Updated Service Center Processing Times (5/31/16)

July 27, 2016

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on 7/14/16 with processing dates as of 5/31/16.

If you filed a petition with one of the Service Centers, please review the links below to determine the applicable processing time associated with your particular case.


California Service Center (CSC)

National Benefits Center (NBC)

Nebraska Service Center (NSC)

Texas Service Center (TSC)

Vermont Service Center (VSC)

EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program Office (IPO)


**Please be aware that the data provided above is approximately 45 days old at the time of posting.

If your petition is out-side of the normal range listed, contact USCIS (1-800-375-5283).

If you are a client of MVP Law Group and would like our assistance please contact our office.

Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) Processing Times - 7/1/16

July 26, 2016

Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) Processing Times were released with processing dates as of 7/1/16.

If you filed an appeal, please review the link below to determine the applicable processing time associated with your particular case.

Administrative Appeals Office

The processing time for an I-129 H-1B Appeal is current; for an I-129 L1 Appeal is current. The current processing time for an I-140 EB2 Appeal for an Advanced Degree Professional is current; for an I-140 EB3 Appeal for a Skilled or Professional Worker is current.

*Current = 6 months or less


Source of Information:
USCIS.gov, (7/14/16), AAO Processing Times

AILA Doc. No. 16071408. (Posted 7/14/16)

EB-5 USCIS Teleconference from Miami – (7-28-16)

July 25, 2016

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will be holding an EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program Teleconference from Miami, Florida on Thursday, July 28th, between 1:00pm to 2:30pm (Eastern). The event will start with an update of the EB-5 program followed by a question and answer session. USCIS is inviting participants to ask non-case specific questions or provide feedback on the EB-5 program.

Event Information:
DATE: Thursday, July 28, 2016
TIME: 1:00pm to 2:30pm (Eastern)
To register for this session, please follow the steps below:
• Visit USCIS's registration page to confirm your participation
• Enter your email address and select “Submit”
• Select “Subscriber Preferences”
• Select the “Event Registration” tab
• Be sure to provide your full name and organization
• Complete the questions and select “Submit”

If you wish to attend in person (Miami), please indicate so in your subscriber preferences when selecting your method of attendance. Please register early, seating is limited.

Note: After your registration is processed, you will receive a confirmation email with additional information.

Background:
In 1990, Congress created the EB-5 Program to help stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by approved immigrant investors. Under this program, entrepreneurs (and their spouses and unmarried children under 21) are eligible to apply for a green card (permanent residence) under specific conditions. Congress placed a 10,000 annual limit on the number of visas available for the EB-5 program. In 1992 Congress set aside 3,000 of the EB-5 visa total for the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, also known as the Regional Center Program. These set aside EB-5 visas are for participants who invest in commercial enterprises associated with regional centers which are approved by USCIS.
USCIS warns that potential investors should always do their own research and consult with a financial professional before making any investment decisions.


Source of Information:
USCIS.gov, National Engagement:
EB-5 National Stakeholder Engagement Invitation

Related Link:
USCIS.gov, Web Page:
EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program

MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, July 22, 2016

July 22, 2016

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. Therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.


Question #1 – Family Based Immigration
I am a US Citizen and I applied for an Immediate Relative Petition for my husband. How long does the process take to adjust his status?

Answer #1
Processing of the I-130 generally takes 6 months to adjudicate; however, in practice the I-130 processing can take between 6 to 11 months.

Please note that once the I-130 is approved, there is still another process to be completed, depending upon where the applicant resides – if the applicant already lives in the U.S. - Adjustment of Status by filing Form I-485 with the USCIS; if the applicant lives abroad, by Consular Processing through a U.S. embassy and the National Visa Center…another estimated 6 month processing period.


Question #2 – AC 21 Portability/Employment Based Immigration
I filed my I-140 and I-485 concurrently in the EB2 category. Since the I-485 has been pending for more than 180 days, can I use the AC-21 rule to change employer since my I-140 has been approved?

Answer #2
AC21 provides that an adjustment of status applicant who has an I-485 application pending for 180 days or longer is able to continue with the green card process even after s/he has changed employers, as long as the new job is in the same or a similar job classification. Specifically, AC21 permits an individual to transfer, or “port”, his or her green card process to a different employer if (1) the new job is the “same or similar”, (2) Form I-140 has been approved or is approvable when filed concurrently with Form I-485, and (3) Form I-485 has been pending for at least 180 days.


Question #3 - H1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
If I have an H-1B visa and my I-140 is completed but my visa is going to expire soon, how long can I stay in the USA if my employer does not file a H1B visa extension?

