Category Archive for ‘Visa’

New Revisions in Visa Bulletin Speed Up Application Processby Stephanie DiPietro

Summary of Visa Bulletin Update – October 2015

Applicants will now be able to file their green card applications much earlier than normal due to the revisions being made in visa availability contained in the October monthly Visa Bulletin Update issued  by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services and the United States Department of State. Based on these revisions, the Visa Bulletin will now have a new format with two charts: “Final Action Date” chart that will display when exactly the visas will be issued and the “Filing Date” chart that will give applicants information on the earliest they are eligible to apply for adjustment of status or consular processing.

Before this change, applicants had to wait for their priority date to become current before applying for a green card through adjustment of status or consular processing based upon a family or employment based petition.  Starting in October of 2015, applicants are permitted to file their adjustment of status application or submit their documentation for consular processing using the “Filing Date” chart.

Here is an example to make the above stated rule more clear:

Brothers and Sisters of Adult United States Citizens  (F4 Category), as a class in the October visa bulletin have their “Final Action Date” stated as 8th February 2003, but the same class has a “Filling Date” of 1st February 2004. What this means is that an applicant for an adjustment of status application having a priority date anytime before 1st February 2004, may actually apply in October. The new revisions have made this possible.

Applicants who have adjustment of status applications filed based upon family or employment based petitions will now be allowed to receive their work and travel authorizations earlier than when their priority dates become available.

Diversity Immigrant Visa Lottery Applications Start October 1stby Stephanie DiPietro

What is the Diversity Immigrant Visa

The Diversity Immigrant Visa is most known as the green card lottery was set up for citizens of those countries that have a comparatively low immigration rate into the United States. The applicants interested in this program must have at least a high school diploma or two years work experience in specialized jobs. These applications will be accepted from October 1st until November 3rd through the DOS’s website. The United States issue approximately 50,000 green cards every year through the Diversity Visa Lottery.

Details

English fluency is not required when applying for a visa through this program. Applicants should make sure to mention all family members, even those who may not have plans to immigrate to the United States. Diversity Visa Lottery results are always announced in the month of May by the United States Department of State.

How Does this Affect Me?

Diversity Visa Lottery winners should consider retaining competent legal counsel to represent them with their applications for adjustment of status in the United States or through consular processing.  The last day to receive a green card or immigrant visa through the Diversity Visa Lottery is September 30th of the calendar year in which you are selected for the lottery.

Visa Bulletin – August 2014by Stephanie DiPietro

A. STATUTORY NUMBERS

1.  This bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers during August. Consular officers are required to report to the Department of State documentarily qualified applicants for numerically limited visas; U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security reports applicants for adjustment of status.  Allocations were made, to the extent possible, in chronological order of reported priority dates, for demand received by July 8th.  If not all demand could be satisfied, the category or foreign state in which demand was excessive was deemed oversubscribed.  The cut-off date for an oversubscribed category is the priority date of the first applicant who could not be reached within the numerical limits.  Only applicants who have a priority date earlier than the cut-off date may be allotted a number.  If it becomes necessary during the monthly allocation process to retrogress a cut-off date, supplemental requests for numbers will be honored only if the priority date falls within the new cut-off date announced in this bulletin.

2.  Section 201 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) sets an annual minimum family-sponsored preference limit of 226,000.  The worldwide level for annual employment-based preference immigrants is at least 140,000. Section 202 prescribes that the per-country limit for preference immigrants is set at 7% of the total annual family-sponsored and employment-based preference limits, i.e., 25,620. The dependent area limit is set at 2%, or 7,320.

3.  INA Section 203(e) provides that family-sponsored and employment-based preference visas be issued to eligible immigrants in the order in which a petition in behalf of each has been filed.  Section 203(d) provides that spouses and children of preference immigrants are entitled to the same status, and the same order of consideration, if accompanying or following to join the principal.  The visa prorating provisions of Section 202(e) apply to allocations for a foreign state or dependent area when visa demand exceeds the per-country limit.  These provisions apply at present to the following oversubscribed chargeability areas:  CHINA-mainland born, INDIA, MEXICO, and PHILIPPINES.

4.  Section 203(a) of the INA prescribes preference classes for allotment of Family-sponsored immigrant visas as follows:

FAMILY-SPONSORED PREFERENCES

First: (F1) Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens:  23,400 plus any numbers not required for fourth preference.

