.article-list { padding-right: 40px } .body { padding-right: 40px }

December Visa Bulletin Released

The U.S. Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for December 2018. In addition to the final action dates and dates for filing applications, the Bulletin also includes notes on the diversity visa and the scheduled expiration of the Employment Fourth Preference Certain Religious Workers (SR) and the Employment Fifth Preference Categories (I5 and R5).

USCIS has advised that in December, all preference filings must use the Dates for Filing chart.

To view the full Bulletin, please visit:

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/legal/visa-law0/visa-bulletin/2019/visa-bulletin-for-december-2018.html

To discuss your immigration goals, please contact us at theteam@huwelaw.com or 415-496-9040.

November 2018 Visa Bulletin Released

The U.S. Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for November 2018. In addition to the final action dates and dates for filing applications, the Bulletin also includes notes on the extension of two employment visa categories, the Employment Fourth Preference Certain Religious Workers (SR) and Employment Fifth Preference Pilot (I5 and R5).

USCIS has advised that in November, all preference filings must use the dates for filing chart.

To view the full Bulletin, please visit:

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/legal/visa-law0/visa-bulletin/2019/visa-bulletin-for-november-2018.html

To discuss your immigration goals, please contact us at theteam@huwelaw.com or 415-496-9040.

New USCIS policy regarding NTA issuance goes into effect

On October 1st, 2018, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began implementing a new policy regarding the issuance of a Notice to Appear in immigration court (NTA) following the denial of an application or petition.

USCIS has explained that it will take an incremental approach to implementing the policy, which is described here in a memorandum dated June 28th, 2018:

https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/USCIS/Laws/Memoranda/2018/2018-06-28-PM-602-0050.1-Guidance-for-Referral-of-Cases-and-Issuance-of-NTA.pdf

What is the new policy?

• Starting October 1, 2018, USCIS will issue NTAs on denied status-impacting applications, including but not limited to form I-485 applications for adjustment of status (“green card” applications) and form I-539 applications to extend or change nonimmigrant status.

• In the future the memo will also likely be implemented with respect to employment-based petitions (for example H-1b visa applications) and humanitarian applications and petitions.

• Withdrawing an application will not cancel USCIS’s authority to issue an NTA. USCIS may issue an NTA even if the applicant or petitioner withdraws the application.

Why is the new policy important?

The new policy represents a major shift in deportation priorities. Previously, an applicant or petitioner was not automatically referred to immigration court if their request for a status-impacting benefit was denied.

It is now more important than ever to ensure that an application is properly filed and presents the strongest possible evidence, to avoid a denial.

For advice and assistance regarding your specific immigration situation, please contact us at 415-496-9040 or theteam@huwelaw.com.

October 2018 Visa Bulletin Released

The U.S. Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for October 2018. In addition to the final action dates and dates for filing applications, the Bulletin also includes notes on the scheduled expiration of two employment visa categories, the Employment Fourth Preference Certain Religious Workers (SR) and the Employment Fifth Preference Categories (I5 and R5), which will only be restored if Congress acts.

USCIS has advised that in October, both family-based and employment-based preference filings must use the dates for filing chart.

To view the full Bulletin, please visit:

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/legal/visa-law0/visa-bulletin/2019/visa-bulletin-for-october-2018.html

To discuss your immigration goals, please contact us at theteam@huwelaw.com or 415-496-9040.


September 2018 Visa Bulletin Released

The U.S. Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for September 2018. In addition to final action dates and dates for filing applications, the bulletin also includes notes on the diversity visa cut-offs, Special Immigrant translator visa availability, and retrogression of September employment-based final action dates.

USCIS has advised that in September, family-based preference filings must use the dates for filing chart and employment-based preference filings must use the final action dates chart.

To view the full Bulletin, please visit:

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/legal/visa-law0/visa-bulletin/2018/visa-bulletin-for-september-2018.html

To discuss your immigration goals, please contact us at theteam@huwelaw.com or 415-496-9040.

