Friday, December 6, 2013

Eb-2 and EB-3 from China visa bulletin updates

Beginning with the June 2013 Visa Bulletin, the third preference employment-based immigrant visa category (EB-3) for individuals born in the People’s Republic of China (China) has a more recent cut-off date than the second preference employment-based category (EB-2). The December 2013 Visa Bulletin indicates that EB-3 immigrant visas are available for Chinese nationals whose priority dates are earlier than October 1, 2011, while EB-2 visas are available for those whose priority dates precede November 8, 2008. This situation is likely to continue.1 Accordingly, practitioners should consider filing Immigrant Petitions for Alien Worker (Form I-140) in both the EB-2 and EB-3 categories either concurrently for new petitions, or filing an EB-3 petition for a Chinese national who is already the beneficiary, Please contact us if interested

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

E-verify is unavailable

E-Verify is currently unavailable due to a government shutdown. While E-Verify is unavailable, you will not be able to access your E-Verify account. As a result, you will be unable to: • Enroll any company in E-Verify • Verify employment eligibility • View or take action on any case • Add, delete or edit any User ID • Reset passwords • Edit your company information • Terminate an account • Run reports • View 'Essential Resources.' Please note that all essential resources may be found by visiting In addition, E-Verify Customer Support and related services are closed. As a result: • Employees will be unable to resolve Tentative Nonconfirmations (TNCs). • Telephone and e-mail support will be unavailable. You may send e-mails, however, we cannot respond until we reopen. • E-Verify webinars and training sessions are cancelled • E-Verify Self Check will not be available We understand that E-Verify’s unavailability may have a significant impact on your company’s operations. To minimize the burden on both employers and employees, the following policies have been implemented: • The 'three-day rule' for E-Verify cases is suspended for cases affected by the shutdown. We’ll provide additional guidance once we reopen. This does NOT affect the Form I-9 requirement—employers must still complete the Form I-9 no later than the third business day after an employee starts work for pay. • The time period during which employees may resolve TNCs will be extended. Days the federal government is closed will not count towards the eight federal government workdays the employee has to go to SSA or contact DHS. We will provide additional time once we reopen. • For federal contractors complying with the federal contractor rule, please contact your contracting officer to inquire about extending deadlines. • Employers may not take any adverse action against an employee because of an E-Verify interim case status, including while the employee’s case is in an extended interim case status due to a federal government shutdown (consult the E-Verify User Manual for more information on interim case statuses). We apologize for any inconvenience and look forward to serving you once we resume operations. Please subscribe to this distribution list to receive future alerts when service resumes. Please do not reply to this message. See our Contact E-Verify page for phone numbers and e-mail addresses. ________________________________________

Monday, September 23, 2013

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Could a Star of REAL HOUSEWIVE"S of New Jersey be deported?

Two stars of the "Real Housewives of New Jersey" have been freed on $500,000 bond each amid fraud charges. Teresa Giudice and her husband, Giuseppe "Joe" Giudice, appeared in federal court Tuesday morning. The Giudices are charged in a 39-count indictment with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, bank fraud, making false statements on loan applications and bankruptcy fraud. They both had to surrender their passports and can't travel outside of New Jersey and New York. The husband could be deported to Italy if convicted because he's not a U.S. citizen. Authorities say the couple submitted fraudulent mortgage and loan applications from 2001 to 2008, including fake tax returns and W-2s. Prosecutors allege Joe Giudice failed to file tax returns for the years 2004 through 2008. The most serious charges the couple face, bank fraud and loan application fraud, carry a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. If convicted, Joe would be considered an "aggravated felon" under immigration laws be subject to mandatory detention ( no bond) and removal. If you ask me, that is better than being on that show which my wife and others cnsider a guilty pleasure. I love when pop culture and immigraiton law mix

Mark Zuckerberg "likes" CIR and "pokes" Congress to do pass comprehensive immigration reform as it effects high tech workers too

"Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg supported immigration refporm Monday night when he joined publicly with tech leaders, civil rights activists and undocumented immigrants to call for a comprehensive overhaul of the nation's immigration policies - an issue he said touches not just Silicon Valley but "the whole country." "This is something that we believe is really important for the future of our country - and for us to do what's right," the social media innovator told a crowd of several hundred at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. H-1b visas are used to bring high tech workers and those with BA degrees r higher to the United States to work. The current law limits to 65,000 the number of foreign nationals who may be issued a visa or otherwise provided H-1B status each fiscal year (FY). Laws exempt up to 20,000 foreign nationals holding a master’s or higher degree from U.S. universities from the cap on H-1B visas. In addition, excluded from the ceiling are all H-1B non-immigrants who work at (but not necessarily for) universities, non-profit research facilities associated with universities or government research facilities

Friday, July 26, 2013

New Visa Category for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

With Comprehensive Immigration Reform on again off again proposition, the fine folks at the Onion had a new idea for a new visa category. Click link below for details from the Onion

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Hail to the victors. University of Michigan to allow in state tuition to undocumented aliens

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—The University of Michigan on Thursday decided to let immigrants living in the country illegally pay lower, in-state tuition, a victory for activists who said one of the nation's most prestigious schools is financially out of a reach for high school graduates living in the state without legal permission.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Supreme Court strikes down DOMA - what are Immigration consequences?

With the demise of the Defense of Marriage Act, commonly referred to as DOMA, the path toward same sex or gay spousal immigration rights has been paved. While no statement has yet been released by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), it is difficult to define any grounds that USCIS might rely on to continue its past ban on recognizing same sex marriages. "The federal statute is invalid [DOMA], for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion. “By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others, the federal statute is in violation of the Fifth Amendment.” Perhaps most importantly for same sex partners seeking immigration benefits, DOMA was not struck down on 10th Amendment arguments, i.e. making gay marriage a purely State’s Rights issue. Rather DOMA was struck down on 5th Amendment grounds. As such there appears no legal wall behind which USCIS may hide its current anti-same sex marriage stance. If a state or nation recognizes same sex marriage, the federal government – USCIS included – may not displace, disparage, or cause injury to same sex married spouses. In other words, regardless of how USCIS reacts to the Supreme Court decision, those that attempt to file cases based on same sex marriage appear to have a very solid case should USCIS deny a case and the case then be taken up on appeal to federal court. Whether a few test cases will be needed to prod USCIS in line with the Supreme Court’s decision or whether USCIS will actively reach out to the LGBT community to assist them in filing their petitions remains to be seen. Christopher M. Pogue, Esq. is Of Counsel with the Fleischer Law Firm, LLC in Cincinnati, Ohio. His law practice specializes in representing individuals, families, and businesses around the United States and around the world in US immigration matters.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Update on H-1b receipts for FY 2014

USCIS has started the data entry process for H-1B petitions selected in the lottery. Premium processing cases are being handled first and data entry for those cases should be completed by April 15. USCIS announced on March 15, 2013, that the 15-day premium processing clock will start on April 15. (AILA Doc. No. 13031549) At the AILA Spring CLE conference on April 12, 2013, Donald Neufeld, Associate Director of the Service Center Operations (SCOPS) Directorate, informed the audience that data entry for non-premium processing cases will begin after the premium processing cases are entered. Data entry for non-premium cases will likely not be completed until sometime in May, and rejection notices for petitions not selected in the lottery will be sent out after that. Please note that when the cap was reached on the first day in 2008, USCIS did not complete data entry and issue receipt notices until late in May.

