News & Events 2018-07-13T18:17:29+00:00

News & Events

Your source for immigration news and information.

November 2018 Visa Bulletin

The visa bulletin hardly moved for the month of November 2018.

EB1 remains backlogged. The final action date for EB1 remains April 1, 2017 for all areas except China and India, which are still backed up to June 1, 2016.  For individuals who are interviewed at USCIS during this time, post-interview the file will be sent to the National Benefits Center awaiting a current visa number.  Note that this is consistent with the September Visa Bulletin, which suggested that little forward movement is anticipated before December.

The November 2018 visa bulletin hardly jumped forward in other areas. It lists the following EB2 and EB3 final action dates:

EB-2 Worldwide and all areas except India and China: Action Date = current
EB-2 India: Action Date = March 26, 2009 (same)
EB-2 China: Action Date = May 15, 2015

EB-3 Worldwide and all areas except India and China: Action Date = current
EB-3 India: Action Date = January 1, 2009 (same)
EB-3 China: Action Date = June 1, 2015 (same)

For Family Cases, the F2A final action date shifted slightly to September 15, 2016 for all areas, except Mexico, which moved forward one month to September 1, 2016.

October 11th, 2018|Tags: , , , |

CBP Statement on Legalization of Marijuana in Canada

CBP Statement on Canada’s Legalization of Marijuana and Crossing the Border

Release Date:
September 21, 2018

UPDATED: 10/09/2018

 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection enforces the laws of the United States and U.S. laws will not change following Canada’s legalization of marijuana. Requirements for international travelers wishing to enter the United States are governed by and conducted in accordance with U.S. Federal Law, which supersedes state laws. Although medical and recreational marijuana may be legal in some U.S. States and Canada, the sale, possession, production and distribution of marijuana or the facilitation of the aforementioned remain illegal under U.S. Federal Law. Consequently, crossing the border or arriving at a U.S. port of entry in violation of this law may result in denied admission, seizure, fines, and apprehension.

 

CBP officers are thoroughly trained on admissibility factors and the Immigration and Nationality Act, which broadly governs the admissibility of travelers into the United States.  Determinations about admissibility and whether any regulatory or criminal enforcement is appropriate are made by a CBP officer based on the facts and circumstances known to the officer at the time.

 

Generally, any arriving alien who is determined to be a drug abuser or addict, or who is convicted of, admits having committed, or admits committing, acts which constitute the essential elements of a violation of (or an attempt or conspiracy to violate) any law or regulation of a State, the United States, or a foreign country relating to a controlled substance, is inadmissible to the United States.

 

A Canadian citizen working in or facilitating the proliferation of the legal marijuana industry in Canada, coming to the U.S. for reasons unrelated to the marijuana industry will generally be admissible to the U.S. however, if a traveler is found to be coming to the U.S. for reason related to the marijuana industry, they may be deemed inadmissible.

 

CBP officers are the nation’s first line of defense in preventing the illegal importation of narcotics, including marijuana. U.S. federal law prohibits the importation of marijuana and CBP officers will continue to enforce that law.

Last modified:
October 9, 2018
https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/speeches-and-statements/cbp-statement-canadas-legalization-marijuana-and-crossing-border
October 11th, 2018|Tags: , |

October 2018 Visa Bulletin

EB1 is backed up for everyone. The priority date is April 1, 2017 for all areas except China and India, which are backed up to June 1, 2016.  For individuals who are interviewed at USCIS during this time, post-interview the file will be sent to the National Benefits Center awaiting a current visa number.  The September Visa Bulletin suggested that little forward movement is anticipated before December.

The October 2018 visa bulletin jumped forward in EB2 as is common at the beginning of the visa year. It lists the following EB2 and EB3 final action dates:

EB-2 Worldwide and all areas except India and China: Action Date = current
EB-2 India: Action Date = March 26, 2009
EB-2 China: Action Date = April 1, 2015

EB-3 Worldwide and all areas except India and China: Action Date = current
EB-3 India: Action Date = January 1, 2009
EB-3 China: Action Date = June 1, 2015

For Family Cases, the F2A final action date shifted to August 22, 2016 for all areas, except Mexico, which is August 1, 2016.

September 13th, 2018|Tags: , , , |

Accrual of Unlawful Presence for F, J, and M Students and Exchange Visitors

On August 9, 2018, USCIS implemented a revised policy memorandum entitled “Accrual of Unlawful Presence and F, J, and M Nonimmigrants.”

