Saturday, March 23, 2019

McKees Rocks Man Sentenced for Role in Marriage Scam

PITTSBURGH - A resident of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, has been sentenced in federal court to one year of probation on his conviction of conspiracy to defraud the United States and to commit offenses against the United States, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

Senior United States District Judge Donetta Ambrose imposed sentence on Norman Lee McCullough, 55, of McKees Rocks, PA.

In connection with sentencing, the court was advised that from June 2016 to May 4, 2017, McCullough conspired with two other individuals to defraud the Department of Homeland Security, Citizenship and Immigration Services. McCullough, a United States Citizen, received money and entered into a sham marriage with a Nigerian citizen so that the Nigerian citizen could obtain legal permanent residency in the United States. McCullough also submitted f



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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

USCIS Announces FY 2020 H-1B Cap Season Start, Updates, and Changes

Simple, smart changes to make the H-1B visa program work better

WASHINGTON — U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced the start of the fiscal year (FY) 2020 H-1B cap season, start dates for premium processing of cap-subject H-1B petitions, and the launch of its new H-1B data hub, while reminding petitioners of its new H-1B cap selection process. These new efforts underscore the agency’s commitment to supporting President Trump’s Buy American and Hire American executive order designed to protect U.S. workers.

“USCIS continually strives to improve the administration of the H-1B program and make it work better for employers, our agency, and U.S. workers,” said USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna. “We are also committed to fulfilling the president’s Buy Ameri



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Sunday, March 17, 2019

Panama City Marriage Fraud Conspirators Plead Guilty and Sentenced

PANAMA CITY, Fla. – Ravi Babu Kolla, 47, an Indian foreign national residing in Panama City, pleaded guilty yesterday to conspiracy to commit marriage and visa fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.  On Tuesday, his co-defendant Krystal Cloud, 40, of Altha, Florida, was sentenced to 24 months in prison for marriage and visa fraud conspiracy after pleading guilty on December 28, 2018.  Lawrence Keefe, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, announced the guilty plea and sentence.

Between February 2017 and August 2018, Kolla operated an immigration marriage fraud business in Bay County that recruited U.S. citizens to marry Indian foreign nationals to gain immigration benefits.  The majority of the Indian foreign nationals overstayed their Visas or Student Exchange Visitor Program requirements an



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Saturday, March 16, 2019

Visa Bulletin May 2019 Predictions

For official April 2019 Visa Bulletin and analysis, please click here: https://www.mygcvisa.com/visa-bulletin/2019/visa-bulletin-april-2019.aspx

Please see May 2019 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
F122DEC1122DEC1122DEC1101SEP9715MAY07
F2A22MAR1722MAR1722MAR1715MAR1722MAR17
F2B08DEC1208DEC1208DEC1201JAN9822AUG07
F315OCT0615OCT0615OCT0622FEB9608JUL96
F408FEB0608FEB0601AUG0401MAR9815JUL96
"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
F115JUL1215JUL1215JUL1208NOV9922APR08
F2A22DEC1722DEC1722DEC1722DEC1722DEC17
F2B01OCT1401OCT1401OCT1408AUG9815MAR08
F315MAY0715MAY0715MAY0708AUG0008NOV97
F415SEP0615SEP0608MAR0501DEC9801APR98



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Friday, March 15, 2019

Tools Outage

USCIS will conduct a widespread system maintenance on Wednesday, March 13, 2019, from 9 p.m. until midnight (Eastern).

During this time you may experience technical difficulties and many of 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
  • File Online
  • myUSCIS Online Account 

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.



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Thursday, March 14, 2019

5 Arrested in Scheme that Hired People to Take English Proficiency Exam on Behalf of Chinese Nationals Seeking Student Visas

LOS ANGELES – Federal authorities this morning arrested five defendants linked to a scheme that helped Chinese nationals obtain student visas by hiring individuals who used fake Chinese passports to take an English proficiency test for the foreign students.

