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Nine Things to Learn from the July 2016 Monthly Visa Bulletin

By: Avi Friedman, Esq. and Joseph M. Barnett, Esq.

On June 8, 2016, the U.S. Department of State (“DOS”) released the July 2016 Visa Bulletin.  The Visa Bulletin publishes the priority dates for that particular month for Family-Sponsored and Employment-Based visa categories.  A priority date is a person’s place in line for a visa number; immigrant visas are available for those whose priority date is earlier than the cut-off date listed in each monthly Visa Bulletin.  Mr. Charles Oppenheim, Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division within the U.S. Department of State, Visa Office recently provided insight on the July 2016 Visa Bulletin to the American Immigration Lawyers Association (“AILA).  This blog is based on Mr. Oppenheim’s comments to AILA.

  1. After receiving requests for approximately 4,000 EB-1 numbers, a cut-off date for China and India will likely be established in August or September 2016. Oppenheim anticipates that both categories will return to their current status in October 2016.
  2. During the past quarter year, there have been extremely high levels of Employment-Based demand for adjustment of status cases filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, resulting in retrogression for the Final Action Date for China’s EB-2 and EB-3 categories in the June 2016 Visa Bulletin. However, there was no further retrogression in the July 2016 Visa Bulletin.
  3. The continued high demand for EB-2 visas in the worldwide category will likely result in a cutoff date by September 2016.
  4. Oppenheim anticipates that the Final Action Date for India’s EB-2 category will remain one week beyond the EB-3 Final Action Date for India.
  5. However, excess availability in the worldwide EB-3 category will speed up the slow progression in India’s EB-3 category.
  6. For the first time since August 2015, the priority date for China’s EB-5 category did not move forward (though, it did not retrogress either).
  7. Oppenheim anticipates slow movement on the Final Action Date for China’s EB-5 category. The 2016 Visa Bulletin indicates:  “China: Best case scenario is March 1 by September.  Slow forward movement for October and beyond.”  This means that Mr. Oppenheim expects to see, at best, a mere two week’s movement in August and September 2016.
  8. Oppenheim expects Family-Sponsored worldwide dates to move forward as follows:
    • F1: Up to 2 months
    • F2A: 1 or 2 weeks
    • F2B: 4 to 6 weeks
    • F3: Up to 2 weeks
    • F4: Up to 1 month
  9. Applicants registered for the DV-2017 Program (Diversity Visa) were selected at random from over 12 million qualified entries. Unfortunately, even if an applicant has been selected for DV-2017, many “lottery winners” end up unsuccessful in their quest to attain a green card because of the “lottery within a lottery.”  Click here for more information about the “lottery within a lottery.”

Should you have any questions about the July 2016 Visa Bulletin, Diversity Visa application, or your EB-5 application, please contact a Wolfsdorf Rosenthal LLP attorney to discuss your case.

This post is designed to provide practical and useful information on the subject matter covered.  However, it is provided with the understanding that no legal, tax, accounting, or other professional services are being rendered or provided.  If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought.

9th Circuit Expands Scope of Liability for Family Immigration Sponsors on Form I-864 Affidavit of Support

By: Joseph M. Barnett, Esq.

On June 8, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit entered an order in Erler v. Erler which provided a new manner in measuring an immigrant’s post-separation household size and post-separation income for Form I-864 purposes.  The Ninth Circuit ruled that, in the event of a separation or divorce . . . → Read More: 9th Circuit Expands Scope of Liability for Family Immigration Sponsors on Form I-864 Affidavit of Support

July 2016 Visa Bulletin Update: China EB-5 Visa Numbers Grind to a Halt – The Waiting Line Gets Longer

By Bernard P. Wolfsdorf, Esq. and Joseph M. Barnett, Esq.