Second: Spouses and Children, and Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents:  114,200, plus the number (if any) by which the worldwide family preference level exceeds 226,000, plus any unused first preference numbers:

A. (F2A) Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents:  77% of the overall second preference limitation, of which 75% are exempt from the per-country limit;

B. (F2B) Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older) of Permanent Residents:  23% of the overall second preference limitation.

Third: (F3) Married Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens:  23,400, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences.

Fourth: (F4) Brothers and Sisters of Adult U.S. Citizens:  65,000, plus any numbers not required by first three preferences.

On the chart below, the listing of a date for any class indicates that the class is oversubscribed (see paragraph 1); “C” means current, i.e., numbers are available for all qualified applicants; and “U” means unavailable, i.e., no numbers are available. (NOTE:  Numbers are available only for applicants whose priority date is earlier than the cut-off date listed below.)

Family-Sponsored All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA-mainland born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
F1 22APR07 22APR07 22APR07 08APR94 01JUN04
F2A 01MAY12 01MAY12 01MAY12 15MAR11 01MAY12
F2B 01JUL07 01JUL07 01JUL07 01APR94 08OCT03
F3 15NOV03 15NOV03 15NOV03 15SEP93 15APR93
F4 01JAN02 01JAN02 01JAN02 01JAN97 22JAN91

*NOTE:  For August, F2A numbers EXEMPT from per-country limit are available to applicants from all countries with priority dates earlier than 15MAR11.  F2A numbers SUBJECT to per-country limit are available to applicants chargeable to all countries EXCEPT MEXICO with priority dates beginning 15MAR11 and earlier than 01MAY12.  (All F2A numbers provided for MEXICO are exempt from the per-country limit; there are no F2A numbers for MEXICO subject to per-country limit.)

5.  Section 203(b) of the INA prescribes preference classes for allotment of Employment-based immigrant visas as follows:

EMPLOYMENT-BASED PREFERENCES

First:  Priority Workers:  28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required for fourth and fifth preferences.

Second:  Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability:  28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required by first preference.

Third:  Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers:  28.6% of the worldwide level, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences, not more than 10,000 of which to “*Other Workers”.

Fourth:  Certain Special Immigrants:  7.1% of the worldwide level.

Fifth:  Employment Creation:  7.1% of the worldwide level, not less than 3,000 of which reserved for investors in a targeted rural or high-unemployment area, and 3,000 set aside for investors in regional centers by Sec. 610 of Pub. L. 102-395.

On the chart below, the listing of a date for any class indicates that the class is oversubscribed (see paragraph 1); “C” means current, i.e., numbers are available for all qualified applicants; and “U” means unavailable, i.e., no numbers are available.  (NOTE:  Numbers are available only for applicants whose priority date is earlier than the cut-off date listed below.)

Employment- Based All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA – mainland born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
1st C C C C C
2nd C 08OCT09 22JAN09 C C
3rd 01APR11 01NOV08 08NOV03 01APR11 01JUN10
Other Workers 01APR11 22JUL05 08NOV03 01APR11 01JUN10
4th C C C C C
Certain Religious Workers C C C C C
5th
Targeted
Employment
Areas/
Regional Centers
and Pilot Programs
C C C C C

*Employment Third Preference Other Workers Category:  Section 203(e) of the Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) passed by Congress in November 1997, as amended by Section 1(e) of Pub. L. 105-139, provides that once the Employment Third Preference Other Worker (EW) cut-off date has reached the priority date of the latest EW petition approved prior to November 19, 1997, the 10,000 EW numbers available for a fiscal year are to be reduced by up to 5,000 annually beginning in the following fiscal year.  This reduction is to be made for as long as necessary to offset adjustments under the NACARA program.  Since the EW cut-off date reached November 19, 1997 during Fiscal Year 2001, the reduction in the EW annual limit to 5,000 began in Fiscal Year 2002.

6.  The Department of State has a recorded message with visa availability information which can be heard at:  (202) 485-7699.  This recording is updated on or about the tenth of each month with information on cut-off dates for the following month.

B.  DIVERSITY IMMIGRANT (DV) CATEGORY FOR THE MONTH 
OF AUGUST

Section 203(c) of the INA provides up to 55,000 immigrant visas each fiscal year to permit additional immigration opportunities for persons from countries with low admissions during the previous five years. The NACARA stipulates that beginning with DV-99, and for as long as necessary, up to 5,000 of the 55,000 annually-allocated diversity visas will be made available for use under the NACARA program. This resulted in reduction of the DV-2014 annual limit to 50,000. DV visas are divided among six geographic regions.  No one country can receive more than seven percent of the available diversity visas in any one year.