The arrests were made pursuant to a 26-count indictment returned on Friday by a federal grand jury. The indictment charges the defendants with conspiring to use false passports, using false passports, and aggravated identity theft as part of the scheme to impersonate Chinese nationals who were required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) to obtain a student visa.

The five defendants were taken into custody this morning without incident. They are:

  • Liu Cai, 23, of Woodland Hills, who allegedly facilitated the scheme, took at least five TOEFL exams him


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April 2019 Visa Bulletin

For March 2019 Visa Bulletin, please click here: https://www.mygcvisa.com/visa-bulletin/2019/visa-bulletin-march-2019.aspx

For analysis of April 2019 Visa Bulletin, please click here: https://www.mygcvisa.com/visa-bulletin/2019/visa-bulletin-analysis-april-2019.aspx

April 2019 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 01DEC11
01DEC11 01DEC11 08AUG97 08APR07
F2A 01MAR17 01MAR17 01MAR17 15FEB17 01MAR17
F2B 22OCT12 22OCT12 22OCT12 01DEC97 01AUG07
F3 22SEP06 22SEP06 22SEP06 08FEB96  01JUN96
F4 01JAN06 01JAN06 15JUL04 08FEB98 01JUN96
"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 01JUL12 01JUL12 01JUL12 01OCT99 08APR08
F2A 15DEC17 15DEC17 15DEC17 15DEC17 15DEC17
F2B 01JUL14 01JUL14 01JUL14 01JUL98 01MAR08
F3 22APR07 22APR07 22APR07 15JUN00 01SEP97
F4 01AUG06 01AUG06 15FEB05 15NOV98 15JAN98



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April 2019 Visa Bulletin Analysis

For April 2019 Visa Bulletin, please click here: https://www.mygcvisa.com/visa-bulletin/2019/visa-bulletin-april-2019.aspx

Please see below analysis of April 2019 Visa Bulletin:

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
F1+1 Month 10 Days+1 Month 10 Days+1 Month 10 Days+7 Days+7 Days
F2A+1 Month 24 Days+1 Month 24 Days+1 Month 24 Days+2 Months+1 Month 24 Days
F2B+2 Months 21 Days+2 Months 21 Days+2 Months 21 Days+2 Months 9 Days+10 Days
F3+14 Days+14 Days+14 Days+24 Days+5 Months
F4+3 Months 9 Days+3 Months 9 Days+7 DaysNo Change+5 Months
"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
F1+2 Months 9 Days+2 Months 9 Days+2 Months 9 Days+9 Days+7 Days
F2A+7 Days+7 Days+7 Days+7 Days+7 Days
F2B+9 Days+9 Days+9 Days+4 Months 21 Days+1 Month 10 Days
F3+1 Month 21 Days+1 Month 21 Days+1 Month 21 Days+7 DaysNo Change
F4+1 Month 9 Days+1 Month 9 Days+7 Days+7 Days+7 Days



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April 2019 Visa Bulletin Special Notes

For the official April 2019 Visa Bulletin and analysis, please click here: https://www.mygcvisa.com/visa-bulletin/2019/visa-bulletin-april-2019.aspx

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

D. FINAL ACTION DATE MOVEMENT



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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

USCIS Provided Assist Leading to Indictments on Conspiracy to Commit Marriage Fraud and Related Immigration Charges

RALEIGH, N.C. – Robert J. Higdon, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, announced that a federal grand jury in Raleigh has returned an indictment charging Levan Lomtatidze, 44, a citizen of the country of Georgia; Melissa Anne Godshall, 31, a citizen of the United States; and Robert J. Kennerley, 46, a citizen of the United States, with conspiracy to commit marriage fraud, marriage fraud, aiding and abetting, visa fraud and false statements in immigration proceedings.

