Articles Posted in I-130

In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses the latest updates in the March 2024 Visa Bulletin including slight advancements in the employment based categories and major movement in the family-sponsored preference categories in the month of March. 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 March 2024


For the month of March 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?


Employment-based categories

Dates for Filing

  • The March Dates for Filing remain the same as February 2024, with the exception of the employment-based fourth preference category, EB-4 which will advance by 4 months to January 1, 2020.

Movement in the Final Action Dates

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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 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 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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Are you applying for an immigrant visa (green card) or fiancé(e) visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad? Then you won’t want to miss the important tips we share in this video.

One of the most important pieces of evidence you will need to take to your visa interview is a police clearance certificate from your country of nationality to prove that you do not have a criminal record.

While the process of obtaining a police clearance certificate may seem simple enough, it is very important to know how to properly request one to avoid delays following your interview.

To know more about this topic, please keep on watching!


Overview


What is a Police Clearance Certificate?


A police clearance certificate is an official government document typically issued by a state police agency that documents any arrests for an individual, while that person was living in a particular area.

Those who are applying for an immigrant visa (green card) while living abroad, as well as K-1 fiancé(e) visa applicants, are required to submit a police certificate, issued by a police authority, from all countries where they have lived in the past, even if they have no criminal record in any of those countries.

Applicants with a criminal history must discuss their criminal record with an immigration attorney to determine if they are admissible to the United States.

Note: if you are applying for adjustment of status (green card) inside of the United States, you do not need to provide a police clearance certificate. Instead, you must provide any arrest records.

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Did you know that if you are going through the green card process based on marriage to a U.S. Citizen in the United States, sometimes an immigration official from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may show up at your home unannounced. How often does this happen and how can you prepare?

We invite you to learn more about this important topic.


Overview


The USCIS Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (FDNS) was established to combat and investigate immigration-related fraud including marriage fraud.  The FDNS also operates the Fraud Detection and National Security data system which tracks and manages cases which are under review for potential immigration fraud. Reports are generated by the FDNS data system and distributed to other government agencies for further investigation depending on the severity of the case, such as the Department of State (DOS), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), or Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).


Surprise Home Visits: When do they happen and how do they happen?


Part of the responsibilities of the FDNS are to conduct site visits for both employment-based and family-sponsored immigration petitions. Most commonly, site visits are conducted at places of worship as part of the process to petition an R-1 nonimmigrant religious worker. Site visits are also frequently conducted at places of employment for H-1B workers. With respect to family-sponsored cases, the FDNS may conduct home visits in adjustment of status filings where marriage fraud is suspected.

This can happen in several different ways. In the most common scenario, the married couple has already been questioned at their in-person interview before a USCIS officer. In such instance, the immigration officer is not convinced by the responses provided by the couple during the interview and believes the marriage to be fraudulent. In some cases where marriage fraud is suspected, the couple is separated and questioned separately regarding facts about their relationship. At the conclusion of the interview, the officer may call upon FDNS to conduct an unannounced site visit at the couple’s home to confirm whether the information provided at the interview is authentic.

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