For August, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified DV-2014 applicants chargeable to all regions/eligible countries as follows. When an allocation cut-off number is shown, visas are available only for applicants with DV regional lottery rank numbers BELOW the specified allocation cut-off number:

Region All DV Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed Separately
AFRICA 69,300 Except:
Egypt:    32,250
Nigeria:   25,000
ASIA 12,700 Except:
Nepal:      9,500
EUROPE 40,150
NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS) CURRENT
OCEANIA 1,450
SOUTH AMERICA,
and the CARIBBEAN
1,750

Entitlement to immigrant status in the DV category lasts only through the end of the fiscal (visa) year for which the applicant is selected in the lottery.  The year of entitlement for all applicants registered for the DV-2014 program ends as of September 30, 2014.  DV visas may not be issued to DV-2014 applicants after that date.  Similarly, spouses and children accompanying or following to join DV-2014 principals are only entitled to derivative DV status until September 30, 2014.  DV visa availability through the very end of
FY-2014 cannot be taken for granted.  Numbers could be exhausted prior to September 30.

C.  THE DIVERSITY (DV) IMMIGRANT CATEGORY RANK CUT-OFFS 
WHICH WILL APPLY IN SEPTEMBER

For September, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified DV-2014 applicants chargeable to all regions/eligible countries as follows. When an allocation cut-off number is shown, visas are available only for applicants with DV regional lottery rank numbers BELOW the specified allocation cut-off number:

Region All DV Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed Separately
AFRICA 81,100 Except:
Egypt:      32,250
ASIA 13,350 Except:
Nepal:       9,500
EUROPE 40,150
NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS) CURRENT
OCEANIA 1,450
SOUTH AMERICA,
and the CARIBBEAN
1,750

D.  VISA AVAILABILITY IN THE COMING MONTHS

The China-mainland born Employment Third and Third Other Workers cut-off dates have advanced for the month of August, and could do so again for September. There are two reasons for this advance after the retrogression of the cut-off date earlier this summer: 1) The heavy demand by applicants with priority dates significantly (years) earlier than the previous cut-off date has declined during the past two months, and 2) declining number use in the Family preferences during May and June, combined with updated estimates of such number use through the end of the fiscal year, has resulted in availability of several hundred numbers for use in the China-mainland born Employment Third preference.

During the past two months, the India Employment Second preference cut-off date has advanced very rapidly based on the projected availability of “otherwise unused” numbers under the worldwide preference limit. It must not be assumed that this cut-off date will continue to advance at the same pace during the coming months. A cut-off date does not mean that everyone with a priority date before such cut-off date has already been processed to conclusion. It remains to be seen how heavy the demand for visa numbers by applicants will be in the coming months, and what the priority dates of such applicants may be. Heavy demand by applicants with priority dates significantly earlier than the established cut-off date is expected to materialize within the next several months, at which time the cut-off date is likely to retrogress significantly.

E.  OBTAINING THE MONTHLY VISA BULLETIN

To be placed on the Department of State’s E-mail subscription list for the “Visa Bulletin”, please send an E-mail to the following E-mail address:

listserv@calist.state.gov

and in the message body type:
Subscribe Visa-Bulletin
(example: Subscribe Visa-Bulletin)

To be removed from the Department of State’s E-mail subscription list for the “Visa Bulletin”, send an e-mail message to the following E-mail address:

listserv@calist.state.gov

and in the message body type: Signoff Visa-Bulletin

The Department of State also has available a recorded message with visa cut-off dates which can be heard at: (202) 485-7699. The recording is normally updated on/about the 10th of each month with information on cut-off dates for the following month.

K visa – family non-immigrant visa casesby Stephanie DiPietro

Here is some information regarding K Visas. You can give me a call and we can answer all of questions about it.

Green Card for a K Nonimmigrant

The K-visa categories for fiancé(e)s of U.S. citizens and their accompanying minor children (K-1 and K-2 visas) were created to speed up the immigration process for such individuals so they could travel more quickly to the United States.

