Articles Posted in USCIS

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Happy Thanksgiving from the Law Offices of Jacob Sapochnick to you and yours! In this season of gratitude, we are reminded of how fortunate we are to serve incredible clients like you. We are inspired by your stories and feel honored to work with you. We thank you for your trust and the opportunity to serve you.

We hope that you take this time to pause and reflect on your own blessings and give thanks to those that make your life joyful this holiday season.

Please be aware that our offices will be closed in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday. We will get back to you upon our return.

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In continuance of the information provided in our blog post concerning additional visa allocations for the H-2B cap, we share new updates recently from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

On November 9, 2023, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in consultation with the Department of State (DOS), published a Notice in the Federal Register identifying the list of foreign countries whose nationals are eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B Nonimmigrant Worker Programs next year.

Effective November 9, 2023, nationals of the following countries are eligible to receive H-2A and H-2B visas:

Andorra The Kingdom of Eswatini Madagascar Saint Lucia
Argentina Fiji Malta San Marino
Australia Finland Mauritius Serbia
Austria France Mexico Singapore
Barbados Germany Monaco Slovakia
Belgium Greece Mongolia* Slovenia
Bolivia Grenada Montenegro Solomon Islands
Bosnia and Herzegovina Guatemala Mozambique South Africa
Brazil Haiti Nauru South Korea
Brunei Honduras The Netherlands Spain
Bulgaria Hungary New Zealand St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Canada Iceland Nicaragua Sweden
Chile Ireland North Macedonia Switzerland
Colombia Israel Norway Taiwan***
Costa Rica Italy Panama Thailand
Croatia Jamaica Papua New Guinea Timor-Leste
Republic of Cyprus Japan Paraguay** Turkey
Czech Republic Kiribati Peru Tuvalu
Denmark Latvia The Philippines* Ukraine
Dominican Republic Liechtenstein Poland United Kingdom
Ecuador Lithuania Portugal Uruguay
El Salvador Luxembourg Romania Vanuatu
Estonia

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The release of the December Visa Bulletin has brought few positive changes for immigrants in both the family sponsored and employment-based preference categories. In this blog post, we share with you everything you need to know regarding the movement (or lack thereof) of the categories for the month of December.

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.


Highlights of the December 2023 Visa Bulletin


Unfortunately, the December Visa Bulletin brings little to no changes across most employment-based categories and family-sponsored categories from the previous month of November. The Dates for Filing of all employment and family-sponsored categories remain unchanged from the previous month.

The Final Action Dates for family-sponsored categories also remain unchanged from the previous month.

With respect to the Final Action Dates for the employment categories, EB-2 China will advance by three weeks to October 22, 2019, and EB-3 China will advance to January 22, 2020. The Final Action Dates for the remaining employment-based categories remain unchanged from the previous month.

EB-4 Certain Religious Workers will become unavailable in the month of December.


Adjustment of Status Filing Chart December 2023


For the month of December 2023, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has confirmed that the Dates for Filing chart in the December 2023 Visa Bulletin will continue to be used in determining eligibility for I-485 adjustment of status filings (green card filings inside the US).

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On behalf of everyone at the Law Offices of Jacob J. Sapochnick, we would like to say Happy Veterans Day to all of our clients. To our wonderful veterans, we thank you for your service and appreciate everything you do for us.

We also thank you for your continued support of our company. We look forward to continuing to work together for many years to come.

Please be aware that our office is observing the Veterans Day holiday today Friday November 10th. Our offices will be closed to allow our staff members to be with their families. We will be proud to serve you upon our return on Monday November 13, 2023. Happy Veterans Day!

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We are happy to share some exciting news for H-2B FY 2024 visa applicants and their employers.

On November 3, 2023, the U.S. Citizenship, and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that the government will make available an additional 64,716 H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker visas for Fiscal Year (FY) 2024.

This is in addition to the 66,000 H-2B visas made available each fiscal year for the H-2B visa program under the congressionally mandated cap.

This will allow American businesses operating within the hospitality, tourism, landscaping, seafood processing industries to hire seasonal or other temporary workers in the H-2B program to help them meet high demand for work during peak seasons, where not enough American workers are available to fill these jobs.

USCIS has made the announcement at the start of FY 2024 to allow U.S. employers to plan their hiring needs ahead of time and fill temporary positions for seasonal and other temporary workers.

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It’s a brand-new week full of important updates from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This time for employment authorization documents (EADs).

Recently, USCIS announced that certain applicants who have filed to renew their employment authorization cards (EADs) on Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, may qualify for an automatic extension of their expiring employment authorization and/or employment authorization documents (EADs) while their renewal applications are pending with USCIS.

Beginning October 27, 2023, those who are eligible will receive 180-day automatic extensions of their EADs, including those who have applied for or have received Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or asylum.

Previously, USCIS had passed a regulation that increased the automatic extension period for certain EAD applicants from 180 days to 540 days. This announcement will not impact EADs that were already issued for up to the 540-day period. Those extensions will remain in place. For such individuals, the increased automatic extension will end when they receive a final decision on their renewal application or when the “up to 540-day period” expires (counted from the expiration date of the employment authorization and/or their EAD), whichever comes earlier.

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A new family reunification parole process has been launched, this time for qualifying nationals of Ecuador.

Who is eligible?


Nationals of Ecuador petitioned by family members who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents and who have received approval on Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, to join their family in the United States may participate in this new parole process.

Parole will allow such nationals and their immediate family members to be admitted to the United States lawfully for a period of up to three years, while waiting to apply to become lawful permanent residents.

Qualifying beneficiaries must be outside the United States, must not have already received an immigrant visa, and meet all other requirements, such as screening, vetting, and medical requirements.


How does the family reunification process work?


The Family Reunification Parole process is initiated when the Department of State sends an invitation by mail or e-mail to the petitioning U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident family member whose Form I-130 is already approved. The petitioner is the person who has filed the Form I-130 petition with USCIS on behalf of the foreign national.

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We are pleased to report that the Department of Homeland Security recently issued a notice in the Federal Register extending Venezuela’s designation for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for an 18-month period.

Those who qualify will be eligible to apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) that is valid for the duration of the TPS designation.


Who qualifies?


You may be eligible to apply for TPS under Venezuela’s 2023 designation if you continuously resided in the United States on or before July 31, 2023, and have been continuously physically present in the United State on or before October 3, 2023.

However, if you arrived in the United States after July 31, 2023, you are ineligible for TPS.

It is estimated that Venezuela’s redesignation will allow approximately estimated 472,000 additional Venezuelan nationals to file an initial TPS application. Approximately 243,000 current beneficiaries will be allowed to retain their TPS benefits upon their re-registration.

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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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