February 2014

From the Editor's Desk

Hello and welcome to the February 2014 Immigration Newsletter!

We are now just about 30 days away from the beginning of the FY 2015 H1B cap filing season!

The race for the FY 2015 H1B cap filings has long started and there is a lot of excitement in the air with everyone gearing up to file their H-1B cases on time. As we approach the April 1 H-1B milestone, the consensus among employers and immigration practitioners is that FY 2015 will be one of the most competitive H1B cap seasons in recent history.

The importance of timely filing H1B cap petitions on April 1, 2014 is not missed by anyone. Failure to ensure timely filing of the H1B cap petitions within the first week of April will most certainly result in the employer being unable to bring in new employees under the H-1B program until October 1, 2015 (employers should not be pinning their hopes on comprehensive immigration reform this year). Employers are well advised to plan and file their H-1B petitions on April 1, 2014, to ensure that their petitions have the greatest chance to be included in the H1B lottery. If you are an employer considering petitioning for an H-1B employee in April 2014, Contact VisaPro immediately to get started on FY 2015 H1B cap filings.

Continuing our endeavor to help you achieve success this H-1B filing season, we have developed numerous resources to help you gain valuable insights on how to effectively put your H-1B filing plans into action. To help you get started, we have presented the most successful components of an H-1B filing plan in our H1B Visa 2015 Timeline Template, with offers step-by-step advice for successful H-1B filings. Our H-1B cap 2015 filing tips and best practices section features practical tips and suggestions on how to increase the chances of H-1B lottery selection and approvals. We believe our H1B cap 2015 filing resources will help you effectively plan your H1B filings.

Download VisaPro’s H-1B Visa 2015 Timeline Template

What are your chances of being selected?

The competition for new H-1B’s will be intense this FY 2015 filing season.

A clear understanding of what to expect is crucial in effectively planning your H-1B filings and improving the chances of your H-1B petitions getting selected.

Download VisaPro’s FREE H1B Visa 2015 Predictions Template to gain exclusive knowledge on what are the chances of your petition being selected in the H1B visa lottery and how to improve your chances of selection and approvals.

You may also benefit from our FREE 2015 H1B Cap Filing Plan Consultation, in which we’ll talk you through your priorities and recommend strategies for the upcoming H-1B Cap filing season based on our attorneys’ near 100% success rates. Schedule your FREE H1B Cap 2015 Filing Plan Consultation today to see how VisaPro can increase your chances of H1B lottery selection and approvals.

In other notable developments, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have just opened a new Preclearance location at Abu Dhabi International Airport in the United Arab Emirates. A CBP preclearance inspection is the same inspection that an international traveler would undergo when entering the U.S. except that it takes place outside the U.S. In addition to this location, the CBP has several other preclearance locations in Canada, Dublin, Ireland, the Bahamas and Bermuda. After clearing this inspection abroad, international travelers can then enter the U.S. as if they were disembarking from a U.S. domestic flight and would generally not have to go through CBP inspection again. They can go directly to baggage claim or quickly make transfers to onward going flights. The addition of this new preclearance location is expected to ease travel for countless travelers coming to the U.S. from the Middle East region as well as many locations throughout Asia and Africa as many flights now connect through Abu Dhabi. Preclearance inspections are only available for travelers to select destinations in the U.S. at this time so make sure to speak with your carrier to see if you will be eligible for preclearance inspection in Abu Dhabi.

In employment-based visa news, the Department of State (DOS) has published a Final Rule in the Federal Register amending its regulation pertaining to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) by removing the petition requirement for citizens of Mexico applying for TN classification. Citizens of Mexico wishing to come to the United States in TN classification no longer need an approved petition to meet the qualification requirements but may apply directly to the Embassy or Consulate abroad for a visa. The Consular officer will adjudicate eligibility for TN classification and upon approval and issuance of a visa, the applicant may seek admission into the US on TN visa classification.

In an important update to be taken note of by E-1/ E-2 visa applicants, the U.S. Consulate General in Toronto has implemented new document submission procedures that go into effect on March 1, 2014. Applicants with new cases and renewals will be required to email the supporting documentation immediately after booking the online appointment. Applicants will need to e-mail a comprehensive package of information for review by consular staff at least two weeks in advance of the interview appointment date. In addition to the electronic submission, the applicant also needs to bring a physical copy of the entire package for the officer to review at the time of interview. E visa applicants should therefore make sure to check out the new procedures before submitting their applications to the U.S. Consulate in Toronto.

February saw USCIS releasing a revised Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. The revised Form N-400 includes additional questions and 2D barcode technology at the bottom of each page. USCIS has also announced that as of May 5, 2014, it will no longer accept older versions of Form N-400 and will reject and return previous versions of Form N-400 submitted after that date. It must also be noted that only the form is revised. Eligibility requirements for naturalization have not changed and remain the same.

