In this video, and just like every month we cover the movement in the family-sponsored and employment-based preference categories of the July 2023 Visa Bulletin.
We are seeing some big advancements in the family-sponsored categories next month, as well as some retrogressions in the final action dates for the employment based third preference category (EB-3) for all countries except China.
Before we jump into our analysis, let’s first go over some of the highlights of the July 2023 Visa Bulletin starting with the family-sponsored categories.
Family-sponsored categories Highlights
*Dates for Filing cutoff dates – Advancements in July:
Are you going through the immigrant visa process, waiting for your interview to be scheduled at a Consulate or Embassy overseas? Then this video is right for you. We will provide the latest updates including which Consular posts are open, their processing times, and which posts are experiencing long wait times as of June 2023.
Embassies and Consulates around the world are beginning to ramp up their processing of immigrant visas, with the hiring of additional personnel to reduce the visa backlogs.
During the Coronavirus pandemic, immigrant visa cases have been warehoused at the National Visa Center (NVC) while awaiting interview scheduling at U.S. Embassies and Consulates abroad. Due to the high demand for visa interviews, most Consular posts have not been able to accommodate the majority of applicants who are still waiting for their appointments to be scheduled.
Unfortunately, the National Visa Center (NVC) is not able to forward cases to Embassies and Consulates until they have received confirmation that the post has available interview slots.
This is the case even if your case is documentarily qualified and even if your priority date is current on the Visa Bulletin. Your case cannot be forwarded to the Embassy or Consulate until they have confirmed that an interview slot is available for you.
On the other hand, if your case has not been documentarily qualified (meaning all documentation has been received by the NVC), or your priority date is not current on the Visa Bulletin, then your case will not be scheduled for an immigrant visa interview.
In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick provides a case study of an EB-1A graduate student researcher of extraordinary ability, filing an I-140 self-petition based on his outstanding achievements in cancer research and prevention.
What is the EB-1 preference category?
First, let’s discuss the EB-1 visa category. EB-1 is an employment-based, first preference immigrant visa category for aliens of extraordinary ability (EB-1A), outstanding professors, researchers (EB-1B), or certain types of multinational executive or managers (EB-1C). One of the major benefits of the EB-1 category is that it is a self-petition, meaning you do not need an employer to sponsor your petition. However, the subcategory for EB-1B researchers requires applicants to provide an offer of employment from their prospective U.S. employer, documentary evidence of their employer’s accomplishments, and evidence of employment of at least 3 full-time researchers. No labor certification is required for EB-1B.
Once the I-140 petition has been approved, applicants can proceed with filing their green card application in the United States or apply for an immigrant visa at a Consulate overseas.
For the purposes of this case study, we will be focusing on the EB-1A aliens of extraordinary ability and EB-1B category for outstanding researchers.
What are the criteria for an EB-1B researcher?
In order to qualify for the EB-1B subcategory, researchers must demonstrate international recognition for their outstanding achievements in a particular academic field.
Qualified candidates must have at least 3 years’ experience in their area of academic research. Researchers are also required to pursue tenure or tenure track teaching or a comparable research position at a university, institution of higher education, or private employer.
Are you or a family member interested in applying for a B1/B2 Visitor Visa to the United States? Would you like to know some useful tips that may help you schedule your tourist or non-immigrant visa interview appointment faster in 2023?
If so, then this is the right video for you! Learn all about this important topic and how you can minimize visa interview wait times with our helpful tips.
The Department of State recently announced that they will be allowing B1/B2 visitor visa applicants and certain other types of nonimmigrants, the ability to schedule their visa interview appointments outside of their home country at some select American embassies as a third country national (TCN).
For example, if you are a foreign national of a country experiencing very high visa demand such as India, China, etc., you may be allowed to schedule your visa interview appointment in another country as a third country national (such as a neighboring country with shorter waiting periods).
This new announcement will be useful for applicants who have been waiting over a year to get a tourist visa interview appointment in their home countries.
U.S. Embassies in India are now encouraging certain applicants to apply for their tourist visas at Consular posts such as Bangkok, Thailand, which is among the U.S. missions where Indian nationals can get an appointment for B1/B2 tourist visas in 2023 outside of India.
As an example, the current wait time to get a B1/B2 tourist visa interview appointment at the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand is about 30 to 35 days, compared to a wait time of over one year at most missions throughout India. This will benefit Indian nationals who are already residing in Bangkok, or who have the ability to travel there for their appointments.
Non-immigrant Visa Processing for Third Country Nationals
A third-country national (TCN) is a citizen of a “third” country that seeks to apply for a non-immigrant visa type in a country where they are not ordinary resident (and where they do not hold citizenship) with their third-country passport.
Certain U.S. Consular posts and Embassies accept and process non-immigrant visa applications from third-country nationals. For instance, non-immigrant visas for Ukrainian and Russian nationals may be processed and scheduled at the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw, Poland.
Likewise, Pakistani nationals who had their cases at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, have been able to transfer them to U.S. Consular posts in neighboring countries for interview scheduling.