The indictment alleges that Godshall and Kennerley, who were romantically involved, were panhandling for money on the side of the road in Granville County, North Carolina. An individual approached them and asked Godshall if she would be willing to marry a foreign-born national for money. Godshall agreed to engage in the marriage to Lomtatidze in exchange for $12,000, housing and a veh



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Tuesday, March 12, 2019

USCIS Resumes Premium Processing for All H-1B Petitions

USCIS will resume premium processing on Tuesday, March 12, for all H-1B petitions. If you received a request for evidence (RFE) for a pending petition, you should include the RFE response with the premium processing request.

When an H-1B petitioner properly requests the agency’s premium processing service, USCIS guarantees a 15-day processing time. If we do not take certain adjudicative action within the 15‑calendar day processing time, USCIS refunds the petitioner’s premium processing service fee and continues with expedited processing of the petition.

If Your H-1B Petition Was Transferred

If you received a transfer notice for a pending H-1B petition, and you are requesting premium processing service, you must submit the premium processing request to th



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Friday, March 8, 2019

Tools Outage

USCIS will conduct a widespread system maintenance on Wednesday, March 6, 2019, from 9 p.m. until midnight (Eastern).

During this time you may experience technical difficulties and many of 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
  • File Online
  • myUSCIS Online Account 

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.



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Thursday, March 7, 2019

USCIS Assists in Case Resulting in the Leader of Non-Profit Music Organization Pleading Guilty in Visa Fraud Scheme

NEW YORK - Yesterday in federal court in Brooklyn, Stella Boyadjian, the operator of a non-profit organization called Big Apple Music Awards Foundation Inc., based in Rego Park, Queens, New York, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to bring aliens unlawfully into the United States, visa fraud, and aggravated identity theft.  The guilty plea was entered before United States Magistrate Judge Sanket J. Bulsara.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate assisted in the case, which was a joint investigation by the Diplomatic Security Service’s Criminal Fraud Investigations and Overseas Criminal Investigations Divisions.

Between January 2013 and December 2014, Boyadjian and others engaged in a widespread visa fraud scheme to bring foreign nationals illegally into the United States by fraudulently claiming to the United



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Wednesday, March 6, 2019

UPDATE: USCIS to Publish Revised Form I-539 and New Form I-539A on March 8

We have revised Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status and will publish the revised form on our website on March 8, 2019. We will be removing the 12/23/16 version of Form I-539 from uscis.gov on March 8 but will be allowing for a two-week grace period, until close of business on March 21, for that version to be received by USCIS. Starting on March 22, we will only accept the revised Form I-539 with an edition date of 02/04/19. We will reject any Form I-539 with an edition date of 12/23/16, or earlier, that is received by USCIS after March 21.

We will also be publishing a new Form I-539A, Supplemental Information for Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, on the Form I-539 webpage on March 8. Form I-539A



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Sunday, March 3, 2019

Worcester Man Charged With Making False Statement in Naturalization Application

BOSTON— A man residing in Worcester was arrested today and charged in federal court in Boston with making a false statement on an application for naturalization.

John Doe, a/k/a Richard Cheremeh, whose true age, name, and nationality are unknown, was charged with one count of making a false statement relating to naturalization and one count of aggravated identity theft.

According to the indictment that was unsealed today, on July 31, 2014, Doe falsely stated on an application for naturalization that he had never given any U.S. government official any information or documentation that was false, fraudulent, or misleading.

The charge of making a false statement relating to naturalization provides for a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000. The charge of aggr



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Saturday, March 2, 2019

USCIS Updates Fee Payment System Used in Field Offices

WASHINGTON—On Feb. 25, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) expanded the fee payment system used in field offices to 13 additional offices:

  • Albuquerque, New Mexico;
  • Buffalo, New York;
  • Detroit, Michigan;
  • El Paso, Texas;
  • Harlingen, Texas;
  • Hartford, Connecticut;
  • Jacksonville, Florida;
  • Louisville, Kentucky;
  • Mt. Laurel, New Jersey;
  • Newark, New Jersey;
  • Raleigh, North Carolina;
  • Sacramento, California; and
  • San Antonio, Texas.

