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Immigration News - January and February of 2019

02/15/2019: March 2019 Visa Bulletin Released

The Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for March 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) 2016-01-01 92
India Second (EB2) 2009-04-09 3
ROW Third (EB3) C Current
China Third (EB3) 2015-07-08 7
India Third (EB3) 2009-05-22 30
Mexico Third (EB3) C Current
Philippines Third (EB3) 2017-12-01 122

02/11/2019: USCIS to Publish Revised Form I-539 and New Form I-539A

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

02/07/2019: Bills introduced in House, Senate to ax per-country green card limits

Members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives on Thursday introduced matching bills that would throw out per-country limits on employment-based green cards. Current law caps the annual percentage of green card recipients from any one country at 7 percent. That restriction hits Indian citizens hardest, because of the high numbers of Indians in the U.S. who are eligible for green cards. Indian citizens on the H-1B visa and other visas can wait years or even decades for a green card. Chinese citizens also face long delays. - Mercury News

01/30/2019: DHS Announces Final Rule for a More Effective and Efficient H-1B Visa Program

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) posted today for public inspection, a final rule amending regulations governing H-1B cap-subject petitions, including those that may be eligible for the advanced degree exemption. The final rule reverses the order by which U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) selects H-1B petitions under the H-1B regular cap and the advanced degree exemption, and it introduces an electronic registration requirement for petitioners seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions. The rule will be published in the Federal Register on Jan. 31, and will go into effect on April 1, though the electronic registration requirement will be suspended for the fiscal year (FY) 2020 cap season. - Federal Register

01/25/2019: USCIS Resumes Premium Processing for FY-2019 H-1B Cap Petitions

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

01/11/2019: February 2019 Visa Bulletin Released

The Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for February 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) 2015-10-01 61
India Second (EB2) 2009-04-06 5
ROW Third (EB3) C Current
China Third (EB3) 2015-07-01 23
India Third (EB3) 2009-04-22 52
Mexico Third (EB3) C Current
Philippines Third (EB3) 2017-08-01 40

See also: DOS Visa Bulletin Predictions in the February 2019 Visa Bulletin

01/08/2019: New USCIS Tool Calculates Fees, Helps Avoid Incorrect Payments

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

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

01/03/2019: Civics Test Answer Updates

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

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

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