Fiscal Year 2014 Citizenship and Integration Grant Program

On April 1, 2014 USCIS began accepting applications for a competitive grant funding opportunity to promote immigrant civic integration and prepare permanent residents for citizenship.  USCIS will offer up to $10 million in competitive funding for citizenship preparation programs in communities across the country.  This funding opportunity is for public or non-profit organizations that prepare permanent residents for citizenship by offering both citizenship instruction and naturalization application services.  Applications are due by May 16, 2014.  See uscis.gov for more detail.

  • Funding Opportunity:   DHS-14-CIS-010-002
  • Application Deadline:   May 16, 2014 (No extensions)
  • Estimated Number of Awards:   Up to 40
  • Anticipated Funding Amount:   Up to $10,000,000
  • Performance Period:   Two years (comprising two one-year budget periods)
  • Anticipated Award Date:   September 17, 2014
  • Maximum Grant Award:   Maximum grant award is $250,000 ($125,000 for the first year budget period and $125,000 for the second year budget period)
Posted in Consular Issues, Green Card, ICE, Immigrant Visas, In The News, Nonimmigrant Visas, Uncategorized, USCIS New Policies/Procedures

H-1B Status

USCIS received about 172,500 H-1B petitions during the filing period which began April 1, including petitions filed for the advanced degree exemption.  On April 10, 2014, USCIS completed a computer-generated random selection process, or lottery, to select enough petitions to meet the 65,000 general-category cap and 20,000 cap under the advanced degree exemption.  For cap-subject petitions not randomly selected, USCIS will reject and return the petition with filing fees, unless it is found to be a duplicate filing.

Posted in Consular Issues, Green Card, ICE, Immigrant Visas, In The News, Nonimmigrant Visas, Uncategorized, USCIS New Policies/Procedures

USCIS Reaches FY 2015 H-1B Cap

On April 7th USCIS announced that it has received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap for fiscal year (FY) 2015.  USCIS has also received more than the limit of 20,000 H-1B petitions filed under the U. S. advanced degree exemption.   

Before running a random selection process, USCIS will complete initial intake for all filings received during the filing period.  Due to the high number of petitions, USCIS is not yet able to announce the date on which it will conduct the random selection process.

A computer-generated process will randomly select the number of petitions needed to meet the caps of 65,000 visas for the general category and 20,000 under the advanced degree exemption. USCIS will reject and return filing fees for all cap-subject petitions that are not selected, unless found to be a duplicate filing. 

The agency will conduct the selection process for the advanced degree exemption first.  All advanced degree petitions not selected will become part of the random selection process for the 65,000 limit.

Posted in Consular Issues, Green Card, ICE, Immigrant Visas, In The News, Nonimmigrant Visas, Uncategorized, USCIS New Policies/Procedures

H-1B Petitions

USCIS has announced that it will begin accepting H-1B petitions subject to the fiscal year (FY) 2015 cap on April 1, 2014.  Cases will be considered accepted on the date that USCIS receives a properly filed petition with the correct fee.  USCIS will not rely on the date that the petition is postmarked.

The congressionally mandated cap on H-1B visas for FY 2015 is 65,000.  The first 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of individuals with a U.S. master’s degree or higher are exempt from the 65,000 cap.

USCIS anticipates receiving more than enough petitions to reach both caps by April 7.  The agency is prepared to use a random selection process to meet the numerical limit.  Non-duplicate petitions that are not selected will be rejected and returned with the filing fees.

Due to the high level of premium processing receipts anticipated, combined with the possibility that the H-1B cap will be met in the first 5 business days of the filing season, USCIS has temporarily adjusted its current premium processing practice.  To facilitate the prioritized intake of cap-subject petitions requesting premium processing, USCIS will begin premium processing for H-1B cap cases no later than April 28, 2014. 

H-1B petitioners should follow all requirements to avoid processing delays and possible requests for evidence.  USCIS has detailed information, including an optional checklist, to assist in completing and submitting an FY 2015 H-1B petition.  The processing worksheet is available on the USCIS website at www.uscis.gov.

U.S. businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in occupations that require highly specialized knowledge in fields such as science, engineering and computer programming.  For more information on the H-1B nonimmigrant visa program and current Form I-129 processing times, visit the H-1B FY 2015 Cap Season Web page.

Posted in Consular Issues, Green Card, ICE, Immigrant Visas, In The News, Nonimmigrant Visas, Uncategorized, USCIS New Policies/Procedures

April 2014 Visa Bulletin Issued

The Department of State released the Visa Bulletin for April 2014 which shows continued forward movement in both family and employment based categories.

Posted in Consular Issues, Green Card, ICE, Immigrant Visas, In The News, Nonimmigrant Visas, Uncategorized, USCIS New Policies/Procedures

Do You Need An H-1B Work Visa?

