1. 12 Sep, 2017
    Watch out!! DOS Alters "30/60" Rule Re: Immigration Fraud.
    Recently we published an article (here) about the new change in USCIS policy regarding the phase-in of mandatory interviews for anyone seeking to adjust their status from a non-immigrant visa to an employment-based permanent immigrant visa (i.e. I-485s). We noted in that article that while authorized by law, the practice had largely been waived outside of special cases where it was deemed warranted. This policy was instituted largely based on how in the past USCIS and practitioners alike found
  2. 30 Aug, 2017
    Interviews To Be Phased In As Required For I-485s
    Beginning at the start of the new fiscal year for the federal government (Oct 1st, 2017), USCIS will begin to phase in a new policy that all employment-based Green Card applicants need to attend an in-person interview. As way of background, current regulations do indeed require (and have for some time) that anyone applying for a Green Card must attend a live in-person interview before issuance. However, this requirement has as a matter of policy been generally waived for most applicants for
  3. 18 Aug, 2017
    J-1 Visa: Frequently Asked Questions
    The J-1 visa program is an exchange visitor program for individuals to experience cultural and educational opportunities in the United States.  This visa program is overseen by the Department of State.  In the J-1 program, the Department of State designates academic and private sector entities as approved sponsors.  Once an individual finds their sponsor, they can begin the process of applying for a J-1 visa for that program. We have dealt with many individuals on J-1 visas, and here are some
  4. 08 Aug, 2017
    AAO Overturns Reviewing Officer's Decision For Case With Overkill Credentials
    The Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) for USCIS has issued a new decision that we are happy to see and felt worthy of a few words on our end. Why? Well this decision is particularly interesting because the case (in our humble opinion) was so clear cut based on the underlying evidence submitted that it is somewhat outstanding that the lower level officer denied the case originally before being overturned by the AAO. Of course there are always wacky cases out there that border on the absurd like
  5. 19 Jul, 2017
    Our Site Visit To The Nebraska Service Center (NSC)-An Inside Look
    David Allen, Partner at Immigration Advocates, PLLC, recently flew to Lincoln, Nebraska to gain a better understanding of the inner-workings of the Nebraska Service Center and how cases are handled.  The Nebraska Service Center invited stakeholders to an Open House on July 18, 2017.  Since NSC is only one of two service centers that adjudicate initial EB-1 and EB-2 NIW filings (Texas Service Center being the other), we thought it was important to take the time to attend so that we could get a
  6. 17 Jul, 2017
    Appeal of NIW for Engineer Under Dhanasar Shows Citations May Not Be Best Adjudication Standard
    In a decision dated March 20, 2017, the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO), overturned a previous denial of an EB-2 NIW petition, where the original finding was that while the individual was a member of professions holding an advanced degree; however, the officer did not find that a National Interest Waiver was warranted for the individual.  The petitioner in question was a metallurgical engineer.   He contended in the appeal that the adjudicating officer placed too much emphasis on his
  7. 13 Jul, 2017
    August Visa Bulletin Confirms Imminent Retrogression
    Yesterday the Department of State (DOS) released their Visa Bulletin for August 2017 (see here) and as expected we will see some retrogression for the EB-1 and EB-2 preference categories. In particular, the following are the main changes that will likely have the greatest impact on petitioners: EB-1: Final-action priority dates are not current for China-mainland or India. Both now have a priority date of January 1st, 2012 which means that unless someone has a priority date earlier than January
  8. 11 Jul, 2017
    Tougher Rules for F-1 Students Rumored To Be In the Works
    Despite the many issues that currently plague the US education system, what is one undeniable fact about US higher education? The answer is that the U.S. has some of the best Universities in the world and produces some of the most cutting edge research and researchers. And why is that? Well in our (humble) opinion it is because the U.S. Immigration System is pretty generous and relatively open to international students to study here. This openness has created a self-fulling cycle effect: 1)
  9. 10 Jul, 2017
    Successful EB-1A AAO Appeal Shows (Again) That Some Notorious Officers Are Dead Wrong
    A recent successful EB-1A AAO appeal shows once again that despite some lower-level immigration officers’ insistence that journal rankings and recommendation letters matter very little under this petition category, in fact they should matter a great deal. While most officers in our experience get it right (sorta), some immigration officers are notorious for dismissing this type of evidence for the EB-1A outright. We are happy to see the AAO confirm once again that recommendation letters and
  10. 06 Jul, 2017
    Travel Ban and The Supreme Court's Decision
    As many readers of this blog likely already know, the U.S. Supreme Court recently granted in limited part the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) motion to stay enforcement of two independent preliminary injunctions that had previously froze enforcement of certain portions of the now infamous Executive Order (EO) No. 13780. Although many aspects of this ruling are likely to be played out in the courts to smooth out the meaning of “bona fide relationship”, here is a quick analysis of how we predict the
  11. 04 Jul, 2017
    O-1A Visa: Does the “O” Stand for “Overlooked”?
    The O-1A visa is available for individuals with an extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics. Often rumors float around that an O-1A visa requires awards comparable to a Nobel Prize, Lasker Award, Olympic Medal, etc. While these are classic examples of achievements that may garner a granting of an O-1A visa, USCIS specifically sets out evidentiary criteria in recognition that an individual may have extraordinary ability without having earned such an accolade. A
  12. 22 May, 2017
    Rundown On "Buy American, Hire American."
    A lot of ink has been spilled recently regarding President Trump’s recently signed executive order (“EO”), "Buy American, Hire American." And while we are hesitant to add further to this subject when so much has already been said by other astute observers of the field we felt that there were still a great many misperceptions about what this order actually means in terms of its applicability to employment-based immigration. So we thought it prudent to chime in briefly (and only briefly) with an
  13. 09 Apr, 2017
    New Policy Memo on H-1B Computer Programmers
    As many know who have gone through the H-1B process, a “specialty occupation” is defined by law as one that requires at least a bachelor’s degree in a specific field. Since 2000, USCIS has had policy guidance in place that defined a “computer programmer” as “generally” meeting this criterion. However, USCIS on March 31st, 2017 issued new H-1B specialty occupation guidance that states that an entry-level computer programmer position should “generally” not be considered a specialty occupation.
  14. 17 Mar, 2017
    Using Trump Lemon(s) to Make Travel Ban Lemonade: Our Take on the New Temporary Restraining Order
    Ok, so I know that the pun I employed in the title of this article in reference to the key Supreme Court case Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971) recently relied upon for the new Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) in the case of Hawaii et al. v. Trump et al., CV. No. 17-0050 DKW-KSC is a bit cheeky. But when your 9-5 is confined to an area of the law that is often described as the most technical paradigm of law aside from our tax code, you tend to find yourself laughing at small word play
  15. 14 Mar, 2017
    Perspectives and Insights On The New EO Travel Ban
    The first of the Trump administration's executive orders (“EO”) relating to immigration was originally issued on January 27th, 2017. However, this order was immediately challenged across the country in many courtrooms and on the basis of several different legal principles. The most prominent of the legal challenges were premised on Due Process and/or the Establishment Clause. (see here and here). The court that captured the most attention on a national stage was in the matter of Washington et