July 9, 2014

NSC Clarifies Issues for I-140 NIW and I-485 Applications

Earlier this month, the USCIS Nebraska Service Center (NSC) addressed several employment based matters at a meeting with immigration attorneys. The following is a summary of the unofficial minutes from that meeting.

Updates on Adjudicating National Interest Waiver Petitions

According to NSC, adjudications of NIW petitions have slowed because of an “[u]nforeseen operational impact.” NSC has reassured the public that the normal processing timeframe of 4 months had been restored at the end of June. The USCIS Processing Time website reflects this update.

NSC also confirmed that it approves NIW applications for entrepreneurs, though acknowledged that entrepreneurs often find it difficult to meet all three NYSDOT prongs in addition to the EB-2 advanced degree or exceptional ability requirement. The report highlighted the second prong, which a purely local business cannot fulfill; and the third prong, which a first-time entrepreneur lacking a history of achievement cannot fulfill. NSC recommended that interested entrepreneurs visit the USCIS Entrepreneurs Pathways website for useful tips and examples of evidence for NIW entrepreneur applications.

Updates on Adjudicating Employment-based Applications for Permanent Residence (Form I-485)

NSC clarified why Requests for Evidence (RFEs) are issued for all status documents (e.g., I-94s, I-797s) in employment-based I-485 cases. NSC emphasized that adjustment of status is a “discretionary benefit,” for which it can weigh previous violations or overstays as a negative factor in the adjustment adjudication process.

In addition, NSC provided four specific reasons for reviewing all of an applicant’s status:

1) The Service must look for previous periods of unlawful presence that may trigger a bar for admissibility under INA 212(a)(9).

2) The Service must ascertain whether an applicant is subject to the J-1 home residency rule under INA 212(e).

3) The Service must identify A, E, and G nonimmigrants who may be required to submit an I-508 or I-566 waiver before being able to adjust.

4) The Service must identify foreign medical graduates who may require a waiver for INA 212(e) or were admitted in H status while performing a previous medical service obligation.

If you have questions about a pending immigrant petition or a Request for Evidence you have received, please feel free to contact our office.

June 16, 2014

Medical Exam Change for AOS Applications

On June 1, 2014, USCIS limited the validity period for all Forms I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, to one year from the date of submission to USCIS. Applicants must also submit Form I-693 to USCIS within one year of the immigration medical examination. USCIS also will provide additional ways to submit Form I-693. As outlined in policy alert PA-2014-005, this updated policy applies to any Form I-693 supporting a benefit application that USCIS adjudicates on or after June 1, 2014.

May 16, 2014

June 2014 Department of State Visa Bulletin

The new visa bulletin is out at this link: June 2014 Visa Bulletin

Employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current for all countries; EB-2 is current for all countries, except India (November 15, 2004) and China (May 22, 2009); EB-3 is at April 1, 2011 for all countries, except India (October 15, 2003), China (October 1, 2006), and Philippines (January 1, 2008); EB-3 other workers is at April 1, 2011 for all countries, except India (October 15, 2003), China (January 1, 2003) and Philippines (January 1, 2008); EB-4, religious workers, EB-5 targeted employment areas and regional centers, and EB-5 Pilot Programs are all current. Family based petitions are backlogged, with the most recent date at May 1, 2012 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 November 15, 1990.

April 23, 2014

May 2014 Department of State Visa Bulletin

The new visa bulletin is out at this link: May 2014 Visa Bulletin

Employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current for all countries; EB-2 is current for all countries, except India (November 15, 2004) and China (April 15, 2009); EB-3 is at October 1, 2012 for all countries, except India (October 01, 2003) and Philippines (November 1, 2007); EB-3 other workers is at October 1, 2012 for all countries, except India (October 1, 2003) and Philippines (November 1, 2007); EB-4, religious workers, EB-5 targeted employment areas and regional centers, and EB-5 Pilot Programs are all current. Family based petitions are backlogged, with the most recent date at September 8, 2013 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 November 1, 1990.

February 28, 2014

March 2014 Department of State Visa Bulletin

The new visa bulletin is out at this link: March 2014 Visa Bulletin

Employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current for all countries; EB-2 is current for all countries, except India (November 15, 2004) and China (February 15, 2009); EB-3 is at September 1, 2012 for all countries, except India (September 15, 2003) and Philippines (May 1, 2007); EB-3 other workers is at September 1, 2012 for all countries, except India (September 15, 2003) and Philippines (May 1, 2007); EB-4, religious workers, EB-5 targeted employment areas and regional centers, and EB-5 Pilot Programs are all current. Family based petitions are backlogged, with the most recent date at September 8, 2013 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 September 1, 1990.

