USCIS New Public Charge Rule and I-944 Form Back in Force

On September 11, 2020, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals limited the scope of the preliminary injunction on the USCIS new public charge rule issued by the New York State District Court. The Court of Appeals changed the injunction from nationwide to only applying to New York, and two other states in the jurisdiction of the Court (it was a little more complicated than that, but this was the result). When the New York District Court first entered its nationwide injunction, USCIS immediately stopped enforcement of the new rule and no longer required the new I-944 form. Because of the ruling of the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, there was speculation that USCIS would re-implement that rule. It took two weeks, but USCIS has finally re-implemented the public charge rule. In a statement put out yesterday, USCIS indicated that any case filed since the new rule was put out and before October 13, 2020, that did NOT include the I-944 and/or supporting documents would be issued a Request For Evidence for the documentation. Come October 13, 2020, however, any case received by USCIS without the I-944 and supporting documents would be rejected.

For those not familiar with the new rule, USCIS changed its longstanding public charge rule to expand the types of public support that could affect the ability of someone to show that they would not likely become a public charge. In addition, USCIS greatly expanded the documents required for it to make a determination on whether someone would become a public charge. Under the new rule, a new form, the I-944 form, was required for immigrants which required information on all assets and liabilities for each applicant as well as proof of health insurance, marketable skills, language skills, and credit score and report. Once USCIS had all the required information and documents it would balance the positive and negative factors to determine if it felt someone would likely become a public charge. In addition to the above, many of the non-immigrant forms also now include certain questions on public charge issues as well.

We will update you with any other changes or update to this rule. And remember, as always, this blog does not offer legal advice. If you need legal advice, consult with a lawyer instead of a blog. Thank you.

September Visa Bulletin Summary

Overall dates are moving forward, but there are some noticeable categories that are lagging behind and not progressing as much, this includes Employment Based Third Preference which doesn’t move forward at all this month. Below is a summary of movement in most categories

Family Based Categories

F1: Moved forward one months to September 15, 2014 for most of the World EXCEPT  Mexico (moved forward about 2 weeks to January 8, 1998) and the Philippines (moved forward 3.5 months to December 15, 2011).

F2A: Remained Current for the World.

F2B: Moved forward one month to July 8, 2015 for most of the World EXCEPT  Mexico (moved forward about two weeks to April 8, 1999) and the Philippines (moved forward 4 months to August 1, 2011).

F3: Moved forward about two weeks to June 15, 2008  for most of the World EXCEPT  Mexico (moved forward two weeks to August 1, 1996) and the Philippines (moved forward 3 months to February 15, 2002).

F4: Moved forward about three weeks to September 22, 2006 for most of the World EXCEPT  India (moved forward about 2 weeks to March 8, 2005), Mexico (moved forward about 1 week to June 22, 1998) and the Philippines (moved forward 4 months to January 1, 2002.

Employment-Based Preference Categories

EB-1:  Remains CURRENT for most of the world EXCEPT China and India (moved forward about 1 month to  March 1, 2018). Currently India and China are at the same date as they are using the otherwise unused visa numbers from the EB-1 category, as other countries are well below normal usage, as well as visa number falling up from the EB-5 category (i.e. unused visa number from EB-5 fall up to the EB-1 category).

EB-2:  Stayed Current for most of the world EXCEPT China (stayed at January 15, 2016) and India (stayed at July 8, 2009). As EB-2 visa numbers are being used and it appears that all visas in this category will be used by the end of the fiscal year, no movement forward was made.

EB-3: Stayed backlogged to April 1, 2019 for most of the world EXCEPT China (stayed at February 15, 2017) and India (stayed at October 1, 2009).

Please contact us with any questions or concerns.  And please remember, as always, this blog does not offer legal advice. If you need legal advice, consult with a lawyer instead of a blog. Thank you.

New Executive Order and Possible Furloughs at USCIS

executive_order__1_The US President issued a new executive order on Monday evening.  The order did several things.  First, it extended the April 22, 2020 order limiting the ability for those overseas to get immigrant visas.  Second, it expanded that order to include certain non-immigrant visas as well.  Lastly, it required USCIS and DOL to review processes and procedures regarding EB-2 and EB-3 cases.    Before providing a summary of the provisions, there are a couple points to highlight.

