The Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for February 2020. 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 our unique Visa Bulletin Graphical Tracker, cutoff date predictions and more information please refer to the Visa Bulletin Toolbox.
Employment Based Key Categories - Final Action Dates and Movement from Previous Month:
|Chargeability||Preference||Cut-off Date (Y-M-D)||Movement (Days)|
DOS Note 1: The final action date for the “Rest of World” Family Fourth preference (F4) had been advanced at a very rapid pace during the past two years to generate the required level of demand. The dramatic increase in the level of applicant demand currently being received has required the retrogression of that final action date for the month of February. This has been done in an effort to hold number use within the annual numerical limitation. It is likely that this date will remain in effect for at least the next several months.
DOS Note 2: Since October there has been a consistently high level of Employment-based demand, primarily for adjustment of status cases filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. This trend is particularly apparent in the Employment Third and Third preference Other Worker categories. Unless there is a sudden and dramatic decrease in the level of such demand, it will be necessary to implement a “Rest of World” final action date for the month of March.
State Department is expected to release the February 2020 Visa Bulletin sometime this week. As soon as it's published, we will upload it to the Visa Bulletin page. If you're signed up for our free Visa Bulletin Alert, we will send you an email to let you know.
Border Patrol officers in the Detroit sector of the border with Canada and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel at the Eagle Pass, Texas port of entry along the U.S.-Mexico frontier have been instructed to collect DNA from certain migrants. The samples are from cheek swabs. The biometric information would be used to create profiles in a massive national criminal database run by the FBI. - CBS.
The Department of State issued a travel advisory on January 1, 2020, warning U.S. citizens against traveling to Iraq. In additon, DOS is also urging all U.S. citizens to depart Iraq immediately due to heightened tensions in the region. - DOS.
The Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for January 2020. 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 our unique Visa Bulletin Graphical Tracker, cutoff date predictions and more information please refer to the Visa Bulletin Toolbox.
|Chargeability||Preference||Cut-off Date (Y-M-D)||Movement from last month (Days)|
Notes form DOS Visa Office:
F2A: In July this category was made “Current” in an effort to generate new demand for use under the annual limit. Information received during discussions with the National Visa Center indicates that this action has finally begun to have the intended results. Therefore, it is likely that a final action date will be imposed within the next few months. This action is unlikely to have any negative impact on those who have already acted on their case in a timely manner prior to the announcement of the January final action dates
F4: It had been necessary to advance the “Rest of World” final action date at a very rapid pace in an effort to generate sufficient demand to reach the annual limit throughout the past two fiscal years. While such movements had produced the desired results with the limit, the level of demand never increased at an equivalent pace.
That pattern has changed in recent months resulting in a dramatic increase in the level of Family-sponsored Fourth preference demand. This sustained level of demand will require the retrogression of the “Rest of World” final action date, which is likely to occur for February. Such action would be required in an effort to hold number use within the category’s FY 2020 annual limit.
But Durbin and other critics of the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act, which aims to provide relief to Indians by eliminating the country quotas for employment green cards, said it isn’t so simple. Because the bill did not increase the overall number of green cards, they argue the backlog will worsen, wait times for all nationalities will extend to 17 years, and a trickle-down effect will make it difficult for working professionals from anywhere other than India to come to the United States. - WaPo
Hours-long lines greeted thousands of people outside Department of Motor Vehicles offices across the state on Monday. For the first time, undocumented immigrants living in New York are allowed to apply for a driver’s license, CBS2’s Lisa Rozner reported. - CBS
USCIS annouced in an updated policy guide that two or more DUI convictions could affect an immigrant's application, such as applying to become a U.S. citizen. DUI refers to Driving Under the Influence, including drunk driving. Applicants may be able to overcome this presumption but have to present sufficient evidence to demonstrate good moral character. - USCIS
Federal agencies have pushed back against criticism that they entrapped hundreds of foreigners who enrolled in a fake school the agencies opened in an effort to fight visa fraud, saying those who enrolled knew they weren't signing up for a real school and that they only wanted a way to stay in the U.S. - ABC7
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced that it has completed a successful pilot testing phase and is implementing the registration process in the next H-1B lottery. Employers seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions for the fiscal year 2021 cap, including those eligible for the advanced degree exemption, must first electronically register and pay the associated $10 H-1B registration fee. - USCIS
A state law allowing undocumented immigrants to apply for driver’s licenses is set to take effect Dec. 14, and local clerks are warning they may be ill-prepared to handle the influx of applicants. - Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
Some 350,000 travelers arrive by air in the United States each day. From Asia, South America and Africa, they come mostly with visas allowing them to tour, study, do business or attend a conference for an authorized period of time. But when they stay beyond when their visas expire, some of them fall into the same illegal status often associated with migrants showing up at the border. - NY Times
At this time of Thanksgiving we pause to count our blessings. The freedom of this great country in which we live. The American Dream. The friendship and confidence you have shown in us. For all of these things we are deeply thankful. Our best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving! - ImmigrationRoad
Just more than a month since dozens of dead migrants were discovered in a truck in southeast England, the driver has admitted to conspiring to assist unlawful immigration and acquire criminal property. Maurice Robinson pleaded guilty to the two charges at a court hearing Monday in London. - NPR
USCIS has recently updated the following immigartion formas. Please make sure you're using the correct version to avoid any potential delays or rejections.
