Friday, July 20, 2018

Tools Outage

USCIS will conduct system maintenance on Thursday, July 19, 2018, from 9 p.m. until 11:59 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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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Attorneys and Accredited Representatives Can Now File Form N-565 Online

If you are an attorney or accredited representative, you can now file Form N-565, Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document for your clients using your myUSCIS online account. There are no substantive changes to the content of the form.


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Monday, July 16, 2018

Visa Bulletin September 2018 Predictions

For official August 2018 Visa Bulletin and analysis, please click here: https://www.mygcvisa.com/visa-bulletin/2018/visa-bulletin-august-2018.aspx

Please see September 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
F122MAY1122MAY1122MAY1115SEP9722SEP06
F2A15AUG1615AUG1615AUG1601AUG1615AUG16
F2B22NOV1122NOV1122NOV1122APR9722MAR07
F315JUL0615JUL0615JUL0622DEC9508MAY95
F408JAN0508JAN0508APR0422JAN9822MAY95
"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
F101APR1201APR1201APR1215NOV9801MAR08
F2A22JAN1822JAN1822JAN1822JAN1822JAN18
F2B15JAN1215JAN1215JAN1201JUL9701JAN08
F315OCT0615OCT0615OCT0622JAN9915AUG95
F415MAY0515MAY0515JAN0515JUN9822DEC95


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Saturday, July 14, 2018

USCIS Updates Policy Guidance for Certain Requests for Evidence and Notices of Intent to Deny

WASHINGTON - U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today posted a policy memorandum (PDF, 113 KB) (PM) that provides guidance to USCIS adjudicators regarding their discretion to deny an application, petition, or request without first issuing a Request for Evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) when required initial evidence was not submitted or the evidence of record fails to establish eligibility. 

This updated guidance is effective September 11, 2018 and applies to all applications, petitions, and requests, except for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) adjudications, received after that date. Due to preliminary injunctions issued by courts in California and N


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Friday, July 13, 2018

Visa Bulletin August 2018

For July 2018 Visa Bulletin, please click here: https://www.mygcvisa.com/visa-bulletin/2018/visa-bulletin-july-2018.aspx

For analysis of August 2018 Visa Bulletin, please click here: https://www.mygcvisa.com/visa-bulletin/2018/visa-bulletin-analysis-august-2018.aspx

August 2018 Visa Bulletin has been officially released (valid from August 1 to August 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 08MAY11
08MAY11 08MAY11 01AUG97 01AUG06
F2A 22JUL16 22JUL16 22JUL16 01JUL16 22JUL16
F2B 22OCT11 22OCT11 22OCT11 01APR97 15FEB07
F3 15JUN06 15JUN06 15JUN06 01DEC95  01MAY95
F4 22DEC04 22DEC04 22MAR04 15JAN98 22APR95
"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 08MAR12 08MAR12 08MAR12 01SEP98 15FEB08
F2A 01DEC17 01DEC17 01DEC17 01DEC17 01DEC17
F2B 08JAN12 08JAN12 08JAN12 08JUN97 15DEC07
F3 22SEP06 22SEP06 22SEP06 08OCT98 01AUG95
F4 01MAY05 01MAY05 01JAN05 01JUN98 01DEC95


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Visa Bulletin August 2018 Special Notes

For the official August 2018 Visa Bulletin and analysis, please click here: https://www.mygcvisa.com/visa-bulletin/2018/visa-bulletin-august-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 this year. As a result, it has been necessary to maintain an August Final Action Date of April 22, 2012. 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. FAMILY-SPONSORED VISA AVAILABILITY DURING SEPTEMBER

The level of applicant demand being received in several preference categories has been steadily


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Saturday, July 7, 2018

Tools Outage

USCIS will conduct system maintenance on Sunday, July 8, 2018, from 5 a.m. until 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, July 6, 2018

USCIS Updates Notice to Appear Policy Guidance to Support DHS Enforcement Priorities

WASHINGTON — U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services issued updated guidance (PDF, 139 KB) today that aligns its policy for issuing Form I-862, Notice to Appear, with the immigration enforcement priorities of the Department of Homeland Security.

A Notice to Appear (NTA) is a document given to an alien that instructs them to appear before an immigration judge on a certain date. The issuance of an NTA commences removal proceedings against the alien. Under the new guidance, USCI


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Thursday, June 28, 2018

Celebrating Independence Day 2018 with Naturalization Ceremonies

On July 4, we celebrate our nation’s 242nd birthday and the day the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

USCIS marks Independence Day with naturalization ceremonies across the country. This year, we will welcome more than 14,000 new citizens in nearly 175 naturalization ceremonies between June 28 and July 10. A list of highlighted Independence Day-themed ceremonies is below.

We invite you to share your experiences and photos from naturalization ceremonies on social media, using the hashtags #newUScitizen and #4thofJuly. You can follow us on Twitter (@uscis), YouTube (/uscis), Facebook (/<a target='_bla


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Friday, June 22, 2018

USCIS to Recall 800 Incorrectly Printed Employment Authorization Documents

On June 21, 2018, USCIS will begin recalling approximately 800 Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) that were issued in conjunction with Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal, which were granted by USCIS asylum officers. The cards contain a production error that transposed the first and last names of the individuals receiving the EADs. These cards were mailed to recipients in April and May 2018.

USCIS will send notices to individuals who received the incorrect EADs, as well as to their attorneys or accredited representatives, if a G-28 was submitted with the corresponding Form I-589. The affected individuals should return their incorrect EADs to USCIS in the provided pre-paid envelope within 20 days of receiving the notice. Recipients may also return their EADs to a USCIS field office. Replacement EADs will be sent within 15 days of receiving the


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Thursday, June 21, 2018

Tools Outage

USCIS will conduct system maintenance on Thursday, June 21, 2018, from 9 p.m. until 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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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

New Data Shows Criminal Arrest Histories of DACA Requestors

WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released new data (PDF, 140 KB) regarding arrests and apprehensions among the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) requestor population. The data contains both criminal and civil information of those approved and denied under DACA. 

The findings are part of a continuous release of information by the agency to its website on both the DACA policy and its requestor population; including most recently, data regarding ages and education levels of DACA recipients. The new data relates to arrests and apprehensions, which do not necessarily result in actual convictions.

Among the fin


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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

USCIS Efforts Lead to Prison Sentence for Fremont Business Owner over Role in Visa Fraud Conspiracy and Other Crimes

Release Date: June 15, 2018

SAN JOSE, Calif. – Thanks to the efforts of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Venkat Guntipally was sentenced to 30 months in prison for his role in a conspiracy to commit several crimes including visa fraud, obstruction of justice, use of false documents and mail fraud.  

A federal grand jury indicted Venkat Guntipally, 49, his wife, Sunitha Guntipally, 44, of Fremont, and two other defendants, Pratap “Bob” Kondamoori, 56, of Incline Village, Nev., and Sandhya Ramireddi, 58, of Pleasanton, in a 33-count indictment filed May 5, 2016.  The indictment contains charges in connection with the submission of fraudulent applications for H-1B specialty-occupation work visas.

