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!
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.
Want to know why the immigrant visa backlog is still a big issue in 2023? Then you won’t want to miss this blog post, where attorney Jacob Sapochnick tells you all you need to know about the visa backlogs.
So, you’ve filed your green card application and now your case is stuck in the backlogs. In this video we discuss what the green card backlog is and why it is still happening in 2023.
What is a green card backlog?
A green card backlog occurs when there have been significant delays in the processing and approval of applications for adjustment of status to permanent residency (also known as green card applications filed with USCIS) and/or immigrant visa applications awaiting interview scheduling at U.S. Consulates and Embassies abroad.
While the backlog has always existed to some extent, mandatory quarantines and social distancing protocols occurring during the Coronavirus pandemic worsened delays in green card processing. Additionally, the annual numerical limits for family-sponsored and employment-based preference categories limit the number of green cards that can be issued every year, therefore causing delays among millions of applicants who must wait for their “priority date” to become current on the Visa Bulletin, before becoming eligible to apply for their green card. For many of these categories, demand for visas far exceeds the number of available visas which causes a backlog of applicants waiting for their turn at the front of the line.
Furthermore, the Immigration and Nationality Act imposes a per-country limit on the number of green cards that can be issued by country of nationality. Therefore, applicants from countries that experience a high demand for visas such as India, China, Mexico, and the Philippines have much longer wait times when compared to other foreign nationals.
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.
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.
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).
Are you or a family member interested in applying for a B1/B2 Visitor Visa to the United States? Would you like to know some useful tips that may help you schedule your tourist or non-immigrant visa interview appointment faster in 2023?
If so, then this is the right video for you! Learn all about this important topic and how you can minimize visa interview wait times with our helpful tips.
The Department of State recently announced that they will be allowing B1/B2 visitor visa applicants and certain other types of nonimmigrants, the ability to schedule their visa interview appointments outside of their home country at some select American embassies as a third country national (TCN).
For example, if you are a foreign national of a country experiencing very high visa demand such as India, China, etc., you may be allowed to schedule your visa interview appointment in another country as a third country national (such as a neighboring country with shorter waiting periods).
This new announcement will be useful for applicants who have been waiting over a year to get a tourist visa interview appointment in their home countries.
U.S. Embassies in India are now encouraging certain applicants to apply for their tourist visas at Consular posts such as Bangkok, Thailand, which is among the U.S. missions where Indian nationals can get an appointment for B1/B2 tourist visas in 2023 outside of India.
As an example, the current wait time to get a B1/B2 tourist visa interview appointment at the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand is about 30 to 35 days, compared to a wait time of over one year at most missions throughout India. This will benefit Indian nationals who are already residing in Bangkok, or who have the ability to travel there for their appointments.
Non-immigrant Visa Processing for Third Country Nationals
A third-country national (TCN) is a citizen of a “third” country that seeks to apply for a non-immigrant visa type in a country where they are not ordinary resident (and where they do not hold citizenship) with their third-country passport.
Certain U.S. Consular posts and Embassies accept and process non-immigrant visa applications from third-country nationals. For instance, non-immigrant visas for Ukrainian and Russian nationals may be processed and scheduled at the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw, Poland.
Likewise, Pakistani nationals who had their cases at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, have been able to transfer them to U.S. Consular posts in neighboring countries for interview scheduling.
While this practice has been occurring for at least the past year, previously it was not widely available for non-immigrant visa types, because U.S. Consular posts required applicants to maintain residency in the countries in which they applied.
Due to the growing non-immigrant visa backlogs caused by the pandemic, U.S. Embassies and Consulates have shown greater flexibility in allowing third country nationals to seek appointments outside of their home countries, despite not residing there. This is the case especially in countries with substantial visa delays like India, Pakistan, and the Philippines. Foreign nationals from these countries can apply for their B1/B2 tourist visas and non-immigrant visas in neighboring countries where interview wait times are much more reasonable.
As the summer approaches, applicants simply cannot afford to wait over a year for a visa interview appointment. Therefore, applying as a third country national outside your home country, can greatly improve your chances of receiving an interview appointment in much less time with fewer headaches.
If you found this information helpful, please share it with a friend or family member.
Contact us. For help applying for a non-immigrant visa as a third-country national, we invite you to schedule a consultation, please text 619-483-4549 or call 619-819-9204.
In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick tells you everything you need to know about the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program in the year 2023. While there have been recent Congressional changes to the program, it is still an option for those who wish to obtain their green card through a qualifying investment.
If you would like to know more about the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, please keep on watching!
Did You Know? The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program was first created by Congress in the year 1990 to stimulate the United States economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. In return for their qualifying investment, investors receive conditional permanent residence in the United States, and are required to remove their conditions on permanent residence by filing Form I-829 within 90 days of their conditional green card’s expiration.
In 1992, Congress extended the program to allow for Regional Center investment, which sets aside EB-5 visas for participants who invest in commercial enterprises associated with regional centers approved by USCIS based on proposals for promoting economic growth.
EB-5 Investment Visa: The Ultimate Guide in 2023
What is the EB-5 investor visa?
The EB-5 investor visa allows qualifying investors (and their spouse and unmarried children under age 21) to receive conditional permanent resident status (a 2-year green card).
