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  • Type: News
    Post date: Jun 17th 2019
    Body:

    USCIS will implement a national strategy to decrease differences in processing times based on location for Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, and Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.

    Since the end of 2015, USCIS has experienced an increase in processing times due to higher than expected volumes received during fiscal years (FY) 2016 and 2017 that did not decrease as originally projected. FY 2017 receipts were up 15.6% from FY 2016, and FY 2016 receipts were up 25.5% from FY 2015. The increased filing volumes did not affect our field offices equally, which resulted in some disparity in the processing times among field offices.

    As USCIS shifts caseloads between field offices to decrease processing times, USCIS may schedule applicants to appear for an interview at a field office outside of their normal jurisdiction. Applicants may receive an interview appointment notice or other types of notices (such as a Request for Evidence) from a field office outside of their normal jurisdiction. However, these caseload changes will not affect where applicants attend their biometrics appointments. USCIS will still direct them to the nearest application support center. Applicants should follow the instructions on any notices they receive from USCIS.

    USCIS remains committed to adjudicating applications, petitions, and requests for immigration benefits as effectively and efficiently as possible in accordance with all applicable laws, policies, and regulations while securing the integrity of the immigration system.

    If you have questions about an appointment notice the center sends you, you may contact the USCIS Contact Center.

  • Type: News
    Post date: Jun 17th 2019
    Body:

    On May 23, 2019, the President issued a Presidential Memorandum on Enforcing the Legal Responsibilities of Sponsors of Aliens. The memorandum directs relevant federal agencies to update or issue procedures, guidance, and regulations to comply with current law and ensure that ineligible immigrants do not receive federal means-tested benefits. The memorandum highlights the commitment of the Administration to enforcing existing immigration laws and protecting the American taxpayer. 

    As part of USCIS’ implementation of this memorandum, USCIS officers will now be required to remind individuals at their adjustment of status interviews of their sponsors’ responsibilities under existing law and regulations. Our officers must remind applicants and sponsors that the Affidavit of Support is a legal and enforceable contract between the sponsor and the federal government. The sponsor must be willing and able to financially support the intending immigrant as outlined by law and regulations (see INA 213A and 8 CFR 213a). If the sponsored immigrant receives any federal means-tested public benefits, the sponsor will be expected to reimburse the benefits-granting agency for every dollar of benefits received by the immigrant.

    Over the next several months, federal agencies will develop and implement guidance on the presidential memorandum to make sure that agencies enforce these requirements. USCIS will do our part, and we are actively working to implement the President’s directive with our federal partners, including by updating policies and regulations. We continue to advance the President’s directive to enforce the public charge ground of inadmissibility, which seeks to ensure that immigrants are self-sufficient and rely on their own capabilities and the resources of their families, their sponsors, and private organizations rather than public resources. 

    The President has made it a priority to ensure that every individual who seeks to come to the United States is self-sufficient, temporarily or permanently. The principle of self-sufficiency has been enshrined in our immigration laws since the 1800s, and we as an agency must ensure that immigrants who become part of this great country abide by this principle.

    Sincerely,

    Ken Cuccinelli II

    Acting Director

  • Type: News
    Post date: Jun 13th 2019
    Body:

    This bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers during July for: “Final Action Dates” and “Dates for Filing Applications,” indicating when immigrant visa applicants should be notified to assemble and submit required documentation to the National Visa Center.

    Visa Bulletin - July 2019

  • Type: Visa Bulletin
    Post date: Jun 13th 2019
    Body:

    Number 31
    Volume X
    Washington, D.C

    View as Printer Friendly PDF

    A. STATUTORY NUMBERS

    This bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers during July for: “Final Action Dates” and “Dates for Filing Applications,” indicating when immigrant visa applicants should be notified to assemble and submit required documentation to the National Visa Center.

    Unless otherwise indicated on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website at www.uscis.gov/visabulletininfo, individuals seeking to file applications for adjustment of status with USCIS in the Department of Homeland Security must use the “Final Action Dates” charts below for determining when they can file such applications. When USCIS determines that there are more immigrant visas available for the fiscal year than there are known applicants for such visas, USCIS will state on its website that applicants may instead use the “Dates for Filing Visa Applications” charts in this Bulletin. 