Answer #3
Under the regulations, there is no set grace period…once you are no longer employed by your sponsoring employer; you should immediately make plans to depart the United States. If you remain in the United States once your H-1B visa expires, you will begin to accrue unlawful status. Please note that you do have the option to transfer your H-1B to another U.S. employer willing to sponsor you. You should speak with an Immigration Attorney to further discussion your situation.


Question #4 - Green Card
I am a Green Card holder and I am getting married in the fall. Do I need to report my name change and get another Green Card?

Answer #4
As long as you carry with you evidence of your legal name change in addition to your Green Card, you should be fine until the time comes for you to file to renew your Green Card. Otherwise, if your name changes and you want to get a new Green Card with the new name change, then you will have to complete Form I-90, and pay the USCIS filing fee of $450.00, $365.00 plus $85.00 biometrics.


Question #5 - General
How does “Aging Out” affect the Immigration process? My daughter will be turning 21 in two years. Can I get her Green Card expedited so she can receive it sooner?

Answer #5
The Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) was enacted on August 6, 2002. The CSPA allows a beneficiary to retain classification as a child after reaching the age of 21, if certain requirements are met. Contact our office to speak with an Immigration Attorney concerning the specifics of your case.


Question #6 – Deportation
Can a person who was deported from the U.S.A ever return to the US legally?

Answer #6
It depends. If a noncitizen was deported from the U.S., they are not supposed to attempt to reenter for a specified period of time, if ever. It depends upon factors such as the reason for removal, and whether the person was convicted of a crime, etc. You should contact an Immigration Attorney to further discuss.


Question #7 – Employment Based Immigration – Green Card
After recruitment has been completed, but before submitting ETA Form 9089, our company’s name was changed after we merged with another company. Does the company name used in the recruitment efforts have to match the company name used on ETA Form 9089?

Answer #7
In its Frequently Asked Questions, the Department of Labor has provided the following concerning this issue: The employer must conduct recruitment using its legal name at the time of the recruitment. However, an Application for Permanent Employment Certification (ETA Form 9089) must be filed in the name of the employer’s legal name at the time of submission. If a merger, acquisition, or any other corporate change in ownership occurs between the time of recruitment and the time of submission, resulting in a disparity between the employer’s name shown on the advertising used to recruit for a job opportunity and the employer’s name on the submitted ETA Form 9089, the employer must be prepared to provide documentation -- in the event of an audit -- proving that it is the successor in interest, a determination made based on the totality of the circumstances, including whether the current employer has assumed the assets and liabilities of the former entity with respect to the job opportunity.


Question #8 – H1B Nonimmigrant Visa
I have some questions about my current H1-B case extension. My employer has applied for my H1-B extension through the Vermont center. The case was sent to USCIS via Federal Express on 06/21/2015. We haven't yet received the receipt notice and now want to now upgrade to premium processing. How long does it normally take them to send a receipt notice? Is there any way to get the receipt notice by contacting the USCIS?

Answer #8
Receipts normally take anywhere from one-two weeks to arrive in the mail after the case is accepted for processing by the USCIS. The USCIS sends receipt/approval notices through the United States Postal Service (USPS) and does not provide tracking information for receipt/approval notices. Speak with your employer to determine if the USCIS filing fee checks have been cashed, if so, normally the receipt number is listed on the back of the deposited checks. I have heard that the USCIS has changed the process of depositing checks and now utilize an electronic method that does not provide the receipt number on the back of the check. If this is the case, your employer and/or authorized representative (i.e., Attorney) should contact the USCIS via the customer service 800 number or by mail with documentation to show that the package was in fact delivered and the checks that were cashed for a receipt notice to be issued.


Question #9 – Employment Based Immigration
Can I file multiple I-140 petitions in different immigration categories?

Answer #9
Yes, but those cases must not be frivolous (they must be based upon bona-fide employment offers.)


Question #10 - Re-Entry Permit
What does a legal resident have to do to stay outside the U.S. for more than 6 months?

Answer #10
If a Legal Permanent Resident of the U.S. wants to make trips outside of the U.S. for periods of 6 months or more, they should prepare and file a Re-Entry permit with the USCIS, Form I-131. Still, you should contact an Immigration Attorney to discuss your specific situation.


MVP Law Group would like to thank everyone who contributed a question or comment.

Our next “Immigration Q & A Forum” is scheduled for Friday, August 5, 2016!

Please remember to submit your questions/comments on our H1B Visa Lawyer blog!

BALCA Reverses Denial, Finds Nexus between Ads and Position on ETA 9089

July 21, 2016

The Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA) recently reversed the decision of a Certifying Officer (CO) to deny labor certification for the position of “Business Development Specialist.”

