12/12/2013: January 2014 Visa Bulletin Released
The Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for January 2014. The table below shows cut-off date movement from the previous month, for all major employment-based categories. For more information please refer to our Visa Bulletin Toolbox.
|Chargeability||Preference||Cut-off Date Movement (Days)|
12/09/2013: Obama's Illegal-Immigration Order Stokes Amnesty Worries
Facing intense pressure from immigrant advocates who want the president to do more to limit deportations, the Obama administration has quietly issued a directive to help undocumented immigrants who are closely related to military personnel stay in the country.
The effort is called "parole in place," and it aims to end rampant confusion among immigration officials about how to treat the parents, spouses, and minor children of those in active duty as well as veterans and reservists. Under parole in place, these relatives no longer have to leave the country to apply for legal US status – a situation that often resulted in the applicants being barred from reentering the US for years. - Christian Science Monitor
12/05/2013: DOS Consular Processing Inventory Released
The Department of State (DOS) publishes an annual report of immigrant visa applicants waiting at the National Visa Center. This year's report was released today, with data as of 11/01/2013. Our green card tracker takes these data into calculation, and use them together with the USCIS pending I-485 inventory to provide you a better estimate of your place in line for a green card. The green card tracker has now been updated with the new Consular Processing (CP) inventory.
12/02/2013: Immigration Activists Warn Against Another Possible Crowd of Illegal Crossers
Over a week ago, a mob of over a hundred people crossed the Mexico border into the US illegally at the Tijuana River channel only to be pushed back by border patrol agents and now a second attempt may be in the works. Border Patrol Agents believe the illegal crossing crowd was part of a planned act of disobedience that took place the Sunday before thanksgiving. - Fox
11/27/2013: In California, a Vision of Republicans' Challenge on Immigration
For most Republicans in the U.S. Congress, a large gathering of Hispanic voters to discuss immigration would be politically perilous - an invitation to complaints about the party's longtime resistance to measures aimed at helping undocumented immigrants. - Reuters
11/22/2013: USCIS Customer Service Tools Outage ALERT
USCIS will conduct system maintenance from 6:00 p.m. (Eastern) on Saturday, November 23 through 6:00 p.m. (Eastern) on Sunday, November 24. During this time, our online tools will be unavailable, including: Check My Case Status, e-Request, e-Filing, Change of Address Online, Check Processing Times and Civil Surgeon Locator.
11/22/2013: Guidance to USCIS Offices on Handling Certain Family-Based Automatic Conversion and Priority Date Retention Requests
This policy memorandum (PM) provides guidance for properly assigning priority dates in those instances where a petitioner requests that the priority date from a separate, previously file petition, be applied to a later filed family-based second-preference "B" petition (F2B) or seeks adjustment of status in the F2B category, based upon an originally-filed family-based second-preference "A" petition (F2A) pursuant to Public Law 107-208, the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA). - USCIS
11/20/2013: USCIS I-130 Processing Times to Improve in Coming Month
In an email sent to stakeholders today, USCIS promised to speed up the adjudication of I-130 forms in the coming months. In fact, USCIS said the processing had already improved, with USCIS currently processing February 2013 petitions instead of October 2012, as published in most recent processing guidelines. By May of next year, USCIS expects to return to an average processing time of five months for these Forms.
11/19/2013: Obama Now Backs Piecemeal Approach on Immigration
President Barack Obama said on Tuesday a piecemeal approach to achieving a U.S. immigration overhaul in the U.S. Congress is acceptable to him if it is easier than gaining passage of one large legislative bill.
"If they want to chop that thing up in five pieces, as long as all five pieces get done, I don't care what it looks like," Obama said. - Reuters
11/17/2013: Can Obama Legalize 11 Million Immigrants on His Own?
It's now looking extremely unlikely that Congress will enact immigration reform this year. And that raises a question: Could President Obama use his executive powers to effectively legalize some of the 11 million undocumented immigrants already in the United States?
