Articles Posted in Consular posts

In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick touches upon an important debate in immigration law, is it better to keep your green card or apply for U.S. Citizenship once you are eligible to do so?

This video will explain the types of circumstances in which an individual may prefer to maintain his or her green card and opt out of becoming a U.S. Citizen.

To learn more about this important topic, please keep watching.


Overview


Differences between U.S. Citizenship versus Permanent Residence


U.S. Citizenship


Applying for U.S. Citizenship leads to a variety of legal rights and privileges that are not available to permanent residents (green card holders). For some, these benefits are a compelling reason to apply for citizenship to have access to the wide variety of opportunities that are only available to naturalized citizens.

Some of these benefits include but are not limited to:

  1. Having the Right to Vote in state and federal elections
  2. Applying to federal jobs that are only available to U.S. Citizens such as law enforcement positions, and occupations that require a high security clearance such as working in the defense industry or for the U.S. military
  3. Sponsorship of Family Members: U.S. Citizens can petition to immigrate their immediate relatives to the United States without being subject to the numerical limitations of the Visa Bulletin. Permanent residents on the other hand may only petition for certain relatives and such applications are subject to numerical limitations.
  4. International Travel Benefits: U.S. Citizens may also engage in international travel without having to worry about placing their legal status in jeopardy. Unlike citizens, permanent residents must maintain continuous residence and physical presence in the United States, or risk losing their immigration status
  5. Criminal Offenses: Certain criminal offenses can lead to the deportation of a green card holder as well as other serious issues including being permanently barred from entering the U.S. that do not affect U.S. Citizens in the same manner.

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If you are holding any crypto assets, such as bitcoin, Ethereum, or any other blockchain cryptocurrency, can you use those assets to move to the United States?

In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses the use of crypto assets as the source of funds for E-2 visa investment purposes and everything you need to know about this topic.


Overview


Is there a way to move to the United States using crypto assets?


Yes. The visa type that can be used for this purpose is the E-2 Treaty Investor nonimmigrant visa, which allows qualifying applicants to start and manage their businesses in the United States, by making an irrevocable investment in their business and hiring U.S. workers.

The E-2 visa allows foreign nationals to live and work for their U.S. business for an initial duration of two years. Thereafter, investors may apply for E-2 extensions in increments of up to two years each. One of the great advantages of the E-2 visa is that there is no limit to the number of extensions you can apply for, so long as you maintain a sincere intention to depart the United States when your visa status expires.

Additionally, this visa allows your spouse and unmarried children under age 21 to accompany you to the United States by seeking the E-2 classification as your dependents.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yz6vWTjLjuQ

If you are going through the immigrant visa process and are waiting for your interview to be scheduled at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy overseas, then you won’t want to miss this important video. Attorney Jacob Sapochnick shares the latest updates regarding the operational capacity of U.S. Consular posts and Embassies worldwide as of March 2024.


Overview


As the spring and summer months are approaching, U.S. Embassies and Consulates worldwide are accelerating the processing of immigrant visas to reduce the visa backlogs.

As we have seen, the Department of State has advanced the Final Action Dates for most employment-based categories in the April Visa Bulletin. Additionally, significant advancements were also made in the March Visa Bulletin for the family-sponsored categories.

These advancements will keep the Department of State busy in the coming months, as more and more immigrant visa cases that are documentarily complete are scheduled for interviews at U.S. Embassies and Consulates worldwide for those with current priority dates.

As our readers will know, during the height of the Coronavirus outbreak, there was an enormous demand for visa interviews, but not enough interview slots for applicants to be scheduled. But now things are improving.

As a reminder, please remember to tune into our monthly videos where we analyze the Visa Bulletin, explaining the availability of visas for family-sponsored and employment-based preference categories, numerical limitations, and how to know when your priority date is current during any given month.

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In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick analyzes the April 2024 Visa Bulletin and discusses the significant movement in the employment based categories and modest movement in the family-sponsored preference categories for the month of April. We also discuss our predictions on what to expect from the Visa Bulletin in the coming months.

If you would like to know more about this topic, we invite you to watch our video.


Adjustment of Status Filing Chart April 2024


For the month of April 2024, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will use the Dates for Filing chart for family-sponsored filings to determine eligibility for I-485 adjustment of status filings (green card filings inside the US).

For employment-based preference categories, USCIS will use the Final Action Dates chart to determine eligibility for I-485 adjustment of status filings (green card filings inside the US).


What Changes Can Be Seen Next Month?


Family-sponsored categories

Dates for Filing

The Dates for Filing chart remains unchanged from the previous month except for the following categories:

  • F4 India will advance by 1.5 months to April 8, 2006, and
  • F4 Philippines will advance by 1 year to April 22, 2005

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Do you have a visa that has been pending for an unreasonable period at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy abroad, or perhaps that has been stuck in administrative processing for years with no decision? If so, you may be interested to learn of possible solutions to resolve your case matter.

In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick tells you everything you need to know about this important topic, including a discussion about the writ of mandamus lawsuit, and how it can help compel a decision in certain cases where there has been an unreasonable delay.

If you would like to know more about this topic, we invite you to watch our video.


Overview


Mandamus Lawsuits for Immigration Delays


A mandamus lawsuit also known as a writ of mandamus, is filed in federal court to compel a government body to fulfill their legal duty, for instance by issuing a decision on a visa application or immigration benefit, that has been unreasonably delayed by the agency.