First, and most importantly, the non-immigrant visa suspensions affect only those NOT IN THE United States.  This is also true of the immigrant visa suspension.  Second, the J-1 visa suspension does NOT include all categories of J visas.  For example, the Research Scholar category, and the Visiting Scholar categories are NOT included in the suspension.  Lastly, those outside the US with a currently VALID H-1B visa may still be able to return on that visa as the suspension only halts the issuance of new visas.  Here is a slightly more expansive summary of the provisions:

On June 20, 2020, President Trump has issued a proclamation that suspends the entry of foreign nationals on certain employment-based nonimmigrant visas into the United States.

This Proclamation also extends, effective immediately, Presidential Proclamation 10014 issued on April 22, 2020 which suspended the entry of certain immigrants into the United States.

The Proclamation suspends the issuance of visas for those seeking entry pursuant to a(n):

  • H-1B visa and any foreign national accompanying or following to join them;
  • H-2B visa and any foreign national accompanying or following to join them;
  • J visa, to the extent the foreign national is participating in an intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, or summer work travel program, and any foreign national accompanying or following to join them; and
  • L visa, and any foreign national accompanying or following to join them.

The Proclamation will only apply to an individual identified above if they are:

  • Outside the United States on the effective date of the Proclamation;
  • Do not have a nonimmigrant visa that is valid on the effective date of the Proclamation; and;
  • Do not have an official travel document other than a visa (such as a transportation letter, boarding foil, or advance parole document), valid on the effective date of the Proclamation or issued thereafter permitting the individual to be admitted to the United States.

Exemptions:

The Proclamation will not apply to the following individuals:

  • lawful permanent residents;
  • spouse or child of a U.S. citizen;
  • any individual seeking entry to provide temporary labor essential to the U.S. food supply chain;
  • any individual whose entry would be in the national interest as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees.

For the purposes of determining who is covered under the “national interest” exemption, the Proclamation directs the Secretaries of State, Labor, and Homeland Security to determine standards for those to whom such an exemption would be available, including any individuals who:

  • are critical to the defense, law enforcement, diplomacy, or national security of the United States;
  • are involved with the provision of medical care to individuals who have contracted COVID-19 and are currently hospitalized;
  • are involved with the provision of medical research at U.S. facilities to help the United States combat COVID-19;
  • are necessary to facilitate the immediate and continued economic recovery of the United States; or
  • are children who would age out of eligibility for a visa because of this proclamation or Proclamation 10014.

Discretion: The consular officer has discretion to determine if an individual is within one of the exempted categories outlined above.

Asylum Seekers: Asylum seekers are not included in the ban. The Proclamation states that it does not limit the ability of individuals to apply for asylum, refugee status, withholding of removal or protection under the Convention Against Torture.

Fraud: Individuals who circumvent the application of the Proclamation through fraud, willful misrepresentation or illegal entry will be prioritized for removal.

Additional Review: Within 30 days of this Proclamation’s effective date, and every 60 days after, while it and Proclamation 10014 are in effect, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretaries of Labor and State will make a determination as to any need to modify either proclamation.

COVID-19 Prevention: The Secretary of Health and Human Services will provide guidance to the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security concerning measures that will reduce the risk of those seeking admission to the United States introducing or spreading COVID-19 within the country. It is our understanding that this means individuals will be subject to a COVID-19 test before arrival.

Additional Measures:

  • Issue regulations or take additional actions to ensure that those who have already been admitted, or are seeking admission, on an EB-2 immigrant visa, EB-3 immigrant visa, or H-1B nonimmigrant visa do not limit opportunity for U.S. workers.

 

In addition to the above, USCIS announced that their revenues are down over 50% and that, unless Congress allocates more funding to the agency they will be required to furlough almost 70% of their staff, causing huge delays in adjudications if it were to occur.

If you have any questions, or wish to discuss the above, please do not hesitate to call or email me. And please remember, as always, this blog does not offer legal advice. If you need legal advice, consult with a lawyer instead of a blog. Thank you.

