Category Archives: Archives

Green Card Priority Date Movement for June 2016


Use Chart A. Final Action Date for June 2016

The Visa Bulletin will now have two different charts because of the revised procedures. DOS will post two charts per visa preference category in the DOS Visa Bulletin. The charts are:

  • Application Final Action Dates (dates when visas may finally be issued); and
  • Dates for Filing Applications (earliest dates when applicants may be able to apply).

When USCIS determines there are immigrant visas available for the filing of additional adjustment of status applications, the B. Adjustment Application Filing Dates chart may be used to determine when to file an adjustment of status application with USCIS.  Otherwise, the A. Visa Processing Dates chart must be used to determine when to file an adjustment of status application with USCIS. USCIS will determine which chart is effective for the following month approximately one week after DOS publishes the Visa Bulletin.

A. Visa Processing Dates (Final Action Dates for EB Categories)

Final Action

Movement Since May 2016

  • EB2 China — Sep 1, 2012 to Jan 1, 2010 (Retrogress 974 days or 2 years and 8 months)

    EB2 India — Nov 8, 2008 Oct 1, 2004 (Retrogress 1499 days or 4 years, 1 month and 7 days)

  • EB3 All — Feb 15, 2016 (No Change)

  • EB3 China — Aug 15, 2013 to Jan 1, 2010 (Retrogress 1322 days or 3 years, 7 months and 14 days)

  • EB3 El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras — Feb 15, 2016 (No Change)

  • EB3 India — Sep 1, 2004 to Sep 22, 2004 (21 days)

  • EB3 Mexico — Feb 15, 2016 (No Change)

  • EB3 Philippines — Aug 8, 2008 to Nov 1, 2008 (85 days)

  • EB5 China Non-RC — Feb 8, 2014 to Feb 15, 2005 (7 days)

    EB5 China RC — Feb 8, 2014 to Feb 15, 2004 (7 days)

B. Adjustment Application Filing Dates (Filing of EB Applications)

Filing Date

Movement Since May 2016

  • EB2 China — Jun 1, 2013 (No Change)

  • EB2 India — Jul 1, 2009 (No Change)

  • EB3 All — Current

  • EB3 China — May 1, 2015 (No Chang)

  • EB3 India — Jul 1, 2005 (No Change)

  • EB3 Mexico — Current

  • EB3 Philippines — Jan 1, 2010 (No Change)

  • EB5 China Non-RC — May 1, 2015 (No Change)

  • EB5 China RC — May 1, 2015 (No Change)

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Request from Immigration in Plain English to its Readers and Followers


At Immigration in Plain English, we aim to provide free information on business immigration issues. We have no intent to charge any fee to our readers and followers on this site, EVER. We will not sell the information of our readers and followers to any third party. 

In fact, we do not even intend to allow advertisement, other than providing direct links to our partners in recruiting, training and EB-5. By the way, your information is not shared with our partners. The decision to connect is yours! 

However, we are researching not-for-profit funding to ensure we can provide the most up-to-date information on business immigration law and policy. To do so, we need to establish our benefit to the public. We also need to establish that we have a readership that merits 501(c)(3) funding. 

We can only do this if you follow our blog and like posts on our site. Liking us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or any other social media site, while appreciated, does not record back to the site. It is our request, therefore, that you consider following our blog. Even more so, if you like what you read, please navigate to our site, http://www.immigrationinplainenglish.com, and tick the like button.

Thank you in advance for keeping Immigration in Plain English free for its readers and followers. Thank you!!! 

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USCIS Processing Delay Update


USCIS issued the following notice to address the backlog of case processing.

We are writing to address recent customer concerns about processing delays. We recognize that some cases are taking longer to complete than usual and apologize for any inconvenience that this may have caused. Current personnel resources do not align with the present caseload, but we are working to address the staffing shortages and workload issues that are causing the delays.

We continually review our workload capacity at each service center and, based on our findings, redistribute the work among the service centers. This type of planning allows us to maximize our resources and minimize any delays when work is transferred. We have recently transferred cases between all of our service centers, including our newest center, the Potomac Service Center. This work includes all recently filed Forms I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, submitted by F-1 and M-1 students for Optional Practical Training.  For more details, you can visit our new workload transfer updates page.

