Articles Posted in Uncategorized

A “clean extension” bill for the EB-5 Regional Center program has been recommended by the House and Senate, and is set to be included with the larger appropriations bill set to pass before the end of the week. This would extend the program until at least September 30, 2016, with no changes made. Meanwhile, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services will continue to accept and process all EB-5 petitions as usual until the new extension is formally passed.

EB-5 advocates, including the EB-5 Investment Coalition, are working diligently in Washington to promote reform and improvement measures to the EB-5 program that will make it easier and more attractive for immigrants to invest in the U.S. economy.
While more time is needed to implement these reforms, EB-5 advocates and industry leaders remain confident that immigrant investor voices will continue to be heard in Congress, and that before long improvements to the EB-5 program will be made that will protect all members of the EB-5 industry and increase investment opportunities.

Until that time, the existing EB-5 Regional Program will continue until at least September 30, 2016, and business will carry on as usual for USCIS and EB-5 petitioners.

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Without seemingly considering the ramifications for potential green-card applicants and immigration lawyers alike, the United States government reneged on their qualifying dates for applicants looking to start the process for acquiring permanent residence for the October Visa Bulletin. The changes to the bulletin happened but 12 business days after a previous agreement was reached.
In doing so, thousands of families, those on H-1B visas working in the United States, were affected negatively. Several thousand workers were pleased to hear of the new agreement on Sept. 9, which allowed those who had their priority dates in 2011 to apply for permanent residence, only to have the rug ripped out from under them just over two weeks favoring those whose priority dates were entered in 2009.
The 12 business-day waiting period was more than enough time for many families to start the application process, spending hard-earned money and taking time out of their daily lives, in order to prepare for filing their I-485 applications. Had the government reformed the October Visa Bulletin just a couple days, or even hours, following the initial and supported changes, it would have been better for families and businessmen alike. Immigration law firms are also greatly affected after this sudden change, as thousands of dollars in potential business for firms around the country are lost. As a result, American businesses are losing capital.
Along with simply losing the peace-of-mind and long term security, prospective applicants lost out on the ability to acquire travel documents. Also, if these noncitizens were able to apply for their adjustment of status applications, they would be able to gain eligibility to pursue other employment opportunities within the United States.
The revised filing dates for the EB-2 applicants will affect those from India and China, the countries with the largest back-logs and populations, the most. An overwhelming amount of those particular applicants would have been able to begin an application process with the priority date set at July 1, 2011. With it changed to July 1, 2009, those same applicants will now be forced to change their mind-set and future after a failed attempt at getting the process for permanent residence started. Some numbers say eligible applicants for an adjustment of status application fell by as much as 90%.
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telephone-1224064-m.jpgThe USCIS just announced last week that it is streamlining its telephone customer service system to improve tier 1 and tier 2 efficiency. The USCIS National Customer Service Center (NCSC) will make changes to its call center that will take effect on August 16, 2013. USCIS announced that it believes these changes will reduce the wait times for attorneys or accredited representatives to talk to a USCIS customer service representative. Contacting the NCSC is a good way to get same-day results if you have questions about case status or need to resolve a particular issue, whether your case is an employment-based work visa petition, a family-based immigrant green card application, or any other immigration matter.

Our firm’s experience with NCSC
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865417_rejected.jpgA Request for Evidence (RFE) or a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) from the USCIS will result in delay of your immigration petition or application, and possibly may also be followed with a denial. Therefore, if you want your case processed as quickly as possible and be approved, it is imperative to be sure that your immigration petition or application is accompanied at the very least by enough evidence to meet the requisite standard of proof to avoid RFEs and NOIDs.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently issued a policy memorandum that may prove useful went gathering evidence that you can avoid RFEs and NOIDs. The policy memorandum entitled “Requests for Evidence and Notices of Intent to Deny,” issued on June 3, 2013, details USCIS policy regarding when to issue an RFE or a NOID. A careful review of this policy memorandum should be particularly helpful for a favorable adjudication.
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800867_white_house.jpgOn Friday March 1 at midnight, Present Obama was forced to sign an automatic spending cutback, or “sequestration,” as negotiations with congress to avoid these cuts was unsuccessful. The spending cuts will have an impact on national security, domestic investments, and government functions. Included in the impacted areas is also immigration where we will see cuts in detention of immigrants and in personnel to adjudicate visa applications.

