Category Archives: Visas

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President Unveils New Immigration Reform Plan

Today, President Trump hosted a Rose Garden event unveiling his new immigration plan. The theme of the address, “Modernizing Our Immigration System for a Stronger America,” focuses on border security and modernizing the employment-based immigration systems to be more merit-based, according to the president. A new initiative called the “Build America Visa” would replace certain … Continue Reading

Visa Bulletin – June 2019

The U.S. State Department has just released the June 2019 Visa Bulletin, and the headline is the significant retrogression in EB-1 India, where the Final Action Date goes back to January 2015. There is slow forward movement in almost all employment-based categories; EB-1 China remains unchanged and EB-3 India remains more advanced than EB-2 India. For more visa … Continue Reading

Federal Agencies Release Prepublication Joint Rule for Additional H-2B Visas

On May 6, the U.S. Departments of Homeland Security and Labor issued a prepublication of the joint temporary rule setting forth the process for accessing 30,000 additional H-2B visas. It is expected that on formal publication of the rule in the Federal Register May 8, eligible U.S. employers documenting returning worker status (over the last three … Continue Reading

Presidential Memorandum on Combating High Nonimmigrant Overstay Rates

On April 22, President Trump, in a quick turn to interior immigration enforcement, issued a Presidential Memorandum (Memo) initiating a process to develop administration initiatives to address visa overstays in the United States. Last week, the Department of Homeland Security released the Fiscal Year 2018 Entry/Exit Overstay Report, stating a total overstay rate of 1.22%, … Continue Reading

DHS Grants Additional H-2B Visas for Seasonal Employment

Amid a flurry of media reports last week and verified today by U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen announced the availability of 30,000 additional H-2B visas for 2019 seasonal employment. Several years ago, Congress gave the DHS Secretary, in consultation with the Department of Labor, the authority to augment H-2B seasonal visas … Continue Reading

Travel During H-1B Cap Season- Do’s and Don’ts

H-1B cap season is once again around the corner. On March 29, 2019, hundreds of thousands of H-1B cap petitions will be shipped to USCIS Service Centers in Vermont and California for selection in this year’s cap season. Assuming premium processing does not come back, the wait time for that receipt notice seems to stretch … Continue Reading

Changes in H and L Visa Processing in China

The Department of State (DOS) and Mission China announced that changes have been made to consolidate the processing in China of H and L visa applications for foreign nationals seeking to work in the United States. Starting March 1, 2019, all interviews for H and L visas will be conducted only at the U.S. Embassy … Continue Reading

DHS Publishes Final Rule for H-1B Lottery

On Nov. 30, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security issued the notice of proposed rulemaking to amend its H-1B cap-subject lottery process. On Jan. 31, 2019, USCIS will publish the final rule after a 30-day comment period. The final rule encompasses a pre-registration process and a modified selection process. The registration process will be suspended for FY … Continue Reading

DOL Implements New LCA Form Effective Nov. 19, 2018

The Labor Condition Application (LCA) Form, ETA 9035, is a required form for non-immigrant visa categories including the H-1B, H-1B1 (Chile/Singapore) and E-3 (Australia). Pursuant to The Department of Labor’s plans to better protect American workers, confront fraud, and increase transparency, a new version of the LCA form took effect on Nov. 19, 2018. This form includes … Continue Reading

USCIS Continues to Increase Number of RFEs and Denials Issued

Since President Trump issued his “Buy American and Hire American” Executive Order in April 2017, USCIS has been issuing Requests for Evidence (RFEs) at unprecedented rates. While the H-1B visa category was specifically targeted as one requiring stricter scrutiny and reform efforts, USCIS has also focused on other visa types for significant adjudication and approval … Continue Reading

November 2018 Visa Bulletin Updates

The Department of State (DOS) November 2018 Visa Bulletin shows movement in employment-based categories. The EB-1 category remained retrogressed for November 2018. Although it is likely that there will be some forward movement in December 2018 for EB-1 India, it will probably NOT return to “current” this calendar year. The EB-2 India category will likely move … Continue Reading

USCIS Proposes Increase to Premium Processing Fee

On Aug. 31, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposed a final rule in the Federal Register to increase the premium processing fee for certain visa petitions to $1,410, effective Oct. 1, 2018. Premium processing, a service offered for certain petitions, requires U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to adjudicate a petition (i.e., approve, … Continue Reading

DHS Releases Fiscal Year 2017 Entry/Exit Overstay Report

On Aug. 7, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released the Fiscal Year 2017 Entry/Exit Overstay Report (or Overstay Report). Visa Overstay Reports have been requested by Congress in recent fiscal years as a means to encourage development of a barometric Port of Entry visa checking system and to report on overstays that were identified … Continue Reading

September 2018 Visa Bulletin Updates

The Department of State (DOS) recently released the September 2018 Visa Bulletin. The charts below show movement in employment-based categories. Referring to the Final Action Dates, following are updates from the September Visa Bulletin: EB-1: Mainland China and India had no movement, with a cutoff date of Jan. 1, 2012, while El Salvador/Guatemala/Honduras, Mexico, Philippines, and Vietnam … Continue Reading

President Signs KIWI Act Providing for E-1 and E-2 Status for New Zealand

As an update to an earlier post, on Aug. 1, the president signed the Knowledgeable Innovators and Worthy Investors Act (KIWI Act) granting E-1 and E-2 status to certain New Zealand nationals under mutual considerations. This will permit citizens of New Zealand to apply for U.S. visas to carry on significant trade with the United States … Continue Reading

House Passes the KIWI Act providing for E-1 and E-2 status for New Zealand

On July 23, 2018, the House passed by voice vote the Knowledgeable Innovators and Worthy Investors Act (S. 2245, “KIWI” Act ). This House action follows Senate passage by unanimous consent on June 28, 2018. The KIWI Act makes New Zealand nationals eligible for U.S. admission as E-1 (trade) and E-2 (investor) nonimmigrants under the … Continue Reading

DHS Announces Additional 15,000 H-2B Visas for 2018

Today, Secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, announced an additional 15,000 H-2B temporary nonagricultural visas will be available for Fiscal Year 2018.  DHS had been under political pressure to release additional H-2B visas by businesses and industry groups citing labor workforce needs.  Groups had been calling for the immediate release of additional H-2Bs to help … Continue Reading

OMB OIRA Releases Unified Agenda and USCIS Regulatory Priorities, Including H-1B, EB-5, and More

On Dec. 14, the Office of Management and Budget Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OMB) published the biennial Unified Agenda.  A long-standing outgrowth of previous regulatory reform efforts, the Unified Agenda offers the public the “current thinking” of federal agencies on upcoming Agency regulatory priorities. Of importance to the immigration community, DHS USCIS posed … Continue Reading

U.S. Resumes Limited Nonimmigrant Visa Services in Turkey

The U.S. Mission in Turkey has resumed limited processing of nonimmigrant visas following the earlier suspension of nonimmigrant visa services in all U.S. diplomatic posts in Turkey back on Oct. 8, 2017. The U.S. Mission in Turkey will process nonimmigrant visas on a limited basis with a reduced number of appointments in both Ankara and … Continue Reading
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