Social Media Identifiers

On May 31, 2019, the Department of State updated its immigrant and nonimmigrant visa application forms to request additional information, including social media identifiers, from most U.S. visa applicants worldwide.

This update is a result of the President’s March 6, 2017, Memorandum on Implementing Heightened Screening and Vetting of Applications for Visas and other Immigration Benefits and Section 5 of Executive Order 13780 regarding implementing uniform screening and vetting standards for visa applications. 

National security is our top priority when adjudicating visa applications, and every prospective traveler and immigrant to the United States undergoes extensive security screening.  We are constantly working to find mechanisms to improve our screening processes to protect U.S. citizens, while supporting legitimate travel to the United States.

NVC Contact Requirement

Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) section 203(g) provides that the Secretary of State shall terminate the petition of any alien who fails to apply for an immigrant visa within one year of notice of visa availability.

The petition may be reinstated if, within two years of notice of visa availability, the alien establishes that the failure to apply was for reasons beyond the alien’s control.

Therefore if you do not respond to notices from the NVC within one year you risk termination of your petition under this section of law and would lose the benefits of that petition, such as your priority date.

For guidance with this phase of your process, contact Agarwal Law Offices at 978-905-9992.

AOS Filing Chart

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.

Otherwise, they will indicate that you must use the Application Final Action Dates to determine when you may file your adjustment of status application.

See the following link here for the month of July 2019:

https://www.uscis.gov/visabulletininfo

Visa Bulletin 07/19

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 2019.

https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/law-and-policy/bulletin/2019/visa-bulletin-for-July- 2019.html

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

I918 Form Update

USCIS is extending the grace period for the previous edition of Form I-918, Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status, including Supplement B, U Nonimmigrant Status Certification, through Dec. 31, 2019.

The current edition of Form I-918 available on the USCIS website is dated 04/24/19. We previously indicated that starting July 2, 2019, we would only accept the 04/24/19 edition. USCIS understands that a two-month transition period may provide a limited grace period specifically for Form I-918, Supplement B, U Nonimmigrant Status Certifications, so we have extended this grace period. You can find the edition date at the bottom of the page on the form and instructions. Starting Jan. 1, 2020, we will only accept a Form I-918 with edition date 04/24/19.

I485 & N400 Processing

USCIS has announced their 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, we have 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 we shift caseloads between field offices to decrease processing times, we 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. We will still direct them to the nearest application support center. Applicants should follow the instructions on any notices they receive from USCIS.

Becoming a USC

If you meet certain requirements, you may become a U.S. citizen either at birth or after birth.

To become a citizen at birth, you must:

  • Have been born in the United States or certain territories or outlying possessions of the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction of the United States; OR  
  • had a parent or parents who were citizens at the time of your birth (if you were born abroad) and meet other requirements

To become a citizen after birth, you must:

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

H2B Additional Cap Reached

USCIS has received enough petitions to reach the additional maximum 30,000 visas made available for returning workers under the H-2B numerical limit for fiscal year (FY) 2019.

USCIS began accepting H-2B petitions on May 8 under the temporary final rule increasing the cap by up to 30,000 additional H-2B nonimmigrant visas for returning workers through the end of FY 2019. 

USCIS will reject and return any cap-subject petitions received after June 5, together with any accompanying filing fees.

USCIS will continue to accept H-2B petitions that are exempt from the congressionally mandated cap. This includes petitions for:

Current H-2B workers in the United States petitioning to extend their stay and, if applicable, change the terms of their employment or change their employers;

Fish roe processors, fish roe technicians, and/or supervisors of fish roe processing; and

Workers performing labor or services in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands and/or Guam from Nov. 28, 2009, until Dec. 31, 2029.

USCIS Annual Report

USCIS has released the Fiscal Year 2018 Statistical Annual Report (PDF, 4.48 MB), which provides statistical information on the most popular programs administered by the agency. The report also provides insight into the scope of USCIS’ work, which involves adjudicating millions of applications and petitions for immigration benefits annually. See the report here: https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/USCIS/statistics/2018_USCIS_Statistical_Annual_Report_Final_-_OPQ_5.28.19_EXA.pdf