Our fee pa



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Friday, March 1, 2019

New Online Tools Reduce Wait Times for Callers

The USCIS Contact Center is currently experiencing higher than normal wait times for callers to speak to a representative. While we work to resolve this, we encourage you to use our online tools.

Our self-service applicant tools could save you a phone call or a trip to one of our offices. These helpful resources include:

  • The USCIS online account;
  • Case Status Online;
  • Change of Address; and
  • Emma, our online virtual assistant.

If you have an inquiry that cannot be resolved through our self-help tools, you may call the USCIS Contact Center at 800-375-5283 (TTY 800-767-1833).

The USCIS Contact Center is changing its hours of operation to ensure that we h



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Saturday, February 23, 2019

H-2B Cap Reached for FY 2019

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has received enough petitions to meet the congressionally mandated H-2B cap for the second half of fiscal year (FY) 2019. Feb. 19, 2019, was the final receipt date for new cap-subject H-2B worker petitions requesting an employment start date before Oct. 1, 2019. USCIS will reject new cap-subject H-2B petitions received after Feb. 19 that request an employment start date before Oct. 1, 2019.

On Feb. 19, the number of beneficiaries USCIS received petitions for surpassed the total number of remaining H-2B visas available for the H-2B cap for the second half of FY 2019. In accordance with regulations, USCIS determined it was necessary to use a computer-generated process, commonly known as a lottery, to ensure the fair and orderly allocation of H-2B visa numbe



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Sunday, February 17, 2019

USCIS Resumes Premium Processing for H-1B Petitions Filed on or before Dec. 21, 2018

USCIS will resume premium processing on Tuesday, Feb. 19, for all H-1B petitions filed on or before Dec. 21, 2018. If you received a transfer notice for a pending H-1B petition, and you are requesting premium processing service, you must submit the premium processing request to the service center now handling the petition. You should also include a copy of the transfer notice with your premium processing request to avoid possible delays associated with the receipt of your premium processing request. Additionally, if you received a request for evidence (RFE) for a pending petition, you should also include the RFE response with the premium processing request. If your petition was transferred and you send your premium processing request to the wrong center, USCIS will forward it to the petition’s current location.



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Saturday, February 16, 2019

Visa Bulletin April 2019 Predictions

For official March 2019 Visa Bulletin and analysis, please click here: https://www.mygcvisa.com/visa-bulletin/2019/visa-bulletin-march-2019.aspx

Please see April 2019 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
F108NOV1108NOV1108NOV1101SEP9715MAY07
F2A01FEB1701FEB1701FEB1708JAN1701FEB17
F2B15SEP1215SEP1215SEP1222OCT9715AUG07
F301OCT0601OCT0601OCT0601FEB9622JAN96
F422OCT0522OCT0522JUL0415FEB9801FEB96
"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
F101MAY1201MAY1201MAY1222NOV9915APR08
F2A01JAN1801JAN1801JAN1801JAN1801JAN18
F2B15SEP1415SEP1415SEP1415MAR9801FEB08
F308APR0708APR0708APR0715SEP0008NOV97
F401AUG0601AUG0601MAR0501DEC9801APR98



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Friday, February 15, 2019

USCIS Strengthens Guidance on Spousal Petitions Involving Minors

Guidance Clarifies Agency Requirements for Petition

WASHINGTON — U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that it is publishing guidance for its officers to consider when adjudicating spousal petitions involving minors.

