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11/14/2018: USCIS I-485 Filing Chart

USCIS I-485 Filing Chart will be the filing chart from December's visa bulletin. This is great news for employment-based categories such as India EB-3, which has been using the final action chart for filing I-485 applications for quite some time.

11/13/2018: December 2018 Visa Bulletin Released

The Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for December 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 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 (Days)
China Second (EB2) 2015-07-01 47
India Second (EB2) 2009-04-01 6
ROW Third (EB3) C Current
China Third (EB3) 2015-06-08 7
India Third (EB3) 2009-03-01 59
Mexico Third (EB3) C Current
Philippines Third (EB3) 2017-06-15 7

Employment Fourth Preference Certain Religious Workers (SR):

Pursuant to the continuing resolution, signed on September 28, 2018, the non-minister special immigrant program expires on December 7, 2018. No SR visas may be issued overseas, or final action taken on adjustment of status cases, after midnight December 6, 2018. Visas issued prior to this date will only be issued with a validity date of December 6, 2018, and all individuals seeking admission as a non-minister special immigrant must be admitted (repeat, admitted) into the U.S. no later than midnight December 6, 2018.

The final action date for this category has been listed as “Current” for December for all countries except El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico, which are subject to specific final action dates for December. If there is no legislative action extending this category for FY-2019, the final action date would immediately become “Unavailable” for December for all countries effective December 7, 2018.

Employment Fifth Preference Categories (I5 and R5):

The continuing resolution signed on September 28, 2018 extended this immigrant investor pilot program until December 7, 2018. The I5 and R5 visas may be issued until close of business on December 7, 2018, and may be issued for the full validity period. No I5 or R5 visas may be issued overseas, or final action taken on adjustment of status cases, after December 7, 2018.

The final action dates for the I5 and R5 categories have been listed as “Current” for December for all countries except China-mainland born and Vietnam, which are subject to specific final action dates for December. If there is no legislative action extending them for FY-2019, the final action dates would immediately become “Unavailable” for December for all countries effective December 8, 2018.

10/31/2018: USCIS to Expand Information Services Modernization Program to Key Locations

The Information Services Modernization Program ends self-scheduling of InfoPass appointments and instead encourages applicants to use USCIS online information resources to view general how-to information and check case statuses through the USCIS Contact Center. Recent improvements to online tools provide applicants the ability to obtain their case status and other immigration information without having to visit a local field office. - USCIS

10/26/2018: SEVP publishes 2017 international student data

Interested in knowing where international students are studying? Or where students engaged in practical training are employed? The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) published a series of data Thursday about international students studying in the U.S. during calendar year 2017. The data was extracted from the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), which houses information about international students and exchange visitors while they are in the U.S. - SEVP

10/12/2018: November 2018 Visa Bulletin Released

The Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for November 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 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 (Days)
China Second (EB2) 2015-05-15 44
India Second (EB2) 2009-03-26 0
ROW Third (EB3) C Current
China Third (EB3) 2015-06-01 0
India Third (EB3) 2009-01-01 0
Mexico Third (EB3) C Current
Philippines Third (EB3) 2017-06-08 7

10/05/2018: USCIS Proposed Rule - Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposes to prescribe how it determines whether an alien is inadmissible to the United States under section 212(a)(4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) because he or she is likely at any time to become a public charge. Aliens who seek adjustment of status or a visa, or who are applicants for admission, must establish that they are not likely at any time to become a public charge, unless Congress has expressly exempted them from this ground of inadmissibility or has otherwise permitted them to seek a waiver of inadmissibility. Moreover, DHS proposes to require all aliens seeking an extension of stay or change of status to demonstrate that they have not received, are not currently receiving, nor are likely to receive, public benefits as defined in the proposed rule. - DHS

10/04/2018: Federal judge blocks Trump administration from ending TPS program

A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction on Wednesday evening, temporarily blocking the Trump administration from ending the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program for over 300,000 migrants from Haiti, El Salvador, Honduras and Sudan.