February 3, 2014

GOP Drafts Immigration Reform Principles

House Republicans released a draft of principles on immigration reform as House GOP members gathered for their retreat to discuss their position on a range of issues.
Here is a synopsis of the draft on Immigration Reform:

Reforms to Employment-Based Immigration
The draft emphasizes the importance of employment-based immigration reform. Stating that each year thousands of foreign nationals pursue degrees at U.S. colleges and universities, particularly in high-skilled fields, the draft states that because of current laws, their expertise doesn’t spur economic growth or create jobs for Americans. The GOP’s draft calls for Visa and Green Card allocations that reflect the needs of employers and the need for these individuals to help the U.S. economy.
The draft states that the goal of any temporary worker program should be to address the economic needs of the country and to strengthen national security by creating realistic, enforceable, usable, legal paths for entry into the United States. Of particular concern are the needs of the agricultural industry. It is imperative, the draft states, that these temporary workers are able to meet U.S. economic needs and do not displace or disadvantage U.S. workers.
Employment Verification and Workplace Enforcement
Full implementation of a workable electronic employment verification system.
Border Security and Interior Enforcement
First on the GOP agenda is securing the U.S. borders. In addition, once immigration reform is enacted, the draft emphasizes zero tolerance policy for those who cross the border illegally or overstay their Visas in the future.
Implement Entry-Exit Visa Tracking System
The Republicans want a fully functioning Entry-Exit system, which has been mandated by eight separate statutes over the past 17 years. At least three of these laws call for this system to be biometric, using technology to verify identity and prevent fraud. The Republicans want to implement this system to identify and track down visitors who abuse U.S. laws.
Youth
The draft outlines provisions for legal residence and citizenship for those who were brought to the United States as children once they meet certain eligibility standards, serve honorably in the U.S. military or attain a college degree.
Individuals Living Outside the Rule of Law
The draft outlines a national and economic security policy that will require people living and working in the U.S. illegally to come forward – offering them the opportunity to live in the U.S. if they are willing “to admit their culpability, pass rigorous background checks, pay significant fines and back taxes, develop proficiency in English and American civics, and be able to support themselves and their families (without access to public benefits).” Criminal aliens, gang members, sex offenders, and those who do not meet the above requirements will not be eligible for this program.

January 15, 2014

February 2014 Department of State Visa Bulletin

The new visa bulletin is out at this link: February 2014 Visa Bulletin

Employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current for all countries; EB-2 is current for all countries, except India (November 15, 2004) and China (January 8, 2009); EB-3 is at June 1, 2012 for all countries, except India (September 1, 2003) and Philippines (April 15, 2007); EB-3 other workers is at June 1, 2012 for all countries, except India (September 1, 2003) and Philippines (April 15, 2007); EB-4, religious workers, EB-5 targeted employment areas and regional centers, and EB-5 Pilot Programs are all current. Family based petitions are backlogged, with the most recent date at September 8, 2013 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 August 8, 1990.

December 16, 2013

January 2014 Department of State Visa Bulletin

The new visa bulletin is out at this link: January 2014 Visa Bulletin

Employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current for all countries; EB-2 is current for all countries, except India (Nov. 15, 2004) and China (Dec. 8, 2008); EB-3 is at April 1, 2012 for all countries, except India (Sept. 1, 2003) and Philippines (Feb. 15, 2007); EB-3 other workers is at April 1, 2012 for all countries, except India (Sept. 1, 2003) and Philippines (Feb. 15, 2007); EB-4, religious workers, EB-5 targeted employment areas and regional centers, and EB-5 Pilot Programs are all current. Family based petitions are backlogged, with the most recent date at Sept. 8, 2013 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 July 1, 1990.

November 16, 2013

December 2013 Department of State Visa Bulletin

The new visa bulletin is out at this link: December 2013 Visa Bulletin

Employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current for all countries; EB-2 is current for all countries, except India (Nov. 15, 2004) and China (Nov. 8, 2008); EB-3 is at Oct. 1, 2011 for all countries, except India (Sept. 1, 2003) and Philippines (Jan. 8, 2007); EB-3 other workers is at Oct. 1, 2011 for all countries, except India (Sept. 1, 2003) and Philippines (Jan. 8, 2007); EB-4, religious workers, EB-5 targeted employment areas and regional centers, and EB-5 Pilot Programs are all current. Family based petitions are backlogged, with the most recent date at Sept. 8, 2013 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 Apr. 22, 1990.

October 16, 2013

November 2013 Department of State Visa Bulletin

The new visa bulletin is out at this link: November 2013 Visa Bulletin

Employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current for all countries; EB-2 is current for all countries, except India (June 15, 2008) and China (Oct. 8, 2008); EB-3 is at Oct. 1, 2010 for all countries, except India (Sept. 22, 2003) and Philippines (Dec. 15, 2006); EB-3 other workers is at Oct. 1, 2010 for all countries, except India (Sept. 22, 2003) and Philippines (Dec. 15, 2006); EB-4, religious workers, EB-5 targeted employment areas and regional centers, and EB-5 Pilot Programs are all current. Family based petitions are backlogged, with the most recent date at Sept. 8, 2013 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 Apr. 22, 1990.

August 13, 2013

September 2013 Department of State Visa Bulletin

The new visa bulletin is out at this link: September 2013 Visa Bulletin

Employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current for all countries; EB-2 is current for all countries, except India (June 15, 2008) and China (Aug. 8, 2008); EB-3 is at July 1, 2010 for all countries, except India (Sept. 22, 2003) and Philippines (Dec. 1, 2006); EB-3 other workers is at July 1, 2010 for all countries, except India (Sept. 22, 2003), China (June 15, 2004), and Philippines (Dec. 1, 2006); EB-4, religious workers, EB-5 targeted employment areas and regional centers, and EB-5 Pilot Programs are all current. Most family based petitions are backlogged, except F2A (spouses and children under 21 of lawful permanent residents) which is current for all countries. The longest queue is for F4 Philippines (brothers and sisters of U.S. Citizens) of Feb. 15, 1990.

