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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Friday, March 2, 2018

USCIS Completes Random Selection Process for H-2B Visa Cap for Second Half of FY 2018

From USCIS News:

WASHINGTON— On Feb. 21, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began receiving H-2B cap-subject petitions for the second half of fiscal year 2018.

During the first five business days USCIS received approximately 2,700 H-2B cap-subject petitions requesting approximately 47,000 workers, which is more than the number of H-2B visas available. As a result, USCIS, in accordance with applicable regulations, conducted a lottery on Feb. 28 to randomly select enough petitions to meet the cap. 

USCIS will reject and return the petitions and associated filing fees to petitioners that were not selected, as well as any cap-subject petitions received after Feb. 27.

In January, the Department of Labor <a target='_blank' href="https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/01/23/2018-01166/labor-certifi


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Thursday, March 1, 2018

Tools Outage

From USCIS Alerts:

USCIS will conduct system maintenance on Thursday, March 1, 2018, from 9 p.m. to 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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