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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Friday, July 3, 2015

USCIS Discontinues Electronic Form I-539, Form I-526, and RCDL

From USCIS: On June 15, 2015, USCIS stopped accepting electronically filed Forms I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, and Forms I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur. USCIS also discontinued the Regional Center Document Library.

This change will not adversely affect customers who have pending or draft cases that were created before June 15. We will adjudicate those cases to completion and allow the standard 30 days for customers to complete and submit their draft cases.

Recently, USCIS updated the Form I-539 and Form G-28, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative. To ensure that the paper and electronic versions of these forms are consistent with each other, we must temporarily remove the current electronic versions until we develop these updated forms in our new USCIS online filing system, which launched in March 2015.


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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

DACA Renewal Tips

From USCIS: Some people wait too long to request DACA renewal or do not correctly submit all the required forms and fees. As a result, their Employment Authorization Documents may expire before USCIS can finish processing their requests for DACA renewal.

You can lessen the chance that this may happen if you:
  • File on time. Submit your renewal request between 150 days and 120 days before the expiration date listed on your current Form I-797 DACA approval notice and Employment Authorization Document.
  • Correctly submit all required forms and fees. USCIS will reject your renewal request unless you properly submit:
  • Avoid processing delays. Be sure to submit:
    • Any new documents and information related to removal proceedings or criminal history that you have not already submitted to USCIS in a previously approved DACA request,
    • Proof of advance parole if you have traveled outside the United States since you filed your last DACA request that was approved; and
    • Proof of any legal name change.
  • Respond to Requests for Evidence. USCIS may deny your renewal request if you do not respond to a Request for Evidence in a timely manner.
For complete instructions, go to the Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) page.

Since March 27, 2015, USCIS has been mailing renewal reminder notices to DACA recipients 180 days before the expiration date of their current period of deferred action. Previously, these reminder notices were mailed 100 days in advance.


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