Hello and welcome to the September 2012 Immigration Newsletter!
As the last month of the 2012 Fiscal Year winds down, we take this time to remember U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher J. Stephens, Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith as well as Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods. On a day when Americans all over the world were solemnly marking the 11th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks, these brave individuals were killed in an attack on the U.S. Consulate at Benghazi, Libya. We join the rest of the world in offering our condolences to the families of the victims. U.S. Consulates around the world were targeted, and embassy staff were exposed to grave risks. Protests and security breaches have forced suspension of work at many of these Consulates. In addition to hundreds of innocent lives being endangered, the Consulate closings have also resulted in delays in visa processing which affects not only visa applicants but also family members and businesses in the U.S. We hope that normalcy is restored soon, and that all Consulates will once again become safe and secure for all embassy staff, and resume helping visa applicants from all over the world.
In other news, on the legislative front, the ‘STEM Jobs Act of 2012’, a bill introduced by Representative Smith of Texas, was voted down by the House of Representatives on September 20, 2012. The Bill would have created new visa categories for foreign national students with advanced degrees in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). The sticking point for many of the opponents of the bill was the elimination of the Diversity Visa Program (Green Card Lottery Program) so that there would be no net gain of immigrant visas issues per year. There are, however, a few other bills still being considered which also proposes the creation of additional immigrant visas for similarly placed foreign national STEM graduates with Advanced Degrees. Considering that the EB-2 priority dates for India and China are backed up to September 2004 and July 2007 respectively, it is hoped that Congress will vote favorably on any one of them.
In a notable travel update, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) has confirmed that it is experiencing delays in processing foreign visitors’ travel information into the I-94 database. This has been deemed the cause for an increasing number of non-confirmations of work authorizations for employers using the E-Verify system. USCBP has also informed stakeholders that it is exploring automating the Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record to allow for the collection of arrival/departure information electronically and is coordinating with other agency stakeholders and considering rulemaking. The CBP will continue to provide updates regarding the Form I-94 process and any changes that may be implemented by CBP. We are monitoring the developments in this regard and will in turn update our readers as and when we receive further information from CBP in this regard.
The DOS announced that the 2014 Diversity Visa Program (DV-2014) will officially open for registration at noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) on October 2, 2012, and will close at noon, EDT, on November 3, 2012. Applicants must submit entries electronically during this registration period using the electronic DV entry form (E-DV). An online process to notify entrants of their selection will be implemented and beginning May 1, 2013, DV-2014 entrants will be able to check online to see if their entry was selected. While natives of Guatemala will be eligible to enter the program this year, natives of Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam remain ineligible to apply. The DOS also warns all applicants to be aware of SCAMS across the internet preying on individuals eager to register for the DV-Lottery program.
On the Employment Based Green Cards front, in the recently published U.S. Department of State Visa Bulletin for October 2012, the EB-2 priority dates advanced to 01 January, 2012 from 01 January, 2009 in September 2012 Visa Bulletin in respect of all countries other than India and mainland China. The EB-2 priority date for India and mainland China stand at 09/01/04 and 07/15/07 respectively. Meanwhile, the EB-3 priority dates advanced marginally for all countries except China in EB-3 Other Workers category and Philippines in both EB-3 Professionals and Skilled Workers, and Other Workers category.
VisaPro Team travels the world educating foreign companies and entrepreneurs about doing business in the U.S.
We are happy to share with you that our next stop is India. VisaPro Team is presenting an inspiring full-day workshop Doing Business in the U.S. – Successful Market Entry, Incorporation, Immigration and Tax Strategies at 6 major cities in India [New Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai]. Our experts and attorneys share their knowledge about doing business in the United States – the legal requirements, challenges and opportunities, failures and successes, plus insights and practical advice about building lasting businesses. Key topics in the workshop include:
- Incorporation, Banking and Sales Strategies
- Successfully Preparing & Filing B-1, H-1B, L-1, O-1 and Green Cards
- Employment and Immigration Compliance
- Global Mobility and Staffing Challenges
- How to Avoid Costly Mistakes and Receive More Immigration Approvals
Reserve your place in this popular Workshop today. Seating at this highly interactive Workshop is limited.
Other Developments in Immigration Law:
U.S. Embassy-India announces new system for visa processing
The United States Embassy in India has announced that it is introducing a new visa processing system for the Embassy and all the consulates (new visa processing system) aimed at simplifying fee payment and appointment scheduling. The website contains information about nonimmigrant and immigrant visas, as well as information about payment of fees and appointment scheduling. Applicants for nonimmigrant visas will be also be able to schedule their appointments by calling the call center designated by the Embassy or Consulate.
3 Year Multiple-Entry Visas to become the standard terms for Russians visiting U.S.
The U.S. Embassy in Moscow has announced that starting September 9, 2012, Russian and American travelers for business or tourism will be eligible to receive visas valid for multiple entries during a period of 36 months. Three-year, multiple-entry visas will become the standard, default term for U.S. citizens visiting Russia and Russian citizens visiting the United States and no formal invitation will be required to apply for a business or tourism visa. Further, on September 9, the $100 visa issuance or visa reciprocity fee for U.S. visas for business or tourism will fall to $20. However, the $160 application fee will still apply, and validity and fees for other visa types will not change.
Immigration Articles and Other Fun Stuff:
Our ‘Featured Video’ for this month titled, “H1B Portability: How Can You Change Employers Freely?” showcases all the do’s and don’ts of changing employers freely using H-1B portability provisions. Please check out and subscribe to our YouTube channel to take advantage of another great service provided to you by VisaPro.
Also check out our In Focus article for this month titled “The O-1 Extraordinary Ability Visa: An Overview” in which we present an overview of the O-1 visa requirements and the O-1 visa process, along with a few important features of the O-1 visa.
Every month we introduce a new and interesting question for our opinion poll. Last month’s poll results indicate that a majority of respondents (85%) welcome the Administration’s decision to consider granting Deferred Action for certain qualified childhood arrivals. 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 Jayanthi for winning last month’s Immigration Quiz. Jayanthi 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!