USDOS Announces November Priority Dates For Filing Permanent Residency Applications

The following priority dates determine whether an applicant may file for permanent residency during the month of November 2017.

Category Country of Chargeability Priority Date Comment
EB-1 Worldwide Current Unchanged
EB-1 China           Current Unchanged
EB-1 India           Current Unchanged
EB-1 Mexico Current Unchanged
EB-1 Philippines Current Unchanged
EB-2 Worldwide Current Unchanged
EB-2 China June 15, 2013 Advanced 3 weeks
EB-2 India October 8, 2008 Advanced 3 weeks
EB-2 Mexico Current Unchanged
EB-2 Philippines Current Unchanged
EB-3 Worldwide Current Unchanged
EB-3 China February 1, 2014 Advanced 1 month
EB-3 India October 15, 2006 Unchanged
EB-3 Mexico Current Unchanged
EB-3 Philippines January 15, 2016 Advanced 6 weeks

Dan White leads the law practice at The Immigration Group, focusing exclusively on work visas and green cards for companies and their employees. He is a graduate of Vanderbilt Law School and his writings have appeared in the National Law Journal and the Tennessee Bar Journal. Clients include corporations nationwide and in more than 60 countries.

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Spouses of Employment-Based Visa Holders May Now Apply for Work Authorization and Social Security Number via Form I-765

Spouses of employment-based visa holders who hold H-4, L-2 or E status may now apply for work authorization and a Social Security Number via Form I-765, instead of appearing at a local Social Security Administration office. In order to pursue this streamlined option, spouses must answer a few additional biographical questions on the form. The USCIS expects that applicants should receive their Social Security Card within two weeks after their EAD arrives in the mail.

This new option is especially helpful for H-4, L-2, or E spouse visa holders who are coming to the U.S. for their initial entry in that visa category. In those situations, it is most likely that these visa holders will not have Social Security Cards. H-4, L-2, or E spouse visa holders who have been present in that status for months or years most likely already hold Social Security Cards. This new option will also allow visa holders in these categories to apply for replacement Social Security Cards.

Employment-based nonimmigrants present in E-1/2/3, H-1B, H-1B1, L-1, O, P and TN status, however, may not use this option to apply for Social Security Cards. These visa categories must still appear at a local Social Security Administration office.

Our firm will continue to follow this development closely.

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Victoria Gentry is an associate attorney with The Immigration Group, P.C.  practicing exclusively in the areas of work visas and employment-based green cards. She first became interested in immigration law when her stepfather emigrated from El Salvador to the United States. Now she enjoys assisting corporate clients with a variety of immigration needs including international transfers, visa eligibility, and the green card process. She works primarily with professionals in IT, Engineering, Finance, Pharmacy, and Insurance.

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Premium Processing Resumed For All H-1B Petitions

The USCIS has resumed premium processing service (“PPS”) today for all H-1B visa petitions. PPS guarantees a 15-calendar day processing time. If the guaranteed time frame is not met, the $1,225 government filing fee is refunded by the USCIS, which will continue with expedited processing of the petition. PPS was suspended on April 3 of this year. Those with regular processing petitions that are still pending may wish to convert to PPS.

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Premium Processing Resumes for 2018 H-1B Cap Cases

The USCIS has announced that it will accept premium processing requests for all H-1B Cap petitions submitted during the 2018 Fiscal Year Cap. This change applies to petitions that were filed in the H-1B Lottery in April 2017.

This information is especially relevant to foreign workers present in F-1 status with OPT. Many foreign workers selected in the H-1B Lottery are present in the U.S. in F-1 status with OPT and may remain lawfully in the U.S. until their H-1B petition is approved via the Cap Gap. For workers whose Forms I-129 on page 2 show that box 4.b. was selected, and but their petitions have not been approved, they may want to consider filing a premium processing request to receive a decision or Request for Evidence from the government within 14 days. This will minimize the employment gap that may exist between when the foreign worker’s EAD expires and the H-1B approval notice is received.

On June 23, 2017, the USCIS announced that it would accept premium processing requests for some H-1B petitions filed on behalf of physicians and those filed by qualifying nonprofits. The USCIS has not reinstated premium processing for any other petitions, such as H-1B extension or amendment petitions.

Our firm will continue to follow this development closely. If you would like to be included on future updates, subscribe to our firm’s updates by entering your email address on the right-hand panel.

