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State Department Plans Launch of Domestic Visa Renewal Pilot

In a recent interview with Bloomberg Law, a State Department official stated that the agency plans on starting a pilot program this year to permit temporary visa holders to renew their visas within the U.S. without the need to travel and apply at an embassy/consulate abroad.  This stateside visa renewal option is intended to be initially available to H and L visa holders and may eventually be expanded to other visa types.  This stateside visa renewal program, which was previously available up until it was discontinued in Summer 2004, should hopefully provide more flexibility for foreign workers to travel abroad and...

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USCIS Updates Age Calculation Under Child Status Protection Act

Effective immediately, USCIS issued guidance in its Policy Manual to update when an immigrant visa “becomes available” for the purpose of calculating a noncitizen child’s age under the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA). Under this new guidance, USCIS will now use the “Dates for Filing” chart to calculate a child’s age for CSPA purposes. Under the previous CSPA guidance, USCIS considered a visa available based only on the “Final Action Date” chart, even if an individual could apply for adjustment of status using the earlier date in the “Dates for Filing” chart.   This update in USCIS’ policy guidance applies to pending...

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TN Processing Changes in Mexico

The U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Mexico have resumed limited processing of nonimmigrant visas. It is important to note that TN appointments are now only available in Mexico City, Ciudad Juarez, and Guadalajara. Previously scheduled TN appointments in Tijuana will be honored, but expedited appointments cannot be accommodated, and new TN appointments cannot be made. For the most up-to-date information on which types of visas can be processed at which locations in Mexico, please visit the website for the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Mexico.  ...

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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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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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Travel Ban

Travel Ban  David B. Raft, Senior Supervising Attorney  Over the past 150 years, the United States considered and implemented numerous bans on the ability for individuals or certain groups of individuals to be able to travel to the United States.  These “travel bans” have been plentiful.  Most are long forgotten in the annals of history, but some, such as the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, do stand out.  From the perspective of the Administration in power at the time, they felt there were legitimate reasons for such travel bans.  From the lens of a historian, many seem unjustified and outright racist in nature today.  Over the past four years, the...

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Visa posts to revoke nonimmigrant visas for individuals arrested for or convicted of DUI

The Department of State’s Visa Office sent the following guidance to overseas consular posts on September 9, 2016: Guidance Directive 2016-03 – 9 FAM 403.11-3 – VISA REVOCATION “The Department would like to bring to your attention a policy implemented on November 5, 2015, which requires consular officers to prudentially revoke (i.e., without making a determination that the individual is inadmissible) nonimmigrant visas of individuals arrested for, or convicted of, driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated, or similar arrests/convictions, that occurred within the previous five years, as detailed in 9 FAM 403.11-3(A). This requirement does not apply when the arrest/conviction occurred...

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