Jun
28

Lessons Learned from the Department of State Hardware Failure

In the past two weeks, hardware computer problems halted the issuance of thousands of visas and passports at US consulates and embassies throughout the world.  As of yesterday, two thirds of consular posts are up and running again, sending visas and passports to anxious applicants.  For some, this presented a small inconvenience or had no effect at all.  Other families faced hardship, missing births of children and experiencing financial hardship with extended hotel stays. Thankfully, the Department of State was able to proceed with humanitarian or emergency requests on a case-by-case...

Jun
28

Lost in the H-1B Lottery - What Are My Options Now?

This year, USCIS received over 233,000 H-1B petitions for this fiscal year 2016, which exceeds last year’s count (172,500) by over 60,000 petitions.  As you likely know, there is a general statutory cap of 65,000 for H-1B petitions in a given fiscal year, with an additional 20,000 available under the advanced degree exception known as the masters cap.  Through its computer-generated lottery system, USCIS first selects petitions for the masters cap.  Any unselected petitions in this category then become part of the 65,000 general cap selection.  On April 7, 2015, USCIS announced that...

Nov
29

The Other Visa Cap Problem - the Annual U Visa Cap Injustice

The United States Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS) is currently in the midst of distributing all of the 10,000 U visas which are available for fiscal year 2016. What we at Wilson Law Group have begun to call “U Visa Season,” begins on October 1 of each year, and is over by the New Year. It is during this period that the Vermont Service Center (VSC) allocates all of the 10,000 principal U visas that are available for that year. Applicants who have not received their U visas by the beginning of 2016 are relegated to wait at least one more year for their coveted visa.

U visas are...

Nov
29

The Investment Subsidiary and the E visa

It is well known that citizens of certain countries may enter the United States to establish a trade relationship with their home country or to invest in the United States.  Few people, however, know that companies can establish the same relationship as the individual investor.  This novelty in the law allows for some very flexible opportunities and creates the capacity to move personnel quickly from abroad into the United States.

The E visa has two categories: the E-1 visa for treaty traders and E-2 visa for treaty investors.  Both are temporary, nonimmigrant visas for individual or...

Feb
14

H-2B Visa Program Updates: Registration Currently Inoperative & Emergency Guidance

H-2B Visa Program Updates: Registration Currently Inoperative & Emergency Guidance

Wilson Law Group recently commented on the new 2015 H-2B Interim Final Rules and how they impact the H-2B program and employers, including a new requirement of registration, recruitment procedures, and the crucial need to navigate the various phases of the process with meticulous attention to detail to timelines and requirements.  The H-2B program is continually evolving, and now is moving towards paralysis.  

The H-2B registration process is not yet operational.  The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has not...

Feb
14

Crimes Triggering Visa Revocations while Traveling in the US

Wilson Law Group recently became aware of a disturbing new trend relating to non-immigrant visa (NIV) holders.  Those in the United States with student (F), employment-based (H-1B), exchange (J-1) visas, and investor visas (E-2), among others, are affected.  Those NIV holders who, during their stay in the US, are arrested for a minor criminal incident are receiving correspondence from the Department of State, often via email or phone, indicating their visas have been cancelled while they are still traveling in the United States.  The revocation messages indicate a foreign national may...

Aug
1

Visa Interview Waiver Program Continues to Expand & Streamline Nonimmigrant Visa Process

The Interview Waiver Program (IWP) was first introduced in 2012 as a pilot program in an effort to promote travel and tourism to the United States for certain nonimmigrant applicants.  The IWP was made permanent this year in 2014.  The criteria for the IWP is published in the Foreign Affairs Manual, although it is important tocheck the consulate’s requirements because they can vary. 

Generally, all foreign nationals applying for a nonimmigrant visa (e.g. B-1/B-2, E, L, TN visa, etc.) must appear in person at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad for an interview by a consular officer. ...