A blog about U.S. immigration matters by Paul Szeto, a former INS attorney and an experienced immigration attorney and counsel. Contact Info: 732-632-9888, http://www.1visa1.com/ (All information is not legal advice and is subject to change without prior notice.)

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Filipino WW II Veterans Parole Program Is Finally Here!

If you are one of the many thousands of Filipino nationals who are waiting for a visa number to immigrate to the U.S., the wait could be over if you are a family member of a Filipino national who fought in the World War II.  Beginning June 8, 2016, Filipino World War II veteran family members whose immigration visa petitions have been approved may be able to be "paroled" into the United States, according to the USCIS.   
This parole policy was first announced by the Obama Administration as part of its executive actions for immigration reform in November 2014.  There are approximately 2,000 to 6,000 Filipino-American World War II veterans who are living in the United States today.  However, despite their status as U.S. citizens and legal residents, their family members usually must wait for decades before they can immigrate to the U.S. due to visa number limitations. As a result, these Filipino veterans must be separated from their family members indefinitely.  The new policy will allow their family members to enter the U.S. while waiting for a visa number to be available; it will also provide the much needed care and support for these aging veterans.  

According to USCIS, each case will be reviewed individually to determine if parole is warranted. It is important to note that it is a discretionary parole, meaning that not all cases will be approved.  Further, even after parole is authorized by USCIS, when the family member arrives at a port of entry, the Custom and Border Patrol (CBP) will review the case again before granting parole. 
Under the new policy, you may still seek parole on your own even if your veteran family member and his/her spouse are both deceased.  Once you are paroled into the U.S., you will be allowed to stay and work while waiting for your final immigration. 

Visa Bulletin Predictions by Charlie Oppenheim - June 2016 and Onward

As usual, the State Department's Charlie Oppenheim provided his monthly predictions and insights following the publication of the June monthly visa bulletin to AILA.  Charlie's discussions of the trends and future movements of the visa bulletin are particularly important for immigration attorneys and intending immigrants to plan their cases accordingly.  The following are the highlights for this month:

Employment 1st Demand and Impact to Other Categories:  Charlie expects demand for EB-1 Worldwide visas remains to be very high, hinting that a cut-off dates may be a possibility in the future.   If that happens, other categories will likely to be impacted negatively too. 

Employment 2nd India:  EB-2 India final action date retrogressed from November 8, 2008 (in May) to October 1, 2004 (in June) partially because of upgrades from EB-3.  Charlie continues to discuss about his inability to get better visibility of the visa usage under the mechanism of adjustment of status.  

Employment 2nd and 3rd, China: As predicted previously, the final action date for both EB-2 and EB-3 China will retrogress to January 1, 2010, in June. The cut-off date will not likely change through the end of this fiscal year.  This will stop the "downgrade phenomenon", according to Charlie. 

Employment 4th and Certain Religious Workers (SR):  The final action date of January 1, 2010 will likely to remain for El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. 

Employment 4th India and Mexico: These categories will "definitely" oversubscribe during the summer. Retrogression will occur sooner or later.  Charlie said a January 1, 2010 cut-off date will be imposed when that happens.  For India, a high demand for religious worker visas partially causes the problem.  For Mexico, demand for EB-4 visas is caused by high numbers of Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJS) filings. 

Family 4th India:  Demand has been high.  Visa usage is approaching the annual country cap.  The current cut-off date of January 1, 2001 will not likely advance for the remainder of the fiscal year.  In fact, this category may retrogress as early as June.

Family 4th China: The final action date for FB-4 China will retrogress in June to January 1, 2003 due to extremely high demand.  However, Charlie opined that, unlike FB-4 India, advancement is still possible for FB-4 China before October.

Monday, May 16, 2016

June 2016 Visa Bulletin: Major Retrogression in EB-2 India, EB-2/EB-3 China

 

In the June 2016 Visa Bulletin, there are major setback in the employment categories.  

The Final Action date for EB-2 India moves back 4 years and 2 months to 10/01/2004.
The Final Action date for EB-2 China moves back 2 years and 9 months to 01/01/2010.
The Final Action date for EB-3 China moves back 3 years and 8 months to 01/01/2010.

Retrogression was somewhat predicted by DOS’s Charlie Oppenheim before as an ongoing trend. Hopefully this will be a temporary setback. 

However, the Final Action date for China's Other Worker advances 1 year and 4 months to 08/01/2009.  The Final Action date for India's EB-3 also moves forward by 3 weeks to 09/22/2004.

Most family categories' Final Action dates advance moderately. China and India's F1 move forward by 2 months; F2B move forward by 1 and 1/2 months. But China's F4 moves backward by 7 months to 01/01/2003. India's F4 moves backward by 2 years and 7 months to 01/01/2001. 

