Articles Posted in Embassies

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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In this blog post, attorney Jacob Sapochnick shares everything you need to know about the January 2024 Visa Bulletin including major advancements in the employment based and family-sponsored preference categories. This is the most significant movement we have seen in months! 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 January 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 January 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

  • EB-1 India: The EB-1 India Final Action Date will advance by three years and eight months, to September 1, 2020, and the Date for Filing will advance by a year and a half, to January 1, 2021.
  • EB-1 China: The EB-1 China Final Action Date will advance by four and a half months, to July 1, 2022, and the Date for Filing will advance five months, to January 1, 2023.
  • EB-2: The EB-2 Final Action Date for India will advance by two months, to March 1, 2012, and the EB-2 China Final Action Date will advance by approximately nine weeks, to January 1, 2020. Final Action Dates for the remaining countries in EB-2 will advance by three and a half months, to November 1, 2022.

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One of the most common questions that we receive from applicants who are applying for a green card is what happens when your priority date becomes current?

In this video we will discuss what it means for a priority date to become current, and the general steps that you need to take once this happens.


What is a priority date?


First let’s clarify what a “priority date” is. A priority date is a legal term used in immigration law which generally refers to the date when your immigrant petition was filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

A “priority date” is important because it determines your place in line in the visa queue for those preference categories that are subject to annual numerical visa limitations. As we have mentioned in previous videos, the Visa Bulletin is published every month and allows applicants to estimate how long they need to wait in “line” before they are eligible to apply for their green card based on their preference category and country of nationality.


Family Sponsored Preference Categories


If you are applying for a green card under family sponsorship and you are not applying as the spouse, unmarried child (under 21 years of age), or parent of a U.S. Citizen, then you must wait in “line” in the visa queue until a visa becomes available to you before you can apply for a green card, according to your priority date on the Visa Bulletin.

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In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses the grim outlook of the December Visa Bulletin. While we had hoped to see more forward movement for the month of December, very little changes can be seen when compared to the previous month.

However, we hope that this video will be useful in providing some of our predictions for the Visa Bulletin in the coming months.


Adjustment of Status Filing Chart December 2023


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 December to determine eligibility for I-485 adjustment of status filings (green card filings inside the US).


What Changes Can Be Seen Next Month?


Sadly, the Dates for Filing Charts for both the employment-based and family-sponsored categories remain identical to those from the month of November. The Final Action Dates for family sponsored categories also remain identical to the previous month.

The only forward-movement that can be seen is in the Final Action Dates chart for EB-2 China which will advance by three weeks to October 22, 2019, and EB-3 China which will advance by three weeks to January 22, 2020. All other countries will remain the same.

In other news, the EB-4 Non-Minister Religious Worker program will become unavailable for all countries in December until it is reauthorized by legislation.

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If you are applying for an immigrant visa through Consular processing, you will encounter the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC is an agency located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, that is responsible for pre-processing your application after your immigrant petition has been approved by USCIS. The agency functions as an intermediary to collect further documentation from you before your interview can be scheduled at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate overseas.

In this video, Jacob Sapochnick discusses what can happen when the National Visa Center closes your case when no action has been taken.


Overview


What should you do if the NVC closes your case?


It is important to understand that once your petition has been approved by USCIS, your case will be forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC). When your priority date is current on the Visa Bulletin, and a visa number is available, the NVC will contact you to collect certain documentation to continue processing your case. This includes the submission of various civil documents such as photocopies of your birth certificate, marriage certificate, military records, police clearance certificates, payment of your visa fee, etc.

If you ignore or do not reply to requests from NVC to submit your documentation within one year of receipt, the NVC can terminate your case under section 203(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which can lead to your case being destroyed and potentially losing your priority date.

Your priority date is essentially your place in line for a green card. Losing your priority date would have devastating consequences, especially for preference categories with extremely long wait times because you would lose your place in line and have to start the immigration process all over again.

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Have you ever wondered how you can apply for a green card renewal while outside of the United States? In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick tells you everything you need to know about this process.

We also discuss how you can travel internationally if your green card has already expired.

If you want to know more about this topic, please keep on watching!


Overview


This topic will be of interest to permanent residents who are overseas and now have an expired green card, as well as those who want to travel abroad but have an expired green card.

When you are issued a green card (Permanent Residence), it essentially means that you have the right to live permanently in the United States for a renewable period of 10 years.

Some of the benefits of being a lawful permanent resident are that you can accept employment without restriction, own property, receive financial assistance at public colleges and universities, and join the Armed Forces. Before the expiration of your permanent resident card, you must apply to renew it by filing Form I-90 with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

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