July 12, 2013

August 2013 Department of State Visa Bulletin

The new visa bulletin is out at this link: August 2013 Visa Bulletin

Employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current for all countries; EB-2 is current for all countries, except India (Jan. 1, 2008)* and China (Aug. 8, 2008); EB-3 is at Jan. 1, 2009 for all countries, except India (Jan. 22, 2003) and Philippines (Oct. 22, 2006); EB-3 other workers is at Jan. 1, 2009 for all countries, except India (Jan. 22, 2003), China (March 22, 2004), and Philippines (Oct. 22, 2006); EB-4, religious workers, EB-5 targeted employment areas and regional centers, and EB-5 Pilot Programs are all current. Most family based petitions are backlogged, except F2A (spouses and children under 21 of lawful permanent residents)* which is current for all countries. The longest queue is for F4 Philippines (brothers and sisters of U.S. Citizens) of Jan. 8, 1990.

*According to the Department of State bulletin EB-2 priority dates for India and Family F2A advanced the month of August.

"These changes for the Family F2A, and India Employment Second preference categories reflect actions which have been taken based on current applicant demand patterns. Readers should expect that some type of “corrective” action will be required at some point during FY-2014 in an effort to maintain number use within the applicable annual limits. Such action would involve the establishment and retrogression of such cut-off dates, and could occur at any time.."

June 14, 2013

July 2013 Department of State Visa Bulletin

The new visa bulletin is out at this link: July 2013 Visa Bulletin

Employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current for all countries; EB-2 is current for all countries, except for India (Sept. 1, 2004)* and China (Aug. 8, 2008); EB-3 is at Jan. 1, 2009 for all countries, except for India (Jan. 22, 2003) and Philippines (Oct. 1, 2006); EB-3 other workers is at Jan. 1, 2009 for all countries, except India (Jan. 22, 2003), China (March 22, 2004), and Philippines (Oct. 1, 2006); EB-4, religious workers, EB-5 targeted employment areas and regional centers, and EB-5 Pilot Programs are all current. Family based petitions are backlogged, with the most recent date at Oct. 8, 2011 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 Dec. 15, 1989.

*According to the Department of State bulletin EB-2 priority dates for India may advance in August or September.

“India: At this time it appears that the availability of “otherwise unused” Employment Second preference numbers will allow for movement of this cut-off date in August and/or September. It is expected that such movement will generate heavy new applicant demand, primarily by those who are upgrading their status from the Employment Third preference category. A sustained level of heavy demand could impact the cut-off date at some point during fiscal year 2014. “

May 14, 2013

June 2013 Department of State Visa Bulletin

The new visa bulletin is out at this link: June 2013 Visa Bulletin

Employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current for all countries; EB-2 is current for all countries, except for India (Sept. 1, 2004) and China (July 15, 2008); EB-3 is at Sept. 1, 2008 for all countries, except for India (Jan. 8, 2003) and Philippines (Sept. 22, 2006); EB-3 other workers is at Sept. 1, 2008 for all countries, except India (Jan. 8, 2003), China (Oct. 22, 2003), and Philippines (Sept. 22, 2006); EB-4, religious workers, EB-5 targeted employment areas and regional centers, and EB-5 Pilot Programs are all current. Family based petitions are backlogged, with the most recent date at June 8, 2011 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 Nov. 8, 1989.

April 12, 2013

May 2013 Department of State Visa Bulletin

The new visa bulletin is out at this link: May 2013 Visa Bulletin

Employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current for all countries; EB-2 is current for all countries, except for India (Sept. 1, 2004) and China (May 15, 2008); EB-3 is at Dec. 1, 2007 for all countries, except for India (Dec. 22, 2002) and Philippines (Sept. 15, 2006); EB-3 other workers is at Dec. 1, 2007 for all countries, except India (Dec. 22, 2002), China (Sept. 1, 2003), and Philippines (Sept. 15, 2006); EB-4, religious workers, EB-5 targeted employment areas and regional centers, and EB-5 Pilot Programs are all current. Family based petitions are backlogged, with the most recent date at March 1, 2011 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 Oct. 1, 1989.

March 12, 2013

April 2013 Department of State Visa Bulletin

The new visa bulletin is out at this link: April 2013 Visa Bulletin

Employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current for all countries; EB-2 is current for all countries, except for India (Sept. 1, 2004) and China (Apr. 1, 2008); EB-3 is at July 1, 2007 for all countries, except for India (Dec. 8, 2002), China (Apr. 22, 2007), and Philippines (Sept. 8, 2006); EB-3 other workers is at July 1, 2007 for all countries, except India (Dec. 8, 2002), China (Aug. 1, 2003), and Philippines (Sept. 8, 2006); EB-4, religious workers, EB-5 targeted employment areas and regional centers, and EB-5 Pilot Programs are all current. Family based petitions are backlogged, with the most recent date at Dec. 15, 2010 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 Aug. 15, 1989.

