA, ETA Form 9035/ 9035E:

Item Form Item Example Entry on ETA Form 9035/9035E
G.7 § Agency which issued prevailing wage “N/A”
G.7a § Prevailing wage tracking number (if applicable) “N/A”
G.8 * Wage level Mark “N/A” indicating no leveled wages are available
G.9 * Prevailing wage Enter the standard or default prevailing wage (e.g., “ $90 ” or “ $187, 200 ” )
G.10 * Per (choose only one) Mark the appropriate unit of pay (e.g., “ per hour ” or “ per year ” )
G.11 * Prevailing wage source (choose only one) “OES”
G.11a * Year source published Enter the most recent OES data year
G.11b § If “OES” and NPC did not issue prevailing wage OR “Other” in question 11, specify source: “OFLC Online Data Center”

(*) form designation which indicates the field response is required 2
(§) form designation which indicates the field response is conditionally based on a response provided in a required field Posted July 31, 2015


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Thursday, August 27, 2015

H-2A Processing Statistics for FY 2015 YTD

1 Percent of complete H-2A applications resolved 30 days before the start date of need. A complete H-2A application is defined as one containing all the documentation (e.g., housing inspection report, workers’ compensation, recruitment report) necessary for the OFLC Certifying Officer to issue a final determin


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Monday, August 24, 2015

PERM Processing Statistics As Of 06/28/2015



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Friday, August 21, 2015

Update for DACA Recipients Who Received 3-Year Work Permits

From USCIS: USCIS has accounted for over 99 percent of the approximately 2,600 identified invalid work permits requiring return.

Twenty-two of the approximately 2,600 recipients failed to return their work permits or certify good cause for not doing so by the deadline of July 30, 2015. As a result, those 22 have been terminated from DACA.

The recall only applied to SOME individuals who received a card after the Feb. 16, 2015, court order. There are approximately 108,000 individuals who have valid 3-year DACA work permits and do not need to return them.

If you were affected by the recall and returned your invalid 3-year work permit, use Case Status Online to verify whether USCIS received your work permit.


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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Temporary Immigration Relief Measures Available for Individuals Affected by Typhoon Soudelor

From USCIS: On August 2, 2015, Typhoon Soudelor caused extensive damage in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). USCIS reminds customers affected by Typhoon Soudelor that certain U.S. immigration benefits or relief may be available to them. USCIS understands that a natural disaster can affect an individual’s ability to maintain lawful immigration status or obtain certain other immigration benefits.

Eligible individuals may request or apply for temporary relief measures, including:
  • A change or extension of nonimmigrant status for an individual currently in the United States, even when the request is filed after the authorized period of admission has expired;
  • Extension or re-parole of individuals previously granted parole by USCIS;
  • Expedited adjudication of employment authorization applications; and
  • Assistance to lawful permanent residents (LPR) stranded overseas without immigration or travel documents, such as a Permanent Resident Card (Green Card). USCIS and the Department of State will coordinate on these matters when LPRs are stranded in a place that does not have a local USCIS office.
USCIS may also exercise its discretion to allow for filing delays resulting from the typhoon. This may include, for example:
  • Assistance to those who have not appeared for an interview or submitted required forms of evidence. You may show how the typhoon prevented you from appearing or submitting documents as required; or
  • Assistance to those who have not been able to respond to a request for evidence (RFE) or notice of intent to deny (NOID). USCIS will extend the deadline for individuals to respond to RFEs or NOIDs by 30 days. This will apply to all RFEs and NOIDs with a deadline of August 2 through September 2, 2015. During this time, USCIS will not issue denials based on abandonment of an application or petition in the CNMI. 