The guidance, published as an update (PDF, 210 KB) to the USCIS Adjudicator’s Field Manual (AFM), clarifies age requirements for a petitioner filing an Affidavit of Support for a spouse in conjunction with a concurrently filed I-485, and identifies factors officers should consider when adjudicating a <a target='_blank'



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March 2019 Visa Bulletin Analysis

For March 2019 Visa Bulletin, please click here: https://www.mygcvisa.com/visa-bulletin/2019/visa-bulletin-march-2019.aspx

Please see below analysis of March 2019 Visa Bulletin:

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
F1+1 Month+1 Month+1 MonthNo Change+17 Days
F2A+1 Month 7 Days+1 Month 7 Days+1 Month 7 Days+1 Month+1 Month 7 Days
F2B+3 Months+3 Months+3 Months+2 Months+21 Days
F3+17 Days+17 Days+17 Days+24 Days+4 Months 10 Days
F4+3 Months+3 Months+16 DaysNo Change+3 Months
"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
F1+14 Days+14 Days+14 DaysNo Change+17 Days
F2A+7 Days+7 Days+7 Days+7 Days+7 Days
F2BNo ChangeNo ChangeNo Change+4 Months+7 Days
F3+1 Month+1 Month+1 MonthNo Change+1 Month
F4+7 Days+7 Days+7 Days+7 Days+1 Month



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March 2019 Visa Bulletin

For February 2019 Visa Bulletin, please click here: https://www.mygcvisa.com/visa-bulletin/2019/visa-bulletin-february-2019.aspx

For analysis of March 2019 Visa Bulletin, please click here: https://www.mygcvisa.com/visa-bulletin/2019/visa-bulletin-analysis-march-2019.aspx

March 2019 Visa Bulletin has been officially released (valid from March 1 to March 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 22OCT11
22OCT11 22OCT11 01AUG97 01APR07
F2A 08JAN17 08JAN17 08JAN17 15DEC16 08JAN17
F2B 01AUG12 01AUG12 01AUG12 22SEP97 22JUL07
F3 08SEP06 08SEP06 08SEP06 15JAN96  01JAN96
F4 22SEP05 22SEP05 08JUL04 08FEB98 01JAN96
"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 22APR12 22APR12 22APR12 22SEP99 01APR08
F2A 08DEC17 08DEC17 08DEC17 08DEC17 08DEC17
F2B 22JUN14 22JUN14 22JUN14 08FEB98 22JAN08
F3 01MAR07 01MAR07 01MAR07 08JUN00 01SEP97
F4 22JUN06 22JUN06 08FEB05 08NOV98 08JAN98



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March 2019 Visa Bulletin Special Notes

For the official March 2019 Visa Bulletin and analysis, please click here: https://www.mygcvisa.com/visa-bulletin/2019/visa-bulletin-march-2019.aspx

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

D. SCHEDULED EXPIRATION OF TWO EMPLOYMENT VISA CATEGORIES

Employment Fourth Preference Certain Religious Workers (SR):

Pursuant to the continuing resolution, signed on January 25, 2019, the non-minister special immigrant program expires on February 15, 2019. No SR visas may be issued overseas, or final action taken on adjustment of status cases, after midnight February 14, 2019. Visas issued prior to this date will only be issued with a validity date of February 14, 2019, and all individuals seeking admission as a non-minister special immigrant must be admitted (repeat, admitted) into the U.S. no later than midnight February 14, 2019.

The final action date for this category has been listed as "Unavailable" for March. If there is legislative action extending this category for FY-2019, the final action date would immediately become "Current" for March



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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

USCIS to Publish Revised Form I-539 and New Form I-539A

We have revised Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status and will publish the revised form on our website on March 11, 2019. Starting on March 11, 2019, we will only accept the revised Form I-539 with an edition date of 02/04/19. We will reject any Form I-539 with an edition date of 12/23/16 or earlier. We will also be publishing a new Form I-539A, Supplemental Information for Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, on the Form I-539 webpage on March 11. Form I-539A replaces the Supplement A provided in previous versions of Form I-539. Form I-539A can only be submitted with Form I-539; it cannot be filed as a standalone form.