It is that time of the year again, the time to start working on the H-1B petitions.  The H-1B visa is probably the most common work visa for someone who has at least a Bachelor’s degree (or a combination of some university study and professional experience) coming to the United States to work in a professional position that requires at least a Bachelor’s degree.  The visa is under a quota of 65,000 for the regular category and another 20,000 for those who obtained a Master’s degree or higher from a US university.  Petitions are filed against the annual quota on April 1st  for positions that can only start on October 1st.  The start date is tied to the new federal government fiscal year when the quota is actually released.  In 2013 twice as many petitions were filed as the quota, thus only approximately 50% of the petitions were approved.  The USCIS accepted petitions the first week of April and then used a computer generated lottery to make the selection of who was eligible to obtain a visa under the quota (although the petitions also had to be approved separately).  In 2011 and 2012, the quota was open for several months.  Normally, the demand for foreign professional employees and H-1B visas is tied to the availability of positions which is conditioned on the state of the US economy.  The H-B visa can be renewed up to six years, and can be transferred to other US employers.

By:  Marcy Stras

Posted in Consular Issues, Green Card, ICE, Immigrant Visas, In The News, Nonimmigrant Visas, Uncategorized, USCIS New Policies/Procedures

March 2014 Visa Bulletin Issued

The State Department released the Visa Bulletin for March 2014 with little movement in employment-based second and third categories.

Posted in Consular Issues, Green Card, ICE, Immigrant Visas, In The News, Nonimmigrant Visas, Uncategorized, USCIS New Policies/Procedures

US-India Relationship is Rocky Over Handling of Alleged Visa Fraud

By:  Jenna Baranko

The arrest, strip-search and brief incarceration of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade last month sparked international outrage, including widespread protests in India, and created tension between U.S.-India relations.  A federal grand jury indicted Khobragade on January 9, 2014 in New York on charges of visa fraud and making false statements regarding her housekeeper Sangeeta Richard.  The charges allege that Khobragade paid Richard as little as $3.31 an hour, despite promising to pay her $9.75 an hour on her visa application, accusations which Khobragade denies.  Following Khobragade’s indictment, the State Department allowed her to return to India without facing a trial through a resolution which allowed her to switch her diplomatic status to that of a United Nations’ employee, which granted her a greater degree of immunity. 

Secretary of State John Kerry met with External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid in Switzerland this week, in an attempt to move past the controversy and mend diplomatic ties between the U.S. and India. During the meeting, both sides expressed their eagerness to move forward from the incident and their commitment to the indispensable U.S.-India partnership.

Posted in Consular Issues, Green Card, ICE, Immigrant Visas, In The News, Nonimmigrant Visas, Uncategorized, USCIS New Policies/Procedures

February 2014 Visa Bulletin Issued

The State Department released the Visa Bulletin for February 2014.   Employment based categories moved slightly.

Posted in Consular Issues, Green Card, ICE, Immigrant Visas, In The News, Nonimmigrant Visas, Uncategorized, USCIS New Policies/Procedures

Memorable Moments of 2013

 

The White House

 

 

 

                                                                                         Tues., Jan. 7, 2014

 

Memorable Moments of 2013

Buenas tardes,

Over the last year, President Obama and his Administration engaged the Latino community in a number of ways. As we begin the new year, we hope you will take a moment to view photographs of some of the most memorable moments of 2013. At his last press conference of 2013, the President made clear that finishing the job of fixing our broken immigration system remains at the top of his 2014 agenda. He remarked,  

“I think 2014 needs to be a year of action. We still have the task of finishing the fix on our broken immigration system…When I look at the landscape for next year, what I say to myself is, we’re poised to do really good things. We can get immigration reform done. We’ve got a concept that has bipartisan support. Let’s see if we can break through the politics on this.”

Also, we wanted to take this opportunity to introduce you to the newest member of our team, Jorge Neri, who will serve as the Associate Director in the Office of Public Engagement for Latino and Immigration Affairs. 

We look forward to working with you on important Presidential priorities in 2014, including passing commonsense, comprehensive immigration reform; providing access to quality, affordable health care for millions of Latinos and their families; and continuing to improve and stimulate our economy by investing in education and infrastructure, to name a few. 

Learn more about the White House Office of Public Engagement and encourage your friends and colleagues to sign up for updates!

Happy New Year!

Julie Chávez Rodriguez
Deputy Director
White House | Office of Public Engagement

Swearing-in of Katherine Archuleta, new Director of the Office of Personnel Management

Swearing-in of Katherine Archuleta, new Director of the Office of Personnel Management

Vice President Joe Biden ceremonially swears- in Katherine Archuleta to serve as the new Director of the Office of Personnel Management in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. December 16, 2013. (Official White House Photo)

The President and First Lady Visit Those Fasting for Immigration Reform

The President and First Lady Visit Those Fasting for Immigration Reform

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama visits with a group staging a public fast for immigration on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., November 29, 2013. “Fast for Families” is seeking to pressure Congress into passing an immigration bill. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The President and the First Lady visited the brave individuals who are fasting in the shadow of the Capitol, sacrificing their health in an effort to get Congress to act swiftly on commonsense immigration reform.

