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News Bulletin for November

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November 2008
News Bulletin for November

By Sadia Subhani

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has increased the maximum period of time a Trade-NAFTA (TN) professional worker from Canada or Mexico may remain in the U.S. before seeking readmission or obtaining an extension of stay. This final rule changes the initial period of admission for TN workers from one to three years, making it equal to the initial period of admission given to H-1B professional workers. Eligible TN non-immigrants may now be allowed to receive extensions of stay in increments of up to three years instead of the prior maximum period of stay of one year.

The TN nonimmigrant classification is available to eligible Mexicans and Canadians with at least a bachelor’s degree or appropriate professional credentials who work in certain qualified fields pursuant to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Qualified professions identified within NAFTA include, but are not limited to, accountants, engineers, attorneys, pharmacists, scientists, and teachers. This final rule will ease administrative burdens and costs on TN workers. It will also benefit U.S. employers by increasing the amount of time TN non-immigrants will be able to work for them before having to seek an extension of status. Spouses and unmarried minor children of TN non-immigrants in their corresponding non-immigrant classifications will also benefit from the new regulation.

President Signs Military Personnel Citizenship Processing Act

President Bush signed a law on October 9, 2008 to speed the Naturalization process for members of the military and their immediate families. The bill, called the Military Personnel Citizenship Processing Act, establishes an Office of the FBI Liaison in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which is meant to help the FBI process naturalization applications for people in the military.

The law applies to members and former members of the Armed Forces and current spouses of active Armed Forces members, as well as surviving spouses and children of U.S. citizens who died while on active duty. The provision also applies to deceased people eligible for posthumous citizenship. The Act requires that USCIS process a naturalization application within six months for Armed Forces members and their families, or provide an explanation why the deadline could not be met.

Information on 2010 Diversity Visa Lottery Program

Applications for the 2010 Diversity Visa Lottery Program will be accepted from October 2 to December 1, 2008. Entries for the DV-2010 Diversity Visa lottery must be submitted electronically between noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT), Thursday, October 2, 2008, and noon, Eastern Standard Time (EST), Monday, December 1, 2008. Applicants are strongly encouraged not to wait until the last week of the registration period to enter. Heavy demand may result in website delays. No entries will be accepted after noon, EST, on December 1, 2008.

The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program provides a maximum of 55,000 Diversity Visas (DV) each fiscal year to be made available to persons from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. The annual program makes visas available to persons meeting the simple but strict eligibility requirements. A computer-generated, random lottery drawing makes the final selection for Diversity Visas.

For DV-2010, natives of the following countries are not eligible to apply because the countries sent a total of more than 50,000 immigrants to the U.S. in the previous five years:

Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, Peru, Poland, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam.

Special technology and other means are used to identify those who commit fraud for the purposes of illegal immigration or those who submit multiple entries. In DV-2010, for the first time, those who submit entries may check the status of entries online and determine whether their entries are selected or not selected. Successful entrants will continue to receive notification letters by mail.

VISA PREFERENCE NUMBERS FOR NOVEMBER 2008

FAMILY India                      Pakistan/Bangladesh

1st 01May02 01May02

2A 08 Feb04 08Feb04

2B 15Jan00 15Jan00

3rd 01Jul00 01Jul00

4th 22Jul97 15Nov97

EMPLYOMENT India           Pakistan/Bangladesh

1st Current Current

2nd 01Jun03 Current

3rd 01Oct01 01May05

Other 15Jan03 15Jan03

4th Current Current

5th Current Current


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