Articles Posted in Family sponsorship

In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick explains the process for a United States Citizen to petition his or her parents for a green card, through adjustment of status (for those lawfully residing in the U.S.) or Consular processing (for those residing overseas).

If you want to know more about the eligibility requirements to do so, and how long it is currently taking for USCIS to approve green card applications for parents, please keep on watching.


Overview


Every year, thousands of people apply for green cards in different categories. One of the most common filings are green cards for parents of U.S. Citizens.

First, let’s discuss the requirements to file your parent’s green card.

To file the green card petition for your parents, you must be a U.S. Citizen that is 21 years of age or older. As proof of your qualifying family relationship to your parent, you will be required to provide a photocopy of your birth certificate.

As the petitioner (the U.S. Citizen family member filing the green card application with USCIS), you will also be required to file what is known as the I-864 Affidavit of Support. Form I-864 is your contract with the U.S. government promising to provide adequate financial support for your parent until they become a U.S. Citizen. As part of this process, you must prove to the U.S. government that you meet 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines according to your household size by providing verification of employment, and income verification documents.

Finally, your parent must intend to reside in the United States upon approval and issuance of their green card.


Procedure to Apply for the Green Card


There are generally two ways to immigrate your parent to the United States depending on where they are living: (1) adjustment of status or (2) consular processing.

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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!


Overview


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.

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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.


Overview


Service Centers Processing Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative


There are currently six different Service Centers that process the Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative. These include:

  • California Service Center (CSC)
  • Nebraska Service Center (NSC)
  • Potomac Service Center (PSC)
  • Texas Service Center (TSC)
  • Vermont Service Center (VSC)
  • National Benefits Center (NBC)

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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.


Overview


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.

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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.


Overview


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.

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In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick provides an update regarding the recent increase in the Immigrant Visa backlogs, which grew to more than 21,000 additional cases in the month of February alone.

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 February 2023, there has been a substantial increase in the immigrant visa (IV) backlog rising from 386,787 pending cases in January to 408,456 cases in February — nearly a 6% increase amounting to a jump of 21,669 additional cases added to the backlog in just a one-month period. 

Additionally, when comparing the January and February Immigrant Visa backlogs, 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 increased by 21,874 cases, from 422,954 (in January) to 444,828 (in February).

  • A case is considered documentarily complete by the National Visa Center, when the applicant has paid all necessary fees and submits all necessary documents to meet the formal visa application requirements, such that the case is ready to be scheduled for a visa interview. When a case becomes documentarily complete, the NVC sends applicants an email to notify them that their case is complete and pending scheduling at the local Consulate or Embassy.

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Many of our followers have been asking a very important question, what does a visa “refusal” mean and what is 221(g) Administrative Processing?

The situation unfolds something like this. You’ve applied for a non-immigrant visa and have attended your Consular visa interview. After attending your interview, you check the status of your visa on the State Department’s Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) webpage, and you see the dreaded words “Refused.”

What does this all mean and what can you expect if you find yourself in this predicament? In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick walks you through the meaning of a “refusal” and how you can still be successful in obtaining a visa despite this obstacle.


Overview


Applicants for nonimmigrant visas can check the status of their visa cases by visiting the State Department’s Consular Electronics Application Center CEAC launch page .

To check your status, you must enter your DS-160 confirmation number and the Consular location (Country and City) where you were interviewed.

The DS-160 confirmation number can be found on the DS-160 confirmation page and starts with AA followed by 8 digits.

Once you have successfully entered the online CEAC visa check system, you will receive one of the following results:

(1) Application receipt pending


If you have submitted your online non-immigrant visa application (DS-160), it has not yet been processed into the visa system. At some locations, your application will remain in this status until you appear for an interview or until your application is ready for review. Please see the Embassy or Consulate website for information on the next steps required for visa processing.

Meaning: 

The application data has not been entered into the Embassy system.

For interview cases, the application will remain in this status until the applicant appears for an interview.

For mail-in cases, this means the Embassy has not received the application.

(2) Application Received


Your case is open and ready for your interview, fingerprints, and required documents. If you have already had your interview, please check your status after two business days. If no interview was required, please check back in two business days for the updated status of your application.

For mail-in cases: The visa application has been received by the Embassy and is undergoing review.

This also includes cases that are pending for additional documents

(3) Administrative Processing


Your visa case is currently undergoing administrative processing. This processing can take several weeks. Please follow any instructions provided by the consular officer at the time of your interview. If further information is needed, you will be contacted. If your visa application is approved, it will be processed and mailed back within two business days.

This status includes:

  • The visa issuance process (visa has been approved but not yet printed)
  • Pending for additional documents/information

(4) Issued


Your visa is in final processing. If you have not received after 10 working days, please see the webpage for contact information of the Embassy or Consulate where you submitted your application.

