Immigration Relief Measures for Filipino Nationals in Light of Haiyan

In light of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, Filipino nationals impacted by Typhoon Haiyan may be eligible to benefit from the following immigration relief measures:

Change or extension of nonimmigrant status;
Extension of certain grants of parole made by USCIS;
Extension of certain grants of advance parole;
Expedited adjudication and approval of requests for off-campus employment authorization for F-1 students experiencing severe economic hardship;
Expedited processing of immigrant petitions for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs);
Expedited adjudication of employment authorization applications, and
Assistance to LPRs stranded overseas without immigration documents.

For more information on USCIS humanitarian programs, call us at 978-905-9992.

Visa Bulletin for December 2013

The updated bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers during December. Consular officers are required to report to the Department of State documentarily qualified applicants for numerically limited visas; U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security reports applicants for adjustment of status.

The Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs publishes the monthly Visa Bulletin on their website at www.travel.state.gov under the Visas section. Alternatively, visitors may access the Visa Bulletin directly by going to:

To view the current bulletin, refer to the Department of State here.

TPS Somalia Extended

The Secretary of Homeland Security has published a notice in the Federal Register extending the designation of Somalia as a country whose nationals and former residents currently in the United States qualify for temporary protected status (TPS) for another 18 months, effective March 18, 2014, through Sept. 17, 2015.

The 18-month extension allows TPS re-registrants to apply for a new Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Eligible Somali TPS beneficiaries who re-register during the re-registration period and request work authorization will receive a new EAD that expires on Sept. 17, 2015.

Current Somali beneficiaries seeking to extend their TPS status must re-register during a 60-day period that runs from Nov. 1, 2013, through Dec. 31, 2013. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) encourages beneficiaries to re-register as soon as possible once the 60-day period begins. USCIS will not accept applications it received before Nov. 1, 2013.

To learn more, contact Agarwal Law Offices at 978-905-9992.

Visa Bulletin for November 2013

The updated bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers during November. Consular officers are required to report to the Department of State documentarily qualified applicants for numerically limited visas; U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security reports applicants for adjustment of status.

The Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs publishes the monthly Visa Bulletin on their website at www.travel.state.gov under the Visas section. Alternatively, visitors may access the Visa Bulletin directly by going to:

To view the current bulletin, refer to the Department of State here.

NYT: America’s Immigration Debate

The New York Times’s Sam Tanenhaus explains government efforts to keep generations of immigrants out of the country and links President Reagan’s amnesty for Latino Americans to today’s immigration debate in this interesting video clip.

Visa Bulletin for October 2013

The updated bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers during October. Consular officers are required to report to the Department of State documentarily qualified applicants for numerically limited visas; U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security reports applicants for adjustment of status.

The Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs publishes the monthly Visa Bulletin on their website at www.travel.state.gov under the Visas section. Alternatively, visitors may access the Visa Bulletin directly by going to:

To view the current bulletin, refer to the Department of State here.

Government Shutdown Causing Immigration Court Delays

Immigration courts nationwide are continuing to adjudicate detained cases. Court functions that support the detained caseload will continue, but other functions are suspended. This is the case at our local Immigration Court in Boston, MA. For updates about closures or case processing, check back often.

Same-Sex Spouses to Receive Federal Benefits

According to Lawyers.com, “same-sex marriage is legal in 13 states and the District of Columbia. In these states, LGBT couples enjoy the same state employee benefits as heterosexual couples. Until recently, however, they lacked equal access to federal employment benefits. This all changed in June 2013, when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Sec. 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which had defined marriage as exclusively between a man and a woman. Now, in states that recognize same-sex marriage, spouses are entitled to federal employment benefits as well…When a couple is married and resides in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage, extension of federal employment benefits to same-sex couples will be fairly straightforward. When the couple is not married and resides in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriage, state law preempts federal law and the same-sex spouse will not be eligible for federal employment benefits.”

To read more, click here.

USCIS Approves 10,000 U Visas

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has approved the statutory maximum 10,000 petitions for U nonimmigrant status (U visas) for fiscal year 2013. This marks the fourth straight year that USCIS has reached the statutory maximum since it began issuing U visas in 2008.

Each year, 10,000 U visas are available for victims of crime who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse and are willing to help law enforcement authorities investigate or prosecute those crimes. A U-visa petition requires certification of assistance from law enforcement.

The U-visa program was created by Congress to strengthen the law enforcement community’s ability to investigate and prosecute cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, and other crimes while also offering protection to victims. More than 76,000 victims and their family members have received U visas since the program was implemented.

USCIS will continue to accept U-visa petitions and process them in the order in which they are received. USCIS will resume issuing U visas on Oct. 1, 2013, the first day of fiscal year 2014 and is when visas will be available again.

TPS – Syria

In light of the conditions in Syria, we would like to reiterate the re-designation of Temporary Protected Status for Syrian nationals. A Syrian national, or an individual having no nationality who last habitually resided in Syria, may be eligible for TPS under the re-designation if he or she has continuously resided in the United States since June 17, 2013 and has been continuously physically present in the United States since Oct. 1, 2013. In addition to the continuous residence date requirement, applicants must meet all other TPS eligibility and filing requirements.

To learn more, contact Agarwal Law Offices at 978-905-9992.