Law Office of Tanya M. Powers, PLLC

 

Immigration Updates

 




Visa Bulletin: June 2017

 

Unless otherwise indicated on the USCIS website, individuals seeking to file applications for adjustment of status with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) must use the “Application Final Action Dates” charts for determining when they can file such applications.


Family Categories - Application Final Action Date

 

All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed

China – Mainland born

India

Mexico

Philippines

1st

22 Dec 10

22 Dec 10

22 Dec 10

01 Sep 95

22 Apr 06

2A

15 Aug 15

15 Aug 15

15 Aug 15

22 Jul 15 15 Aug 15

2B

22 Oct 10

22 Oct 10

22 Oct 10

08 Apr 96

22 Sep 06

3rd

01 Jul 05

01 Jul 05

01 Jul 05

22 Feb 95

08 Oct 94

4th

08 May 04

08 May 04

15 Sep 03

15 Jul 97

22 Nov 93

*NOTE: For June, F2A numbers EXEMPT from per-country limit are authorized for issuance to applicants from all countries with priority dates earlier than 22JUL15. F2A numbers SUBJECT to per-country limit are authorized for issuance to applicants chargeable to all countries EXCEPT MEXICO with priority dates beginning 22JUL15 and earlier than 15AUG15. All F2A numbers provided for MEXICO are exempt from the per-country limit.


Family Categories - Application Acceptance Dates

 

All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed

China – Mainland born

India

Mexico

Philippines

1st

22 Jul 11

22 Jul 11

22 Jul 11

01 Apr 96

08 Sep 07

2A

08 Apr 16 

08 Apr 16

08 Apr 16

 08 Apr 1608 Apr 16

2B

01 Sep 11 

01 Sep 11

01 Sep 11

08 Aug 96

22 Jul 07

3rd

01 Dec 05

01 Dec 05

01 Dec 05

01 May 95

01 Feb 95

4th

15 Nov 04

15 Nov 04

22 Jun 04

08 Jan 98

08 Feb 95




Employment Categories - Application Final Action Date


All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed

China – Mainland born

 

El Salvador

Guatemala

Honduras

India

Mexico

Philippines

1st

C

01 Jan 12

C

01 Jan 12

C

C

2nd

C

01 Mar 13

C

01 Jul 08

C

C

3rd

15 Apr 17

01 Oct 14

15 Apr 17

15 May 05

15 Apr 17

01 May13

Other Workers

15 Apr 17

15 Jul 06

15 Apr 17

15 May 05

15 Apr 17

01 May 13

4th

C

C

15 Jul 15

C

15 Jul 15

C

Certain Religious Workers

C

C

15 Jul 15

C

15 Jul 15

C

5th Non-Regional Center (C5 and T5)

C

08 Jun 14

C

C

C

C

5th Regional Center (I5 and R5)

C

08 Jun 14

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.



Employment Categories - Application Acceptance Dates

 

All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed

China – Mainland born

India

Mexico

Philippines

1st

C

C

C

C

C

2nd

C

01 Oct 13

01 Feb 09

C

C

3rd

C

01 Sep 14

22 Apr 06

C

01 Jul 14

Other Workers

C

01 Jun 08

22 Apr 06

C

01 Jul 14

4th

C

C

C

C

C

Certain Religious Workers

C

C

C

C

C

5th Non-Regional Center (C5 and T5)

C

01 Sep 14

C

C

C

5th Regional Center (I5 and R5)

C

01 Sep 14

C

C

C


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






Temporary Protected Status for Hondurans and Nicaraguans.

                  Posted October 18, 2014


Temporary Protected Status (TPS) has been extended for an additional 18 months for eligible nationals of Honduras and Nicaragua. The extended TPS period is January 6, 2015 through July 5, 2016. Hondurans and Nicaraguans who currently hold TPS must re-register during the 60-day re-registration period that runs from October 16, 2014 through December 15, 2014.


Haitian Family Reunification Parole (HFRP)Program.

                  Posted October 18, 2014


On October 17, 2014, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that a Haitian Family Reunification Parole (HFRP) Program will be implemented in 2015. Once implemented, the program will allow certain Haitian individuals who are the beneficiaries of approved family-based immigrant visa petitions to enter the United States up to two years before their priority date is current. The complete news release is available at the USCIS website.



Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians.

Posted May 3, 2014

The TPS designation for Haiti has been granted an18-month extension for individuals who are approved for the status and extension. The new TPS designation period is from July 23, 2014 through January 22, 2016. Currently there are about 51,000 Haitians in the United States that must re-register. The re-registration period for Haitians who have already been granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) has been extended. The new deadline to re-register is July 22, 2014.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has automatically extended the validity of Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) for eligible Haitian TPS beneficiaries through January 22, 2015.

For more information on the re-register process, visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website.


Looming Government Shutdown

Posted September 28, 2013

The Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013 allocated appropriations to fund the federal government. These appropriations will expire on Monday, September 30, 2013 at 11:59 pm unless a new agreement is made. If the appropriations expire without a new agreement being reached, the federal government will go into partial shutdown on October 1, 2013.

For individuals with pending immigration cases or those contemplating applying for immigration benefits, the inevitable (and understandable) question is “How will this affect my case?”

As of yesterday, the Department of Homeland security published their plans. Many of the Department’s functions will continue because the functions are either deemed necessary for safety or are self funded. Specifically, Border Security Programs, Ports of Entry Operations, and Immigration Enforcement and Removal Operations are deemed necessary for safety and the protection of life and property – thus the operations will not be shut down. The Office of Biometric Identity Management and Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) have other funding sources and will also continue to operate. However, individuals and business will be unable to access E-Verify if there is a shutdown.

The Department of State (DOS) receives some appropriations that are one-year, two-year, or no-year funds. If there are no appropriations made before October 1, 2013, offices supported by single-year appropriations will begin to shutdown. In 2011, this meant, routine passport issuance and routine visa issuance stopped. Emergency consular/visa services continued. The emergency visa services included nonimmigrant visas for life and death situations, medical emergencies, and diplomatic emergencies; immigrant visa applications for the adoption of children with serious medical issues; and immigrant visa cases in which the beneficiary was close to turning 21 and risked aging out of his or her visa.


2015 Diversity Visa Program

Posted September 28, 2013

Online registration for the 2015 Diversity Visa Program will begin on Tuesday, October 1, 2013 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT). The registration period ends on Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT). For details, visit the U.S. Department of State website here.



Telephone Scam Targets Immigrants and Their Families

Posted August 31, 2013

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that they have learned of a new telephone scam targeting USCIS applicants and petitioners. According to USCIS, scammers pose as USCIS officials and request personal identity information. The scammer states that there are issues with the individual's immigration records and asks for payment to correct the record.

If you receive a call like this, USCIS suggests that you say "no, thank you" and hang up.

As a reminder, USCIS never asks for any form of payment or personal information over the telephone. Do not give payment or personal information over the phone to anyone who claims to be a USCIS official.

If you have been the victim of a telephone scam, USCIS suggests that you report it to the Federal Trade Commission at https://www.ftccomplaintsassistant.gov/, or report the scam to an appropriate state authority. Information on where to report scams in your state can be found at www.uscis.gov/avoidscams.


Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is Unconstitutional

Posted July 1, 2013

On June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)(a law barring the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages legalized by the states) is unconstitutional. The Court in United States v. Windsor held that DOMA deprives individuals of the "equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment." The Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, has stated that the Department "will implement today's decision so that all married couples will be treated equally and fairly in the administration of our immigration laws."
 

 

Deferred Enforced Departure Extended for Liberians

Posted March 23, 2013

Since 1991, the United States has provided safe haven for Liberians who were forced to flee their country as a result of armed conflict and widespread civil strife, in part through granting Temporary Protected Status (TPS). The armed conflict ended in 2003 and conditions improved such that TPS ended effective October 1, 2007. President Bush then deferred the enforced departure (DED) for 18 months for certain Liberians originally granted TPS.

DED allows qualified individuals to remain in the United States for limited periods of time. DED is not an immigration status. During the DED period, qualified individuals generally may also apply for work authorization.  Work authorization was granted to DED-covered Liberians.

In March 2009, President Obama extended DED for Liberians an additional 12 months. In March 2010, August 2011 and, most recently, March 2013, President Obama extended DED for Liberians an additional 18 months each time. The most recent DED extension runs from April 1, 2013, through September 30, 2014.


