Administration Aiming to Restrict Green Card Eligibility for Those on Public Aid

On Saturday, September 22, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) formally announced that it intends to introduce a notice of proposed rulemaking titled “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds” to amend the regulations governing “public charge” determinations for individuals applying for U.S. permanent residence (“green cards”). In the notice DHS states that the proposed rule is intended to provide a standard for determining whether an applicant for a green card is likely at any time to become a public charge (e.g., that they will be unable to financially support themselves while in the U.S.) and seeks to provide a more comprehensive framework under which the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) will consider public charge inadmissibility.

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FY2019 Diversity Visa Lottery Opens at 12 noon (EDT) On Tuesday, October 3, 2017

WHAT'S HAPPENING

The Fiscal Year 2019 Diversity Visa lottery (DV-2019), which makes 50,000 green card numbers available each year to nationals of countries among six different geographic regions with low rates of immigration to the U.S., will be open for entries beginning noon Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) on Tuesday, October 3, 2017, and will close for entries at noon Eastern Standard Time (EST) on Tuesday, November 7, 2017. Eligible individuals who wish to participate in the program must apply in advance of the November 7th deadline and are encouraged to do as close to October 3rd as possible as heavy demand may result in website delays. No late entries or paper entries will be accepted.

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Department of State October 2017 Visa Bulletin Summary

The Department of State has released the October 2017 Visa Bulletin.  D&S provides a Monthly Summary of the family and employment-based priority dates.  

With respect to Final Action Dates, the EB-1 category is now current across all areas of chargeability.  The EB-2 category is now current across all areas of chargeability, with the exception of EB-2 China, which has progressed 1 week to May 22, 2013, and EB-2 India, which has progressed by less than 1 month to September 15, 2008. There has been significant progression of 2 years for EB-3 China, while EB-3 India remains unchanged at October 15, 2006. EB-3 Philippines progressed mone month to December 1, 2015, while all other areas of chargeability remain unchanged. EB-4 India is now current and EB-4 Mexico progressed nearly 5 months to March 1, 2016. All other areas of chargeability are now current.

EB-5 for both regional centers and non-regional centers remains current, with the exception of China, which has progressed by 1 week to June 22, 2014.

Application Filing Dates for EB-1, EB-2 and EB-3 Worldwide are current, as are Application Filing Dates for EB-1 across all areas of chargeability. EB-2 China has progressed by 1.5 months to November 15, 2013 and EB-2 India has progressed by 1 week to February 2, 2009.  All other categories remain current. EB-3 China remains unchanged at September 1, 2015 and EB-3 India, which has progressed by 1 year to January 1, 2008. EB-3 Philippines has progressed by 7 months to August 1, 2016, and all other areas of chargeability remain current. EB-4 El Salvador/Guatemala/Honduras retrogressed to April 15, 2016, while all other areas of chargeability are now current, and both regional center and non-regional center EB-5 remains current across all areas of chargeability with the exception of China, which has progressed 1 month to October 1, 2014.

As of today, September 12, 2017, USCIS has not advised whether, in October 2017, it will accept adjustment of status applications for family and employment-based petitions based on final action dates or application filing dates.

 

FY2018 Diversity Visa Lottery Opens at 12 noon (EDT) On Tuesday, October 4, 2016

WHAT'S HAPPENING

The Fiscal Year 2018 Diversity Visa lottery (DV-2018), which makes 50,000 green card numbers available each year to nationals of countries among six different geographic regions with low rates of immigration to the U.S., will be open for entries beginning noon Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) on October 4, 2016, and will close for entries at noon Eastern Standard Time (EST) on November 7, 2016. Eligible individuals who wish to participate in the program must apply in advance of the November 7, 2016 deadline and are encouraged to do as close to October 4, 2016 as possible as heavy demand may result in website delays. No late entries or paper entries will be accepted.

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Department of State June 2016 Visa Bulletin Summary

 

The Department of State released the June 2016 Visa Bulletin this week.  D&S provides a Monthly Summary of the family and employment-based priority dates.  For the second and third employment-based preference categories, Application Filing dates remained unchanged with the exception of EB-3 Other Workers which saw forward movement of almost 14 months from April 8, 2008 to August 1, 2009.