U.S. District Judge Edward Chen ruled that the program's termination would result in "irreparable harm and great hardship" for its beneficiaries and their families. The TPS program protects migrants from countries enduring crises such as health epidemics, war or natural disasters. - The Hill

10/01/2018: USCIS Using Tablets to Administer the English Reading and Writing Tests for Naturalization

On Oct. 1, USCIS began using digital tablets to administer the English reading and writing tests during naturalization interviews as part of the agency’s ongoing business modernization efforts. Although USCIS applicants already use digital tablets to sign or verify parts of their applications, this new approach expands tablet usage, allowing the device to be used for a greater portion of the application process. USCIS will be able to continue using the paper process on a case-by-case basis.

While the eligibility requirements and the subject material of the naturalization test have not changed, applicants are now using a stylus on a digital tablet instead of a paper application. Immigration Services Officers (ISO) will carefully instruct applicants on how to use the tablets before administering the tests

09/13/2018: Canadian marijuana users, workers and investors risk lifetime border ban

Canadians who work in the marijuana industry — and those who invest in the booming pot sector — risk a lifetime ban on travel to the U.S., according to a senior official overseeing U.S border operations.

As Canada prepares to become the world’s only major industrialized nation to legalize retail marijuana sales starting Oct. 17, the Canadian cannabis sector is projected to generate billions of dollars of revenue in coming years and Canadians have flocked to take jobs and buy stocks in the burgeoning industry. But the move has potential to disrupt border crossings between the U.S. and Canada for travelers who run afoul of American drug laws, even if their activities are legal in Canada. - Politico

09/12/2018: October 2018 Visa Bulletin Released

The Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for October 2018. This is the first month of fiscal year 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 (Days)
China Second (EB2) 2015-04-01 820
India Second (EB2) 2009-03-26 815
ROW Third (EB3) C Current
China Third (EB3) 2015-06-01 212
India Third (EB3) 2009-01-01 2192
Mexico Third (EB3) C Current
Philippines Third (EB3) 2017-06-01 212

Employment Fifth Preference Categories (I5 and R5):

The final action dates for the I5 and R5 categories have been listed as “Unavailable” for October. If there is legislative action extending them for FY-2019, the final action dates would immediately become “Current” for October for all countries except China-mainland born I5 and R5, which would be subject to an August 15, 2014 final action date and Vietnam I5 and R5, which would be subject to a January 1, 2016 final action date.

Employment Fourth Preference Certain Religious Workers (SR):

The final action date for this category has been listed as “Unavailable” for October. If there is legislative action extending this category for FY-2019, the final action date would immediately become “Current” for October for all countries except El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, which would be subject to a February 15, 2016 final action date and Mexico, which would be subject to an October 22, 2016 final action date.

09/04/2018: Green Card Tracker Updated with Data as of July 2018

green card tracker

USCIS published the pending I-485 inventory with data as of July 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.

08/30/2018: USCIS Extends and Expands Suspension of Premium Processing for H-1B Petitions

USCIS is extending the previously announced temporary suspension of premium processing for cap-subject H-1B petitions and, beginning Sept. 11, 2018, will be expanding this temporary suspension to include certain additional H-1B petitions. We expect these suspensions will last until Feb. 19, 2019, and will notify the public via uscis.gov before resuming premium processing for these petitions.

