USCIS announced that it will be seeking funding from Congress to help with a budget deficit it is experiencing as a result of a decrease in filings for immigration benefits. USCIS has indicated that to make up for the additional funding being sought from Congress that they intend to add a 10% surcharge to all USCIS filing fees. USCIS had already announced its intent to increase filing fees back in November. Those fee requests have been under public review and have yet to be implemented. It appears inevitable that those fee increases will be implemented soon. Additionally the likelihood that USCIS will begin charging a 10% surcharge on filing fees is extremely high.
UPDATE April 22, 2020 President Trump this evening signed an executive order banning the issuance of green cards to foreign nationals who are outside of the country. The order is effective as of 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on April 23, 2020. The order excludes persons in the U.S. who are adjusting their status. If you have filed or are filing an adjustment of status, then you are exempt from the ban. The order also does not restrict the filing of NIW, OPR or EB1 petitions. Although the ban targets individuals who are out of the country, the ban excluded those who are seeking to enter through the National Interest or those who are medical professionals or are seeking to perform medical research. Trump indicated that he may modify the order in the future so we will monitor the situation closely and update again if there are any changes. BOTTOM LINE: THE EXECUTIVE ORDER WILL HAVE NO EFFECT ON ANY OF OUR CLIENTS.
Here is a list of the exceptions to the ban:
(i) any lawful permanent resident of the United States;
(ii) any alien seeking to enter the United States on an immigrant visa as a physician, nurse, or other healthcare professional; to perform medical research or other research intended to combat the spread of COVID-19; or to perform work essential to combating, recovering from, or otherwise alleviating the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees; and any spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old of any such alien who are accompanying or following to join the alien;
(iii) any alien applying for a visa to enter the United States pursuant to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program;
(iv) any alien who is the spouse of a United States citizen;
(v) any alien who is under 21 years old and is the child of a United States citizen, or who is a prospective adoptee seeking to enter the United States pursuant to the IR-4 or IH-4 visa classifications;
(vi) any alien whose entry would further important United States law enforcement objectives, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees, based on a recommendation of the Attorney General or his designee;
(vii) any member of the United States Armed Forces and any spouse and children of a member of the United States Armed Forces;
(viii) any alien seeking to enter the United States pursuant to a Special Immigrant Visa in the SI or SQ classification, subject to such conditions as the Secretary of State may impose, and any spouse and children of any such individual; or
(ix) any alien whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees.
UPDATE: April 21, 2020 President Trump walked back the extent of the ban suggested by his prior tweet. President Trump stated in his briefing that the immigration ban would only be for 60 days and would only target green card applications. From what we can tell, the green card applications that he is referring to would be limited to people residing outside of the U.S. We will update again once we learn more.
Late on April 20, 2020, President Trump tweeted, “In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens, I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!”
As of this morning, Whitehouse officials were working on a draft of an executive order, with the expectation that it would be ready for Trump’s signature by the end of the week. Right now, it is just speculation as to what the order will state and what restrictions will be put in place. However, the order is expected to be temporary.
While the executive order is likely to issue a temporary ban on the issuance of new visas, it most likely will not prohibit the submission of new applications within the United States or the processing of NIW, OPR or EB1A petitions. We are continuing to work hard to prepare and file our client’s cases with the USCIS. We are hopeful that the Adjustment of Status cases already on file prior to the executive order will continue to be processed.
We will update this blog as more news becomes available.
On December 18, 2019 both Senator Durbin and Senator Lee announced on the Senate floor that they had reached a bipartisan agreement to move S.386/HR1044 forward. While not officially presented yet, the unofficial draft of the proposed legislation as outlined by both Senator Durbin and Senator Lee in their speeches yesterday provides what we see as four very important issues as they relate to employment visas. 1. H1B 50/50 Rule; 2. Adjustment of Status (I-485 applications); 3. Dependent Age Out; and 4. Effective date of the law.
- The proposed legislation contains what Senator Durbin referred to as the 50/50 Rule. The 50/50 Rule would severely impact primarily IT workers from India who are working for outsourcing companies. The 50/50 Rule applies to any company that has more than 50 employees, of which more than 50% are on an H1B. The rule will have a significant impact on these companies to both bring new IT workers to the U.S. on H1B visas and to extend the H1B visas of their current employees.