There was significant retrogression in several employment-based categories including EB-2 India, which retrogressed over 4 years from November 22, 2008 to October 1, 2004.  EB-2 and EB-3 China also both experienced significant retrogression with EB-2 China retrogressing over 2 years from September 1, 2012 to January 1, 2010 and EB-3 China retrogressing over 3 years from August 15, 2013 to January 1, 2010, making EB-2 and EB-3 China priority dates the same for the coming month.

EB-3 India was the only employment-based category that moved forward with a modest advancement of 3 weeks from September 1, 2004 to September 22, 2004. Final Action dates for EB-3 Worldwide and EB-3 Mexico also remained unchanged and EB-3 Philippines progressed approximately 3 months.

The EB-5 China Final Action date advanced by just one week from February 8, 2014 to February 15, 2014.  

As of today, May 10, 2016, USCIS has not advised whether in June 2016, it will accept adjustment of status applications for family or employment-based petitions based on filing dates, rather than final action dates. USCIS anticipates that this information will be released within one week of the monthly Visa Bulletin.

D&S will provide further updates as they become available.

 

Department of State December 2015 Visa Bulletin Summary

The Department of State released the December 2015 Visa Bulletin today.  D&S provides a Monthly Summary of the family and employment based priority dates.  This month, the Final Action date for EB-2 India advanced by ten (10) months to June, 1, 2007.  The Final Action date for EB-2 China, however, remained unchanged at February 1, 2012.  The Final Action date for EB-3 India saw a modest progression of less than a month to April 22, 2004 and EB-3 China advanced 3.5 months to April 15, 2012. The Final Action date for EB-5 China advanced three (3) weeks to December 15, 2013.  

This month there was no movement in the Application Filing dates for any of the employment-based preference categories.  Finally, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has yet to confirm whether they will continue to accept adjustment of status applications for individuals whose Application Filing dates remain current in December.  D&S will continue to monitor USCIS’s Visa Bulletin page and provide an update when the agency announces later this month whether it will continue to accept these applications.

Department of State November 2015 Visa Bulletin Summary

The Department of State released the November 2015 Visa Bulletin today.  D&S provides a Monthly Summary of the family and employment based priority dates.  This month, the Filing dates for China and India remained unchanged for both the EB-2 and EB-3 preference categories. The Final Action dates for EB-2 India progressed a little over a year to August 1, 2006, and EB-3 India progressed just under one month to April 1, 2004. EB-2 China had a modest progression of one month to February 1, 2012 and EB-3 China progressed approximately 2.5 months to January 1, 2012.  Finally, the EB-5 China Filing date held steady at May 1, 2015 and the Final Action date progressed a little over one month to November 22, 2013.

The release of the November 2015 Visa Bulletin is further confirmation that the original October 2015 Visa Bulletin (originally released on September 9, 2015) which was superseded by an updated version (released on September 25, 2015) will not be restored at this time, despite the pending federal class action lawsuit filed against the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State. While the underlying lawsuit remains pending, earlier this week the U.S. District court denied the plaintiff's request for a temporary restraining order which would have forced the government to revert to the original version of the October 2015 Visa Bulletin. 

D&S will continue to monitor this and post updates as they become available.

Department of State Issues Revised October Visa Bulletin, EB-2 China and India Filing Dates Retrogress

Today, September 25, 2015, the Department of State (DOS) released a revised October Visa Bulletin. The revised version supersedes the version that was originally published only a few weeks ago, on September 9, 2015. The changes come on the heels of the announcement made by USCIS and DOS earlier this month, implementing revised procedures for determining immigrant visa availability.  The agencies indicate that the revisions have been made to "better reflect a timeframe justifying immediate action in the application process."

The revisions impact the Family-Based Filing Dates for F-1 and F-3 Mexico, the Employment-Based Filing Dates for EB-2 China and India, as well as EB-3 and "Other Workers" for the Philippines, and delay when individuals in these categories will become eligible to file an application for adjustment of status.

D&S has updated the monthly Summary of the family and employment based priority dates to reflect these changes, including the new dates in bold

 

State Department Visa Bulletin Reforms for Employment-Based Green Cards Expected to be Announced Soon

The State Department is expected to announce significant reforms to the employment-based immigrant visa (“green card”) categories in their monthly Visa Bulletin, the document used by the State Department to provide predictions on upcoming immigrant visa availability.  The agency is expected to make an announcement in the coming week explaining how it will reform and modernize the way green card availability is regulated.  These reforms are largely in response to President Obama’s November 2014 Executive Action on Immigration calling for measures to enable individuals to file their adjustment of status applications before their priority dates become current.

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