March 29, 2024 - Weekly Immigration News Update

Posted by Keshab R. Seadie | Mar 29, 2024 | 1 Comment

Dear Clients and Colleagues,

We hope this newsletter finds you well. In this edition, we bring you important updates on various immigration matters. Please take a moment to review the following key highlights:

New Process for Social Security Updates for New Citizens

Starting April 1, 2024 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) simplifies the process for naturalization applicants to update their Social Security records. Applicants for naturalization can now request a Social Security number or card update as part of their application without visiting a Social Security Administration office.

H-1B CAP Season FY 2025 and Form I-129 Filing Updates

The H-1B initial registration period for FY 2025 closed on March 25. USCIS has started to notify the selected applicants eligible to file an H-1B CAP-subject petition. Notably, from April 1, 2024 H-1B and H-1B1 Form I-129 petitions must be filed at USCIS lockbox locations, not service centers. This change comes alongside updated fees and the introduction of a new form edition, applicable from April 1, 2024 which includes no grace period for older versions.

USCIS Updates Policy Guidance on Expedite Requests

USCIS has updated its policy guidance to clarify the processing of expedite requests. This includes cases related to government interests and emergencies or urgent humanitarian situations. The update outlines the criteria for travel-related expedite requests and the process for making and processing these requests, effective immediately.

What is the Visa Bulletin?

The Visa Bulletin is a crucial tool in the complex process of obtaining a green card (or immigrant visa) in the United States. This bulletin serves as a guideline, outlining when individuals can apply for their immigration cases and when they can expect their applications to be approved. Essentially, it functions as a schedule, helping applicants determine when it's their turn to move forward in the immigration process. 

How Does it Work?

The Visa Bulletin plays a vital role in helping applicants understand when they can initiate the final stage of the green card process. If you are in the United States, this stage involves filing a Form I-485 with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), while for those overseas, it relates to consular processing through the Department of State (DOS).  The Visa Bulletin comprises a list of countries at the top and various visa categories on the side, such as F1 or EB2. To use it effectively, you need to find your Priority Date from your Form I-797 Approval Notice. Then, locate your visa category in the Visa Bulletin under your Country of Birth. If the date in that box is later than your Priority Date, you may be eligible to proceed with your case. However, this depends on whether you are referring to the Final Action or Dates for Filing charts. The Dates for Filing Chart is particularly relevant for individuals filing a Form I-485.  For example, if your Priority Date is September 1, 2013, in the F1 category, and you were born in India, and the date listed for F1 India is December 1, 2014 (the Cutoff Date), it means you can move forward with your case.

Can I File My Form I-485 Using the Dates for Filing Chart?

If you are applying for a green card within the United States, you must have permission to file from both DOS (via the Visa Bulletin) and USCIS (via their Adjustment of Status Filing Chart). When USCIS lists the Dates for Filing Chart, and your Priority Date is current according to it, you can proceed to file a Form I-485. 

What Is Special About the October Visa Bulletin?

The October Visa Bulletin is significant because it marks the beginning of the new fiscal year for the U.S. government. During this month, visa numbers typically show forward movement for several reasons:  Allocation Reset: DOS starts the fiscal year with the full quota of visas they are legally allowed to issue, like having a full bucket of visas to distribute.  Annual Quotas: Generally, there are 140,000 employment-based and 226,000 family-based visas available each year, and these become available for allocation at the start of the fiscal year. 

What Happens If Next Month's Visa Bulletin Changes?

A new Visa Bulletin is published every month, and it's important to pay attention to any changes. If the upcoming Visa Bulletin indicates that your Priority Date is not "Current," several consequences follow: 

  • Consular Approval: The consulate cannot approve your green card.
  • Form I-485 Submission: You cannot submit your Form I-485 to USCIS.
  • USCIS Approval: USCIS cannot approve your application if you have already submitted it.

For example, if your Priority Date is "Current" in October, you can apply with USCIS during that month. However, if the November Visa Bulletin retrogresses your Priority Date, USCIS cannot accept or approve your application in November. It will remain with USCIS until your Priority Date becomes current again. In the meantime, you may still be eligible for work authorization, travel, and the ability to change jobs.  Similarly, if you are applying at a consulate and your Priority Date is "Current" in October, they can grant you an immigrant visa that month. But if your Priority Date is no longer "Current" in November, and they require additional documents, they cannot issue the visa in November, even if you had an interview in October.  In essence, the Visa Bulletin is a crucial tool that helps individuals navigate the complexities of the U.S. immigration system, ensuring that they are aware of the timing and eligibility criteria for each stage of the green card application process.

We hope you find this information valuable. If you have any questions or require legal assistance related to any of these updates, please don't hesitate to contact us. We are here to help.


Keshab Raj Seadie, Esq.
Law Offices of Keshab Raj Seadie, P.C.

Disclaimer: This newsletter is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Always consult an attorney for personalized advice.

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Abhinav Tiwari Reply

Posted Mar 29, 2024 at 13:20:02

Hello Sir,

Any new bill is coming for H1b holder staying in status more then 10 years with i140 approved ? I Hurd we can get get EAD after that bill get passed. Any idea when that bill will be passed ?


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