February 19, 2013

March 2013 Department of State Visa Bulletin

The new visa bulletin is out at this link: March 2013 Visa Bulletin

Employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current for all countries; EB-2 is current for all countries, except for India (Sept. 1, 2004) and China (Feb. 15, 2008); EB-3 is at May 1, 2007 for all countries, except for India (Nov. 22, 2002), China (Jan. 22, 2007), and Philippines (Sept. 1, 2006); EB-3 other workers is at May 1, 2007 for all countries, except India (Nov. 22, 2002), China (July 1, 2003), and Philippines (Sept. 1, 2006); EB-4, religious workers, EB-5 targeted employment areas and regional centers, and EB-5 Pilot Programs are all current. Family based petitions are backlogged, with the most recent date at Nov. 22, 2010 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 July 15, 1989.

January 25, 2013

Operational Guidance for EB-5 Cases Involving Tenant-Occupancy

The USCIS recently issued a guidance memorandum to facilitate adjudication of cases involving issues related to the “tenant-occupancy” methodology for establishing job creation in EB-5 cases. Among the issues raised in the February 2012 RFEs, USCIS sought evidence that the projected jobs attributable to prospective tenants (which would occupy the commercial space created by the EB-5 capital) would represent newly created jobs, and not jobs that the tenant had merely relocated from another location. This determination assesses whether there is a reasonable causal link between the EB-5 enterprise and the job creation that would allow for the attribution of the tenant jobs to the EB-5 enterprise. The memo sets forth the principles to be used in adjudicating cases involving tenant-occupancy models.

The complete memo may be found here: Operational Guidance for EB-5 Cases Involving Tenant-Occupancy Memo

January 11, 2013

February 2013 Department of State Visa Bulletin

The new visa bulletin is out at this link: February 2013 Visa Bulletin

Employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current for all countries; EB-2 is current for all countries, except for India (Sept. 1, 2004) and China (Jan. 15, 2008); EB-3 is at March 15, 2007 for all countries, except for India (Nov. 15, 2002), China (Nov. 15, 2006), and Philippines (Aug. 22, 2006); EB-3 other workers is at March 15, 2007 for all countries, except India (Nov. 15, 2002), China (July 1, 2003), and Philippines (Aug. 22, 2006); EB-4, religious workers, EB-5 targeted employment areas and regional centers, and EB-5 Pilot Programs are all current. Family based petitions are backlogged, with the most recent date at Oct. 22, 2010 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 June 1, 1989.

November 8, 2012

December 2012 Department of State Visa Bulletin

The new visa bulletin is out at this link: http://www.travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_5803.html. Employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current for all countries; EB-2 is current for all countries, except for India (Sept. 1, 2004) and China (Oct. 22, 2007); EB-3 is at Dec. 22, 2006 for all countries, except for India (Nov. 1, 2002), China (July 1, 2006), and Philippines (Aug. 15, 2006); EB-3 other workers is at Dec. 22, 2006 for all countries, except India (Nov. 1, 2002), China (July 1, 2003), and Philippines (Aug. 15, 2006); EB-4, religious workers, EB-5 targeted employment areas and regional centers, and EB-5 Pilot Programs are all current. Family based petitions are backlogged, with the most recent date at August 22, 2010 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 March 22, 1989.


October 12, 2012

November 2012 Department of State Visa Bulletin

The new visa bulletin is out at this link: http://www.travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_5779.html. Employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current for all countries; EB-2 is current for all countries, except for India (Sept. 1, 2004) and China (Sept. 1, 2007); EB-3 is at Nov. 22, 2006 for all countries, except for India (Oct. 22, 2002), China (April 15, 2006), and Philippines (Aug. 8, 2006); EB-3 other workers is at Nov. 22, 2006 for all countries, except India (Oct. 22, 2002), China (July 1, 2003), and Philippines (Aug. 8, 2006); EB-4, religious workers, EB-5 targeted employment areas and regional centers, and EB-5 Pilot Programs are all current. Family based petitions are backlogged, with the most recent date at July 15, 2010 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 March 1, 1989.


September 13, 2012

October 2012 Department of State Visa Bulletin

The new visa bulletin is out at this link: http://travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_5770.html. Employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current for all countries; EB-2 is at January 1, 2012 for all countries, except for India (July 1, 2004) and China (July 15, 2007); EB-3 is at Oct. 22, 2006 for all countries, except for India (Oct. 15, 2002), China (Feb. 8, 2006), and Philippines (Aug. 1, 2006); EB-3 other workers is at Oct. 22, 2006 for all countries, except India (Oct. 15, 2002), China (June 22, 2003), and Philippines (Aug. 1, 2006); EB-4 is current, religious workers is unavailable, EB-5 targeted employment areas and regional centers is current, and EB-5 Pilot Programs is unavailable. Family based petitions are backlogged, with the most recent date at June 1, 2010 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 February 8, 1989.