Under this memo, individuals in F, J, or M status begin to accrue unlawful presence at the earliest of the following dates:

  • The day after they no longer pursue the course of study or authorized activity
  • The day they engage in unauthorized activity
  • The day after completing the course of study or program, including practical training and any authorized grace period
  • The day after the period of authorized stay expires if admitted until a date certain (most students are admitted for D/S “duration of status” or for as long as they are in the program, rather than a date certain)
  • The day an immigration judge orders the F, J, or M nonimmigrant removed, whether or not the decision is appealed

Violations of student status include exceeding authorized days of unemployment during the period of OPT, working more than 20 hours per week at a qualifying on-campus job, or working without authorization, such as after OPT or cap gap work authorization has expired.

Unlawful Presence

This change is significant as the penalties can be severe: a person who overstays by even one day must return to his/her own country to obtain a visa.  A person who accrues more than 180 days of unlawful presence and who departs the United States is barred from re-entering the United States for three years. A person who accrues one year or more of unlawful presence is barred from reentering the United States for ten years. A person who attempts to enter the United States during the bar will be permanently barred from the United States.

Cap Gap

An F-1 student whose OPT EAD expires between April 1 and October 1, and who is selected in the H-1B lottery may continue to work in the United States after the EAD expires until the start of the new visa year on October 1 pursuant to “cap gap” authorization. Cap gap extends OPT EAD authorization until September 30. If the student’s H-1B has not been approved by October 1, the student may not continue to work in the United States based on cap gap. Instead, he or she must stop work and must be removed from the payroll.

It is important that any student whose cap gap has expired and whose H-1B has not yet been adjudicated by USCIS stop work on October 1 as work would be a violation of status and he/she will begin to accrue unlawful presence under the new memorandum referenced above.

September 11th, 2018|Tags: , |

Temporary Suspension of H-1B Premium Processing

On August 28, 2018, USCIS announced that premium processing will continue to be suspended for FY2019 H-1B cap (lottery) cases and in addition, starting September 11, 2018, premium processing will be suspended for H-1B portability (change of employer) petitions. These suspensions are predicted to remain in effect until February 19, 2019.  Note that due to the increase in RFEs for H-1B cases and an increased rate of denials, it is possible that some new hires who are transferring from another H-1B employer will be unwilling to “port” before the change-of-employer petition has been approved by USCIS. This could cause delays in on-boarding.

Note that Premium Processing continues to be available for H-1B extension petitions for continuation of the same position with the same employer, and for employers who are exempt from the H-1B cap, such as universities and non-profit research institutions.

September 10th, 2018|Tags: , , |

September 2018 Visa Bulletin

EB1 is backed up for everyone. The priority date is June 1, 2016 for all areas except China and India, and it remains backed up to January 1, 2012 for India and China.  For individuals who are interviewed at USCIS during this time, post-interview the file will be sent to the National Benefits Center awaiting a current visa number.  Little forward movement is anticipated before December, according to the September Visa Bulletin.

In addition, the September 2018 visa bulletin lists the following EB2 and EB3 final action dates:

EB-2 Worldwide and all areas except India and China: Action Date = January 1, 2013
EB-2 India: Action Date = January 1, 2007
EB-2 China: Action Date = January 1, 2013

Please note that final action dates for September were imposed in early August for adjudication purposes.

EB-3 Worldwide and all areas except India and China: Action Date = November 1, 2016
EB-3 India: Action Date = January 1, 2003
EB-3 China: Action Date = November 1, 2014

For Family Cases, the F2A final action date shifted to July 22, 2016 for all areas, except Mexico, which is July 1, 2016.

The Visa Bulletin indicated that a jump is likely to current for Worldwide EB2 and EB3 on October 1, with the start of the new visa year. Unfortunately, note that jumps are likely to be minimal for certain categories, for example only 3-6 weeks for family cases and 1-2 weeks for EB2 India and “slow movement” for EB2 China.

September 10th, 2018|Tags: , , , |

July 2018 Visa Bulletin

EB1 is backed up to January 1, 2012 for India and China.

In addition, the July 2018 visa bulletin lists the following EB2 and EB3 final action dates:

EB-2 Worldwide: Action Date = current
EB-2 India: Action Date = March 15, 2009
EB-2 China: Action Date = January 1, 2015

EB-3 Worldwide: Action Date = current
EB-3 India: Action Date = November 1, 2008
EB-3 China: Action Date = January 1, 2013
EB-3 Philippines: Action Date = January 15, 2016 (no change)

For Family Cases, the F2A final action date shifted to June 22, 2016 for all areas, except Mexico, which is June 8, 2016.

June 18th, 2018|Tags: , , , |