- With respect to the effect that the bill will have on I-140 employment based applicants there is both bad news and good news. The bad news is that if the bill is signed into law it will take a considerably longer time for the actual green card to be issued. The good news is an immigrant employee will be able to file an I-485 adjustment of status on the earlier of two dates: 1. Upon approval of the I-140 petition; or 2) after the expiration of 270 days from the time of filing of the petition. Senator Durbin emphasized that he wanted to make sure that qualified immigrant workers would be able to get their Employment Authorization and Advance Parole so they would have the freedom to change jobs and travel while they wait for a green card to become available.
- The proposed bill also proposes that because of the delay that will be caused by the implemenation of this bill, dependents of the petitioner will not age out. Currently children of an approved petitioner can age out if a green card is not available before the dependent turns 21. The proposed changes will eliminate age out.
- Finally, the bill will no longer be retroactive. The Bill originally had an effective date of September 30, 2019. The effective date will be the date of enactment, the day the President signs it into law or if not signed within 10 days and Congress is in session.
While we believe Senator Durbin has done a tremendous job in helping to alleviate some of the concerns of people hoping to obtain a green card, we feel that the H1B changes will bring a significant amount of pressure to bear on other Senators by the lobby of the IT consultant industry. It is highly probable that the bill will be blocked yet again, before it makes it to the Senate floor for possible unanimous consent. While it is prudent to move forward in a timely manner on your employment based green card applications so as to get your green card as soon as possible, we do not feel that S386 as it stands now will be as devastating for new applicants from countries other than India and China as it was first thought it would.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that it is implementing the registration process in the next H-1B lottery. Employers seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions for the fiscal year 2021 cap, including those eligible for the advanced degree exemption, must first electronically register and pay the associated $10 H-1B registration fee.
Employers seeking H-1B workers subject to the cap will now be required to complete a registration process. USCIS will open an initial registration period from March 1 through March 20, 2020. The H-1B random selection process, if needed, will then be run on those electronic registrations. Only those with selected registrations will be eligible to file H-1B cap-subject petitions.
“By streamlining the H-1B cap selection process with a new electronic registration system, USCIS is creating cost savings and efficiencies for petitioners and the agency, as only those selected will now be required to submit a full petition,” said USCIS Deputy Director Mark Koumans. “The agency completed a successful pilot testing phase, which included sessions with industry representatives, and implementation of the registration system will further the goal of modernizing USCIS from a paper-based to an online-filing agency.”
USCIS will post step-by-step instructions on how to complete the registration process on its website along with key dates and timelines. USCIS may determine it is necessary to continue accepting registrations, or open an additional registration period, if it does not receive enough registrations and subsequent petitions projected to reach the numerical allocations.
The $10 H1-B registration fee established under the final rule is effective on Dec. 9, 2019, and will apply to registrations submitted during the initial and future registration periods.
The Homeland Security Department today issued a proposed rule titled “U.S. Citizenship and immigration Services Fee Schedule and Changes to Certain Other Immigration Benefit Request Requirements”. The proposed rule is open for comment until December 16, 2019 after which it can be implemented. The good news is that for NIW petitions the fees may actually be reduced. The I-140 will be reduced by $155 to $545 down from $700. The I-485 has a small proposed reduction from $1140 to $1120. However, the cost to file an I-485 for children will increase significantly from $750 to $1120, the same as an adult. The Biometric fee is also being reduced from $85 to $30.
If the proposed rule is put into effect, the USCIS fees for an NIW and an AOS will look like this:
I-140 – $545
I-485 – $1150 (with Biometric) for each individual, adult or child
Below is Table 19 from the Proposed Rule which sets forth all proposed fee changes:
Table 19 depicts the current and proposed USCIS fees for immigration benefit requests and biometric services. For a more detailed description of the basis for the changes described in this table, see Appendix Table 3 in the FY 2019/2020 Fee Review Supporting Documentation accompanying this proposed rule.