September 10, 2012

Update on Visa Bulletin Priority Dates and Demand

American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and Department of State (DOS) recently held a meeting that included a discussion regarding visa demand in the employment and family preference categories and predictions for FY2012 and FY2013. The following are the notes, in pertinent part, from that meeting:

• Employment Based (EB)-1 visa usage is extremely high with August 2012 at a near record high. The EB-1 visa category could close in September if usage remains this high (close the 40,000). It would then go current in October.
• EB-2 India priority date will probably go to 2006 when the Visa Bulletin is published next month (not 2007 as previously predicted). This is due in part to the retrogression in 2012, as well as the high level of EB-1 usage. India is expected to stay in 2006 for some time.
• EB-2 China priority date will be further ahead than India.
• EB-2 worldwide may go current in October, or it may go to early 2012 and then current in the November Visa Bulletin. A “correction” in EB-2 worldwide towards the latter part of FY2013 could happen (in other words, potentially visa retrogression for EB-2 worldwide and no longer current).
• EB-3 worldwide should remain as posted for the rest of September. Steady progress is expected in FY2013, unless heavy EB-1 and EB-2 usage in FY2013, which would slow the speed of EB-3 worldwide.
• Family Based (FB) 2A cases: Usage is dropping. FB-2A usage is slower than it should be so the priority dates are expected to move forward at the same pace as FY2012. However, if demand continues to be low, this group may move forward more significantly in the spring of 2013.

August 15, 2012

September 2012 Department of State Visa Bulletin

The new visa bulletin is out at this link: http://www.travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_5759.html. Employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current for all countries; EB-2 is at January 1, 2009 for all countries, except for India and China for which visas are currently unavailable; EB-3 is at Oct. 1, 2006 for all countries, except for India (Oct. 8, 2002), China (Dec. 15, 2005), and Philippines (Aug. 1, 2006); EB-3 other workers is at Oct. 1, 2006 for all countries, except India (Oct. 8, 2002), China (June 22, 2003), and Philippines (Aug. 1, 2006); 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 May 8, 2010 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 February 1, 1989.


July 11, 2012

August 2012 Department of State Visa Bulletin

The new visa bulletin is out at this link: http://www.travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_5749.html. Employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current for all countries; EB-2 is at January 1, 2009 for all countries, except for India and China for which visas are currently unavailable; EB-3 is at Sept. 8, 2006 for all countries, except for India (Oct. 1, 2002), China (Nov. 8, 2005), and Philippines (June 15, 2006); EB-3 other workers is at Sept. 8, 2006 for all countries, except India (Oct. 1, 2002), China (June 15, 2003), and Philippines (June 8, 2006); 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 March 15, 2010 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 February 1, 1989.


June 27, 2012

Update on Visa Bulletin Priority Dates and Demand

American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and Department of State (DOS) recently held a meeting that included a discussion regarding visa demand in the employment preference categories and predictions for FY2012 and FY2013. The following are the notes from that meeting:

• In October 2012 (beginning of the 2013 fiscal year), the EB-2 cut-off dates for China-Mainland born and India, which are currently "unavailable," will move to August or September 2007 (China may be slightly better). It is unlikely that the cut-off dates will move forward at all between October 2012 - March 2013.

• EB-2 worldwide will be current again in October 2012 when the fiscal year opens.

• If USCIS approves many pending cases during the month of June, the worldwide EB-2 category may retrogress or become unavailable in August 2012 and September 2012.

June 12, 2012

July 2012 Department of State Visa Bulletin

The new visa bulletin is out at this link: http://www.travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_5733.html. The biggest change reflected is the July visa bulletin is in the EB-2 category where there is a cut-off date of January 1, 2009 for all countries, except for China and India where it remains "unavailable." It is anticipated that the EB-2 category may become entirely "unavailable" in August and September and visa numbers may not become available again until the beginning of FY2013, i.e. October 1, 2012. Meanwhile, the EB-3 category is expected to advance 5 weeks in July for all countries, 6 weeks for China, and 1 week for India. Individuals, other than India and China-mainland born nationals, who have approved labor certification applications and are eligible for EB-2 classification, are advised to file their immigrant petitions and adjustment of status applications by the end of June before the July visa bulletin goes into effect. Specifically, the July visa bulletin cut-off dates are as follows:


Employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current for all countries; EB-2 is at January 1, 2009 for all countries, except for India and China for which visas are currently unavailable; EB-3 is at July 22, 2006 for all countries, except for India (Sept. 22, 2002), China (Sept. 22, 2005), and Philippines (June 8, 2006); EB-3 other workers is at July 22, 2006 for all countries, except India (Sept. 22, 2002), China (June 15, 2003), and Philippines (June 8, 2006); 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 February 15, 2010 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 February 1, 1989.

May 22, 2012

June 2012 Department of State Visa Bulletin

The new visa bulletin is out at this link: http://www.travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_5712.html. Employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current for all countries; EB-2 remains current, except for India and China for which visas are currently unavailable; EB-3 is at June 8, 2006 for all countries, except for India (Sept. 15, 2002), China (Aug. 8, 2005), and Philippines (May 22, 2006); EB-3 other workers is at June 8, 2006 for all countries, except India (Sept. 15, 2002), China (April 22, 2003), and Philippines (May 22, 2006); 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 Jan. 1, 2010 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.


