Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick talks about which U.S. Embassies and Consulates overseas are scheduling visa interviews during the limited operational capacity resulting from the global COVID-19 pandemic. As a bonus, in this video, we will also help you understand the role of the National Visa Center in preparing your case for transfer to a Consular post abroad and interview scheduling.
Want to know more? Just keep on watching.
What is the role of the National Visa Center in your immigration journey?
The National Visa Center is an extremely important agency that acts as a middleman between USCIS and the Consular post or Embassy where your visa interview will eventually be scheduled.
After U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approves your immigrant visa petition, USCIS forwards your petition to the National Visa Center (NVC) located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire to prepare the case for immigrant visa pre-processing. Once your case is received by the National Visa Center, the agency will contact you to collect your visa application, visa fees, and additional supporting documentation known as civil documents. All visa fees and supporting documentation is submitted online via the Consular Electronic Application Center webpage (CEAC).
Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick provides an overview of the State Department’s September 2021 Q&A answer session with Charlie Oppenheim, Chief of the Immigrant Visa Control and Reporting Division of the U.S. Department of State. In this monthly YouTube broadcast, Mr. Charles Oppenheim answers many of the public’s questions regarding the upcoming Visa Bulletin and discusses what to expect in terms of the movement or retrogression of the family sponsored and employment-based preference categories in the coming months.
Want to know more about the highlights of the Q&A session? Just keep on watching!
In this blog post, we summarize some of the most interesting questions that were asked during this live Q&A session with Charlie Oppenheim, including frequently asked questions regarding unused employment-based visa numbers for fiscal year 2021 and the future of family-sponsored categories in the coming months.
Q: Are you concerned with the anticipated large amount of unused fiscal year 2021 employment-based numbers which you mentioned last month?
Charlie Oppenheim responded during the live session that the State Department is very concerned about the potential for unused employment-based numbers under the fiscal year 2021 annual limits. According to Oppenheim, this concern was one of the reasons he made the China and India employment first preference categories current back in April and engaged in very aggressive forward movement of the final action dates since that time to prevent the loss of visa numbers in the employment-based categories. Furthermore, Mr. Oppenheim pointed out that both the State and USCIS offices are doing everything in their power to maximize number use before the end of FY 2021 to avoid drastic losses.
Based on recent discussions with USCIS, Charlie Oppenheim said that the agency is on track to approve more adjustment of status applications than at any time since fiscal year 2005. He also reminded listeners to keep in mind that since March of 2020, both the State Department and USCIS offices, have been dealing with a variety of COVID-19 issues which have had a tremendous negative impact on operational status, staffing, and ability to process large amounts of immigrant visa cases. According to Mr. Oppenheim, overseas posts only began returning to some sense of normal processing in April of 2021.
Q: When I look at the chart listing the final action dates, how do I know if my case is eligible to be scheduled for an interview at the overseas post responsible for processing my case?
This is a very common question that our law office is frequently asked as well. Charlie Oppenheim pointed out that applicants must first ensure that they have submitted all the required civil documents to the National Visa Center to become “documentarily qualified,” meaning that all necessary documents and fees have been submitted to proceed with interview scheduling. Submission of all necessary documents would also need to be done in time for the case to be reported to the Visa Office as documentarily completed by the first of each month. In this case, if you are documentarily qualified and your priority date is earlier than the applicable final action date listed in the Visa Bulletin, then you would be eligible to be scheduled for an appointment for final action on your case. However, even while waiting in line to be scheduled for a visa interview after being “documentarily qualified,” applicants must still take into consideration overseas post processing capacity issues relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. The majority of posts overseas continue to have limited operational capacity; therefore, applicants should expect delays to be scheduled for a visa interview. Overseas posts must first notify the National Visa Center that they have an available slot for an interview before the National Visa Center can forward the case to the post overseas.
Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses the August 2021 Visa Bulletin and goes over Charlie Oppenheim’s predictions for movement and retrogression in the family based and employment sponsored categories for August and September 2021.
Keep on watching to find out more!
What is the Visa Bulletin?