The Departments are adopting an interim final rule to modify existing regulations to provide for the implementation of agreements that the United States enters into pursuant to section 208(a)(2)(A) of the INA. Such agreements--referred to by the Departments as Asylum Cooperative Agreements and alternatively described as safe third country agreements in existing regulations--are formed between the United States and foreign countries where aliens removed to those countries would have access to a full and fair procedure for determining a claim to asylum or equivalent temporary protection. - Federal Register
The Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for December 2019. 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 our unique Visa Bulletin Graphical Tracker, cutoff date predictions and more information please refer to the Visa Bulletin Toolbox.
|Chargeability||Preference||Cut-off Date (Y-M-D)||Movement from last month (Days)|
DOS also warned that EB demand for adjustment of status (I-485) has been increasing at USCIS lately. As a result, EB2, EB3, and EB3-Other categories may see the establishment of final action dates, as early as January 2020.
Though President Trump has made cracking down on immigration a centerpiece of his first term, his administration lags far behind President Barack Obama’s pace of deportations. Obama — who immigrant advocates at one point called the “deporter in chief” — removed 409,849 people in 2012 alone. Trump, who has vowed to deport “millions” of immigrants, has yet to surpass 260,000 deportations in a single year.
And while Obama deported 1.18 million people during his first three years in office, Trump has deported fewer than 800,000. It is unclear why deportations have been happening relatively slowly. - WaPo
Today, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) updated data (PDF, 756 KB) on arrests and apprehensions of illegal aliens who requested Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
The law makes New York one of 14 states that allow undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses, which proponents argue will help them avoid deportation for relatively minor offenses, such as traffic violations.
But the change has been met with resistance from county clerks in conservative areas of upstate New York, who are now setting the stage for a political clash when the law takes effect next month. Some say they will refuse to issue the licenses, while others are also threatening to call Immigration and Customs Enforcement if applicants show up without documentation. - NY Times
The Supreme Court on Tuesday appeared likely to side with the Trump administration in its effort to end a program that lets nearly 700,000 young, undocumented immigrants live and work in the United States without fear of deportation. During an extended, 80-minute oral argument inside a packed courtroom that included some of the threatened immigrants, several conservative justices said the Department of Homeland Security laid out sufficient reasons for its decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program. - USA Today
The justices will hear extended arguments concerning whether the administration’s attempted termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was lawful. The program, put in place seven years ago, protects about 700,000 immigrants and allows them to receive work permits.
Trump sought to end the program in 2017 but was blocked from doing so by lower courts in California, New York and Washington, D.C. Trump has argued that President Barack Obama lacked the legal authority to institute the program, but has shied away from criticizing DACA as bad policy. - CNBC
"Fees collected and deposited into the IEFA fund nearly 96% of USCIS’ budget. Unlike most government agencies, USCIS is fee-funded. Federal law requires USCIS to conduct biennial fee reviews and recommend necessary fee adjustments to ensure recovery of the full cost of administering the nation’s immigration laws, adjudicating applications and petitions, and providing the necessary infrastructure to support those activities.
