Reminder – Changing Office Locations

We are excited to announce that beginning April 1, 2018, we will be closing our Andover office and moving to a newer facility in Burlington, Massachusetts.  We will continue to maintain weekend appointments and these will be held at the new Burlington location.  We will also maintain our weekly appointments at our Framingham location.

This move comes after considerable thought regarding the most convenient location for our clients.  We strive to provide our clients with the best service possible, and believe that the new office in Burlington will be met with great enthusiasm due to its proximity to major highways, ample parking, and overall convenience.

Our current office addresses are:

945 Concord Street, Framingham MA 01701

67 South Bedford Street, Suite 400 West, Burlington MA 01803

We look forward to serving you there!

Visa Bulletin April 2018

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 April 2018.

https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/law-and-policy/bulletin/2018/visa-bulletin-for-April-2018.html

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

Changing Office Locations

We are excited to announce that beginning April 1, 2018, we will be closing our Andover office and moving to a newer facility in Burlington, Massachusetts.  We will continue to maintain weekend appointments and these will be held at the new Burlington location.  We will also maintain our weekly appointments at our Framingham location.

This move comes after considerable thought regarding the most convenient location for our clients.  We strive to provide our clients with the best service possible, and believe that the new office in Burlington will be met with great enthusiasm due to its proximity to major highways, ample parking, and overall convenience.

Our current office addresses are:

945 Concord Street, Framingham MA 01701

67 South Bedford Street, Suite 400 West, Burlington MA 01803

We look forward to serving you there!

USCIS Premium Processing Update for H1B Petitions

USCIS has released a press release regarding the a temporary suspension of premium processing for FY 2019 H1B Cap Petitions:

Starting April 2, 2018, USCIS will begin accepting H-1B petitions subject to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 cap. We will temporarily suspend premium processing for all FY 2019 cap-subject petitions, including petitions seeking an exemption for individuals with a U.S. master’s degree or higher. This suspension is expected to last until Sept. 10, 2018. During this time, we will continue to accept premium processing requests for H-1B petitions that are not subject to the FY 2019 cap. We will notify the public before resuming premium processing for cap-subject H-1B petitions or making any other premium processing updates.

During this temporary suspension, we will reject any Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, filed with an FY 2019 cap-subject H-1B petition. If a petitioner submits one combined check for the fees for Form I-907 and Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, we will reject both forms. When we resume premium processing, petitioners may file a Form I-907 for FY 2019 cap-subject H-1B petitions that remain pending.

Requesting Expedited Processing

While premium processing is suspended, a petitioner may submit a request to expedite an FY 2019 cap-subject H-1B petition if it meets the criteria on the Expedite Criteria webpage. It is the petitioner’s responsibility to demonstrate that they meet at least one of the expedite criteria, and we encourage petitioners to submit documentary evidence to support their expedite request. We review all expedite requests on a case-by-case basis and will grant requests at the discretion of USCIS office leadership.

Why We Are Temporarily Suspending Premium Processing for These Petitions

This temporary suspension will help us reduce overall H-1B processing times. By temporarily suspending premium processing, we will be able to:

  • Process long-pending petitions, which we have currently been unable to process due to the high volume of incoming petitions and the significant surge in premium processing requests over the past few years; and
  • Prioritize adjudication of H-1B extension of status cases that are nearing the 240 day mark.

DHS Statement on USCIS Updated Mission Statement

The DHS director has responded to criticisms regarding the updated mission statement to suggest USCIS is working for its “customers” rather than “immigrants.”

Read the statement here:

In my short time as director of USCIS, I continue to be impressed by the commitment and dedication that employees throughout the agency have shown toward our common goals. USCIS employees are passionate about upholding the rule of law and ensuring the integrity of our immigration system. I’ve always known this and have seen it confirmed again and again in my meetings with you during visits I have made to field offices and service centers. To reflect these principles, and to guide us in the years ahead, I am pleased to share with you our agency’s new mission statement:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services administers the nation’s lawful immigration system, safeguarding its integrity and promise by efficiently and fairly adjudicating requests for immigration benefits while protecting Americans, securing the homeland, and honoring our values.