Every month, the Department of State publishes the Visa Bulletin which contains important information regarding immigrant visa availability for family based and employment sponsored preference categories. The Visa Bulletin indicates when statutorily limited visas are available for issuance to prospective immigrants based on their individual priority date and preference category.
Essentially, the Visa Bulletin governs the availability of visas and outlines limitations. By statute, the government imposes an annual minimum family-sponsored preference limit of 226,000 immigrant visas (visa quota). The worldwide level for annual employment-based preference immigrants is at least 140,000 immigrant visas.
In what order are visas issued?
Family-sponsored and employment-based preference immigrant visas are issued to eligible immigrants in the order in which a petition on behalf of each has been filed (priority date).
Spouses and children of preference immigrants are entitled to the same status, and the same order of consideration, if accompanying or following to join the principal.
Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick informs you of an exciting new court decision handed down by a federal judge from the Northern District of California. This new court decision immediately vacates the 2019 Modernization Rules passed under the Trump administration. As our readers will be aware, the 2019 Rules sought to raise the minimum investment amount for EB-5 investors from $500,000 to $900,000, narrowing the pool of applicants able to apply for a green card. The good news is that this new ruling reinstates the original rules governing the EB-5 visa program and reverts the minimum investment amount back to $500,000.
In addition to this exciting news, Jacob discusses further updates regarding immigration reform bills before Congress, pending litigation against the State Department, and more!
Want to know more? Keep on watching for all the details.
New Court Ruling Reinstates $500,000 Minimum Investment Amount for the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program
We are happy to announce that thanks to a new landmark court decision, known as matter of Behring Regional Center LLC V. Chad Wolf et al. EB-5 Immigrant Investors will now have the opportunity to invest a minimum amount of $500,000 in an EB-5 project within a geographic area, considered a Targeted Employment Area. On June 22nd Federal Judge Corley announced in a court ruling that the 2019 Modernization Rule passed under the Trump administration would be vacated immediately, considering that the former acting DHS Secretary, Kevin McAleenan was not properly appointed to his position under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act when he implemented the 2019 Modernization Rule. As a result, Mc Aleenan did not have the authority to issue the rule, and it has now been declared invalid under the eyes of the law.
Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses the new November 2020 visa bulletin, including upcoming visa trends and predictions for family-sponsored and employment-based preference categories.
Want to know more? Keep on watching for more information
We are very excited about the new release of the November Visa Bulletin. Some exciting advancements have taken place for certain employment-based preference categories. However, visa issuance remains limited for most family-sponsored categories and at least some employment-based preference categories as discussed below.
Impact of April 22nd Presidential Proclamation
As a reminder to our readers, most family-sponsored and some employment-based preference categories remain subject to President Trump’s April 22ndpresidential proclamation. This proclamation temporarily suspends the entry and issuance of visas for the following types of immigrants through December 31, 2020.
Spouses and children of green card holders (US citizens are not affected) applying at the consulate
Parents of US citizens applying at the consulate
Brothers and sisters of US citizens applying at the consulate
Sons and daughters (over 21 years of age) of US citizens applying at the consulate (children under 21 years of age of US citizens are not affected)
Sons and daughters (over 21 years of age) of green card holders applying at the consulate
EB1A extraordinary abilities and their family applying at the consulate
PERM EB2 employment based (NIW is not affected) and their family applying at the consulate
PERM EB3 employment based and their family applying at the consulate
EB4 religious workers immigrants applying at the consulate
EB5 investors are not impacted by the April 22nd proclamation.
Certain applicants may still obtain immigrant visas despite enforcement of the presidential proclamation if their entry is in the national interest or if they have a legitimate emergency.
Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses the newly released and much anticipated October 2020 visa bulletin. To hear about the availability of immigrant visa numbers for family based and employment-based preference categories for the month of October, keep on watching.
The release of the October 2020 visa bulletin has been much anticipated because the October visa bulletin kicks off the start of a brand-new fiscal year. The October visa bulletin is also important because it provides some insight into the availability of immigrant visa numbers, including visa numbers that have been unused as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, the suspension of routine visa services at Embassies and Consulates worldwide, and the various presidential proclamations that have halted visa issuance for certain types of immigrants.