July 2018 Visa Bulletin Released

The U.S. Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for July 2018. In addition to the final action dates and dates for filing charts, the bulletin also includes notes on the diversity visa cut-offs, special immigrant translator visa availability, and retrogression of several employment-based final action dates.

USCIS has advised that in July, family-based preference filings must use the dates for filing chart and employment-based preference filings must use the final action dates chart.

To view the full Bulletin, please visit:

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/legal/visa-law0/visa-bulletin/2018/visa-bulletin-for-july-2018.html

To discuss your immigration goals, please contact us at theteam@huwelaw.com or 415-496-9040.

 

 

 

 

Why you need a lawyer for your marriage-based green card case

One question we are frequently asked during our initial legal evaluations for cases involving “green cards” through marriage is: Why do I need a lawyer? For many reasons, a lawyer is necessary for the green card process.

 

You may not be eligible for a marriage-based green card following the traditional route.

The law and the government’s policies are complex.

For example, any prior criminal history, immigration violations (such as overstaying a past visa or working without authorization), information you listed on a mortgage, school, or job application, or a denial of a past visa or green card application, can impact your eligibility for a green card now.

If you are not eligible to complete the process the usual way, there may be alternative options for you. To avoid serious consequences, you need to have a plan in place before submitting any applications to the government.

 

The green card application process is not just about filling out forms.

This is a common misconception. The process is about knowing the law, the government’s policies, and how the bureaucracy works, and submitting the answers and evidence that the government expects to see. The government requires strict compliance with the rules, and unfortunately, they do not always make the rules clear.

Evidence is key. The government wants to see documentary evidence that your relationship is real. This can be a problem for all couples, especially those who have not been together long, have different cultural backgrounds or a significant age difference, who have lived apart, who do not share finances, etc.

Details matter. Your situation may seem similar to that friend of yours who already went through the process, but minor differences may make or break your case. You may think you know how to answer a question on a form or at the interview, but without a thorough knowledge of the law, you may get into trouble.

Preparation for and representation at the interview are important. If you know what to expect, you will be more relaxed, in the best position to answer questions and avoid any misconceptions, and in good hands if something goes wrong.

 

The law and the government’s policies are changing rapidly in a post-Trump world.

The experience your friend had with the process a year ago may not be the experience you will have now.

 

What if I do not hire a lawyer?

·        If you were not eligible for a green card in the first place, you could be placed into deportation proceedings

·        Your process could be delayed for months or even years

·        A stressful second interview may be scheduled for you and your spouse, when one could have been avoided

·        Your application could be denied on a technicality, and you would need to start again from scratch (including paying the substantial government filing fees again)

·        Your application could be denied due to a misunderstanding, and you could be placed into deportation proceedings

 

We are here to help. To schedule an initial legal evaluation, please contact us at theteam@huwelaw.com, or 415-496-9040.

June 2018 Visa Bulletin Released

The U.S. Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for June 2018. In addition to filing and filing action dates, the bulletin includes notes on the diversity visa cut-offs, special immigrant translator visa availability, and visa availability for Mexico E4 and SR.

USCIS has advised that in June, family-based preference filings must use the Dates for Filing Chart and employment-based preference filings must use the Final Action Dates chart.

To view the full Bulletin, please visit:

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/legal/visa-law0/visa-bulletin/2018/visa-bulletin-for-june-2018.html

To discuss your immigration goals, please contact us at theteam@huwelaw.com or 415-496-9040.

TPS to end for Honduras

On May 4, 2018, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it would be terminating the TPS designation for Honduras. The approximately 90,000 Honduran citizens who are currently present in the U.S. in TPS have until January 5, 2020 to either depart or to find another way to remain here lawfully under our immigration laws. You can read more here:

https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/04/politics/immigration-tps-honduras/index.html

For someone from Honduras who has been residing in the U.S. in TPS for decades, this may be a terrifying prospect. The good news is that other legal immigration avenues may be available for a person in this situation. For example, if an individual is married to a U.S. citizen, one option may be an application for permanent residency (a “green card”) with the spouse serving as the sponsor. If the individual has been a victim of crime while in the U.S., they may be eligible for a U visa, which is a path to a green card.

