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Articles Posted in Immigration News

Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick updates you regarding the status of K-1 visa interview scheduling at U.S. Consulates and Embassies worldwide, as well as the status of a new lawsuit that seeks to push K-1 visa cases through the pipeline.

Want to know more? Keep on watching for more information.

Overview

Since the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic, U.S. Consulates and Embassies abroad have refused to schedule K-1 visa applicants for interviews and have instead opted to prioritize interview scheduling for certain spouses of U.S. Citizens. As a result, thousands of couples have remained separated for months on end with virtually no end in sight. This has been a very puzzling phenomenon given that foreign fiancés should be given priority for visa issuance based on their qualifying relationship to a U.S. Citizen. In some cases, K-1 visa applicants have had their interviews cancelled with no follow-up from the Consulate or Embassy regarding future rescheduling, while in others K-1 visa applications have not moved past the NVC stage for interview scheduling.

In our own experience very few K-1 visa applicants have received visa interviews and the cases that have been prioritized are because of serious medical emergencies or other urgent needs. We have been successful in receiving interviews only where the applicant has received approval for expedited processing.

In an unexpected turn of events on August 30, 2020, the Department of State released a cable stating that effective August 28th K-1 visa cases would receive “high priority.” The cable directed K-1 visa applications to check the website of their nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for updates on the services offered by the post.

Unfortunately, this cable did not provide applicants with any relief because it was largely ignored by U.S. Consulates and Embassies. Many applicants contacted their posts directly and were given generic messages stating that the post was not able to provide services for K-1 visa applicants until further notice. These new revelations ultimately forced K-1 applicants to seek relief from the courts.

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Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses a new court order that prohibits the government from enforcing a final rule that sought to increase filing fees for certain applications and petitions filed with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). For more information keep on watching.


Overview

As many of you know on August 3, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security published a final rule in the Federal Register which sought to increase filing fees for most applications and petitions for immigration benefits payable to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). These filing fee increases were made by USCIS in order to help the agency meet its operational costs and ensure adequate resources to cover services provided by USCIS to applicants and petitioners.

Just days before the filing fee increase was scheduled to go into effect, a federal judge from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued a nationwide temporary injunction blocking the government from implementing the final rule. The court order essentially stops the government from enforcing the fee increases as the government had originally planned beginning October 2, 2020.

The preliminary injunction issued by the court took effect immediately as of the date of the ruling (September 29, 2020) and will remain in effect pending resolution of the lawsuit Immigrant Legal Resource Center, et al., v. Chad F. Wolf.


Why did the Judge Grant the Injunction?

Several nonprofit organizations including the immigrant Legal Resource Center came together to file a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California challenging the government’s planned enforcement of the final rule increasing USCIS filing fees. In their lawsuit, these organizations asked the court to grant a nationwide injunction to block the government from enforcing the rule to applications and petitions postmarked on or after October 2, 2020.

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Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses a very puzzling topic. Our readers have asked: Are K-1 Visas exempt from the recent Presidential Proclamation? From our reading of the Presidential Proclamation we had discussed in previous videos that K-1 visas are non-immigrant visas, and therefore exempt from the ban on immigration, however lately certain U.S. Embassies have been treating K-1 visas as immigrant visas, which would make them subject to the recent ban on immigration.

We discuss this development further in this video.

Keep on watching for more information.


Overview


As you all know by now on June 22nd the President signed a new presidential proclamation called, “Proclamation Suspending Entry of Aliens Who Present a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market Following the Coronavirus Outbreak,” which extends the previous April 22nd Presidential Proclamation suspending the entry of certain types of immigrants to the United States. The June 22nd order also placed a visa ban on H-1B, H-2B, J, and L nonimmigrant workers applying for a visa at the U.S. Consulate abroad as of June 24th.

The April 22nd proclamation specifically suspended, “the entry into the United States of aliens as immigrants.” Under immigration law, K-1 fiancé visas are non-immigrant visas, and therefore not subject to this ban. K-1 fiancé visas are considered non-immigrant visas because the foreign fiancé is seeking temporary entry to the United States for the limited purpose of marrying the U.S. Citizen spouse. It is not until the foreign national marries the U.S. Citizen spouse that he or she is allowed to immigrate by filing Form I-485 to adjust status to permanent resident.

Unfortunately, a great deal of confusion has been occurring at Embassies worldwide regarding whether K-1 fiancé visas are exempt or not exempt from the presidential proclamation. Recently, some Embassies have erroneously categorized K-1 fiancé visas as immigrant visas, refusing to schedule interviews and issue visas for this category because of the ban on immigration. Others including the Embassy in Manila have correctly provided information that K-1 fiancé visas are exempt from the presidential proclamation.