Monday, April 15, 2013

According to Leakied CIR plans

1. The Border Security "Trigger" The bill creates a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who meet certain qualifications, but applicants would need to undergo a 10-year probationary period before being eligible for a green card. The decade-long wait comes with another caveat: The federal government will need to meet certain border security benchmarks before any undocumented immigrants can receive a green card. The benchmarks? An operational border security plan, a completed border fence, a mandatory employment verification system across the country and a system to track exits at airports and seaports, according to reports in several news outlets. The border security plan would require surveillance of 100 percent of the U.S.-Mexico border and 90 percent effectiveness in border enforcement, The New York Times reported. If those goals are met, immigrants who completed the 10-year waiting period would be eligible to apply for a green card. 2. The Cut-Off Date Of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., hundreds of thousands may not be eligible for the path to citizenship being offered by the Senate, the AP reported on Friday. The bill requires that applicants prove they were in the country before December 31, 2011, the AP reported. That means anyone who arrived after that date would be excluded. There will be other requirements, too, like proving you have a clean criminal record and that you have enough job stability to stay off welfare. How the bill defines those things -- criminality and financial stability -- could decide the fate of thousands. 3. More Visas for Workers The majority of immigrants who receive legal permanent residence in the U.S. get their visas because of family ties. But the Senate bill will add a major new "merit-based" program, The New York Times reported on Thursday. Here's what will happen, according to the Times: Over a 10-year period, the government will seek to clear the backlog of 4.7 million immigrants waiting to come to the U.S. After that, the bill will create a new, merit-based visa program that will offer legal permanent residence based on work skills. At the same time, some family-based visas will be eliminated. Siblings of U.S. citizens would no longer be eligible for green cards, the documents that show legal permanent residence. The exact balance of family visas to employment visas in the Senate proposal isn't clear, but the bill would focus on bringing in more workers of all skill levels.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

H-1b receipts I-797s are being issued

AILA members are beginning to receive premium processing receipts from the VSC for FY2014 H-1B petitions that state “The Vermont Service Center will adjudicate this case within 15 calendar days of the ‘received date’ set forth above.” Members are reminded that USCIS suspended premium processing for FY2014 H-1B petitions until April 15, 2013. The USCIS notice advises “While the Form I-797 receipt notice may indicate the date that the premium processing fee is received, the 15-day processing period set by 8 CFR 103.7(e)(2) will not begin until April 15, 2013.”

H-1B cap met. Lottery has begun.

The USCIS has reached the statutory H-1B cap of 65,000 for fiscal year 2014 (H-1B Regular Cap). USCIS has also received more than 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of persons exempt from the cap under the advanced degree exemption (H-1B Masters Cap). This is the first year since FY 2008 that the cap has been reached so quickly. It is truly a shame. USCIS received approximately 124,000 H-1B petitions during the filing period, including petitions filed for the advanced degree exemption. On April 7, 2013, USCIS used a computer-generated random selection process (commonly known as a “lottery”) to select a sufficient number of petitions needed to meet the caps of 65,000 for the general category and 20,000 under the advanced degree exemption limit. For cap-subject petitions not randomly selected, USCIS will reject and return the petition with filing fees, unless it is found to be a duplicate filing. CIR can not come soon enough

Friday, March 29, 2013


OHIO BMV TO BEGIN ISSUING TEMPORARY DRIVER LICENSES TO QUALIFIED DACA GRANTEES COLUMBUS – Today the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) instructed the state’s Deputy Registrars to begin issuing temporary driver licenses to qualified Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) grantees, but only after first confirming applicants’ immigration documents via the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) database. The extra security steps are designed to combat fraud or the use of counterfeit documents. BMV’s decision was established after reviewing guidance expressed by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine that DACA grantees are eligible for temporary driver licenses under Ohio law. The BMV’s instructions to Deputy Registrars will ensure consistent procedures are followed statewide when issuing the temporary licenses. Confirmation of applicants’ immigrant documents will be made via the federal government’s immigration database to verify their authenticity. Upon verification of applicants’ documents they will be issued a non-renewable/temporary license valid for the time

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Statement from ICE about sequestration and detention

"As fiscal uncertainty remains over the continuing resolution and possible , ICE has reviewed its detained population to ensure detention levels stay within ICE’s current budget. Over the last week, ICE has reviewed several hundred cases and placed these individuals on methods of supervision less costly than detention. All of these individuals remain in removal proceedings. Priority for detention remains on serious criminal offenders and other individuals who pose a significant threat to public safety."

Monday, February 25, 2013

Tumblr creator, AOL co-founder, and others back 'virtual march' for immigration reform

Tumblr creator, AOL co-founder, and others back 'virtual march' for immigration reform As some of the most visibly successful American companies, startups and larger tech outfits enjoy favored status in political discourse. Finding "the next Steve Jobs" is a common talking point (it's showed up in, among other places, the 2012 State of the Union Address), and Obama has consistently called for better STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education to allow the US to maintain its technological prowess. At the same time, internet companies are pushing their own causes: Google has become a major player in Washington over the past year, and the SOPA protests of 2012 set a model for online company-backed activism. Now, as a new immigration plan is being workshopped in the Senate, parts of the tech community are putting their weight behind reform. Beng it here for entire article from Adi Robertson of The Verge

