Friday, December 29, 2017

USCIS Reaches H-2B Cap for First Half of FY 2018

From USCIS News:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has reached the congressionally mandated H-2B cap for the first half of fiscal year 2018.

Dec. 15, 2017, was the final receipt date for new H-2B worker petitions requesting an employment start date before April 1, 2018. USCIS will reject new cap-subject H-2B petitions received after Dec. 15 that request an employment start date before April 1, 2018.

USCIS continues to accept H-2B petitions that are exempt from the congressionally mandated cap. This includes the following types of petitions:

  • Current H-2B workers in the United States petitioning to extend their stay and, if applicable, change the terms of their employment or change their employers;
  • Fish roe processors, fish roe technicians, and/or supervisors of fish roe processing; and,
  • Workers performing lab

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Thursday, December 28, 2017

USCIS Issues Clarifying Guidance on NAFTA TN Status Eligibility for Economists

From USCIS News:

WASHINGTON —U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that it is clarifying policy guidance (PDF, 71 KB) on the specific work activities its officers should consider when determining whether an individual qualifies for TN nonimmigrant status as an economist.

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) TN nonimmigrant status allows qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens to temporarily enter the U.S. to engage in specific professional activities, including the occupation of economist. The agreement, however, does not define the term economist, resulting in inconsistent decisions on whether certain analysts and fin


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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Re-Registration Period Now Open for Nicaraguans with Temporary Protected Status

From USCIS News:

TPS Nicaragua Ending in January 2019

WASHINGTON— Current beneficiaries of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) under Nicaragua’s designation who want to maintain that status through the program’s termination date of Jan. 5, 2019, must re-register between Dec. 15, 2017 and Feb. 13, 2018. Re-registration procedures, including how to renew employment authorization documentation, have been published in the Federal Register and on the USCIS website.

All applicants must submit Form I-821</a


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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Updated USCIS Procedures for Cuba

From USCIS Alerts:

Due to staff reductions at the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba, USCIS will temporarily suspend operations at its field office in Havana, effective immediately. During this time, the USCIS field office in Mexico City, Mexico, will assume Havana’s jurisdiction, which includes only Cuba.

Individuals who live in Cuba must follow these filing instructions:

Service/Form

Filing Instructions

Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative

Fi


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Monday, December 25, 2017

USCIS Updates Policy on Determining Cuban Citizenship for Those Born Outside of Cuba

From USCIS Alerts:

USCIS is no longer considering a consular certificate documenting an individual’s birth outside of Cuba to a Cuban parent as sufficient evidence of Cuban citizenship. This policy memorandum aligns with Cuban law and applies to individuals born outside of Cuba applying for lawful permanent resident status in the United States under the Cuban Adjustment Act (CAA).

The updated policy memorandum rescinds Matter of Vazquez as an adopted decision, which held that a Cuban consular certificate documenting an individual’s birth outside of Cuba to at least one Cuban parent is accepted as proof of Cuban citizenship. Under the updated guidance, USCIS will not consider a consular certificate as sufficient proof of Cuban citizenship. This will be the case even if th


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Friday, December 22, 2017

Tools Outage

From USCIS Alerts:

USCIS will conduct system maintenance on Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017, from 9 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. (Eastern).

During this time, our online tools may be unavailable, including:

  • Check My Case Status
  • e-Request
  • Change of Address Online
  • Check Processing Times
  • Civil Surgeon Locator
  • FOIA Status Check
  • Office Locator
  • Forms by Mail

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Thursday, December 21, 2017

USCIS Electronic Reading Room opens the door to transparency

From USCIS Alerts:

USCIS is opening the door to its updated Electronic Reading Room to fulfill our commitment to increase transparency with the American public. In the Electronic Reading Room, USCIS is disclosing cleared policy documents and external correspondence addressed to our leadership along with their responses. This is in addition to providing access to information that had been requested at least three times and had been provided under the Freedom of Information Act.  