March Visa Bulletin Update – EB2 Remains current but EB3 Backlogged

UnknownThis past month’s Visa Bulletin had some bright spots and not so bright spots.  The biggest news is that the EB-2 category remained current and most likely will remain current next month as well.  Additionally, the EB-3 category was backlogged worldwide – and will most likely remain that way for the rest of the fiscal year (and, hopefully come back to current in October of this year).  Details are below:

Family Based Categories

F1: Moved forward almost a month and a half to October 8, 2013 for most of the World EXCEPT  Mexico (moved forward about 3 weeks to September 15, 1997) and the Philippines (moved forward 5 months to September 1, 2009).

F2A: Remained Current for the World.

F2B: Moved forward just over three weeks to September 15, 2014 for most of the World EXCEPT  Mexico (moved forward about 1 month to October 15, 1998) and the Philippines (moved forward 5 months to October 1, 2009).

F3: Moved forward about 3 week to December 15, 2007 for most of the World EXCEPT  Mexico (moved forward about 2 weeks to April 8, 1996) and the Philippines (moved forward 5 months to October 1, 1999).

F4: Stayed at July 1, 2006 for most of the World EXCEPT  India (moved forward about 2 weeks to December 8, 2004), Mexico (moved forward about 1 month to February 15, 1998) and the Philippines (moved forward 5 months to December 1, 1999).

UPDATE FROM DOS:

F2A demand has evened out and a cutoff is no longer certain – this category may just continue to remain current.

F4 While the Philippines has seen rapid forward movement in this category (as well as all others) Charlie believes it will not last and more demand will materialize requiring a halt to progress and perhaps a retrogression as well (in ALL categories for the Philippines).

Employment-Based Preference Categories

EB-1:  Moved forward about 3 months to March 1, 2019 for most of the world EXCEPT China (moved forward about 1 week to  June 1, 2017) and India (moved forward about 2 months to March 1, 2015).

EB-2:  Stayed Current for most of the world EXCEPT China (moved forward about 1 month to August 15, 2015) and India (moved forward 3 days to May 22, 2009).

EB-3:  BACKLOGGED to January 1, 2017 for most of the world EXCEPT China (moved forward almost 2 months to March 22, 2016), India (moved forward 1 week to January 15, 2009) and the Philippines (is now at worldwide levels).

UPDATE FROM DOS:

EB-1:  Based on currently available information, it remains possible–yet too early to confirm–that this category could become current in the summer of 2020.  According to Charlie as long as usage remains steady in March, there will be a sizable jump in April.

EB-2:  Charlie notes that demand for EB-2 Worldwide numbers continues to trend in such a way that a final action date may be imposed at some point during the second half of FY2020.  Charlie believes that this will be necessary by June of 2020, if not earlier.

EB-3:  This category has now retrogressed for worldwide numbers – there is not much chance that it will move forward much until the new fiscal year in October of 2020.

Please contact us with any questions or concerns.  And please remember, as always, this blog does not offer legal advice. If you need legal advice, consult with a lawyer instead of a blog. Thank you.

Additional Countries Added to Travel Ban

Immigration Lawyer in Houston New State Department 90-Day RuleOn January 31, 2020 President Trump issued a Presidential Proclamation expanding the Travel Ban enacted in 2018 to include certain foreign nationals of the following six countries: Burma (Myanmar), Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, these additions were based on an assessment from the Department of Homeland Security after reviewing updated security assessment criteria first established after the first iteration of the travel ban.

It should be noted that restrictions have only been placed on those seeking immigrant visas from the newly added countries. Individuals from these countries seeking nonimmigrant visas should not be restricted. The effective date of the expansion is February 21, 2020 at 12:01AM EST.

It should also be noted that the restrictions are for those seeking immigrant visas ABROAD.  Those in the US, filing an adjustment application, should not face this restriction.

Updated List of Countries and Restrictions:

ERITREA:     Suspends the entry of immigrants, except as Special Immigrants who have provided assistance to the U.S.government.

KYRGYZSTAN:     Suspends the entry of immigrants, except Special Immigrants who have provided assistance to the U.S.government.