“USCIS is committed to combatting instances of fraud, abuse and other nefarious activities threatening t


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Monday, June 18, 2018

Form I-751 Data Entry Delay at California Service Center

USCIS’ California Service Center (CSC) is experiencing a delay in initial data entry for Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence. Since initial data entry has to be completed before a receipt notice can be issued, some petitioners and their dependents may experience a delay in receiving a receipt notice for a Form I-751 submitted to the CSC.

If you submitted a Form I-751 to the CSC in May 2018 and you have not received a receipt notice, do not file a duplicate Form I-751 unless you have received a rejection notice or have been instructed to do so by the CSC.

The CSC is working to complete data entry of these petitions by the end of June 2018, and will issue another web alert once initial data entry has returned to normal. Petitioners will receive a receipt notice once their data is entered


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Sunday, June 17, 2018

Update to Form I-797 Receipt Notices for Form I-751 and Form I-829

As of June 11, 2018, petitioners who file Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, or Form I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status, will receive a Form I-797 receipt notice that can be presented with their Form I-551, Permanent Resident Card, as evidence of continued status for 18 months past the expiration date on their Permanent Resident Card.

We are making the change from 12 to 18 months because current processing times for Form I-751 and Form I-829 have increased over the past year.

Additionally, we will issue new Form I-797 receipt notices to eligible conditional permanent residents whose Form I-751 or I-829 was still pending as of June 11, 2018. Those Form I-797 receipt notices will also serve as evidence of continued status for 18 months past the expiration date on petitioner’s Permanent Resident Card.</


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Saturday, June 16, 2018

Visa Bulletin August 2018 Predictions

For official July 2018 Visa Bulletin and analysis, please click here: https://www.mygcvisa.com/visa-bulletin/2018/visa-bulletin-july-2018.aspx

Please see August 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
F101MAY1101MAY1101MAY1115SEP9722JUL06
F2A15JUL1615JUL1615JUL1601JUL1615JUL16
F2B08SEP1108SEP1108SEP1101APR9708FEB07
F322MAY0622MAY0622MAY0622DEC9522APR95
F401DEC0401DEC0408APR0401FEB9822APR95
"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
F101APR1201APR1201APR1215NOV9801MAR08
F2A22JAN1822JAN1822JAN1822JAN1822JAN18
F2B15JAN1215JAN1215JAN1201JUL9701JAN08
F315OCT0615OCT0615OCT0622JAN9915AUG95
F415MAY0515MAY0515JAN0515JUN9822DEC95


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USCIS Completes Lottery for Temporary Increase in FY 2018 H-2B Cap

On May 31, 2018, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began receiving H-2B petitions under the temporary final rule increasing the numerical limit, or cap, on H-2B nonimmigrant visas by up to 15,000 additional visas through the end of fiscal year (FY) 2018.

In the first five business days of filing, USCIS received petitions for more beneficiaries than the number of H-2B visas available under the FY 2018 supplemental cap. Accordingly, regulations required USCIS to use a computer-generated selection process, commonly known as a lottery, to randomly select enough petitions to meet, but not exceed, the increased H-2B cap for FY 2018. USCIS ran this lottery on June 7, 2018, and on June 11, 2018, began issuing notifications to the petitioners that were selected.  

USCIS will reject


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Friday, June 15, 2018

USCIS Helps Get Conviction in Asylum Fraud

Release Date: June 7, 2018

PHOENIX— U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) played an integral part in yesterday’s sentencing of Ali Vahdani Pour. 

Pour, a 28 –year- old national of Iran, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Douglas Rayes to 137 days in prison. He had pled guilty to lying under oath in an immigration matter.

In the plea agreement, Pour admitted having lied on his asylum application.  Specifically, Pour admitted he falsely denied having served in the Iranian military and falsely denied having received refugee status in Italy, before seeking asylum in the United States.

“Making false staments to support your claim for asylum in the U.S. will not be tolerated,” said USCIS Los Angeles Asylum Director David Radel.

The investigation in this case was conducted by U.S. Immigra


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Visa Bulletin July 2018 Special Notes

For the official July 2018 Visa Bulletin and analysis, please click here: https://www.mygcvisa.com/visa-bulletin/2018/visa-bulletin-july-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 this year. As a result, it has been necessary to maintain a July Final Action Date of April 22, 2012. 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. RETROGRESSION OF JULY EMPLOYMENT-BASED FINAL ACTION DATES


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Visa Bulletin July 2018

For June 2018 Visa Bulletin, please click here: https://www.mygcvisa.com/visa-bulletin/2018/visa-bulletin-june-2018.aspx

For analysis of July 2018 Visa Bulletin, please click here: https://www.mygcvisa.com/visa-bulletin/2018/visa-bulletin-analysis-july-2018.aspx

July 2018 Visa Bulletin has been officially released (valid from July 1 to July 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 22APR11
22APR11 22APR11 01AUG97 01JUN06
F2A 22JUN16 22JUN16 22JUN16 08JUN16 22JUN16
F2B 15AUG11 15AUG11 15AUG11 08MAR97 01FEB07
F3 01MAY06 01MAY06 01MAY06 01DEC95  15APR95
F4 15NOV04 15NOV04 22MAR04 15JAN98 22MAR95
"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 08MAR12 08MAR12 08MAR12 01SEP98 15FEB08
F2A 01DEC17 01DEC17 01DEC17 01DEC17 01DEC17
F2B 08JAN12 08JAN12 08JAN12 08JUN97 15DEC07
F3 22SEP06 22SEP06 22SEP06 08OCT98 01AUG95
F4 01MAY05 01MAY05 01JAN05 01JUN98 01DEC95


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Thursday, June 14, 2018

USCIS Efforts Lead to Sentencing of Florida Woman for Obtaining U.S. Citizenship by Fraud and False Statements

Release Date: June 5, 2018

Tampa, Fla. – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) assisted in an investigation that led to U.S. District Judge Virginia M. Hernandez Covington sentencing Enite Alindor, also known as Odette Dureland, to five months in federal prison. The 55-year-old woman was sentenced for making false statements in a matter relating to naturalization and citizenship and for procuring naturalization as a U.S. citizen. As part of her sentence, the court also entered an order de-naturalizing her, thus revoking her July 2012 naturalization as a U.S. citizen. A federal jury had found her guilty on March 1, 2018.

According to court documents, Alindor, a citizen of Haiti, applied for asylum with the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) in Miami in 1997. After the INS denied that application, the United States Immigration Cou


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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

USCIS to Conduct Lottery for Temporary Increase in FY 2018 H-2B Cap

As previously announced, USCIS began accepting H-2B petitions on May 31, 2018, under the temporary final rule increasing the numerical limit, or cap, on H-2B nonimmigrant visas by up to 15,000 additional visas through the end of fiscal year (FY) 2018.