So what could Obama actually do for illegal immigrants on his own? A bit, though probably not as much as Rubio suggested. In 2012, the administration was able to stop the deportation of hundreds of thousands of undocumented young adults under a deferred-action program. Obama could, in theory, expand that program somewhat, allowing even more current immigrants to work legally in the United States without fear of getting deported. - Washington Post
11/15/2013: Immigration Relief Measures Related to Typhoon Haiyan
In light of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines (named "Yolanda" by Philippine authorities), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) would like to remind Filipino nationals that they may be eligible for certain immigration relief measures if requested. USCIS understands that a natural disaster can affect an individual's ability to establish or maintain lawful immigration status in the United States. Therefore, Filipino nationals impacted by Typhoon Haiyan may be eligible to benefit from the following immigration relief measures. - USCIS
11/11/2013: Immigration Vote Unlikely This Year, Lawmaker Says
A top Republican lawmaker told protesters he met with in his home district in California this week that the House of Representatives would not have time this year to vote on any immigration measure. Representative Kevin McCarthy, the majority whip, told demonstrators in his office in Bakersfield on Wednesday night that the 16 days remaining on the House calendar in 2013 were too short a window for the House to take up the complex issue. But he said he was committed to moving on immigration votes in the House next year. - NY Times
11/08/2013: Visa Bulletin Predictions for Early 2014
In the December 2013 Visa Bulletin, the Department of State published their predictions of cutoff date movement for the coming months. India EB2 and EB3 are expected to see no forward movement while the other employment-based categories may advance by a few weeks. See this page for details.
11/08/2013: December 2013 Visa Bulletin Released
The Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for December 2013. The table below shows cut-off date movement from the previous month, for all major employment-based categories. For more information please refer to our Visa Bulletin Toolbox.
|Chargeability||Preference||Cut-off Date Movement (Days)|
"The India Employment Second and Third preference category cut-off dates were advanced very rapidly at the end of fiscal year 2013. Those movements were based strictly on the availability of thousands of "otherwise unused" numbers which could be made available without regard to the preference per-country annual limits. The movements have resulted in a dramatic increase in the level of applicant demand received in recent months. This has required the retrogression of those cut-off dates for December in an effort to hold number use within the numerical limits. - DOS"
11/07/2013: Immigration Reform: The Politics of the Possible
Coming out of the 2012 election, comprehensive immigration reform seemed inevitable. The political power of the growing Latino population combined with a newly elected, popular president making reform his top legislative priority seemed like a recipe for fast action.
Unfortunately, comprehensive reform has not made it to the president's desk for a number of political and policy-related reasons. Now, advocates for reform are wondering if the window for legislative action that opens between election cycles has closed. While the government shutdown and looming deadlines for another fiscal crisis are impeding passage this year, there is still an opportunity to make it happen in this Congress. - CSMonitor
11/04/2013: USCIS Pending I-485 Inventory Released
USCIS published the pending I-485 inventory with data as of 10/01/2013. Our Green Card Tracker has been updated with the new data. To learn more, please visit the Frequently Asked Questions or contact us.
11/04/2013: Rubio Switches Strategy on Immigration
Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio is backing off his push for comprehensive immigration reform, opting instead to pursue a piecemeal approach favored by House Republican leaders. Rubio was a key player on the bipartisan "Gang of Eight" that conceived, wrote and sold a Senate bill aimed at tightening border security, revamping the nation's visa program and providing a path to citizenship for an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants. - Florida Today
10/31/2013: Tips for Foreign Nationals in the United States Impacted by Civil Unrest or Natural Disasters in Their Home Country
Conditions in your home country, such as civil unrest or a severe environmental disaster may impede your ability to return home as originally planned or may create temporary financial difficulties for you and your family. Extreme situations beyond your control also may affect your ability to maintain lawful immigration status while in the United States. During these special situations, temporary relief measures may be available to eligible foreign nationals. - USCIS
10/30/2013: USCIS Launches Redesigned USCIS.GOV Website
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced the launch of the agency's redesigned website available in both English and Spanish. The redesigned website provides customers with a simplified and more user-friendly experience. The USCIS.gov website incorporates current best practices while introducing a new content management system that will improve functionality and allow for continued enhancements. Some of the improvements to the new website include better navigation menus, a tools section that helps customers complete common electronic transactions, and a more prominent search bar that produces improved results.
