Are you an international student in the United States or planning to apply for an F-1 visa? Then this video may interest you. Here, we discuss a recent announcement made by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regarding the loss of accreditation of the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) as an accrediting agency, and how it will impact certain F-1 students in the United States. The ACICS agency accredited close to 30 schools in the United States attended by more than 5,000 students.
Did You know? The U.S. Department of Education has announced it will no longer recognize the ACICS as an accredited agency. Accordingly, students in an English language program or those seeking an extension of their STEM OPT may be impacted.
If you want to know more just keep on watching.
On August 19, 2022, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced that it no longer recognizes the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) as an accrediting agency. This determination immediately affects two immigration-related student programs:
In this video, we bring you a new update from the State Department, based on recent conversations between State Department officials and representatives of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).
We will specifically cover topics such as visa processing for third country nationals wishing to secure interview appointments at Consulates and Embassies worldwide, the fate of E-2 visa renewal applicants who previously applied for loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the permissible activities of B-1 visa holders while in the United States, issues relating to visa inadmissibility, and nonimmigrant visa denials.
Did You know? We help clients in all 50 states and all countries of the world. If you are interested in discussing your immigration options, we invite you to contact us for a consultation.
If you would like to know more about the recent updates from the State Department, just keep on watching.
The U.S. Department of State recently met with representatives of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) to discuss several immigration topics that have been frequently asked by our viewers. Here we provide a summary of those updates and useful information that may be helpful to you.
Visa Appointments for Third Country Nationals
Applicants of certain nationalities have been experiencing difficulties obtaining visa interviews in their home country. For instance, recent political demonstrations in Iran have made it more and more difficult for applicants to travel to neighboring countries, leading applicants to seek visa appointments elsewhere.
Since the United States does not maintain a diplomatic presence in Iran, applicants can travel and apply at any U.S. Embassy or Consulate that processes their visa type. The U.S. Embassies in Ankara, Yerevan, and Dubai are staffed with Farsi-speaking consular officers who are most familiar with Iranian visa applicants, and therefore are encouraged to apply there. However, visas for Iranian applicants can also be processed at other U.S. Embassies such as Abu Dhabi, Frankfurt, Naples, and Vienna.
For others, obtaining a visa interview in their home country has been nearly impossible leading many to ask whether they can apply elsewhere as a third country national.
We are lucky to have filed many successful O-1B visa petitions on behalf of individuals seeking a visa for their extraordinary ability in the arts. In this video, we share with you a recent case study of how our firm achieved success for an internationally recognized DJ of Electronic Dance Music, allowing him to live and work in the United States with his approved O-1B visa.
Want to learn how we did it? Keep on watching for more information.
What do the famous international DJs Avicii, Tiesto, David Guetta, Calvin Harris, and Afrojack have in common? They are not American, or at least they were not American, when they first entered the United States. These individuals had to apply for a special visa type, enabling them to perform in the United States, known as the O-1B visa of extraordinary ability in the arts.
Recently, our firm represented an internationally recognized DJ similarly performing under the Electronic Dance Music (EDM) genre.
O-1B Extraordinary Ability in the Arts Requirements
To work in the United States as a DJ, you must apply for the O-1B extraordinary ability in the arts visa type.
The O-1B visa is available to DJs who have extraordinary skills and can meet the O-1B criteria of national or international recognition.
What do DJs need to qualify for the O-1B visa?
Before you consider the O-1B visa, it is necessary for you to be represented by a U.S. employer, U.S. agent, or a foreign employer through a U.S. agent, who can file the O-1B petition on your behalf as your “petitioner.” In general, an applicant demonstrates his or her extraordinary ability in the O-1B category by providing evidence of sustained national or international acclaim, showing recognition of achievements, and providing signed contracts, offer letters, deal memos, letters of intent, and/or a detailed itinerary outlining the details of each planned performance.
In this video, we bring you the latest update from the State Department regarding the status of worldwide consular visa operations as of October 2022, including statistics and what you can expect in the coming months as it relates to visa processing.
If you are waiting for your immigrant visa to be processed at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate overseas, then this video is right for you.
Did You know? The State Department recently announced that it has reached pre-pandemic visa processing.
If you would like to know more about this important topic, just keep on watching.
The State Department recently provided a report on the status of consular visa operations and what the agency has been doing to cut down the waiting periods for immigrant and nonimmigrant visa applicants at Consulates worldwide. We provide the highlights of the report down below.
