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Consulate Reopening and the Resumption of Visa Services

Consulate Reopening and the Resumption of Visa Services  Brandon Neuman, Attorney  For foreign nationals, traveling to the United States typically requires a visa or a visa waiver issued by the local consulate. Under normal circumstances, getting the visa stamp in a passport may require some initial preparation or authorization followed by scheduling and attending a visa appointment, then receiving the visa stamp.   Likewise, in normal circumstances, immigrants undergoing consular processing (for an immigrant visa, also known as a green card) would typically be able to go through a consular interview process in about half the time compared to immigrants in the United States who chose to...

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Potential Immigration Reform Measures on the Horizon

Potential Immigration Reform Measures on the Horizon  James K. Gotcher, Partner  In February 2021, the Biden Administration introduced the US Citizenship Act of 2021 in the House of Representatives, which provides comprehensive immigration reform (“CIR”). CIR was elusive for past administrations as the last major CIR occurred in 1986 with a smaller bill passing in 1990. However, in each attempt since, the bill would get caught up in partisan politics and never passed. The primary obstacle in each instance was the sheer size of the reform, making it impossible to get all sides to agree to all of the various parts or agree enough to pass a vote on it.   While the...

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June Visa Bulletin Update

Visa Bulletin Update Rapid Forward Movements in FINAL ACTION DATE CHART Benjamin Brueggemann, Senior Supervising Attorney We have seen rapid forward movements in the major employment-based categories, EB-2 and EB-3, over the past few months.  This is a direct result of the record number of visas available this fiscal year.  We remind the reader that the U.S. Department of State announced that 261,500 visas are available this fiscal year, as opposed to the regular allotment of 140,000 visa.  This is an increase of 120,000 visa.    The first half of the fiscal year, we have not seen as many adjudications of adjustment of status applications or consular processing of immigrant visas. ...

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Visa Bulletin Update: USCIS Flips Script and Opts To Use Final Action Date Chart for Adjustment of Status Filings

Benjamin Brueggemann, Senior Supervising Attorney  As of the January 2021 Visa Bulletin, USCIS opted to flip the script and move forward with adjustment of status filings using the Final Action Date Chart, rather than the Filing Date Chart as they have done since the beginning of the new Fiscal Year, which started October 2020.  For employment-based cases, USCIS has, historically, always used the Filing Date Chart at the beginning of the fiscal year and then gradually switched to using the Final Action Date chart for adjustment of status filings.  Although this is not a new concept, the timing of when USCIS chooses the Final Action...

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U.S. Department of Labor Processing Times of PERMs and Prevailing Wages

Benjamin Brueggemann, Senior Supervising Attorney  Increased processing times is the name of the game at the U.S. Department of Labor.  This not only goes for PERM applications, but also PERM Audit reviews and Prevailing Wage Requests.   The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is currently processing PERM cases received in July 2020.  Specifically, the DOL states that the average perm application takes about 207 days, which is about 6.9 months.  This is extremely high, even for U.S. Department of Labor standards.  Historically, PERM processing times have ranged from 3 to 5 months, but now they are at almost 7 months.  The hope is that we will see a shift back to more “normal” processing times in the year 2021 as the U.S. Department...

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Adjustment of Status Processing (January 2021)

Michelle A. Choe, Attorney  In September of 2020, the October visa bulletin was released which aggressively advanced the filing dates for the EB-3 category in India and China. This significant movement caused USCIS to receive an influx of I-140 downgrade petitions and Adjustment of Status applications. The USCIS received more applications than it could handle in a reasonable time. As a result, our office is still waiting on receipt notices for cases that were filed in October 2020. On December 15, 2020, The USCIS issued a statement that confirmed it is still experiencing delays in issuing receipt notices for filed petitions and applications. Although the statement asserts that the receipt notices should be issued within 30 days of the filing, our office is expecting a 60–90-day delay. In addition to delays in issuing receipt notices, we...

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Retention & Abandonment Of Lawful Permanent Residency

When a person is admitted to the United States as a lawful permanent resident (“LPR” status), he or she does not receive an absolute grant of residence for the rest of his or her life. Rather, the grant is conditional and depends upon certain conditions remaining unchanged. For example, if an LPR commits a very serious crime, the LPR can be removed from the United States. The more common reason for loss of LPR status, however, is abandonment of LPR status. When a person is given LPR status, they are expected to make their actual home in the United States. If...

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