President Obama Honors Mario Molina & Arturo Sandoval with the Presidential Medal of Freedom

President Obama Honors Mario Molina & Arturo Sandoval with the Presidential Medal of Freedom

President Barack Obama delivers remarks and awards the 2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom to honorees during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House, November 20, 2013. Honorees are: Ernie Banks, Ben Bradlee, former President Bill Clinton, Daniel Inouye (posthumous), Daniel Kahneman, Richard Lugar, Loretta Lynn, Mario Molina, Sally Ride (posthumous), Bayard Rustin (posthumous), Arturo Sandoval, Dean Smith, Gloria Steinem, Cordy Tindell “C.T.” Vivian, Patricia Wald, and Oprah Winfrey. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Vice President Biden Celebrates Citizenship at King Center Naturalization Ceremony

Vice President Biden Celebrates Citizenship at King Center Naturalization Ceremony

Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Alejandro Mayorkas stand for the National Anthem at a naturalization ceremony at the Martin Luther King Junior Center, in Atlanta, Georgia, November 14, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

Praying for Immigration Reform

Praying for Immigration Reform

“The President was meeting with faith leaders to discuss immigration reform. At the end of the meeting, everyone held hands during a group prayer. I got close to frame the hands of the President and Vice President,” November 13, 2013 (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza).

Immigration Reform — a Win for the Economy

Immigration Reform -- a Win for the Economy

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet with business leaders to discuss immigration reform to bolster U.S. economic growth, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, November 5, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The President hosted a meeting with top business executives to explain the economic benefits of overhauling the nation’s immigration laws and brainstorm possible ways to move forward with legislation in the House.

President Obama Reiterates his Commitment to Commonsense Immigration Reform

President Obama Reiterates his Commitment to Commonsense Immigration Reform

President Barack Obama, with Vice President Joe Biden, delivers remarks on immigration, in the East Room of the White House, Oct. 24, 2013 (White House photo by Pete Souza)

On October 24, the President gathered a diverse coalition of leaders from faith, business, labor and advocacy communities to reiterate his commitment to commonsense immigration reform. He outlined the economic benefits of an earned path to citizenship and explained why fixing our immigration laws is both good policy and politics.

President Obama Nominates Jeh Johnson to be Secretary of Homeland Security

President Obama Nominates Jeh Johnson to be Secretary of Homeland Security

President Obama announces his nomination of Jeh Johnson as Secretary of Homeland Security. October 18, 2013. (Official White House photo).

White House Honors 10 Leaders at its Champions of Change: Welcoming America Event

White House Honors 10 Leaders at its Champions of Change: Welcoming America Event

The White House honors ten leaders with the Welcoming America organization — helping immigrants integrate civically, linguistically and socially into the fabric of their neighborhoods – and our nation. David Lubell, Founder and Executive Director of Welcoming America, stands at the podium introducing the honorees. Read about the honorees here. September 19, 2013.

50th Anniversary of the Historic March on Washington

50th Anniversary of the Historic March on Washington

President Barack Obama delivers remarks to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. August 28, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

When the crowds converged on the National Mall 50 years ago, they were marching for jobs as well as freedom. So a half century later, President Obama talked about making those twin goals reality. Watch the speech here.

First Lady Michelle Obama Speaks at NCLR’s Annual Conference

First Lady Michelle Obama Speaks at NCLR’s Annual Conference

First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks at the National Council of La Raza annual conference at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Louisiana, July 23, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

First Lady Michelle Obama delivered remarks at the National Council of La Raza’s annual conference.  The First Lady offered words of support on immigration, stating: “Please know that whether it’s implementing health reform or passing common-sense immigration reform, your President and his administration are going to keep working with you and fighting with you every step of the way.  Know that. And I know these debates are hard — particularly on immigration. But do not give up, because I promise you that my husband won’t give up until a good bill gets on his desk.”

Vice President Biden Meets with Law Enforcement Leaders, Urging Passage of Immigration Reform

Vice President Biden Meets with Law Enforcement Leaders, Urging Passage of Immigration Reform

Vice President Joe Biden meets with members of the Law Enforcement Community to discuss immigration reform, in the Vice President’s ceremonial office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, in Washington, D.C., July 19, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

White House Releases the Newest White Board: Why Immigration Reform is Good for the Economy?

White House Releases the Newest White Board: Why Immigration Reform is Good for the Economy?