As some of you may have noticed, the October visa bulletin was released later than usual, most likely because the Department of State has been scrambling in light of Consular closures to review the data and provide accurate information regarding the number of visas available for each preference category.
Since the suspension of routine visa services at Consular posts worldwide, nearly 100,000 immigrant visa applicants have been unable to obtain their visas, creating a “rollover” of unused visa numbers for the benefit of employment-based preference categories.
Employment Based Categories – October 2020
In order to file for adjustment of status based on employment during the month of October (for applicants lawfully residing in the United States), employment-sponsored applicants must have a priority date that is earlier than the dated listed below for their preference category and country of nationality.
All applicants filing under employment-based preference categories must use the Dates for Filing chart in the Department of State Visa Bulletin for October 2020.
Since Presidential Proclamations 10014 and 10052 have suspended the issuance of immigrant visas for most family-sponsored preference categories, we are seeing a rapid movement in the dates of most employment-based preference categories, because “unused” visas for the family-sponsored categories have shifted or “rolled over” to the employment-based categories as a result of these Proclamations.
Welcome back to Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, we talk about the different investment visa options available under current law.
E-2 Non-immigrant Visa: Visa through Investment
The first option is the E-2 visa. This is a non-immigrant visa that allows foreign nationals from eligible treaty nations to invest in a new business in the United States. The required investment amount will vary depending on the type of business.
Not every country participates in the E-2 visa program. You must be a national of a treaty nation in order to qualify. For a complete list of qualifying countries please click here.
The amount of time a foreign national may remain in the United States with an E-2 visa depends on the applicant’s country of nationality. The average processing time to receive an E-2 visa is approximately 3 to 5 months. In order successfully obtain an E-2 visa, the applicant must be able to demonstrate the source of funds of the investment, hire employees to work for the business, and the business must be real and operating.
It is important to note that the E-2 visa does not lead to a green card but can be extended.
EB-5 Immigrant Visa Program: Green Card through Investment
The EB-5 Immigrant Visa Program allows you to invest half a million dollars into a regional center government approved project, or a million dollars direct investment in your own project. To qualify, your investment must create at least 10 jobs and the business must be succeeding and growing.
After November 21, 2019, the minimum investment will increase from half a million to $900,000 for investment in a regional center, and from one million to 1.8 million for direct investments.
In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses a hot topic in immigration: how should an EB-5 investor choose a Regional Center?
In this video, Jacob Sapochnick will give you his top 5 tips for choosing a Regional Center.
First, what is a Regional Center?
An EB-5 regional center is an economic unit, public or private, in the United States that is involved with promoting economic growth. Regional centers are designated by USCIS for participation in the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program.
Where can I find approved Regional Centers?
The USCIS website contains a list of approved EB-5 (immigrant investor) regional centers by state. Please keep in mind that although these regional centers have been approved by USCIS, you must down your own research to evaluate the regional center’s reliability and their record of success. Do not assume that because the Regional Center has been approved by USCIS that it is a Regional Center worth investing in. You must be diligent when doing your research and seek the advice of a professional when making any investment decision.
As you do your research you will see that real estate projects predominate among regional centers although some regional centers also have investment projects in other sectors.
As a rule of thumb investors should take the following factors into account when choosing a regional center:
In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses the future of the EB-5 Visa Program.
What is the EB-5 Visa Program?
The EB-5 Visa Program is an Immigration Investor Program that was created by Congress in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. In 1992, Congress created the Immigrant Investor Program, also known as the Regional Center Program. This 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 Investors can obtain conditional residence if they:
Make the necessary investment in a commercial enterprise in the United States; and
Plan to create or preserve 10 permanent full-time jobs for qualified U.S. workers.
In general, the minimum qualifying investment in the United States is $1 million.
Regional Centers: Targeted Employment Area (High Unemployment or Rural Area). The minimum qualifying investment must be either within a high-unemployment area or rural area in the United States is $500,000.
As of September 28, 2018, Congress has extended the EB-5 visa program until December 7, 2018. This means that the program will continue to be active and investors may utilize the program just as before, at least until the end of the year. It is not yet known whether any changes will be made to the program in the future, or if the program will continue at all into the new year.
For more information about the EB-5 program please visit our website.