I believe this simple, straightforward statement clearly defines the agency’s role in our country’s lawful immigration system and the commitment we have to the American people.

The American people, through Congress, have entrusted USCIS with the stewardship of our legal immigration programs that allow foreign nationals to visit, work, live, and seek refuge in the United States. We are also responsible for ensuring that those who naturalize are dedicated to this country, share our values, assimilate into our communities, and understand their responsibility to help preserve our freedom and liberty.

What we do at USCIS is so important to our nation, so meaningful to the applicants and petitioners, and the nature of the work is often so complicated, that we should never allow our work to be regarded as a mere production line or even described in business or commercial terms. In particular, referring to applicants and petitioners for immigration benefits, and the beneficiaries of such applications and petitions, as “customers” promotes an institutional culture that emphasizes the ultimate satisfaction of applicants and petitioners, rather than the correct adjudication of such applications and petitions according to the law. Use of the term leads to the erroneous belief that applicants and petitioners, rather than the American people, are whom we ultimately serve. All applicants and petitioners should, of course, always be treated with the greatest respect and courtesy, but we can’t forget that we serve the American people.

DHS On POTUS visit to Border Wall Prototype

The following is the Department of Homeland Security’s statement on Trump’s visit to border wall prototypes:

The border wall is only one of the tools we need to secure the border – the wall system also involves mission-ready agents, patrol roads, sensor technology, and support resources,” said Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen. “But importantly it also includes the ability to promptly remove illegal aliens, terrorists and criminals, closing often exploited loopholes in our immigration system. After speaking with our frontline operators at the border today, their message underscores the urgency for Congress to take action and find legislative solutions to secure our border and make America safe. I want to thank President Trump for his steadfast support for the men and women of DHS and what they need to execute their mission.

Re-Registration Period Opens for Syrians w/ TPS

USCIS has issued the following press release regarding the re-registration period of Syrians with Temporary Protected Status:

Current beneficiaries of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) under Syria’s designation who want to maintain their status through Sept. 30, 2019, must re-register between March 5, and May 4, 2018. Re-registration procedures, including how to renew employment authorization documentation, have been published in the Federal Register and on the USCIS website.

All applicants must submit Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status. Applicants may also request an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) by submitting a completed Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, when they file Form I-821, or separately at a later date. Both forms are free on USCIS’ website at uscis.gov/tps.

USCIS will issue new EADs with a Sept. 30, 2019, expiration date to eligible Syrian TPS beneficiaries who timely re-register and apply for EADs. However, given the timeframes involved with processing TPS re-registration applications, USCIS is automatically extending the validity of EADs with an expiration date of March 31 for 180 days, through Sept. 27.

To be eligible for TPS under Syria’s current designation, individuals must have continuously resided in the United States since Aug. 1, 2016, and have been continuously physically present in the United States since Oct. 1, 2016, along with meeting the other eligibility requirements.

Visa Bulletin March 2018

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 March 2018.
https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/law-and-policy/bulletin/2018/visa-bulletin-for-March-2018.html
For more information, contact ALO at 978-905-9992.

AOS Filing Charts – March 2018

If USCIS determines that there are more immigrant visas available for a fiscal year than there are known applicants for such visas, USCIS will state whether you may use the Dates for Filing Visa Applications chart. Otherwise, they will indicate that you must use the Application Final Action Dates chart to determine when you may file your adjustment of status application.  See the following link here for the month of March 2018: https://www.uscis.gov/visabulletininfo

Know Before You Go

U.S. Customs & Border Protection:

If you are a U.S. citizen planning to travel abroad, you must comply with the document requirements for that country. For a list of Foreign Consular Offices in the U.S. visit the U.S. Department of State website.

Each individual arriving into the United States must complete the CBP Declaration Form 6059B. Explanations and a sample declaration form can be found on the Sample Customs Declaration Form.