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Immigration News Briefs

By Humera Subhani Email By Humera Subhani
February 2016
Immigration News Briefs

10,000 U Visas Approved for 7th Straight Fiscal Year
USCIS has approved the statutory maximum of 10,000 petitions for U-1 nonimmigrant status (U visas) for fiscal year 2016. This marks the seventh straight year that USCIS has reached the statutory maximum since it began issuing U visas in 2009.

Each year, 10,000 U visas are available for victims of certain qualifying crimes who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse and are willing to help law enforcement authorities investigate or prosecute those crimes. A U visa petition requires certification that the victim has been helpful to law enforcement.

Although USCIS has reached the statutory cap of 10,000 U visas, it will continue to review pending petitions for eligibility. For eligible petitioners who cannot be granted a U-1 visa solely because of the cap, USCIS will send a letter notifying them that they are on a waiting list to receive a U visa when visas become available again. The letter will also inform the petitioners of options available to them while they are on the waiting list.

USCIS will resume issuing U visas on October 1, 2016, the first day of fiscal year 2017, when visas become available again.


Fee Increase Implemented in H-1B and L-1 Petitions
USCIS has posted that The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 (Public Law 114-113), signed into law by President Obama on December 18, 2015, increases fees for certain H-1B and L-1 petitioners. These petitioners must submit an additional fee of $4,000 for certain H-1B petitions and $4,500 for certain L-1A and L-1B petitions postmarked on or after December 18, 2015.

The additional fees apply to petitioners who employ 50 or more employees in the United States, with more than 50 percent of those employees in H-1B or L (including L-1A and L-1B) nonimmigrant status. These petitioners must submit the additional fees with an H-1B or L-1 petition filed:

• Initially to grant status to a nonimmigrant described in subparagraph (H)(i)(b) or (L) of section 101(a)(15) of the Immigration and Nationality Act; or

• To obtain authorization for a nonimmigrant in such status to change employers.

This fee is in addition to the base processing fee, Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee, American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998 fee (when required), as well as the premium processing fee, if applicable. Public Law 114-113 fees will remain effective through September 30, 2025.


Workload Transfer to the California and Nebraska Centers
USCIS recently began transferring certain casework from the Vermont Service Center (VSC) to the California Service Center (CSC) and Nebraska Service Center (NSC) to balance workloads. The CSC will now process Form I-539 Application to Change/Extend Status.

If the center transfers your case, they will send you a transfer notice. Your original receipt number will not change, and the transfer will not delay the processing of your case except for the additional time needed to transfer the file.


APPLICATION FINAL ACTION DATES FOR February 2016

 

FAMILY

India

Pakistan/Bangladesh

1st

08Jul08

08Jul08

2A

01Sep14

01Sep14

2B

15May09

15May09

3rd

01Octl04

01Oct04

4th

08Jun03

08Jun03

 

 

EMPLOYMENT

India

Pakistan/Bangladesh

1st

Current

Current

2nd

01Aug08

Current

3rd

15Jun04

01Oct15

Other

15Jun04

01Oct15

4th

Current

Current

5th

Current

Current1B

 


DATES FOR FILING VISA APPLICATIONS - February 2016

 

FAMILY

India

Pakistan/Bangladesh

1st

01Oct09

01​Oct09


2A

​15Jun15

​15Jun15

2B

​15Dec10

15Dec10

3rd

01A​ug05

01A​ug05

4th

01​May04

01​May04

 

 

EMPLOYMENT

India

Pakistan/Bangladesh

1st

Current

Current

2nd

01Jul09

Current

3rd

01Jul05

01​Jan16

Other

01Jul05

01​Jan16

4th

Current

Current

5th

Current

Current1B

 

​01Sep14

​01Sep14


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