After receiving & reviewing an Employer’s Application for Permanent Labor Certification, the CO denied certification because the job title recorded in the two newspaper advertisements communicated the job title as “Business Development VP” as an alternative to “Business Development Specialist.” The CO thought this inconsistency was an infringement of PERM regulations 20 C.F.R. § 656.10 and 20 C.F.R. § 656.17(f)(3).

PERM regulation 20 C.F.R. § 656.10(c) (8) requires the petitioning employer to demonstrate that the job has been visibly accessible to any U.S. worker. The PERM regulation § 656.17(f)(3) requires any print advertisement to specifically detail the job requirements in order to give US workers the chance to apply for the position.

The Employer requested reconsideration of the denial arguing that the job titles were significantly the same. They believed that any job hunter would have clearly understood the posting. The Employer stated the term “VP” is regularly used in job listings because it is more enticing than the word “Specialist.” By using the word “VP”, the Employer believed they would get more candidates to apply for the position.

Upon reconsideration of the employer’s arguments, the CO confirmed his denial of the labor certification. In a letter, he stated the job headings in the ads were drastically distinctive from the headings in the Labor Certification Application. The Employer requested BALCA review of the CO’s denial repeating the same information that they listed in the reconsideration.

In each of the CO’s denials, he did not analyze the Employer’s claims. Even though the Employer made logical arguments, the CO believed the job titles were distinct and it was the end of the story. He did not seem to want to hear the Employer’s opinions.

After a review of the case, BALCA sided with the Employer. They thought the job titles in the advertisements did not unfairly take away job opportunities for US workers. Denial of labor certification in this matter was reversed and the Labor application given back to the CO for certification.

USCIS Returns Unselected FY 2017 H-1B Cap-Subject Petitions

July 20, 2016

USCIS issued a news alert on Friday, July 8th stating that they have returned all fiscal year 2017 (FY 2017) H-1B cap-subject petitions that were not selected in their computer-generated lottery. USCIS completed the data entry of all selected H-1B cap-subject petitions on May 2nd (USCIS Completes Data Entry of Fiscal Year 2017 H-1B Cap-Subject Petitions). If you submitted a cap-subject petition between April 1st and April 7th of this year and have not received a receipt notice or a returned petition by July 22nd, contact USCIS for assistance.


Source of Information:
USCIS.gov, 7/8/16, News Alert:
USCIS Returns Unselected Fiscal Year 2017 H-1B Cap-Subject Petitions


Related Links:

- USCIS Completes Data Entry of Fiscal Year 2017 H-1B Cap-Subject Petitions

- H-1B Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Cap Season

USCIS Naturalizes 7,000 New Citizens over the Independence Day Holiday

July 19, 2016

From June 30th through July 4th, the USCIS held nearly 100 naturalization ceremonies across the United States to help celebrate the 240th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence (7/4/16)! Nearly 7000 new citizens were administered the Oath of Allegiance during these ceremonies at public parks and historic landmarks nationwide. USCIS Director León Rodríguez stated, "These new Americans will strengthen the fabric of our nation with their contributions to American society and prosperity, and be able to enjoy all the rights, privileges and responsibilities of U.S. citizenship."

There are photos and remarks about the different ceremonies and the experiences of some of these new citizens on Twitter and other social media, just search hashtag #newUScitizen to find them.


Source of Information:
USCIS.gov, 6/30/16, News Release:
USCIS Naturalizes 7,000 New Citizens over the Independence Day Holiday

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, July 22, 2016

July 18, 2016

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, DREAMers, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, priority dates, the monthly visa bulletin, adjustment applications, etc., please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, July 22, 2016. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. Therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

MVP Immigration Newsletter – July 2016

July 15, 2016

Once a month, MVP Law Groups’ Managing Attorney, Kellie N. Lego publishes an electronic Immigration Newsletter. This emailed newsletter features current articles, relevant data and up-to-date information about U.S. Immigration. We invite you to join our mailing list.


Current Newsletter: MVP Immigration Newsletter - June 2016

Follow link to join: Join our mailing list!

BALCA on Single Advertisements for Multiple Jobs Opportunities

July 14, 2016

The Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA) recently overturned the decision of a Certifying Officer (CO) to deny labor certification for the position of “Marketing Manager.”

Upon evaluating an Employer’s Application for Permanent Labor Certification, the CO ordered the Employer to present copies of its recruitment efforts. The Employer provided a copy of its notice of filing, job order with the Washington State Workforce Agency (SWA), as well as newspaper ads placed in the Seattle Times. In addition, they submitted a copy of the company’s recruitment report.

After reviewing the recruitment data, the CO denied Certification because he believed it violated PERM regulation 20 CFR 656.17(f)(6), which provides that additional language not found on the ETA Form 9089 exceeds the job requirements for the position. The CO stated the Employer’s Notice of Filing (NOF), SWA job order, newspaper advertisements and web advertisements all listed “may require employer-reimbursed travel.” The phrase was not listed on the Employer’s 9089 form.