Using the USCIS Electronic Reading Room is easy. Simply select a category from the drop-down list and search for topics such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), H-1B Special Occupations, and Temporary Protective Status (TPS). The USCIS Electronic Reading Room includes an addit


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Wednesday, December 20, 2017

USCIS Issues Clarifying Guidance on NAFTA TN Status Eligibility for Economists

From USCIS Alerts:

WASHINGTON —U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that it is clarifying policy guidance (PDF, 71 KB) on the specific work activities its officers should consider when determining whether an individual qualifies for TN nonimmigrant status as an economist.

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) TN nonimmigrant status allows qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens to temporarily enter the U.S. to engage in specific professional activities, including the occupation of economist. The agreement, however, does not define the term economist, resulting in inconsistent decisions on whether certain analysts and f


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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Re-Registration Period Now Open for Hondurans with Temporary Protected Status

From USCIS News:

WASHINGTON— Current beneficiaries of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) under Honduras’ designation who want to maintain that status through the current expiration date of July 5, 2018, must re-register between Dec. 15, 2017 and Feb. 13, 2018. Re-registration procedures, including how to renew employment authorization documentation, have been published in the Federal Register and on the USCIS website.

All applicants must submit Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected


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Monday, December 18, 2017

Re-Registration Period Now Open for Nicaraguans with Temporary Protected Status

From USCIS News:

TPS Nicaragua Ending in January 2019

WASHINGTON— Current beneficiaries of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) under Nicaragua’s designation who want to maintain that status through the program’s termination date of Jan. 5, 2019, must re-register between Dec. 15, 2017 and Feb. 13, 2018. Re-registration procedures, including how to renew employment authorization documentation, have been published in the Federal Register and on the USCIS website.

All applicants must submit <a target='


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Friday, December 15, 2017

USCIS to Begin Accepting Applications under the International Entrepreneur Rule

From USCIS News:

WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today it is taking steps to implement the International Entrepreneur Rule (IER), in accordance with a recent court decision.

Although the IER was published during the previous administration with an effective date of July 17, 2017, it did not take effect because the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a final rule on July 11, 2017, delaying the IER’s effective date until March 14, 2018.  This delay rule was meant to give USCIS time to review the IER and, if necessary, to issue a rule proposing to remove the IER program regulations.

However, a Dec. 1, 2017, ruling from the U.S. District Court for


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Thursday, December 14, 2017

Visa Bulletin February 2018 Predictions

For the official January 2018 Visa Bulletin, please click here: http://www.mygcvisa.com/visa-bulletin/2018/visa-bulletin-january-2018.aspx

Please see February 2018 Visa Bulletin Predictions below (for both Family Based and Employment Based):

Family Based:
Final Action Dates
Dates For Filing Applications
"Final Action Date" is the date when when USCIS/DOS may render their final decision on submitted applications. Your priority date should be before this date.
Family-
Sponsored 
All Chargeability 
Areas Except
Those Listed
CHINA-mainland 
born
INDIAMEXICOPHILIPPINES
F122APR1122APR1122APR1101JUN9622FEB05
F2A01MAR1601MAR1601MAR1622JAN1601MAR16
F2B15DEC1015DEC1015DEC1008SEP9608JUL06
F301NOV0501NOV0501NOV0501JUL9501APR95
F401JUL0408JUL0401JAN0415NOV9708OCT94
"Date for Filing Application" is the date when you can submit I-485/NVC applications to USCIS/DOS. Your priority date should be before this date.
Family-
Sponsored 
All Chargeability 
Areas Except
Those Listed
CHINA-mainland 
born
INDIAMEXICOPHILIPPINES
F101FEB1201FEB1201FEB1215DEC9615NOV07
F2A01DEC1601DEC1601DEC1601DEC1601DEC16
F2B15SEP1115SEP1115SEP1115JAN9715SEP07
F308DEC0508DEC0508DEC0515OCT9501JUL95
F401DEC0401DEC0415JUL0401MAR9801APR95


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Visa Bulletin January 2018

For December 2017 Visa Bulletin, please click here: http://www.mygcvisa.com/visa-bulletin/2018/visa-bulletin-december-2017.aspx

January 2018 Visa Bulletin has been officially released (valid from January 1 to January 31 only). Please see below for more details.