In the first five business days of filing, USCIS received petitions for more beneficiaries than the number of H-2B visas available under the FY 2018 supplemental cap. Accordingly, USCIS is required by regulation to use a computer-generated process, commonly known as a lottery, to randomly select the number of petitions required to meet the increased cap for FY 2018.

The lottery will include all H-2B cap-subject petitions received between May 31, 2018 and June 6, 2018.

USCIS will reject and return a


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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

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

WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announces today that current beneficiaries of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) under Honduras’ designation who want to maintain their status through the effective termination date of Jan. 5, 2020, must re-register between June 5, 2018, and Aug. 6, 2018.

Re-registration procedures, including how to renew employment authorization documents, have been published in the Federal Register and on uscis.gov/tps.

All applicants must submit Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status. Applicants may als


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Monday, June 11, 2018

USCIS Redesigns Citizenship and Naturalization Certificates

High-Tech Features Create More Secure Documents

WASHINGTON — U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began issuing redesigned Certificates of Citizenship and Naturalization today, following a successful pilot in four USCIS field offices and one service center. The redesign of these eight certificates is one of the many ways USCIS is working to combat fraud and safeguard the legal immigration system. 

We piloted the new certificate design at the Norfolk, Tampa, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and Sacramento Field Offices, as well as at the Nebraska Service Center. 

The certificates of naturalization are:  

  • N-550, issued to an individual who obtains U.S. citizenship through the naturalization process; 
  • N-578, issued to a naturalized U.S. citizen to obtain r

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Sunday, June 10, 2018

SAVE Goes Completely Paperless

 

WASHINGTON—Starting June 1, benefit-granting agencies using U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) SAVE (Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements) Program can no longer submit paper versions of Form G-845, Verification Request. Previously, agencies submitted paper forms to request immigration status verification and for additional verification requests. Now all agencies must submit their requests and institute additional verification electronically, drastically reducing case processing time.   

SAVE provides a fast, secure and efficient se


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Saturday, June 9, 2018

Grand Rapids Man Sentenced For Felon Firearm Possession and Falsely Attesting U.S. Citizenship

Release Date: May 31, 2018

GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge announced today that Franklin J. Flores, 42, most recently of Grand Rapids, Michigan, was sentenced to two concurrent terms of 24 months’ imprisonment by U.S. District Judge Janet T. Neff, concurrent to his current State of Michigan sentence of 18 to 60 months for identity theft. Flores pleaded guilty pursuant to a plea agreement to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, and one count of falsely attesting U.S. Citizenship on a Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative and submitting that form to the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services with the intent to obtain benefit for another person.

The investigation began with reports by a New Mexico man that Flores had stolen his identity. On January


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Friday, June 8, 2018

Tools Outage

From USCIS News:

USCIS will conduct system maintenance on Sunday, June 3, 2018, from 5 a.m. until 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

We apologize for any inconvenience


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Thursday, June 7, 2018

USCIS to Implement Online Processing of FOIA Requests

From USCIS News:

WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced the launch of our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Immigration Records SysTem (FIRST), which will eventually allow users to submit, manage, and receive FOIA requests entirely online. Before this change, USCIS only accepted FOIA requests by mail, fax, and email, and requestors typically received their documents on a compact disc by mail.

USCIS is commencing FIRST’s digital delivery of services in phases. Initially, requestors who have an immigration court date pending and file a request for documents can create an account within myUSCIS to receive documents digitally, eliminating the time and expense associated with receiving requests by mail.

Through their account, requestors can track the status of their FOIA cases and


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Wednesday, June 6, 2018

DHS Announces Additional Visas for Foreign Workers to Assist American Businesses at Risk of Failing

From USCIS News:

Release Date: May 25, 2018

WASHINGTON — Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen announced that an additional 15,000 H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker visas will be available for Fiscal Year 2018. In this determination, Secretary Nielsen determined there are not sufficient, qualified, U.S. workers available to perform temporary non-agriculture labor to satisfy the needs of American businesses in FY18. This allocation is in addition to the 66,000 visas already issued this year. Secretary Nielsen made this decision after consulting with Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, members of Congress, and business owners.

“The limitations on H-2B visas were originally meant to protect American workers, but when we enter a situation where the program unintentionally harms American businesses


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Tuesday, June 5, 2018

USCIS Expands Online Filing

From USCIS News:

WASHINGTON – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that Form N-565, Application for Replacement of Naturalization/Citizenship Document, and Form N-336, Request for a Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings (Under Section 336 of the INA), can be filed online.

Applicants use Form N-565 to replace a naturalization certificate, certificate of citizenship, or a repatriation certificate. They may also use it to apply for a special certificate of naturalization as a U.S. citizen to be recognized by a foreign country. Applicants use Form N-336 to request a hearing before an immigration officer if we have denied their application for naturalization.

“USCIS is making the process of applying for immigration benefits more efficient, secure and convenient,” said USCIS D


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Monday, June 4, 2018

DHS Proposes to Remove the International Entrepreneur Rule

From USCIS News:

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is proposing a rule to end a program that allows certain foreign entrepreneurs to be considered for parole to temporarily come to the United States to develop and build start-up businesses here, known as the International Entrepreneur Rule (IE Final Rule). 

 In July 2017, DHS published a final rule to delay the implementation date of the IE Final Rule to March 14, 2018, to give the Department time to draft a rescission of the IE Final Rule. However, in December 2017, a federal court vacated the delay rule, req


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Friday, June 1, 2018

USCIS Efforts Lead to Sentencing in Immigration Fraud Case in the CNMI

From USCIS News:

Sentencing Related to CW Applications for Foreign Workers

SAIPAN, Northern Mariana Islands – This week, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) efforts led to the sentencing of Arlene Hart for two counts of mail fraud. The defendant was sentenced for her participation in a scheme to defraud the government by submitting fraudulent documents to the USCIS California Service Center (CSC) in support of CNMI-Only Transitional Worker (CW-1) applications for workers from the Philippines. 

Hart forged the signatures of the workers on the employment contracts submitted to USCIS and declared that she had non-temporary, full-time employment for the workers, which was not true. 

“I’m immensely proud of our combined team of experts who aided in bringing these


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Thursday, May 31, 2018

Update: Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence

From USCIS News:

Due to a processing error on May 4, 2018, USCIS mailed a number of biometric services appointment notices with incorrect Application Support Center (ASC) locations to petitioners who filed Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence. 

The affected notices have a date of 05/04/2018 and a case type of “I-751 – PETITION TO REMOVE CONDITIONS ON RESIDENCE.” The notices tell petitioners to appear for their biometric services appointments starting the week of May 21, 2018, at ASCs located out of the normal geographic area.

On June 8, 2018, USCIS will mail new biometric services appointment notices to petitioners who received an incorrect notice and did not reschedule their appointment or did not appear as a walk-in at the closest ASC to their loca


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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Tools Outage

From USCIS News:

USCIS will conduct system maintenance on Thursday, May 24, 2018, from 9 p.m. until midnight (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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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Re-Registration Period Now Open for Temporary Protected Status for Nepal

From USCIS News:

WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that current beneficiaries of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) under Nepal’s designation who want to maintain their status through the effective termination date of June 24, 2019, must re-register between May 22, 2018, and July 23, 2018.