IRAN:     Suspends the entry of immigrants and all nonimmigrants, except F (student), M (vocational student) and J(exchange visitor) visas, though they are subject to enhanced screening.

LYBYA:     Suspends the entry of immigrants and temporary visitors on business or tourist visas (B-1/B-2).

MYANMAR:     Suspends the entry of immigrants, except Special Immigrants who have provided assistance to the U.S.government.

NIGERIA:     Suspends the entry of immigrants, except Special Immigrants who have provided assistance to the U.S.government.

NORTH KOREA:     Suspends the entry of all immigrants and nonimmigrants.

SOMALIA:     Suspends the entry of immigrants and requires enhanced screening of all nonimmigrants.

SUDAN:     Suspends the entry of Diversity Visa immigrants

SYRIA:     Suspends the entry of all immigrants and nonimmigrants.

TANZANIA:     Suspends the entry of Diversity Visa immigrants

VENEZUELA:     Suspends the entry of certain government officials and their family members on business or tourist visas(B-1/B-2).

YEMEN:     Suspends the entry of immigrants and temporary visitors on business or tourist visas (B-1/B-2).

Scope:

Unless an exemption applies or the individual is eligible for a waiver, the travel restrictions apply to foreign nationals of the designated countries who:

(i) are outside the U.S. on the applicable effective date;
(ii) do not have a valid visa on the applicable effective date; and
(iii) do not qualify for a reinstated visa or other travel document that was revoked under Presidential Executive Order 13769.

Exemptions:

The travel restrictions in the proclamation do not apply to:

• lawful permanent residents;
• foreign nationals who are admitted to or paroled into the U.S. on or after the applicable effective date;
• foreign nationals who have a document other than a visa (e.g., transportation letter, boarding foil, advance parole document) valid on the applicable effective date or issued on any date thereafter;
• Dual nationals of a designated country who are traveling on a passport issued by a nondesignated country;
• Foreign nationals traveling on a diplomatic visas, NATO visas, C-2/U.N. visas, or G-1, G2, G-3, or G-4 visa; or
• Foreign nationals who have been granted asylum in the U.S., refugees who have been admitted to the U.S.; or individuals who have been granted withholding of removal, advance parole, or protection under the Convention Against Torture.

Waivers:

A waiver may be granted if a foreign national demonstrates to the consular officer’s or CBP official’s satisfaction that:

(a) Denying entry would cause the foreign national undue hardship;
(b) Entry would not pose a threat to the national security or public safety of the U.S.; and
(c) Entry would be in the national interest.

• Waivers may not be granted categorically but may be appropriate in the following situations:

  1. The foreign national has previously been admitted to the U.S. for a continuous period of work, study, or other long-term activity, is outside the U.S. on the applicable effective date, seeks to reenter the U.S. to resume that activity, and the denial of reentry would impair that activity;
  2. The foreign national has previously established significant contacts with the U.S. but is outside the U.S. on the applicable effective date for work, study, or other lawful activity; o The foreign national seeks to enter the U.S. for significant business or professional obligations and the denial of entry would impair those obligations;
  3. The foreign national seeks to enter the U.S. to visit or reside with a close family member (e.g., a spouse, child, or parent) who is a USC, LPR or lawful nonimmigrant, and the denial of entry would cause undue hardship;
  4. The foreign national is an infant, a young child or adoptee, an individual needing urgent medical care, or someone whose entry is otherwise justified by special circumstances;
  5. The foreign national can document that he or she has provided faithful and valuable service to the U.S. Government;
  6. The foreign national is traveling for purposes related to an international organization designated under the International Organizations Immunities Act (IOIA), traveling for purposes of conducting meetings or business with the U.S. Government, or traveling to conduct business on behalf of an international organization not designated under the IOIA;
  7. The foreign national is a Canadian permanent resident who applies for a visa at a location within Canada;
  8. The foreign national is traveling as a U.S. Government-sponsored exchange visitor; or
  9. The foreign national is traveling to the U.S. at the request of a U.S. Government department or agency, for legitimate law enforcement, foreign policy, or national security purposes.