|Immigration benefit request||Current fee||Proposed fee||Delta ($)||Percent change|
|I-90 Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card||$455||$415||−$40||−9%|
|I-102 Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival-Departure Document||445||490||45||10|
|I-129 Petition for a Nonimmigrant worker||460||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|I-129H1 I-129 H-1B—Named Beneficiaries||460||560||100||22|
|I-129H2A I-129 H-2A—Named Beneficiaries||460||860||400||87|
|I-129H2B I-129 H-2B—Named Beneficiaries||460||725||265||58|
|I-129L Petition for L Nonimmigrant Worker||460||815||355||77|
|I-129O Petition for O Nonimmigrant Worker||460||715||255||55|
|I-129CW, I-129E&TN, and I-129MISCV Petition for a CNMI-Only Nonimmigrant Transitional Worker; Application for Nonimmigrant Worker: E and TN Classification; and Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker: H-3, P, Q, or R Classification.||460||705||245||53|
|I-129H2A I-129 H-2A—Unnamed Beneficiaries||460||425||−35||−8|
|I-129H2B I-129 H-2B—Unnamed Beneficiaries||460||395||−65||−14|
|I-129F Petition for Alien Fiancé(e)||535||520||−15||−3|
|I-130 Petition for Alien Relative||535||555||20||4|
|I-131 Application for Travel Document||575||585||10||2|
|I-131 Travel Document for an individual age 16 or older||135||145||10||7|
|I-131 I-131 Refugee Travel Document for a child under the age of 16||105||115||10||10|
|I-131A Application for Carrier Documentation||575||1,010||435||76|
|I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker||700||545||−155||−22|
|I-191 Application for Relief Under Former Section 212(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA)||930||800||−130||−14|
|I-192 Application for Advance Permission to Enter as Nonimmigrant||183 585/930||1,415||830/485||142/52|
|I-193 Application for Waiver of Passport and/or Visa||585||2,790||2,205||377|
|I-212 Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the U.S. After Deportation or Removal||930||1,040||110||12|
|I-290B Notice of Appeal or Motion||675||705||30||4|
|I-360 Petition for Amerasian Widow(er) or Special Immigrant||435||455||20||5|
|I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status||184 1,140/750||1,120||−20/370||−2/49|
|I-526 Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur||3,675||4,015||340||9|
|I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status||370||400||30||8|
|I-589 Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal||0||50||50||N/A|
|I-600/600A Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative/Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition||775||810||35||5|
|I-600A/I-600 Supp. 3 Request for Action on Approved Form I-600A/I-600||N/A||405||N/A||N/A|
|I-601 Application for Waiver of Ground of Excludability||930||985||55||6|
|I-601A Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver||630||960||330||52|
|I-612 Application for Waiver of the Foreign Residence Requirement (Under Section 212(e) of the INA, as Amended)||930||525||−405||−44|
|I-687 Application for Status as a Temporary Resident under Section 245A of the Immigration and Nationality Act||1,130||1,130||0||0|
|I-690 Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility||715||770||55||8|
|I-694 Notice of Appeal of Decision||890||725||−165||−19|
|I-698 Application to Adjust Status From Temporary to Permanent Resident (Under Section 245A of the INA)||1,670||1,615||−55||−3|
|I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence||595||760||165||28|
|I-765 Application for Employment Authorization||410||490||80||20|
|I-800/800A Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative/Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country||775||810||35||5|
|I-800A Supp. 3 Request for Action on Approved Form I-800A||385||405||20||5|
|I-817 Application for Family Unity Benefits||600||590||−10||−2|
|I-821D Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Renewal)||0||275||275||N/A|
|I-824 Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition||465||500||35||8|
|I-829 Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status||3,750||3,900||150||4|
|I-881 Application for Suspension of Deportation or Special Rule Cancellation of Removal||185 285/570||1,800||1,515/1,230||532/216|
|I-910 Application for Civil Surgeon Designation||785||650||−135||−17|
|I-924 Application for Regional Center Designation Under the Immigrant Investor Program||17,795||17,795||0||0|
|I-924A Annual Certification of Regional Center||3,035||4,470||1,435||47|
|I-929 Petition for Qualifying Family Member of a U-1 Nonimmigrant||230||1,515||1,285||559|
|I-941 Application for Entrepreneur Parole||1,200||1,200||0||0|
|N-300 Application to File Declaration of Intention||270||1,320||1,050||389|
|N-336 Request for a Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings||700||1,755||1,055||151|
|N-400 Application for Naturalization||640/320||1,170||530||83|
|N-470 Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization Purposes||355||1,600||1,245||266|
|N-565 Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document||555||545||−10||−2|
|N-600 Application for Certificate of Citizenship||1,170||1,015||−155||−13|
|N-600K Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate Under Section 322||1,170||960||−210||−18|
|USCIS Immigrant Fee||220||200||−20||−9|
|G-1041 Genealogy Index Search Request||65||240||175||269|
|G-1041A Genealogy Records Request||65||385||320||492|
Below is a link to the Proposed New Rule in its entirety:
If you have any questions or would like a consult on your NIW case please do not hesitate to contact us.
The Visa Bulletin for November was just released and the priority dates have not changed from October. For EB1 petitioners the priority date for China is September 1, 2017 and remains March 15, 2017 for India. All other countries are still July 1, 2019. For EB2 all countries except China and India remain “Current” and China is still August 1, 2016, while India remains July 1, 2009.