Re-registration procedures, including how to renew employment authorization documents (EADs), have been published in the Federal Register and on uscis.gov/tps.

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


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Monday, May 28, 2018

Airline Staffing Executive Sentenced to Prison for Years of Immigration Fraud

From USCIS News:

Release Date: May 17, 2018

SAN DIEGO – Eleno Quinteros, Jr., the former vice president of operations for two airline mechanic staffing companies, was sentenced today to 12 months in prison for making false statements in support of legal permanent resident petitions for dozens of the companies’ mechanics.

Quinteros previously admitted falsely certifying that he had received no payments from the mechanics, when in fact he had demanded and collected hundreds of thousands of dollars of unlawful fees from approximately 85 of them. Today, U.S. District Judge Michael M. Anello sentenced Quinteros to a year and a day in custody based on his view of the “enormity of the offense.”

According to his plea agreement, Quinteros demanded and collected as much as $567,480 from his foreign labor worker


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Friday, May 25, 2018

Automatic Termination of Optional Practical Training for F-1 Students If They Transfer to a Different School or Begin Study at Another Educational Level

From USCIS News:

USCIS reminds F-1 students on Optional Practical Training (OPT) that transferring to another school or beginning study at another educational level (for example, beginning a master’s program after completing a bachelor’s degree) automatically terminates their OPT as well as their corresponding employment authorization document (EAD). 

Although authorization to engage in OPT ends upon transferring to a different school or changing educational level, students in F-1 status will not be otherwise affected as long as they comply with all requirements for maintaining their student status. These requirements include not working with a terminated EAD, because termination means that students are no longer authorized to work in the United States. Working in the U


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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Airline Staffing Executive Sentenced to Prison for Years of Immigration Fraud

From USCIS News:

Release Date: May 17, 2018

SAN DIEGO – Eleno Quinteros, Jr., the former vice president of operations for two airline mechanic staffing companies, was sentenced today to 12 months in prison for making false statements in support of legal permanent resident petitions for dozens of the companies’ mechanics.

Quinteros previously admitted falsely certifying that he had received no payments from the mechanics, when in fact he had demanded and collected hundreds of thousands of dollars of unlawful fees from approximately 85 of them. Today, U.S. District Judge Michael M. Anello sentenced Quinteros to a year and a day in custody based on his view of the “enormity of the offense.”

According to his plea agreement, Quinteros demanded and collected as much as $567,480 from his foreign labor worker


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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

USCIS Policy Manual Updates

From USCIS News:

EB-5 Tenant Occupancy

USCIS is revising guidance on immigrant investor (EB-5) cases involving tenant occupancy. Previously, the USCIS Policy Manual allowed for tenant-occupancy methodologies used by some petitioners to show their capital created, or will create, 10 indirect jobs. We have determined that these methodologies do not provide reasonable predictions of indirect job creation and are no longer considered reasonable methodologies to support economically or statistically valid forecasting tools.

USCIS will no longer accept tenant-occupancy models for filings on or after May 15, 2018. USCIS will continue to give deference to Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur, and Form I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status, when directly related to previously


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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

USCIS Completes Data Entry of Fiscal Year 2019 H-1B Cap Subject Petitions

From USCIS News:
USCIS has completed data entry for all fiscal year 2019 H-1B cap-subject petitions selected in our computer-generated random selection process. USCIS will now begin returning all H-1B cap-subject petitions that were not selected. Due to the high volume of filings, USCIS cannot provide a definite time frame for returning unselected petitions. USCIS asks petitioners not to inquire about the status of their cap-subject petitions until they receive a receipt notice or an unselected petition is returned. USCIS will issue an announcement once all the unselected petitions have been returned. 
 
Additionally, USCIS may transfer some Form I-129 H-1B cap subject petitions between the Vermont Service Center and the California Service Center to balance the distribution of cap cases. If your case is transferred, you will re

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Monday, May 21, 2018

USCIS to Recall Incorrectly Dated Green Cards

From USCIS News:

On May 14, 2018, USCIS will begin recalling approximately 8,543 Permanent Resident Cards (also known as Green Cards) due to a production error. The Green Cards were for approved Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions of Residence for spouses of U.S. citizens. The cards were printed with an incorrect “Resident Since” date and mailed between February and April 2018.

USCIS will send notices to individuals who received the incorrect Green Cards and to their attorneys of record, if they have one. The affected individuals should return their incorrect Green Card to USCIS in the provided pre-paid envelope within 20 days of receiving the notice. They may also return their cards to USCIS field offices. USCIS will send replacement Green Cards within 15 days of receiving the


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Friday, May 18, 2018

USCIS Changing Policy on Accrued Unlawful Presence by Nonimmigrant Students and Exchange Visitors

From USCIS News:

WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today posted a policy memorandum (PDF, 179 KB)changing how the agency will calculate unlawful presence for students and exchange visitors in F, J, and M nonimmigrant status, including F-2, J-2, or M-2 dependents, who fail to maintain their status in the United States.  

This policy aligns with President Trump’s Executive Order: Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States to enfo


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Thursday, May 17, 2018

USCIS Policy Manual Updates

From USCIS Alerts:

EB-5 Tenant Occupancy

USCIS is revising guidance on immigrant investor (EB-5) cases involving tenant occupancy. Previously, the USCIS Policy Manual allowed for tenant-occupancy methodologies used by some petitioners to show their capital created, or will create, 10 indirect jobs. We have determined that these methodologies do not provide reasonable predictions of indirect job creation and are no longer considered reasonable methodologies to support economically or statistically valid forecasting tools.

USCIS will no longer accept tenant-occupancy models for filings on or after May 15, 2018. USCIS will continue to give deference to Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur, and Form I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status, when directly related to previousl


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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Visa Bulletin July 2018 Predictions

For the official June 2018 Visa Bulletin, please click here: https://www.mygcvisa.com/visa-bulletin/2018/visa-bulletin-june-2018.aspx

Please see July 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
F115APR1115APR1115APR1122JUL9708MAY06
F2A01JUL1601JUL1601JUL1601JUN1601JUL16
F2B15JUL1115JUL1115JUL1115MAR9722JAN07
F308APR0608APR0608APR0622OCT9522APR95
F401NOV0401NOV0401APR0422JAN9801APR95
"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
F122JAN1222JAN1222JAN1222SEP9801DEC07
F2A08NOV1708NOV1708NOV1708NOV1708NOV17
F2B22OCT1122OCT1122OCT1115JUN9715OCT07
F301OCT0601OCT0601OCT0601JAN9908AUG95
F415APR0515APR0515DEC0415MAY9801NOV95


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USCIS Completes Data Entry of Fiscal Year 2019 H-1B Cap Subject Petitions

From USCIS Alerts:
USCIS has completed data entry for all fiscal year 2019 H-1B cap-subject petitions selected in our computer-generated random selection process. USCIS will now begin returning all H-1B cap-subject petitions that were not selected. Due to the high volume of filings, USCIS cannot provide a definite time frame for returning unselected petitions. USCIS asks petitioners not to inquire about the status of their cap-subject petitions until they receive a receipt notice or an unselected petition is returned. USCIS will issue an announcement once all the unselected petitions have been returned. 
 