For additional information regarding preparing and submitting a waiver on behalf of foreign nationals who are subject to Travel Ban please contact our office.

Please remember, as always, this blog does not offer legal advice. If you need legal advice, consult with a lawyer instead of a blog. Thank you.

Immigrant Visa Backlogs and Congress: Can They Fix the Problem?

UnknownNot everyone realizes but there are huge backlogs of cases for employment based immigrant visas.  For about 1 year now the EB-1 category (Extra-ordinary Ability, Outstanding Professor and Researchers and Intra-Company Transferees) category has been backlogged about 1 year for most of the world and several years for China and about 4-5 years for India.  The EB-2 category, while current for most of the world, has been backlogged about 4 years for China and about 10 years for India.  The same is true of the EB-3 category.  For those from India and China especially, the requirement of having to wait 10 years or more for a green card is hard on the family.  It can cause children, who may be 2 or 3 when they arrive in the US, to age out before a green card can be obtained – forcing these now grown Children to either go home or get their own visas and begin their own processes.  Furthermore, the employees are working for years without hope of major pay increases or promotions, for fear of being fired (if they ask and are denied) and loosing their place in line.

Congress has been looking at ways of fixing this.  The most popular bill currently, that almost passed the Senate, would alleviate the issue by removing the per country limitations currently in place for employment based immigrant visas.  Currently, all employment based immigrant visas are divided among all countries in the world evenly. While the Department of State can reallocate some visas based upon usage patterns, no country can get more than 7% of the immigrant visas in any given category.  That means, for example, for EB-1 visas India can only get about 3,000 visas per year (and that includes visas for all dependents of the primary applicant (spouses and children).  The bill in congress would remove those limitation in steps and would put in place protections so those from other countries who already applied in the employment categories when the bill was filed, would not loose their place in line.  However, the effect of this bill would hit people from EVERY country.

Within 4-9 years all countries would be facing major backlogs in all categories.  While the current backlog would be cleaned out by then, there would still be significant delays for everyone.   Another bill, in addition to removing the per country limitations would also remove dependents from the visa count.  This means a family of 6 or a family of 4 would be counted as just one immigrant visa against the quota.  This would greatly help to reduce the backlog and would go a long way towards ameliorating the issues caused by just removing the per country cap.  This bill, however, would also raise the number of employment based immigrant visas, a portion of the bill that is unlikely to pass this Congress or, even if it were, to be signed by this President.  There are currently other Senators working at removing the increase in immigrant visas from the bill to try to make it more passable.

Overall, while all these bills try to tackle this issue, the problems with our current immigration system are fairly widespread.  Our immigration laws were written over 30 years ago now in many cases, and longer in some.   Many things have changed since then and a major overhaul is certainly in order.  However, because of the current polarization of our political system, it is doubtful that any such major reform could be passed anytime soon.  Therefore, smaller fixes are all we can hope for in the near term.  Hopefully congress can get together and put together a bill that will help everyone and help prevent the current backlogs we have.

Those interested in this issue can read a good article in The Washington Post here.

Please remember, as always, this blog does not offer legal advice. If you need legal advice, consult with a lawyer instead of a blog. Thank you.

January Visa Bulletin – Good Surprises

UnknownThe Department of State released the January Bulletin as well as an update from Charlie Oppenheim as to usage patterns and what to expect in the future.  The biggest surprise was that there was NO backlog for the EB-2 or EB-3 category as predicted.  In fact, usage patterns slowed so much that Mr. Oppenheim now thinks that the category should remain current for a couple additional months as well.  We will keep our on on the category however, and update you with any changes.  Below are the other date changes for the bulletin along with the predictions from Charlie Oppenheim:

Family Based Categories

F1:  Moved forward 2 months to July 15, 2013 for everywhere EXCEPT Mexico (stayed at August 8, 1997) and the Philippines (moved forward 2.5 months to January 15, 2009). Prediction: This category should move forward about 6 weeks over the next month or two.

F2A: Remained current across the board.  A final action date will be established in the coming months.