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Victoria Gentry is an associate attorney with The Immigration Group, P.C.  practicing exclusively in the areas of work visas and employment-based green cards. She first became interested in immigration law when her stepfather emigrated from El Salvador to the United States. Now she enjoys assisting corporate clients with a variety of immigration needs including international transfers, visa eligibility, and the green card process. She works primarily with professionals in IT, Engineering, Finance, Pharmacy, and Insurance.

Posted in H1B, Immigration Law | Leave a comment

USDOS Announces October Priority Dates For Filing Permanent Residency Applications

The following priority dates determine whether an applicant may file for permanent residency during the month of October 2017.

Category Country of Chargeability Priority Date Comment
EB-1 Worldwide Current Unchanged
EB-1 China Current Advanced 68.5 months
EB-1 India Current Advanced 68.5 months
EB-1 Mexico Current Unchanged
EB-1 Philippines Current Unchanged
EB-2 Worldwide Current Advanced 20.5 months
EB-2 China May 22, 2013 Advanced 5 weeks
EB-2 India September 15, 2008 Advanced 3 weeks
EB-2 Mexico Current Advanced 20.5 months
EB-2 Philippines Current Advanced 20.5 months
EB-3 Worldwide Current Unchanged
EB-3 China January 1, 2014 Advanced 24 months
EB-3 India October 15, 2006 Advanced 3 months
EB-3 Mexico Current Unchanged
EB-3 Philippines December 1, 2015 Advanced 6 months

Dan White leads the law practice at The Immigration Group, focusing exclusively on work visas and green cards for companies and their employees. He is a graduate of Vanderbilt Law School and his writings have appeared in the National Law Journal and the Tennessee Bar Journal. Clients include corporations nationwide and in more than 60 countries.

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Employment-Based Green Card Applicants Will Be Required To Attend In-Person Interviews

The USCIS has announced that it will require in-person interviews for employment-based I-485 adjustment of status applicants starting October 1, 2017. This requirement is different from the current interview standard, where interviews for employment-based I-485 applicants are typically waived.

This change is a result of the USCIS’s recently altered “comprehensive strategy to further improve the detection and prevention of fraud and further enhance the integrity of the immigration system.” It also is consistent with President Trump’s Executive Order 13780, titled “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States,” which was signed on March 6, 2017.

Although the USCIS has not clarified the specifics of the interviews, we anticipate that the interviews will most likely take place at the nearest USCIS field office and that derivative family member applicants will also be required to attend the interview. Regarding the content of the interview, the USCIS adjudicator will most likely review the I-485 questions and answers with the applicant. If any additional information is required, we anticipate that the USCIS will advise applicants ahead of time on what additional documents to bring.

In addition, our firm expects that this additional hurdle in the green card process will also result in significantly increased processing times for I-485 adjustment of status applications. Currently, the processing times for these petitions is 7 to 12 months. This will likely increase by 6 months or more.

Our firm will continue to follow this new requirement closely. If you would like to be included on future updates, subscribe to our firm’s updates by clicking the ‘follow’ button on the right panel.

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Victoria Gentry is an associate attorney with The Immigration Group, P.C.  practicing exclusively in the areas of work visas and employment-based green cards. She first became interested in immigration law when her stepfather emigrated from El Salvador to the United States. Now she enjoys assisting corporate clients with a variety of immigration needs including international transfers, visa eligibility, and the green card process. She works primarily with professionals in IT, Engineering, Finance, Pharmacy, and Insurance.

Posted in Green cards, Immigration Law, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New Member Spotlight in Tennessee Lawyer’s Association for Women Newsletter

Attorney Victoria Gentry has been featured in the New Member Spotlight as a member of the Tennessee Lawyers Association for Women’s September Newsletter. Victoria is a member of the Association’s Marion Griffin Chapter in Nashville, which emphasizes and addresses issues of concern to women within the legal profession. She is an avid supporter of the Association’s programs and conferences, and looks forward to joining the Networking Committee in the coming weeks.

TLAW logo

The full spotlight can be found on page 12 of the following link: http://www.law-nashville.org/resources/Documents/September%202017.pdf .

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Victoria Gentry is an associate attorney with The Immigration Group, P.C.  practicing exclusively in the areas of work visas and employment-based green cards. She first became interested in immigration law when her stepfather emigrated from El Salvador to the United States. Now she enjoys assisting corporate clients with a variety of immigration needs including international transfers, visa eligibility, and the green card process. She works primarily with professionals in IT, Engineering, Finance, Pharmacy, and Insurance.

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