Articles Posted in Immigration News

Did you know? The Department of State is accepting online registrations for the Diversity Visa Program (Green Card Lottery) for fiscal year 2025 now through Tuesday, November 7th at noon EST. 

You won’t want to miss the opportunity to win one of 55,000 green cards available to certain nationals of countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States.

To find out if you qualify for this program, just keep on watching this video!


Overview


What is the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program?


Every year, the Department of State runs the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program also known as the “Green Card Lottery.” It is a U.S. government program for obtaining permanent residency in the United States (a green card). The program is open to nationals from designated countries that have low rates of immigration to the United States and who meet specific educational requirements. It provides an inexpensive and relatively simple path to obtain a green card for individuals who may not otherwise qualify for permanent residence through any other alternative under U.S. immigration law.

Nationals of qualifying countries may register for the program for free at dvprogram.state.gov. You can apply for the green card lottery whether you live overseas or are currently inside the United States. Once the registration period has closed, the Department of State will conduct a random lottery to select those who will be eligible to apply for their green cards beginning October 1, 2024.

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In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses different avenues that an employer may wish to take if their employee’s PERM labor certification has been denied by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). For those who are unaware, the PERM labor certification process allows a U.S. employer to sponsor a foreign worker’s green card so that they can live and work permanently in the United States. PERM is the first step the U.S. employer must take before they can file the foreign worker’s immigration petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) also known as Form I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker.

But what happens when the employer’s PERM labor certification application is denied by the Department of Labor? We discuss all that and more right here on this video.


Overview


The denial of a PERM labor certification application can be frustrating because employers and foreign workers invest a great deal of time and expense to ensure that the process goes smoothly.

There are generally three steps involved in the process of obtaining permanent residence through an employer:

  1. The U.S. employer must file a labor certification application with the U.S. Department of Labor. This requires the employer to prove that there are not sufficient U.S. workers able, willing, qualified, and available to accept the job being offered in the area of intended employment. This is proven by going through a recruitment process where the employer places multiple advertisements for the position. The employer must also show that employment of the foreign worker will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.
  2. Once a permanent labor certification application has been approved by the DOL, the employer will need to file Form I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker with USCIS on behalf of the foreign worker.
  3. Upon approval of Form I-140, the applicant can proceed with applying for adjustment of status to permanent residence with USCIS. In some instances, the I-140 and I-485 can be filed concurrently.

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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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Former President Donald J. Trump has launched his campaign for a second presidential term in 2024. His announcement creates important implications for immigration considering that he is likely to win the Republican nomination in the presidential race.

In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick tells you all you need to know about his contentious new immigration plan, ahead of the election.


Overview


It is no secret that during his presidential term Donald Trump took a hardline stance on immigration which led to restrictive immigration policies that impacted thousands of immigrants and nonimmigrants worldwide.

As part of his presidential campaign, Trump recently unveiled his immigration proposals, including new measures that would create further challenges for immigrants to obtain visas to the United States. If he were to be re-elected to the office of the President, such measures would be concerning for people everywhere.


What are some of Trump’s immigration proposals if he were re-elected in 2025?


Among Donald Trump’s immigration proposals, he seeks to prioritize securing the U.S. border to prevent illegal immigration to the United States from Mexico, as well as passing a host of controversial policies limiting legal immigration.

Getting Tough on the U.S. Mexico Border

  • Trump proposes a naval blockade by the Coast Guard and U.S. Navy to stop drug smuggling boats in U.S.-Latin America waters.
  • Drug cartels would be designated as “unlawful enemy combatants,” which would allow U.S. military intervention in Mexico.
  • Completion of the Southern border wall which was part of his immigration agenda as President

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Would you like to know how you can renew your U.S. visa in 2023? If so, then this video is right for you.


Overview


Your U.S. visa has expired and now it’s renewal time. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses the general process of applying to renew your U.S. visa in 2023 at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy overseas.

Please note that there are hundreds of different U.S. visa categories that have their own eligibility criteria and renewal requirements. The information provided here does not, and is not intended, to constitute legal advice. To obtain legal advice on your particular facts, case, or circumstances, please consult with a licensed immigration attorney.

For visa specific information and documentary requirements, applicants may contact their closest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.