The F2A Filing Date moves advances by 4 months to 10/15/2015 for China, India, Philippines and Other Countries.


AD: Dates for Final Action (Approval)
FD : Dates for Filing Applications

FAMILY
Other Countries
China
India
Mexico
Philippines
F1
AD
01/15/2009
01/15/2009
01/15/2009
02/22/1995
12/22/2004
FD
10/01/2009
10/01/2009
10/01/2009
04/01/1995
09/01/2005
F2A
AD
11/08/2014
11/08/2014
11/08/2014
09/01/2014
11/08/2014
FD
10/15/2015
10/15/2015
10/15/2015
10/15/2015
10/15/2015
F2B
AD
10/22/2009
10/22/2009
10/22/2009
09/08/1995
06/01/2005
FD
12/15/2010
12/15/2010
12/15/2010
05/15/1996
01/01/2006
F3
AD
12/01/2004
12/01/2004
12/01/2004
10/22/1994
02/01/1994
FD
08/01/2005
08/01/2005
08/01/2005
05/01/1995
08/01/1995
F4
AD
08/08/2003
01/01/2003
01/01/2001
04/15/1997
12/01/1992
FD
05/01/2004
05/01/2004
05/01/2004
06/01/1998
04/01/1993

1st: Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Citizens (about 23,000 per year).
2A: The 2 "A" preference is for Spouses and Children (under 21 & unmarried) of LPR's.
2B: The 2 "B" Preference is for Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 or older) of LPR's.
3rd: Married Sons and Daughters of Citizens.(about 23,000 per year)
4th: Brothers and Sisters of Adult Citizens.(about 65,000 per year)


EMPLOYMENT
Other Countries
China
India
Mexico
Philippines
EB1
AD
C
C
C
C
C
FD
C
C
C
C
C
EB2
AD
C
01/01/2010
10/01/2004
C
C
FD
C
06/01/2013
07/01/2009
C
C
EB3
AD
02/15/2016
01/01/2010
09/22/2004
02/15/2016
11/01/2008
FD
C
05/01/2015
07/01/2005
C
01/01/2010
Other Workers
AD
02/15/2016
04/22/2007
09/22/2004
02/15/2016
11/01/2008
FD
C
08/01/2009
07/01/2005
C
01/01/2010
EB4
AD
C
C
C
C
C
FD
C
C
C
C
C
EB5
AD
C
02/15/2014
C
C
C
FD
C
05/01/2015
C
C
C

1st: Priority Workers (Extraordinary ability aliens, multinational companies executives/managers, outstanding prof./researchers)
2nd: Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability.
3rd: Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers (Unskilled.)
4th: "Special Immigrants" (Religious & others)
5th: Employment Creation (Investors)


Friday, May 6, 2016

Immigration and Naturalization Filing Fee Increases Proposed

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently proposed to increase the fee charged for each immigration and naturalization benefit request.  For examples: Proposed increase for H-1B base fee (I-129) is $460.00; for naturalization (N-400), $640.00; for family immigration (I-130), $535.00. The agency's last fee increase was November 23, 2010.  The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is primarily a fee-based agency. In order words, its operations and staff are funded by immigration and naturalization benefit request fees charged to applicants and petitioners.  Without the fee increases, USCIS anticipates an average annual shortfall of $560 million in coming years.  

Comments on the proposal can be submitted to DHS by July 5, 2016, via email. (Email USCIS at uscisfrcomment@dhs.gov. Include DHS Docket No.USCIS–2016–0001 in the subject line of the message.).  

 Proposed new fees for selected immigration benefit request:

Immigration benefit request
Current fee ($)
Proposed fee ($)
I-90
Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card
365
455
I-102
Application for Replacement/initial Non-immigrant Arrival-Departure Document
330
445
I-129
Petition for a Non-immigrant worker
325
460
I-129F
Petition for Alien Fiance(e)
340
535
I-130
Petition for Alien Relative
420
535
I-131/131A
Application for Travel Document
360
575
I-140
Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker
580
700
I-290B
Notice of Appeal or Motion
630
675
I-360
Petition for Amerasian Widow(er) or Special Immigrant
405
435
I-485
Application to Adjust Status
985
1140
I-526
Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur
1500
3675
I-539
Application to Extend/Change Non-immigrant Status
290
370
I-601A
Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver
585
630
I-751
Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence
505
595
I-765
Application for Employment Authorization
380
410
I-824
Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition
405
465
I-829
Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions
3750
3750
I-910
Application for Civil Surgeon Designation
615
785
N-400
Application for Naturalization
595
640
N-600/600K
Application for Certificate of Citizenship
600
1170
USCIS Immigration Fee
USCIS Immigrant Fee
165
220
Biometric Services
Biometric Services
85
85