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Monday, August 17, 2015

October 2015 Visa Bulletin Predictions

For September 2015 Visa Bulletin, please click here: http://blog.mygcvisa.com/2015/08/september-2015-visa-bulletin.html

Please see October 2015 Visa Bulletin Predictions below (for both Family Based and Employment Based):

Quick Summary:

Family Based:

Family-Sponsored All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA- mainland born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
F1 15JAN08 15JAN08 15JAN08 01DEC94 01DEC00
F2A 08APR14 08APR14 08APR14 08FEB14 08APR14
F2B 22JAN09 22JAN09 22JAN09 15AUG95 08OCT04
F3 22MAY04 22MAY04 22MAY04 08JUN94 01OCT93
F4 22FEB03 22FEB03 22FEB03 01APR97 01APR92

Employment Based:


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Friday, August 14, 2015

September 2015 Visa Bulletin Analysis

For September 2015 Visa Bulletin, please click here: http://blog.mygcvisa.com/2015/08/september-2015-visa-bulletin.html

Please see below analysis of September 2015 Visa Bulletin:

EB1: All EB1 categories are current and should continue to remain current for fiscal year. Demand continues to be around 1050 every month (per the latest pending inventory released few days ago).

EB2 ROW: This category continues to remain current. Per the latest report, demand in EB2ROW has increased significantly (11,000+ for year 2014 alone). However, since it can get spillover from EB4/EB5 and EB1 categories, this category is expected to remain current for FY 2016.

EB2 China: EB2 China had a large retrogression in this visa bulletin. It retrogressed by nearly 8 years in this visa bulletin after moving 2.5 months in the last visa bulletin. It is likely to continue to move forward in the next few months.

EB2 India: As mentioned in earlier blog post, demand in EB2 ROW has increased significantly. This directly impacts the amount of spillover visa available to EB2 India category. Due to increase demand in EB2 ROW, the total supply has decreased significantly in this category. Because of this, this, DOS had to retrogress EB2 India by nearly 3 years.

In addition, there are applicants in EB2 who have not yet filed their application as well as applicants who will be porting from EB3 India to EB2 India.


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Thursday, August 6, 2015

September 2015 Visa Bulletin

For August 2015 Visa Bulletin, please click here: http://blog.mygcvisa.com/2015/07/august-2015-visa-bulletin.html

September 2015 Visa Bulletin has been released (valid from September 1 to September 30 only). Please see below for more details.

Family Based:

Family-Sponsored All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA-mainland born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
F1 15DEC07 15DEC07  15DEC07 15NOV94 22OCT00
F2A 01MAR14 01MAR14 01MAR14 01FEB14 01MAR14
F2B 22DEC08 22DEC08 22DEC08 15JUL95  08SEP04
F3 08MAY04 08MAY04 08MAY04 22MAY94 15SEP93
F4 15JAN03 15JAN03 15JAN03 15MAR97 01MAR92

Employment Based:


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Monday, August 3, 2015

USCIS Seeks Comments on Proposed Expansion of Eligibility for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waivers

From USCIS: USCIS is seeking public comments on a proposed rule that would expand eligibility for provisional waivers of inadmissibility based on the accrual of unlawful presence. The proposed rule would expand eligibility to all foreign nationals who are statutorily eligible for an immigrant visa and for a waiver of inadmissibility based on unlawful presence.

Read the notice of proposed rulemaking published in the Federal Register on July 22, 2015. The public has 60 days, until Sept. 21, 2015, to comment. To submit comments, follow the instructions in the notice.

The changes, proposed in the interests of family unity and to enhance customer service, would take effect on the date indicated in the final rule when the final rule is published in the Federal Register.
Currently, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) allows certain immediate relatives – specifically certain parents, spouses and children of U.S. citizens -- who are in the United States to request a provisional unlawful presence waiver before departing for consular processing of their immigrant visas.

The waiver currently is only available to those immediate relatives whose sole ground of inadmissibility would be unlawful presence under section 212(a)(9)(B)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act and who can demonstrate that the denial of the waiver would result in extreme hardship to their U.S. citizen spouse or parent.


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Friday, July 31, 2015

Temporary Protected Status Registration Period Extended for Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone

From USCIS: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is extending the initial registration deadline for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) from May 20, 2015, to Aug. 18, 2015, for eligible nationals of Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone (and people without nationality who last habitually resided in one of those three countries). Further details about the extension of the initial registration period appear in a Federal Register notice published today.

