Articles Posted in Professionals

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 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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Are you interested in learning about the green card wait times for family-sponsored and employment-based preference categories subject to the annual limits?

If so, then we invite you to watch this video about the newly released October 2023 Visa Bulletin. This is a Visa Bulletin you won’t want to miss because October is the start of a brand new fiscal year. The Department of State has confirmed that there will be an estimated 165,000 employment-based visa numbers allocated in fiscal year 2024, which ends on September 30, 2024.

USCIS has confirmed that it will accept adjustment of status applications filed in the month of October pursuant to the Dates for Filing chart for both family-sponsored and employment-based preference categories.

The October Visa Bulletin Dates for Filing chart shows advancement from last month for all employment-based categories except EB-3 worldwide, Mexico, and Philippines which will retrogress by 3-4 months; EB-1 India will also retrogress by two months.

The Dates for Filing chart for the family-sponsored categories remains unchanged from last month.


Highlights of the October 2023 Visa Bulletin


Here are some of the highlights of the October 2023 Visa Bulletin which marks the start of the new fiscal year 2024.

Employment Based Categories


Final Action cutoff dates:

  • EB-1: will advance by five years for India to January 1, 2017, and by two weeks for China to February 15, 2022. All other countries will be current in October.
  • EB-2: will advance by one year to January 1, 2012, for India, and by almost three months for China to October 1, 2019. All other countries will advance by one week to July 8, 2022, in October.
  • EB-3:  EB-3 Professional/Skilled Worker will advance by three years and four months for India, to May 1, 2012, and by four months for China to January 1, 2020. All other countries will advance by one year and seven months to December 1, 2021.
  • EB-5: For EB-5 Unreserved categories (C5, T5, I5, and R5) India will advance by one year and eight months to December 15, 2018, and by three weeks for China to October 1, 2015. All other countries will be current in October. The EB-5 set aside categories (Rural, High Unemployment, and Infrastructure) will also be current in October.

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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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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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