    1.  Procedures for determining dates. Consular officers are required to report to the Department of State documentarily qualified applicants for numerically limited visas; USCIS reports applicants for adjustment of status. Allocations in the charts below were made, to the extent possible, in chronological order of reported priority dates, for demand received by June 6th. If not all demand could be satisfied, the category or foreign state in which demand was excessive was deemed oversubscribed. The final action date for an oversubscribed category is the priority date of the first applicant who could not be reached within the numerical limits. If it becomes necessary during the monthly allocation process to retrogress a final action date, supplemental requests for numbers will be honored only if the priority date falls within the new final action date announced in this bulletin. If at any time an annual limit were reached, it would be necessary to immediately make the preference category “unavailable”, and no further requests for numbers would be honored.

    2.  Section 201 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) sets an annual minimum family-sponsored preference limit of 226,000.  The worldwide level for annual employment-based preference immigrants is at least 140,000.  Section 202 prescribes that the per-country limit for preference immigrants is set at 7% of the total annual family-sponsored and employment-based preference limits, i.e., 25,620.  The dependent area limit is set at 2%, or 7,320.

    3.  INA Section 203(e) provides that family-sponsored and employment-based preference visas be issued to eligible immigrants in the order in which a petition in behalf of each has been filed. Section 203(d) provides that spouses and children of preference immigrants are entitled to the same status, and the same order of consideration, if accompanying or following to join the principal. The visa prorating provisions of Section 202(e) apply to allocations for a foreign state or dependent area when visa demand exceeds the per-country limit. These provisions apply at present to the following oversubscribed chargeability areas:  CHINA-mainland born, EL SALVADOR, GUATEMALA, HONDURAS, INDIA, MEXICO, PHILIPPINES, and VIETNAM.

    4.  Section 203(a) of the INA prescribes preference classes for allotment of Family-sponsored immigrant visas as follows: 

    FAMILY-SPONSORED PREFERENCES

    First: (F1) Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens:  23,400 plus any numbers not required for fourth preference.

    Second: Spouses and Children, and Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents:  114,200, plus the number (if any) by which the worldwide family preference level exceeds 226,000, plus any unused first preference numbers:

    A. (F2A) Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents:  77% of the overall second preference limitation, of which 75% are exempt from the per-country limit;

    B. (F2B) Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older) of Permanent Residents:  23% of the overall second preference limitation.

    Third: (F3) Married Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens:  23,400, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences.

    Fourth: (F4) Brothers and Sisters of Adult U.S. Citizens:  65,000, plus any numbers not required by first three preferences.

    A.  FINAL ACTION DATES FOR FAMILY-SPONSORED PREFERENCE CASES

    On the chart below, the listing of a date for any class indicates that the class is oversubscribed (see paragraph 1); "C" means current, i.e., numbers are authorized for issuance to all qualified applicants; and "U" means unauthorized, i.e., numbers are not authorized for issuance. (NOTE: Numbers are authorized for issuance only for applicants whose priority date is earlier than the final action date listed below.)

     

    Family-
    Sponsored 
    All Chargeability 
    Areas Except
    Those Listed
    CHINA-mainland 
    born
    INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES 
    F1 08MAR12 08MAR12 08MAR12 01AUG96 22AUG07
    F2A C C C C C
    F2B 01SEP13 01SEP13 01SEP13 15APR98 01JAN08
    F3 08MAR07 08MAR07 08MAR07 01JUL95 01AUG97
    F4 15JUN06 15JUN06 22AUG04 01JAN97 01JAN98
    22MAR05
    22MAR05
    22DEC10
    01FEB16
    01FEB16

     

     

    B.  DATES FOR FILING FAMILY-SPONSORED VISA APPLICATIONS

    The chart below reflects dates for filing visa applications within a timeframe justifying immediate action in the application process. Applicants for immigrant visas who have a priority date earlier than the application date in the chart below may assemble and submit required documents to the Department of State’s National Visa Center, following receipt of notification from the National Visa Center containing detailed instructions. The application date for an oversubscribed category is the priority date of the first applicant who cannot submit documentation to the National Visa Center for an immigrant visa. If a category is designated “current,” all applicants in the relevant category may file applications, regardless of priority date.

    The “C” listing indicates that the category is current, and that applications may be filed regardless of the applicant’s priority date. The listing of a date for any category indicates that only applicants with a priority date which is earlier than the listed date may file their application.

    Visit www.uscis.gov/visabulletininfo for information on whether USCIS has determined that this chart can be used (in lieu of the chart in paragraph 4.A.) this month for filing applications for adjustment of status with USCIS. 

