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Subcategories from this category: To Our Clients and Friends

On April 4, 2018, the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) sustained an appeal filed by Liu & Associates and approved the EB-1A I-140 petition that was originally denied by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Nebraska Service Center (NSC).

The EB-1A I-140 petition was originally filed with the USCIS in June 2017. The petitioner/beneficiary was a physics researcher seeking classification of immigrant worker as an alien of extraordinary ability under INA §203(b)(1)(A). To support the petition, the petitioner/beneficiary submitted documentary evidence showing that he met at least three criteria as required by 8 CFR §204.5(h)(3). The EB-1A I-140 petition was filed with Form I-907 Request for Premium Processing Service.

Recently, the the U.S. Department of State released the Visa Bulletin for April 2018, summarizing the availability of immigrant visa numbers. Unfortunately, the Bulletin has established a cut-off date (January 1, 2012) for the “final action date” for EB-1 applicants born in China and India. This visa retrogression means that visa numbers are available only for applicants whose priority date is earlier than the cut-off date. The USCIS has determined that applicants must use the “final action date” chart for filing Form I-485 Adjustment of Status. This means that starting April 1, 2018, individuals born in India or China with an EB-1 petition are eligible to file their Form I-485 only if their priority date is before January 1, 2012. (Exception – applicants may use their accompanying spouse’s country of birth for eligibility based on “cross-chargeability”).

To our clients born in China or India – You will need to wait until your priority date becomes current before you can file your Form I-485. If you have a pending Form I-485 and your priority date is no longer current due to the retrogression, the USCIS will hold the application for adjudication until your visa category becomes current again. In past years, the retrogression has ended in October when the new fiscal year starts and visa numbers are available again.

On August 28, 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it would begin expanding the requirement of in-person interviews for certain immigration benefit applicants whose benefit, if granted, would allow them to permanently reside in the United States. Specifically, USCIS will start to phase in interviews beginning October 1, 2017 for applicants applying for employment-based adjustment of status (Form I-485) and for applicants applying for refugee/asylee relative petitions (Form I-730).

This policy is part of an incremental expansion of interviews to other benefit types beyond these categories, and is in compliance with the Trump Administration’s Executive Order 13780 “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States.” USCIS states that the purpose of this expansion is to improve the detection and prevention of fraud in an effort to enhance the integrity of the immigration system within the United States. These interviews will provide more robust screening and vetting procedures, allowing USCIS officers to more reliably verify the information provided with the application, gather additional relevant information, and ascertain the credibility of the applicant seeking permanent residency within the United States.

At Liu & Associates, PLLC, our attorneys not only like to keep up-to-date on the latest changes in immigration policy but also stay actively involved in the discussion and evolution of these policy changes. On January 27, 2017, Attorney Kellie Pai contributed to the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) seminar focused on National Interest Waiver (NIW). This was a 90-minute “Late-Breaking Seminar” discussing how, after 18 years of relying on Matter of New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), the Department of Homeland Security designated a new NIW case as precedent on December 27, 2016.

On December 27, 2016, the Department of Homeland Security designated as precedential the USCIS Administration Appeals Office’s (AAO) decision in Matter of Dhanasar, thereby vacating the previously used Matter of New York State Dep’t of Transp., 22 I&N Dec. 215 (AAO 1998) (NYSDOT), which had been in place for nearly two decades. Matter of Dhanasar provides a new analytical framework that the AAO hopes would apply more flexibility to circumstances of both petitioning employers and self-petitioning individuals.

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