The rule proposes adjusting USCIS IEFA fee schedules by a weighted average increase of 21% to ensure full cost recovery. Current fees would leave the agency underfunded by approximately $1.3 billion per year." - USCIS
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced a final rule that will require a $10 non-refundable fee for each H-1B registration submitted by petitioning employers, once it implements the electronic registration system. The registration fee is part of an agency-wide effort to modernize and more efficiently process applications to live or work in the United States.
Under the employment-based fifth preference (EB-5) classification, petitioners may seek an immigrant visa if they make the necessary investment in a new commercial enterprise in the United States and meet certain job creation requirements.1 On July 24, 2019, the Department of Homeland Security published the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program Modernization rule to reflect statutory changes and modernize the EB-5 program. This rule provides, among other things, priority date retention for certain EB-5 immigrants; increases the investment amounts to account for inflation; reforms targeted employment area (TEA) designations; and clarifies USCIS procedures for the removal of conditions on permanent residence. - USCIS
The nine justices during an hour of arguments appeared divided over the fate of Andre Martello Barton, a legal permanent U.S. resident from Jamaica who challenged his planned deportation for drug and gun convictions in Georgia dating back to 1996.
Barton appealed a lower court ruling that the 41-year-old father of four was ineligible to have his deportation canceled under a law that lets some longtime legal residents avoid removal for certain crimes. The court’s liberal justices seemed sympathetic toward Barton. Some conservative justices appeared inclined to agree with the government’s bid to deport him. - Reuters
A federal judge in Oregon on Saturday blocked the Trump administration's rule requiring immigrants applying for U.S. visas to prove they have health insurance or can afford medical costs from going into effect Sunday.
U.S. District Judge Michael Simon granted the temporary restraining order while he considers a federal lawsuit brought Wednesday by seven U.S. citizens and a nonprofit organization, who contend the rule change would block nearly two-thirds of all prospective legal immigrants. It was not immediately clear when Simon would rule on the merits of the case. - Fox News
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced that petitioners can now complete and file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, online. Online filing allows aliens to submit forms electronically, check the status of their case, and receive notices from USCIS. “Form I-130 is one of the most widely filed USCIS forms,” said USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli. “As we continue our transition to paperless operations, petitioners can now experience the convenience of filing electronically. USCIS is increasing the number of forms available for online filing to make our agency more effective and efficient.”
The premium processing fee will increase to $1,440 from the current fee of $1,410 for Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, and Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker. This increase, which is done in accordance with the Immigration and Nationality Act, reflects the full amount of inflation from the implementation of the premium processing fee in June 2001 through August 2019 based on the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers (CPI-U). USCIS last increased the fee in 2018.
USCIS recently updated several forms. Please check the edition date of the form you're about to submit to USCIS, and make surethey are still accepted.
To prevent secure document tampering, counterfeiting, and fraud, we will begin producing on Oct. 24 a new security-enhanced U.S. travel document, which is a booklet that looks similar to a U.S. passport and serves dual purposes. The travel document can serve in place of:
A slim majority of respondents in a survey released Monday said immigrants moving to the U.S. should adapt to a shared culture and values. Fifty-one percent of participants said immigrants should assume an established U.S. culture, while 46 percent said a blend of cultures and values should make up the country when new residents arrive, according to the poll from The Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. - The Hill
Today Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) tried again to pass S-386 with unanimous consent, but was blocked by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), again. "Unanimous Consent" is not a typical Senate procedure to pass a bill with simple or super majority: It requires everybody's consent. As a result, all it takes is one senator to kill the bill. S-386 (to remove per-country quota) has now been blocked four times, by Sen. Rand Paul, David Perdue, and Dick Durbin (twice). The chance of passing S-386 with unanimous consent appears to be very slim, and going through normal Senate order is nearly impossible.
Sen. Durbin actually proposed his own bill today, S-2603, which essentially includes S-386 plus a significant increase of employment-based immigrant visas. This bill, however, was block by Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA). So it too failed to pass by unanimous consent.
The Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for November 2019. 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 our unique Visa Bulletin Graphical Tracker, cutoff date predictions and more information please refer to the Visa Bulletin Toolbox.
|Chargeability||Preference||Cut-off Date (Y-M-D)||Movement from last month (Days)|
Today is Columbus Day, a national holiday observed by the federal government. Let's see if the Department of State will be able to release November 2019 Visa Bulletin tomorrow (10/15), or wait until late this week.
California lawmakers continued the state’s expansion of rights and protections this year for immigrants who enter the country illegally, with laws signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom allowing them to serve on government boards and commissions and banning arrests for immigration violations in courthouses across the state.
The legislation signed by Newsom also expands California’s college student loan program for so-called Dreamers, young immigrants brought to the country illegally as children, to include students seeking graduate degrees at the University of California and California State University schools. Undergraduate Dreamers already are eligible for those loans and in-state tuition. The new laws take effect Jan. 1. - LA Times
DV-2021 program is accepting entries between noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4), Wednesday, October 2, 2019, and noon, Eastern Standard Time (EST) (GMT-5), Tuesday, November 5, 2019. If you're eligible and want to participate, do not wait until the last week to submit your entry, as people around the world will rush to enter which may result in website delays. You must submit electronically; no paper entries will be accepted.
For past years' statistics, see Green Card Lottery Results.
Federal judges in three states — New York, California and Washington — have issued temporary injunctions against the Trump administration's "public charge" rule, preventing it from taking effect on Oct. 15.
The controversial rule would make it more difficult for immigrants to get green cards if it looks as though they might need public assistance. Titled "Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds," the rule sparked several legal challenges. - NPR
We've recently added a cool little map on our CBP Deferred Inspection Sites page. If you're required to return to a CBP deferred inspection site, or need to correct an error on your I-94 record, our customized and fully interactive Google Map will come in handy. Feel free to use it and share it on Social Networks.
Do you know that in addition to immigration tools and data, we also provide helpful contents to new immigrants settling in the U.S.? For example, this is our brief explanation of standard bed and mattress sizes. I remember how confusing it was when I first moved here, so hopefully these short articles can help someone out there who is not yet familiar with the daily stuff.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will be submitting the following information collection request to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and clearance in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. The purpose of this notice is to allow an additional 30 days for public comments. - Federal Register
The Department of State is expected to release November's Visa Bulletin soon. It could be this week, or by early next week. You are welcome to sign up for our Visa Bulletin Alert, and we'll send you an email as soon as it's published.
In case you haven't noticed, we recently released three search portals to access millions of LCA records. Each has a different focus but they're interlinked together to give you the ultimate flexibility in searching for H-1B data. See our blog post for detailed descriptions.
The White House late Friday issued a proclamation saying it would deny visas to immigrants who “will financially burden” the U.S. health-care system starting Nov. 3, demanding that foreign nationals prove that they have insurance or are affluent enough to cover their own health-care costs before entering the United States.
...the new rules would not affect the immigrants already in the United States. The proclamation, which was previously reported by the Wall Street Journal, also does not appear to affect immigrants arriving on work visas, refugees or those seeking asylum at the Mexican border. - WaPo
This is a developing story. Stay tuned for more updates next week.
Dozens of immigrant detainees have resorted to hunger strikes across Japan, once again in the spotlight for its unusually tough stance toward asylum seekers.
Out of close to 16,000 petitions for asylum in Japan last year, only 42 were granted — an acceptance rate of 0.25%. That's unusually low for a rich industrialized nation; Canada took in about two-thirds of its applicants, and even the United States' new lowered resettlement quota still, at 18,000, appears generous by Japanese standards. - CBS
Today, President Donald J. Trump is announcing that the Department of State has formally nominated Poland for entry into the Visa Waiver Program. The Department of Homeland Security will take necessary action, as soon as possible, to assess Poland’s entry into the program. If Poland is designated as a Visa Waiver Program country, its nationals would be authorized for visa-free travel to the United States for business and tourism.
S-386 has been fiercely debated on social networks, such as Twitter. The fate of this bill, which aims to eliminate the 7% per country limit, is still up in the air. So we thought we should post a very quick survey, and see what our readers think of this bill. If you support S-386, vote Yes. if you oppose it, vote No. If you don't know about the bill, don't care, or simply have no opinion, just vote Not Sure. Let us know.