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Carl Shusterman's Immigration Update

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  1. USCIS Filing Fees to Increase Starting December 23

    Need a good reason to file your application for an immigration benefit sooner rather than later?


    The USCIS will significantly raise filing fees for over 3 dozen types of applications and petitions beginning on December 23, 2016, some by over 100%.


    While the steepest increases will be for EB-5 investors and regional centers, filing fees for commonly-used applications and petitions will also be raised.


    • US Citizenship


    Want to become a US citizen through naturalization? The price for filing an N-400 form (which used to be $15 when I was an INS Citizenship Attorney) is slated to rise from $595 to $640.


    However, there will be a new partial fee waiver for N-400s filed by qualified low-income individuals.


    Do you have foreign-born children who either acquired US citizenship through you at birth or derived citizenship as minors? I hope you are sitting down while you are reading this. The filing fees for forms N-600 and N-600K will almost double, from $600 to $1,170!


    Suggestion: Save your money and apply for a US passport instead.


    • Family-Based Immigration


    Applying for a green card for your spouse? Time to pool your money together.


    The filing fees for forms I-130, I-131, I-765 and I-485 are all rising: (1) by $115 for form I-130; (2) by $215 for form I-131; by $155 for form I-485 and by $30 for form I-765.


    However, if the I-131 and the I-765 are filed together with the I-485, you will be able to continue to pay only the I-485 fee.


    The filing fee for a form I-751 petition to remove conditions for a spouse of a US citizen will be increased to $595.


    The fee for filing a petition for a fiancée of a US citizen will rise from $340 to $535.


    • Employment-Based Immigration


    The filing fee for form I-129 which is used to petition a nonimmigrant worker will increase from $325 to $460 while the fee for an I-140 will rise from $580 to $700.


    • Fees That Will Stay The Same


    1. Biometric Services Fee
    2. Premium Processing
    3. Refugee Travel Documents
    4. Forms I-821 and I-821F


    • What You Should Do


    To the extent possible, make sure that your petitions and applications for immigration benefits are filed with the USCIS before December 23.


    Folks with low incomes will still be able to request fee waivers using form I-912.
  2. JUNE VISA BULLETIN: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

    http://shusterman.com/images/visa.png The June 2015 Visa Bulletin contains a bit of good news for persons in certain employment-based (EB) categories. However, for others, like Chinese investors, the news is mostly bad. For Filipino professionals and Mexicans and Filipinos in some of the family-based (FB) categories, the news is downright ugly.

    The Good
    The worldwide EB-3 category (professionals, skilled and unskilled workers) advances 6 weeks creating the shortest backlog in this category in several years.

    For persons born in China, the EB-2 numbers (for advanced-degree professionals) jump ahead by an entire year! EB-3 China advances by 4 months.

    For persons born in India, the EB-2 category leaps ahead by 5 ½ months while the EB-3 numbers inch forward by a single week.

    The Bad
    The worldwide family-based categories barely advance while the FB-2B (unmarried adult sons and daughters of permanent residents) and FB-3 (married sons and daughters of US citizens) numbers remain frozen.

    For persons born in Mexico, most of the family-based categories advance either 1 week or not at all. In some of these categories, the waiting times exceed 20 years. The same is true for persons born in the Philippines.

    The EB-5 investor category for persons born in China, which retrogressed 2 years in May, fails to move forward in June.

    The Ugly
    For persons born in Mexico who were sponsored by their US citizen brothers and sisters 18 years ago, the wait lengthens by 4 ½ months. This is a good example of how our legal immigration system is broken.

    But what is much worse is the Philippines FB-1 category for unmarried adult sons and daughters of US citizens. In June, the present 10-year wait will lengthen to 15 years!

    And finally, have pity for Filipinos in the EB-3 category (nurses, accountants, engineers, etc.). In May, their waiting times increased from 7 months to 7 years. (No, this is not a typo!). And in June, their waiting times will increase again, this time to 10 years.

    Coming Attractions
    Remember that as the federal fiscal year (October 1 to September 30) approaches its end, waiting times have a tendency to increase. This year, there are increasing earlier than usual.

    However, do not despair. When the October Visa Bulletin is released, the outlook is bound to improve, at least to an extent.

    If only Congress would take action to fix our broken immigration system, but that would probably be asking too much…

    Updated 05-26-2015 at 03:15 PM by CShusterman (Visa Bulletin, Priority Date, Family-Based, Employment-Based)

  3. September 2013 Brings Good News

    The September 2013 Visa Bulletin is like an early Christmas gift come early for thousands of family-based and employment-based immigrants.

    On the family side, the 2A category (spouses and children of permanent residents) remains current (no backlogs) for a second month in a row. The retrogression is bound to start come October so the time to apply is now.

    The biggest advance on worldwide numbers is the 2B category (unmarried adult sons and daughter of permanent residents) which moves forward 10 weeks. For Filipino unmarried adult sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, the numbers advance over 4 months.

    FAMILY CATEGORIES

    Categories Worldwide China (PRC) Mexico Philippines
    1st 9-15-06 9-15-06 9-8-93 5-8-01
    2A Current Current Current Current
    2B 2-15-06 2-15-06 2-22-94 1-22-03
    3rd 1-22-03 1-22-03 5-15-93 12-22-92
    4th 7-22-01 7-22-01 10-8-96 2-15-90

    The worldwide EB-3 category (professionals, skilled and unskilled workers) jumps ahead by 1 1/2 years to July 10, 2010. And, at last, there is some good news for persons born in India. EB-2 (advance degreed workers) advances 5 1/2 months and EB-3 a full 8 months.