May 9, 2012

Update on EB-1 and EB-2 Visa Availability

The Department of State (DOS) has reported that despite the retrogression in the May Visa Bulletin of the China-mainland born and India EB-2 priority dates to August 15, 2007, there continues to be an overwhelming demand for numbers by individuals with priority dates earlier than that date. The demand is primarily due to “upgrades” of adjustment of status cases that were originally filed with the USCIS in the EB-3 category that are now eligible to be upgraded to the EB-2 classification. As a result, DOS decided to make the China-mainland born and India EB-2 category "unavailable" in early April, and numbers in this category will continue to be unavailable until the beginning of FY2013, i.e. October 1, 2012. DOS has announced that it will do its best to return the China-mainland born and India EB-2 category cut-off date to the previous May 1, 2010 date. While it is difficult to predict how long that may take, current estimates show that it is not likely to happen before spring 2013. Meanwhile, USCIS will continue accepting China-mainland born and India EB-2 adjustment of status filings during May based on the originally announced May cut-off date.

The above-mentioned information will be included in the upcomig June 2012 Visa Bulletin. DOS also indicted the following changes to “Item F” of the May Visa Bulletin which provided projections regarding visa availability in the coming months. Information it received from the USCIS after its publication requires an update in the projections for the EB-1 and EB-2 preference categories as follows:

Employment First: Based on the current rate of demand, it may be necessary to establish a cut-off date at the end of the fiscal year in an effort to limit number use within the annual numerical limit.

Employment Second: Based on the current rate of demand, it may be necessary to establish a cut-off date for this category for all countries other than China and India. Such action may be required at any time during the next few months.

Please be advised that the above are only estimates for what could happen during the next few months based on applicant demand patterns experienced in recent months.

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.

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."

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.

March 25, 2012

EB-2 Priority Date for China and India Faces Major Retrogression

The EB-2 priority dates for China-mainland born and India are expected to retrogress to August 15, 2007 in the upcoming May Visa Bulletin. The current visa bulletin shows a priority date of May 1, 2010 for the EB-2 China-mainland born and India categories. Due to the high demand in these categories, the priority date has been retrogressed to ensure visa numbers are available for natives of other countries. USCIS has indicated that it will continue to “preadjudicate” adjustment of status applications received through April. The “preadjudicated” cases will be held by the State Department in “pending” status so that they will be ready in October, or earlier, if the current number use pattern changes, and they are needed at the end of the FY2012 to ensure the employment-based visas are fully allocated. For now, it is still too early to predict movement for the remainder of the year.

March 13, 2012

April 2012 Department of State Visa Bulletin

The new visa bulletin is out at this link: http://www.travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_5674.html. Employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current for all countries; EB-2 remains current, except for India and China (May 1, 2010); EB-3 is at April 8, 2006 for all countries, except for India (Sept. 1, 2002) and China (Mar. 1, 2005); EB-3 other workers is at April 8, 2006 for all countries, except India (Sept. 1, 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 Oct. 8, 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. 8, 1989.

February 9, 2012

March 2012 Department of State Visa Bulletin

The new visa bulletin is out at this link: http://travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_5664.html. Employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current for all countries; EB-2 remains current, except for India and China (May 1, 2010); EB-3 is at March 15, 2006 for all countries, except for India (Aug. 22, 2002) and China (Jan. 1, 2005); EB-3 other workers is at March 15, 2006 for all countries, except India (Aug. 22, 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 July 22, 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 Dec. 22, 1988.

January 6, 2012

Feb. 2012 Visa Bulletin Shows Huge Jump for EB-2 India and China

The new visa bulletin is out at this link: http://travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_5640.html. The most significant movement can be seen in the employment-based 2nd preference category (EB-2), i.e. members of professions holding advanced degrees or persons of exceptional ability, for India and China. The EB-2 category for India and China has jumped from January 1, 2009 to January 1, 2010.


The employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current for all countries; EB-2 remains current, except for India and China (Jan. 1, 2010); EB-3 is at February 22, 2006 for all countries, except for India (Aug. 15, 2002) and China (Dec. 1, 2004); EB-3 other workers is at February 22, 2006 for all countries, except India (Aug. 15, 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 June 8, 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 Nov. 1, 1988.

December 13, 2011

January 2012 Department of State Visa Bulletin

The new visa bulletin is out at this link: http://www.travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_5630.html. Employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current for all countries; EB-2 remains current, except for India and China (Jan. 1, 2009); EB-3 is at February 1, 2006 for all countries, except for India (Aug. 8, 2002) and China (Oct. 15, 2004); EB-3 other workers is at February 1, 2006 for all countries, except India (Aug. 1, 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 April 22, 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 Oct. 8, 1988.

November 10, 2011

December 2011 Department of State Visa Bulletin

The new visa bulletin is out at this link: http://travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_5603.html. Employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current for all countries; EB-2 remains current, except for India and China (Mar. 15, 2008); EB-3 is at January 15, 2006 for all countries, except for India (Aug. 1, 2002) and China (Sept. 8, 2004); EB-3 other workers is at January 1, 2006 for all countries, except India (July 22, 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 March 22, 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 September 8, 1988.

August 10, 2011

September 2011 Department of State Visa Bulletin

The new visa bulletin for September 2011 is out at this link: http://www.travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_5542.html.

Employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current for all countries; EB-2 remains current, except for India and China (April 2007); EB-3 is at November 2005 for all countries, except for India (June 2002) and China (July 2004); EB-3 other workers is at August 2005 for all countries, except India (June 2002) and China (April 2003); EB-4, religious workers, EB-5, and targeted employment areas and regional centers are all current.