10/29/2013: U.S. to Hit Infosys With Record Immigration Fine
The federal government is set to slap Infosys Ltd. with the largest immigration fine ever, claiming the Indian outsourcing giant illegally placed workers on visitor, rather than work, visas at big corporate clients across the U.S. The government is expected to announce Wednesday it will fine Infosys about $35 million, according to people close to the matter. An investigation by the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department found that the Indian company used inexpensive, easy-to-obtain B-1 visas meant to cover short business visits—instead of harder-to-get H-1B work visas—to bring an unknown number of its employees for long-term stays, these people say. - WSJ
10/27/2013: ICE: Health Care Info Will Not Be Used to Enforce Immigration Law
Consistent with the ACA's, the SSA's, and implementing regulations' limitations on the use of information provided by individuals for such coverage, and in line with ICE's operational focus, ICE does not use information about such individuals or members of their household that is obtained for purposes of determining eligibility for such coverage as the basis for pursuing a civil immigration enforcement action against such individuals or members of their household, whether that information is provided by a federal agency to the Department of Homeland Security for purposes of verifying immigration status information or whether the information is provided to ICE by another source. - ICE Memo
10/24/2013: President Obama on Immigration: 'Let's do it now'
Immigration reform may not pass, but that's no reason to give up the fight, President Barack Obama said Thursday. The president made his long-awaited return to the issue in a brief East Room speech urging advocates to keep the pressure on House Republicans to take action on the Senate's immigration bill, saying that only public pressure will lead to action. And yet Obama expressed some of the same skepticism he decried, saying that while immigration reform is "the right thing to do," it doesn't have a clear path to success.- Politico
10/22/2013: USCIS Memo on 17-Month Extension of Post-Completion OPT for F-1 Students
Therefore, in accordance with the above interpretation of 8 CFR 214.2(f)(10)(ii)(C)(1) and (2), F-1 students who are currently in a period of post-completion OPT while completing his or her thesis and has completed all other course requirements for his or her STEM degree, is eligible to apply for a 17- month STEM extension, notwithstanding the fact that the student has not yet completed the thesis requirement or equivalent for his or her STEM degree. - USCIS
10/21/2013: I-130 Transfer from National Benefits Center to Service Centers
USCIS recently began transferring some casework from the National Benefits Center to the Nebraska, Texas and California Service Centers to balance overall operational workload. The affected casework includes the following form: I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, filed by U.S. citizens for their eligible immediate relative (spouse, child, or parent).
If your case was transferred, USCIS will send you a notice listing the transfer date and where your case will be processed. Your original receipt number will not change and this will not further delay the processing of your case. - USCIS
10/18/2013: Important Information on Form I-129 H-1B, H-2A, and H-2B Petitions
If an H-1B, H-2A, or H-2B petitioner submits evidence establishing that the primary reason for failing to timely file an extension of stay or change of status request was due to the government shutdown, USCIS will consider the government shutdown as an extraordinary circumstance and excuse the late filing, if the petitioner meets all other applicable requirements. - USCIS
10/18/2013: Immigration Legislation's Prospects Bleak After Bitter Budget Fight
The rough justice dispensed by the White House and Senate Democrats during the standoff impasse has further soured key House Republicans on passing immigration legislation. Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), who earlier this year had been working with lawmakers from both parties to write an immigration bill, said that President Obama's refusal to negotiate with House Speaker John Boehner over funding the government and increasing the country's borrowing limit made him unwilling to enter into talks over immigration. - NYT
10/17/2013: U.S. Government to Reopen on Thursday
A potentially crippling U.S. debt default was averted late Wednesday, as Congress passed legislation to end a political showdown that had rattled financial markets, splintered the Republican Party and showcased Washington dysfunction. The House voted 285-144 to reopen the government through Jan. 15, suspend the debt ceiling through Feb. 7 and lay the groundwork for talks over broader budget issues. The Senate earlier approved the bill 81-18. President Barack Obama signed the bill early Thursday morning. - WSJ
10/14/2013: U.K. Unveils New Measures to Limit Immigration
The British government pressed ahead with its controversial plan to crack down on illegal immigrants Thursday, despite arguments that its tougher approach could deter people with much-needed skills coming from abroad and that the measures will be unworkable.