In some Department of Labor (DOL) related development, the OFLC Chicago National Processing Center (NPC) has deactivated certain email boxes to implement DOL’s IT modernization initiative and new cloud computing requirements. Accordingly, H2A.AmendExtend.Chicago@dol.gov, H2A.AbandonmentTermination.Chicago@dol.gov, H-2B.Amend-Extend.Chicago@dol.gov and H2B.AbandonmentTermination.Chicago@dol.gov email boxes were deactivated on February 3, 2014. H-2A and H-2B employers who need to request amendments/extensions or submit notices of worker abandonments and terminations must now use the TLC.Chicago@dol.gov mailbox, and include “Amend and Extend” or “Abandonment and Termination”, as applicable, in the “Subject” line of the e-mail. Employers may also continue to submit these requests via fax or U.S. mail.

Immigration Articles and Other Fun Stuff:

Our ‘Featured Video‘ for this month is “H1B LCA – Labor Condition Application: An Overview”, in which we present the four standard attestations that the employer must make, and how the employer must document the compliance with the LCA requirements in a public access file. Please check out and subscribe to our YouTube channel to take advantage of another great service provided to you by VisaPro.

Check out our ‘In Focus’ article for this month titled “5 Common H1B 2015 Filing Mistakes – How to Avoid Them” to learn all about how to avoid the most common mistakes committed by employers which can seriously affect the outcome of your H-1B petitions.

Every month we introduce a new and interesting question for our opinion poll. Results of our previous poll indicate that a large majority of the respondents (83%) think that the FY 2015 H-1B Cap filing figures will far outnumber those from last year. We continue to appreciate that people take interest in the opinion question and cast their votes to give us their feedback. Keep it up! And continue to cast your vote to express Your Opinion.

We also congratulate Sikandar for winning last month’s Immigration Quiz. While we received more than one correct response to the quiz question, Sikandar gave the best answer and won a free online consultation to discuss the concerned Immigration issues. It’s time to get ready for this month’s quiz. If you know the correct answer your name might be featured in next month’s newsletter. All the Best!!!

See you next month with a lot more noise from the Immigration World!

Latest Immigration News

March 2014 Visa Bulletin: EB-3 Priority Dates Advance for All Countries

In the recently published U.S. Department of State Visa Bulletin for March 2014, the EB-2 priority dates remained current in respect to all countries other than India and mainland China. The EB-2 priority date remained at 11/15/04 in respect to India and advanced from 01/08/09 to 02/15/09 in respect to mainland China. EB-3 priority dates also advanced marginally for all countries including India.

USCIS Centralizes Civil Surgeon Application Process

USCIS has announced that starting on March 11, 2014, it will implement a new process to receive and adjudicate applications for civil surgeon designation centrally at the National Benefits Center. Once the new process goes into effect, physicians seeking civil surgeon designation will need to complete Form I-910, Application for Civil Surgeon Designation, and pay a $615 filing fee.

February's Featured Articles

5 Common H1B Cap 2015 Filing Mistakes - How to Avoid Them

The competition for new H1B cap 2015 filing’s this FY 2015 filing season is going to be even more intense than the previous years. In the rush to get the H1B petitions timely filed, employers often commit avoidable mistakes that can seriously affect the outcome of the case. Along with timely filing, strict adherence to relevant filing requirements is essential to ensure that a petition selected in the H1B lottery is not rejected or denied due to incomplete or improper filing. For the benefit of employers, we present in this article the common H1B filing mistakes made by employers and how to avoid them.

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Questions and Answers


I have recently graduated with bachelors in computer science from Sri Lanka. I do not have any work experience yet. A US company is offering me a position and are [sic] ready to sponsor me on H-1B. Can you let me know if not having any prior work experience make [sic] me ineligible for an H-1B?


An applicant is not necessarily required to have prior work experience in order to be eligible for an H-1B. In order to qualify for an H-1B, the applicant must have at least a U.S. bachelor’s degree or its equivalent, but there is no minimum work experience requirement prescribed for the H-1B visa. Moreover, the position that is being offered to you must be such that a bachelor’s degree or higher or its equivalent in a specific field of study must normally be the minimum requirement for entry into the position and you must have a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent in the related field. You may have the position that is being offered to you reviewed by an immigration attorney to ascertain whether it would qualify for an H-1B or not.


My company had filed an L-1 for me last year and it is still pending. We received an RFE and have responded to it. Meanwhile, my company is now considering if it should file an H-1B for me now. Is that possible?


While there may be no bar to filing for an H-1B while an L-1 petition is pending, the purpose and necessity to resort to such a strategy needs to be thoroughly analyzed before any plans are contemplated. There are many factors to be considered, including the nature of position(s) that is being offered, job duties, salary offered etc. It further appears that you have received an RFE on your L-1 case. The information you have provided is insufficient to make an in-depth analysis of whether an H-1B would even be possible. Your employer should consult an immigration attorney to have the situation thoroughly reviewed, including the queries raised in the RFE and responses submitted, to be able to make an informed decision on whether filing an H-1B is practical, suitable, and or warranted in the current situation. Acting on your own without consulting with an attorney in such situations may be highly detrimental.

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