While this practice has been occurring for at least the past year, previously it was not widely available for non-immigrant visa types, because U.S. Consular posts required applicants to maintain residency in the countries in which they applied.
Due to the growing non-immigrant visa backlogs caused by the pandemic, U.S. Embassies and Consulates have shown greater flexibility in allowing third country nationals to seek appointments outside of their home countries, despite not residing there. This is the case especially in countries with substantial visa delays like India, Pakistan, and the Philippines. Foreign nationals from these countries can apply for their B1/B2 tourist visas and non-immigrant visas in neighboring countries where interview wait times are much more reasonable.
As the summer approaches, applicants simply cannot afford to wait over a year for a visa interview appointment. Therefore, applying as a third country national outside your home country, can greatly improve your chances of receiving an interview appointment in much less time with fewer headaches.
If you found this information helpful, please share it with a friend or family member.
Contact us. For help applying for a non-immigrant visa as a third-country national, we invite you to schedule a consultation, please text 619-483-4549 or call 619-819-9204.
In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick answers some of your burning questions including whether you can expedite your marriage or fiancé(e) visa case in 2023, how long the process is currently taking, and other related questions.
If you would like to know more about this topic, please keep on watching!
The Coronavirus pandemic has caused a number of obstacles for fiancé(e)’s and spouses of United States citizens residing overseas. As many of our readers know, at the height of the pandemic, the Department of State announced the suspension of all routine visa services including immigrant and nonimmigrant visa appointments worldwide. Since Embassies and Consulates were shuttered for a significant period of time, this created a backlog of cases piling up at the National Visa Center due to visa interviews not being scheduled during the suspension.
It was not until July 2020, that U.S. Embassies and Consulates began a phased resumption of routine visa services on a post-by-post basis. Despite this announcement, many Consular posts have continued to place restrictions on their operating capacity due to local country conditions, workforce limitations, and public safety protocols.
In the past year or so, the processing of marriage and fiancé(e) visas has been impacted by this slow return to a sense of normalcy. U.S. Consulates and Embassies in certain countries have eased pandemic restrictions and are working normally, while others have struggled to catch up with the rest of the world. As a result, visa interview appointments for spousal and fiancé(e) visas have been very limited.
In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick tells you everything you need to know about the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program in the year 2023. While there have been recent Congressional changes to the program, it is still an option for those who wish to obtain their green card through a qualifying investment.
If you would like to know more about the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, please keep on watching!
Did You Know? The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program was first created by Congress in the year 1990 to stimulate the United States economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. In return for their qualifying investment, investors receive conditional permanent residence in the United States, and are required to remove their conditions on permanent residence by filing Form I-829 within 90 days of their conditional green card’s expiration.
In 1992, Congress extended the program to allow for Regional Center investment, which sets aside EB-5 visas for participants who invest in commercial enterprises associated with regional centers approved by USCIS based on proposals for promoting economic growth.
EB-5 Investment Visa: The Ultimate Guide in 2023
What is the EB-5 investor visa?
The EB-5 investor visa allows qualifying investors (and their spouse and unmarried children under age 21) to receive conditional permanent resident status (a 2-year green card).
One of the ways in which foreign investors may qualify for the EB-5 classification is by investing through regional centers designated by USCIS based on proposals for promoting economic growth.
When investing in regional centers, investors will choose a project offered by the regional center in which they wish to invest. Typically, the projects offered for investment are real estate development projects. For regional center investment, the investor does not need to invest in a project in his or her state of residence. The investment can occur anywhere in the United States.
Additionally, regional center investment allows investors to passively invest in the project, without having to direct or manage it themselves. Regional center investment is the most common way to qualify for the EB-5 visa. In fact, 95 percent of all EB-5 investors file their cases through Regional Center investment.
Another way to qualify is by investing directly in a new commercial enterprise that you intend to direct and operate. In this case you will be managing the project yourself. Only 5 percent of EB-5 investors opt for investment in a new commercial enterprise, because it is more risky.
On March 15, 2022, President Biden signed the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022 (Public Law 117-103), which created new requirements for the EB-5 immigrant visa category and the Regional Center Program. EB-5 immigrant visas are currently authorized under the Regional Center Program through September 30, 2027.
In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick answers one of your most frequently asked questions: how long is it currently taking for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to adjudicate marriage-based adjustment of status applications (green cards) in May of 2023?
If you would like to know the answer to this question, please keep on watching!
Did You Know? USCIS processing times vary depending on the workload of the Field Office and/or Service Center where the I-130/485 applications are being adjudicated. USCIS reports the processing times of each Field Office and Service Center directly on its website, including time estimates of how long it took the agency to process 80% of adjudicated cases over the past 6 months. However, USCIS cautions that each case is unique, and some cases may take longer than others to be adjudicated. Due to this, processing times should be used as a reference point, not an absolute measure of how long your case will take to be completed.
