Tag Archives: Department of State

e-Passport Mandatory for the Visa Waiver Program

On May 9, 2016, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released a statement clarifying that as part of the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015, those individuals utilizing the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) with an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) to travel to the United … Continue Reading

June 2016 Visa Bulletin Update

The Department of State (DOS) has released the June 2016 Visa Bulletin that includes the “Application Final Action Dates” and “Dates for Filing Applications.” For both family-sponsored and employment-based filings, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) website indicates that the Application Final Action Dates chart must be used for May 2016. Please see … Continue Reading

Department of State Issues May 2016 Visa Bulletin

The Department of State (DOS) has released the May 2016 Visa Bulletin with the Application Final Action Date chart for employment-based applications which reflects some modest movement for some applicants. The second and third preference categories for China-mainland born applicants had no movement. The second and third preference categories for India move ahead a few weeks to Nov. … Continue Reading

Department of Homeland Security Unveils Known Employer Pilot Program

On March 3, 2016, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) formally announced the Known Employer pilot program. In January 2015, DHS advised that it would evaluate the Known Employer pilot as part of the United States-Canada Beyond the Border initiative. The pilot program was also recommended in the multi-agency report to the president, entitled “Modernizing and Streamlining … Continue Reading

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Provides Additional Guidance on Implementation of New Visa Waiver Program Law

This post updates our post from Jan. 22, 2016, concerning guidance released by the U.S. Department of State about implementation of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act. We have updated the post to provide a summary and link to additional information published by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) concerning the … Continue Reading

U.S. Department of State Announces Implementation of New Visa Waiver Program Law

On Jan. 21, 2016, the Department of State (“Department”) announced that it had begun the implementation of changes to the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), which were enacted as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016.  The Department reiterated that nationals of the 38 VWP countries who had traveled to Iran, Syria, Iraq, or Sudan after … Continue Reading

Over 4.5 Million Are Waiting for Green Cards—Over 100,000 of them are Employment-Based

The Department of State (DOS) recently published its annual report of immigrant visa applicants (2015 Annual Immigrant Visa Report), which tallies up the number of total applicants—including spouses and children—who are waiting for their respective priority date to become current, allowing for them to obtain their green card. The annual report, which totals the number … Continue Reading

U.S. Passport Book Changes

On Nov. 20, 2015, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) issued a final rule on the elimination of the visa page insert service within U.S. Passports.  Earlier in the year, DOS published a notice of proposed rulemaking that eliminated the visa page insert service for regular fee passport book holders. This rule will become effective on … Continue Reading

USCIS Provides Guidance on Immigrant Visa Availability and Priority Dates

The Basics of Immigrant Visa Availability The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) sets a limit on the number of immigrant visas (i.e. green cards) that may be issued to foreign nationals each year, and the U.S. Department of State (DOS) is the agency that allocates the aforementioned immigrant visas. There are an unlimited number of … Continue Reading

DOS Cable Update On Personal/Domestic Employees

The Department of State (“DOS”) issued a cable, which updates a provision of the Foreign Affairs Manual that deals with personal/domestic employees of U.S. citizens on temporary assignment in the United States. The cable advises that the length of stay for a qualified employee is increased from FOUR to SIX years. In general, to qualify, the … Continue Reading

Recent Department of State Guidance on Form I-129S Policy Merits Practical Consideration

On October 8, 2015, the Department of State (DOS) clarified that the endorsement validity dates of a Form I-129S control the period of a worker’s blanket L-1 classification.  In response to this DOS clarification, employers and holders of Blanket L visas are advised to verify the I-129S validity dates as soon as the endorsed form … Continue Reading

Updated Instruction for Using the DOS Visa Bulletin

Previously, GT wrote about the significant revisions to the October 2015 Visa Bulletin (Original Bulletin), and the Original Bulletin’s impact on foreign nationals and employers.  Just five days before the start of October, the Department of State (DOS) published a revised October 2015 Visa Bulletin (Revised Bulletin) that supersedes the previously published Original Bulletin.  The … Continue Reading

Original Visa Bulletin Not Restored

On September 28, 2015, several highly-skilled immigrant workers from India and China filed a federal class action lawsuit in the State of Washington against the U.S. Department of State (“DOS”) and U.S. Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) over revisions to the October 2015 Visa Bulletin (Revised Visa Bulletin).  A temporary restraining order was subsequently filed … Continue Reading

