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In this blog post, we share with you an important update from the U.S. Embassy in Israel.

If you have a pending nonimmigrant or immigrant visa application awaiting an interview at the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem or U.S. Embassy Branch Office in Tel Aviv, you should be aware that visa services have been temporarily suspended at these missions due to the ongoing conflict in the region.

The U.S. Embassy in Israel will be focusing its resources to plan the evacuation and departure of U.S. Citizens from the region.

Starting October 13th, the government arranged charter flights to assist U.S. Citizens and their immediate family members to depart Israel.

U.S. citizens in need of assistance must complete the crisis intake form here.


Applying for a Nonimmigrant Visa at a Neighboring U.S. Consulate or Embassy


If you have an urgent need to travel to the United States and do not currently have a nonimmigrant visa, you may apply for your visa at another U.S. Embassy or Consulate other than Jerusalem or Tel Aviv.

You must contact the nonimmigrant visa unit at the neighboring Embassy or Consulate to determine whether they will accept your application as a third-country national.

The U.S. Consulates in Canada allow third-country nationals to apply for visas including Israelis. Alternatively, please check with the specific Consulate regarding their instructions for requesting expedited interview appointments for emergency travel. In most cases, once you have submitted your DS-160 online nonimmigrant visa application and paid the necessary visa fees on the U.S. Department of State Visa Appointment Services webpage, you may request an expedited appointment. More information about expedites can be found on the ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ portion of each country webpage by navigating to the bottom of the DOS Visa Appointment Service and selecting “Answers to Common Questions.”

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The November Visa Bulletin has arrived! In this blog post we share with you the changes that you can expect to see in the visa bulletin for the upcoming month of November.

Whether you are applying for an immigrant visa at a U.S. Consulate overseas or applying for adjustment of status to permanent residence in the United States, you won’t want to miss these important updates.


Overview


What is the Visa Bulletin?


The Department of State releases the visa bulletin on a monthly basis, which summarizes the availability of immigrant visa numbers for that particular month in the employment and family preference categories. The purpose of the visa bulletin is to inform immigrants who are subject to the numerical quota system of when they are eligible to apply for an immigrant visa or adjustment of status application. Applicants can determine their place in line by looking at the priority date on their underlying immigrant petition. Applicants with a priority date that is “current” on the Visa Bulletin can move forward with the immigration process, because that means a visa number is available to them.


What are the preference categories that are subject to the numerical limitations?


The Family Sponsored Preference Categories and their annual limits are as follows:

First: (F1) Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens:  23,400 plus any numbers not required for fourth preference.

Second: Spouses and Children, and Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents:  114,200, plus the number (if any) by which the worldwide family preference level exceeds 226,000, plus any unused first preference numbers:

  1. (F2A) Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents:  77% of the overall second preference limitation, of which 75% are exempt from the per-country limit;
  2. (F2B) Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older) of Permanent Residents:  23% of the overall second preference limitation.

Third: (F3) Married Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens:  23,400, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences.

Fourth: (F4) Brothers and Sisters of Adult U.S. Citizens:  65,000, plus any numbers not required by first three preferences.

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In this blog post, we summarize the movement of the family-sponsored and employment-based preference categories of the October Visa Bulletin.

This information will be helpful to those applying for an immigrant visa at a U.S. Consulate overseas, and those applying for adjustment of status to permanent residence in the United States.


Overview


What is the Visa Bulletin?


The Department of State releases the visa bulletin on a monthly basis, which summarizes the availability of immigrant visa numbers for that particular month in the employment and family preference categories. The purpose of the visa bulletin is to inform immigrants who are subject to the numerical quota system of when they are eligible to apply for an immigrant visa or adjustment of status application. Applicants can determine their place in line by looking at the priority date on their underlying immigrant petition. Applicants with a priority date that is “current” on the Visa Bulletin can move forward with the immigration process, because that means a visa number is available to them.


What are the preference categories that are subject to the numerical limitations?


The Family Sponsored Preference Categories and their annual limits are as follows:

First: (F1) Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens:  23,400 plus any numbers not required for fourth preference.