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In this segment, attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick discusses a new development relating to President Barack Obama’s November 2014 executive action on immigration. For more information about President Obama’s executive actions on immigration please click here and here.

Overview: 

  • SCOTUS recently granted a request that secures timely consideration for President Obama’s Executive Actions raising the likelihood the case will be heard in the spring and a decision by the end of June; just a few months before the Presidential election.
  • When the Executive Actions on immigration were announced last year, several states filed an injunction against extended DACA and DAPA and those provisions have been at a standstill ever since.
  • Twenty-six states were involved in the lawsuit, with Texas as the lead plaintiff.

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In this segment, attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick discusses whether a K-1 visa is a safe visa. Security concerns have recently arisen in the media and in Congress following the terrorist attack in San Bernardino which killed 14 people. It was recently discovered that the female shooter which carried out the attack entered the United States on a K-1 visa. In this segment we discuss whether the K-1 visa is a secure enough visa. While we do not disregard terrorism as a legitimate threat to the security of the United States, we believe the K-1 visa does not pose a risk to the safety of United States citizens. Rather, the process to obtain a K-1 visa is extremely invasive and complex.

Overview

  • The San Bernardino gun woman, Tashfeen Malik, entered the US on a fiancé visa. So is the fiancé visa safe?
  • Applying for a K-1 visa is a very rigorous and complicated process — there are a multitude of things both the applicant and petitioner are required to disclose — it is unlikely that a terrorist would use this visa in order to gain entry and inflict harm. It is somewhat easier for them to falsify and/or misrepresent information on a tourist visa application, and enter the US on a tourist visa, than to obtain a K-1 visa.
  • The K-1 visa applicant is subjected to a background check and an interview at a US consulate or embassy overseas as a security and fraud prevention mechanism
  • The K-1 visa applicant must provide a police clearance record, military record, court and prison records, proof of bona fide relationship, and must disclose any inadmissibility issues
  • Even once the K-1 visa is granted, the fiance is only allowed 90 days to marry the US Citizen spouse. If the fiance does not do so they must depart the United States or face removal proceedings
  • If the fiance marries the US Citizen spouse and seeks permanent residence, the fiance must provide the same documents once again, undergo security screening, and attend an interview with the spouse
  • Even once the fiance receives their green card, it will be conditional based on their marriage to the US citizen spouse meaning that it is only good for 2 years
  • The fiance must file an I-751 removal of conditions application with their spouse, before the expiration of their conditional green card in order to obtain the 10 year permanent resident card
  • The I-751 application process is a document intensive and invasive process which requires the couple to provide documented evidence that their marriage was entered in good faith and not for the purposes of obtaining an immigration benefit.

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In this segment, attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick discusses new changes applying to OPT STEM extensions.

The new changes include:

– The new STEM OPT proposal will provide for an extension of OPT optional practical training replacing the 2008 proposal.

– The proposal will increase OPT STEM extensions from 17 months to 24 months.

– This will require employers to implement formal mentoring and training programs.

– In addition, the proposal aims to safeguard the rights of US workers in related fields.

– Students must report to DHS for any changes in their name, address, and employers.

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Want to know what’s new on the November Visa Bulletin? In this segment attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick discusses the new changes including the dual chart system, family-based preference categories, and EB visa updates for China, India, Mexico, Philippines.

For more information on the Visa Bulletin click here.

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Want to hear how the new changes to the October visa bulletin can affect you? Keeping watching.

– Starting with the October 2015 visa bulletin there will be a new separate cut-off date chart for filing of adjustment of status applications

– The dual chart serves several purposes

– New cutoff dates will be an advantage to those who have been working for the same employer for years

For further questions please call our office.

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In this post attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick discusses the new changes to the October visa bulletin and how these changes can affect your family based or employment based petition.

The October 2015 Visa Bulletin from the U.S. Department of State shows a newly revised system of dual cutoff dates.

As of October, the visa bulletin contains a new, separate cutoff date chart for filing the application for adjustment (form I-485). The cutoff dates in the filing chart are much later than the final action cutoff date chart.

For example, the employment-based, second preference (EB2) for China’s cutoff date for filing in October is May 1, 2014, while the cutoff date for final action is January 1, 2012.

This is a HUGE change, effective as of October 1, 2015, and applies to both the employment-based and family-based categories.

For further questions please call our office.

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In this episode, attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick, discusses one of our most frequently asked questions: I am a green card holder, when can I apply for citizenship? Click below to hear more.

The answer to this question is very important.

If one is still married with the US citizen, one can apply for a citizenship after three years. However, if one is divorced to the US citizen, one can only apply after five years since the date of one’s green card.

But any other form – except being married to a US citizen – i.e. green card through employment, you must wait five years

For further questions please call our office.

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