While H-1B premium processing is suspended, we will reject any Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service filed with an affected Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker. If a petitioner submits one combined check for the Form I-907 and Form I‑129 H-1B fees, both forms will be rejected. - USCIS

08/28/2018: State Department to Limit Use of Paper Form DS-156

The DS-160 will be submitted electronically over industry standard encryption technology to maintain a secure connection to the Department via the internet. The applicant will be instructed to print a confirmation page containing a bar coded record locator, which will be scanned at the time of processing. The Nonimmigrant Visa Application (DS-156) paper version will be used only in the following limited circumstances when applicants cannot access the DS-160. - DOS

08/08/2018: September 2018 Visa Bulletin Released

The Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for September 2018. This is the final month of fiscal year 2018, and as a result, most categories experienced massive backward movement. One notable exception is China EB3, which actually advanced. Starting October, Visa Bulletin will reflect visa number availability using new fiscal year's quota. 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 (Days)
China Second (EB2) 2013-01-01 -789
India Second (EB2) 2007-01-01 -804
ROW Third (EB3) 2016-11-01 -669
China Third (EB3) 2014-11-01 123
India Third (EB3) 2003-01-01 -2192
Mexico Third (EB3) 2016-11-01 -669
Philippines Third (EB3) 2016-11-01 -212

08/07/2018: DHS Fiscal Year 2017 Entry/Exit Overstay Report

DHS has generated this report to provide data on departures and overstays, by country, for foreign visitors to the United States who were expected to depart in Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 (October 1, 2016 - September 30, 2017). DHS is working with the U.S. Department of State (DOS) to share information on departures and overstays, especially as it pertains to the visa application and adjudication process, with the goals of increasing visa compliance and decreasing overstay numbers and rates.

08/03/2018: DOJ and DOL Info Sharing on Discrimination Against U.S. Workers

The Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice and the Employment and Traing Adminitration (ETA) of the Department of Labor have signed a memo with regard to info sharing and case referrals, in an effort to fight potential employer discrimination against U.S. workers, violation of Foreign Labor Certification, and other relatedlaws and regulations. - Memo

07/30/2018: USCIS Returns Unselected Fiscal Year 2019 H-1B Cap-Subject Petitions

USCIS announced on July 30, 2018, that it has returned all fiscal year 2019 H-1B cap-subject petitions that were not selected in the computer-generated random selection process. USCIS previously announced on May 15, that it had completed data entry of all selected cap-subject petitions. If you submitted an H-1B cap-subject petition that was delivered to USCIS between April 2 and April 6, 2018, and you have not received a receipt notice or a returned petition by August 13, you may contact USCIS for assistance.

07/17/2018: ICE Proposal to Increase SEVP Fees

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposes to adjust fees charged by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) to individuals and organizations.

DHS proposes to raise the fee for Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) Form I-901, Fee Remittance for Certain F, J, and M Nonimmigrants, for nonimmigrants seeking to become academic (F visa) or vocational (M visa) students from $200 to $350. For most categories of individuals seeking to become exchange (J visa) visitors, DHS proposes to increase the fee from $180 to $220. For those seeking admission as J exchange visitors in the au pair, camp counselor, and summer work or travel program participant categories, DHS proposes to maintain the fee at $35.

In addition to raising the student and exchange visitor fees, DHS proposes to increase the fee for submitting a school certification petition from $1,700 to $3,000. This document is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on 07/17/2018 and available online at https://federalregister.gov/d/2018-15140, and on govinfo.gov

07/17/2018: USCIS Form Updates

USCIS recently updated the following forms:

  • Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker; New Edition Dated 05/09/18
  • I-765, Application for Employment Authorization; New Edition Dated 05/31/18
  • Form EOIR-29, Notice of Appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals from a Decision of a DHS Officer; New Edition Dated March 2018
  • G-28, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative; New Edition Dated 05/23/18
  • Form G-28I, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney in Matters Outside the Geographical Confines of the United States; New Edition Dated 05/23/18

07/13/2018: USCIS Policy Memo - Issuance of Certain RFEs and NOIDs

This Policy Memorandum (PM) provides guidance to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) adjudicators regarding the discretion to deny an application, petition, or request without first issuing a Request for Evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) if initial evidence is not submitted or if the evidence in the record does not establish eligibility.