F2B: Most of the world remained at August 8, 2014 EXCEPT Mexico which remained at August 22, 1998 and the Philippines with is the the only Country that moved forward (2 months) to February 1, 2009.  Prediction: This category will move forward about 3 weeks over the next month or two.

F3: Moved forward 1 week to November 15, 2007 EXCEPT for Mexico (forward 1 week to March 1, 1996 and the Philippines (moved forward 4 months to January 1, 1999). Prediction: This category will move forward about 1-3 weeks over the next month or two.

F4: No movement for most of the world (staying at February 1, 2007) EXCEPT India (forward 1 week to November 8, 2004), Mexico (forward 3 weeks to January 8, 1998 and the Philippines (moved forward 2.5 months to March 1, 1999). Prediction:  This category has moved forward rapidly to stimulate demand.  Unfortunately this demand has materialized quite a bit and there will be retrogression with no forward movement after that.

Employment Based

EB1: Moved forward 2.5 months to October 1, 2018 EXCEPT China (moved forward 1 week to May 22, 2017) and India (no movement – stayed at January 1, 2015).  Prediction: Will come current in the next couple of months

EB2: Stayed Current for most of the world EXCEPT China (moved forward 1 week to July 1, 2015) and India (moved forward a couple days to May 18, 2009).  Prediction:  Will backlog in the second half of the year.

EB3:  Stayed Current for most of the world EXCEPT China (moved forward 1 month to December 1, 2015) and India (stayed at January 1, 2009). Prediction:  Will backlog in the next month of two.

Please do contact us with any questions.  Please remember, as always, this blog does not offer legal advice. If you need legal advice, consult with a lawyer instead of a blog. Thank you.

Potential EB-2 Backlog starting as early as January 2020

box-turtle-wildlife-animal-reptile-159758_1.jpegFor those who may have missed this in my last blog post (See here), there is a potential that the EB-2 category, which includes the National Interest Waiver may no longer be current for ANY country come January 2020.  What does this mean?

In order to file the I-485 application, there must be an immigrant visa number available in the category in which you are filing.  The Department of State puts out what is called the Visa Bulletin every month.  This Bulletin lists each category for a green card (each category that has a limited number of visas, that is) and lists a date for each category.  That date signifies that cases filed BEFORE that date are now eligible to receive an immigrant visa number.  If, instead of a date, there is a C, that denotes that the category is current, and all applications are eligible for visa numbers.  To explain with an example, let us say the date for EB-2 (which includes the NIW) is 2/1/2019 – this would mean that those cases in which the I-140 (NIW) application was filed PRIOR to 2/1/2019 could now file the I-485 application.  If the date were C it would mean that even someone filing their I-140 today would be able to file the I-485 with that I-140.

In addition to the above, the date listed in the visa bulletin also must be current for a given case in order for the I-485 to be approved.  Again, using the example above, let us say we filed the I-140 on 1/1/2019 with the I-485, and our interview is scheduled for 1/15/2020.  On 12/15/2019 a new visa bulletin comes out that says the new date for EB-2 is 12/30/2018.  Our case is no longer current, therefore even though we have an interview scheduled, the I-485 cannot be approved (to be fully clear, it is possible that USCIS requested the visa number PRIOR to the backlog, so it could still be approved because a visa number was allocated, but lets assume that did not happen).

In general, China and India have had backlogs in the EB-2 category for many years now.  The catch-all listing for all other countries is generally current (listed as a C).  However, in most fiscal years, towards the end of the year (the year ends on September 30, so around July or August) the catch-all listing will backlog as USCIS has used all the immigrant visas in that category.  However, at the beginning of the next fiscal year (October 1) it will come current again.  If, in fact, the EB-2 category does backlog for the catch-all listing, then this could mean that it will remain backlogged for the foreseeable future.  This just happened for the EB-1 category less than 1 year ago – it became backlogged early in the fiscal year and has remained backlogged about 1 to 1.5 years for the catch-all listing since that time.

However, it is important to realize we do not know yet if it will backlog in January, or February or later.  Much will depend on the usage statistics for November (and December).  We will know more around December 15, when the January visa bulletin is released.  We will update you then.