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Weather closes National Benefits Center and other USCIS office

Various USCIS offices including will be closed due to inclement weather including NBC, National Records Center, Kansas City and Wichita Field Offices will be closed today due to inclement weather as well as St. Louis office

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Bad News from US Supreme Court. Padilla is NOT retroactive

The U.S. Supreme Court issued its long awaited decision in Chaidez v. U.S. today. Unfortunately, the Court held that Padilla does not apply retroactively. Click here for the decision.. More commentary to come

Monday, February 18, 2013

ICE has a quota and target numbers for arrests of all aliens

Unbelievable ICE emails about arresting aliens to make sure quotas are met.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

More atheltes with visa problems

Rafael Soriano has not yet reported to Nationals camp in Viera, Florida because of a work visa issue. That's the word from Soriano's agent, Scott Boras, via FOX Sports' Jon Morosi. Soriano should be able to get the problem resolved within the next couple of days. The 33-year-old right-hander inked a two-year, $28 million free agent contract with the Nationals this offseason and will serve as the team's ninth-inning man in 2013.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

President Obama's uncle represented by one of my colleagues in Removal Hearings

A Boston judge today set a Dec. 3 deportation hearing for President Obama’s uncle, Onyango Obama, to determine whether he should be forced to return to his native Kenya. Immigration Judge Leonard I. Shapiro set the date during a brief hearing in a Boston immigration court. Obama joined a crowd of more than 30 immigrants from Pakistan, Guatemala, and Uganda who were facing hearings. After Shapiro’s ruling, Obama’s attorney, Scott Bratton, told reporters that his client’s long-term goal is to remain in the United States. “Everybody wants to stay in America,’’ said Bratton. “Hopefully, on Dec. 3, the case will be over.’’ Despite a deportation order issued against him 21 years ago, Obama, a 68-year-old liquor store manager, stayed in Massachusetts, living and working undetected until Framingham police arrested him in August 2011 on drunken driving charges. He later admitted to sufficient facts in the case and was sentenced to a year’s probation that ends in March. In November, the Board of Immigration Appeals granted him a new hearing based in part on his claim that his prior lawyer, now dead, was ineffective. His lawyers have also pointed out that he has lived in the United States for most of his life, since he arrived almost 50 years ago as a young man to attend an elite boys’ school in Cambridge. Congrats and good luck Scott!

The "Immigration Innovation Act of 2013" May Double H-1B Visa Cap

With all the talk of CIR, The "Immigration Innovation Act of 2013" May Double H-1B Visa Cap and will help "LEGAL" business based Immigration According to the ACT 1. Increase H-1B cap from 65,000 to 115,000 2. Establish a market-based H-1B escalator, so that the cap can adjust – up or down – to the demands of the economy (includes a 300,000 ceiling on the ability of the escalator to move) o If the cap is hit in the first 45 days when petitions may be filed, an additional 20,000 H-1B visas will be made available immediately. o If the cap is hit in the first 60 days when petitions may be filed, an additional 15,000 H-1B visas will be made available immediately. o If the cap is hit in the first 90 days when petitions may be filed, an additional 10,000 H-1B visas will be made available immediately. o If the cap is hit during the 185-day period ending on the 275th day on which petitions may be filed, and additional 5,000 H-1B will be made available immediately. 3. Uncap the existing U.S. advanced degree exemption (currently limited to 20,000 per year) 4. Authorize employment for dependent spouses of H-1B visa holders 5. Increase portability of high skilled foreign workers by: o Removing impediments and costs of changing employers; o Establishing a clear transition period for foreign workers as they change jobs; and, o Restoring visa revalidation for E, H, L, O, and P nonimmigrant visa categories Student Visas  Allow dual intent for foreign students at U.S. colleges and universities to provide the certainty they need to ensure their future in the United States Immigrant Visas and Green Cards  Enable the recapture of green card numbers that were approved by Congress in previous years but were not used  Exempt certain categories of persons from the employment-based green card cap: o Dependents of employment-based immigrant visa recipients o U.S. STEM advance degree holders o Persons with extraordinary ability o Outstanding professors and researchers  Provide for the roll-over of unused employment-based immigrant visa numbers to the following fiscal year so future visas are not lost due to bureaucratic delays  Eliminate annual per-country limits for employment based visa petitioners and adjust per-country caps for family-based immigrant visas U.S. STEM Education & Worker Retraining Initiative  Reform fees on H-1B visas and employment-based green cards; use money from these fees to fund a grant program to promote STEM education and worker retraining to be administered by the states