The revised Form I-539 includes the following significant changes: 

  • Every co-applicant included on the primary applicant’s


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Saturday, February 9, 2019

USCIS Now Accepting Copies of Negative P Visa Consultations Directly from Labor Unions

Effective immediately, USCIS will begin accepting copies of negative consultation letters directly from labor unions relating to a current or future P nonimmigrant visa petition. A consultation letter from a U.S. labor organization is generally required for petitions in the P visa classification, which covers athletes, artists, entertainers and their essential support personnel.

Typically, a petitioner submits the necessary P visa consultation with the petition, and that process requirement remains unchanged. After reported concerns from labor unions that some consultation letters, also known as advisory opinions, may have been falsified by petitioners and submitted to USCIS as no-objections or favorable consultations, when in fact they were negative, USCIS announced that it would begin accepting copies of nega



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Thursday, February 7, 2019

USCIS Statement on the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation

On Feb. 6, 2019, the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) join other U.S. government agencies and the international community in calling for an end to the practice of female genital mutilation or cutting (FGM/C). 

FGM/C is the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for no medical reason.

The United Nations reports that more than 200 million women and girls around the world have undergone some form of FGM/C. On Zero Tolerance Day, we are raising awareness about this practice, which is happening here in the United States, in small towns and big cities alike. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates approximately 500,000 girls in the Un



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Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Owner of Information Technology Staffing Company Charged With Visa and Naturalization Fraud

NEWARK, N.J. – A Middlesex County, New Jersey, man was arrested this morning for allegedly submitting 11 fraudulent H-1B visa applications as well as fraudulently procuring his own citizenship, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Neeraj Sharma, 43, of Piscataway, New Jersey, is charged by complaint with one count of visa fraud and one count of naturalization fraud. Sharma is scheduled to make his initial appearance this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael A. Hammer in Newark federal court.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Sharma recruited foreign workers with purported IT expertise who sought work in the United States. When submitting the potential staffers’ H-1B visa paperwork to U.S. Citizenship and Immigrations Services, Sharma falsely represented that the foreign work



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Tuesday, February 5, 2019

USCIS to Close the Moscow Field Office

Due to a significant decrease in workload, USCIS will permanently close its field office in Moscow, Russia, on March 29, 2019. The last day the office will be open to the public and accepting applications is Feb. 28, 2019. The USCIS field office in Athens, Greece, will assume jurisdiction over immigration matters in the Russian Federation, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.  The U.S. Embassy in Moscow will assume responsibility for certain limited services previously provided by USCIS to individuals residing in Russia (see table below). The USCIS Refugee Affairs Division will assume primary responsibility for adjudicating refugee cases presented for interview in the region.

Beginning on Mar



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Thursday, January 31, 2019

DHS Announces Final Rule for a More Effective and Efficient H-1B Visa Program

WASHINGTON—The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) posted today for public inspection, a final rule amending regulations governing H-1B cap-subject petitions, including those that may be eligible for the advanced degree exemption. The final rule reverses the order by which U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) selects H-1B petitions under the H-1B regular cap and the advanced degree exemption, and it introduces an electronic registration requirement for petitioners seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions. The rule will be published in the Federal Register on Jan. 31, and will go into effect on April 1, though the electronic registration requireme



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Wednesday, January 30, 2019

USCIS Makes Two More Applications Available for Online Filing

WASHINGTON – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that applicants can now complete and file Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship, and Form N-600K, Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate Under Section 322 online.

“One of the major burdens to both benefit seekers and the agency’s adjudicators is the costly, time consuming, and cumbersome process of traditional paper filing,” said USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna. “This addition to our online capabilities is yet another positive advancement toward a more efficient and convenient filing experience for everyone involved.”

