First Time Entry with An Immigrant Visa

Whether you are pursuing a marriage based green card, immigrating for your work, or being sponsored by a family member, obtaining a visa to enter the United States can be a time-consuming, stressful, and frustrating process. Every step of the way something more is required of the applicant. After most of the twists and turns are over, there is still the question of what the applicant should expect when first physically entering the United States. First and foremost, the applicant should keep in mind that a visa is not a guarantee of entry; it simply allows an individual to travel to a U.S. port of entry, such as an airport. If an individual’s visa application has been successful, however, the individual should have no trouble entering the country. It is important for the applicant to bring all the required documentation for entry, including an immigrant visa, passport, medical X-ray report, and the sealed envelope provided by the consulate after the visa immigrant interview. This documentation will need to be presented to immigration officials at the port of entry. The applicant will be taken to a special room or area where the visa in his or her passport will be inspected […]
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Government Delays Impact Visa Processing Times for EB-1 Green Cards

In a recent August 2018 statement, the U.S. Department of State indicated that there will be significant delays in the processing time for visas in the EB-1 category. This is the first time in recent memory that such a delay has impacted EB-1s. DOS has now reported that “limited, if any movement can be expected prior to December” with regard to visa issuance. This means that October is no longer the target date for green card deliveries.   Put simply, this delay is due to a government backlog. The demand for green cards has outpaced the supply and/or ability for USCIS to process applications. As a result, the cutoff date has been pushed backwards, and the EB-1, EB-2 and EB-3 Worldwide categories will all see backlogs.  If you are an EB-1 applicant whose interviews are approaching soon, or have recently concluded, it is likely that you will be affected by this delay. Unfortunately, you can no longer expect an interview date or the delivery of your Green Card by October of this year. EB-1 application timelines are not projected to see any movement until December 2018, possibly later. We are actively tracking this matter and will continue to keep our […]
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Visa Denial for “Public Charge”

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), a foreign national can be found inadmissible to the United States for both a nonimmigrant and immigrant visa for a number of reasons, one reason being that you are likely to become a public charge. If a consular officer believes an applicant is likely to become “primarily dependent on the government for subsistence, as demonstrated by either the receipt of public cash assistance for income maintenance, or institutionalization for long-term care at government expense,” the applicant can be denied entry to the U.S. In making that determination, an officer is required to take into account the totality of the foreign national’s circumstances at the time of the visa application, including age, health, family status, assets, resources, financial status, and education and skills. In addition, the Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM), which details Department of State regulations, was recently updated to include an additional factor — officers are now permitted to consider “past or current receipt of public assistance of any type.” On top of the enumerated factors, an adjudicating officer may also consider an affidavit of support, which is generally submitted on behalf of an applicant with his or her immigrant visa application. This […]
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New U.S. Embassy in London

The United States is currently building a new Embassy in the Nine Elms area of London. Back in 2008, U.S. officials began playing with the idea of renovating the current U.S. Embassy building on Grosvenor Square to accommodate the various needs and threats of the 21st century. As it stood, the Embassy was outdated. It was eventually determined that the best way to incorporate a modern, secure and environmentally sustainable design was to construct a new facility that utilizes the latest in energy-efficient building techniques. At its core, the new building will demonstrate exceptional environmental leadership that is at or beyond the leading edge of practice. It will minimize energy consumption by focusing on renewable energy technologies. Solar energy will be used as a low maintenance method of producing electricity, while a number of innovative components work together to increase water efficiency and reduce the demand on the municipal wastewater system. This process will eventually produce a modern, welcoming, safe and energy efficient embassy well-suited for the 21st century. With the final stages of construction quickly approaching, it is important to keep in mind what that will mean for individuals seeking Embassy services. As resources and staff are shifted from […]
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Summary of DHS Final Rule Going into Effect January 17, 2017

In November of 2016, the Department of Homeland Security released the final text of the rule seeking to improve certain aspects of the employment-based immigration system. The new rule seeks to implement certain changes to the nonimmigrant and immigrant visas in order to better allow U.S. employers to retain foreign workers. This rule also provides increased flexibility to foreign workers, particularly those from India and China, during their U.S. employment-based immigration process. The final rule goes into effect on January 17, 2017. A significant portion of the final rule deals with codifying existing USCIS practice, based on agency guidance and memoranda, into the regulations. In other words, a good portion of this final rule does not bring about much substantive change. Below we take a look at some of the new or changed provisions. Summary of the Proposed Rule Portability of I-140s and Priority Dates I-140 petitions which have been approved for more than 180 days will be valid for H-1B extensions beyond the sixth-year limit and valid for portability (including retention and porting of the priority date) even in the event the sponsoring employer withdraws the approved I-140 or goes out of business. Withdrawal by USCIS due to fraud, […]
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DOS Annual Report Reveals 4,367,052 Visa Applicants are Waiting in Line

In October, the Department of State (DOS) asked the National Visa Center (NVC) to report the totals of applicants on the waiting list in the various numerically-limited immigrant categories. Applications for adjustment of status which are pending at USCIS offices are not included in the tabulation of the immigrant waiting list data which is provided below. As such, the following figures only reflect petitions which the DOS has received and do not include the significant number of applications held with the USCIS offices. The following figures have been compiled from the NVC report submitted to the Department on November 1, 2016, and show the number of immigrant visa applicants on the wait list in the various categories subject to numerical limit. All figures reflect persons registered under each respective numerical limitation, for example, the totals represent not only principal applicants, but also their derivative spouses and children. Family Sponsored Preferences Category & Number as of November 1, 2016 Family first: 310,884 Family second total: 700,212     2A Spouses/Children: 276,839     2B Adult Sons/Daughters: 423,373 Family third: 781,810 Family fourth: 2,466,667 TOTAL: 4,259,573 Employment-based Preferences Category & Number as of November 1, 2016 Employment first: 3,801 Employment second: 14,370 […]
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USCIS Publishes Final Rule Improving Certain Employment-based Immigrant and Nonimmigrant Visa Programs

USCIS has published a final rule modernizing and improving several aspects of certain employment-based nonimmigrant and immigrant visa programs. USCIS has also amended regulations to better enable U.S. employers to hire and retain certain foreign workers who are beneficiaries of approved employment-based immigrant visa petitions and are waiting to become lawful permanent residents. This rule goes into effect Jan. 17, 2017. Among other things, DHS is amending its regulations to: • Clarify and improve longstanding DHS policies and practices implementing sections of the American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act related to certain foreign workers, which will enhance USCIS’ consistency in adjudication. • Better enable U.S. employers to employ and retain high-skilled workers who are beneficiaries of approved employment-based immigrant visa petitions (Form I-140 petitions) while also providing stability and job flexibility to these workers. The rule increases the ability of these workers to further their careers by accepting promotions, changing positions with current employers, and pursuing other employment opportunities. • Improve job portability for certain beneficiaries of approved Form I-140 petitions by maintaining a petition’s validity under certain circumstances despite an employer’s withdrawal of the approved petition or the termination of the employer’s business. • Clarify and expand when individuals […]
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