In an attempt to counter concerns among British voters that foreigners are placing an unnecessary strain on public services at a time of spending cuts, the government Thursday published its Immigration Bill, which is designed to make it easier to remove illegal immigrants and to prevent them from using state-funded services such as health care. - WSJ
10/10/2013: November 2013 Visa Bulletin Released
The Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for October 2013. The table below shows cut-off date movement from the previous month, for all major employment-based categories. For more information please refer to our Visa Bulletin Toolbox.
|Chargeability||Preference||Cut-off Date Movement (Days)|
DOS Explanation on EMPLOYMENT-based Third Preference:
"China: Rapid forward movement of the cut-off date, as a result of there being insufficient demand to use all available numbers, allowed the category to reach the Worldwide Third preference cut-off date in May 2013. The continued lack of demand has allowed the "otherwise unused" numbers available under that limit to be provided for use in the China Employment Third preference Other Workers category. The continued addition of those numbers has allowed the cut-off date for that category to reach the China Third preference date for November. This is the same action which has been possible for the Other Worker category in other "oversubscribed" countries such as India and Mexico. A sudden increase in demand for China Employment Third preference visas could require corrective action in the China Other Worker cut-off date at any time."
10/08/2013: Democratic Lawmakers Arrested During Immigration Protest
Eight Democratic lawmakers were arrested Tuesday while advocating for comprehensive immigration reform in front of the U.S. Capitol. The politicians, along with activists who attended an immigration rally on the National Mall Tuesday afternoon, staged a sit-in near the west side of the Capitiol. Authorities arrested the lawmakers for crowding and disrupting the streets around the Capitol. Police arrested almost 200 people during the protest. - NBC News
10/07/2013: Quick Survey on Government Shutdown
Is the government shutdown affecting your immigration cases in any way? Let us know: http://immigrationroad.com/blog/quick-survey-on-government-shutdown/
10/05/2013: Illegal Immigrants Allowed to Practice Law in California
Illegal immigrants can be licensed to practice law in California under one of eight bills expanding immigrant rights that were signed by Governor Jerry Brown on Saturday. The California Supreme Court, which finalizes requests of applicants to be licensed as a lawyer in California, is now authorized to approve qualified applicants regardless of their immigration status. - Chicago Tribune
10/03/2013: California OKs Giving Driver's Licenses to Illegal Immigrants
Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill Thursday adding California to the growing list of states allowing immigrants living in the country illegally to obtain driver's licenses. Immigrant advocates have long lobbied for the change in the nation's most populous state. The licenses would carry a distinction on the front of the card that states the document may be used for driving, not as federal identification. - CBS
09/30/2013: Impact of Government Shutdown on Immigration Agencies
09/30/2013: Office of Foreign Labor Certification Contingency Plan
The Administration is working very hard to avoid a government shutdown and believes there is sufficient time to avoid such an occurrence; however, prudent management requires the Department to plan for the possibility that it may need to suspend operations should Congress be unable to pass a funding bill by midnight on Monday, September 30, 2013.
OFLC functions are not "excepted" from a shutdown and its employees would be placed in furlough status should a lapse in appropriated funds occur. Consequently, in the event of a government shutdown, OFLC will neither accept nor process any applications or related materials (such as audit responses) it receives, including Labor Condition Applications, Applications for Prevailing Wage Determination, Applications for Temporary Employment Certification, or Applications for Permanent Employment Certification. OFLC's web site, including the iCERT Visa Portal System, would become static and unable to process any requests or allow authorized users to access their online accounts. - OFLC
09/30/2013: With Shutdown Looming, Senate Returns to Work
With what would be the first government shutdown in 17 years due to take effect at midnight Tuesday, the Senate will return to business Monday afternoon to consider the Republican House's weekend spending-bill offer, which the chamber's ranking Democrat has vowed to reject.
There have been 17 government shutdowns, the most recent lasting from Dec. 16, 1995, to Jan. 6, 1996 -- the longest in U.S. history. - Fox News
09/27/2013: Minimal Impact on USCIS under Potential Government Shutdown
The Department of Homeland Security's 2011 contingency plan designated about 84 percent of the agency's rougly 230,000 employees as "essential," meaning they would have remained on the job for the "safety of human life or protection of property." Some of those workers would have also been part of an "emergency relocation group" that responds to possible emergency situations.
Among DHS components, the Transportation Security Administration would have retained about 87 percent of its workforce under a 2011 shutdown, while about 74 percent of Federal Emergency Management Agency and 84 percent of both Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection employees would have remained on the job. Topping the list with the highest percentage would have been U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, at 98 percent, followed by the Secret Service, with 89 percent. - Washington Post
09/25/2013: California Lawmakers Move to Shield Illegal Immigrants from Deportation
Police in California would be prohibited from helping deport some illegal immigrants under a bill being considered by Gov. Jerry Brown, in a proposed change some say would violate federal law. The so-called Trust Act would bar police from cooperating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers on a variety of cases. Proponents say the bill is narrowly focused and only applies to those illegal immigrants arrested for minor crimes.