By allowing a fiancé(e) and his/her accompanying minor children to be admitted to the United States as nonimmigrants, fiancé(e)s can be spared a long separation from their intended spouse, while continuing their processing for an immigrant visa after the marriage takes place.

U.S. citizen fiancé(e)s file for their intended spouse on Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e).

Legal Immigration and Family Equity (LIFE) Act

The Legal Immigration and Family Equity (LIFE) Act amendments of 2000 added the K-3 visa category for foreign spouses and K-4 category for stepchildren of U.S. citizens.  Due to a backlog of immigrant visa petitions (Forms I-130, Petition for Alien Relative) at that time, a long separation could occur between the overseas fiancé(e) and their intended U.S. citizen spouse.  To prevent a long separation, U.S. citizens were allowed to file an additional petition on Form I-129F while their Form I-130 was pending to allow their foreign spouses and his/her minor children to come to the United States as nonimmigrants in an expedited manner.

The LIFE Act requires applicants to apply for a K-3 visa in the country where their marriage to the U.S. citizen petitioner occurred, or in the event the petitioner and applicant were married in the United States, the country of the applicant’s current residence. After arrival in the United States, they could then complete their processing for permanent residence.

All K nonimmigrants are required to file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence and Adjust Status, after arrival to adjust status as a permanent resident of the United States.

K nonimmigrants may only adjust status as a permanent resident through the same U.S. citizen (fiancé(e), spouse, or stepparent) that petitioned for them to receive their K visa status.

Eligibility Criteria

You may be eligible to receive a green card as a K nonimmigrant fiancé(e), spouse, or his/her minor child if you:

  1. Are the beneficiary of an immigrant visa petition that was filed by a U.S. citizen for their spouse or fiancé(e), or the minor children of that spouse/fiancé(e)
  2. Have been admitted to the United States as a K Nonimmigrant
  3. Met the requirement to marry the U.S. citizen fiancé(e) within 90 days of entry, if a K-1 visa holder
  4. Are eligible to adjust status as the spouse or child of a U.S. citizen, or the minor child of a K-1 visa holder
  5. Have an immigrant visa immediately available
  6. Are admissible to the United States

Application Process

If you entered the United States as a fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen (K-1), child of a fiancée of a U.S. citizen (K-2), or the spouse or child of a U.S. citizen (K-3 or K-4)  you will have to file for adjustment of status in order to get your green card and to remain legally in the United States.

To obtain a green card, you need to file Form I-485.

If You are Present in the United States as a K-1 Fiance(e)

You should apply for adjustment as soon as you marry your fiancé(e). By law and regulations, you are required to marry the U.S. citizen who petitioned for you within 90 days of your admission to the United States in K-1 status. If you fail to marry, you will become removable from the United States and cannot adjust through any other means.

If You are Present in the United States as K-2, the Minor Child of a K-1 Fiance(e)

You should seek adjustment of status at the same time as your parent (K-1) since your reason to adjust, in general, depends on your parent’s eligibility to adjust. There are some special rules as to how long you can seek adjustment. Please refer to the related sections below under “Other considerations” for additional information.

If You Seek Adjustment as a K-3, Spouse of a U.S. Citizen

You may seek adjustment as soon as you enter the United States. You can only seek adjustment of status based on your marriage to the U.S. citizen spouse who also petitioned for K-3 status for you.

Note: You may obtain an extension of your K-3 status in 2-year intervals, while your adjustment of status application is pending. You should, at the same time, apply for an extension of the K-4 status for your child. Refer to 8 CFR 214.2(k)(8) for additional information.

If You Seek Adjustment as a K-4, Child of the K-3 Spouse of a U.S. citizen

You should seek adjustment of status as soon as your parent seeks adjustment of status. You can only seek adjustment of status on the basis of the marriage of your K-3 parent to his/her U.S. citizen spouse or the stepparent-child relationship this marriage caused and upon which your I-130 is based. See 8 CFR 245.1(c)(6)(ii) for additional information.