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

AILA highlights Pres. Obama's Immigration Reform Spech

From American Immigration Lawyer Association Today, President Obama called for common sense, comprehensive immigration reform, saying unequivocally that now is the time for action. He noted that most Americans agree that it is time to "fix the system that has been broken for way too long" and that immigration reform will strengthen our economy and our nation's future. AILA applauds the President's commitment to key principles at the heart of meaningful immigration reform, starting with an earned path to legal status that eventually could be converted to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented in our communities, and including: Eliminating the extremely long wait times for families to be reunited with loved ones with temporary and permanent reforms to the family-based immigration system. Treating same-sex families just like other families. Eliminating long wait times for employers and prospective employees by reducing backlogs and adding visas. Granting green cards to graduates in science, technology, engineering and math fields, creating a "startup visa" for job-creating entrepreneurs, and expanding opportunities for investors contributing to U.S. economic development. Expediting an opportunity for DREAMers to earn their citizenship. Investing in our immigration courts and providing greater protections for those least able to represent themselves. Providing broader discretion to judges to help keep families together when they face hardship. Imposing tough criminal penalties on notarios who prey on vulnerable immigrants.

Monday, January 28, 2013

IS CIR coming ?

A bipartisan group of leading senators has reached agreement on the principles of sweeping legislation to rewrite the nation's immigration laws. The deal, which was to be announced at a news conference Monday afternoon, covers border security, guest workers and employer verification, as well as a path to citizenship for the 11 million illegal immigrants already in this country. Although thorny details remain to be negotiated and success is far from certain, the development heralds the start of what could be the most significant effort in years toward overhauling the nation's inefficient patchwork of immigration laws. President Barack Obama also is committed to enacting comprehensive immigration legislation and will travel to Nevada on Tuesday to lay out his vision, which is expected to overlap in important ways with the Senate effort. The eight senators expected to endorse the new principles Monday are Democrats Charles Schumer of New York, Dick Durbin of Illinois, Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Michael Bennet of Colorado; and Republicans John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Marco Rubio of Florida and Jeff Flake of Arizona. Keep following us for breaking news on CIR