Family based petitions remain backlogged, with the most recent date at December 2008.

July 14, 2011

August 2011 Department of State Visa Bulletin

The new visa bulletin for August 2011 is out at this link: http://www.travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_5518.html.

Employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current for all countries; EB-2 remains current, except for India and China (April 2007); EB-3 is at November 2005 for all countries, except for India (June 2002) and China (July 2004); EB-3 other workers is at May 2005 for all countries, except India (June 2002) and China (April 2003); EB-4, religious workers, EB-5, and targeted employment areas and regional centers are all current.

Family based petitions remain backlogged, with the most recent date at July 2008.

June 14, 2011

July 2011 Department of State Visa Bulletin

The new visa bulletin is out at this link: http://www.travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_5489.html. Employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current for all countries; EB-2 remains current, except for India and China (Mar. 2007); EB-3 is at October 2005 for all countries, except for India (May 2002), China (July 2004), and Mexico (July 2005); EB-3 other workers is at November 2004 for all countries, except India (May 2002), China (April 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 March 2008.

May 19, 2011

June 2011 Department of State Visa Bulletin

The new visa bulletin is out at this link: http://www.travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_5452.html. Employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current for all countries; EB-2 remains current, except for India and China (Oct. 2006); EB-3 is at September 2005 for all countries, except for India (April 2002), China (May 2004), and Mexico (Dec. 2004); EB-3 other workers is at November 2003 for all countries, except India (April 2002), China (April 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 August 2007.

April 11, 2011

May 2011 Department of State Visa Bulletin

The new visa bulletin is out at this link: http://www.travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_5424.html. Employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current for all countries; EB-2 remains current, except for India (July 2006) and China (Aug. 2006); EB-3 is at August 2005 for all countries, except for India (April 2002), China (April 2004), and Mexico (Sept. 2004); EB-3 other workers is at September 2003 for all countries, except India (April 2002), China (April 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 June 2007.

March 9, 2011

April 2011 Department of State Visa Bulletin

The new visa bulletin is out at this link: http://travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_5368.html. Employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current for all countries; EB-2 remains current, except for India (May 2006) and China (July 2006); EB-3 is at July 2005 for all countries, except for India (April 2002), China (Mar. 2004), and Mexico (May 2004); EB-3 other workers is at July 2003 for all countries, except India (April 2002), China (April 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 April 2007.

February 14, 2011

March 2011 Department of State Visa Bulletin

The new visa bulletin is out at this link: http://travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_5337.html. Employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current for all countries; EB-2 remains current, except for India (May 2006) and China (July 2006); EB-3 is at July 2005 for all countries, except for India (Mar. 2002), China (Jan. 2004), and Mexico (Jan. 2004); EB-3 other workers is at June 2003 for all countries, except India (Mar. 2002), China (April 2003), and Mexico (May 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 January 2007.

February 14, 2011

USCIS Combines Employment Authorization and Advance Parole Into Single Card

On February 11, 2011, USCIS announced that it will begin issuing a new card that serves as evidence of both employment and travel authorization. Applicants filing an Application for Employment Authorization, Form I-765, and an Application for Travel Document, Form I-131, concurrently with or after filing Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, Form I-485, may receive this new card. The combined employment authorization and advance parole will allow an adjustment of status applicant to have valid work authorization and return to the U.S. after traveling abroad while their case is pending. Instead of carrying a separate Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and a paper Advance Parole, applicants will now be able to present a single card that is more secure and durable than the previous paper Advance Parole document. The new card will look similar to the current Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and include additional language stating, “Serves as I-512 Advance Parole.” The new card can serve as a List A document for Employment Eligibility Verification, Form I-9. In certain instances, USCIS will continue to issue separate EAD and Advance Parole documents.

January 18, 2011

February 2011 Department of State Visa Bulletin

The new visa bulletin is out at this link: http://travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_5228.html. Employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current for all countries; EB-2 remains current, except for India (May 2006) and China (July 2006); EB-3 is at April 2005 for all countries, except for India (Feb. 2002), China (Jan. 2004), and Mexico (July 2003); EB-3 other workers is at May 2003 for all countries, except India (Feb. 2002) and China (April 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 January 2008.

December 13, 2010

January 2011 Visa Bulletin Shows Major Retrogression in Family-Based Categories

The January 2011 Visa Bulletin shows significant retrogression of family-based categories with priority dates falling back as much as one to three years. The 1st preference category (unmarried children of U.S. citizens) shows an increased wait from 5 years to 6 years. The 2A preference category (spouses and children of legal permanent residents) suffers the largest setback with an increase from 4 months to 3 years, while the 2B preference category (unmarried adult children of legal permanent residents) experiences an increase from 5 1/2 to 8 years. The 3rd preference category (married children of U.S. citizens) shows an increase from 8 1/2 years to 10 years. The 4th preference category (brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens) was the only family-based category unaffected by the retrogression, remaining at a 9 year wait.

Employment-based categories did not experience any retrogression and are as follows: EB-1 remains current for all countries; EB-2 remains current, except for India (May 2006) and China (June 2006); EB-3 is at Mar. 2005 for all countries, except for India (Feb. 2002), China (Dec. 2003), and Mexico (April 2003); EB-3 other workers is at April 2003 for all countries, except India (Feb. 2002); EB-4, religious workers, EB-5, and targeted employment areas and regional centers are all current.

