Trivia: Each year, March and which other month end on the same day of the week?

Where are we this month?

Advancements

     Employment

  • Chinese nationals experienced some advances with 9+ weeks in the EB-2 category and 8+ weeks in the EB-3 category.

While the EB-5 category for Regional Center filings is now available for Chinese nationals with a priority date of July 22, 2014, it remains unavailable for all other nationals.  Non-Regional Center filings are current for all with the exception of Chinese nationals where we see a July 22, 2014 priority date.

  • Indian nationals also advance modestly moving forward by 1 week in the EB-2 category and 4 weeks in the EB-3 category.
  • Philippine nationals continue to be current in the EB-2 category with an 8 week advancement in the EB-3 category
  • Of particular importance, filing dates for certain religious workers are now current with a slight backlog for Mexican, El Salvadorian, Guatemalan, and Honduran nationals.

Family

  • For family-based sponsorship, Philippine nationals advance 10+ weeks while all other nationals advance approximately 1+ week in the F-1 category.
  • In all other family-based categories, we continue to see similar modest advancements, with the exclusion of the F-3 classification for Mexican nationals, which is not subject to any changes on this month’s bulletin.

Continue Reading March 2018 Visa Bulletin

Trivia: Who was the only U.S. President to serve in two nonconsecutive terms?

Where are we this month?

Advancements

  • Chinese nationals experienced some advances with 7+ weeks in the EB-2 category and 22 weeks in the EB-3 category.

Of note is the EB-5 category for Regional Center filings remains unavailable and for direct investment there is no movement in the Final Action Dates; and moving backward 4 weeks to September 1, 2014 for Date of Filing Application cut off.

  • Indian nationals also advance modestly with 2 weeks in the EB-2 category and 4 weeks in EB-3.
  • Philippine nationals continue to be current in the EB-2 category with a 2 week advancement in the EB-3 category

Continue Reading February 2018 Visa Bulletin

By: Angelo Paparello

Seyfarth Synopsis: Employers take note. The April 18, 2017 “Presidential Executive Order on Buy American and Hire American,” has unleashed an array of legally dubious grounds from officials at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services as their basis to ask for burdensome additional evidence and to deny requests for work visas and employment-based green cards on behalf of both existing and prospective employees.

Continue Reading Revanchist Immigration: The Aftermath of “Buy American, Hire American”

By Mahsa Aliaskari and Alexander Madrak

Seyfarth Synopsis: Citing security reasons, the Trump administration announces expansion of requirements for the 38 countries that participate in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allowing limited travel to the U.S. for business and tourism.

On December 15, 2017, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced additional security measures for countries whose nationals use the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP) for temporary visits to the U.S.  The Administration’s most recent announcements surrounding the VWP requirements fall in line with its ongoing efforts to tighten the rules for those seeking to visit, work or live in the United States.  With national security serving as the justification for the enhanced scrutiny and increasing limitations, while the VWP changes may appear innocuous, they may also impact how companies handle business travel.  For clarification on all of the acronyms used in this space, remember – if you are traveling using ESTA – that means you are traveling under the VWP program.

The VWP allows citizens from 38 countries to travel to the United States for business or pleasure for up to 90 days.  More than 20 million people participate in the program each year, generating nearly $100 billion in travel exports for the U.S. economy.  European countries encompass a large majority of the 38 countries with Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore and South Korea also participating.

The DHS announcement included a requirement for VWP-participating countries to screen travelers crossing their borders from third-party countries against U.S. counterterrorism information.  Another change that more closely aligns with the Administration’s pattern of tightening the rules for entry into the U.S. requires VWP countries to engage in a public information campaign aimed at reducing visa overstays.  This public information campaign requirement will be applied to any country where more than 2% of its nationals overstay their 90-day stay in the U.S.  Current statistics show that only 4 of the 38 countries that participate meet this threshold – Greece, Hungary, Portugal, and San Merino.

DHS has historically struggled to monitor and enforce exit requirements. With these new VWP requirements, we may see efforts to better track VWP travelers, which may mean more countries being subject to this new public information campaign requirement.  But more importantly, it is not yet clear what kind of an “information campaign” would be deemed sufficient for a country to comply, how it would be monitored and what kind of unilateral action will be taken if a country is deemed noncompliant.  What we do know is that the DHS Secretary has the authority to designate and remove countries from the VWP.  Without a clear roadmap of how these new requirements will be monitored or implemented, there is some cause for concern that a country could be removed at any time.

Now more than ever, business travelers should keep in mind that overstaying the 90-day period even by one day not only makes the person deportable from the U.S., but can also mean losing the privilege of using the VWP.  To visit in the future, a B visitor stamp would have to be obtained at a U.S. consulate for any entries into the U.S., and the B visa applicant may have to explain their overstay to a consular officer.

The increased requirements on the VWP follow the Administrations’ efforts to increase enforcement and restrictions in the immigration arena.  Stay tuned.

By: Jake Campbell, Gabriel Mozes, and Jason Burritt

Seyfarth Synopsis:  As of August 23, 2017, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) has temporarily suspended processing of Nonimmigrant Visa (NIV) applications filed in Russia.  NIV interviews will resume only at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow beginning September 1, 2017.  DOS has suspended NIV processing indefinitely at the U.S. Consulates in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok.  

In response to the Russian government’s decision to reduce the number of U.S. Department of State (DOS) staff working in Russia, DOS has temporarily suspended processing of Nonimmigrant Visa (NIV) applications filed in Russia as of August 23, 2017.  The suspension will last for a period of eight (8) days and, during this time, previously-scheduled visa appointments for temporary work, business, and visitor visas will be canceled.  According to DOS, NIV interviews will resume on September 1, 2017, but only at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.  DOS has suspended NIV processing indefinitely at the U.S. Consulates in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok.

DOS will contact any affected applicants by e-mail for rescheduling.  Rescheduled applicants and new applications submitted at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow should expect considerable delays.  Priority consideration will be given to officials of the United Nations, international organizations with offices in the United States, and those requiring travel for medical or family emergencies.

In addition, the U.S. Embassy in Moscow and the U.S. Consulate in St. Petersburg will no longer accept new visa applications for residents of Belarus.  DOS encourages Belarussian applicants to schedule NIV appointments at the U.S. Embassies in Warsaw, Kyiv, or Vilnius.  The decision to temporarily suspend NIV operations in Russia does not affect NIV applications outside of Russia, but U.S. Embassies and Consulates close to Russia may experience additional NIV processing delays.