We strongly encourage eligible TPS applicants from these three countries to apply as soon as possible because applications will only be accepted through August 18, 2015.

We began accepting TPS applications on Nov. 21, 2014, from applicants of these three countries when DHS announced the 18-month TPS designations for Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, from Nov. 21, 2014, through May 21, 2016. If you submitted an application for one of these three countries and we previously returned the application based on the May 20, 2015 deadline, you may now resubmit your complete application by Aug. 18, 2015.

Eligibility

To be eligible for TPS, you must demonstrate that you meet all eligibility criteria, including that you have been “continuously residing” in the United States since Nov. 20, 2014, and “continuously physically present” in the United States since Nov. 21, 2014. You must also undergo thorough security checks. Individuals with certain criminal records or who pose a threat to national security are not eligible for TPS.


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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

USCIS Clarifies Eligibility Requirements for Modifications to the Oath of Allegiance

From USCIS: Effective July 21, 2015, new guidance (PA-2015-001) in the USCIS Policy Manual clarifies the eligibility requirements for modifications to the Oath of Allegiance.

Reciting the Oath is part of the naturalization process. Candidates for citizenship normally declare that they will “bear arms on behalf of the United States” and “perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States” when required by the law.

A candidate may be eligible to exclude these two clauses based on religious training and belief or a conscientious objection. The new guidance clarifies that a candidate:
  • May be eligible for modifications based on religious training and belief, or conscientious objection arising from a deeply held moral or ethical code.
  • Is not required to belong to a specific church or religion, follow a particular theology or belief, or to have had religious training in order to qualify.
  • May submit, but is not required to provide, an attestation from a religious or other type of organization, as well as other evidence to establish eligibility.

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Monday, July 27, 2015

Final Guidance on When to File an Amended or New H-1B Petition After Matter of Simeio Solutions, LLC

From USCIS: On April 9, 2015, the precedent decision Matter of Simeio Solutions, LLC (Simeio) was issued. This decision represents the USCIS position that H-1B petitioners are required to file an amended or new petition before placing an H-1B employee at a new place of employment not covered by an existing, approved H-1B petition.

On May 21, 2015, USCIS issued draft guidance on this topic and solicited public comment regarding the implementation of Simeio.

After reviewing and carefully considering the feedback submitted, USCIS is now issuing Policy Memorandum 602-0120, USCIS Final Guidance on When to File an Amended or New H-1B Petition After Matter of Simeio Solutions, LLC.


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Friday, July 24, 2015

USCIS Resumes Premium Processing for Extension of Stay H-1B Petitions

From USCIS: Beginning July 13, 2015, USCIS will resume accepting Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service for all Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, H-1B extension of stay petitions. Premium processing requests for Form I-129 H-1B extension of stay petitions received by USCIS before July 13, 2015 will be rejected.

We previously announced on May 19, 2015, that premium processing service would be suspended for Form I-129 H-1B extension of stay petitions from May 26, 2015 to July 27, 2015.

The temporary suspension allowed us to implement the Employment Authorization for Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses final rule in a timely manner and begin adjudication of applications for employment authorization filed by H-4 nonimmigrants under the new regulation.

Premium processing remained available for all other types of Form I-129 H-1B petitions during the temporary suspension.


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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

DHS Announces Temporary Protected Status Designation for Nepal

Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson announced his decision to designate Nepal for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months based on the conditions resulting from the devastating magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck Nepal on April 25, 2015, and the subsequent aftershocks.

As a result, eligible nationals of Nepal residing in the United States may apply for TPS with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The Federal Register notice published today provides details and procedures for applying for TPS.

The TPS designation for Nepal is effective today, June 24, 2015, and will be in effect through December 24, 2016. The designation means that, during the designated period, eligible nationals of Nepal (and people without nationality who last habitually resided in Nepal) will not be removed from the United States and may receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). The 180-day TPS registration period begins June 24, 2015 and runs through December 21, 2015.

To be eligible for TPS, applicants must demonstrate that they satisfy all eligibility criteria, including that they have been both “continuously physically present” and “continuously residing” in the United States since June 24, 2015. Applicants also undergo thorough security checks.


