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FY2017 H1B Cap Reached

Filed April 11, 2016 in Temporary Visas, under H-1B Cap Count , tagged
Lottery Balls

H1B cap lottery FY2017As expected, on April 7, 2016, during the first week it began accepting FY2017 H1B petitions for an employment start date of October 1, 2016, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reached the congressionally-mandated FY2017 H1B cap. USCIS has also received more than the limit of 20,000 H1B petitions filed under the US advanced degree exemption. more »

Visa Waiver Restrictions Imposed

Filed February 19, 2016 in Temporary Visas, under Legislation
Visa Waiver Program No Entry

Visa Waiver Program No Entry

On December 18, 2015, Congress passed PL 114-113, which places new restrictions on usage of the US Visa Waiver Program (“Terrorist Travel Prevention and Visa Waiver Program Reform”).

These visa waiver restrictions include the following. Dual nationals of Iran, Iraq, Syria or Sudan, and individuals who have traveled to one of those countries since March 1, 2011, can no longer use the Visa Waiver Program, and should obtain a B-1 or B-2 visitor visa at a US consulate abroad well in advance of travel to the US. On February 18, 2016, DHS added Libya, Somalia, and Yemen to the list of “countries of concern.” This addition precludes individuals who have traveled to Libya, Somalia or Yemen since March 1, 2011, from using the Visa Waiver Program. However, restrictions on Visa Waiver Program travel will not apply to dual nationals of Libya, Somalia or Yemen at this time.

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Revised October 2015 Visa Bulletin and Revised Procedures to Determine Visa Availability

Filed September 28, 2015 in Green Cards, under DoS and Visa Office , tagged , , , ,
Waiting in line in rain

H-1B premium processing resumesOn September 25, 2015, the Department of State (DOS) published a revised October 2015 Visa Bulletin superseding the original October 2015 Visa Bulletin published September 9, 2015. The Dates for Filing Applications for some categories in the Family-Sponsored and Employment-Based preference categories have been adjusted to better reflect a timeframe justifying immediate action.

Applicants should use the September 25, 2015, revised charts when filing an I-485 adjustment of status (see Employment-Based Priority Dates and Family-Based Priority Dates). DHS will rely on this revised October 2015 Visa Bulletin rather than the bulletin published September 9, 2015, when considering eligibility to file an I-485 adjustment of status application. more »

H-1B Extension Premium Processing Resumes

Filed July 13, 2015 in Temporary Visas, under USCIS and DHS , tagged
H-1B premium processing resumes

H-1B premium processing resumesUPDATE: USCIS will resume premium processing on petitions for H-1B extension on July 13, 2015. H-1B extension premium processing has been suspended since the beginning of  summer 2015.

On May 26, 2015, USCIS began a temporary suspension of H-1B extension premium processing until July 27, 2015. During this period, USCIS did not accept Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing for Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, requesting an extension of stay for an H-1B nonimmigrant. However, USCIS did continue H-1B Extension premium processing of petitions filed with Form I-907 premium requests prior to May 26, 2015.

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Technical Problems Cause US Passport and US Visa Issuance Delays

Filed June 30, 2015 in Temporary Visas, under DoS and Visa Office , tagged
US visa issuance delays

US visa issuance delaysUPDATE: As of June 30, 2015, the Department of State (DoS) reported that US consulates and embassies were back online, and that the majority of the backlog created by the last few weeks’ technical issues with the overseas passport and visa systems has been cleared. Some online immigrant visa (IV) application forms are still having problems, however; but DoS hoped to have a fix in place by first week of July 2015.

Technical problems with overseas passport and visa systems is now causing US passport and US visa issuance delays overseas. This is not specific to any particular country, citizenship document or visa category. The Bureau of Consular Affairs (BCA) is now working urgently to correct these problems and restore the system to full operational status as soon as possible. However, no timeline is available for correction of this problem.

Specifically, individuals who submitted online visa applications or were interviewed for US visas on or after June 9, 2015, may experience US visa issuance delays. These problems are also delaying US passport applications accepted overseas on or after May 26, 2015. more »

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