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Visa Programs Extended Through December 9

USCIS announced that it has updated the information for the EB-5 Regional Center (EB-5) and EB-4 Non-Minister Special Immigrant Religious Worker (SR visa) programs in its Adjustment of Status Filing Charts for the October 2016 Visa Bulletin, after President Obama signed Public Law 114-223 on September 29, 2016. DOS also issued a cable on the extension of the EB-5, SR visa, and Conrad State 30 programs. Public Law 114-223 extended these three visa programs, as well as the E-Verify program, until December 9, 2016

Is your Passport Full?

DOS issued a final rule on the elimination of visa page insert service for regular fee U.S. passport book holders. Beginning January 1, 2016, DOS will no longer add visa pages into U.S. passports, and applicants in need of additional pages in their valid passports must obtain a new passport by mail. DOS began issuing 52-page passport books to all overseas U.S. passport applicants at no extra cost in October 2014.

Returned Petitions by DOS

During the call, DOS indicated that less than .5% of nonimmigrant visa petitions and less than 1% of immigrant visa petitions are returned to USCIS for further action. Of note, USCIS stated that it tries to respond within 120 days after a response to a Notice of Intent to Revoke (NOIR) is received, and that expedite is possible, and is reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

The October Visa Bulletin Fiasco

The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington issued an order denying the plaintiffs’ motion for a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the State Department in the class action lawsuit regarding the October 2015 Visa Bulletin. The court’s order stated, “While the Court appreciates the confusion caused by the two Visa Bulletins published in September and the potentially wasted expenses Plaintiffs incurred as a result, because Plaintiffs fail to meet the critical elements for a temporary restraining order at this time, the Court cannot issue injunctive relief.”

New Visa Bulletin

The State Department released the Visa Bulletin for November 2015, including the availability of immigrant numbers for “Application Final Action Dates” (indicating when DOS or USCIS can make a decision on the applications) and “Dates for Filing Applications” (indicating when immigrant visa applicants should be notified to submit required documentation). There was no forward movement from the revised October 2015 Visa Bulletin in the “dates for filing” for the family-based, first and third preference categories for Mexico; the employment-based, second preference categories for mainland China and India; or the employment-based, third preference category for the Philippines.

USCIS and DOS work together to implement change ordered by President Obama

USCIS announced today that, in conjunction with the Department of State (DOS), it is revising the procedures for determining when an application for adjustment of status may be filed, thus implementing part of President Obama’s November 2014 executive actions on immigration. Starting with the Visa Bulletin for October 2015, there are two important dateslisted on the monthly Visa Bulletin: the “filing date,” which determines when individuals can submit their permanent residence applications, and the “final action” date, which indicates when DOS or USCIS can make a decision on the applications

DOS Final Rule on Schedule of Fees for Consular Services

DOS final rule on Schedule of Fees for Consular Services. Specifically, the rule made changes to the Schedule of Fees for Consular Services (Schedule) for a number of different fees. This final rule became effective 02/02/12.

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