Additionally, USCIS may transfer some Form I-129 H-1B cap subject petitions between the Vermont Service Center and the California Service Center to balance the distribution of cap cases. If your case is transferred, you will

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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

USCIS to Recall Incorrectly Dated Green Cards

From USCIS Alerts:

On May 14, 2018, USCIS will begin recalling approximately 8,543 Permanent Resident Cards (also known as Green Cards) due to a production error. The Green Cards were for approved Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions of Residence for spouses of U.S. citizens. The cards were printed with an incorrect “Resident Since” date and mailed between February and April 2018.

USCIS will send notices to individuals who received the incorrect Green Cards and to their attorneys of record, if they have one. The affected individuals should return their incorrect Green Card to USCIS in the provided pre-paid envelope within 20 days of receiving the notice. They may also return their cards to USCIS field offices. USCIS will send replacement Green Cards within 15 days of receiving th


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Monday, May 14, 2018

USCIS and the Justice Department Formalize Partnership to Protect U.S. Workers from Discrimination and Combat Fraud

From USCIS News:

WASHINGTON— U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Department of Justice today announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) (PDF, 2.00 MB) that expands their collaboration to better detect and eliminate fraud, abuse, and discrimination by employers bringing foreign visa workers to the United States. This new effort improves the way the agencies share information, collaborate on cases, and train each other’s investigators.

The MOU will increase the ability of the agencies to share information and help identify, investigate, and prosecute employers who may be discriminating against U.S. workers and/or violating immigration laws. In 2010, U


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Thursday, May 10, 2018

Visa Bulletin June 2018

For May 2018 Visa Bulletin, please click here: http://www.mygcvisa.com/visa-bulletin/2018/visa-bulletin-may-2018.aspx

June 2018 Visa Bulletin has been officially released (valid from June 1 to June 30 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 08APR11
08APR11 08APR11 01JUN97 22MAR06
F2A 08JUN16 08JUN16 08JUN16 08MAY16 08JUN16
F2B 22JUN11 22JUN11 22JUN11 15FEB97 15JAN07
F3 15MAR06 15MAR06 15MAR06 01OCT95  08APR95
F4 22OCT04 22OCT04 15MAR04 08JAN98 22FEB95
"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 08JAN12 08JAN12 08JAN12 15JUL98 08OCT07
F2A 22SEP17 22SEP17 22SEP17 22SEP17 22SEP17
F2B 08SEP11 08SEP11 08SEP11 22MAY97 08SEP07
F3 08SEP06 08SEP06 08SEP06 22SEP98 22JUL95
F4 01APR05 01APR05 01DEC04 08MAY98 15OCT95


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Visa Bulletin June 2018 Special Notes

For the official June 2018 Visa Bulletin, please click here: http://www.mygcvisa.com/visa-bulletin/2018/visa-bulletin-june-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 this year. As a result, it has been necessary to maintain a June Final Action Date of April 22, 2012. 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. VISA AVAILABILITY

MEXICO E4 and SR: There cont


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Tuesday, May 8, 2018

USCIS Plays Key Role in Miami Marriage Fraud Conviction

From USCIS News:

MIAMI – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officers detected a multi-year fraudulent marriage scheme which resulted in the investigation and conviction of Michael Roy Fraser, a Jamaican national, on April 25, 2018.

Benjamin G. Greenberg, United States attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Mark Selby, special agent in charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), Miami Field Office; and Linda M. Swacina, USCIS Miami and Caribbean District director, made the announcement.  

Fraser was convicted at a trial on April 25, 2018, of procurement of citizenship or naturalization unlawfully, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1425(a) and misuse of evidence of citizenship or naturalization, in violation of Title 1


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Monday, May 7, 2018

Tools Outage

From USCIS Alerts:

USCIS will conduct system maintenance on Sunday, May 6, 2018, from 5 a.m. until 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, May 4, 2018

USCIS Updates Policy on DNA Evidence in Support of Sibling Relationships

From USCIS Alerts:

USCIS has updated its policy on the acceptance of DNA evidence supporting sibling relationships. This policy memorandum (PDF, 136 KB) permits officers to suggest and consider direct sibling-to-sibling DNA test results, and provides standards for evaluating DNA results for full siblings and half siblings. This guidance will enhance the agency’s ability to accurately evaluate eligibility for immigration benefits by allowing petitioners and officers to make effective use of recent technological advances in direct sibling DNA test results.

When USCIS determines that primary evidence is unavailable or unreliable, it may suggest and accept


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Thursday, May 3, 2018

USCIS Completes CW-1 Cap Lottery for Fiscal Year 2019 and Returns All Unselected Petitions

From USCIS Alerts:

On April 15, 2018, USCIS used a computer-generated random selection process to select enough petitions to meet the fiscal year (FY) 2019 cap of 4,999 for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)-Only Transitional Worker (CW-1) program.

USCIS announced on April 11 that it had received CW-1 petitions for more than the number of visas available for FY 2019 and that it would conduct a lottery for petitions received between April 2 and April 13.

The agency has completed data entry for all FY 2019 CW-1 cap-subject petitions selected in the lottery and has returned all petitions that were not selected in the lottery.

If you submitted a CW-1 cap-subject petition between April 2 and April 13 and have not received a receipt notice or a returned petition by


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Monday, April 30, 2018

USCIS to Begin Using More Secure Mail Delivery Service

From USCIS News:

WASHINGTON - U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that the agency will begin phasing in use of the U.S. Postal Service’s (USPS) Signature Confirmation Restricted Delivery service to mail Green Cards and other secure documents beginning April 30, 2018.

The first phase will affect documents that need to be re-mailed because they have been returned as non-deliverable. These documents include Permanent Resident Cards (also called Green Cards), Employment Authorization Cards, and Travel Booklets. Applicants who have changed mailing addresses during the course of the application process are more likely to have their secure documents sent with the new delivery method, which USCIS will expand to all secure documents in the future.

As part of the new delivery method, applicants mus


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Friday, April 27, 2018

USCIS Premieres Video Highlighting its Historic Connections to Ellis Island

From USCIS News:

Video: USCIS and the Legacy of Ellis Island

WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today released a new documentary video, USCIS and the Legacy of Ellis Island, following an internal premiere for the agency’s employees. From 1892 to 1954, the federal immigration service and its employees processed over twelve million immigrants at the Ellis Island Immigration Station in New York Harbor. 

The video, created by USCIS, tells the story of Ellis Island from the perspective of those who worked there, highlighting the historical connections between our agency’s mission to administer lawful immigratio


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Thursday, April 26, 2018

Outage: Case Status by Text Message

From USCIS Alerts:

Because of system maintenance, we are not able to send you text messages updating you about changes in the status of your case. We do not know when the system will be back to normal. However, you can still get updates on our website.