One of the major ways in which the State Department is improving visa processing times is by hiring more U.S. foreign service workers at Consulates overseas.
As you may be aware, visa backlogs at Consulates overseas piled up during the COVID-19 pandemic after the Department of State announced a worldwide suspension of routine visa services. Due to the restrictions on travel to the United States, as well as several other factors including social distancing protocols, Consulates were unable to schedule applicants for in-person visa interviews. The result was that virtually no visas were issued in the family preference categories during the temporary suspension of visa services, which caused the backlogs to increase significantly.
What is happening with visa operations now?
The State Department is almost back to pre-pandemic processing.
New initiatives like interview waivers are providing relief to Consulates and Embassies, while making available much needed interview slots for other applicants who need appointments.
The State Department estimates that approximately 30 percent of worldwide nonimmigrant visa applicants may be eligible for an interview waiver. This is a very positive development that could very well increase in the months ahead.
Did you know? Online registration for the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (green card lottery) is now open for fiscal year 2024 (DV-2024) and will remain open until Tuesday, November 8, 2022, at 12 noon Eastern Standard Time.In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses what the diversity visa program is, who is eligible to register for DV-2024, and how you can apply.
Interested in learning whether you qualify? Just keep on watching.
What is the Diversity Visa Program?
The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (DV Program) administered by the Department of State is an annual green card lottery for individuals who are from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. If your country qualifies for the program, the government provides 50,000 immigrant visas that are up for grabs each year.
Those who register during the online registration period and are selected can immigrate to the United States through consular processing or by applying for adjustment of status with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) if they are residing in the United States. Adjustment of status filings must be completed by September 30 of the fiscal year the lottery pertains to. Visas cannot be carried over to the next fiscal year.
What are the requirements?
You are eligible to participate if you meet the following 3 requirements.
Requirement #1: You must be a native of a country with historically low rates of immigration to the United States to enter.
Click here for the complete list of countries eligible (p. 16 to 20).
If you are not a native of a country with historically low rates of immigration to the United States, there are two other ways you might be able to qualify.
Is your spouse a native of a country with historically low rates of immigration to the United States? If yes, you can claim your spouse’s country of birth – provided that you and your spouse are named on the selected entry, are found eligible and issued diversity visas, and enter the United States at the same time.
Are you a native of a country that does not have historically low rates of immigration to the United States, but in which neither of your parents was born or legally resident at the time of your birth? If yes, you may claim the country of birth of one of your parents if it is a country whose natives are eligible for the DV-2024 program.
Do you have a U.S. employer willing to sponsor your employment in the United States? If so, you may be interested to learn more about the EB-3 employment-based category for skilled workers, professionals, or other unskilled workers. The EB-3 is the most common employment sponsorship category to start work in the United States. In this video, we will cover the EB-3 requirements, application process, and other important information you may want to know.
Did you know? The EB-3 comprises 3 sub-categories of foreign nationals: (1) skilled workers, whose jobs require a minimum of 2 years training or experience, and must meet the educational, training, or experience requirements of the job opportunity (2) professional workers whose job requires at least a U.S. baccalaureate or foreign equivalent degree and (3)other workers, performing unskilled labor requiring less than 2 years training or experience, not of a temporary or seasonal nature.
Want to learn more? Just keep on watching.
What is EB-3?
The EB-3 is an employment-based category for United States permanent residency. It is intended for “skilled workers,” “professionals,” and “other [unskilled] workers.”
Unlike persons with extraordinary abilities as in the EB-1 category, EB-3 applicants require a sponsoring U.S. employer to complete a labor certification process. There is no “self-petition” category under EB-3. You must have a permanent, full-time job offer from a U.S. employer and your employer must file a labor certification application on your behalf.
The EB-3 requirements are less stringent when compared to the EB-1 and EB-2 categories, typically reserved for individuals that can demonstrate extraordinary achievements (EB-1) or exceptional ability in a field that is in the national interest (EB-2).
Are you interested in learning all about the EB-1A visa for aliens of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics? Then this video is right for you. Here we break down the EB-1A eligibility criteria and what types of individuals qualify for this visa type.
Did you know? Individuals can self-petition for the EB-1A visa category. No employment sponsorship or labor certification is needed. If your EB-1A visa petition is approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), you are eligible to apply for a green card by filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence (if legally residing in the United States) or through Consular processing (if you are residing abroad). You may include your dependent family members on your I-485 application.
Want to know more? Just keep on watching.
