Immigration and Firm News

I had the privilege of seeing the Seattle Opera perform "The Consul." This Gian Carlo Menotti opera, which runs through March 7, 2014, deals with the frustration and torment of freedom and opportunity seekers everywhere trying to apply for visas and the bureaucracy they face. Althoughneither the location nor the government involved is mentioned in this opera, it is set in the 1940s or 1950s. Menotti's idea for the opera was inspired by a New York Times article about a woman from Poland who … [Read more...]

The US State Department has announced the start of registration for the DV-2015 Visa Lottery program. Visas will be available for processing between October 1, 2014 through September 30, 2015. This means that all selected applicants must receive their visas no later than September 30, 2015. This Diversity Visa Lottery allocates up to 50,000 visas to individuals and their dependents from countries with low immigration rates to the US. The registration process will begin October 1, 2013 at noon … [Read more...]

USCIS recently issued a new final regulation that goes into effect on February 1, 2013 specifying that Immigrant Visa recipients must pay a new and additional "Immigrant Fee" of $165.00. Applicants who receive Immigrant Visas at US consulates and embassies abroad will be required to pay the new fee online before they travel to the US. See The $165.00 fee covers the cost of green card production and other visa related services by USCIS associated with State Department visa … [Read more...]

CNN reports on a heartbreaking story Dangerous path to legal status about a young woman, Tanya Nava, who applied for her immigrant visa or green card at the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juarez, and now regrets that she ever did. Her husband, Jake Reyes-Neal, an American citizen and father of their child, had sponsored Tanya, only to be killed in the process while waiting with his wife to get her visa. Because Ms. Nava evidently had been in the U.S. illegally since she was a young girl, her physical … [Read more...]

Today, I attended a USCIS Public Engagement Teleconference at which USCIS and State Department officials provided further details about the January 6, 2012 USCIS Notice of Intent to issue regulations, discussed in my earlier blog post, USCIS Proposes Stateside Processing of I-601 Waivers: Know Before You Go?. Recapping briefly the USCIS proposal, regulation will be issued for public comment describing new procedures for how and where immigrant visa applicants will file their waiver applications … [Read more...]

Today, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a "Notice of Intent" that it is considering issuing a rule change to allow a narrow class of specified immigrant visa applicants to process their I-601 waivers of inadmissibility in the U.S. This means that they would have a provisional decision about their waiver eligibility BEFORE they leave the U.S. to complete interviews at U.S. consulates abroad. The rule itself has not been issued. There will most likely be a period for … [Read more...]

Most people are confused about green card quotas and how they impact application processing times. Permanent immigration through a relative or work can take many, many years. This is because our legal immigration visa allocation system was established in 1965 and has only been amended a few times since, mostly dealing with how unused numbers spill into other categories. In 1965, Congress changed the visa allocation system from race based to country based calculations, designed in part to … [Read more...]

Two new electronic procedures have been introduced by the U.S. State Department (DOS) concerning visa processing at U.S. Consulates abroad. One is new final rule that allows DOS to require applicants to use a new web-based online DS 260 form. This form will eventually replace the hard copy DS 230 form used for processing immigrant visas. For the last several months, temporary non-immigrants have been using a web-based online DS160 form for non-immigrant visas. While the State Department may … [Read more...]