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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Tools Outage

From USCIS Alerts:

USCIS will conduct system maintenance on Wednesday, April 25, 2018, from 9 p.m. until midnight (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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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Credit Card Payment Now Available for Form N-565, Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document

From USCIS Alerts:

The USCIS Phoenix Lockbox facility is now accepting Form N-565, Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document.

As of April 18, the Nebraska Service Center no longer accepts this form and forwards N-565 applications to the Phoenix Lockbox.

With the transfer to a Lockbox facility, applicants may now pay the filing fee by credit card using Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions.


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Monday, April 23, 2018

Substantial Support from USCIS Fraud Detection Unit Leads to Convictions in Two Separate Immigration Fraud Cases

From USCIS News:

LOS ANGELES – This week, two immigration fraud perpetrators were sentenced to prison due to the considerable efforts of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Los Angeles Fraud Detection and National Security (FDNS) unit. Los Angeles FDNS immigration officers worked closely with law enforcement and intelligence community partners to resolve potential fraud, national security and public safety concerns, and to ensure exchange of current and comprehensive information. 

“Convictions in both cases send a powerful message to anyone trying to take advantage of our community or defraud the government,” said USCIS Los Angeles District Director Donna Campagnolo. “Fighting fraud and ensuring the integrity of our immigration system are top priorities for USCIS. We remain committed and vi


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Friday, April 20, 2018

E-Verify Outage and New Features

From USCIS Alerts:

E-Verify, the free system that allows employers to confirm the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States, will be unavailable from April 20 at 9 p.m. until April 22 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern, while we implement system enhancements. For more information on how the outage will affect the creation of E-Verify cases see the fact sheet on our website.

On April 23, we will release a modernized version of E-Verify that will help users enter correct information, increase the speed and accuracy of the employment eligibility verification process, decrease Tentative Nonconfirmations (TNCs), and red


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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

New E-Verify.gov Website a User-Friendly Source to Verify Employment Eligibility

From USCIS News:

New E-Verify.gov Website a User-Friendly Source to Verify Employment Eligibility 

WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced the launch of our new website, E-Verify.gov. This is the authoritative source for information on electronic employment eligibility verification. E-Verify.gov is for employers, employees and the general public.

The user-friendly website provides information about E-Verify and Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, including employee rights and employer responsibilities in the employment verification process. E-Verify.gov allows employers to enroll in E-Verify directly and permits curr


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Monday, April 16, 2018

Visa Bulletin June 2018 Predictions

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

Please see June 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
F115APR1115APR1115APR1101JAN9715MAR06
F2A01JUL1601JUL1601JUL1615MAY1601JUL16
F2B01JUN1101JUN1101JUN1101JAN9701JAN07
F322FEB0622FEB0622FEB0622SEP9515APR95
F415OCT0415OCT0415MAR0422JAN9815MAR95
"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
F122JAN1222JAN1222JAN1222SEP9801DEC07
F2A08NOV1708NOV1708NOV1708NOV1708NOV17
F2B22OCT1122OCT1122OCT1115JUN9715OCT07
F301OCT0601OCT0601OCT0601JAN9908AUG95
F415APR0515APR0515DEC0415MAY9801NOV95


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USCIS Completes the H-1B Cap Random Selection Process for FY 2019

From USCIS Alerts:

On April 11, USCIS used a computer-generated random selection process to select enough H-1B petitions to meet the congressionally-mandated cap and the U.S. advanced degree exemption, known as the master’s cap, for fiscal year (FY) 2019.

USCIS received 190,098 H-1B petitions during the filing period, which began April 2, including petitions filed for the advanced degree exemption. USCIS announced on April 6, that it had received enough H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap of 65,000 and the master’s cap of 20,000. USCIS will reject and return all unselected petitions with their filing fees unless the petition is a prohibited <a target='_blank' href="https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/USCIS/Laws/Memoranda/2018/2018-3-23


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Friday, April 13, 2018

Tools Outage

From USCIS Alerts:

USCIS will conduct system maintenance on Thursday, April 12, 2018, from 9 p.m. until midnight (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, April 12, 2018

USCIS Will Conduct a Lottery for CW-1 Petitions for Fiscal Year 2019

From USCIS Alerts:

USCIS has received petitions for more than the number of visas available for fiscal year (FY) 2019 for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)-Only Transitional Worker (CW-1) program. The cap for CW-1 visas for FY 2019 is 4,999.

As a result, USCIS will be conducting a lottery to ensure that it does not exceed the CW-1 cap. USCIS will randomly select petitions received between April 2, 2018 and April 13, 2018. If USCIS receives your petition after April 13, it will be rejected and will not be considered for this lottery.

For more details on the FY 2019 CW-1 program and what to submit, refer to our March 20 alert. For more information on the CW-1 cap, visit our <a


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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Queens Immigration Attorney Charged With Asylum Fraud

From USCIS News:

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Angel M. Melendez, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”), and Patricia Menges, Director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services New York Asylum Office, announced that yesterday ANDREEA DUMITRU, a/k/a “Andreea Dumitru Parcalaboiu,” an immigration attorney based in Queens, New York, was charged with asylum fraud and making false statements.  The case has been assigned to U.S. District Court Judge Lewis A. Kaplan.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “Andreea Dumitru, an immigration attorney, is alleged to have submitted fraudulent forms for over 180 clients, each containing statements and repr


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Visa Bulletin May 2018

For April 2018 Visa Bulletin, please click here: http://www.mygcvisa.com/visa-bulletin/2018/visa-bulletin-april-2018.aspx

May 2018 Visa Bulletin has been officially released (valid from May 1 to May 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 08APR11
08APR11 08APR11 15NOV96 22JAN06
F2A 01JUN16 01JUN16 01JUN16 22APR16 01JUN16
F2B 15MAY11 15MAY11 15MAY11 01DEC96 15DEC06
F3 01FEB06 01FEB06 01FEB06 01SEP95  01APR95
F4 01OCT04 01OCT04 01MAR04 08JAN98 01FEB95
"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 08JAN12 08JAN12 08JAN12 15JUL98 08OCT07
F2A 22SEP17 22SEP17 22SEP17 22SEP17 22SEP17
F2B 08SEP11 08SEP11 08SEP11 22MAY97 08SEP07
F3 08SEP06 08SEP06 08SEP06 22SEP98 22JUL95
F4 01APR05 01APR05 01DEC04 08MAY98 15OCT95


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Visa Bulletin May 2018 Special Notes

For the official May 2018 Visa Bulletin, please click here: http://www.mygcvisa.com/visa-bulletin/2018/visa-bulletin-may-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 this year. As a result, it has been necessary to maintain a May Final Action Date of April 22, 2012. 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. OVERSUBSCRIPTION OF THE VIETNAM EMPLOYMENT FIFTH PREFERENCE CAT


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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

USCIS Updates Webpage to Share More Accurate Processing Times

From USCIS News:

WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today launched a pilot to test a redesigned processing times webpage that displays the data for all forms in an easier-to-read format and also tests a new way of collecting data and calculating the processing times for some forms.

