Posted On: April 30, 2012

FY2013 H-1B Update

As of April 30, 2012, USCIS has received approximately 29,200 H-1B petitions towards the 65,000 cap and approximately 12,300 petitions towards the 20,000 cap for applicants with U.S. advanced degrees.

For assistance in filing an H-1B petition, please contact our office.

Posted On: April 24, 2012

FY2012 Annual Limit Reached for EB-2 China-Mainland Born and India

As previously reported, the May 2012 visa bulletin showed the retrogression of the EB-2 priority dates for China-mainland born and India immigrant visa applicants from May 1, 2010 to August 15, 2007. The State Department has confirmed that the annual limit in the EB-2 category for China-mainland born and India has been reached. On April 11, 2012, USCIS was notified that no further visas for those categories would be authorized. As for U.S. adjustment of status applicants, USCIS will continue to receive and process applications for aliens based upon cut-off dates published in the April and May Visa Bulletins. However, cases with priority dates of August 15, 2007, or later, will be held until new visas are available with the start of FY2013 on October 1, 2012.

Posted On: April 24, 2012

FY2013 H-1B Cap Update

As of April 20, 2012, USCIS has received nearly 25,000 H-1B petitions towards the 65,000 cap and approximately 10,900 petitions towards the 20,000 cap for applicants with U.S. advanced degrees.

For assistance in filing an H-1B petition, please contact our office.

Posted On: April 17, 2012

H-1B Cap Count as of April 13, 2012

As of April 13, 2012, USCIS has received approximately 20,600 H-1B petitions towards the 65,000 cap and approximately 9,700 petitions towards the 20,000 cap for applicants with U.S. advanced degrees.

For assistance in filing an H-1B petition, please contact our office.

Posted On: April 9, 2012

Update on FY2013 H-1B Cap

As of April 9, 2012, USCIS has received approximately 17,400 H-1B petitions towards the 65,000 cap and approximately 8,200 petitions towards the 20,000 cap for applicants with U.S. advanced degrees. USCIS has indicated that it will continue to provide regular updates on the FY2013 H-1B cap and will announce a "final receipt date" once it has determined that it has received a sufficient number of cases to meet the cap. It will then randomly select the number of H-1B petitions received on that final date for receipt of a FY2013 H-1B number. Any petitions that are not successful in the lottery system or received after the final receipt date will be returned with refunded filing fees.

Meanwhile, USCIS will continue to accept H-1B cases that are not subject to the numerical cap, including the following petitions:

• H-1B extension of status.;
• H-1B change of employer;
• H-1B amendments; and
• H-1B concurrent employment.

For assistance in filing an H-1B petition, please contact our office.

Posted On: April 8, 2012

May 2012 Department of State Visa Bulletin

The new visa bulletin is out at this link: http://www.travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_5692.html. Employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current for all countries; EB-2 remains current, except for India and China (Aug. 15, 2007); EB-3 is at May 1, 2006 for all countries, except for India (Sept. 8, 2002) and China (April 1, 2005); EB-3 other workers is at April 8, 2006 for all countries, except India (Sept. 8, 2002), China (April 22, 2003); EB-4, religious workers, EB-5, and targeted employment areas and regional centers are all current. Family based petitions are backlogged, with the most recent date at Nov. 15, 2009 for F2A (spouses and children under 21 of lawful permanent residents) and the longest queue for F4 Philippines (brothers and sisters of U.S. Citizens) of Jan. 22, 1989.


The most dramatic change in the May 2012 visa bulletin is the retrogression of the EB-2 priority dates for China-mainland born and India immigrant visa applicants from May 1, 2010 to August 15, 2007. According to the Department of State (DOS), visa applicants processing in April at overseas consulates will still receive visas since those numbers were allocated before the cut-off date was established. As for U.S. adjustment of status applicants, USCIS will contine to receive and process applications for aliens with priority dates prior to the date established in the April visa bulletin, and those cases with priority dates of August 15, 2007, or later, will be forwarded to Visa Control at DOS and held in "pending" status until new visas are available with the start of FY2013 on October 1, 2012. The DOS has stated "Every effort will be made to return the China and India Employment Second preference cut-off date to the previously announced April date of May 1, 2010. This will be done as quickly as possible under the FY-2013 annual limits, which take effect October 1, 2012. It will not be possible to speculate on the cut-off date which may apply at that time until late summer."