To view the January 2011 visa bulletin, see http://travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_5212.html

November 17, 2010

National Visa Center Issues Annual Report of Immigrant Visa Applicant Numbers

The National Visa Center has compiled an annual report, showing the number of immigrant visa applicants on the waiting list in the various family and employment-based preference categories as of November 1, 2010. For the full report, see http://travel.state.gov/pdf/WaitingListItem.pdf

November 15, 2010

December 2010 Department of State Visa Bulletin

The new visa bulletin is out at this link: http://travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_5197.html. Employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current for all countries; EB-2 remains current, except for India (May 2006) and China (June 2006); EB-3 is at Feb. 2005 for all countries, except for India (Jan. 2002), China (Dec. 2003), and Mexico (July 2002); EB-3 other workers is at April 2003 for all countries, except India (Jan. 2002)and Mexico (July 2002); 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 August 2010.

October 21, 2010

November 2010 Department of State Visa Bulletin

The new visa bulletin is out at this link: http://travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_5172.html. Employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current for all countries; EB-2 remains current, except for India (May 2006) and China (June 2006); EB-3 is at Jan. 2005 for all countries, except for India (Jan. 2002), China (Nov. 2003), and Mexico (May 2001); EB-3 other workers is at April 2003 for all countries, except India (Jan. 2002)and Mexico (May 2001); 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 June 2010.

September 15, 2010

October 2010 Department of State Visa Bulletin

The new visa bulletin is out at this link: http://www.travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_5145.html. Employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current for all countries; EB-2 remains current, except for India and China which are at May 2006; EB-3 is at Jan. 2005 for all countries, except for India (Jan. 2002), China (Nov. 2003), and Mexico (April 2001); EB-3 other workers is at March 2003 for all countries, except India (Jan. 2002)and Mexico (April 2001); 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 April 2010.

August 18, 2010

September 2010 Department of State Visa Bulletin

The new visa bulletin is out at this link: http://travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_5113.html. Employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current for all countries; EB-2 remains current, except for India and China which are at May 2006; EB-3 is at Dec. 2004 for all countries, except for India (Jan. 2002), China (Oct. 2003), and Mexico (currently unavailable); EB-3 other workers is at March 2003 for all countries, except India (Jan. 2002)and Mexico (currently unavailable); 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 Jan. 2010.

August 10, 2010

Delays in Processing of EADs and Advance Paroles

Please be advised that the Nebraska Service Center (NSC) has been experiencing delays in the processing of I-765 EADs and I-131 Advance Paroles. Therefore, we recommend that EAD and AP renewals be filed 4 months prior to the expiration date, the earliest date USCIS will accept renewal applications. For EAD applications that have been pending for more than 90 days, an interim EAD card can be issued. Please contact our office for assistance with expedite procedures for your pending I-765 or I-131 application if your current work authorization is about to expire or if you have an emergent need to travel.

June 11, 2010

July 2010 Department of State Visa Bulletin

The new visa bulletin is out at this link: http://travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_5019.html. Employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current; EB-2 remains current, except for India and China (China is 11/22/2005 and India is 10/01/2005); EB-3 is at 2001 (India) or 2003 (all other countries); EB-3 Mexico is currently unavailable; EB-3 other workers are at 2001; 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 2008.

May 14, 2010

June 2010 Department of State Visa Bulletin

The new visa bulletin is out at this link: http://travel.state.gov/visa/frvi/bulletin/bulletin_4879.html. Employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current; EB-2 remains current, except for India and China (China is 11/22/2005 and India is 02/01/2005); EB-3 is at 2001 (India) or 2003 (all other countries); EB-3 Mexico is currently unavailable; EB-3 other workers are at 2001; 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 2008.

April 18, 2010

May 2010 Department of State Visa Bulletin

The new visa bulletin is out at this link: http://travel.state.gov/visa/frvi/bulletin/bulletin_4805.html. Employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current; EB-2 remains current, except for India and China (China is 09/22/2005 and India is 02/01/2005); EB-3 is at 2001 (India) or 2003 (all other countries); EB-3 Mexico is currently unavailable; EB-3 other workers are at 2001; 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 2006.

April 18, 2010

Green Card Approvals Exceed 1 Million in 2009

The Department of Homeland Security recently issued a report stating that 1,130,818 individuals became lawful permanent residents (i.e. "green card" holders) of the U.S. in 2009. 59% of those green card holders already resided in the U.S. when their green card was approved. Approximately 2/3's of the individuals received their green card through family (through either a U.S. citizen or green card holder). Of the 1,130,818 green card applicants, the majority were born in either China, Mexico or the Philippines.

December 1, 2009

USCIS Holds AOS Applications Until New Vaccination Criteria Becomes Effective

The USCIS has announced that it is temporarily holding certain adjustment of status applications until the Center for Disease Control's (CDC) new vaccination criteria becomes effective on December 14, 2009. The USCIS will resume the processing of these applications beginning December 14, 2009 using the new criteria, which remove the HPV and zoster vaccines.