If you are thinking of filing the I-140 and I-485 simultaneously, then you would need to immediately begin getting all documents together as you may no longer be able to do that come January 1, 2020.  Call us with any questions.

Please remember, as always, this blog does not offer legal advice. If you need legal advice, consult with a lawyer instead of a blog. Thank you.

USCS Raising Fees

USCIS just released a proposed rule that would increase most fees for USCIS benefits, some by quite a bit.  I will go through some of the proposals below.

I-485: Adjustment of Status

Currently, there is a general fee for the I-485 that covers filing the I-485, and the filing of the I-765 and I-131 applications.  Added to this is a fee for biometrics.  The I-140 fee is $1140 and the biometrics fee is $85.  The total fee is $1225, which is reduced to $750 for children under 14 who file with a parent.

The new proposed fee would be $1120 for the I-485 (including the biometrics fee.  However, the I-765 and the I-131 would no longer be included in the filing fee.  So those needing the I-765 and I-131 would have to pay an additional $490 (up from $410) and $585 (up from $575), raising the total fee to $2195.  In addition, any need for a renewal of the I-765 and/or I-131 would require another payment of $490 and $585, raising the total fees for a pending I-485 much higher than today.  In addition, there would be no discount in fees for those under the age of 14 filing with a parent.

I-129:  Temporary Petition for Foreign Workers

Currently, all applicatons that require the use of this form, file the same form – the I-129, and attach various addendums as needed.  The filing fee for the I-126 is $460 and there are various other fees for certain applications that USCIS has no control over (fraud prevention fee, training fee, etc.).

USCIS has proposed making separate forms for each visa type (or group type) and having a separate filing fee for each group.  There will be a separate form for E and TN visas, H-1B visas, H-2A visas, H-2B visas, L Visas, O visas, CNMI petitions, and one for H-3, P, Q or R visas.  The proposed fees are as follows:  E and TN application, CNMI Application and H-3, P, Q and R Application: $705; H-1: $560; O Application: $715; L Application: $815; H-2A Application: $860 (named), and $425 (unnamed); H-2B: $725 (named), $395 (unnamed).   As can be seen, the increase is anywhere fro about $100 to almost $400.

I-907: Premium Processing Fee

The current fee for this service is $1410.  In return, USCIS will adjudicate the application within 15 calendar days.  The proposal would increase the fee to $1440 AND change the counting of the 15 days to 15 calendar days.

N-400 and N-600:  Naturalization

The current fee for the N-400 is $640 and the current fee for the N-600 is $1170.  Under the new proposal, the N-400 fee would rise to $1170 and the fee for the N-600 would be $1015.  That would be over an 80% increase in the N-400 fee and a drop of about 13%.

I-140: Petition for Foreign Worker

The currnet fee for this application is $700.  The proposal would cut this fee to $545.

Asylum and DACA

Asylum and DACA have both had no filing fee for the actual application.  The proposal adds a $50 fee to file for Asylum and a fee of $275 for DACA applications.

The above is not exhaustive.  If you would like to see all the fee changes and USCIS’ justifcations, please click here.

Please remember this blog does not attempt to provide legal advice or to analyze any specific case.  If you need legal advice, ask a lawyer, not a blog.  Thank you.

November Visa Bulletin and an Update From Charlie Oppenheim

UnknownBefore discussing the visa bulletin for November, I just wish to apologize for the absence of posts in the last couple of months.  In the future I shall make sure that there are no more long pauses such as the one that occurred and will ensure that I am able to get out relevant information to all my readers in a timely manner.  Thank you.

The November Bulletin had some movement (mostly) in both Family and Employment Categories.  Let’s take a look at employment categories first.  Please do note that were dates are given for “All Other Countries” this includes not just that general category, but all other individually listed countries that are at the same dates (such as El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras – which are listed out separately but track with All Other Countries in most instances).

Employment Based Cases

EB-1: This category moved from April 22, 2018 to June 1, 2018 for All Other Countries.  For China, it moved forward from November 1, 2016 to February 1, 2017 (quite a jump) and for India there was no movement as it stayed at January 1, 2015.  According to USCIS Dates for Filing may be used for this category – this means that those in the US may file their I-485 if the priority date of the I-140 is before July 1, 2019 for All Other Countries, September 1, 2017 for China and March 15, 2017 for India.

