October 2018 Visa Bulletin

The Department of State has posted the visa bulletin for October 2018. There has been significant improvement for many categories as compared to this month’s visa bulletin. EB-1 Priority Workers final action date is now April 1, 2017 for all nationals, except those born in India and China who still have a cutoff date of January 1, 2016. EB-2 and EB-3 is current (no backlog) for all nationals, except those born in India who now have a cutoff date of March 26, 2009 (EB-2) and January 1, 2009 (EB-...
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USCIS Begins Implementing New Policy to Refer Certain Denied Applicants to Deportation Court

Starting today, October 1, 2018, the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) may issue Notices to Appear (NTA) on denied applications which terminate the applicant’s status, including but not limited to, Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (green card), and Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. A NTA starts the removal (deportation) process. If these applications are denied, the USCIS will send denial letters  with instructio...
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Suspension of Premium Processing for Most H-1B Petitions Begins September 11

Premium processing offers guaranteed 15 day processing for many types of immigration petitions and applications, including H-1B petitions.  Earlier this year, the USCIS suspended premium processing for H-1B petitions for employment subject to annual numerical limits, commonly known as the “H-1B cap-subject” petitions. On August 28, 2018, the USCIS announced that the premium processing option will not be available for most H-1B petitions as of September 11, 2018.  This temporary suspension of ...
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Compelling Circumstances Employment Authorization Document (EAD) Option Explained

An employment authorization document (EAD) is a coveted benefit allowing many immigants to work legally in the United States.  For example,  applicants for asylum, temporary protected status,  F-1 or M-1 student  optional practical training, adjustment of status, DACA, and many others can get an EAD that allows work for stated periods of time. On January 17, 2017, the USCIS added two new categories for an EAD based upon "compelling circumstances." Those eligible are beneficiaries of approved ...
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September 2018 Visa Bulletin shows significant delays in approvals for many employment-based green card applicants

The Department of State has posted the visa bulletin for September 2018. Unfortunately, most employment-based (EB) categories for all nationals are backlogged, representing a slow down of green card approval times. EB-1 Priority Workers final action date is now  June 1, 2016 for all nationals, except those born in India and China who still have a cutoff date of January 1, 2012.   EB-2 and EB-3 final action dates have also moved back significantly for  all  nationals.  Specifically, t...
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Fact Sheet: How the Government Estimates Application Processing Times

Immigration applicants often want to know how much time it will take to get a decision on their applications.  The U.S. Citizenship and Immigraiton Services (USCIS) does publish processing time estimates,  found at https://egov.uscis.gov/processing-times. Applicants should keep in mind that the expected processing times are only estimates, which may not be accurate. The USCIS has recently implemented a pilot program to improve the accuracy of its estimates.  The American Immigration Council d...
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June 2018 Visa Bulletin Green Card Update

The Department of State has posted the Visa Bulletin for June 2018. EB-1 Priority Workers final action date is current for all nationals, except those born in India and China who now have a cutoff date of January 1, 2012.   EB-2 and EB-3 final action dates are  current for all except those born in India and China. Family based visas are moving forward slightly. USCIS has advised that it will accept adjustment of status applications in April for family-based petitions for those with prio...
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Webinar: Secrets to Winning a Fast-Track EB-1 Green Card

Online Seminar "Secrets to Winning a Fast-Track EB-1 Green Card," Wednesday, May 16, 2018,   11:30 am CST/12:30 pm EST/9:30 am PST.  Highly accomplished and high level professionals can apply for green cards through the EB-1 priority workers categories. Foreign nationals in any industry or occupation can qualify. We have helped doctors, dentists, artists, engineers, business owners, athletes, and many other international professionals win EB-1 green cards. In most cases, EB-1 green cards are ap...
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H-1B Cap Reached for FY2019

USCIS released the following statement on April 6: 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 ...
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H-1B Employers: Ready for the FY 2019 H-1B Cap Season?

The race for H-1B professional worker visas begins April 2, 2018.  Employers of recently graduated foreign students and others will vie for new visas, which are limited to  65,000 per fiscal year (the “H-1B cap”).   And of these, 6,800 are reserved for citizens of Chile and Singapore under certain free trade agreements, effectively leaving only 58,200 new H-1B visas for other foreign nationals. Employees holding U.S. master’s degree or higher have a slight advantage.  Congress carved out an e...
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