Did you know that fixing our broken immigration system will strengthen the U.S. economy, create jobs for American workers, and cut the deficit? That’s what the independent, nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says will happen if the Senate’s bipartisan immigration reform bill were signed into law. We put together an animated White House White Board to help explain how that would work. Click here to learn more. 

President Obama Meets with Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC)

President Obama Meets with Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC)

President Barack Obama meets with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building of the White House, July 10, 2013 (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)                

President Obama Calls on the US Senate to Take Action on Immigration Reform

President Obama Calls on the US Senate to Take Action on Immigration Reform

President Obama Speaks on Immigration reform, June 11, 2013 (Official White House Photo)

Aspiring Americans Share their Stories with President Obama & Vice President Biden

Aspiring Americans Share their Stories with President Obama & Vice President Biden

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet with DREAMers who have received Deferred Action and U.S. citizen family members of undocumented immigrants, in the Oval Office, May 21, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The President and the Vice President hosted a meeting in the Oval Office with young immigrants, also known as DREAMers, as well as with the siblings and spouses of undocumented immigrants. The DREAMers shared how the deferred action changed their lives for the better and emphasized that they and their families need a permanent solution that will allow them to fully contribute to the country they call home.

A Legacy of Organizing: Cesar Chavez Champions of Change

A Legacy of Organizing: Cesar Chavez Champions of Change

The second panel of Cesar Chavez Champions, moderated by Maria Cardona of Latinovations, looks on as Javier Valdes discusses his experience as Co-Executive Director of Make the Road NY. March 26, 2013.

In honor of Cesar Chavez Day, the White House Office of Public Engagement held the second annual Cesar Chavez Champions of Change ceremony to recognize eleven people who embody Cesar’s legacy of organizing to enact common sense immigration reform. You can read more about this year’s Cesar Chavez Champions of Change here as well as the presidential proclamation for Cesar Chavez Day.

President Obama Spoke at a Naturalization Ceremony for Active Duty Service Members

President Obama Spoke at a Naturalization Ceremony for Active Duty Service Members

President Obama delivers remarks at a naturalization ceremony for active duty service members and civilians at the White House. March 25, 2013. (Official White House Photo)

President Obama spoke at a naturalization ceremony for active duty service members and civilians at the White House. He welcomed 28 new American citizens to our nation of immigrants and called for reforms to our immigration system that will help harness the talent and ingenuity of all those like them who want to work hard and find a place here in America.

Vice President Biden Calls for Immigration Reform at the Irish American Hall of Fame

Vice President Biden Calls for Immigration Reform at the Irish American Hall of Fame

Vice President Joe Biden delivers remarks at the Irish American Hall of Fame luncheon, in New York City, New York, March 21, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

As the Vice President was inducted into the Irish America Hall of Fame in March, he recalled his family’s past coming to America – and he called on Congress to fix our broken immigration system for a new generation of men and women who dream of a better life in this country. The Vice President stressed that while we have to find a pathway to earned citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants already here, we also have to fix our legal immigration system. Read more here.

President Obama Nominates Thomas Perez for Secretary of Labor

President Obama Nominates Thomas Perez for Secretary of Labor

Thomas Perez delivers remarks after President Barack Obama announced Perez as his nominee for Labor Secretary, in the East Room of the White House, March 18, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama’s 2013 State of the Union: The Need for Real Immigration Reform

President Obama's 2013 State of the Union: The Need for Real Immigration Reform

First Lady Michell Obama, Dr. Jill Biden, and guests in the First Lady’s box in the House Chamber, stand and applaud as President Barack Obama is introduced at the State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., February 12, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson).

You can read more about the 2013 State of the Union here.

President Obama’s Announces Four Part Plan for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

President Obama's Announces Four Part Plan for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

President Barack Obama delivers remarks on immigration at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas, Nev., January 29, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

At the start of the year, President Obama spoke from Las Vegas about creating a fair and effective immigration system that lives up to our heritage as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. Read more here.

The President met with diverse group of stakeholders to discuss the central pillars of the President’s immigration plan. In March, he and senior staff met with the faith community and business community to thank them for their support and to reiterate his commitment to actualizing commonsense immigration reform.

President Obama’s Second Inauguration

President Obama's Second Inauguration

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts administers the oath of office to President Barack Obama during the Inaugural swearing-in ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., January 21, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)

 

 

 

                   

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Consular Issues, Green Card, ICE, Immigrant Visas, In The News, Nonimmigrant Visas, Uncategorized, USCIS New Policies/Procedures
About ABCs of Immigration Law
The global economy has become increasingly transactional and transcontinental. Since 9/11, there have been many amendments to immigration laws in the United States that have largely affected both individuals and businesses. Cozen O'Connor's immigration law blog, ABC's of Immigration Law, focuses on the interests and the challenges faced by those individuals and business impacted by immigration laws.
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