USCIS Publishes Final Rule on Fee Increase

It is official now:  As of December 23, 2016 USCIS applications fees will be rising an average of about 21%.  For those interested, all the new fees are listed on the USCIS web page here. In terms of the most common applications, I am listing the old fee and new fees below:

Petition Type Old Fee NEW Fee
I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card $365 $455
I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker $325 $460
I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) $340 $535
I-130, Petition for an Alien Relative $420 $535
I-131, Application for Travel Document $360 $575
I-485 (adult), Application to Adjust Status (not including $85 biometric fee) $985 $1140
I-485 (under 14), Application to Adjust Status $635 $750
I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur $1500 $3675
I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence $505 $595
I-765, Application for Employment Authorization $380 $410
N-400, Application for Naturalization (not including $85 biometric fee) $595 $640
N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship (biological child/adopted child) $1170 $600/550

As you can see, the amount of the increases for most applications is not that great, however, it does vary from application to application.  The I-129 fee went up by 41% while the I-765 fee went up by under 8%.

However, it should be noted that the fee charged for premium processing was not raised during this round of fee increases.  Very surprising given that it would be an easy target, and would bring in significant revenue considering the lengthening timelines for adjudication.  USCIS may be assuming that timelines will decrease because of the extra money from other fees, so they kept the premium fee reasonable so that they would still get sufficient income from that source as opposed to pricing it out of reach of most people.

Please note again that the fees do not go into effect until December 23, 2016.  Any application sent that will be received by USCIS ON OR AFTER THAT DATE should contain the new fees.

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.

November Visa Bulletin – Some Movement, Dates for Filing Available

unknownDOS released the November Visa bulletin and there has been some forward movement.  Importantly, USCIS is still allowing the Dates for Filing to be used for almost all applications (except EB-5 applications) to determine when you are able to file the adjustment application.  Below we will go through each category in detail.

Family Based Applications:

F1:  Final Action Dates: Moved forward about 1 month to October 2009 for All Other Countries, India and China.   Mexico only moved forward about 1 week to April 8, 1995 and the Philippines moved forward about 1 month to October 2005. Dates for Filing: No change

F2A: Final Action Dates: Everyone moved forward about 1 month to January 22, 2011 (January 8, 2011 for Mexico).  Dates for Filing:  No Movement.

F2B: Final Action Dates: All countries moved forward about one month except Mexico which moved forward about 2 weeks.  All Other Countries, China and India are at April 15, 2010.  The Philippines is at February 15, 2006 and Mexico is at October 8, 1995. Dates for Filing: No movement

F3: Final Action Dates: All countries moved forward about one month except Mexico which moved forward about 2 weeks.  All Other Countries, China and India are at January 22, 2005.  The Philippines is at August 8, 1994 and Mexico is at December 1, 1994. Dates for filing: No movement.

F4: Final Action Dates: All countries moved forward about one month except the Philippines and Mexico which moved forward about 2 weeks.  All Other Countries is at December 1, 2003.  China is at August 1, 2003 and India is at February 15, 2003.  The Philippines is at May 8, 1993 and Mexico is at May 8, 1997. Dates for filing: No Movement.

Employment Based Applications:

E1:  Current for everyone

E2: Final Action Dates: Current for everyone except India and China.  China moved forward about 5 month to July 15, 2012.  India jumped forward about 10 months to November 1, 2007.

E3:  Final Action Dates: Most countries moved forward about 1 month to July 1, 2016.  China moved forward about 3 months to April 15, 2013.  Since China E3 is ahead of China E2, expect this to backlog at some point. India moved forward about 1 week to March 8, 2005 and the Philippines moved forward about 4 months to April 1, 2011.

Employment Dates for Filing:  Current across the board EXCEPT:

E2:  China is at March 1, 2013 and India is at April 22, 2009

E3: China is at May 1, 2014 and India is at July 1, 2005

 

 

 

 

BREAKING NEWS: USCIS will allow the use of the Date for Filing in the October, 2016 Visa Bulletin

USCIS, for the first time in almost a year, has agreed that the Date for Filing, as opposed to the Final Action Date, can be used for the October Visa Bulletin.  What does this mean?