While this may not reduce wait times immediately, we hope you will see improvement over the next few months. Transferring cases will assist with backlog reduction, ensure processing times are consistent across service centers, and provide our customers and stakeholders with faster responses.

Here is what you need to know if your case is transferred to another center for action:

  • Your case will be worked based on the processing times of the receiving center
  • All notices and requests will come from the new center
  • Please notify USCIS any time you change your address
  • If you receive notice that your Green Card has been approved, please wait 120 days to receive it in the mail

Customers can access current processing times on the USCIS website at https://egov.uscis.gov/cris/processTimesDisplayInit.do.

We encourage you to sign up for an account with Case Status Online to get an email or text notification when there is an update to your status, including when your Green Card is mailed. We also encourage you to keep your address up to date to ensure that your card is delivered to your most current physical address. You can update your mailing address online at www.uscis.gov/changeaddress.

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Green Card Priority Date Movement for May 2016


Use Chart A. Final Action Date for May 2016

The Visa Bulletin will now have two different charts because of the revised procedures. DOS will post two charts per visa preference category in the DOS Visa Bulletin. The charts are:

  • Application Final Action Dates (dates when visas may finally be issued); and
  • Dates for Filing Applications (earliest dates when applicants may be able to apply).

When USCIS determines there are immigrant visas available for the filing of additional adjustment of status applications, the B. Adjustment Application Filing Dates chart may be used to determine when to file an adjustment of status application with USCIS.  Otherwise, the A. Visa Processing Dates chart must be used to determine when to file an adjustment of status application with USCIS. USCIS will determine which chart is effective for the following month approximately one week after DOS publishes the Visa Bulletin.

A. Visa Processing Dates (Final Action Dates for EB Categories)

Final Action

Movement Since April 2016

  • EB2 China — Sep 1, 2012 (No Change)

    EB2 India — Nov 8, 2008 (No Change)

  • EB3 All — Feb 15, 2016 (No Change)

  • EB3 China — Aug 15, 2013 (No Change)

  • EB3 El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras — Feb 15, 2016 (New Category)

  • EB3 India — Aug 8, 2004 to Sep 1, 2004 (24 days)

  • EB3 Mexico — Feb 15, 2016 (No Change)

  • EB3 Philippines — May 1, 2008 to Aug 8, 2008 (92 days)

  • EB5 China Non-RC — Feb 1, 2014 to Feb 8, 2014 (7 days)

    EB5 China RC — Feb 1, 2014 to Feb 8, 2014 (7 days)

B. Adjustment Application Filing Dates (Filing of EB Applications)

Filing Date

Movement Since April 2016

  • EB2 China — Jun 1, 2013 (No Change)

  • EB2 India — Jul 1, 2009 (No Change)

  • EB3 All — Current

  • EB3 China — May 1, 2015 (No Chang)

  • EB3 India — Jul 1, 2005 (No Change)

  • EB3 Mexico — Current

  • EB3 Philippines — Jan 1, 2010 (No Change)

  • EB5 China Non-RC — May 1, 2015 (No Change)

  • EB5 China RC — May 1, 2015 (No Change)

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H-1B Lottery Results


USCIS received over 236,000 H-1B petitions during the filing period, which began April 1 and ended on April 7. This is the fourth year in a row that USCIS received a sufficient number of petitions to meet the annual quota of available visas in the first 5 business days of April. Thus, USCIS was forced to resort to a lottery selection process again for FY2017.

On April 9, USCIS used a computer-generated random selection process, or lottery, to select enough petitions to meet the 65,000 general-category cap and the 20,000 cap under the advanced degree exemption. While it is difficult to accurately determine the percentage chance for the advanced degree exemption, we can determine that those in the general-category cap had a 27.54% chance of being picked. ((236,000 – 20,000) / 65,000 = 27.54%). This percentage represents the chance for a majority of applicants.

What often goes unsaid is that the remaining 72.46% are left with uncertainty about their future. Each unpicked petition represents a person’s future. Each individual is highly qualified and capable of performing professional-level work for U.S. companies. Yet these individuals and these companies must develop alterative plans for what is an arbitrary lottery. There is no less need for these highly-skilled individuals. And there is no reason to capriciously limit U.S. businesses.

This system is clearly flawed.

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USCIS Reaches the FY2017 Cap


WASHINGTON – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has reached the congressionally mandated H-1B cap for fiscal year (FY) 2017. USCIS has also received more than the limit of 20,000 H-1B petitions filed under the U.S. advanced degree exemption.