    EMPLOYMENT CATEGORIES

    Categories Worldwide China (PRC) India Mexico Philippines
    1st Current Current Current Current Current
    2nd Current 8-8-08 6-15-08 Current Current
    3rd 7-1-10 7-1-10 9-22-03 7-1-10 12-1-06
    Unskilled 7-1-10 6-15-04 9-22-03 7-1-10 12-1-06
    4th Current Current Current Current Current
    Religious Current Current Current Current Current
    5th Current Current Current Current Current

    Subscribe to our free, monthly e-mail newsletter, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube.

    Updated 11-20-2013 at 11:17 AM by CShusterman

  4. Family 2A Goes Current in August

    The August 2013 Visa Bulletin contains great news for both spouses and children of permanent residents. As of August 1, the Family 2A category will be current for all countries.

    If you have a green card, and your spouse (and/or children) are lawfully present in the U.S., they should get ready to file their I-485 packets in August. Even if the category retrogresses later on, they will be able to remain in the U.S. together with you. In 90 days, they will receive their work and travel permits. Your spouse will be able to get a drivers license. Your kids will be able to enroll in school.

    If the I-130 petition is pending, they can file their I-485s. If you have not filed anything for them, get ready to file I-130s and I-485s in August.

    If you were waiting to naturalize before you sponsored them for green cards, or before you got married, wait no longer. Sponsor them in August, or marry your boyfriend or girlfriend in July, and get the paperwork ready to file in August.

    And given the Supreme Court's recent decision striking down section 3 of DOMA, remember that the above advice applies to same-sex couples as well.

    If your spouse is abroad or entered the U.S. unlawfully, things are a bit more complex. The time to see your immigration lawyer is now!

    Below are the dates for the family-based categories in the August 2013 Visa Bulletin:

    FAMILY CATEGORIES

    Categories Worldwide China (PRC) Mexico Philippines
    1st 9-1-06 9-1-06 9-1-93 1-1-01
    2A Current Current Current Current
    2B 12-1-05 12-1-05 2-1-94 12-22-02
    3rd 12-8-02 12-8-02 5-1-93 12-1-92
    4th 6-22-01 6-22-01 9-22-96 1-8-90

    The big news in employment-based numbers is that India EB-2 advances from 2004 to 2008. If this affects you, be sure to file your I-485 in August.

    EMPLOYMENT CATEGORIES

    Categories Worldwide China (PRC) India Mexico Philippines
    1st Current Current Current Current Current
    2nd Current 8-8-08 1-1-08 Current Current
    3rd 1-1-09 1-1-09 1-22-03 1-1-09 10-22-06
    Unskilled 1-1-09 3-22-04 1-22-03 1-1-09 10-22-06
    4th Current Current Current Current Current
    Religious Current Current Current Current Current
    5th Current Current Current Current Current

    Subscribe to our free, monthly e-mail newsletter, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube.
  5. Great News for Spouses/Children of Green Card Holders

    The August 2013 Visa Bulletin contains great news for both spouses and children of permanent residents. As of August 1, the family-based 2A category will be current for all countries.

    If you have a green card, and your spouse (and/or children) are lawfully present in the U.S., they should get ready to file their I-485 packets in August. Even if the category retrogresses later on, they will be able to remain in the U.S. together with you. In 90 days, they will receive their work and travel permits. Your spouse will be able to get a drivers license. Your kids will be able to enroll in school.

    If the I-130 petition is pending, they can file their I-485s. If you have not filed anything for them, get ready to file I-130s and I-485s in August.

    If you were waiting to naturalize before you sponsored them for green cards, or before you got married, wait no longer. Sponsor them in August, or marry your boyfriend or girlfriend in July, and get the paperwork ready to file in August.

    And given the Supreme Court's recent decision striking down section 3 of DOMA, remember that the above advice applies to same-sex couples as well.

    If your spouse is abroad or entered the U.S. unlawfully, things are a bit more complex. The time to see your immigration lawyer is now!


    Below are the dates for the family-based categories in the August 2013 Visa Bulletin:


    FAMILY CATEGORIES


    Categories Worldwide China (PRC) Mexico Philippines
    1st 9-1-06 9-1-06 9-1-93 1-1-01
    2A Current Current Current Current
    2B 12-1-05 12-1-05 2-1-94 12-22-02
    3rd 12-8-02 12-8-02 5-1-93 12-1-92
    4th 6-22-01 6-22-01 9-22-96 1-8-90



    The big news in employment-based numbers is that India EB-2 advances from 2004 to 2008. If this affects you, be sure to file your I-485s in August.


    EMPLOYMENT CATEGORIES


    Categories Worldwide China (PRC) India Mexico Philippines
    1st Current Current Current Current Current
    2nd Current 8-8-08 1-1-08 Current Current
    3rd 1-1-09 1-1-09 1-22-03 1-1-09 10-22-06
    Unskilled 1-1-09 3-22-04 1-22-03 1-1-09 10-22-06
    4th Current Current Current Current Current
    Religious Current Current Current Current Current
    5th Current Current Current Current Current

    Subscribe to our free, monthly e-mail newsletter, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube.
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