It is important to meet with an immigration attorney as soon as possible to learn about the viability and risks and benefits of other immigration paths. Please contact us at theteam@huwelaw.com or 415-496-9040 to schedule an initial legal evaluation.

TPS to End for Nepal

On April 26, 2018, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it would be terminating the TPS designation for Nepal. The approximately 9,000 Nepalese citizens who are currently present in the U.S. in TPS have until June 24th, 2019 to either depart or to find another way to remain here lawfully under our immigration laws. You can read more here:

http://thehill.com/policy/international/385038-dhs-ends-protected-status-for-nepal

For someone from Nepal who has been residing in the U.S. in TPS for years, this may be a terrifying prospect. The good news is that other legal immigration avenues may be available for a person in this situation. For example, if an individual is married to a U.S. citizen, one option may be an application for permanent residency (a “green card”) with the spouse serving as the sponsor. If the individual has been a victim of crime while in the U.S., they may be eligible for a U visa, which is a path to a green card.

It is important to meet with an immigration attorney as soon as possible to learn about the viability and risks and benefits of other immigration paths. Please contact us at theteam@huwelaw.com or 415-496-9040 to schedule an initial legal evaluation.

Staying on top of USCIS forms updates

In recent times the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS"), the branch of the Department of Homeland Security that adjudicates visa, "green card," and citizenship applications within the US, has been frequently updating its application forms. Over the past six months, USCIS has created new form editions for the I-864 Affidavit of Support, I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, and I-693 Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, to name a few.

Why is this important to know?

          1. New form editions means USCIS may reject your application due to submission of an expired                 form. 

          2. Many changes are being made to make the visa, green card, and citizenship application                          processes more difficult.

It is now more important than ever to hire an immigration lawyer to represent you throughout your application process. Forms are just one part of an application, and navigating the complex immigration system is daunting. A lawyer's expertise significantly improves your chances of approval, reduces your stress, and provides peace of mind.

Below is information regarding many of the recently updated forms. For a complete list of recent updates, visit https://www.uscis.gov/forms-updates. To discuss your specific immigration needs, please contact us at theteam@huwelaw.com, or 415-496-9040.

 

April 23, 2018: Update to Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status; New Edition Dated 04/11/18
Starting 06/25/2018, we will only accept the 04/11/18 edition. Until then, the 10/19/17 edition can be used.

April 20, 2018: Update to Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant; New Edition Dated 04/12/18
Starting 06/19/2018, we will only accept the 04/12/18 and 12/23/16 editions.

April 12, 2018: Update to Form G-325A, Biographic Information (for Deferred Action); dated 03/29/18
Starting 06/11/2018, USCIS will only accept the 03/29/18 edition. Until then, the 06/01/15 edition can be used.

March 22, 2018: Update to Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver
Edition Date 03/13/18. Prior versions accepted.

March 16, 2018: Form I-864, Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the INA
Edition Date: 03/06/18. Starting 05/16/2018, we will only accept the 03/06/18 edition. Until then, you can use previous editions. You can find the edition date at the bottom of the page on the form and instructions.Updated similarly are Forms I-864A, I-864EZ and I-864W.

Jan. 3, 2018: Update to Form I-601A, Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver, New Edition Dated 12/15/17.

Jan. 3, 2018: Update to Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, New Edition Date 12/13/17.

Dec. 21, 2017: Update to Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence
New edition dated 12/05/17. Starting 02/19/2018, we will only accept the 12/05/17 edition. Until then, you can use the 12/23/16 edition. 

Nov. 3, 2017: Update to Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record
New edition dated 10/19/2017. Starting Jan. 2, 2018, civil surgeons must use the 10/19/17 edition of Form I-693. USCIS will not accept the 02/07/17 version (or any previous editions) that a civil surgeon signed and dated on or after Jan. 2, 2018.