Second: Spouses and Children, and Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents:  114,200, plus the number (if any) by which the worldwide family preference level exceeds 226,000, plus any unused first preference numbers:

  1. (F2A) Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents:  77% of the overall second preference limitation, of which 75% are exempt from the per-country limit;
  2. (F2B) Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older) of Permanent Residents:  23% of the overall second preference limitation.

Third: (F3) Married Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens:  23,400, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences.

Fourth: (F4) Brothers and Sisters of Adult U.S. Citizens:  65,000, plus any numbers not required by first three preferences.

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We are happy to report that the August Visa Bulletin has been released!

As we do every month, we share what you can expect to see in the upcoming month’s visa bulletin for family-sponsored and employment-based preference categories to help you prepare for your immigrant visa filing at a U.S. Consulate overseas, or your green card filing for those residing in the United States.


Highlights of the August 2023 Visa Bulletin


Employment Based Categories


Final Action cutoff dates – Retrogressions in August:

  • EB-1 India will retrogress by more than 10 years to January 1, 2012, in August 2023. The State Department indicates that depending on usage in the category and on the FY 2024 annual numerical limit, it is likely that in October 2023 the cutoff date will return to at least February 1, 2022
  • EB-1 Worldwide, China: The State Department has imposed a final action cutoff date for EB-1A Worldwide for all countries except China, at August 1, 2023. The EB-1 China Final Action Date will remain at February 1, 2022.
  • EB-2 Worldwide, China:  EB-2 China will advance by one month, to July 8, 2019. The Final Action Date for EB-2 India will remain at January 1, 2011. The EB-2 Worldwide Final Action Date will advance by six weeks, to April 1, 2022 for all other countries.
  • EB-3: The Final Action Date for EB-3 China Professional/Skilled Worker will advance by two months, to June 1, 2019. EB-3 India Professional/Skilled Worker will remain at January 1, 2009. For all other countries, the EB-3 Professional/Skilled Worker Final Action Date will retrogress by almost two years, to May 1, 2020.

Family-sponsored categories


Dates for Filing cutoff dates – Advancements in August:

  • F-1 Mexico will advance by 2 years and 3 months to April 1, 2005 from January 1, 2003
  • F2A will remain current for all categories
  • F2B Mexico will advance by 2 years and 4 months to August 1, 2004 from April 1, 2002

What is the Visa Bulletin?


The Department of State releases the visa bulletin on a monthly basis, which summarizes the availability of immigrant visa numbers for that particular month in the employment and family preference categories.


Adjustment of Status Filing Chart August 2023


The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has published guidance indicating that USCIS will accept employment-based adjustment of status applications from foreign nationals with a priority date that is earlier than the Final Action Dates listed in the State Department’s August 2023 Visa Bulletin.

For family-sponsored filings, USCIS will accept adjustment of status applications from foreign nationals with a priority date that is earlier than the Dates for Filing listed in the State Department’s August 2023 Visa Bulletin.

You may also find the Adjustment of Status USCIS Filing Charts here:


August 2023 Visa Bulletin Dates for Filing Cutoff Dates


 Employment-Based Categories


FINAL ACTION DATES FOR EMPLOYMENT-BASED PREFERENCE CASES


According to the Department of State’s August 2023 Visa Bulletin, the following Final Action cutoff dates will apply for employment-based categories, which will determine whether an adjustment of status application can be filed with USCIS in the month of August:

  • EB-1: China remains unchanged at February 1, 2022. India will retrogress by 10 years and 1 month, to January 1, 2012. All other countries will receive a final action cutoff date of August 1, 2023.
  • EB-2: India will remain at January 1, 2011. China will remain by 1 month to July 8, 2019. All other countries will advance by 6 weeks to April 1, 2022
  • EB-3 Professionals and Skilled Workers: India will remain at January 1, 2009. China will advance by 2 months to June 1, 2019. All other countries will retrogress by 1 year and 9 months to May 1, 2020.
  • EB-3 Other Workers: India will remain at January 1, 2009, China will remain at September 1, 2015. All other countries will remain at January 1, 2020.
  • EB-4: All countries will remain at September 1, 2018.
  • EB-5: For the EB-5 Unreserved categories (C5, T5, I5, and R5), India will remain at April 1, 2017, and China will remain at September 8, 2015. All other countries will remain current. The EB-5 “Set-Aside” categories (Rural, High Unemployment, and Infrastructure) will remain current.