EB-2: This category remained Current for All Other Countries.  China moved forward from January 1, 2015 to March 15, 2015.  India went from May 12, 2009 to May 13, 2009. According to USCIS Dates for Filing may be used for this category – this means that those in the US may file their I-485 if the priority date of the I-140 is before August 1, 2016 for China and July 1, 2009 for India.

EB-3: This category remained current for All Other Countries.  China and India both had no movement – China staying at November 1, 2015 and India staying at January 1, 2009. According to USCIS Dates for Filing may be used for this category – this means that those in the US may file their I-485 if the priority date of the I-140 is before  March 1, 2017 for China and February 1, 2010 for India.

Family Based Cases

FB-1: This category moved forward from January 15, 2013 to March 1, 2013 for All Other Areas.  Mexico stayed at August 8, 1997 and the Philippines moved froward from July 1, 2008 to September 15, 2008. 

FB-2A: This category remained Current for ALL Countries.

FB-2B: This category moved forward from June 1, 2014 to July 8, 2014 for All Other Countries.  Mexico moved forward from August 1, 1998 to August 22, 1998.  The Philippines moved forward from September 1, 2008 to October 1, 2008.

FB-3: This category moved forward from September 15, 2007 to October 15, 2007 for All Other Countries.  Mexico had no movement, staying at February 22, 1996 and the Philippines moved forward from April 1, 1998 to June 1, 1998.

FB-4: This category moved forward from November 22, 2006 to January 1, 2007 for All Other Countries.  India moved forward slightly from October 1, 2004 to October 15, 2004 while Mexico had no movement, staying at December 15, 1997.  The Philippines moved forward from July 8, 1998 to September 1, 1998.

According to USCIS Dates for Filing should be used for all categories EXCEPT for FB-2A (which is current under Final Action Dates, but actually has a cut-off for Dates for Filing).  The Dates for Filing are generally a couple months ahead of the dates listed above (which are the Final Action Dates).  Please contact us if you have any questions in this regard.

UPDATE FROM CHARLIE OPPENHEIM

Family Based Cases

For family based cases, the F2A Final Action Date, which became current in July 2019, remains current across all countries for November. This trend has been surprising because Charlie expected that there would be a surge in demand which would have required imposition of a Final Action Date no later than January. The demand for F2A across countries remains extremely low, with applicants not responding to the agent of choice letters, and at this time there is no indication that a date will need to be imposed in the near future.

Employment Based Cases

EB-1:  You should expect to see the EB-1 categories advance at up to three months for Worldwide  and China, and little if any forward movement for India.  India will not advance for some time since there is already significant number use and pending demand in that category (17% usage already for Q1).    Overall usage in this category (For Worldwide numbers), however, shows lower demand than previous years.  If this low demand trend continues, then EB-1 (for All Countries other than India and China) could return to Current at some point later in the year.

EB-2:  EB-2 Worldwide remains current for November and is expected to remain current for the foreseeable future.   Charlie is starting to see an increase in upgrades from EB-3 India to EB-2 India, with the numbers requested so far in October most likely being attributable to upgrade requests.

Given that the Final Action Date for EB-3 China (November 1, 2015) is eight months ahead of EB-2 China, it is likely to prompt downgrades which could take the pressure off of EB-2 China demand, causing that category to advance.

EB-3:  The EB-3 category bears watching as we continue to move into Q2 of the fiscal year and beyond. Charlie is very surprised at the high level of numbers used in this category this fiscal year as well as pending demand for this category, noting that it is significantly higher than it has been in the past to the tune of thousands. Nevertheless, Charlie still expects EB-3 Worldwide to remain current through at least January.  EB-3 China is receiving a high level of downgrade requests, with 300 requests in October alone.  If this trend continues it will limit the advancement of EB-3 China while potentially increasing the rate of advancement for EB-2 China.  Expect little to no movement for EB-3 India.

 

Please remember, as always, this blog does not offer legal advice. If you need legal advice, consult with a lawyer instead of a blog. Thank you.