Articles Posted in News

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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If you are in participating in the H-1B visa program as an employer or beneficiary, you may be interested to learn all about the recent changes being made to strengthen the program and improve the H-1B registration selection process. Recently, the Department of Homeland Security published a final rule in the Federal Register, which will go into effect on March 4, 2024, just in time for this year’s H-1B cap season to kick off.

Learn all about these changes in this video, including filing fee increases and new fraud prevention measures being implemented to ensure H-1B beneficiaries have an equal chance of being selected in this year’s lottery.


Overview


FY 2025 H-1B Registration Period Begins at Noon ET March 6, 2024

The initial registration period for the FY 2025 H-1B cap season will open at noon Eastern on March 6, 2024, and run through noon Eastern on March 22, 2024. During the registration period, prospective petitioners and their representatives, if applicable, must use a USCIS online account to register each beneficiary electronically for the selection process and pay the associated registration fee for each beneficiary ($10 per registration and $215 per registration starting in fiscal year 2026).


Final Rule Brings New Changes to the H-1B Cap Electronic Registration Process


In anticipation of the H-1B cap season, on January 30, 2024, the United States Citizenship, and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the publication of the final rule, “Improving the H-1B Registration Selection Process and Program Integrity.”

The purpose of the final rule is to strengthen the integrity of the program and reduce the potential for fraud in the H-1B electronic registration process, to prevent beneficiaries or their employers from gaming the electronic registration process to their advantage.

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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 very important topic in immigration law: How can E2 treaty investors avoid application denials?

Many E2 investors looking to start their businesses in the United States frequently ask, what is the minimum amount of investment that is satisfactory to the immigration authorities for the E2 treaty investor program, and how can I maximize my chances of success?

If this topic interests you, please keep on watching our video.


Overview


Minimum Investment Amounts

One of the most common reasons for an E2 visa denial is where the applicant fails to demonstrate that they have made a “substantial” investment in their business venture.

A substantial investment is defined as one that is:

  • Substantial in relationship to the total cost of either purchasing an established enterprise or establishing a new one
  • Sufficient to ensure the treaty investor’s financial commitment to the successful operation of the enterprise
  • Of a magnitude to support the likelihood that the treaty investor will successfully develop and direct the enterprise. The lower the cost of the enterprise, the higher, proportionately, the investment must be to be considered substantial.

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In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses the top 5 reasons a U.S. immigrant may be subject to deportation in the year 2024 and how to avoid falling into these circumstances.

If you would like to know more about this topic, we invite you to watch our video.


Overview


There are several reasons that may lead immigration to start the process of deporting an immigrant from the United States to their country of origin. Removal may occur because of certain actions undertaken by the foreign national that violate the immigration laws of the United States.

One of the most common scenarios is where the foreign national did not have the right to be in the United States in the first place. But this is not the only reason a person may be subject to deportation. Other reasons may include crossing the border illegally or even overstaying a U.S. visa beyond your authorized period of stay.

Here we discuss the top 5 most common reasons that may lead to deportation.

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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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Wouldn’t it be nice if you could get your U.S. Visa renewed inside of the United States without having to visit a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad?

This may soon become a reality based on a new pilot program announced by the Department of State for certain workers renewing their visas.


Overview


Visa stamping refers to the process of renewing a U.S. visa for foreign nationals working in the United States in certain visa categories. Traditionally, foreign workers must return to their home country and visit their local U.S. Embassy or Consulate to schedule an appointment and renew their U.S. visas. However, the vast majority of U.S. Embassies and Consulates have significant visa interview backlogs which delays the visa renewal process significantly and increases the visa backlog.

To provide relief for visa renewal applicants, the State Department recently announced the launch of a new pilot program that will allow a limited number of H-1B specialty occupation workers the opportunity to renew their visas from inside the United States, effectively decreasing work interruptions and such visa stamping delays.

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In this blog post, we discuss an important topic: can you apply for U.S. Citizenship if you are still waiting to receive a decision for a pending Form I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

We will discuss a client’s hypothetical case for you to consider under what circumstances it may be possible to apply for U.S. Citizenship with a pending I-751 petition.


Overview


As our readers may be aware, the Form I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence is subject to lengthy processing times, with 80 percent of cases receiving a decision within 20 to 30 months of filing, depending on the USCIS Field Office or Service Center that is processing the petition.

Due to these long wait times, back in January of 2023, USCIS announced that it would be extending the validity of Permanent Resident Cards (Green Cards) for applicants with a pending Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, or Form I-829, Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status for a period of 48 months (4 years) beyond the green card’s printed expiration date.

USCIS began implementing this change by providing a 48-month automatic extension on Notices of Action mailed to applicants beginning on January 11, 2023, for Form I-829 applicants, and on January 25, 2023, for Form I-751 applicants.

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