Additionally, remember to consider the processing time of your local USCIS Field Office, where you will eventually be called to appear for an in-person interview before an immigration officer to prove that you have a bona fide marriage, and meet all other requirements for a green card.
Service Centers Processing Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative
In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick shares some very exciting news for nonimmigrant visa applicants. The State Department recently announced that they are dramatically speeding up visa wait times for interview appointments starting with nonimmigrant visas for students, temporary workers, and tourists.
If you want to know more about this important update just keep on watching!
Did You Know? U.S. Consulates and Embassies consider requests for expedited visa interview appointments on a case-by-case basis for those who meet the expedite criteria, including those with urgent travel needs, emergencies, urgent humanitarian needs, those working for nonprofits who are furthering cultural or social interests for the U.S., those whose work is in the U.S. government or national interest, etc. To understand the expedite process, please visit the website of your closest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
On December 1, 2022, the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs held a live broadcast on YouTube, where Julie M. Stufft, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Visa Services in the Bureau of Consular Affairs, discussed the status of immigrant and nonimmigrant visa processing at U.S. embassies and consulates around the world.
In the broadcast, she highlighted some important revelations, indicating that not only are visa wait times improving at U.S. Consulates and Embassies overseas, but nonimmigrant visa interview appointments are being made available much faster than ever before for tourists, students, and certain temporary workers.
Some of the Key Points she raised are as follows:
The State Department has successfully reduced visa interview wait times with a median global wait time of just 7 weeks for a B1/B2 tourist visa appointment at most U.S. Consulates and Embassies worldwide.
Similarly, the Statement Department has reduced wait times to only 7 days for F-1 students and certain temporary workers at most U.S. Consulates and Embassies Worldwide.
Visa processing capacity is recovering much faster than initially projected thanks to policy and processing innovations implemented in 2022.
In many countries, the State Department issued more tourist visas in 2022 than before the pandemic, including at some of the busiest Consulates in the world such as Mexico and Brazil.
The State Department issued more student visas in 2022 than in any recent year.
Visas for airline and shipping crewmembers were prioritized to support global supply chains, with the State Department issuing more than 250,000 crewmember visas in 2022.
Pre-pandemic processing times were exceeded for crewmembers since June of 2022.
State Department posts overseas adjudicated about 40 percent more visas for seasonal workers in 2022 when compared to 2019, before the pandemic.
In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses the end of the selection process for the H-1B Visa Lottery for fiscal year 2024. If you were not selected in the lottery but would like to know more about your immigration options, then this is the right video for you.
Did you Know? The H-1B visa program allows American companies and/or organizations to employ foreign workers who possess both a theoretical or practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent, for a temporary period of time. A congressionally mandated cap limits the number of new H-1B visas that can be issued to 65,000 per year, and 20,000 for those who have earned a U.S. master’s degree or higher.
On March 27, 2023, the U.S. Citizenship, and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced it received enough electronic registrations to reach the congressionally mandated cap for fiscal year 2024. After the registration period closed on March 17th, USCIS completed a randomized lottery from among registrations submitted, to select qualifying petitions for the 65,000/20,000 H-1B regular visa cap and advanced degree exemption.
Registrants who were selected were notified via email or text message stating that an action was taken on their myUSCIS online account. Account holders could then log in to see the full notice and determine whether they were selected to file paper applications with USCIS.
The period for filing a paper H-1B cap-subject petition with USCIS will be at least 90 days. USCIS began accepting H-1B submissions from selected registrants (Form I-129 with supporting documentation) beginning April 1, 2023.
USCIS has not yet disclosed whether they will conduct additional randomized lotteries to fill the H-1B visa cap. In previous years, additional lotteries have sometimes taken place, where USCIS has determined that it has not received sufficient mail-in applications to fill the H-1B visa cap by June 30, 2023. Historically, second randomized lotteries (if any) have occurred during the month of July, with accountholders being notified in the month of August.
In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick delivers some good news to immigrant visa applicants—as of March 2023 the National Visa Center has reported a decrease in the backlogs of about 6,000 cases.
If you would like to know more about this important update, please keep on watching.
Did you Know? Every month the Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC) publishes an Immigrant Visa Backlog report, which provides data and statistics relating to the current status of worldwide visa operations, including the number of documentarily complete immigrant visa cases currently at the National Visa Center waiting for interviews, the number of cases that were scheduled for interviews at the end of each month, and the number of immigrant visa cases still waiting to be scheduled for a visa interview after interview appointment scheduling was completed at the end of each month.
What is the National Visa Center?
The National Visa Center (NVC) is an agency that forms part of the U.S. Department of State, located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The main responsibility of the Nationality Visa Center (NVC) is to act as an intermediary between the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and U.S. Embassies and Consulates abroad. The NVC receives approved cases from USCIS and collects further documentation from applicants and petitioners to prepare cases for immigrant visa processing at U.S. Embassies and Consulates overseas. Part of this process includes making sure cases are documentarily complete to request immigrant visa interview scheduling from U.S. Embassies and Consulates abroad.