Family Based:
Final Action Dates
Dates For Filing Applications
"Final Action Date" is the date when when USCIS/DOS may render their final decision on submitted applications. Your priority date should be before this date.
Family-
Sponsored 
All Chargeability 
Areas Except
Those Listed
CHINA-mainland 
born
INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES 
F1 15MAR11
15MAR11 15MAR11 01MAY96 01JAN05
F2A 01FEB16 01FEB16 01FEB16 01JAN16 01FEB16
F2B 01DEC10 01DEC10 01DEC10 15AUG96 01JUL06
F3 08OCT05 08OCT05 08OCT05 15JUN95  15MAR95
F4 22JUN04 22JUN04 15DEC03 01NOV97 01SEP94
"Date for Filing Application" is the date when you can submit I-485/NVC applications to USCIS/DOS. Your priority date should be before this date.
Family-
Sponsored 
All Chargeability 
Areas Except
Those Listed
CHINA-
mainland 
born
INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES 
F1 01JAN12 01JAN12 01JAN12 01NOV96 01OCT07
F2A 01NOV16 01NOV16 01NOV16 01NOV16 01NOV16
F2B 01SEP11 01SEP11 01SEP11 01JAN97 01SEP07
F3 01DEC05 01DEC05 01DEC05 01OCT95 15JUN95
F4 15NOV04 15NOV04 22JUN04 08FEB98 01MAR95


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Visa Bulletin January 2018 Special Notes

For the official January 2018 Visa Bulletin, please click here: http://www.mygcvisa.com/visa-bulletin/2018/visa-bulletin-january-2018.aspx

Apart from posting current dates, State Department has also added special notes to Visa Bulletin mentioned above. Please see full details below:

D. SPECIAL IMMIGRANT (SI) TRANSLATOR CATEGORY VISA AVAILABILITY

Given the limited availability of visa numbers and the existing demand, the Department expects to reach the FY-2018 annual limit of 50 Special Immigrant Visas in the SI category early in the Fiscal Year. As a result, it has been necessary to hold the January Final Action Date at April 1, 2010. It is likely that number use will require the SI category to become "unavailable" in the coming months. Once the annual limit of 50 visas is reached, further issuances in the SI category will not be possible until October 2018, under the FY-2019 annual limit. The SQ Special Immigrant Visa category for certain Iraqi and Afghan nationals employed by or on behalf of the U.S. government in Iraq or Afghanistan is not affected and remains current.

E. SCHEDULED EXPIRATION OF TWO EMPLOYMENT VISA CATEGORI


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Monday, December 4, 2017

Tools Outage

From USCIS Alerts:

USCIS will conduct system maintenance on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017, from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Eastern).

During this time, our online tools may be unavailable, including:

  • Check My Case Status
  • e-Request
  • Change of Address Online
  • Check Processing Times
  • Civil Surgeon Locator
  • FOIA Status Check
  • Office Locator
  • Forms by Mail

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Friday, December 1, 2017

Status of the Central American Minors Program

From USCIS Alerts:

On Nov. 9, 2017, the Department of State stopped accepting new applications for the Central American Minors (CAM) refugee program. USCIS will stop interviewing CAM cases on Jan. 31, 2018. After that date, individuals with pending applications who have not been interviewed will receive a notice with further instructions.

The decision to terminate the CAM refugee program was made as part of the U.S. government review of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for FY 2018.

The CAM program was established in 2014 to provide certain minors in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras the opportunity to be considered, while still in their home country, for refugee resettlement in the United States. Individuals who were determined to be ineligible for


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