Applicants can file Form N-60



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Tuesday, January 29, 2019

USCIS Announces Online Case Status Feature for Asylum Applicants

WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that applicants who have a pending affirmative asylum application with USCIS can now check the status of their applications online at uscis.gov/casestatus. Only asylum applicants with an application pending with USCIS will be able to use this new feature to check their case status online. It will not cover defensive asylum applicants whose cases are pending in immigration court.

“The new capability increases transparency and assures applicants that they have the most up-to-date and accurate information about their case, 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna. “We strive to adjudicate all applications and petitions in a timely manner and are



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Saturday, January 26, 2019

USCIS Resumes Premium Processing for Fiscal Year 2019 H-1B Cap Petitions

USCIS will resume premium processing on Monday, Jan. 28, for all fiscal year (FY) 2019 H-1B cap petitions, including those eligible for the advanced degree exemption (the “master’s cap”). Petitioners who have received requests for evidence (RFEs) for pending FY 2019 cap petitions should include their RFE response with any request for premium processing they may submit.

H-1B visas provide employers with skilled workers for a wide range of specialty occupations. When a petitioner requests the agency’s premium processing service, USCIS guarantees a 15-day processing time. If we do not take certain adjudicative action within the 15‑calendar day processing time, USCIS refunds the petitioner’s premium



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Friday, January 25, 2019

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

USCIS and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in consultation with the Department of State (DOS), have announced the list of countries whose nationals are eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B visa programs in 2019. The notice listing the eligible countries was published in the Federal Register on Jan. 18, 2019.

For 2019, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have agreed to:

  • Add Mozambique and Samoa to the list of countries eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B visa programs;
  • Add Paraguay to the list of countries eligible to participate in the H-2A visa program;


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Friday, January 18, 2019

Tools Outage

USCIS will conduct system maintenance on Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019, 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

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.



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Thursday, January 17, 2019

JTF-W STC Arrests USCIS Target Tied To Illicit Funds, Marriage Fraud

MCALLEN, TEXAS – On January 8, 2019, agents assigned to the Joint Task Force - West, South Texas Corridor’s McAllen Joint Targeting Team (JTT) in coordination with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and Hidalgo County Precinct 2 Constables Office, arrested Edsgardo Coss-Vallejo on suspicion of marriage fraud and currency smuggling.

During a USCIS interview, Coss-Vallejo’s petitioner withdrew her I-30 Petition for Alien Relative form.  USCIS subsequently denied the application, revoked his visa, and notified JTF-W STC of his overstay and suspected marriage fraud. Additional research by the JTT revealed several illicit financial transactions totaling $128,000.  JTT agents requested and received consent from Coss-Vallejo to search his home after suspecting illicit activity at



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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Visa Bulletin March 2019 Predictions

For official February 2019 Visa Bulletin and analysis, please click here: https://www.mygcvisa.com/visa-bulletin/2019/visa-bulletin-february-2019.aspx

Please see March 2019 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
F108OCT1108OCT1108OCT1101SEP9701MAY07
F2A22DEC1622DEC1622DEC1608DEC1622DEC16
F2B08JUN1208JUN1208JUN1215AUG9701AUG07
F315SEP0615SEP0615SEP0608JAN9601SEP95
F422JUL0522JUL0508JUL0415FEB9801NOV95
"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
F115APR1215APR1215APR1215DEC9901APR08
F2A01JAN1801JAN1801JAN1801JAN1801JAN18
F2B15SEP1415SEP1415SEP1401NOV9701FEB08
F308MAR0708MAR0708MAR0701NOV0001OCT97
F401AUG0601AUG0622FEB0522NOV9801MAR98



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Friday, January 11, 2019

Visa Bulletin Predictions for 2019

For the official February 2019 Visa Bulletin and analysis, please click here: https://www.mygcvisa.com/visa-bulletin/2019/visa-bulletin-february-2019.aspx

FAMILY-sponsored categories (potential monthly movement)
Worldwide dates (except oversubscribed countries):