Supporting Evidence for the Form I-485

You should submit all of the following evidence and documentation with your application:

  • Two passport-style photos
  • Form G-325A, Biographic Information
  • Copy of your government issued photo identification
  • Copy of your birth certificate
  • Copy of passport page with nonimmigrant visa
  • Copy of passport page with admission (entry) or parole stamp
  • Form I-94, Admission/Departure Record
  • Evidence of your marriage to the U.S. citizen within 90 days (for K-1s)
  • Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, if applicable
  • Form I-864, Affidavit of Support
  • Copy of approved Form I-130 or Form I-797, Notice of Action, if Form I-130 is pending (if K-3 or K-4)
  • Copies of any other approved application or waiver you have had in relation with your application for K status (Approved Form I-129F, Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Excludability, etc.)
  • Applicable filing fees

Note: Those applying based on K-1 or K-2 status will not need a Form I-130 filed on their behalf. However, a K-2 stepchild may have a Form I-130, Immediate Relative Petition, filed on his/her behalf if eligible and necessary to prevent age-out concerns.  Read “Other Considerations” below for further information.

Medical Examination

If you received a medical examination prior to admission as a K nonimmigrant, then you are not required to have another medical examination at time of adjustment as long as:

  • Your Form I-485 is filed within 1 year of your overseas medical examination
  • The medical examination did not reveal a Class A medical condition
  • If you did have a Class A medical condition, you received a waiver of inadmissibility and you have complied with the terms and conditions of the waiver

Even if a new medical examination is not required, you still must show proof that you have complied with the vaccination requirements. If the vaccination record (DS 3025) was not properly completed and included as part of the original, overseas medical examination report, you will have to have the vaccination report completed by a designated civil surgeon. In this case, you are required to submit Part 1, Information About You, Part 2, the vaccination chart, and Part 5, the Civil Surgeon’s Certification, of Form I-693 (in an envelop sealed by the civil surgeon). Please see the instructions for Form I-693 for further information.

Other Considerations

Special Considerations When Seeking Adjustment of Status as a K-2

The Section 101(b)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act defines a “child” as “an unmarried person under twenty-one years of age.”  Generally, a K-2 can seek adjustment of status as the minor child of a K-1. Therefore, if the K-2 adjusts status based on the K-1’s adjustment, then the K-2 can only adjust status prior to his or her 21st birthday. Several recent developments may impact a K-2s ability to seek adjustment beyond the age of 21.

If you should attain the age of 21 years while your Form I-485 is pending, you may be covered under the Child Status Protection Act of 2002 (CSPA) (see information below).

K-2/K-4 Adjustment of Status as the Step-Child of the U.S. Citizen & CSPA

In 2002, Congress passed the Child Status Protection Act of 2002 to permit an applicant for certain immigration benefits to retain the classification as a “child” under Section 101(b)(1) of the INA even if he or she reaches the age of 21. For more information, please see “Child Status Protection Act” link to the left under “Green Card Processes & Procedures.”

Limited CSPA Coverage for K-2s

An individual in K-2 status does not generally have a visa petition (Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative) filed by the U.S. citizen petitioner, which is required in order for CSPA provisions to be applicable. Therefore, a K-2 nonimmigrant cannot utilize the CSPA when seeking to adjust status.  A K-2, absent any different circumstance, may only seek adjustment until he or she reaches his 21st birthday and must adjust prior to his/her 21st birthday.

Although not required, USCIS may accept a Form I-130 filed by the U.S. citizen petitioner based on a parent-child relationship between the petitioner and the K-2 nonimmigrant (for example, when the U.S. citizen petitioner has married the K-1, and the K-2 was not yet 18 years old at that time. In this case, the K-2 is considered the step-child of the U.S. citizen under the law). This will allow an individual who once was a K-2 to adjust on the basis of being an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, and allow him or her to utilize the CSPA when seeking adjustment of status (that is, not age out while his/her Form I-485 is pending).

Exercising this option requires:

  • An existing parent-child relationship between the U.S. citizen petitioner and the K-2 nonimmigrant
  • Filing of Form I-130 prior to the K-2’s 21st birthday
  • Submitting all required documentation and paying the required fees associated with Forms I-130 and I-485

CSPA Coverage of K-4s

An individual in K-4 status may utilize the provisions of CSPA upon seeking adjustment of status because a K-4 nonimmigrant seeks to adjust as an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen on the basis of a Form I-130 filed by his or her U.S. citizen step parent. See 8 CFR 245.1(i) for further information.

This petition can only be filed if a parent-child relationship between the U.S. citizen and the K-4 nonimmigrant exists and the marriage between the U.S. citizen and the K-4’s parent occurred before the child’s 18th birthday. Since the K-4 child’s age “freezes” on the date the Form I-130 is filed, a K-4 benefits from the CSPA  as long as the Form I-130 petition is filed before the K-4’s 21st birthday.

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