The pilot will test four forms using a new automated methodology for calculating processing times. The four forms are:

  • Form N-400, Application for Naturalization;
  • Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card;
  • Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status; and
  • Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence.

The new webpage makes it easier for anyone to see approxima


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Monday, April 9, 2018

USCIS Reaches FY 2019 H-1B Cap

From USCIS Alerts:

USCIS has reached the congressionally-mandated 65,000 H-1B visa cap for fiscal year 2019. USCIS has also received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to meet the 20,000 visa U.S. advanced degree exemption, known as the master’s cap.

The agency will reject and return filing fees for all unselected cap-subject petitions that are not prohibited multiple filings (PDF, 119 KB).

USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap.  Petitions filed for current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap, and who still retain their cap number, will also not be counted


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Friday, April 6, 2018

Tools Outage

From USCIS Alerts:

USCIS will conduct system maintenance on Sunday, April 8, 2018, from 5 a.m. until 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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Thursday, April 5, 2018

USCIS Efforts Lead to Sentencing of Former Stamford Resident for Operating Extensive Immigration Fraud Scheme

From USCIS News:

HARTFORD, Conn. — The efforts of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) led to the successful sentencing of a former Stamford resident today. John H. Durham, United States attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that David Nikolashvili, a 52-year-old citizen of the Republic of Georgia residing in Queens, New York, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Robert N. Chatigny to six months of imprisonment, followed by two years of supervised release, for operating an immigration fraud scheme. Judge Chatigny also ordered Nikolashvili to pay a $12,000 fine. 

According to court documents and statements made in court, Nikolashvili, formerly of Stamford, Connecticut, operated an immigration fraud scheme through which he attempted to obtain false immigration status from USCIS for at least 60 citizen


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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Undeliverable Permanent Resident and Employment Authorization Cards and Travel Documents to be Destroyed After 60 Days

From USCIS Alerts:

Starting April 2, USCIS will destroy Permanent Resident Cards, Employment Authorization Cards and Travel Documents returned as undeliverable by the U.S. Postal Service after 60 business days if USCIS is not contacted by the document’s intended recipient to provide the correct address.


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Tuesday, April 3, 2018

USCIS Efforts in Albany Lead to Marriage Fraud Conviction

From USCIS News:

Albany, N.Y. — The efforts of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) led to a successful conviction in a marriage fraud case. After a five-day trial that ended today, a jury voted to convict Yana Potapova, a 29-year-old Russian citizen residing in Schenectady, New York, of conspiracy to commit marriage fraud.

The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and Special Agent in Charge of the Buffalo Field Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Kevin M. Kelly.

Potapova faces up to five years in prison. She will be sentenced on July 10, by Senior United States District Judge Thomas J. McAvoy. A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other factors.</


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Monday, April 2, 2018

USCIS and CBP to Implement Form I-129 Pilot Program for Canadian L-1 Nonimmigrants

From USCIS Alerts:

From April 30, 2018, to Oct. 31, 2018, the USCIS California Service Center (CSC) and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Blaine, Washington, port of entry (POE) will implement a joint agency pilot program for Canadian citizens seeking L-1 nonimmigrant status under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). This pilot is designed to facilitate the adjudication and admission process of Canadians traveling to the U.S. as L-1 nonimmigrants.

DHS regulations permit an employer to file an L petition on behalf of a Canadian citizen in conjunction with the Canadian citizen’s application for admission to the United States. Petitioners choosing to participate in the joint agency pilot program will be asked to:

  • Submit Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, and supporting evidence to the CSC before the Cana

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Friday, March 30, 2018

Tools Outage

From USCIS Alerts:

USCIS will conduct system maintenance on Wednesday, March 21, 2018, from 9 p.m. until midnight (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, March 29, 2018

USCIS Will Temporarily Suspend Premium Processing for Fiscal Year 2019 H-1B Cap Petitions

From USCIS Alerts:

Starting April 2, 2018, USCIS will begin accepting H-1B petitions subject to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 cap. We will temporarily suspend premium processing for all FY 2019 cap-subject petitions, including petitions seeking an exemption for individuals with a U.S. master’s degree or higher. This suspension is expected to last until Sept. 10, 2018. During this time, we will continue to accept premium processing requests for H-1B petitions that are not subject to the FY 2019 cap. We will notify the public before resuming premium processing for cap-subject H-1B petitions or making any other premium processing updates.

During this temporary suspension, we will reject any Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, filed with an FY 2019 cap-subject H-1B petition. If a petitioner submits one combined check for the fees for Form


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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

USCIS Will Begin Accepting CW-1 Petitions for Fiscal Year 2019 on April 2, 2018

From USCIS Alerts:

First-time CW-1 Lottery Ensures Fairness to CNMI Employers

On April 2, 2018, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting petitions under the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)-Only Transitional Worker (CW-1) program subject to the fiscal year (FY) 2019 cap. Employers in the CNMI use the CW-1 program to employ foreign workers who are ineligible for other nonimmigrant worker categories. The cap for CW-1 visas for FY 2019 is 4,999.

For the FY 2019 cap, USCIS encourages employers to file a petition for a CW-1 nonimmigrant worker up to six months in advance of the proposed start date of employment and as early as possible within that timeframe. USCIS will reject a petition if it is filed more than six months in advance. An extension petition may request a start date


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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

New Home Page and Website Header

From USCIS Alerts:

We’ve created a new look for our website’s home page that will help you easily navigate our site.

The new design includes:

  • An announcement ribbon featuring important or breaking news. Since it’s smaller than the old banner, you will immediately see announcements and popular items on desktop computers and mobile devices.
  • Easy access to our most sought-after tools, such as online filing, check case status, and processing times.
  • Prominent links to information on the citizenship process, immigration data, the “Buy American, Hire American” executive order, and documents in the Electronic Reading Room.
  • An educational panel at the bottom of the page that displays videos, multimedia items, and other interactive content such as

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Monday, March 26, 2018

February 2018 Preliminary Injunction on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

From USCIS Alerts:

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Friday, March 23, 2018

Surge in H-2B Petitions Possible for Second Half of FY 2018

From USCIS Alerts:

The U.S. Department of Labor announced it will not begin releasing H-2B temporary labor certifications until Feb. 20, 2018, due to an unprecedented number of applications. As a result of this demand, USCIS may receive more H-2B nonimmigrant worker petitions than there are H-2B visas available in the second half of Fiscal Year 2018.

USCIS is maintaining a flexible approach to this issue, which may include randomly selecting petitions received on the final receipt date to ensure that we allocate H-2B visas fairly and do not exceed the cap. More information will be forthcoming.


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Thursday, March 22, 2018

USCIS is Strengthening Screening for Family Members Abroad Seeking to Join Refugees in the United States

From USCIS Alerts:

On Feb. 1, USCIS and the Department of State implemented new procedures to ensure that all individuals admitted as refugees receive similar, thorough vetting – whether they are principal refugees, accompanying family members, or following-to-join refugees.