The U.S. Department of State (“DOS”) just released the July 2016 Visa Bulletin, and the China EB-5 cut-off date remains frozen at February 15, 2014.  While the numbers have never retrogressed (meaning gone backwards), the slow crawl has come to a halt.  Below are five observations on . . . → Read More: July 2016 Visa Bulletin Update: China EB-5 Visa Numbers Grind to a Halt – The Waiting Line Gets Longer

Options for EB-5 Investors When Form I-526 Petitions Are Pending Too Long

By: Joseph M. Barnett, Esq.

At a recent IIUSA meeting in April 2016 in Washington D.C., the USCIS Immigrant Investor Program Office Deputy Director Julia Harrison indicated that USCIS “found” and are working diligently on adjudicating approximately 2,000 Form I-526 petitions filed in 2012 and 2013.  The latest published information from USCIS indicates that it takes an . . . → Read More: Options for EB-5 Investors When Form I-526 Petitions Are Pending Too Long

5 Tips to Save Immigrant Investors from Troubled EB-5 Projects and Troubled Regional Centers

By: Joseph M. Barnett, Esq. and Robert J. Blanco, Esq.

Almost every month brings news of Regional Centers or projects running into trouble with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). Unfortunately, the current regulatory framework for the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program (“EB-5 Program”) provides little, if any, protection for an immigrant investor whose Form I-829 . . . → Read More: 5 Tips to Save Immigrant Investors from Troubled EB-5 Projects and Troubled Regional Centers

Beware, the DV Green Card Lottery is a “Cinderella Visa”

By: Joseph M. Barnett, Esq. and Naveen Rahman Bhora, Esq.

Being selected as a “winner” in the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (“DV Program”) lottery (the “DV lottery”) does not mean that the “lottery winner” will be issued a green card.  A selected applicant for the 2017 DV Program (“DV-2017”) must complete immigrant visa processing by September 30, . . . → Read More: Beware, the DV Green Card Lottery is a “Cinderella Visa”

EB-5 in Fiscal Year 2016 – Has The Bubble Burst?

By: Bernard P. Wolfsdorf, Esq. and Joseph M. Barnett, Esq.

On May 25, 2016, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released updated performance data on the Form I-526 Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur (Form I-526) and the Form I-829 Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions (Form I-829).

The data included the number of Forms I-526 and Forms I-829 . . . → Read More: EB-5 in Fiscal Year 2016 – Has The Bubble Burst?

10 Tips for Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (“FDNS”) EB-5 Site Visits

By: Joseph M. Barnett, Esq. and Bernard P. Wolfsdorf, Esq.

The Immigrant Investor Program Office (“IPO”) within U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) announced during its April 25, 2016 EB-5 stakeholder call that USCIS’ Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (“FDNS”) will begin implementing three new compliance measures regarding the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program:

(1) regional center . . . → Read More: 10 Tips for Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (“FDNS”) EB-5 Site Visits

How to Protect a Child Derivative with the Increasingly Longer Chinese EB-5 Waiting Line

By: Bernard P. Wolfsdorf, Esq.

This is the second part of a three-part series on understanding the impact of the Chinese EB-5 waiting line on derivative children.  This blog only addresses issues relating to Chinese-born nationals, since presently only the Chinese-born (or more accurately, persons chargeable to the China quota) are impacted.

Part 1 described the emerging issue . . . → Read More: How to Protect a Child Derivative with the Increasingly Longer Chinese EB-5 Waiting Line

U.S. Embassy in Paris Introduces Expedited Processing for Treaty Trader E-1 and Treaty Investor E-2 Visa Applications for Certain Large, Multinational Companies

By: Allison-Claire Acker, Esq. and Joseph M. Barnett, Esq.

In a positive development for promoting trade and commerce between the U.S. and France, the U.S. Embassy in Paris, France has recently allowed certain large, multinational corporations to undergo an expedited scheduling program for certain Treaty Trader (E-1) and Treaty Investor (E-2) visa applications.  We are hopeful that . . . → Read More: U.S. Embassy in Paris Introduces Expedited Processing for Treaty Trader E-1 and Treaty Investor E-2 Visa Applications for Certain Large, Multinational Companies