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Immigration News

05/18/2018: Incorrect Appointment Notices Sent to Petitioners Who Filed Form I-751

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.

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 location.

If you received an incorrect appointment notice, you do not need to travel out of the normal area to attend your biometric services appointment. Instead, you have two options:

  • Wait until you receive a new biometric services appointment notice with the correct ASC and new appointment date. You can confirm that we sent a new appointment notice by checking Case Status Online.
  • Go to the ASC closest to you as a walk-in. However, you may experience a long wait time and may not be seen that day. You can find the closest ASC by using the ASC locator on uscis.gov/about-us/find-uscis-office.

05/18/2018: Important USCIS Reminder on Automatic Termination of OPT and EAD

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). - USCIS

05/15/2018: USCIS Completes Data Entry of FY-2019 H-1B Cap Petitions

From USCIS: "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 receive notification in the mail. After receiving the notification, please send all future correspondence to the center processing your petition."

05/14/2018: USCIS to Recall Incorrectly Dated Green Cards

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 incorrect card.

The recall does not affect these Green Card holders’ status as lawful permanent residents. If affected individuals need to travel internationally or prove their lawful permanent residence while they wait for a replacement card, they may contact the USCIS Contact Center at 800-375-5283 to determine if they need additional proof.

Spouses of U.S. citizens may apply for naturalization after three years of permanent residency and must meet other requirements. The incorrect date on these cards could lead applicants to wait longer than necessary to apply to become U.S. citizens.

05/12/2018: USCIS I-485 Filing Chart for June 2018

Employment-based: Use Final Action visa bulletin chart;

Family-sponsored: Use FILING visa bulletin chart.

05/12/2018: USCIS Memo on Accrual of Unlawful Presence and F, J, and M Nonimmigrants

This Policy Memorandum (PM) provides guidance to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officers and assists USCIS officers in the calculation of unlawful presence of those in student (F nonimmigrant), exchange visitor (J nonimmigrant), or vocational student (M nonimmigrant) status and their dependents while in the United States. The PM also revises previous policy guidance in the USCIS Adjudicator's Field Manual (AFM) relating to this issue.

This new guidance on the accrual of unlawful presence with respect to F, J and M nonimmigrants will take effect on August 9, 2018. The policy for determining unlawful presence for aliens present in the United States who are not in F, J, or M nonimmigrant status remains unchanged. This guidance supersedes any prior guidance on this topic. - USCIS

05/10/2018: June 2018 Visa Bulletin Released

The Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for June 2018: Virtually no change from the previous month. The only difference, a mere 4-day forward movement of India-EB2 cutoff date, is likely a typo, because cut-off dates always fall on the 1st, 8th, 15th and 22nd of a month (not 26th). The table below shows "Final Action (Approval)" cut-off dates and movement from the previous month, for all major employment-based categories. To see filing cut-off dates or family-sponsored categories please go to the Visa Bulletin page linked above. For historical data, predictions and more information please refer to our Visa Bulletin Toolbox.

Chargeability Preference Cut-off Date (Y-M-D) Movement (Days)
China Second (EB2) 2014-09-01 0
India Second (EB2) 2008-12-26
(probably a typo from DOS,
should be 2008-12-22)
4
ROW Third (EB3) C Current
China Third (EB3) 2015-06-01 0
India Third (EB3) 2008-05-01 0
Mexico Third (EB3) C Current
Philippines Third (EB3) 2017-01-01 0

05/04/2018: DHS Announces Termination of TPS for Hondurans

The Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen has determined that termination of the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Honduras is required pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act. To allow for an orderly transition, she has determined to delay the effective date of the termination for 18 months. The designation will terminate on January 5, 2020. - DHS

05/03/2018: Updated USCIS Customer Service Phone Menu

Please check out our updated phone menu for USCIS Customer Service. It will save you time on the phone trying to navigate through to reach the correct topic.

04/30/2018: USCIS to Begin Using More Secure Mail Delivery Service

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. As part of the new delivery method, applicants must present identification to sign for their documents upon delivery. - USCIS

04/30/2018: Visa Bulletin Graph - A Better Way to Track Cutoff Dates

Do you wonder if there is an easier way to see how cutoff dates change from month to month? Instead of looking at a bunch of tables with static dates, would you rather see them all in one interactive graph? How about comparing with other categories? 5 years of data on one page?

Well, you can have it all with our free and simple Visa Bulletin Graph. If you have any suggestions or questions, please do let us know. We're always looking for ways to make our tools more useful and easier to use.