For Employment Based Cases:

EB-1:  Will be Current for All.

EB-2: While the Worldwide numbers remain current, India will be at April 22, 2009 instead of January 2007 and China will be at March 1, 2013 instead of February 2012

EB-3:  Worldwide will be current as opposed to June 1, 2016.  India will be at July 1, 20015 instead of March 1, 2005 (not quite as big a jump as other categories).  And China will be at May 1, 2014 instead of January 22, 2013.

As can be seen most dates have jumped ahead about 1 year which is good news for those who have waited a long time to file their adjustment applications or for their applications to be approved.

If you have any questions leave a comment below or send me an email.  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.

October 2016 VIsa Bulletin: Forward Movement for All

unknownThe Department of State released the visa bulletin for October 2016 recently. Below is a summary of movement and changes.

Family Based Immigrant Visa Numbers

F1 – Unmarried Sons and Daughters of US Citizens: This category moved forward about 1 week to September 22, 2090 for every country except Mexico (which moved forward 1 week to April 1, 1995 and the Philippines (which moved forward 1 week to August 1, 1995).

F2A – Spouses and children of Permanent Residents: All countries moved forward around 1 month, Mexico moved forward about 3 months to December 1, 2014. And the rest of the World moved forward about 5 weeks to December 22, 2014

F2B – Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents: Most of the world moved forward about 5 weeks to March 15, 2010. Mexico moved forward only 2 weeks to October 1, 1995 and the Philippines moved forward 1 month to January 1, 2006

F3 – Married Sons and Daughters of US Citizens: Most of the world moved forward about 3 weeks to December 22, 2004. Mexico moved forward about 1 week to November 22, 1994 and the Philippines moved forward about 3 weeks to July 8, 1994

F4 – Brothers and Sisters of US Citizens: China moved forward 4 months to May 1, 2003. India jumped just over 1 year to December 1, 2002. Mexico moved forward a couple weeks to May 1, 1997. The Philippines moved forward about 6 weeks to April 15, 1993. The rest of the world moved forward about 1 month to November 1, 2003

Predictions for coming months:

There should be forward movement on all categories in the next several months of about 2-6 weeks.

Employment Based Immigrant Visas

EB-1: As stated previously, this became current for everyone for October.

EB-2: Again, as we stated previously this became current for Worldwide numbers, Mexico and the Philippines. It moved forward to February 15, 2012 for China and to January 15, 2007 for India.

EB-3: Moved forward 1 month for Worldwide and Mexico to June 1, 2016. China jumped forward to January 22, 2013 (putting the EB-3 category ahead of the EB-2 for China). India Moved forward about 1 month to March 1, 2005 and the Philippines moved forward about 5 months to December 1, 2010.

Predictions for the Coming Months:

For EB-2s the Department of State sees China and India moving forward about 3 months (maybe 4 months for India) in the coming months. Worldwide and Mexico should remain current.

For EB-3s, they still feel that for the Worldwide numbers, demand may cause them to backlog (however this did not occur at all last year, and they thought it would then as well), but we will have to see. For China, EB-3 should move forward about 3 months. It will move forward only about 1 week for India and about 3 weeks for the Philippines.

Checkin With Charlie Oppenheim on Visa Numbers

Charlie Oppenheim, the officer at the Department of State in charge of visa numbers and the Visa Bulletin, recently released an update to his predictions for the upcoming months. Below is a summary of some of that update.

Family Based Visa Numbers

According to Charlie, in September most of the family-based categories will likely hold or retrogress from where they are in August. Only F-4 Worldwide has the potential to advance in September. Charlie expects a full recovery from retrogressions in all of the family-based categories in October, with the exception of F-4 China and F-4 India which will take some time. Beginning in November 2015, beneficiaries of F-4 China and F-4 India started responding to NVC Agent of Choice letters in larger numbers, which has given Charlie better visibility into the demand in these categories, but ultimately resulted in the retrogression of these cut-off dates.