One of the ways in which foreign investors may qualify for the EB-5 classification is by investing through regional centers designated by USCIS based on proposals for promoting economic growth.
When investing in regional centers, investors will choose a project offered by the regional center in which they wish to invest. Typically, the projects offered for investment are real estate development projects. For regional center investment, the investor does not need to invest in a project in his or her state of residence. The investment can occur anywhere in the United States.
Additionally, regional center investment allows investors to passively invest in the project, without having to direct or manage it themselves. Regional center investment is the most common way to qualify for the EB-5 visa. In fact, 95 percent of all EB-5 investors file their cases through Regional Center investment.
Another way to qualify is by investing directly in a new commercial enterprise that you intend to direct and operate. In this case you will be managing the project yourself. Only 5 percent of EB-5 investors opt for investment in a new commercial enterprise, because it is more risky.
On March 15, 2022, President Biden signed the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022 (Public Law 117-103), which created new requirements for the EB-5 immigrant visa category and the Regional Center Program. EB-5 immigrant visas are currently authorized under the Regional Center Program through September 30, 2027.
In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick provides an update regarding the recent increase in the Immigrant Visa backlogs, which grew to more than 21,000 additional cases in the month of February alone.
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.
According to the National Visa Center’s Immigrant Visa Backlog Report for the month of February 2023, there has been a substantial increase in the immigrant visa (IV) backlog rising from 386,787 pending cases in January to 408,456 cases in February — nearly a 6% increaseamounting to a jump of 21,669 additional cases added to the backlog in just a one-month period.
Additionally, when comparing the January and February Immigrant Visa backlogs, 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 increased by 21,874 cases, from 422,954 (in January) to 444,828 (in February).
A case is considered documentarily complete by the National Visa Center, when the applicant has paid all necessary fees and submits all necessary documents to meet the formal visa application requirements, such that the case is ready to be scheduled for a visa interview. When a case becomes documentarily complete, the NVC sends applicants an email to notify them that their case is complete and pending scheduling at the local Consulate or Embassy.
In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick, brings you the latest updates regarding the rates of immigrant and non-immigrant visa approvals at U.S. Consulates and Embassies worldwide.
The latest Immigrant and Non-immigrant Visa Issuance Reports recently published by the State Department demonstrate that both immigrant and non-immigrant visa approvals are increasing significantly, nearly returning to pre-pandemic visa processing levels.
If you want to know more just keep on watching.
Did you know? Every fiscal year, the Department of State releases the Immigrant and Non-immigrant Visa Issuance Reports which include important statistics and data relating to current immigrant and non-immigrant visa backlogs at U.S. Consulates and Embassies worldwide. The data includes information regarding the number of immigrant and non-immigrant visas being issued at each Consular post worldwide, and a complete breakdown of visa issuance numbers by visa category.
As we near the end of the month, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses the release of the February 2023 Visa Bulletin and the trends and projected movement you can expect to see in the family-sponsored and employment-based preference categories for the month of February.
If you are interested to know about the cutoff dates and visa availability for the upcoming Visa Bulletin, please keep on watching.
Did you know? Every month the Department of State releases the Visa Bulletin, which summarizes the availability of immigrant visa numbers for that particular month. The “Final Action Dates” and “Dates for Filing Applications,” charts indicate when immigrant visa applicants can assemble and submit the required documentation to the National Visa Center (for those residing overseas), or USCIS (for those residing in the United States).
The primary purpose of the Visa bulletin is to provide an updated waiting list for immigrants that are subject to the numerical visa quota system.
USCIS Adjustment of Status Filing Charts for the February Visa Bulletin (for those residing in the USA)
To be eligible to file a family or employment-based adjustment of status application in the month of February (for those residing inside the United States), foreign nationals must have a priority date that is earlier than the date listed below for their preference category and country.
In this blog post, attorney Jacob Sapochnick talks about a brand-new proposal to increase the government filing fees for certain types of immigration benefits filed with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Following the announcement, on January 4, 2023, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register outlining the proposed fee schedule which seeks to increase the filing fees of certain nonimmigrant visa classifications, as well as adjustment of status (green card) applications.
The government will be accepting public comments for the proposed rule until March 6, 2023. After the comment period has closed, the agency will review the public comments and issue a final version of the rule.
TIP:If you know that you will be applying for an immigration benefit that is subject to the proposed fee increase, you should apply as soon as possible to avoid incurring the higher fee.
Do you have a case waiting to be processed by the National Visa Center? In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses the latest updates on visa processing and interview scheduling in the new year.
This includes information regarding current visa backlogs and what you can expect from the National Visa Center.
If you would like to learn more about this important topic, just keep on watching.
Did you know? For immigrant visa petitions, the National Visa Center (NVC) functions as an intermediary between USCIS and the Embassy or Consulate that will eventually schedule your immigrant visa interview.
After the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has approved your I-130 or I-140 immigrant visa petition, USCIS will forward your petition to the National Visa Center (NVC) in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The NVC will complete immigrant visa pre-processing once your priority date becomes current pursuant to the Visa Bulletin.
Immediate relative categories do not have yearly numerical limits and pre-processing can begin once your case has reached the NVC. However, other family preference and employment-based immigrant categories have annual numerical limits, preventing pre-processing from taking place until the priority date is current.