Breaking News 10.17.2017

Hawaii Judge Blocks President Trump’s “Travel Ban 3.0”

This afternoon, Federal Judge Derrick Watson blocked the implementation of President Trump’s Travel Ban 3.0, which was set to go into effect at midnight tonight. Under Travel Ban 3.0, new visa issuance restrictions were set to go into effect for nationals of six Muslim-majority countries (Chad, Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia and Yemen) as well as for North Korea and Venezuela. In his ruling, Judge Watson noted that the presidential proclamation “plainly discriminates based on nationality” and “suffers from precisely the same maladies as its predecessor: it lacks sufficient findings that the entry of more than 150 million nationals from six specified countries would be ‘detrimental to the interests of the United States.'” The White House has stated that it will pursue an “appeal in an expeditious manner.”

We will provide further updates on the Travel Ban 3.0 as they become available.

USCIS Updates on Interviewing EB Adjustment of Status Applicants

On Wednesday October 11, 2017, USCIS held a teleconference and provided updates on the recently-announced policy of requiring interviews for all employment-based (EB) applicants for adjustment of status.

Who will be interviewed. USCIS will be interviewing all EB applicants whose applications were filed after March 6, 2017, including both the principal applicant, spouse and any children over age 14 (interview waiver can be requested for those 13 and under). USCIS’ goal is to interview family units together, but there is no guarantee separate interviews of family will not be scheduled.

Where interviews will take place. USCIS will schedule interviews at the USCIS Field Office having jurisdiction over the application, most often a large city nearest your residence or in a nearby state. Find out which USCIS office has jurisdiction over your application here.

Content of Interviews. Officials stated that they will be reviewing each applicant’s responses to questions asked on the Form I-485 and associated applications, ensuring the applicant has no criminal or immigration history that would bar the applicant from adjustment. USCIS has stated they will not “re-adjudicate” an I-140 Employer Petition, but the principal beneficiary should be prepared to answer routine questions about the job offer that made them eligible for adjustment of status, or about their current job offer, if they’ve “ported” from the employer who originally sponsored. If there is a question about eligibility or portability that cannot be resolved in the interview, the Field Office will send the petition back to the National Service Center for further action. Derivative beneficiaries may be asked questions about their relationship to the principal beneficiary (i.e. spousal relationships, parent-child relationships), and asked for documentary proof of the bona fides of the relationship.

Adjudication delays. USCIS states that implementing interviews for EB cases should only result in a 17% increase in their workload and does not believe it should dramatically affect processing times. USCIS states it will be giving interview “priority” to EB cases (over family-based and naturalization cases) as their priority dates become current. EB I-485 adjudications already take over a year without an interview, and family-based I-485s (which usually already require an interview) are hovering around 10-11 months nationwide. Just guessing, we estimate an increase in overall adjustment of status process between three and six months, but again, this is just a guess. We will have to wait and see what happens.

2019 Diversity Visa Application Window Reset Due to “Technical Error”

Yesterday, the Department of State issued the following statement:

“Due to a technical issue, the DV-2019 entry period that began on October 3 has been closed. Entries submitted during October 3-10 are not valid and have been excluded from the system; they will not count as a duplicate entry. The technical issue has been resolved and a new full entry period will begin at noon, U.S. Eastern Daylight Time on Wednesday October 18, 2017 and will run until noon Eastern Standard Time on Wednesday November 22, 2017. Only entries submitted during this period will be accepted and considered for selection in the lottery. Please throw away any confirmation number or other documentation that you have if you submitted an entry during Oct. 3-10.”

Premium Processing is Back for ALL

H-1B Petitions

On October 3, 2017, USCIS Service Center Operations announced that it would resume premium processing for all H-1B petitions effective immediately. USCIS previously suspended premium processing for all H-1B petitions in April 2017 before gradually re-introducing it for certain categories over the last six months.

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