It should be noted that when we state that there will be a “full recovery” Charlie is not saying that the categories will become current, but that they will go back to their pre-August 2015 dates.

Employment Based Visa Numbers

CHINA:

The Final Action date of January 1, 2010 that was imposed in June for both EB-2 and EB-3 China remains the same in August with no forward movement in either of these categories expected this fiscal year (which ends on September 30, 2016).

EB-2 should recover partly in October, 2016 and should fully recover to its previous dates by the end of this calendar year.

INDIA:

EB-3 India should advance modestly into a 2005 Final Action date in September. EB-2 India will continue to track one week ahead of the EB-3 India Final Action date in September.

EB-2 will advance in October 1, 2016 with the new fiscal year, and should fully recover by December of this year.

WORLDWIDE:

EB-3 Worldwide has been hovering close to “current” for some time, and is expected to do so through at least October.

Eb-2 was retrogressed in August to February 1, 2014 with the hope of holding number use to within the EB-2 annual limit. That date should hold in September and is expected to fully recover to “current” in October.

August Visa Bulletin: EB-1 backlogs for India and China, EB-2 Backlogged for Everyone

UnknownThe August 2016 visa bulletin was released by the Department of State yesterday.   It features backlogs for ALL countries in the EB-2 category and other changed.  However, readers should understand, that while certain countries (India and China) have regular backlogs in the EB-2 category, those for other countries in the EB-2 category and those in the EB-1 category are  temporary.  I will discuss this more in depth below as we  look at the specifics of the Visa Bulletin:

Family Based Applications

F2A (spouses and children of permanent residents):  No movement

F4 (siblings of US citizens): No movement

F1 (unmarried sons and daughters of US Citizens):  The priority date for most countries moved forward about 2 months to May 22, 2009.  The exceptions are Mexico (no change) and the Philippines (moved forward 1 month to March 22, 2005)

F2B (unmarried sons and daughters of permanent residents):Not much movement.  Most countries moved forward about 1 month to January 8, 2010.  The exceptions are Mexico (no movement) and the Philippines (moved forward 2 months to Sep. 15, 2005)

F3 (married sons and daughters of US Citizens):  Almost no movement, except the Philippines moved forward about 2 weeks to March 15, 1994

Work Based Applications

EB1:  As discussed in previous blog posts, there was always a change of a backlog, and it has occurred.  India and China are backlogged to January 1, 2010.  This will be a TEMPORARY backlog, however.  These dates will become current again on October 1, 2016. The beginning of the new fiscal year.  Every other country remains current.

EB2:  Worldwide is backlogged to February 1, 2014.  Again, this is temporary and will become current again on October 1, 2016 the beginning of the new fiscal year.  China remained unchanged at January 1, 2010 and India moved forward very slightly to November 15, 2004

EB3: Worldwide numbers moved forward about 2 weeks to March 15, 2016.  China, again, remained unchanged at Jan. 1, 2010 and India, again, moved forward slightly to November 8. 2004.  The Philippines also moved forward in this category about two months to May 15, 2009.

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.

USCIS and Workload Transfers: What you Need to Know

images.jpegUSCIS frequently is juggling around case types between various service centers to try and assure that all case types are adjudicated as quickly as possible.  Fairly recently they started transferring EB-1A Extraordinary Ability cases to Nebraska from the Texas Service Center.    Even more recent certain H-1Bs were sent from Vermont to California and Nebraska.

Recently, USCIS started a new webpage on their site devoted to such transfers.  This webpage lists all recent transfers and gives some information on what the transfer means to your case and how you can check the status of your case online.  In reality, once USCIS transfers files to a new service center, that service center usually slows down slightly for a little while before they are able to catch up on all the new cases they have received.  In some cases, the new service center slows down so much, that it actually takes longer than it appeared to be taking at the old service center.  This is an unfortunate consequence, however there is no way to request that your file be sent back to the old center.  Following the timelines where your case is and filing requests for information once your date has been reached is the best bet to ensure smooth processing in your case.

If you have any questions leave a comment below or send me an email.  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.