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This past week, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced the implementation of a new Family Reunification Parole (FRP) program for foreign nationals of Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, that falls in line with previous governmental policies aimed at reducing unlawful migration.

The program will benefit nationals of such countries whose family members are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents and have received approval to join their family in the United States.

Nationals of these countries can be considered for parole on a case-by-case basis for a period of up to three years while they wait to apply to become a lawful permanent resident. This means that those who are eligible for parole will have the opportunity to lawfully reside inside of the United States while applying for lawful permanent residence for a period of up to three years.

The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas, said that “These new processes promote family unity and provide lawful pathways consistent with our laws and our values,” and will allow for the expansion of safe, orderly, and lawful pathways to reduce “dangerous, irregular migration to the United States.”

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The Department of State raised eyebrows earlier this month when it released information that it will be reducing the waiting period for 221(G) “administrative processing,” in an effort to process visas more efficiently.

While this is welcome news, in practice it may not mean much. Consulates and Embassies have been notoriously secretive when it comes to 221(G) administrative processing and do not reveal the reason for a visa applicant being placed in administrative processing in the first place, nor the type of security checks that are being conducted.


What is 221(G) Administrative Processing?


First, let’s explain what administrative processing is. When an applicant visits a U.S. Consulate or Embassy overseas for their visa interview, there are only two possible outcomes that can occur at the conclusion of their interview. The Consular Officer may choose to either issue or “refuse” the visa. A refusal is not the same as a denial. It simply means that the visa applicant has not established his or her eligibility for the visa they are seeking for the time being, and the Consulate needs additional time or requires further information either from the visa applicant or another source to determine the applicant’s eligibility for the visa.

In most cases, visa applicants who have been “refused” will require further administrative processing.


How will I know if I have been placed in 221(G) administrative processing?


Visa applicants placed in administrative processing are often given what is called a “Notice of 221(G) Refusal” at the conclusion of their interview, which states that the visa application has been “refused” under section 221(G) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The Notice should indicate whether additional administrative processing is required for your case, and whether any further action is required on your part, such as providing additional documentation or further information to process your visa.

However, in some cases visa applicants are not given such a Notice and will later discover that they have been placed in 221(G) administrative processing upon checking their visa status on the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) visa status check webpage.

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In this blog post we share with you the latest trends and projections of the June Visa Bulletin, and updates on visa availability for family-sponsored and employment-based preference categories.

To help you prepare for your upcoming immigrant visa or green card filing, we share what you can expect to see in the upcoming month’s visa bulletin.

Here are some of the highlights from the June 2023 Visa Bulletin:


  • For employment-based preference adjustment of status filings, USCIS will continue to use the Final Action Dates chart, as they did in May.
  • Similarly, for family-sponsored preference adjustment of status filings, USCIS will continue to use the Dates for Filing chart, as they did in May.
  • For the month of June, EB-1 and EB-2 cutoff dates will remain the same for all countries.
  • For EB-3 cutoff dates for all countries and categories will remain the same, with the exception of China “Other Workers,” advancing slightly.
  • Future retrogressions are expected for EB-3 India in the coming months including Professional/Skilled Workers, as well as July 2023.

What is the Visa Bulletin?


The Department of State releases the visa bulletin on a monthly basis, which summarizes the availability of immigrant visa numbers for that particular month in the employment and family preference categories.

To be eligible to file an employment-based adjustment of status application in June 2023, foreign nationals must have priority dates that are earlier than the Final Action Dates chart of the Department of State’s May Visa Bulletin.

Family-sponsored applicants currently residing in the United States, may file for adjustment of status once their priority dates become current, following the Dates for Filing chart according to the adjustment of status filing guidance published by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

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In this blog post, we discuss major changes in the April 2023 Visa Bulletin for both family-sponsored and employment-based categories.

To help you prepare for your upcoming immigrant visa or green card filing, we share what you can expect to see in the employment based and family preference categories for the month of April.