A following-to-join refugee is the spouse or child of a principal refugee who lives abroad and wishes to join the principal refugee in the United States.

These measures resulted from the 120-day review mandated by section 6(a) of Executive Order 13780 (PDF), which specifically directed the Department of Homeland Security to determine what additional procedures should be implemented to ensure that individuals seeking admission as refugees do not p


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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation

From USCIS Alerts:

Today, on the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services joins other U.S. government agencies and the global community in calling for an end to the practice of Female Genital Mutilation or Cutting (FGM/C).

The United Nations reports that more than 200 million women and girls have undergone some form of FGM/C. On Zero Tolerance Day, the international community breaks the silence around the harm FGM/C causes to women and girls worldwide. We stand together to recognize that FGM/C is a serious human rights abuse that can have a significant impact on women and girls’ health.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated that more than 500,000 women and girls in the United States are at risk of or have been subjected to FGM/C. Some women and girls


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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Processing Change for Certain Form I-730 Petitions

From USCIS Alerts:

On January 12, 2018, USCIS changed the processing location for certain Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition, filings. Previously the Service Center Operations Directorate processed these filings. 

Now, the International Adjudications Support Branch (IASB) in the Refugee, Asylum, and International Operations Directorate will process the petitions filed by individuals who were  admitted to the United States as refugees. Petitioners and/or accredited representatives who file refugee-based Form I-730 petitions will receive further instructions when IASB receives their filings. 

Form I-730 petitions filed by persons granted asylum will not be affected by this change. 

The mailing instructions for Form I-730 remain the same. Pe


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Monday, March 19, 2018

USCIS Launches Naturalization and Citizenship Certificate Redesign Pilot

From USCIS Alerts:

On Jan. 22, 2018, four USCIS field offices and one service center will participate in a 10-day pilot to issue redesigned citizenship and naturalization certificates to U.S. citizens. The pilot sites are:

  • Norfolk Field Office
  • Tampa Field Office
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul Field Office
  • Sacramento Field Office
  • Nebraska Service Center

The redesign is part of an ongoing USCIS initiative to deter counterfeiting by adding enhanced graphics and fraud-resistant security features to critical documents.

Although the design is new, the process of applying for and receiving naturalization and citizenship certificates will not change. Previously issued certificates will remain valid as proof of citizenship or naturalization, regardless of when they were issued. It is only necessary to replace a certif


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Friday, March 16, 2018

USCIS Will Email Notifications to H-2A Petitioners, Use Pre-Paid Mailers to Send Requests for Evidence

From USCIS Alerts:

Beginning today, Jan. 22, 2018, USCIS will email notifications of receipt and approval to H-2A (temporary agricultural worker) petitioners who file Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker. Also starting today, USCIS will use pre-paid mailers provided by H-2A petitioners to send requests for evidence (RFE) if issued in a case.

These process changes apply only to H-2A petitions due to their highly time-sensitive nature. 

Email Notifications

USCIS will send notifications of receipt and approval to the email address provided by H-2A petitioners in Part 1 of Form I-129 and to any email address provided for their attorney or accredited representative on a valid Form G-28. There is no cha


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Visa Bulletin May 2018 Predictions

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

Please see May 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
F122APR1122APR1122APR1115OCT9622FEB06
F2A01JUN1601JUN1601JUN1601MAY1601JUN16
F2B22APR1122APR1122APR1101DEC9615NOV06
F301FEB0601FEB0601FEB0622JUL9508APR95
F422SEP0422SEP0401MAR0422DEC9722JAN95
"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
F101FEB1201FEB1201FEB1201APR9815NOV07
F2A15NOV1715NOV1715NOV1715NOV1715NOV17
F2B15SEP1115SEP1115SEP1115JAN9715SEP07
F301OCT0601OCT0601OCT0601MAR9801JUL95
F401APR0501APR0515JUL0401MAR9801APR95


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Thursday, March 15, 2018

USCIS Announces Countries Eligible for the H-2A and H-2B Visa Programs

From USCIS Alerts:

USCIS and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in consultation with the Department of State, have published the list of countries whose nationals are eligible to receive H-2A and H‑2B visas in 2018. The notice listing the eligible countries was published on Jan. 18, 2018, in the Federal Register.

For 2018, Secretary of Homeland Security Nielsen and Secretary of State Tillerson have agreed:

  • To add Mongolia to the list of countries eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B visa programs, and
  • To no longer designate Belize, Haiti, and Samoa as eligible countries because they are not meeting the standards for the H

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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Coming Soon: New Home Page and Website Header

From USCIS Alerts:

In a few days, we’ll release a new look for uscis.gov that will help you easily navigate our site.

The new design will include:

  • An announcement ribbon featuring important or breaking news. Since it’s smaller than the old banner, you will immediately see announcements and popular items on desktop computers and mobile devices.  
  • Easy access to our most sought-after tools, such as online filing, check case status, and processing times.
  • Prominent links to information on the citizenship process, immigration data, the “Buy American, Hire American” executive order, and documents in the Electronic Reading Room.
  • An educational panel at the bottom of the page that displays videos, multimedia items, and other interactive content such as citizenship quizzes.
  • An animated

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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Re-Registration Period Opens for Syrians with Temporary Protected Status

From USCIS News:

Work permits expiring March 31 are automatically extended through Sept. 27

WASHINGTON—Current beneficiaries of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) under Syria’s designation who want to maintain their status through Sept. 30, 2019, must re-register between March 5, and May 4, 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


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Visa Bulletin April 2018

For March 2018 Visa Bulletin, please click here: http://www.mygcvisa.com/visa-bulletin/2018/visa-bulletin-march-2018.aspx

April 2018 Visa Bulletin has been officially released (valid from April 1 to April 30 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 08APR11
08APR11 08APR11 08SEP96 01JAN06
F2A 01MAY16 01MAY16 01MAY16 01APR16 01MAY16
F2B 08APR11 08APR11 08APR11 01NOV96 01NOV06
F3 08JAN06 08JAN06 08JAN06 08JUL95  22MAR95
F4 15SEP04 15SEP04 15FEB04 08DEC97 15DEC94
"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 15JAN98 01OCT07
F2A 22SEP17 22SEP17 22SEP17 22SEP17 22SEP17
F2B 01SEP11 01SEP11 01SEP11 01JAN97 01SEP07
F3 01SEP06 01SEP06 01SEP06 15DEC97 15JUN95
F4 08MAR05 08MAR05 22JUN04 08FEB98 01MAR95


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Visa Bulletin April 2018 Special Notes

For the official April 2018 Visa Bulletin, please click here: http://www.mygcvisa.com/visa-bulletin/2018/visa-bulletin-april-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 this year. As a result, it has been necessary to maintain an April Final Action Date of April 22, 2012. 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. OVERSUBSCRIPTION OF THE CHINA-mainland born AND INDIA


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