Meaning:

The visa has been issued

(5) Refused


A U.S. consular officer has adjudicated and refused your visa application. Please follow any instructions provided by the consular officer. If you were informed by the consular officer that your case was refused for administrative processing, your case will remain refused while undergoing such processing. You will receive another adjudication once such processing is complete. Please be advised that the processing time varies and that you will be contacted if additional information is needed.

This includes cases that are:

  • Pending for additional documents/information
  • * Administrative Processing (See below for details)
  • Cases with a waiver request pending.
  • Denied under Section 214(b) of the INA.
    • For E-visa new company registration cases: The visa application has been received by the Embassy and is ready for review. Please wait for further instructions from the Embassy or Consulate. Processing time for new company registration typically takes at least 3 weeks.

For the purposes of this video, we will focus on what the visa status “refused” really means.

Applicants can receive a visa “refusal” for a number of different reasons.

In many cases, applicants are left confused upon seeing a visa “refusal,” especially where the Consular officer has told the applicant that their visa has been approved following their visa interview. In other situations, applicants have received a “refusal” after following the Consulate’s instructions to submit documents via dropbox (for instance for applicants seeking H-1B visa stamping). Applicants who have been told their cases have been placed in 221(g) administrative processing also receive a visa “refusal.”

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Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog! In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick shares the most up to date information regarding the current status of U.S. visa services at U.S. Consulates and Embassies worldwide.

Many of our viewers have been asking us to provide a new update regarding visa operations in the year 2023. Here we provide a roundup of everything we know about this important topic.

Keep on watching to find out more.


Overview


As you might remember, the Department of State first suspended routine visa services at U.S. Consulates and Embassies worldwide during March of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Slowly, but surely, Embassies and Consulates began a phased resumption of routine visa services, scheduling visa interviews according to local country conditions.

Today, Coronavirus restrictions have been lifted worldwide. Approximately 96 percent of U.S. Embassies and Consulates are interviewing visa applicants, while processing nonimmigrant visa applications at 94 percent of pre-pandemic monthly averages, and immigrant visa applications at 130 percent.

In the past 12 months (through September 30, 2022), DOS reported processing 8 million non-immigrant visas. The agency expects to soon meet or exceed pre-pandemic visa processing capacity.

The waiver of in-person visa interviews for several key visa categories has been an important part of driving down the substantial visa backlogs. For instance, DOS has been waiving in-person interviews for many students and temporary workers integral to supply chains.  In addition, applicants renewing nonimmigrant visas in the same classification within 48 months of their prior visa’s expiration can apply for visas without an in-person interview in their country of nationality or residence.  This has dramatically reduced the wait time for an interview appointment at many Embassies and Consulates.

The State Department estimates that 30 percent of worldwide nonimmigrant visa applicants may be eligible for an interview waiver, freeing up in-person interview appointments for those applicants who still require an in-person interview.

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In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick, brings you the latest updates regarding the rates of immigrant and non-immigrant visa approvals at U.S. Consulates and Embassies worldwide.

The latest Immigrant and Non-immigrant Visa Issuance Reports recently published by the State Department demonstrate that both immigrant and non-immigrant visa approvals are increasing significantly, nearly returning to pre-pandemic visa processing levels.

If you want to know more just keep on watching.

Did you know? Every fiscal year, the Department of State releases the Immigrant and Non-immigrant Visa Issuance Reports which include important statistics and data relating to current immigrant and non-immigrant visa backlogs at U.S. Consulates and Embassies worldwide. The data includes information regarding the number of immigrant and non-immigrant visas being issued at each Consular post worldwide, and a complete breakdown of visa issuance numbers by visa category.

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As we near the end of the month, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses the release of the February 2023 Visa Bulletin and the trends and projected movement you can expect to see in the family-sponsored and employment-based preference categories for the month of February.

If you are interested to know about the cutoff dates and visa availability for the upcoming Visa Bulletin, please keep on watching.

Did you know? Every month the Department of State releases the Visa Bulletin, which summarizes the availability of immigrant visa numbers for that particular month. The “Final Action Dates” and “Dates for Filing Applications,” charts indicate when immigrant visa applicants can assemble and submit the required documentation to the National Visa Center (for those residing overseas), or USCIS (for those residing in the United States).

The primary purpose of the Visa bulletin is to provide an updated waiting list for immigrants that are subject to the numerical visa quota system.


Overview


USCIS Adjustment of Status Filing Charts for the February Visa Bulletin (for those residing in the USA)


To be eligible to file a family or employment-based adjustment of status application in the month of February (for those residing inside the United States), foreign nationals must have a priority date that is earlier than the date listed below for their preference category and country.

For Family-Sponsored Filings:


Pursuant to guidance released by USCIS, for all family-sponsored preference categories, applicants must use the Dates for Filing chart in the Department of State Visa Bulletin for February 2023 to determine when you can apply for adjustment of status.

For Employment-Based Preference Filings:


All applicants, falling under employment-based preference categories, must use the Dates for Filing chart in the Department of State Visa Bulletin for February 2023 to determine when you can apply for adjustment of status.

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