Posted On: April 6, 2012

EB-2 Retrogression Confirmed for China-Mainland and India Nationals

As previously reported, the EB-2 priority dates for China-mainland born and India immigrant visa applicants are expected to retrogress to August 15, 2007 in the upcoming May Visa Bulletin. The Department of State (DOS) has confirmed that, effective March 23, 2012, no further EB-2 visas will be authorized for China-mainland born and India applicants with priority dates of August 15, 2007, or later. The current visa bulletin for April shows a priority date of May 1, 2010 for the EB-2 China-mainland born and India categories. DOS has indicated that visa applicants processing in April at overseas consulates will still receive visas since those numbers were allocated before the cut-off date was established. As for U.S. adjustment of status applicants, USCIS will contine to receive and process applications for aliens with priority dates prior to the date established in the April visa bulletin, and those cases with priority dates of August 15, 2007, or later, will be forwarded to Visa Control at DOS and held in "pending" status until new visas are available with the start of FY2013 on October 1, 2012. Be on the look out for the upcoming May visa bulletin as DOS advises that it will address the EB-2 movement.

Posted On: April 5, 2012

USCIS Receives Large Volume of FY2013 H-1B Cap Cases

USCIS began accepting H-1B petitions subject to the FY2013 cap on April 1, 2012. The H-1B category has an annual cap of 65,000 new visas with an additional 20,000 for individuals with U.S. Master's degrees. As of April 4, 2012, 22,323 cap-subject H-1B petitions have been received by USCIS. USCIS has indicated that about 25% of these cases are for U.S. advanced degrees and that the number of petitions received thus far is nearly twice the number of petitions received by USCIS during this same time last year. The H-1B cap was not reached last year until November 22, 2011, but based on the large volume of petitions received within these first few days of the H-1B season, it is likely the H-1B cap may be reached much sooner than last year if filings continue at this current pace. Once USCIS determines that it has received a sufficient number of cases, it will determine a final receipt date and conduct a random lottery based on that date. Any petitions that are not successful in the lottery system will be returned and the filing fees will not be cashed.

For assistance in filing a timely FY 2013 H-1B petition, please contact our office.

Posted On: April 3, 2012

DOS Announces Changes to Visa Application Fee Schedule

Effective April 13, 2012, the U.S. Department of State will enforce new visa application fees under its revised Schedule of Fees for consular services, including nonimmigrant visa application processing fees, border crossing card application processing fees and immigrant visa application processing fees. Most Non-immigrant Visa Services, including employment-based visas in the H, L, O, P, and R categories, experienced fee increases while Immigrant and Special Visa Services saw a reduction in fees. The amended fee schedule is as follows:

Non-Immigrant Visa Services

Nonimmigrant Visa Application and Border Crossing Card Processing Fees (per person):
(a) Non-petition-based nonimmigrant visa (except E category):$160 (new fee) $140 (current fee)
(b) H, L, O, P, Q and R category nonimmigrant visa: $190 (new fee) $150 (current fee)
(c) E category nonimmigrant visa: $270 (new fee) $390(current fee)
(d) K category nonimmigrant visa: $240 (new fee) $350 (current fee)
(e) Border crossing card--age 15 and over (10-year validity): $160 (new fee) $140 (current fee)
(f) Border crossing card--under age 15; for Mexican citizens if parent or guardian has or is applying for a border crossing card (valid for 10 years or until the applicant reaches age 15, whichever is earlier): $15 (new fee) $14 (current fee)

Immigrant and Special Visa Services

Immigrant Visa Application Processing Fee (per person)
(a) Immediate relative and family preference: $230 (new fee) $330 (current fee)
(b) Employment-based applications: $405 (new fee) $720 (current fee)
(c) Other immigrant visa applications (including I-360 self-petitioners and special immigrant visa applicants: $220 (new fee) $305 (current fee)

Diversity Visa Lottery fee (per person applying as a result of the lottery program):$330 (new fee) $440 (current fee)

Special Visa Services:
(a) Determining Returning Resident Status: $275 (new fee) $380 (current fee)

Posted On: April 1, 2012

USCIS Accepts FY2013 H-1B Petitions

Starting today, USCIS began accepting H-1B petitions subject to the FY2013 cap with employment start dates beginning October 1, 2012. Cases will be considered accepted on the date that it is received by USCIS, not the postmarked date. The H-1B category is subject to an annual cap of 65,000 new visas with an additional 20,000 for individuals with U.S. Master's degrees. Once USCIS determines that it has received a sufficient number of cases, it will determine a final receipt date and conduct a random lottery based on that date. Any petitions that are not successful in the lottery system will be returned and the filing fees will not be cashed.

New H-1B petitions that are cap-exempt include beneficiaries employed at institutions of higher education or related or affiliated nonprofit entities, nonprofit research organizations or governmental research organizations. Additionally, beneficiaries working only in Guam or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands are exempt from the cap until December 31, 2014. Meanwhile, USCIS will continue to accept H-1B cases that are not subject to the numerical cap, including the following petitions:

• H-1B extension of status.;
• H-1B change of employer;
• H-1B amendments; and
• H-1B concurrent employment.

For assistance in filing a timely FY 2013 H-1B petition, please contact our office.