This updated guidance is effective September 11, 2018 and applies to all applications, petitions, and requests received after the effective date. - USCIS

07/13/2018: August 2018 Visa Bulletin Released

The Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for August 2018: All EB-1 categories retrogressed. 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 (Days)
China Second (EB2) 2015-03-01 59
India Second (EB2) 2009-03-15 0
ROW Third (EB3) C Current
China Third (EB3) 2014-07-01 546
India Third (EB3) 2009-01-01 61
Mexico Third (EB3) C Current
Philippines Third (EB3) 2017-06-01 151

"WORLDWIDE, EL SALVADOR, GUATEMALA, HONDURAS, MEXICO, AND PHILIPPINES EMPLOYMENT-BASED FIRST (E1) PREFERENCE: As readers were advised in item F of the July Visa Bulletin, there continues to be an extremely high rate of demand for E1 numbers, primarily for USCIS adjustment of status applicants. Therefore, pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act, it has been necessary to impose an E1 Final Action Date for the month of August, with this date being imposed immediately. This action will allow the Department to hold worldwide number use within the maximum allowed under the FY-2018 annual limits.

INDIA Employment-based Fourth (E4) AND Certain Religious Workers (SR) preference categories: There has been extremely high demand in these preference categories. Pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act, it has been necessary to impose E4 and SR Final Action Dates for India, which has reached its per-country limit. This action will allow the Department to hold worldwide number use within the maximum allowed under the FY-2018 annual limits.

The implementation of the above mentioned dates will only be temporary, with the dates returning to Current status for October, the first month of fiscal year 2019." - Department of State

07/03/2018: Attorney General Jeff Sessions Rescinds 24 Guidance Documents from Obama Administration

"Attorney General Jeff Sessions today announced that, consistent with his November 2017 memorandum prohibiting the Department from making rules without following the procedures required by Congress, he is rescinding 24 guidance documents that were unnecessary, outdated, inconsistent with existing law, or otherwise improper." - DOJ

06/28/2018: USCIS Ombudsman 2018 Annual Report to Congress

Full report

06/26/2018: Supreme Court upholds Trump travel ban

The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling, upheld President Donald Trump's restriction on travel to the United States from a handful of Muslim countries on Tuesday, giving the White House its first high court victory on the merits of a presidential initiative. Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the majority, made it clear that the court viewed the ability to regulate immigration as squarely within a president's powers and he rejected critics' claims of anti-Muslim bias. - NBC

06/15/2018: July 2018 Visa Bulletin Released

The Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for July 2018: China EB-3 retrogressed significantly, more than two years. 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) 2015-01-01 122
India Second (EB2) 2009-03-15 79
ROW Third (EB3) C Current
China Third (EB3) 2013-01-01 -881
India Third (EB3) 2008-11-01 184
Mexico Third (EB3) C Current
Philippines Third (EB3) 2017-01-01 0

CHINA E3: There has been an extremely large increase in Employment Third preference applicant demand during the past two months. This is due to the “downgrading” of status by applicants who had originally filed in the Employment Second preference. As a result, it has been necessary to retrogress the July Final Action Date to January 1, 2013 in an effort to hold number use within the FY-2018 per-country limit.

06/13/2018: Stay Tuned for July 2018 Visa Bulletin

The Department of State usually publishes the visa bulletin around the 10th of each month, sometimes as early as the 8th. Today is already 6/13, so it should be released in the next couple of days, if not today.

06/04/2018: USCIS Redesigns Citizenship and Naturalization Certificates

USCIS began issuing redesigned Certificates of Citizenship and Naturalization today, following a successful pilot in four USCIS field offices and one service center. The redesign of these eight certificates is one of the many ways USCIS is working to combat fraud and safeguard the legal immigration system.

Although the look and feel of the documents is new, the process of applying for and receiving them has not changed. Individuals do not need to renew their Certificates of Naturalization or Citizenship, regardless of when they were issued. The certificates we issued before the redesign will continue to be accepted as proof of citizenship. - USCIS

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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