Articles Posted in Green Card Interview

Want to know why the immigrant visa backlog is still a big issue in 2023? Then you won’t want to miss this blog post, where attorney Jacob Sapochnick tells you all you need to know about the visa backlogs.


Overview


So, you’ve filed your green card application and now your case is stuck in the backlogs. In this video we discuss what the green card backlog is and why it is still happening in 2023.


What is a green card backlog?


A green card backlog occurs when there have been significant delays in the processing and approval of applications for adjustment of status to permanent residency (also known as green card applications filed with USCIS) and/or immigrant visa applications awaiting interview scheduling at U.S. Consulates and Embassies abroad.

While the backlog has always existed to some extent, mandatory quarantines and social distancing protocols occurring during the Coronavirus pandemic worsened delays in green card processing. Additionally, the annual numerical limits for family-sponsored and employment-based preference categories limit the number of green cards that can be issued every year, therefore causing delays among millions of applicants who must wait for their “priority date” to become current on the Visa Bulletin, before becoming eligible to apply for their green card. For many of these categories, demand for visas far exceeds the number of available visas which causes a backlog of applicants waiting for their turn at the front of the line.

Furthermore, the Immigration and Nationality Act imposes a per-country limit on the number of green cards that can be issued by country of nationality. Therefore, applicants from countries that experience a high demand for visas such as India, China, Mexico, and the Philippines have much longer wait times when compared to other foreign nationals.

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In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick provides a brand-new update regarding the current Immigrant Visa backlogs for those currently going through Consular processing (waiting for an interview at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate overseas), as well as those with cases at the National Visa Center.

What you need to know is that from the period of June to July 2023, there has been nearly no movement in the Immigrant Visa backlog. At the same time, there has been a decrease in the number of people who were actually scheduled for Immigrant Visa interviews at U.S. Consulates and Embassies overseas from June to July as indicated in the figures below.

Therefore, while the backlog remains the same, more and more people are being scheduled for visa interviews.

If you want to know what you can expect moving forward, 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 July 2023, there has been a very modest increase in the immigrant visa (IV) backlog rising from 351,337 pending cases in June to 351,821 pending cases in July.

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Want to know all about the August 2023 Visa Bulletin? Then you’ve come to the right place.

In this video, we share with you the latest movement in the family-sponsored and employment-based preference categories for the month of August.

There will be significant retrogression of the final action date in the EB-1 India preference category by 10 years and 1 month to January 1, 2012.

Additionally, a final action cutoff date for all countries in the EB-1 category, except China, will be imposed at August 1, 2023.

The EB-3 Professionals and Skilled Workers final action date will also retrogress by 1 year and 9 months to May 1, 2020, except for India which will remain at January 1, 2009, and China which will advance by 2 months to June 1, 2019.

In the family-sponsored categories, the dates for filing cutoff dates remain the same as the previous month, except F-1 Mexico which will advance by 2 years and 3 months to April 1, 2005, and F2B Mexico which will advance by 2 years and 4 months to August 1, 2004.


Here are some of the highlights of the August 2023 Visa Bulletin starting with the family-sponsored categories.


Employment-based categories Highlights


*Final Action cutoff dates – Retrogressions in August:

For employment-based preference categories, adjustment of status applicants must use the Final Action Dates chart in the Department of State Visa Bulletin for August 2023.

  • EB-1 India will retrogress by more than 10 years to January 1, 2012
  • EB-1 Worldwide, China:
    • The State Department has imposed a final action cutoff date for EB-1A Worldwide for all countries except China, at August 1, 2023.
    • The EB-1 China Final Action Date will remain at February 1, 2022.
  • EB-2 Worldwide, China:
    • EB-2 China will advance by one month, to July 8, 2019.
    • The Final Action Date for EB-2 India will remain at January 1, 2011.
    • The EB-2 Worldwide Final Action Date will advance by six weeks, to April 1, 2022, for all other countries.
  • EB-3:
    • The Final Action Date for EB-3 China Professional/Skilled Worker will advance by two months, to June 1, 2019.
    • EB-3 India Professional/Skilled Worker will remain at January 1, 2009.
    • For all other countries, the EB-3 Professional/Skilled Worker Final Action Date will retrogress by almost two years, to May 1, 2020.

Prediction: We predict that by October 2023 the EB-1 final action dates will advance significantly, depending on usage and on the FY 2024 annual numerical limit which will reset in October (the start of the fiscal year).

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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:

  • F-1 Mexico will advance by 1 month
  • F-1 China, India, World will advance by 8 months
  • F2B Mexico will advance by 3 months
  • F3 China, India, World will advance by 3 weeks
  • F4 China and World will advance by 1 month
  • F4 Mexico will advance by 2 weeks

Final Action cutoff dates – Advancements in July:

  • F1 Mexico will advance by 3 weeks
  • F2B Mexico will advance by 2 months
  • F3 China, India, World will advance by 2 weeks
  • F3 Mexico will advance by 2.5 months
  • F4 China and World will advance by 2 weeks

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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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In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses how Google layoffs are impacting foreign workers in the United States going through the employment-based green card process known as PERM. Layoffs in Silicon Valley have been more and more common, with major tech companies like Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter abruptly ending thousands of jobs, leaving workers scrambling for alternatives.

Specifically, what happens when a foreign worker is going through the employment-based green card process with their U.S. employer and subsequently gets laid off?

In this video we discuss the different scenarios that may apply and go over the different options for laid off workers going through the green card process.

If you want to know more just keep on watching.

Did you know? PERM Labor Certification is the process used for obtaining Labor Certification and is the first step for certain foreign nationals in obtaining an employment-based immigrant visa (Green Card). The employment-based preference categories that require PERM Labor Certification are EB-2 (other than a National Interest Waiver) and EB-3. Before a U.S. employer can file the I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker with USCIS, the employer must first obtain an approved Labor Certification from the Department of Labor (DOL).


Overview


What are the immigration options for those whose employment has been terminated?


Unfortunately, the uncertain economic climate has led to the loss of thousands of jobs, negatively impacting foreign workers. In particular H-1B workers have been some of the most affected.

Below we discuss some of the options that may be available to nonimmigrant workers who have been terminated and wish to remain in the United States following their termination. Additionally, we discuss how some workers can preserve their I-140 petition’s priority date or even their green card process depending on the stage of employment termination.

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