Even before the budget cuts took effect, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released hundreds of low level detainees in favor of using cheaper methods to monitor their whereabouts. It is estimated that thousands more will be released since the sequester came into effect. Those being released had been detained for minor traffic violations or have no criminal convictions at all and are only guilty of civil immigration violations like entering the United States without inspection. All detainees released will still be in removal proceedings and will have to await their day in court before the immigration judge.
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1010494_info_icon_2.jpgThe US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) started today its move to an online manual of immigration policies by its release of volume number one of the new online USCIS Policy Manual, which involves citizenship and naturalization. Policies in this volume will begin to be implemented by the USCIS on January 22, 2013.

Several volumes will be produced, one for each of the different areas of immigration benefits administered by the agency. The USCIS announced that future volumes of its new policy manual will include adjustment of status, refugees and asylum, travel and employment, protection and parole, admissibility, and waivers. The new manual is intended to eventually replace current Adjudicators Field Manual (AFM) and the Immigration Policy Memoranda website Continue reading

952313_gavel.jpgWhen a foreign national remains in the United States for more than 180 days in unlawful immigration status and then makes a departure from the US, this triggers the 3 year bar preventing a person from being admitted for three years. This becomes a 10 year bar if the unlawful status was for one year. Until recently, this rule also applied to those who leave The US pursuant to form I-512 advance parole.

The law has been that advance parole will subject a foreign national to a 3 or 10 year bar. The USCIS Paul W. Virtue Memorandum of November 26, 1997 and the USCIS Donald Neufeld Memorandum of May 6, 2009 stated that leaving the US with a form I-512 advance parole may trigger the 3 and 10 year bars, and consequently will render a foreign national ineligible to adjust status.
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479875_bandera_1.jpgLast Tuesday, Cuba announced that it will no longer require its citizens to get exit visas before they are allowed to travel abroad. According to the official news report released in Cuba’s State newspaper, this new policy will take effect starting January 14, 2013. For decades, the Cuban government has forbidden its citizens from leaving the country without permission in the form of a government issued exit visa, only given to few for mostly political purposes. The Cuban government will still retain the ability to deny travel on the basis of national security and defense.

However, just because Cuban citizens may be allowed to leave Cuba, this does not mean it will be any easier for them to enter the United States. Currently, the US immigration policy for Cuban immigrants has been the “wet-foot, dry-foot” policy since 1995. Under this policy, Cubans citizens that flee Cuba intending to come to the United States, are allowed to stay only if they reach American soil, but are turned away if they are met offshore by US authorities.
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gus larger.jpgWe are seeing a large influx of permanent residence applications from people who want to convert their EB-3 case to an EB-2. We are hosting a webinar on this topic, as we consider right now the ideal time to process such conversions. If you currently have an approved I-140 with a priority date which would cause an EB-2 petition to become current, you should pursue a new permanent residence application based in PERM.

If you currently have an application for adjustment of status pending, there is no need to file a new I-485 with the new EB-2 petition thanks to a novel procedure known as interfiling. Interfiling means that you would utilize your current adjustment application which was previously filed on the basis of a lower preference category to continue to be processed on the basis of a new I-140 with a higher preference category. This is a significant cost saving for families who may have 3 or more applications for adjustment of status pending based on a prior EB-3 petition. Interfiling would allow you to process your EB-2 PERM and I-140 then “interfile” your pending I-485 to the newly approved EB-2.
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709637_mexican_flag_2_closeup.jpgThe United States Embassy in Mexico said in a recent press release that starting July 1, 2012, there will be two changes in the way it processes E visa applications. The changes are being made to provide more efficient processing and to ensure through and transparent review of all E visa applications, said the Embassy.

The Treaty Trader (E-1) visa and the Treaty Investor (E-2) visa are non-immigrant visas for nationals of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of friendship, commerce and navigation to carry on substantial trade, principally between the United States and the treaty country (E-1), or to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which the national has invested or is in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital (E-2).
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