USCIS will use a computer-generated process, also known as the lottery, to randomly select the petitions needed to meet the caps of 65,000 visas for the general category and 20,000 for the advanced degree exemption.

USCIS will first randomly select petitions for the advanced degree exemption. All unselected advanced degree petitions will become part of the random selection process for the 65,000 general cap. The agency will reject and return filing fees for all unselected cap-subject petitions that are not duplicate filings.

Before running the lottery, USCIS will complete initial intake for all filings received during the filing period, which ended April 7. Due to the high number of petitions, USCIS is not yet able to announce the date it will conduct the random selection process.

USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap. Petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap, and who still retain their cap number, will also not be counted toward the congressionally mandated FY 2017 H-1B cap. USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions filed to:

  • Extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the United States;
  • Change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers;
  • Allow current H-1B workers to change employers; and
  • Allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position.

U.S. businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in occupations that require highly specialized knowledge in fields such as science, engineering and computer programming.

We encourage H-1B applicants to subscribe to the H-1B Cap Season email updates located on the H-1B Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Cap Season Web page.

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Green Card Priority Date Movement for April 2016


Use Chart A. Final Action Date for April 2016

The Visa Bulletin will now have two different charts because of the revised procedures. DOS will post two charts per visa preference category in the DOS Visa Bulletin. The charts are:

  • Application Final Action Dates (dates when visas may finally be issued); and
  • Dates for Filing Applications (earliest dates when applicants may be able to apply).

When USCIS determines there are immigrant visas available for the filing of additional adjustment of status applications, the B. Adjustment Application Filing Dates chart may be used to determine when to file an adjustment of status application with USCIS.  Otherwise, the A. Visa Processing Dates chart must be used to determine when to file an adjustment of status application with USCIS. USCIS will determine which chart is effective for the following month approximately one week after DOS publishes the Visa Bulletin.

A. Visa Processing Dates (Final Action Dates for EB Categories)

Final Action

Movement Since March 2016

  • EB2 China — Aug 1, 2012 to Sep 1, 2012 (31 days)

  • EB2 India — Oct 15, 2008 to Nov 8, 2008(24 days)

  • EB3 All — Jan 1, 2016 to Feb 15, 2016 (45 days)

  • EB3 China — Jun 1, 2013 to Aug 15, 2013 (75 days)

  • EB3 India — Jul 15, 2004 to Aug 8, 2004 (24 days)

  • EB3 Mexico — Jan 1, 2016 to Feb 15, 2016 (45 days)

  • EB3 Philippines — Mar 15, 2008 to May 1, 2008 (47 days)

  • EB5 China Non-RC — Jan 22, 2014 to Feb 1, 2014 (10 days)

  • EB5 China RC — Jan 22, 2014 to Feb 1, 2014 (10 days)

B. Adjustment Application Filing Dates (Filing of EB Applications)

Filing Date

Movement Since March 2016

  • EB2 China — Jan 1, 2013 to Jun 1, 2013 (151 Days)

  • EB2 India — Jul 1, 2009 (No Change)

  • EB3 All — Current

  • EB3 China — May 1, 2015 (No Chang)

  • EB3 India — Jul 1, 2005 (No Change)

  • EB3 Mexico — Current

  • EB3 Philippines — Jan 1, 2010 (No Change)

  • EB5 China Non-RC — May 1, 2015 (No Change)

  • EB5 China RC — May 1, 2015 (No Change)

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Updates Galore!


At the height of H-1B season, we have been neglecting you, and for this we sincerely apologize. There has been a lot going on in the world of immigration. Here is a preview.

The final OPT-Stem Extension rule was published on March 11 and will take effect before the May 10, 2016. We will review the final rule and publish a detailed summary in April.

The proposed green card EAD rule comment period is coming to a close. We will review the proposed rule and provide a detailed summary in April.

The April 2016 Visa Bulletin was published earlier this week. We will post the advancements made by the end of the week.

There have also been several memos published by USCIS providing important guidance for employment-based categories, which we also will provide a detailed update in April.

Finally, the FY-2017 H-1B Lottery is looming. Petitions must be received in the first 5 business days of April. Within the week, we will provide a complete breakdown of the process, including predictions and timelines. 