Visa Bulletin Graph Visa Bulletin Graph

04/23/2018: Green Card Tracker Updated with Data as of April 2018

green card tracker

USCIS published the pending I-485 inventory with data as of April 2018. We have now updated the green card tracker with the latest information. The I-485 tracker includes data from USCIS' pending I-485 inventory as well as DOS' pending consular processing cases.

04/11/2018: May 2018 Visa Bulletin Released

The Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for May 2018. For historical data, predictions and more information please refer to our Visa Bulletin Toolbox.

04/06/2018: USCIS Reaches FY 2019 H-1B Cap

"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.

USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap." - USCIS

03/30/2018: Nonimmigrant Visa Application to Ask for Social Network User Info

One question lists multiple social media platforms and requires the applicant to provide any identifiers used by applicants for those platforms during the five years preceding the date of application. The platforms listed may be updated by the Department by adding or removing platforms. Additional platforms will be added only if collection is consistent with the uses described in the Supporting Statement and after Office of Management and Budget approval. In addition, the applicant will be given the option to provide information about any social media identifiers associated with any platforms other than those that are listed that the applicant has used in the last five years. - Federal Register

03/13/2018: April 2018 Visa Bulletin Released

The Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for April 2018: Significant forward movement for China EB2 and EB3, as well as India EB3 categories. However, both China and India EB1 became overscribed and a cutoff date of January 1, 2012 was imposed on both categories. The table below shows "Final Action (Approval)" cut-off dates and movement from the previous month, for all major employment-based categories. To see filing cut-off dates or family-sponsored categories please go to the Visa Bulletin page linked above. For historical data, predictions and more information please refer to our Visa Bulletin Toolbox.

Chargeability Preference Cut-off Date (Y-M-D) Movement (Days)
China Second (EB2) 2014-08-01 236
India Second (EB2) 2008-12-22 7
ROW Third (EB3) C Current
China Third (EB3) 2015-06-01 198
India Third (EB3) 2008-02-01 396
Mexico Third (EB3) C Current
Philippines Third (EB3) 2017-01-01 245

OVERSUBSCRIPTION OF THE CHINA-mainland born AND INDIA EMPLOYMENT-BASED FIRST (E1) PREFERENCE CATEGORIES

There continues to be an extremely high rate of demand for E1 numbers, primarily for USCIS adjustment of status applicants. Pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act, it has been necessary to impose E1 Final Action Dates for these two countries, which have already reached their per-country limit. This action will allow the Department to hold worldwide number use within the maximum allowed under the FY-2018 annual limits. Should the level of worldwide demand for E1 numbers decline, there could be some future movement in this date prior to the end of the fiscal year. - DOS

03/11/2018: USCIS Releases 2017 H1-B Employers List

Data as of October 25, 2017. Notes: All data are based on approved petitions during the fiscal year. Petitions approved in a fiscal year may be filed in previous fiscal years. Per USCIS best practices, units of less than 10 beneficiaries are masked so as to limit the possibility of the de-anonymization of data. "D" represents data withheld to protect privacy. - USCIS

02/23/2018: USCIS Clarifies Policy on Requirements for Third-Party Worksite H-1B Petitions

In publishing this policy, USCIS clarifies existing regulatory requirements relating to H-1B petitions filed for workers who will be employed at one or more third-party worksites. This policy memorandum makes clear that employers must provide contracts and itineraries for employees who will work at a third-party location. - USCIS

The guidance, effective Feb. 22, 2018, explains that, in order for an H-1B petition involving a third-party worksite to be approved, the petitioner must show by a preponderance of evidence that, among other things:

  • The beneficiary will be employed in a specialty occupation; and
  • The employer will maintain an employer-employee relationship with the beneficiary for the duration of the requested validity period.

02/12/2018: March 2018 Visa Bulletin Released

The Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for March 2018. The table below shows "Final Action (Approval)" cut-off dates and movement from the previous month, for all major employment-based categories. To see filing cut-off dates or family-sponsored categories please go to the Visa Bulletin page linked above. For historical data, predictions and more information please refer to our Visa Bulletin Toolbox.

