District Court Denies TRO Against State Department in October Visa Bulletin Suit

On September 28, 2015, several beneficiaries of approved employment-based visa petitions for highly skilled workers filed a class action complaint seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. Plaintiffs asked the court to strike down the revised 9/25/15 version of the October Visa Bulletin and compel USCIS to accept adjustment applications in line with the original 9/9/15 Bulletin. Plaintiffs then filed an amended complaint along with an emergency motion for a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the State Department. The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington has denied the motion for TRO stating “While the Court appreciates the confusion caused by the two Visa Bulletins published in September and the potentially wasted expenses Plaintiffs incurred as a result, because Plaintiffs fail to meet the critical elements for a temporary restraining order at this time, the Court cannot issue injunctive relief.”

Rachel is an intern with the firm and is not a practicing attorney.

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Posted in In The News

All Embassies and Consulates Will Be Closed 10/9/15 Due to Systems Upgrade

The Department of State has announced that all embassies and consulates will be closed to the public on Friday, October 9, 2015 due to a consular systems upgrade. People who have an appointment scheduled for that day will be contacted soon to reschedule. Individual posts are expected to provide instructions on methods to request an emergency appointment. Additionally, Application Service Centers (ASCs) connected to certain posts may also experience closures. For more information on the closures, please review individual post websites.


Rachel is an intern with the firm and is not a practicing attorney.

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Posted in Consular Issues, In The News

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USCIS Announces Revised Procedures for Determining Visa Availability for Applicants Waiting to File for Adjustment of Status

USCIS, in coordination with Department of State (DOS), is revising the procedures for determining visa availability for applicants waiting to file for employment-based or family-sponsored preference adjustment of status. The revised process will better align with procedures DOS uses for foreign nationals who seek to become U.S. permanent residents by applying for immigrant visas at U.S. consulates and embassies abroad.

This revised process will enhance DOS’s ability to more accurately predict overall immigrant visa demand and determine the cut-off dates for visa issuance published in the Visa Bulletin. This will help ensure that the maximum number of immigrant visas are issued annually as intended by Congress, and minimize month-to-month fluctuations in Visa Bulletin final action dates.

The Visa Bulletin revisions implement November 2014 executive actions on immigration announced by President Obama and Secretary of Homeland Security Johnson, as detailed in the White House report, Modernizing and Streamlining Our Legal Immigration System for the 21st century, issued in July 2015.

What is Changing

Two charts per visa preference category will be posted in the DOS Visa Bulletin:

  • Application Final Action Dates (dates when visas may finally be issued); and
  • Dates for Filing Applications (earliest dates when applicants may be able to apply).

Each month, in coordination with DOS, USCIS will monitor visa numbers and post the relevant DOS Visa Bulletin chart. Applicants can use the charts to determine when to file their Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.

To determine whether additional visas are available, USCIS will compare the number of visas available for the remainder of the fiscal year with:

  • Documentarily qualified visa applicants reported by DOS;
  • Pending adjustment of status applications reported by USCIS; and
  • Historical drop off rate (for example, denials, withdrawals, abandonments).

About the Visa Bulletin

DOS publishes current immigrant visa availability information in a monthly Visa Bulletin. The Visa Bulletin indicates when statutorily limited visas are available to prospective immigrants based on their individual priority date.

  • The priority date is generally the date when the applicant’s relative or employer properly filed the immigrant visa petition on the applicant’s behalf with USCIS. If a labor certification is required to be filed with the applicant’s immigrant visa petition, then the priority date is when the labor certification application was accepted for processing by Department of Labor.
  • Availability of an immigrant visa means eligible applicants are able to take one of the final steps in the process of becoming U.S. permanent residents.

Learn more about adjustment of status and the Visa Bulletin on USCIS’s website.

Rachel is an Intern with the firm and is not a practicing attorney.

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Posted in In The News, USCIS New Policies/Procedures

Delays Between I-765/I-485 Approvals and EAD Receipts due to Facility Maintenance

Delays have been reported between the approval of a client’s I-765 or I-485 and the client’s receipt of the employment authorization document (EAD) or lawful permanent resident card. USCIS confirmed that the card production facility in Corbin, Kentucky is undergoing maintenance, and that all card production work was transferred to the facility in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. As a result of this transfer, there is a backlog of cases in Lee’s Summit so clients may not receive their LPR cards until two to three weeks after approval of the underlying application. USCIS anticipates that this backlog issue will be resolved sometime this month.


Rachel is an Intern with the firm and is not a practicing attorney.

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Posted in Green Card, In The News

Court Determines that Stepchild Does Not Fall Under Definition of Child

The Ninth Circuit upheld the Board of Immigration Appeals’ denial of the petitioner’s claim that he derived citizenship under INA §320(a) from his U.S. citizen stepfather, who married his non-citizen mother after he was born and never adopted him.  This decision finds that the definition of “child” in INA §101(c)(1), the part of the Immigration and Nationality Act that applies to citizenship, does not encompass stepchildren. The court also found that Congress did not intend for INA §101(b)’s definition of child, which does include stepchildren, to apply to INA §320(a).

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Posted in In The News

USCIS Revises Preparer’s Declaration on Form I-129

USCIS recently published a new Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker.  The new Form I-129 contains a revised “Petitioner’s Declaration” and revised “Preparer’s Declaration,” which now states, “The petitioner has reviewed this completed petition as prepared by me and informed me that all of the information in the form and in the supporting documents, is complete, true, and correct.”

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Posted in In The News

USCIS Resumes Premium Processing for Extension of Stay H-1B Petitions

USCIS announced today that it will resume accepting Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service for all H-1B extension of stay petitions.  However, all premium processing requests received by USCIS before July 13, 2015 will be rejected.

Premium processing for H-1B extensions had been suspended since May 26, 2015.

For more information, please see the USCIS announcement here.

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Posted in H-1B Visa Petitions, In The News

Visa-Issuing Embassies and Consulates Back Online

The State Department advised that all visa-issuing embassies and consulates are back online, though problems are still occurring with some online immigrant visa application forms.  DOS stated that it will continue scheduling visa interviews and issuing nonimmigrant and immigrant visas after recently experiencing technical problems with their visa systems.  Further, DOS stated it expects to clear the nonimmigrant visa backlog early this week.

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Posted in Immigrant Visas, In The News, Nonimmigrant Visas

USCIS Draft Guidance on When to File an Amended H-1B Petition after the Simeio Solutions Decision

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued draft guidance on when to file an amended H-1B petition pursuant to the USCIS Administrative Appeal Office (AAO) precedent decision in Matter of Simeio Solutions, LLC.  The decision held that employers must file amended H-1B petitions when a new Labor Condition Application for Nonimmigrant Workers (LCA) is required due to a change in the H-1B worker’s worksite location.

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Posted in H-1B Visa Petitions, In The News
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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