On August 14, 2019, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a final rule governing the public charge grounds of inadmissibility, found at section 212(a)(4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Unless litigation halts implementation of the rule, it will go into effect after 60 days, on October 15, 2019. Here is a summary, which is based in large part on information provided by the American Immigration Lawyers’ Association (AILA).Continue reading “New DHS Public Charge Rule”
A member of the U.S. Congress may be willing to inquire with a Federal immigration agency, such as U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the U.S. Department of State (DOS), if you are having problems with your case.Continue reading “Asking a Member of Congress for Help with Your Immigration Case”
USCIS admits that processing times for I-130s for immediate relatives are skyrocketing. Here’s what their historic data shows:
|FY 2015||FY 2016||FY 2017||FY 2018||FY 2019 (up to Mar. 31)|
|6.1 mo.||6 mo.||7.7 mo.||9.7 mo.||10.3 mo.|
If you were born in Mainland China and are applying for a U.S. green card, you will need to submit a China birth certificate. That’s true regardless of whether you are filing a Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status, with USCIS or are applying for an immigrant visa at a U.S. consulate abroad.Continue reading “What Type of China Birth Certificate Is Required for U.S. Immigration?”
There are backlogs in U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) processing of applications and petitions. This leaves businesses and families to wonder what the processing times are. In March 2018, the agency began a pilot program to calculate processing times for some cases in a new way. Continue reading “How USCIS Calculates Processing Times for Petitions and Applications”
USCIS has issued a final rule increasing filing fees for most immigration applications and petitions. The new fees go into effect December 23, 2016. USCIS explains that fees are increasing “for the first time in six years, by a weighted average of 21 percent.” Continue reading “USCIS Filing Fees Increase”
Since our firm’s offices are in China, we are often asked by lawyers in the U.S. to work as local counsel for U.S. visa applications at the U.S. Consulates in Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Chengdu, and Shenyang. We make it our business to know each consulate’s policies, practices, and procedures. Here are the basic tips we give most frequently to stateside lawyers: Continue reading “Special Considerations for Visa Processing at U.S. Consular Posts in China”
According to the U.S. State Department, the top five reasons that immigrant visa applications are denied due to applicants’ failure to bring required documents include: Continue reading “Top 5 Reasons Immigrant Visa Applications Are Denied”
Here are the top eight things HR managers should know about U.S. immigration law: Continue reading “Eight Things HR Managers Should Know about Immigration Law”
Clients often ask whether to qualify for an immigrant visa (i.e., a green card) they must intend to move to the U.S. permanently. Take, for example, a father who owns a business in China. Can he apply for an EB-5 investor green card so that his teenage son can accompany him to the U.S., even if the father doesn’t intend to reside there? Continue reading “Must an Immigrant Visa Applicant Intend to Live in the U.S. Permanently?”
Charles Oppenheim, Chief of the U.S. State Department’s Visa Control and Reporting Division tells the American Immigration Lawyers Associaton that in August the priority date cut-off for EB-3 China will retrogress seven years to June 1, 2004. Why the big surprise in the August Visa Bulletin? Continue reading “Surprise: EB-3 China Priority Dates Retrogress in August”
U.S. law provides for both immigrant and nonimmigrant visas. Immigrant visas (i.e., permanent resident status or green cards) allow for indefinite residence in the United States. Most immigrant visas are issued on the basis of family sponsorship or through employment (including investment).
In contrast, nonimmigrant visas allow entry only for a limited period an only to carry out specified activities. There are 24 major nonimmigrant visa categories, and 87 specific types of nonimmigrant visas issued. Each NIV category is identified by a particular letter, starting with “A” and currently using up the English alphabet through the letter “V.” The NIV application process is designed to be quicker and less cumbersome than that for immigrant visas.
This article briefly describes each employment-based permanent residence category under U.S. immigration law. Continue reading “U.S.: Quick Reference to Employment-Based Immigrant Visas”
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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced it is raising fees an average of 10%, effective Nov. 23, 2010. The agency is primarily fee-based, with about 90% of its budget coming from applicants and petitioners seeking immigration benefits. The agency justifies the fee increase as a way to recover costs after fiscal year 2008 and 2009 revenue was much lower than projected, due in large part to increased migration during the global recession.
Highlights of the new fees include:
* Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker: increased from $320 to $325.
* Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancee: reduced from $455 to $340.
* Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative: increased from $355 to $420.
* Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status: increased from $930 to $985.
* Form I-526, Petition for Alien Entrepreneur: increased from $1,435 to $1,500.
* Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions of Residence: increased from $465 to $505.
* Form N-400, Application for Naturalization: not changed, $595.
There will also be a new fee of $165 for Immigrant Visa Domestic Processing. This fee will apply to applicants for immigrant visas. It is designed to recover the costs of USCIS staff time to process, file, and maintain the visa package and the cost of producing the permanent resident card. The U.S. Department of State will collect the fee on behalf of USCIS, although the precise logistics have not yet been announced.
I previously reported on fee increases by the U.S. Department of State (DOS) for nonimmigrant visas effective June 4, 2010.
Now, DOS has also issued an interim final rule increasing fees for immigrant visas and certain American Citizen Services, effective July 13. DOS justifies the changes by citing an independent cost of service study’s findings that the U.S. Government is not fully covering its costs for providing these services.
Here are the changes for the most common fees:
|NEW CONSULAR FEES EFFECTIVE JULY 13, 2010|
|PRIOR FEE||NEW FEE|
|Immigrant Visa Fees|
|IV Application Processing Fee|
|Family-based immigrant visa||$ 355.00||$ 330.00|
|Employment-based immigrant visa||$ 355.00||$ 720.00|
|Other immigrant visas (SIVs, DVs, etc.)||$ 355.00||$ 305.00|
|IV Security Surcharge||$ 45.00||$ 74.00|
|Domestic (NVC) review of Affidavit of Support||$ 70.00||$ 88.00|
|Determining Returning Resident Status||$ 400.00||$ 380.00|
|Additional passport visa pages||–||$ 82.00|
|Consular Report of Birth Abroad||$ 65.00||$ 100.00|
|Renunciation of U.S. Citizenship||–||$ 450.00|
USCIS has announced that applicants may experience up to an eight-week delay in the delivery of their permanent resident cards while USCIS upgrades its card production equipment.
If you have recently been admitted to the U.S. as an immigrant, you will still be able to travel and seek employment in the U.S. Your immigrant visa stamped by USCIS at the time of admission is valid evidence of lawful permanent resident (LPR) status for one year from the date of admission.