    Family-
    Sponsored 
    All Chargeability 
    Areas Except
    Those Listed
    CHINA-
    mainland 
    born
    INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES 
    F1 08NOV12 08NOV12 08NOV12 22OCT99 01MAY08
    F2A 08MAR19 08MAR19 08MAR19 08MAR19 08MAR19
    F2B 15AUG14 15AUG14 15AUG14 22DEC98 01AUG08
    F3 08SEP07 08SEP07 08SEP07 08JUL00 01FEB98
    F4 15DEC06 15DEC06 22APR05 08DEC98 01JUL98

    5.  Section 203(b) of the INA prescribes preference classes for allotment of Employment-based immigrant visas as follows: 

    EMPLOYMENT-BASED PREFERENCES

    First:  Priority Workers:  28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required for fourth and fifth preferences.

    Second:  Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability:  28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required by first preference.      

    Third:  Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers:  28.6% of the worldwide level, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences, not more than 10,000 of which to "*Other Workers".

    Fourth:  Certain Special Immigrants:  7.1% of the worldwide level.

    Fifth:  Employment Creation:  7.1% of the worldwide level, not less than 3,000 of which reserved for investors in a targeted rural or high-unemployment area, and 3,000 set aside for investors in regional centers by Sec. 610 of Pub. L. 102-395.

    A.  FINAL ACTION DATES FOR EMPLOYMENT-BASED PREFERENCE CASES

    On the chart below, the listing of a date for any class indicates that the class is oversubscribed (see paragraph 1); "C" means current, i.e., numbers are authorized for issuance to all qualified applicants; and "U" means unauthorized, i.e., numbers are not authorized for issuance. (NOTE: Numbers are authorized for issuance only for applicants whose priority date is earlier than the final action date listed below.)

     

    Employment-
    based
    All Chargeability 
    Areas Except
    Those Listed
    CHINA-
    mainland 
    born
    EL SALVADOR
    GUATEMALA
    HONDURAS
    INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES VIETNAM
    1st 22APR18 08MAY17 22APR18 01JAN15 22APR18 22APR18 22APR18
    2nd C 01NOV16 C 24APR09 C C C
    3rd C 01JAN16 C 01JUL09 C C C
    Other Workers C 22NOV07 C 01JUL09 C C C
    4th C C 01JUL16 C 01JUL16 C C
    Certain Religious Workers C C 01JUL16 C 01JUL16 C C
    5th Non-Regional Center
    (C5 and T5)
    C 01OCT14 C 01MAY17 C C 01OCT16
    5th Regional Center
    (I5 and R5)
    C 01OCT14 C 01MAY17 C C 01OCT16

     

    *Employment Third Preference Other Workers Category:  Section 203(e) of the Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) passed by Congress in November 1997, as amended by Section 1(e) of Pub. L. 105-139, provides that once the Employment Third Preference Other Worker (EW) cut-off date has reached the priority date of the latest EW petition approved prior to November 19, 1997, the 10,000 EW numbers available for a fiscal year are to be reduced by up to 5,000 annually beginning in the following fiscal year. This reduction is to be made for as long as necessary to offset adjustments under the NACARA program. Since the EW cut-off date reached November 19, 1997 during Fiscal Year 2001, the reduction in the EW annual limit to 5,000 began in Fiscal Year 2002. 

    B.  DATES FOR FILING OF EMPLOYMENT-BASED VISA APPLICATIONS

    The chart below reflects dates for filing visa applications within a timeframe justifying immediate action in the application process. Applicants for immigrant visas who have a priority date earlier than the application date in the chart may assemble and submit required documents to the Department of State’s National Visa Center, following receipt of notification from the National Visa Center containing detailed instructions. The application date for an oversubscribed category is the priority date of the first applicant who cannot submit documentation to the National Visa Center for an immigrant visa. If a category is designated “current,” all applicants in the relevant category may file, regardless of priority date.

    The “C” listing indicates that the category is current, and that applications may be filed regardless of the applicant’s priority date. The listing of a date for any category indicates that only applicants with a priority date which is earlier than the listed date may file their application.

    Visit www.uscis.gov/visabulletininfo for information on whether USCIS has determined that this chart can be used (in lieu of the chart in paragraph 5.A.) this month for filing applications for adjustment of status with USCIS. 