Eligibility criteria for Liberian DED:

  • Liberian national, or someone with no nationality (stateless) who last resided in Liberia;
  • In the United States;
  • Have lived in the United States since October 1, 2002;
  • Had TPS on September 30, 2007;
  • Were covered by DED on March 31, 2013; and 
  • Are not otherwise ineligible for DED.


Ineligible Individuals:

Certain individuals are ineligible for DED, including:

  • Liberians who did not have Temporary Protected Status on Sept. 30, 2007, and are therefore not covered under current DED;
  • Certain criminals;
  • Persons subject to the mandatory bars to Temporary Protected Status;
  • Persons whose removal is in the interest of the United States;
  • Persons whose presence or activities in the United States would have potentially serious adverse foreign policy consequences for the United States;
  • Persons who have voluntarily returned to Liberia or his or her country of last habitual residence outside the United States;
  • Persons who have been deported, excluded, or removed from the United States prior to March 15, 2013; and
  • Persons who are subject to extradition.

 

Work Authorization

DED beneficiaries who want permission to work in the United States must apply for an employment authorization document (EAD).

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced its intention to automatically extend employment authorization documents for Liberian nationals covered under Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) through Sept. 30, 2013. The six-month automatic extension of existing EADs will permit eligible Liberians to continue working while they file their applications for new EADs that will cover the full 18 months of the DED extension through Sept. 30, 2014.

USCIS will begin accepting applications for employment authorization documents on March 21, 2013. Electronic filing is not available for employment authorization applications based on DED.

 

Travel Outside the United States

Travel authorization may be provided as a benefit to DED-Liberian beneficiaries. Before travel outside of the United States, DED-Liberian beneficiaries must file for advance parole. If granted, advance parole gives the applicant permission to leave the United States and return during a specified period. DED-Liberian beneficiaries who leave the United States without first receiving advanced parole may no longer be eligible for DED and may not be permitted to re-enter the United States.

Possession of an advance parole document does not guarantee that an individual will be permitted to reenter the United States, as that is a decision that will be made by an immigration officer at the port of entry.

DED-Liberian beneficiaries who return to Liberia or their country of last habitual residence (even with an advanced parole) may be considered as voluntarily returning to Liberia, and therefore no longer eligible for DED.


For more information on DED, please visit www.uscis.gov, follow us on Twitter (@tmpowerswlaw) or like us on Facebook.

 

 

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Syrians.

Posted Mar. 27, 2012

Syria has been designated for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Syria will retain TPS designation for 18 months. The effective dates for the designation, as well as dates, eligibility requirements and procedures for the TPS registration process, have not been published yet. Applications should not be submitted until the designation becomes effective.

 

H-2A and H-2B Programs - New Countries Designated to Participate

 Posted January 15, 2011 

The H-2A visa program allows employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary or seasonal agricultural jobs.  The H-2B visa program allows employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States for temporary or seasonal nonagricultural jobs. When petitioning for either the H-2A or H-2B visa, employers must demonstrate that no United States workers are available.  Additionally, employers must demonstrate that hiring a foreign national will not adversely impact wages or working conditions of similarly situated U.S. employees.

With few exceptions, H-2A and H-2B petitions are approved only for nationals of countries designated as eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B programs. A new list of eligible countries will be published on January 18, 2011. Fifty-three (53) countries will be designated.  The designations will be valid for one year from the date of publication.

The countries eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B programs are:  Argentina, Australia, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Kiribati, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Mexico, Moldova, Nauru, The Netherlands, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Samoa, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, South Korea, Tonga, Turkey, Tuvalu, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay, and Vanuatu.  The countries underlined were designated for the first time this year. Indonesia has been removed from the list.

Individuals who currently hold valid H-2A or H-2B visas are not affected by the new list.

 

 

New Application and Petition Fees

Posted November 27, 2010

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) new fee schedule went into effect November 23, 2010.  Applications or petitions postmarked on or after this date will be rejected if the new fee is not included. Visit the USCIS webpage for a complete list of new fees.