F1: Up to five weeks
F2A: Up to one month
F2B: Up to two months
F3: Up to two weeks
F4: Up to six weeks

EMPLOYMENT-based categories (potential monthly movement)



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February 2019 Visa Bulletin Analysis

For February 2019 Visa Bulletin, please click here: https://www.mygcvisa.com/visa-bulletin/2019/visa-bulletin-february-2019.aspx

Please see below analysis of February 2019 Visa Bulletin:

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
F1+1 Month+1 Month+1 MonthNo Change+14 Days
F2A+23 Days+23 Days+23 Days+1 Month+23 Days
F2B+1 Month 17 Days+1 Month 17 Days+1 Month 17 Days+1 Month 14 Days+9 Days
F3+7 Days+7 Days+7 DaysNo Change+1 Month
F4+1 Month+1 Month+7 DaysNo Change+1 Month
"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
F1+1 Month+1 Month+1 Month+1 Month+1 Month
F2ANo ChangeNo ChangeNo ChangeNo ChangeNo Change
F2B+3 Months+3 Months+3 Months+1 Month+1 Month
F3+24 Days+24 Days+24 Days+1 Month 7 Days+2 Months
F4+1 Month+1 Month+1 Month+24 Days+7 Months 16 Days



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February 2019 Visa Bulletin

For January 2019 Visa Bulletin, please click here: https://www.mygcvisa.com/visa-bulletin/2019/visa-bulletin-january-2019.aspx

For analysis of February 2019 Visa Bulletin, please click here: https://www.mygcvisa.com/visa-bulletin/2019/visa-bulletin-analysis-february-2019.aspx

February 2019 Visa Bulletin has been officially released (valid from February 1 to February 28 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 22SEP11
22SEP11 22SEP11 01AUG97 15MAR07
F2A 01DEC16 01DEC16 01DEC16 15NOV16 01DEC16
F2B 01MAY12 01MAY12 01MAY12 22JUL97 01JUL07
F3 22AUG06 22AUG06 22AUG06 22DEC95  22AUG95
F4 22JUN05 22JUN05 22JUN04 08FEB98 01OCT95
"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 08APR12 08APR12 08APR12 22SEP99 15MAR08
F2A 01DEC17 01DEC17 01DEC17 01DEC17 01DEC17
F2B 22JUN14 22JUN14 22JUN14 08OCT97 15JAN08
F3 01FEB07 01FEB07 01FEB07 08JUN00 01AUG97
F4 15JUN06 15JUN06 01FEB05 01NOV98 08DEC97



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Thursday, January 10, 2019

Tools Outage

USCIS will conduct system maintenance on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019, 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

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.



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Wednesday, January 9, 2019

New USCIS Tool Calculates Fees, Helps Avoid Incorrect Payments

WASHINGTON— USCIS has launched a new Online Fee Calculator to assist members of the public in calculating the correct fee amount to include when filing their forms with USCIS at an agency lockbox facility. A list of forms processed at USCIS Lockbox facilities is available on the USCIS website.

USCIS developed the Online Fee Calculator to help reduce the number of applications rejected due to incorrect fee amounts. The Online Fee Calculator will determine the exact filing and biometric fees an individual needs to include with their forms and will always have the most up-to-date fee information.

In fiscal year 2017, USCIS processed more than 11 million applications. For applications that require fees



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Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Tools Outage

USCIS will conduct system maintenance on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019, 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

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.



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Saturday, January 5, 2019

Civics Test Answer Updates

Are you preparing for the naturalization test? As you study for the U.S. history and government (civics) test, make sure that you know the most current answers to these questions. 

Periodically, answers to the civics test change to reflect the results of federal and state elections and appointments or to clarify content and ensure consistency in terminology. The revised answers to the questions below are effective immediately.

QuestionUpdate
20. Who is one of your state’s U.S. Senators now?

The answer to this question may change as the result of elections, appointments, or retirements.

Give the name of one of your state&



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