    Employment-
    based
    All Chargeability
    Areas Except
    Those Listed
    CHINA-
    mainland 
    born
    EL SALVADOR
    GUATEMALA
    HONDURAS
    INDIA MEXICO  PHILIPPINES 
    1st 01SEP18 01OCT17 01SEP18 01OCT17 01SEP18 01SEP18
    2nd C 01FEB17 C 01JUN09  C C
    3rd C 01JUN16 C 01APR10 C C
    Other Workers C 01JUN08 C 01APR10 C C
    4th C C 01SEP16 C C C
    Certain Religious Workers C C 01SEP16 C C C
    5th Non-Regional Center
    (C5 and T5)
    C 01NOV14 C C C C
    5th Regional Center
    (I5 and R5)
    C 01NOV14 C C C C

    6.  The Department of State has a recorded message with the Final Action date information which can be heard at:  (202) 485-7699.  This recording is updated on or about the tenth of each month with information on final action dates for the following month.

    B.  DIVERSITY IMMIGRANT (DV) CATEGORY FOR THE MONTH OF JULY

    Section 203(c) of the INA provides up to 55,000 immigrant visas each fiscal year to permit additional immigration opportunities for persons from countries with low admissions during the previous five years. The NACARA stipulates that beginning with DV-99, and for as long as necessary, up to 5,000 of the 55,000 annually-allocated diversity visas will be made available for use under the NACARA program. This resulted in reduction of the DV-2019 annual limit to 50,000. DV visas are divided among six geographic regions.  No one country can receive more than seven percent of the available diversity visas in any one year.

    For July, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified DV-2019 applicants chargeable to all regions/eligible countries as follows. When an allocation cut-off number is shown, visas are available only for applicants with DV regional lottery rank numbers BELOW the specified allocation cut-off number:

    Region All DV Chargeability Areas Except
    Those Listed Separately
     
    AFRICA CURRENT Except:  Egypt  23,400
    ASIA CURRENT

    Except:  Nepal  6,275

    EUROPE CURRENT  
    NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS)  CURRENT  
    OCEANIA CURRENT  
    SOUTH AMERICA,
    and the CARIBBEAN
    CURRENT  

    Entitlement to immigrant status in the DV category lasts only through the end of the fiscal (visa) year for which the applicant is selected in the lottery. The year of entitlement for all applicants registered for the DV-2019 program ends as of September 30, 2019. DV visas may not be issued to DV-2019 applicants after that date. Similarly, spouses and children accompanying or following to join DV-2019 principals are only entitled to derivative DV status until September 30, 2019. DV visa availability through the very end of FY-2019 cannot be taken for granted. Numbers could be exhausted prior to September 30.

    C.  THE DIVERSITY (DV) IMMIGRANT CATEGORY RANK CUT-OFFS WHICH WILL APPLY IN AUGUST

    For August, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified DV-2019 applicants chargeable to all regions/eligible countries as follows. When an allocation cut-off number is shown, visas are available only for applicants with DV regional lottery rank numbers BELOW the specified allocation cut-off number:

    Region All DV Chargeability Areas Except
    Those Listed Separately
     
    AFRICA CURRENT  
    ASIA CURRENT  
    EUROPE CURRENT  
    NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS)  CURRENT  
    OCEANIA CURRENT  
    SOUTH AMERICA,
    and the CARIBBEAN
    CURRENT  

    D.  FAMILY-SPONSORED SECOND PREFERENCE VISA AVAILABILITY

    F2A: This category has become "Current" for July, and is expected to remain so through September. This action has been taken in an effort to generate an increased level of demand. Despite the large amount of registered F2A demand, currently there are not enough applicants who are actively pursuing final action on their case to fully utilize all of the available numbers under the annual limit.  

    Once large numbers of F2A applicants do begin to have their cases brought to final action, it will be necessary to establish a date in an effort to control number use within the annual limit.  Therefore, readers should be aware that this “Current” status will not continue indefinitely, but it is not possible to say at present how soon corrective action will be required.

    E.  MEXICO FAMILY-SPONSORED and EMPLOYMENT-BASED PREFERENCE VISA AVAILABILITY

    As the end of the fiscal year approaches, it has been necessary to retrogress the Mexico F1, F3, F4, E4, and SR final action dates for July to keep issuances within the annual numerical limits. With the start of the new fiscal year in October, the final action dates will be returned to the latest dates established during FY-2019.

    F.  EMPLOYMENT-BASED FIFTH PREFERENCE VISA AVAILABILITY

    As readers were advised might happen in item E of the June Visa Bulletin, India and Vietnam will each reach their per-country annual limit during July.  This has resulted in the Vietnam date being held, and has required the imposition of a July final action date for India.  