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Monday, July 20, 2015

Latest USCIS Visa Bulletin Predictions

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) recently met again with Charles Oppenheim to discuss the current demand and expected movements in various visa bulletin categories.

Charles Oppenheim is the Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division within Department of State (DOS). Please see the important details below:

EB2 ROW: Demand for EB2 ROW continues to be significant, especially in the last 5 months. For example: Demand increased by 80% between February and March 2015 and more than 100% between February and April 2015. At this time, EB2 ROW category is estimated to remain current for this fiscal year (since it can use the unused visa numbers from EB4, EB5 and EB1 categories).

EB2 India: As mentioned in the earlier blog post, DOS has started moving dates forward in EB2 India starting from February 2015 Visa Bulletin.

However due to nearly double demand in EB2ROW category, the amount of expected spillover to EB2 India is negligible. Hence EB2 India is not expected to move forward in September visa bulletin.

However if demand decreases in EB2ROW, there is a possibility of EB2 India to move forward. In addition, porting continues from EB3 India to EB2 India category; which could further reduce  supply for EB2 India.


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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

September 2015 Visa Bulletin Predictions

For August 2015 Visa Bulletin, please click here: http://blog.mygcvisa.com/2015/07/august-2015-visa-bulletin.html

Please see September 2015 Visa Bulletin Predictions below (for both Family Based and Employment Based):

Quick Summary:

Family Based:

Family-Sponsored All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA- mainland born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
F1 22NOV07 22NOV07 22NOV07 22NOV94 01APR00
F2A 22JAN14 22JAN14 22JAN14 08DEC13 22JAN14
F2B 15DEC08 15DEC08 15DEC08 22APR95 08JUN04
F3 01MAY04 01MAY04 01MAY04 08MAY94 01SEP93
F4 08JAN03 08JAN03 08JAN03 08MAR97 15FEB92

Employment Based:


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Monday, July 13, 2015

August 2015 Visa Bulletin Analysis

For August 2015 Visa Bulletin, please click here: http://blog.mygcvisa.com/2015/07/august-2015-visa-bulletin.html

Please see below analysis of August 2015 Visa Bulletin:

EB1: All EB1 categories are current and should continue to remain current for fiscal year. Demand continues to be around 1650 every month (per the latest pending inventory).

EB2 ROW: This category continues to remain current. Per the latest report, demand in EB2ROW has increased significantly. However, since it can get spillover from EB4/EB5 and EB1 categories, this category is expected to remain current for FY 2015.

EB2 China: EB2 China moved forward by 2.5 months in this visa bulletin after moving 4 months in the last visa bulletin. It is likely to continue to move forward around at a fast pace in the next few months.

EB2 India: As mentioned in earlier blog post, demand in EB2 ROW has increased significantly. This directly impacts the amount of spillover visa available to EB2 India category. Due to increase demand in EB2 ROW, the total supply has decreased significantly in this category. Because of this, this category again did not move forward in this visa bulletin;

In June visa bulletin, it had moved forward by 5.5  months in this visa bulletin. In addition, there are applicants in EB2 who have not yet filed their application as well as applicants who will be porting from EB3 India to EB2 India.


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Monday, July 6, 2015

August 2015 Visa Bulletin

For July 2015 Visa Bulletin, please click here: http://blog.mygcvisa.com/2015/06/july-2015-visa-bulletin.html

August 2015 Visa Bulletin has been released (valid from August 1 to August 31 only). Please see below for more details.

Family Based:

Family-Sponsored All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA-mainland born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
F1 01NOV07 01NOV07  01NOV07 15NOV94 15MAR00
F2A 15DEC13 15DEC13 15DEC13 01NOV13 15DEC13
F2B 15NOV08 15NOV08 15NOV08 08APR95  22MAY04
F3 08APR04 08APR04 08APR04 22APR94 22AUG93
F4 01DEC02 01DEC02 01DEC02 01MAR97 15JAN92

Employment Based:


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