 

May 2018 Visa Bulletin Released

The U.S. Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for May 2018. In addition to filing and filing action dates, the Bulletin also includes notes on the diversity visa cut-offs, special immigrant translator visa availability, and oversubscription of the Vietnam EB-5 category.

USCIS has not yet advised whether in May, it will be accepting adjustment of status and immigrant visa applications based on filing dates or final action dates.

To view the full Bulletin, please visit:

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/legal/visa-law0/visa-bulletin/2018/visa-bulletin-for-may-2018.html

To discuss your immigration goals, please contact us at theteam@huwelaw.com or 415-496-9040.

April 2018 Visa Bulletin Released

The U.S. Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for April 2018. In addition to filing and filing action dates, the Bulletin also includes information on diversity visa cut-offs, the special immigrant translator visa availability, over-subscription of the China-mainland born and India EB-1 categories, and visa availability in the Vietnam EB-5 category.

USCIS has advised that in April, it will be accepting adjustment of status applications based on filing dates for family-based cases, and final action dates for employment-based cases.

To view the full Bulletin, please visit:

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/legal/visa-law0/visa-bulletin/2018/visa-bulletin-for-april-2018.html

To discuss your immigration goals, please contact us at theteam@huwelaw.com or 415-496-9040.

March 2018 Visa Bulletin Released

The U.S. Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for March 2018. In addition to filing and filing action dates, the Bulletin also includes information on diversity visa cut-offs, the special immigrant translator visa availability, visa availability in the Vietnam employment fifth preference category, and the scheduled expiration of two employment visa categories.

USCIS has not yet advised whether in March, it will be accepting adjustment of status applications based on filing or final action dates.

To view the full Bulletin, please visit:

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/legal/visa-law0/visa-bulletin/2018/visa-bulletin-for-march-2018.html

To discuss your immigration goals, please contact us at theteam@huwelaw.com or 415-496-9040.

February 2018 Visa Bulletin Released

The U.S. Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for February 2018. In addition to filing and filing action dates, the Bulletin includes information on includes information on the diversity visa cut-offs, the Special Immigrant translator visa availability, the scheduled expiration of two employment visa categories, and visa availability in the coming months.

USCIS has advised that in February, it will be accepting adjustment of status applications based on filing dates for family-based cases. However, final action dates must be used for employment-based cases.

To view the full Bulletin, please visit:

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/legal/visa-law0/visa-bulletin/2018/visa-bulletin-for-february-2018.html

To discuss your immigration goals, please contact us at theteam@huwelaw.com or 415-496-9040.

TPS Ending for El Salvador

On November 10, 2017, and November 22, 2017, we posted on Temporary Protected Status (TPS) ending for Nicaragua and Haiti. 

Last week the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it would be terminating the TPS designation for El Salvador as well. The nearly 200,000 Salvadorans who are currently present in the U.S. in TPS have until September 9, 2019 to either depart or to find another way to remain here lawfully under our immigration laws. You can read more here:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/08/us/salvadorans-tps-end.html

For someone from El Salvador who has been residing in the U.S. in TPS for years, this may be a terrifying prospect. The good news is that other legal immigration avenues may be available for a person in this situation. For example, if an individual is married to a U.S. citizen, one option may be an application for permanent residency (a “green card”) with the spouse serving as the sponsor. If the individual has been a victim of crime while in the U.S., they may be eligible for a U visa, which is a path to a green card.

It is important to meet with an immigration attorney as soon as possible to learn about the viability and risks and benefits of other immigration paths. Please contact us at theteam@huwelaw.com or 415-496-9040 to schedule an initial legal evaluation.

January 2018 Visa Bulletin Released

The U.S. Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for January 2018. In addition to filing and filing action dates, the Bulletin includes information on the diversity visa cut-offs, the Special Immigrant translator visa availability, and the scheduled expiration of two employment visa categories.

