Visa Bulletin July 2017

The Visa Bulletin provides updated priority date information for family-based and employment-based green cards. 

Immigrants to the US are classified into two categories – those requiring placement on a waiting list and those not through their relationship to a US immediate relative. Further, there are numerical quotas on the green cards that require a priority date. If the number of applicants in a year is over the available visa numbers, those applicants are placed on a waiting list and are given a priority date, which estimates when an applicant would get a visa based on the number of previous applicants on the waiting list.

Below are preference category information and visa allocations.

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.

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.

Below is the link for the Visa Bulletin for July 2017. 

https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/law-and-policy/bulletin/2017/visa-bulletin-for-july-2017.html

For more information, contact ALO at 978-905-9992.

DHS on SCOTUS Ruling of Trump Travel Ban

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has issued the following press release regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on President Trump’s executive order, largely considered a travel ban: 

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court today has allowed the Department of Homeland Security to largely implement the President’s Executive Order and take rational and necessary steps to protect our nation from persons looking to enter and potentially do harm. The granting of a partial stay of the circuit injunctions with regard to many aliens abroad restores to the Executive Branch crucial and long-held constitutional authority to defend our national borders.

The Department will provide additional details on implementation after consultation with the Departments of Justice and State. The implementation of the Executive Order will be done professionally, with clear and sufficient public notice, particularly to potentially affected travelers, and in coordination with partners in the travel industry

USCIS Issues Redesigned Form I485

USCIS has published a revised Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Form I-485). The new Form I-485 and instructions have been updated to reduce complexity after extensive feedback from the public.

The revised version gives applicants better information to accurately complete Form I-485, including clear navigation to the parts of the form and instructions that are relevant to the applicants’ specific situations. These updates should increase the efficiency of the adjudication process by reducing errors and requests for evidence.

Applicants living in the United States file Form I-485 to adjust their immigration status and become lawful permanent residents, which allows one to live and work permanently in the United States. Adjusting status is a critical step for those seeking U.S. citizenship.

USCIS also revised the Form I-485 Supplement A and Form I-485 Supplement J (as well as each supplement’s instructions), to provide applicants with more detailed information about how to properly complete, file, and submit evidence if those supplements are applicable to their situation.

Beginning today, there will be a 60-day grace period during which USCIS will accept both the 01/17/17 and 06/26/17 editions of Form I-485 and Supplement A and J. Beginning Aug. 25, USCIS will only accept the revised Form and Supplement A and J of Form I-485 and will no longer accept earlier versions of either form.

Advisory on Fake Indian Visa Websites 

Per the Embassy of India in Washington D.C. regarding fraudulent websites for Indian visa renewal and application:

It has been brought to our notice that a number of fake visa websites are operating on the internet , claiming to provide e-Tourist visas services to visa applicants. In order to mislead applicants, some of these websites have created images and home page templates mimicking the GoI websites for e-Tourist visa applicants. A few such prominent websites are listed below:

e-touristvisaindia.com

indianvisaonline.org.in

iii. e-visaindia.com

indiavisa.org.in

It is advised that the correct website is indianvisaonline.gov.in. Applicants are requested not to rely on any other website for e-Tourist visa services.

Office Expanding to Framingham

Agarwal Law Offices is very excited to announce the opening of a second location in Framingham, Massachusetts beginning September 1, 2017.

The official address is: 945 Concord Street, Framingham, MA 01701.  We will continue to maintain the Andover, MA location at 3 Dundee Park.  This expansion will allow Attorney Agarwal to meet and work with clients from Essex and Middlesex Counties.  Similar to our convenient Andover office, located directly behind the Commuter Rail Station, the Framingham location is minutes from Route 128 and Interstate 495, and offers optimum access to metropolitan Boston via the Massachusetts Turnpike.

The expansion of Agarwal Law Offices comes after an assessment of the need for quality immigration service providers in the Metro-West region of Massachusetts.  Through extensive experience and positive results, Attorney Agarwal is best suited for the needs of this rich population of immigrants.  In addition, we hope to provide added convenience to our existing clients who prefer one location over another, as we constantly strive to accommodate our clients.  Check back for office hours at each location soon. We look forward to serving the community and hope to see you soon!

Helpful Visa Interview Tips

The interviewer will be behind a glass window, and you will be able to speak through a microphone on the glass window. The interviewer may ask questions and verify your documents. Answer truthfully and confidently. Answer only the questions you are asked. Do not provide more information than you are asked, and do not present any documents that you are not asked to.

Purpose for Trip

You should expect to answer the following type of questions based on the purpose of your travels to the United States:

Q: What are you going to do in the US?

Q: What is the purpose of your trip?

Q: What places to do wish to visit in the United States?

Financial Abilities

You should expect to answer the following type of questions based on who will be funding your trip to the United States:

Q: Who is paying for your trip?

Q: Where will you be staying in the United States?

Q: How will room and board be provided?

Ties to your homecountry

You should expect to answer the following type of questions based on your ties to your home country:

Q: Do you have family in your home country?

Q: Where do you work in your home country?

Q: Do you have property or financial interests in your home country?
Guarantee of your return home
You should expect to answer the following type of questions that you will return home upon your travel:

Q: Have you been outside of your home country before? When and for how long?

Q: Have you been to the U.S. before? When and for how long?

Q: Have you booked your tickets? Do you have return air tickets, medical insurance?

Military Service & Naturalization

Special provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) authorize U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to expedite the application and naturalization process for current members of the U.S. armed forces and recently discharged members. Generally, qualifying military service includes service with one of the following branches: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, certain components of the National Guard and the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve.
A member of the U.S. armed forces must meet the requirements and qualifications to become a citizen of the United States. He or she must demonstrate:

Good moral character

Knowledge of the English language

Knowledge of U.S. government and history (civics), and

Attachment to the United States by taking an Oath of Allegiance to the U.S. Constitution

Employer Compliance H1B 

In hiring an H-1B employee, an employer must comply with the following:
The employer must give the worker a copy of the LCA.

The employer must pay the worker at least the same wage rate as paid to other employees with similar experience and qualifications or the local prevailing wage for the occupation in the area of employment, whichever is higher.

The employer must pay for non-productive time caused by the employer or by the worker’s lack of a license or permit.

The employer must offer the worker fringe benefits on the same basis as its other employees.

The employer may not require the worker to pay a penalty for leaving employment prior to any agreed date.

If an employer is not complying with these or various other requirements, we can assist you obtain the appropriate relief.

For more information about these services, please schedule a consultation at 978-905-9992.

USCIS New Interpreter Policy

USCIS has introduced a “Declaration for Interpreted USCIS Interview” form (Form G-1256). USCIS requires that the interpreter provide consecutive interpretation to ensure that accuracy. Form G-1256 must be signed by both the interviewee and the interpreter at the beginning of the interview. The form requires the interpreter to agree to not disclose or share any of the information discussed or learned fromthe interview. Attorneys may not act as both legal representative as well as interviewer for the interview. 

USCIS Updated Forms Reminder!

On Dec. 23, 2016, new fees took effect and USCIS published updated versions of our forms. After Feb. 21, 2017, USCIS will no longer accept previous editions of these forms. See their complete list of the new fees at uscis.gov/forms/our-fees and make sure you are including the correct amount. You must include the new fee or USCIS will reject and return your filing.
The updated forms are currently available at uscis.gov/forms. Additionally, you can request paper copies through USCIS forms request line (800-870-3676) and forms by mail service.