 

Re-registration for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Nationals of Somalia

 Posted November 27, 2010

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for eligible nationals of Somalia has been extended from the current expiration of March 17, 2011, through Sept. 17, 2012.

Nationals of Somalia and individuals having no nationality who last habitually resided in Somalia who have been granted TPS must re-register to maintain their status beyond March 17, 2011. The re-registration period began November 2, 2010 and will end on January 3, 2011.

Somali nationals who entered the United States after September 4, 2001 are not eligible.

 


Puerto Rico Birth Certificates

 Posted September 12, 2010


To combat fraud and protect the identity and credit of people born in Puerto Rico, the Government of Puerto Rico, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of State (DOS) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), enacted a new law calling for the issuance of new security enhanced birth certificates.

After September 30, 2010, all certified copies of Puerto Rico birth certificates issued prior to July 1, 2010, will become invalid. This does not affect an individuals’ citizenship status.

Individuals born in Puerto Rico may request a new certified birth certificate by visiting www.pr.gov. To make an online request, applicants will need an email account. The fee for the new birth certificate is $5.00 plus $1.50 for shipping and handling; however, the new certificate is free of charge for individuals 60 years of age or older or individuals who are veterans. Applicants must submit a copy of a current government issued photo identification (for example, a Driver's license or Passport). Additional documents may also be required if the applicant’s name has changed, if the name on the birth certificate does not match the name on the government issued photo identification card provided, or if the applicant is a veteran.

Individuals may also apply for the new birth certificate via mail. The application form and directions are available in English or Spanish

 

Emergency Border Security Law Substantially Increases Fees for Certain H-1B and L-1 Petitions.

Posted Aug. 22, 2010

For employers with 50 or more employees in the United States, the H-1B and L-1 filing and fraud prevention and detection fees have been raised if more than 50% of the employees located in the United States are in H-1B or L nonimmigrant status. The fee increase came into effect on August 13, 2010 when President Barak Obama signed the Emergency Border Security Bill into law. The $600 million emergency spending bill states that the fee increases are necessary to meet emergency needs.

The consequences for some United States employers may be significant. For employers who meet the criteria of more than 50 employees in the United States with 50% or more of those employees in H-1B or L nonimmigrant status, the new law adds an additional $2,000 filing and fraud prevention and detection fee for H-1B petitions and $2,250 for L-1A and L-1B petitions. The fee increase will remain in effect until September 30, 2014.

The Emergency Border Security bill provides additional funds to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for salaries and expenses including hiring additional CBP Officers for the Southwest border of the United States. Additional funds are also allocated to CBP for fencing, infrastructure, technology, acquisition and deployment of unmanned aircraft systems and the construction of up to two operating bases.

The bill provides U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) additional funds for salaries and expenses that are to be utilized for law enforcement activities to reduce threats of violence along the Southwest United States border.

Finally, the Department of Justice (DOJ) is to receive additional funding for, inter alia, Administrative Review and Appeals, legal activities, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Federal Prison System. 

Re-registration for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Nationals of El Salvador.

Posted Aug. 22, 2010

Nationals of El Salvador (and persons without nationality who last habitually resided in El Salvador), who have Temporary Protected Status (“TPS”), must file their re-registration applications for TPS before the end of the re-registration period on Sept. 7, 2010. TPS for El Salvador has been extended for 18-months and will remain in effect through March 9, 2012.  Nationals of El Salvador who have received TPS previously and fail to file a TPS re-registration application during the re-registration period, without good cause, will have their TPS benefits withdrawn. TPS benefits include employment authorization and protection from removal from the United States.

 




 

The Law Office of Tanya M. Powers, PLLC ("the Law Office") maintains this website to provide general information about the firm and the services it provides to its clients.  The information contained on this website is not intended to be legal advice and it should not be relied on as a substitute for seeking legal counsel.

 

 

Call us today at (704) 556-1156 for the Charlotte office,

(828) 394-1196 for the Hickory office

or

follow this link to request more information or a consultation.

 



 

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Law Office of Tanya M. Powers, PLLC ♦ tanya.powers@tmpowerslaw.com

520 8th Street NE ♦ Hickory, NC 28601 ♦ (828) 394-1196

5200 Park Road, Suite 221 ♦ Charlotte, NC 28209  ♦ (704) 556-1156

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