Before we dive in, here are some of the highlights:


  • For employment-based preference adjustment of status filings, USCIS will use the Final Action Dates chart, putting applicants at a disadvantage given that the Dates for Filing chart has been more flexible
  • EB-1A India and China maintains a Final Action cutoff date of February 1, 2022
  • EB-2 Worldwide Final Action date will retrogress to July 1, 2022 (4 months)
  • EB-2 India Final Action date will retrogress to January 1, 2011 (8 months)
  • EB-2 China Final Action date will remain at June 8, 2019
  • The F-2A category Final Action date (spouses and unmarried children under age 21 of U.S. green card holders) is no longer current for the first time in several years.

What is the Visa Bulletin?


The Department of State releases the visa bulletin on a monthly basis, which summarizes the availability of immigrant visa numbers for that particular month in the employment and family preference categories.

To be eligible to file an employment-based adjustment of status application in April 2023, foreign nationals must have priority dates that are earlier than the Final Action Dates chart of the Department of State’s April Visa Bulletin.

Family-sponsored applicants currently residing in the United States, may file for adjustment of status once their priority dates become current, following the Dates for Filing chart according to the adjustment of status filing guidance published by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

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In this blog post, we share with you new information provided by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Department of State Liaison Committee following a meeting with the National Visa Center (NVC) addressing some common issues of concern for immigrant visa applicants waiting for their visas to be processed at the NVC and immigrant visa scheduling at U.S. Embassies and Consulates abroad.

We provide a summary of the questions asked and responses from the Department of State down below. This discussion was part of a meeting with representatives from the Bureau of Consular Affairs, taking place on February 9, 2023.


NVC Statistics for Documentarily Complete Cases


Question: Can NVC confirm how many cases were completed in FY2022 compared with the 342,392 completed in FY2021?

Answer: Documentarily Complete cases (documents received, reviewed, and case entered into scheduling queue) by Fiscal Year:

  • FY 2020 = 321,274
  • FY 2021 = 342,392
  • FY 2022 = 343,277

Question: Can NVC confirm how many cases have been completed so far in FY 2023?

Answer: The number of immigrant visa cases determined to be documentarily complete by the National Visa Center thus far in fiscal year 2023 (as of 27 January 2023) is 140,084.

Question: What is the monthly volume of immigrant visa cases that the NVC processes?

Answer: On average, during FY 2022, NVC performed case creation for nearly 14,974 immigrant visa petitions, received 20,987 ELIS petitions from USCIS, and reviewed supporting forms and documents for another 72,337 immigrant visa cases per month.

Question: What is the monthly volume of nonimmigrant (fiancé) visa cases that the NVC processes?

Answer: On average, during FY 2022, NVC performed case creation for 1,138 l-129F petitions for Alien Fiancé(e)s per month.

Question: If a document is not considered acceptable, and the attorney re-submits the requested documents, on average, how long does the NVC take to review the new evidence?

Answer: When missing documentation is subsequently provided, it is reviewed in the order it was received. NVC processing times have dropped significantly in the past year. Applicants may refer to the NVC Timeframes page on travel.state.gov to track the current Document Review processing time. NVC Processing dates are updated weekly.

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The U.S. Department of State has released its March 2023 Visa Bulletin.

To help you prepare for your upcoming immigrant visa or green card filing, we share what you can expect to see in the employment based and family preference categories for the month of March.


What is the Visa Bulletin?


The Department of State releases the visa bulletin on a monthly basis, which summarizes the availability of immigrant visa numbers for that particular month in the employment and family preference categories.

To be eligible to file an employment-based adjustment of status application in March 2023, foreign nationals must have a priority date that is earlier than the Dates for Filing chart as listed in the Department of State’s March Visa Bulletin.

Those currently residing in the United States, may file for adjustment of status once their priority dates become current, following the Dates for Filing chart according to the adjustment of status filing guidance published by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).


Adjustment of Status Filing Chart March 2023


For Family-Sponsored Filings:

Pursuant to guidance released by USCIS, for all family-sponsored preference categories, applicants must use the Dates for Filing chart in the Department of State Visa Bulletin for March 2023.

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