The purpose of the mandamus lawsuit is to hold the government accountable where they have failed to act, as required by U.S. immigration law, to make a decision on an application. In cases where the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or the Department of State (DOS) has failed to fulfill its duty, the mandamus lawsuit may be appropriate to help move a case forward to its final decision.

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In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick shares the latest news regarding the Immigrant Visa backlog at the National Visa Center as of January 2024. 

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.


Overview


According to the National Visa Center’s Immigrant Visa Backlog Report for the month of January 2024, there has been a slight decrease in the immigrant visa (IV) backlog from 304,773 pending cases in December 2023, to 292,105 pending cases in January 2024 still waiting to be scheduled for a visa interview. By comparison, in November of 2023, there were 311,550 pending cases waiting for interview scheduling.

This reduction is a great sign because it shows that the National Visa Center is consistently decreasing the immigrant visa backlog, and scheduling more and more appointments for immigrant visa interviews at U.S. Consulates and Embassies worldwide.

Additionally, when comparing the December 2023 and January 2024 Immigrant Visa backlog reports, we can see that the number of immigrant visa applicants whose cases were documentarily complete and therefore ready to be scheduled for an interview at Consulates and Embassies decreased from 341,392 (as of November 30, 2023) to 337,870 (as of December 31, 2023).

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In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses the advantages and disadvantages of the H-1B temporary work visa versus the EB-3 immigrant visa for professionals.

We will dive into the differences between them and the factors that you may want to consider when evaluating which process might be right for you.

If you would like to know more about this topic, we invite you to watch our video.


Overview


If you are looking for opportunities to live and work in the United States, it is a good idea to carefully research the visas that are available to you and speak with a qualified immigration attorney to help you navigate through any visa alternatives that could benefit you.

Narrowing your search and having a thorough understanding of the most suitable visas for you will give you the knowledge and insight that you will need to comfortably approach a U.S. employer for a potential job offer and employment sponsorship.

Foreign workers typically find that U.S. employers, especially start-ups and smaller companies, are unfamiliar with the process of sponsoring a worker for a visa. That means that the worker will need to be familiar enough with the process to put their best foot forward during negotiations. Workers must be prepared to present different options to employers.

Our employment-sponsorship videos provide tips to empower you and make your job search more efficient in 2024. We hope you will share them with anyone who may benefit.


The H-1B Work Visa


We begin our discussion with the H-1B work visa. This is a temporary nonimmigrant work visa type that allows U.S. employers to petition and hire foreign workers with specialized skills for a specific period of time. To qualify for this visa type, foreign workers must have at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent and be employed in a specialty occupation relating to their field of study.

H-1B workers are typically employed in STEM fields, as scientists, engineers, computer programmers, software developers, and technology workers, but other fields may qualify that require specialty knowledge. This visa type also allows employers to sponsor professional fashion models of distinguished merit or ability.

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In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick shares everything you need to know about the February 2024 Visa Bulletin including a few changes in the employment based and family-sponsored preference categories. We also discuss our predictions on what to expect from the Visa Bulletin in the coming months.

If you would like to know more about this topic, we invite you to watch our video.


Adjustment of Status Filing Chart February 2024


As in the previous few months, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will continue to use the Dates for Filing chart in the month of February 2024 to determine eligibility for I-485 adjustment of status filings (green card filings inside the US).


What Changes Can Be Seen Next Month?


Employment-based categories

  • The February Dates for Filing remain the same as January 2024

Final Action Dates

  • EB-1 Worldwide: Final Action Dates will remain current.
  • EB-2 Worldwide: Final Action Dates will advance by two weeks to November 15, 2022.
  • EB-3 Professional/Skilled Workers: India will advance by one month to July 1, 2012. Final Action Dates for the remaining countries in this category will advance by one month to September 1, 2022.
  • EB-3 Other Workers: India will advance by one month to July 1, 2012.
  • EB-5: The EB-5 China Unreserved Final Action Date will advance by one week to December 15, 2015.

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In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses a very important topic in immigration law: How can E2 treaty investors avoid application denials?

Many E2 investors looking to start their businesses in the United States frequently ask, what is the minimum amount of investment that is satisfactory to the immigration authorities for the E2 treaty investor program, and how can I maximize my chances of success?

If this topic interests you, please keep on watching our video.


Overview


Minimum Investment Amounts

One of the most common reasons for an E2 visa denial is where the applicant fails to demonstrate that they have made a “substantial” investment in their business venture.

A substantial investment is defined as one that is:

  • Substantial in relationship to the total cost of either purchasing an established enterprise or establishing a new one
  • Sufficient to ensure the treaty investor’s financial commitment to the successful operation of the enterprise
  • Of a magnitude to support the likelihood that the treaty investor will successfully develop and direct the enterprise. The lower the cost of the enterprise, the higher, proportionately, the investment must be to be considered substantial.

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In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses a new press release shared by the Department of State which provides insights on the status of visa operations worldwide during fiscal year 2023. The report highlights that from October 2022 through September 2023, DOS issued more than 10 million visas worldwide, with half of U.S. Embassies and Consulates around the world issuing more visas than ever before.

In this post, we provide a summary of the agency’s impressive achievements and visa statistics over the past fiscal year.

If you would like to know more about this topic, we invite you to watch our video.


Overview


According to the press release, the Department of State hit a near historic record, issuing more than 10.4 million nonimmigrant visas worldwide in fiscal year 2023.

Nearly 8 million visitor visas were issued for business and tourism – more than in any fiscal year since 2016.

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