The U.S. Federal Court for the Southern District of New York issued an injunction against Trumps Public Charge Rule. The injunction prohibits USCIS from requiring any forms that require additional public charge information. The proposed “New” I-485 and the New I-944 were going to require additional information relating to the receipt of public assistance and other financial resources. Effective today, Monday October 14, 2019 all I-485 forms filed with USCIS, until further notice, will remain the standard I-485. If you would like to get your I-485 filed while the public charge rule is still enjoined please let us know.
A few minutes ago Senator David Perdue blocked “Unanimous Consent” in the Senate. As mentioned in our previous blog, it only takes one Senator to block unanimous consent. This means that Senate Bill 386 did not pass unanimous consent and must be debated prior to moving on to a vote of the Senate, unless unanimous consent can be reached in the future.
The October Visa Bulletin was issued today and the applicable filing dates for EB-2 Adjustment of Status for most countries are now current and the EB-1 priority dates, while still not current, have also moved forward considerably. Additionally, USCIS just announced that it will be using the “Dates For Filing” chart (as opposed to the “Final Action Dates”) for determining when we can file your Adjustment of Status application. This is great news! Also, today it was announced that Senate Bill 386 many pass the Senate Floor through Unanimous Consent. I will address both these important happenings below.
EB-2 PRIORITY DATES FOR OCTOBER 2019
ALL COUNTRIES: The October Visa Bulletin lifted the retrogression for ALL COUNTRIES with the exception of China and India.
CHINA: The applicable filing date for China is now August 1, 2016.
INDIA: The applicable filing date for India is now January 1, 2015.
ALL COUNTRIES EXCEPT LISTED: The applicable filing date for all countries is now July 1, 2019 which is a considerable improvement.
CHINA: The applicable filing date for China is now September 1, 2017.
INDIA: The applicable filing date for India is now March 17, 2017.
DATES FOR FILING OF EMPLOYMENT-BASED VISA APPLICATIONS
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
Your priority date for NIW EB-2 and EB-1 is established the date your I-140 petition is filed. Your priority date must be before the date listed on the chart above in order for us to file your Adjustment of Status application.
- If you have an approved I-140 petition in the EB-1 or EB-2 category with a current priority date, it is time to file your I-485 adjustment of status application;
- If you have a pending I-140 in the EB-1 or EB-2 category with a current priority date, you may interfile your I-485 adjustment of status application; or
- If you are filing an I-140 petition in the EB-1 or EB-2 category and want to file both the I-140 petition and I-485 application concurrently, you can now do so once again.
SENATE BILL 386 and HR 1044
The news today that Senate Bill 386 would be brought forward on Thursday Sept. 19 when Sen. Rand Paul announced he would lift his block of “Unanimous Consent” caused quite a bit of concern among some of our clients and excitement among others. What all our clients need to understand is what “Unanimous Consent” means. Unanimous consent does not mean that the law will be passed, it simply means that it can move the bill forward on the Senate floor toward a vote without Senate debate. Sen. Paul removing his hold/block does not mean that another Senator will not block Senate Bill 386. For unanimous consent to pass all of the 100 Senators must consent to move the legislation on without further debate. If no single Senator blocks consent, then it would go to the floor to be voted on at some point in the future. To pass, the law requires a majority vote of 51 to pass. While it is premature to know with any certainty what will happen, it is a prudent time for citizens of all countries, including India and China, who are considering filing for an Employment Based green card to plan for a possible change in the law.
With the uncertainty of House Bill HR1044 and Senate Bill S386, as well as the new rule on public charges and the current immigration climate, great care needs to be taken in preparing the I-485 Adjustment of Status application prior to filing. The Dunn Law Firm was founded over 100 years ago and has one of the most experienced immigration law teams in the U.S. The team is one of the countries most experienced with filing I-485 Adjustment of Status applications and we are ready to help you file your I-140 and/or I-485 Adjustment of Status application. We offer extremely prompt and accurate processing and personal service to each application and you are always able to speak to or email your Attorney or Paralegal directly when needed. The timing of when to file your I-485 can have a significant impact on your current immigration status and can affect your future plans. We recommend that you contact our office immediately to discuss your situation in detail.
Please contact our office at (309) 828-6241 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are ready to file your I-140 and/or I-485. You may also visit our website at www.nationalinterestwaivers.com to obtain more information.
On July 10, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019 (H.R. 1044), which proposes to eliminate the per-country limit for all employment-based immigrants and increase the per-country limit for all family-sponsored immigrants from 7 percent to 15 percent.