USCIS has advised that in January it will be accepting adjustment of status applications based on filing dates for family-based cases. However, final action dates must be used for employment-based cases.

To view the full Bulletin, please visit:

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/legal/visa-law0/visa-bulletin/2018/visa-bulletin-for-january-2018.html

To discuss your immigration goals, please contact us at theteam@huwelaw.com or 415-496-9040.

 

 

Update: TPS to End for Haiti

On November 10th, we posted on Temporary Protected Status (TPS) ending for Nicaragua, and hypothesized that it could soon be terminated for Haiti as well.

This week the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that yes, it would be terminating the TPS designation for Haiti. The nearly 60,000 Haitians who are currently present in the U.S. in TPS have until July 22, 2019 to either depart or to find another way to remain here lawfully under our immigration laws. You can read more here:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-administration-to-end-provisional-residency-protection-for-50000-haitians/2017/11/20/fa3fdd86-ce4a-11e7-9d3a-bcbe2af58c3a_story.html?utm_term=.fcdda4c98b5b

For someone from Haiti who has been residing in the U.S. in TPS for years, this may be a terrifying prospect. The good news is that other legal immigration avenues may be available for a person in this situation. For example, if an individual is married to a U.S. citizen, one option may be an application for permanent residency (a “green card”) with the spouse serving as the sponsor. If the individual has been a victim of crime while in the U.S., they may be eligible for a U visa, which is a path to a green card.

It is important to meet with an immigration attorney as soon as possible to learn about the viability and risks and benefits of other immigration paths. Please contact us at theteam@huwelaw.com or 415-496-9040 to schedule an initial legal evaluation.

December 2017 Visa Bulletin Released

The U.S. Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for December 2017. This Bulletin includes information on the diversity visa cut-offs, the Special Immigrant translator visa availability, the retrogression of Philippines family-sponsored preference categories, and the scheduled expiration of two employment visa categories.

USCIS has advised that in December it will be accepting adjustment of status applications based on filing dates for family-based cases. However, final action dates must be used for employment-based cases.

To view the full Bulletin, please visit:

https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/law-and-policy/bulletin/2018/visa-bulletin-for-december-2017.html

To discuss your immigration goals, please contact us at theteam@huwelaw.com or 415-496-9040.

TPS Ending for Nicaragua: Are Haiti and El Salvador Next?

This week the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it would be terminating the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Nicaragua. Nicaraguans who are currently present in the U.S. in TPS have until January 5, 2019 to either depart or to find another way to remain here lawfully under our immigration laws.

Due to recent rhetoric from the Trump administration, many believe this signals the beginning of a dismantling of the entire TPS program. The program allows immigrants from countries that have been designated as temporarily unsafe, due to ongoing armed conflict, natural disaster, or some other extraordinary and temporary condition, to live and work in the U.S. for a specific time period. Since the program’s inception in 1990, the U.S. has granted TPS to immigrants from ten countries, in many instances repeatedly renewing the designation over a period of a decade or more.

The current TPS designations for Haiti and El Salvador are set to expire in January and March 2018, respectively. Both are under review, and it is possible that DHS will soon announce the termination of TPS for immigrants from these countries. If termination occurs, it is unclear whether recipients will be given extra time in TPS beyond the current expiration date.

For someone from one of these countries who has been residing in the U.S. in TPS for years, this may be a terrifying prospect. The good news is that other legal immigration avenues may be available for a person in this situation. For example, if an individual is married to a U.S. citizen, one option may be an application for permanent residency (a “green card”) with the spouse serving as the sponsor. If the individual has been a victim of crime while in the U.S., they may be eligible for a U visa, which is a path to a green card.

It is important to meet with an immigration attorney as soon as possible to learn about the viability and risks and benefits of other immigration paths. Please contact us at theteam@huwelaw.com or 415-496-9040 to schedule an initial legal evaluation.