Prosecutors and sheriffs disagree. - Fox News
09/23/2013: Illegal Immigration May Be Back on the Rise
After leveling off in recent years, illegal immigration may be back on the rise, according to a new study that will provide ammunition to House Republicans who want to secure the southwest border with Mexico before considering a broader overhaul of the nation's immigration laws. - USA Today
09/19/2013: Man Sentenced to 15 Months in Plot to Bribe Immigration Official
A Connecticut man has been sentenced to 15 months in prison in a plot to bribe an immigration officer to get a green card. Prosecutors say in 2011, Israr and a Maryland attorney contacted a person whom the attorney said would provide immigration documents for money. Authorities say neither Israr nor his lawyer knew the person was, in fact, an undercover agent. - Washington Post
09/19/2013: Outside Groups Try to Revive Immigration Reform
Nancy Pelosi is huddling with Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, top labor leaders and former AOL executive Steve Case in separate meetings this week as supporters of immigration reform try to revive the issue, which fast seems to be dying on Capitol Hill. Their goal: get legislation moving in the House again before the Thanksgiving recess. - Politico
09/16/2013: Green Card Lottery DV-2015 Instructions
DV 2015 Program: Online registration for the DV 2015 Program will begin on Tuesday, October 1, 2013 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4), and conclude on Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4). - DOS
09/15/2013: Immigrants Lacking Papers Work Legally — As Their Own Bosses
Although federal law prohibits employers from hiring someone residing in the country illegally, there is no law prohibiting such a person from starting a business or becoming an independent contractor. As a result, some young immigrants are forming limited liability companies or starting freelance careers — even providing jobs to U.S. citizens — as the prospect of an immigration law revamp plods along in Congress. - LA Times
09/13/2013: More Than 100 Women Arrested at Capitol Immigration Reform Protest
U.S. Capitol Police arrested more than 100 people Thursday after a group of female demonstrators participating in an immigration reform rally locked arms and blocked an intersection in downtown Washington, D.C. The women, wearing red T-shirts demanding "Fair Immigration Reform," called for members of the House of Representative to pass comprehensive and inclusive immigration reform that treats women and children fairly. They then joined hands and sat in a circle on a major street through the Capitol complex. - ABC
09/09/2013: October 2013 Visa Bulletin Released
The Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for October, 2013. The table below shows cut-off date movement from the previous month, for all major employment-based categories. For more information please refer to our Visa Bulletin Toolbox.
|Chargeability||Preference||Cut-off Date Movement (Days)|
09/04/2013: USCIS Implements Customer Identity Verification at Field Offices
Beginning September 9, 2013, USCIS will employ a new verification tool called Customer Identity Verification (CIV) in its field offices. Customers will now submit biometric data, specifically fingerprints and photographs, when appearing at USCIS offices for interviews or to receive evidence of an immigration benefit.
"After a customer arrives at a field office, clears security, and is called to the counter, we will electronically scan two fingerprints and take a picture to verify their identity. The process takes just a few minutes and applies only to customers who have an interview or receive evidence of an immigration benefit. People who come to our office for InfoPass appointments or to accompany a customer will not undergo this process. After we verify the customer's identity, they can proceed to their interview or receive their document." - USCIS
09/04/2013: USCIS Future Digital Customer Service Tools
"USCIS is also developing additional web tools that will make it easier to interact with agency representatives and receive answers to your questions. For our last idea campaign, we asked for your ideas on future self-help tools. Our next idea campaign, active through September 16, will allow you to provide feedback on ideas related to potential digital customer service tools. We would like to hear your thoughts on the following:"
- Web chat enables you to get help from an agency representative live on the web through a chat window.
- Email enables you to send an email to an agency representative and receive a response back within a few business days.
- Co-browsing lets you share your computer screen with an agency representative so they can help you navigate the USCIS.gov website.
- Web callback lets you request an immediate or a scheduled callback from our website.
- Social Media Engagement lets our staff answer questions that you may have through our YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter pages.
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