The EB-1A is an employment-based visa type for individuals who can demonstrate extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics through sustained national or international recognition in their field. To qualify, individuals must meet at least 3 of the following 10 criteria or provide evidence of a one-time achievement such as a Pulitzer Prize, Oscar, or Olympic Medal. EB-1A applicants must also be prepared to provide evidence that they will continue to work in their area of expertise in the United States once approved.
The main benefit of the EB-1A is that you can self-petition. You do not need sponsorship from a U.S. employer or labor certification to apply. As you might recall, earlier this year, USCIS issued a news alert encouraging employment-based applicants to consider transferring the underlying basis of their adjustment of status application to EB-1A or EB-2 if eligible, because of the exceptionally high number of employment-based immigrant visas available in those categories.
It’s the start of a brand-new week where we bring you more immigration news. In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses big changes to the October 2022 Visa Bulletin, including important updates for EB-5 Immigrant Investors, a breakdown of what these changes mean, and what you can expect in the future.
If you are an EB-5 Immigrant Investor or thinking of participating in the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, then this is the right video for you.
Did you know?The Visa Bulletin is a handy tool published by the Department of State every month, for employment-based and family preference categories that are subject to numerical limitations. The Visa Bulletin describes the availability of immigrant visas for each preference category according to the applicant’s “priority date,” and country of nationality. Once your priority date has become current, and a visa number is available, you may proceed with the immigrant visa process (or adjustment of status if residing in the United States).
In this video we analyze specific developments that can be seen in the October 2022 Visa Bulletin as it relates to EB-5 Immigrant Investors.
The October 2022 Visa Bulletin revealed two important considerations for EB-5 Immigrant Investors:
#1: Priority date retrogression for the EB-5 “Unreserved” final action date chart for China from a previous date of December 22, 2015, to March 22, 2015 (9-month retrogression)
#2: Creation of an EB-5 “Unreserved” final action date for India of November 8, 2019, a new date that first appeared in the October 2022 Visa Bulletin.
Are you in the United States on an E-2 visa or would like to apply for an E-2 visa? Would you like to know how to transition from an E-2 visa to a green card? If so, this is the right video for you. Here you will find information on the different paths to permanent residency that may be suitable for investors to consider in 2022/2023.
Did you know? The E-2 is a nonimmigrant visa type that is available for individuals from certain treaty countries that wish to remain in the United States on a temporary basis to manage their businesses in the United States. Qualified investors are granted an initial stay of 2 years in E-2 status, with additional extensions of up to 2 years each up to the visa’s validity. E-2 investors who wish to make the United States their permanent home, may wish to consider the following options. If you would like to know more information about these options, we invite you to schedule a consultation.
What is the E-2 visa?
The E-2 Treaty Investor visa is a nonimmigrant visa type, that allows a national of a participating treaty country to gain entry into the United States, for the purpose of managing their business. To be eligible, applicants must invest a substantial amount of capital in their U.S. business, demonstrate at least 50% ownership, and seek to work in a position to develop and direct their business.
The E-2 visa is issued for an initial period of 2 years. However, the main benefit is that there is no limit to the number of extensions an E-2 nonimmigrant may be granted. All E-2 nonimmigrants, however, must maintain an intention to depart the United States when their status expires or is terminated.
With that being said, circumstances sometimes lead E-2 investors to consider making the United States their permanent home, which leads to a common question – how can E-2 investors transition from a nonimmigrant visa type to permanent residency in 2022/2023?
Options for Permanent Residency
Employment Sponsored Green Card also known as “PERM” Labor Certification
The first option that may be considered is obtaining permanent residency through employment-sponsorship through a process known as “PERM” labor certification.
To proceed with this option, the applicant must first have a job offer of future employment from a U.S. employer and the employer must be willing to sponsor the applicant’s employment-based petition.
E-2 investors may find this to be a suitable option if they have an associate, partner, client, etc. interested in hiring them for a future position and acting as their sponsor throughout the PERM process.
The month of September has come and is nearly gone. That means that it is time to discuss next month’s Visa Bulletin for October 2022. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick shares with you the trends and movement you can expect to see during the month of October for both employment based, and family sponsored preference visa categories, and our predictions for interview appointment availability. October’s Visa Bulletin is also important because it marks the end of the fiscal year.
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.
Want to know more? Just keep on watching.
USCIS Adjustment of Status Filing Charts for the October Visa Bulletin (for those residing in the USA)