As always, we aim to provide you with updates on complex immigration issues in plain English, even if we are a little late!

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Green Card Priority Date Movement for March 2016


The Visa Bulletin will now have two different charts because of the revised procedures. DOS will post two charts per visa preference category in the DOS Visa Bulletin. The charts are:

  • Application Final Action Dates (dates when visas may finally be issued); and
  • Dates for Filing Applications (earliest dates when applicants may be able to apply).

When USCIS determines there are immigrant visas available for the filing of additional adjustment of status applications, the B. Adjustment Application Filing Dates chart may be used to determine when to file an adjustment of status application with USCIS.  Otherwise, the A. Visa Processing Dates chart must be used to determine when to file an adjustment of status application with USCIS. USCIS will determine which chart is effective for the following month approximately one week after DOS publishes the Visa Bulletin.

A. Visa Processing Dates (Final Action Dates for EB Categories)

Final Action

Movement Since February 2016

  • EB2 China — Mar 1, 2012 to Aug 1, 2012 (153 days)

  • EB2 India — Aug 1, 2008 to Oct 15, 2008 (75 days)

  • EB3 All — Oct 1, 2015 to Jan 1, 2016 (92 days)

  • EB3 China — Oct 1, 2012 to Jun 1, 2013 (243 days)

  • EB3 India — Jun 15, 2004 to Jul 15, 2004(30 days)

  • EB3 Mexico — Oct 1, 2015 to Jan 1, 2016 (92 days)

  • EB3 Philippines — Jan 1, 2008 to Mar 15, 2008 (74 days)

  • EB5 China Non-RC — Jan 15, 2014 to Jan 22, 2014 (7 days)

  • EB5 China RC — Jan 15, 2014 to Jan 22, 2014 (7 days)

B. Adjustment Application Filing Dates (Filing of EB Applications)

Filing Date

Movement Since February 2016

  • EB2 China — Jan 1, 2013 (No Change)

  • EB2 India — Jul 1, 2009 (No Change)

  • EB3 All — Jan 1, 2016 to Current

  • EB3 China — Oct 1, 2013 to May 1, 2015 (1 year, 7 months or 577 days)

  • EB3 India — Jul 1, 2005 (No Change)

  • EB3 Mexico — Jan 1, 2016 to Current

  • EB3 Philippines — Jan 1, 2010 (No Change)

  • EB5 China Non-RC — May 1, 2015 (No Change)

  • EB5 China RC — May 1, 2015 (No Change)

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The Court Stays the Vacatur of the 17-Month STEM Rule!


On Friday, January 23, 2016, the Court in Washington Alliance of Technology Workers v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security granted DHS’s motion for limited relief to stay the vacatur of the 17-month STEM OPT extension until May 10, 2016. The majority of the Court’s opinion deals with the legal procedures the Court had to satisfy before rendering its decision. Without delving into the specifics of legal jurisprudence, the Court ultimately decided that it had jurisdiction to render a decision on the motion, that the motion was timely filed, and that it qualified under the “catch-all” provision of Rule 60(b), which is a request for relief when extraordinary circumstances require such relief.

The Court then reasoned that events subsequent to the Court’s initial stay have “proven the Court’s timetable for re-promulgation to be overly optimistic, thus warranting an extension.” In plain English, the Court realized the time allotted to implement a new rule, complying with the notice and comment requirements, was not sufficient. At the same time, the reason for the stay remains – undue hardship to STEM OPT participants and employers should the rule lapse. In fact, the Court stated “The significance of that hardship cannot be overstated. According to DHS, there are approximately 23,000 STEM OPT participants; 2,300 dependents of STEM OPT participants; 8,000 pending applications for STEM OPT extensions; and 434,000 foreign students who might be eligible to apply for STEM OPT authorizations.”

In determining to grant DHS’s motion to extend the stay until May 10, 2016, the Court reasoned that “If the stay is not extended, many of these people would be adversely affected, either by losing their existing work authorization, not being able to apply for the OPT extension, or not knowing whether they will be able to benefit from the extension in the future. And of course, the U.S. tech sector will lose employees, and U.S. educational institutions could conceivably become less attractive to foreign students.” Therefore, F-1 Students can breath a little easier now that the 17-Month Rule will remain in effect until the 24-Month Rule has adequate time to take effect.

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