    For August, both countries will become subject to the same final action date which applies to China-mainland born Employment Fifth preference (E5) applicants, and they will be for the remainder of the fiscal year.

    Such action will only be temporary, with the E5 date for each advancing for October, the first month of fiscal year 2020, as follows:

    India:  Most likely advancing to the summer or fall of 2017.
    Vietnam: Most likely advancing to the fall or early winter of 2016.

    G.  VISA AVAILABILITY IN THE COMING MONTHS

    FAMILY-sponsored categories (potential monthly movement)

    Worldwide dates: 

       F1:  Up to five weeks 
       F2A: CURRENT
       F2B: Up to six weeks
       F3:  Up to six weeks 
       F4:  Up to one month

    EMPLOYMENT-based categories (potential monthly movement)

    Employment First

    WORLDWIDE: Little if any forward movement. Increased demand may require temporary corrective action for September

    China: Little if any forward movement

    India: No forward movement.  The date will return to February 22, 2017 for October

    Employment Second:

    Worldwide: Expected to remain Current, but temporary corrective action may be required for September

    China: Up to four months

    India: Up to one week  

    Employment Third:

    Worldwide: Expected to remain Current, but temporary corrective action may be required for September

    China: Up to several months  

    India: Little if any forward movement   

    Mexico: Will remain at the Worldwide date

    Philippines: Will remain at the Worldwide date

    Employment Fourth: Current for most countries

    El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico:  Little if any movement through September.

    Employment Fifth: The category will remain “Current” for most countries

    China: Too early to predict whether it will be possible to advance the China date prior to October. 

    India and Vietnam will be subject to the same date as China during August and September.

    The above final action date projections for the Family and Employment categories indicate what is likely to happen on a monthly basis through September.  The determination of the actual monthly final action dates is subject to fluctuations in applicant demand and a number of other variables. 

    H.  OBTAINING THE MONTHLY VISA BULLETIN

    To be placed on the Department of State’s E-mail subscription list for the “Visa Bulletin”, please send an E-mail to the following E-mail address:

    listserv@calist.state.gov

    and in the message body type:
    Subscribe Visa-Bulletin 
    (example: Subscribe Visa-Bulletin)

    To be removed from the Department of State’s E-mail subscription list for the “Visa Bulletin”, send an e-mail message to the following E-mail address:

    listserv@calist.state.gov

    and in the message body type: Signoff Visa-Bulletin

    The Department of State also has available a recorded message with visa final action dates which can be heard at: (202) 485-7699. The recording is normally updated on/about the 10th of each month with information on final action dates for the following month.

    Readers may submit questions regarding Visa Bulletin related items by E-mail at the following address:

    VISABULLETIN@STATE.GOV

    (This address cannot be used to subscribe to the Visa Bulletin.)

    Department of State Publication 9514
    CA/VO:   June 6, 2019

  • Type: News
    Post date: Jun 11th 2019
    Body:

    Certain New Zealand nationals can now request a change of status to the E-1 nonimmigrant trader classification and the E-2 nonimmigrant investor classification under Public Law 115-226. Beginning June 10, eligible New Zealand nationals already in the United States in a lawful nonimmigrant status can file Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, to request a change of status to E-1 or E-2 classification, or a qualifying employer can file Form I-129 on their behalf. Spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age of E-1 and E-2 nonimmigrants, and employees who are already in the United States, may also seek to change status to E-1 or E-2 classification as dependents by filing Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status.

    Any Form I-129 and Form I-539 for a New Zealand national requesting a change of status to E-1 or E-2 classification filed prior to June 10, 2019, will be rejected, but may be refiled, together with the required fee, on or after June 10.

    The E-1 and E-2 nonimmigrant classifications are open to citizens of countries with which the United States has a treaty of commerce and navigation or similar agreement, and in certain other cases, such as here, where Congress has enacted legislation. E-1 status allows citizens of certain countries to be admitted to the United States solely to engage in international trade on their own behalf. E-1 status is also available to certain employees of such traders or qualifying organizations. E-2 status allows citizens of certain countries to be admitted to the United States when they are investing substantial capital in a U.S. business. E-2 status is also available to certain employees of such investors or qualifying organizations.

    For more on the E-1 and E-2 classifications, see  E-1 Treaty Traders page and E-2 Treaty Investors page.