Friday, January 4, 2013

Great tips/ FAQ on I-601 provisional waivers

Starting March 4, 2013, certain relatives of American citizens who are in the country illegally and need a waiver of unlawful presence before being eligible for a green card can get a decision on their case before leaving the United States. For those who can take advantage of the new rule, this means peace of mind, knowing that their loved one is likely to successfully complete the immigration process and not be stranded in a foreign country for an unknown length of time. For some, however, the new rule will do nothing to resolve their immigration issues. 1. What is the new rule and how can it help my family? Under current law, many immigrants who enter the country illegally or overstay their visas cannot apply for permanent residence (a “green card”) in the U.S., and instead must finish the immigration process abroad. Unfortunately, just leaving the country—even to pick up a visa sponsored by a family member—automatically makes the intending immigrant subject to a penalty for their “unlawful presence,” potentially separating them from their family for up to ten years. For some, but not all, the penalty can be waived. Before this new rule, immigrants could be stranded outside the country for weeks, months or even years while waiting for a decision on whether they could return to their life in the United States. And all that time, the immigrant was stuck abroad, usually with no legal way to return. Many families endured the emotional strain, financial hardship and dangerous conditions. Others simply were unwilling to take the risk. The new rule means that many immigrants will leave the United States, knowing in advance that their case will probably be approved, and they could be back with their families—as a legal resident—in a matter of days. 2. Who can apply under the new rule? Only applicants who are an immediate relative of a US citizen (spouses, parents and certain children) can apply at this time, though the rule may later be expanded to other relatives. The applicant must be physically present in the United States, and not already have a scheduled interview at a U.S. consulate abroad. Also, the provisional waiver is only available if the sole issue holding up a case is unlawful presence. Applicants who have criminal issues or other immigration violations cannot use the provisional procedure. Individuals who are in immigration court or who have an order of removal or voluntary departure may not qualify unless they get special permission from the government and a court order resolving their case. To be successful, applicants must show that denying the case would be an extreme hardship to their qualifying relative(s); the impact on the immigrant doesn’t count. Hardship factors can include family separation, economic hardship, medical issues, country conditions abroad, and any other difficulty or harm faced by the qualifying relative(s), if the waiver isn’t granted. 3. What does it mean that the waiver is “provisional?” Even if a waiver is granted, the approval is “provisional.” As a practical matter, this means that the government has reviewed the case and believes that the waiver should be granted, but there is no guarantee that a case will be successful if facts change or new information comes to light. For example, if an applicant had previous immigration violations or criminal history, the provisional waiver will be revoked. If any new issues arise, and the applicant is still eligible for a waiver, he or she will be able to re-apply using the existing process, but will have to wait abroad for a decision on their case. 4. When can I apply? The new rule goes into effect on March 4, 2013, and no filings will be accepted before that date. You can only apply for a provisional waiver after an immigrant petition has been approved. If you haven’t filed yet or you’re still waiting for a decision on a pending petition, you can’t apply for the provisional waiver—yet. 5. What else do I need to know about provisional waivers? A provisional waiver is not a legal status, and even an approved waiver doesn’t provide work authorization, a social security number or a driver’s license. Having a provisional waiver will not protect you from deportation or any other consequences of being in the country illegally. If an application for a provisional waiver is denied, there is no appeal. If you have more or better evidence to prove your case, you can re-file, with a new filing fee. Remember, not everyone can be sponsored or qualify for a waiver, and just as importantly, not everyone needs a waiver. 6. Do I need to work with an attorney? The immigration process can take months, even years, and government filing fees and other expenses are significant—it’s best to know your options before investing time and money. A thorough legal consultation should look at all aspects of your immigration history to find the best solution for your family, not just evaluate eligibility for a provisional waiver. Always work with a licensed immigration attorney. Never trust legal advice from an unregulated consultant or notario. Consider consulting with an experienced immigration lawyer before starting the process to make sure that you qualify, and that stateside waiver processing is the best solution for your immigration case. Additional Resources Always turn to reputable sources for immigration advice and information about new developments. Finding an AILA lawyer is a good place to start. Members listed on meet legal education and malpractice insurance requirements, and have been AILA members for at least two years.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

EB-1 Outstanding Researcher I-140 petition approved in 2 government working days

Today, Richard I. Fleischer received an EB-1 Outstanding Researcher I-140 petition approved in 2 government working days. His client is employed at the Northeastern Ohio Medical University. USCIS received case 12/26/2012. It was Approved 01/02/2013 after the New Year holidays. This successful EB-1 applicant field of work is drug development and health care related research. More specifically, effects of natural products (such as grapes and other fruits) with anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, in neoplastic and neurodegenerative diseases. Congrats to client and Richard I. Fleischer for outstanding work!

I-601 provisional waivers to take effect in March 2013

The provisional I-601 waiver will go into effect in March 2013. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today announced the posting of a final rule in the Federal Register that reduces the time U.S. citizens are separated from their immediate relatives (spouse, children and parents), who are in the process of obtaining visas to become lawful permanent residents of the United States under certain circumstances. The final rule establishes a process that allows certain individuals to apply for a provisiona unlawful presence waiver before they depart the United States to attend immigrant visa interviews in their countries of origin. The processwill be effective on March 4, 2013 and more information about the filing process will be made available in the coming weeks at “This final rule facilitates the legal immigration process and reduces the amount of time that U.S. citizens are separated from their immediate relatives who are in the process of obtaining an immigrant visa,” said Secretary Napolitano In order to obtain a provisional unlawful presence waiver, the applicant must be an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, inadmissible only on account of unlawful presence, and demonstrate the denial of the waiver would result in extreme hardship to his or her U.S. citizen spouse or parent. USCIS will publish a new form, Form I-601A, Application for a Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver, for individuals to use when applying for a provisional unlawful presence waiver under the new process.