Class Action Law Suit Filed Against U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Homeland Security in Response to the October 2015 Revised Visa Bulletin

On September 28, 2015, several highly-skilled immigrant workers from India and China filed a federal class action lawsuit in the State of Washington against the U.S. Department of State (“DOS”) and U.S. Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) over revisions to the October 2015 Visa Bulletin (Revised Visa Bulletin) that impacted them adversely.  On September 30, … Continue Reading

All Embassies and Consulates Closed on October 9, 2015, to perform Global Consular Systems Upgrade

On Friday, October 9, 2015, the Department of State will perform a consular systems upgrade at all Embassies and Consulates (Consular Posts).  Because of this upgrade, the Consular Posts will be closed to the public, and any scheduled appointments for this date will be rescheduled by the Consular Posts.  If you have a scheduled visa … Continue Reading

Regrettable and Sudden – DOS Issues a Revised Visa Bulletin for October 2015 Leaving Many Foreign Nationals Upset

September 9, 2015, brought great excitement to many foreign nationals—particularly nationals of India, China, and the Philippines—who were anxiously awaiting the opportunity to file their Adjustment of Status applications with USCIS several years earlier than expected so they could secure independent work authorization and travel permission while waiting to obtain their green cards.  GT wrote … Continue Reading

Adjudication of Employment-Based Adjustment of Status Applications Halted through September

The Department of State has determined that all employment-based (EB) preference categories have been reached for Fiscal Year 2015. What does this mean? Starting today through September 30, 2015, USCIS will not process any final adjudications for already filed EB I-485 Applications until October 1, 2015 when Fiscal Year 2016 begins. Although final adjudications are … Continue Reading

August 2015 Monthly AILA Check-In with Charlie Oppenheim

Charles Oppenheim, chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division of the U.S. Department of State, held his monthly meeting with AILA to shed light on the data in the recently-released September Visa Bulletin.  Among the highlights of meeting are the following: China/India EB-2 Retrogression.  As GT discussed previously here, EB-2 for India and China … Continue Reading

Some Improvement, But Frustrating Visa Delays Continue

In continuation of our reports from last week (June 15, 2015 and June 17, 2015) the State Department describes some progress on the worldwide visa issuance delays that have and are ruining long-planned vacations, athletic events and family reunions for travelers trying to come to the United States. The Bureau of Consulate Affairs says it … Continue Reading

January 2015 Visa Bulletin: Some Good News, But Executive Action Benefits Cannot Come Soon Enough

The Department of State’s (DOS) January Visa Bulletin brings some New Years cheer for China and “All Other Countries” designations indicating that that the EB-3 subcategory for professionals and skilled workers will advance by nine months for China, from June 1, 2010 to March 1, 2011, and seven months for “All Other Countries,” from November 1, … Continue Reading

DOS Clears Backlog of Non-Immigrant Visa Applications Caused by System Error

The Department of State (DOS) has announced that it has cleared its previously reported worldwide backlog of non-immigrant cases at Consulates around the world that were delayed due to a computer system glitch in the Consular Consolidated Database. U.S. Consulates worldwide print approximately 425,000 non-immigrant visas per week, so the delays affected a large group … Continue Reading

October Visa Bulletin – Some Gains in the EB-3 Category, but Near Future Bleak for EB-2 India

The Department of State released its October Visa Bulletin today.  On a positive note, the EB-2 category for Chinese nationals has made a five week gain, from October 8, 2009 to November 15, 2009; and the EB-3 category for skilled workers/professionals for Chinese nationals has jumped five months, from November 1, 2008 to April 1, … Continue Reading

June 2014 Visa Bulletin Released, Shows Significant Retrogression for EB-3 Worldwide, China and Mexico

Below is a summary of the U.S. State Department June 2014 Visa Bulletin: EB-1 remains current across all filing categories; EB-2 for Worldwide, Mexico and Philippines all remain current. The EB-2 India cut-off remains at November 15, 2004 (this has remained stagnant since the December 2013 Visa Bulletin). EB-2 China moves forward to May 22, … Continue Reading