The Employer sent a reconsideration request to the CO. In the argument, the Employer declared that its NOF, SWA job order, newspaper advertisements and web advertisements were used to hire for many positions. Some of these positions did require travel while others did not. The Employer argued that the phrase “may require employer-reimbursed travel” does not create an obligatory travel condition for all of its job openings. They strongly believed that its hiring practices complied with the Department of Labor’s regulations on advertising for multiple positions. The DOL had previously provided that the language “some positions may require travel” may be utilized for recruitment covering multiple positions when some of those positions have no travel requirement.

Upon reconsideration of the employer’s arguments, the CO confirmed his denial of the labor certification. The CO thought the use of “open-ended” terms such as “may require travel” could be interpreted as a compulsory job requirement for applicants. The CO stated that the whole reason for SWA job orders, as well as the additional recruitment efforts, is to test the labor market. If any advertising is placed for the job(s), it may not contain any job requirements or language that is not listed on the ETA 9089 Form. The CO forwarded the case to BALCA for further examination. In the CO’s statement of position, he referred to the Employer’s lack of clarity in the advertisements - the Employer did not distinguish which Marketing Managers require travel and which ones do not.

After BALCA’s examination of the case, they reversed the CO’s decision. The BALCA board believed that the Employer’s NOF, SWA job order and advertisements did not include a job requirement that surpassed the one recorded on the ETA Form 9089. They found that the phrase “may require employer-reimbursed travel” was indistinguishable from the DOL-endorsed phrase “some positions may require travel.” BALCA stated it was obvious from the advertisements that “not all of the Marketing and Product Manager positions required travel.” The board did not think any of the advertisements were misleading and would prevent any US job applicant from applying for the positions.

Visa Bulletin - August 2016

July 13, 2016

The Department of State has released its latest Visa Bulletin.
Click here to view the August 2016 Visa Bulletin

The monthly Visa Bulletin has changed. The bulletin now summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers during the reported month for: “Application Final Action Dates” (consistent with prior Visa Bulletins) and “Dates for Filing Applications,” indicating when immigrant visa applicants should be notified to assemble and submit required documentation to the National Visa Center using Consular Processing (outside of the US) or file on their own with USCIS Form I-485 (within the US).

Application Final Action Dates (consistent with prior Visa Bulletins)
The “Application Final Action Dates” chart, as provided in the August 2016 Visa Bulletin shows the EB2 date for nationals from India moved from 11/1/04 to 11/15/04; the EB3 date for nationals from India moved from 10/22/04 to 11/8/04; the EB2 date for Chinese Nationals remained at 1/1/10; the EB3 date for Chinese Nationals remained at 1/1/10; and the EB3 date for the WW category moved from 3/1/16 to 3/15/16; and the F2A category remained at 11/15/14, except Mexico which remained at 9/1/14. The F2A category is reserved exclusively for Spouses and unmarried children (under the age of 21) of green card holders (LPRs). Please understand the Immigrant Visas are authorized for issuance ONLY for applicants whose priority date is EARLIER than the cut-off date listed in the chart.

Dates for Filing Applications
The “Dates for Filing Applications” chart, as provided in the August 2016 Visa Bulletin shows the EB2 date for nationals from India at 7/1/09; the EB3 date for nationals from India at 7/1/05; the EB2 date for Chinese Nationals at 6/1/13; the EB3 date for Chinese Nationals at 5/1/15; and EB3 date for the WW category is now CURRENT; and all of the F2A category at 11/22/15. Please understand that the listing of a date for any category indicates that ONLY applicants with a priority date which is EARLIER than the listed date may FILE their application.

*”All Chargeability Areas except Those Listed”, includes all other countries except: China, India, Mexico and Philippines.

Resources for Citizenship – Find Local English and Citizenship Classes!

July 12, 2016

If you are searching for “English as a Second Language” or “Citizenship” classes in your local area try using the America's Literacy Directory (ALD). First you choose the type of class/classes you are looking for, then just type in your zip code or city/state and active the search. If the directory locates a training source within your local area it will list the details. You can also generate a map and driving directions for all programs listed in the ALD.

America's Literacy Directory (ALD) is a web site that allows users to find local literacy providers in all 50 states and the U.S. territories. The ALD includes literacy programs for adults looking for adult basic education, adult secondary education, computer literacy and English as a Second Language.


Source of Information:

Lincs.ed.gov, website, America's Literacy Directory (ALD)

USCIS.gov, website, Find Help in Your Community

Related Links:
Catholic Charities of BaltimoreEsperanza Center:
English as a Second Language Program (ESL Program)