Visa Renewal Steps


Here are the main steps that any applicant must take when renewing their visa at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy abroad.

Step One: Make sure that you qualify for your U.S. Visa Renewal

First and foremost, regardless of your visa type you must be prepared to provide documentary evidence to the Consular official to prove that you remain eligible for the renewal of your visa.

For example, if you are renewing a student visa you must provide your updated Form I-20 Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status to show that you remain eligible to study in the United States. If you are applying to renew your tourist visa, you must continue to demonstrate your eligibility such as proof of temporary stay, strong ties to your home country, proof of sufficient finances to cover your temporary stay, etc.

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If you are planning to study in the United States, you should be aware of the increasingly high rate of denials among F-1 and M-1 student visa applicants. If you are interested in learning more about this important topic, please keep on watching.


Overview


According to a new report released by several research institutions, the denial rates for student visas have increased dramatically in recent years. In this video, we will discuss why this has been happening and what you need to know if you are planning to study in the United States.

The report includes a statistical analysis covering a 7-year period from 2015 to 2022, which demonstrates an annual increase in the rate of denials with the greatest impact affecting F-1 student visa applicants. The regions with the highest rates of denial are reportedly Africa, South Asia, the Middle East, and South America.

Africa bore the greatest share of denials, with a denial rate sitting at 54% in 2022. This figure is concerning because over half of all African student visas were denied, when compared to denial rates of just 36% for Asian students and 9% for European students. South America came in second place, with more than a 50% increase in F-1 visa denial rates when compared to a 10% denial rate in 2015 and 24% denial rate in 2022.

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Have you ever wondered what you need to do if your passport containing a U.S. visa inside is lost or stolen? We’ve got you covered. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick explains everything you need to know about this important topic.


Overview


So, you’ve successfully managed to pass your Consular interview, and now you’ve received your U.S. visa in your passport. Let’s imagine that you, like thousands before you, manage to lose your passport containing your U.S. visa inside, or have it stolen.

What should you do in this situation?

First and foremost, foreign nationals must remember that their passport and visa is an official travel document. You cannot enter the United States without having such documents in your possession to demonstrate your country of citizenship and legal status in the United States.

Before even falling into this predicament, foreign nationals should always make a copy of their passport biographic page, U.S. visa, and admission stamp or paper I-94 (if applicable) as soon as they have arrived in the United States.

Foreign nationals who have entered the United States temporarily on their valid visa, and later lose their passport, can remain in the U.S. for the duration of their authorized stay, as printed on their admission stamp or paper Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record.

If you were issued a paper Form I-94 and it was lost or stolen, you must have it replaced immediately.

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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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Want to keep up to date on the latest changes in the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa Program? Then you are at the right place. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick shares new updates for spouses and dependents of principal E-2 visa holders, as well as information about minimum investment requirements for E2 investors, and new requirements for E3 visa applicants.


Overview


New changes governing regulations for spouses and children of E visa holders, and minimum investments amounts, have appeared in the Foreign Affairs Manual (9 FAM 402.9-9) effective on May 1, 2023.


Substantiality Test


One of the requirements of the E2 visa program is to ensure that the amount of capital being invested into your business is “substantial” for the type of commercial enterprise you establish or acquire, while considering the nature of the business.

The law does not set a minimum dollar figure nor minimum amount of investment that is considered to be “substantial” for E-2 visa purposes. However, the Foreign Affairs Manual considers an investment to be “substantial” if it (1) meets the proportionality test (2) is sufficient to ensure the treaty investor’s financial commitment to the successful operation of the enterprise and (3) is of a magnitude to support the likelihood that the treaty investor will successfully develop and direct the enterprise.

The proportionality test determines whether an investment is substantial by weighing the amount of qualifying funds invested against the cost of the business.  If the two figures are the same, then the investor has invested 100 percent of the needed funds in the business; such an investment is substantial.


Clarification of the Substantiality Test for E2 Renewal Applicants


Section 9 FAM 402.9-6(D) of the Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) states that once an E2 investor has established that he or she has invested a substantial amount of capital in his or her business to the satisfaction of an Immigration Officer, the applicant generally does not need to be evaluated under this criterion again unless there has been a change in ownership (for example where a sale of the business has occurred).

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