In light of a recent post on June 15, 2015, by Shaun Staller, which covers the U.S. Department of State (DOS) announcement that its Bureau of Consular Affairs “is currently experiencing technical problems with [its] visa systems and these issues have resulted in delays in printing visas and may mean rescheduling some visa interviews.” The DOS has provided an update on the issue on June 17, 2015:

The DOS Bureau of Consular Affairs in its efforts to address the technical problems with the visa systems states that the issue is not specific to any particular country or visa category and they do no expect the system to be fully online and operational before next week. They further state that they intend to work as efficiently as possible to clear the backlog of pending cases affected by the technical issues.
Continue Reading UPDATE: DOS Announces System Failures, Causing Passport/Visa Delays Worldwide

Introduced in September 2013, the DS-260 online filing replaced the paper-based DS-230 Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration for all immigrant visa applications. The National Visa Center in its guidance addressed this change as one that will streamline and expedite the immigrant visa process.  Recently however, in addition to extensive delays and other issues, National Visa Center, part of U.S. State Department responsible for visa processing prior to transfer to consular posts, has reported experiencing technical difficulties with their online system related to the access of electronic immigrant visa application (Form DS-260) as well as the Online Choice of Address and Agent form (DS-261), as well as the ability to make and process immigrant visa fee payments electronically. The State Department has released guidance indicating that it is aware of the issues and is working to fix these problems.
Continue Reading DS-260 Online System Experiencing Technical Difficulties

Following is the Chinese translation of a previously published blog post:

2015年4月13日,在华盛顿举行的“赴美投资”会议上,美国国务院签证控制和披露处负责人Charles Oppenheim宣布,自2015年5月1日开始,中国的EB-5申请人将面临排期。Oppenheim实际上在2014年10月的时候就已经暗示这一天会到来。2015年5月的签证公告进一步证实了这点。因此,这将意味着中国的EB-5移民签证类别会面临2年的排期,截止日期为2013年5月1日。截止日期将决定EB-5移民签证的发放顺序。截止日是由I-526申请提交的日期决定的。每个I-526申请的批准通知中的优先日一栏中都会列出一个日期。因此,根据2015年5月的签证公告,截止日划定在2013年5月1日,意味着在2015年5月,只有优先日早于2013年5月1日或者优先日是2013年5月1日的中国EB-5申请人(及其受益申请人)才能申请EB-5移民签证。签证公告中的日期或者向前推进,或者倒退,或者保持不变,这些变化每个月都回定期公布。因此,对于申请人来说,通过每个月查询国务院的签证公告来判断自己的优先日是否有效,至关重要。我们之前发表的博客文章详细的解释了怎样使用签证公告。Continue Reading 美国国务院宣布中国投资人EB-5申请将于2015年5月1日开始排期

On April 13, 2015, at the Invest In the USA (IIUSA) Conference in Washington D.C., Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division of the U.S. Department of State Charles Oppenheim reported that the EB-5 China immigrant visa category will retrogress beginning May 2015.  Oppenheim has indicated since October 2014 that this day would come. This was further confirmed upon the release of the May 2015 visa bulletin. Accordingly, this means that retrogression of the EB-5 China immigrant visa category will retrogress two years and have a cut-off date of May 1, 2013. The cut-off date has the effect of establishing a systematic line for the issuance of EB-5 immigrant visas. The cut-off date is determined based on the date an I-526 Petition was filed and is the date included on each I-526 Petition approval notice in the Priority Date box. Therefore, with the cut-off date set at May 1, 2013, based on the May 2015 visa bulletin, it means that during the month of May 2015, only those EB-5 investors (and their derivative beneficiaries) with a Priority Date of May 1, 2013, or earlier may apply for an EB-5 immigrant visa. The dates in the visa bulletin will either move forward, backward, or remain stagnant, and such changes will be reported monthly. Therefore, it is important that an applicant check the visa bulletin each month on the DOS website to see if their Priority Date has become current (i.e. if their Priority Date is earlier than the date listed on the visa bulletin). This is explained in even further detail in a previous post.
Continue Reading EB-5 Retrogression Announced for Chinese Nationals

Here we go again! The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) could potentially run out of money and shut down come Friday, Feb. 27, 2015. The issue arose from immigration amendments that the House attached to the proposed DHS funding bill last month. The amendments that were added to the bill would block any federal funds from being used toward President Obama’s executive orders to protect about 4 million undocumented immigrants from deportation and allow them to work. Further, the amendments would cease the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which  gives temporary legal status and work permits to undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. as children. As of Feb. 25, 2015, the Senate Democrats have signed on with the Republican plan to get rid of the House provisions added to the bill. However, whether the bill will pass or not still looms. President Obama and DHS secretary Jeh Johnson have been calling on Congress to fully fund the department, saying temporary measures or a shutdown would jeopardize national security operations.

If the bill is not passed by Friday, Feb. 27, 2015, then approximately 30,000 of the DHS’s 240,000 employees will be furloughed. The remaining approximately 210,000 employees will still be employed, as their jobs are deemed “essential to the nation’s safety.” From an immigration perspective, the question becomes: how does a DHS shutdown directly affect the general public?Continue Reading Impact of DHS Shutdown: 2015

On Nov. 7, 2014, the November 2014 Visa Bulletin was released.  Shortly thereafter, on Nov. 13, 2014, AILA “checked in” with Charles (“Charlie”) Oppenheim, chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division, U.S. Department of State, to obtain his analysis of current trends and future projections for the various immigrant preference categories. The checkup is part of an AILA monthly series designed to keep members informed of Visa Bulletin progress and projections. Below are highlights of Charlie’s predictions based on the November 2014 Visa Bulletin:

No Significant New Projections from Charlie

There are no new predictions in this month’s “Check-In” as the December Visa Bulletin is consistent with the predictions Charlie made in October and November. We previously covered Charlie’s predictions here. Unless there is an unexpected surge in demand, Charlie expects that his current predictions will hold up until the release of the February or March Visa Bulletins.

Continue Reading Summary of AILA’s Monthly Check-In with “Charlie” (November Edition)