November 3 Is the Deadline for Entry Into the 2016 Diversity Visa Lottery Program

Posted in Visas

Online registration for the FY 2016 Diversity Immigrant Visa (DV) Program will conclude on Monday, November 3, 2014 at 12:00 noon (EDT). There is no cost to register for the DV lottery. Entries for the DV Program must be submitted electronically at www.dvlottery.state.gov. Please note that individuals with more than one entry will be disqualified.

The Congressionally mandated DV Program is administered annually by the Department of State.  Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act provides for a class of “diversity immigrants,” from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States.  For FY 2016, 50,000 diversity visas will be available. This represents a zero net change from the numbers made available for FY 2015.

There are two threshold eligibility requirements for entry in the DV Program:

  1. Having been born in a country whose natives qualify OR being the spouse of a person born in such a country; and
  2. Having completed a high school education OR two (2) years of work experience within the past five (5) years in an occupation requiring at least two (2) years of training of experience to perform.

Please note that there are nuances and exceptions to the foregoing requirements, so be sure to read the complete instructions  or consult with a GT attorney prior to taking action.

Based on the allocations of available visas in each region and country, individuals will be randomly selected by computer from among qualified entries. All processing of entries and issuance of DVs to selectees meeting eligibility requirements and their eligible family members must be completed by midnight on September 30, 2016.  Under no circumstances can DVs be issued or adjustments approved after this date, nor can family members obtain DVs to follow-to-join the principal applicant in the United States after this date.

You must use your confirmation number to access the Entrant Status Check available on the E-DV website at www.dvlottery.state.gov starting May 5, 2015 through at least June 30, 2016.  Entrant Status Check is the sole means by which you will be notified if you are selected, provided further instructions on your visa application, and notified of your immigrant visa interview appointment date and time. Note that the Department of State will NOT contact you to notify you of your selection.

Immigration Benefits Extended to Include Gestational Mothers Using Assisted Reproductive Technology

Posted in Immigration Law, USCIS

Employers should note that U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) announced recently that gestational mothers who use assisted reproductive technology meet the definition of “Mother” and “Parent” under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). For example, a woman who became pregnant through an egg donor will be (1) able to petition for her child based on their relationship, (2) eligible to have her child petition for her based on their relationship, and (3) able to transmit U.S. citizenship to her child, if she is a U.S. citizen and all other pertinent citizenship requirements are met. Continue Reading

E-2 Investor Visas May Soon Be Available to Israeli Nationals

Posted in Visas

Israeli business owners and investors may soon be eligible to apply for E-2 visas in the United States. E-2 visas are non-immigrant visas available to citizens of countries that have entered into a bi-lateral agreement with the United States. E-2 visas will be available to an individual Israeli citizen who is the primary investor, executive, manager or individual with specialized knowledge for a U.S. company that is majority owned by Israeli nationals. The E-2 visa is different from existing visa categories, in part because it is renewable for an indefinite period of time. In September 2014, the Israeli Parliament granted U.S. citizens the ability to obtain investor visas in Israel. As a result of this substantial step by the Israeli government, the U.S. government will likely take steps to offer similar visas to Israeli nationals who wish to invest in a U.S. business.

Italy Offers Expedited Intracompany Transfer Application Process

Posted in Global Immigration

Intracompany transfer to Italy from non-EU countries are now able to take advantage of two- to three-week work permit processing, pursuant to a new fast-track procedure implemented by the Ministry of Interior. The standard work permit process, which includes approval from the Italian Labour Board, can take two to five months. Continue Reading

Canada’s ‘Express Entry’ Permanent Residence Program Beginning in January 2015

Posted in Global Immigration

Applicants for certain Canadian immigration programs can look forward to a faster permanent residency process in the new year. Foreign nationals seeking permanent residence through the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, the Canadian Experience Class, and parts of the Provincial Nominee Program should complete the Express Entry process in six months. The current process takes one to two years. Continue Reading

The President’s Administration Extends Temporary Protected Status to Nicaragua and Honduras

Posted in Immigration Law, Immigration Reform

The U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security announced last week that he will extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to eligible nationals of Nicaragua and Honduras for an additional 18 months. The extension is effective from January 6, 2015 through July 5, 2016.

In general terms, the TPS designation may be extended to a foreign country by the Secretary of Homeland Security due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely, or, in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately. TPS is meant to be a temporary benefit that does not automatically lead to lawful permanent resident status. However, beneficiaries can still apply for non-immigrant status or for an adjustment of status. Other countries currently under the TPS designation include El Salvador, Haiti, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Syria. Continue Reading

India to Implement Electronic Visa System in Time for the Holidays

Posted in Global Immigration

The Indian government is embracing the spirit of giving this holiday season as it announced its plans to unroll an electronic travel authorization (ETA) system by the end of October. This development in immigration processing comes on the tails of a successful year operating a visa-on-arrival program, which experienced an increase of 39.2% in the issuance of visas on arrival during identical periods in 2013 and 2014.

Once implemented, ETA will permit foreign travelers to apply for a visa and receive online confirmation within three to five business days. ETA will be available for a 30-day period from the date of the tourist’s arrival in India. Continue Reading

United Kingdom Implements Significant Changes to Immigration Laws

Posted in Global Immigration

In our previous updates regarding the United Kingdom, we discussed the increased scrutiny on immigration compliance currently taking place in the country and the potential impact on employers and individuals working in the United Kingdom.  The United Kingdom has implemented significant changes to immigration laws and regulations, which have already gone into effect or will be implemented throughout the next year.  Although there have been a few provisions that might facilitate travel to the United Kingdom, the government’s ultimate goal is to decrease immigration to the country.  Employers and employees should be aware of some of the major changes and trends, and the impact it could have on employment practices in the United Kingdom: Continue Reading

A Canadian Doctor Learns the Hard Way Not to Exceed the Scope of His U.S. Work Authorization

Posted in Compliance, Visas

Ophthalmologist Ashish Sanon was born in India and trained in Canada, of which he is a naturalized citizen. For the past sixteen years, Dr. Sanon has resided in the United States and operated an ophthalmological practice out of Florida. As it turns out, his practice here has been quite successful, billing $5 million over the past five years—enough to maintain homes both on Clearwater Beach and at the Black Diamond Ranch golf course.

It sounds like the American dream: a foreign national moves to the States, and with hard work and perseverance, matures his small business into a profitable venture, achieving upward socioeconomic mobility in the process. Only here, there’s a snag—and it’s a doozy. Continue Reading

U.S. Consulate In Ottawa Rescheduling All Visa Appointments Scheduled For Today

Posted in Visas

All visa appointments scheduled for today at the U.S. Consulate in Ottawa are being rescheduled for another date and time. This is in response to the unfortunate events that occurred yesterday in Ottawa. Security at all U.S. Consulates worldwide is expected to be heightened as officials monitor the situation closely. Visa applicants across the world should expect slower visa processing times than normal at all U.S. Consulates as a consequence of the additional precautionary measures being taken by U.S. authorities.

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