Chargeability Preference Cut-off Date (Y-M-D) Movement (Days)
China Second (EB2) 2013-12-08 68
India Second (EB2) 2008-12-15 7
ROW Third (EB3) C Current
China Third (EB3) 2014-11-15 61
India Third (EB3) 2007-01-01 31
Mexico Third (EB3) C Current
Philippines Third (EB3) 2016-05-01 61

01/25/2018: White House Framework on Immigration Reform & Border Security

  • Provide legal status for 1.8 million "dreamers", with a path for citizenship in 10-12 years;
  • $25 billion trust fund for the border wall;
  • Limit family sponsorships to spouses and minor children only (for both Citizens and LPRs), ending extended-family chain migration;
  • Elimiate Visa Lottery, reallocate the visas to family-based and high-skilled employment immigration.

01/22/2018: Senate Voted to End Government Shutdown

The Senate has reached an agreement to pass a 3-week continuing resolution. As soon as it also clears the House, U.S. government will reopen, most likely on Tuesday.

01/20/2018: USCIS Announcement on Operations during Government Shutdown

"The current lapse in annual appropriated funding for the U.S. government does not affect USCIS’ fee-funded activities. Our offices will remain open, and all applicants should attend interviews and appointments as scheduled.

However, several USCIS programs will either expire or suspend operations, or be otherwise affected, until they receive appropriated funds or are reauthorized by Congress. These include:

  • EB-5 Immigrant Investor Regional Center Program. Regional centers are a public or private economic unit in the United States that promote economic growth. USCIS designates regional centers for participation in the Immigrant Investor Program.
  • E-Verify. This free internet-based system allows businesses to determine the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States.
  • Conrad 30 J-1 doctors. This program allows J-1 doctors to apply for a waiver of the two-year residence requirement after completing the J-1 exchange visitor program. The expiration only affects the date by which the J-1 doctor must have entered the United States; it is not a shutdown of the Conrad 30 program entirely.
  • Non-minister religious workers. This special immigrant category allows non-ministers in religious vocations and occupations to immigrate or adjust status in the United States to perform religious work in a full-time, compensated position."

01/20/2018: U.S. Government Shuts Down

Senate Democrats blocked a House bill that would have extended the government's funding for four weeks, and as a result, the federal government now enters shutdown mode. What happens to immigration? Below is a blog post we published back in 2013, when the government was shut down for 16 days. The information is still valid and can be used as a reference:

Impact of Government Shutdown on USCIS and Other Immigration Agencies

01/16/2018: Visa Bulletin Cutoff Dates Movement Predictions

The Department of State also offered their predictions on visa bulletin cutoff dates movement in the coming months:

FAMILY-sponsored categories (potential monthly movement)

    Worldwide dates:
  • F1: Up to one month
  • F2A: Three to five week
  • F2B: Three to six weeks
  • F3: Up to five weeks
  • F4: Up to three weeks

EMPLOYMENT-based categories (potential monthly movement)

  • Employment First: The category will remain “Current”.
  • Employment Second:
    • Worldwide: Current
    • China: Several months
    • India: Up to two weeks
  • Employment Third:
    • Worldwide: Current
    • China: Up to five months
    • India: One to three months
    • Mexico: Current
    • Philippines: Up to one month
  • Employment Fourth: Current for most countries.
    • El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras: Up to three weeks
    • Mexico: some forward movement
  • Employment Fifth: The category will remain “Current” for most countries.
    • China-mainland born: Little if any forward movement
    • Will become subject to a final action date no later than April. The China-mainland born and Vietnam Employment Fifth preference dates would be the same.

01/16/2018: February 2018 Visa Bulletin Released

The Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for February 2018. The table below shows "Final Action (Approval)" cut-off dates and movement from the previous month, for all major employment-based categories. To see filing cut-off dates or family-sponsored categories please go to the Visa Bulletin page linked above. For historical data, predictions and more information please refer to our Visa Bulletin Toolbox.

Chargeability Preference Cut-off Date (Y-M-D) Movement (Days)
China Second (EB2) 2013-10-01 54
India Second (EB2) 2008-12-08 16
ROW Third (EB3) C Current
China Third (EB3) 2014-09-15 153
India Third (EB3) 2006-12-01 30
Mexico Third (EB3) C Current
Philippines Third (EB3) 2016-03-01 15

01/08/2018: DHS Announcement on Ending of Temporary Protected Status for El Salvador

The decision to terminate TPS for El Salvador was made after a review of the disaster-related conditions upon which the country’s original designation was based and an assessment of whether those originating conditions continue to exist as required by statute. Based on careful consideration of available information, including recommendations received as part of an inter-agency consultation process, the Secretary determined that the original conditions caused by the 2001 earthquakes no longer exist. Thus, under the applicable statute, the current TPS designation must be terminated. - DHS

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