On July 21, 2020, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Ombudsman’s Office published an alert regarding card production delays. According to the alert, in June 2020, USCIS reduced the capacity to print secure documents, including Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) Cards and Employment Authorization Documents (EAD), after it ended a contract with a third-party card production facility. While USCIS intended to hire federal employees to replace the contractors, the current hiring freeze at USCIS has delayed production of the cards. As such, USCIS has not been producing the permanent resident cards and EAD cards in a timely manner, so some foreign nationals have been delayed in receiving these secure documents.
Continue Reading USCIS Card Production Delays & Obtaining I-551 Stamps as Temporary Proof of Status

The coronavirus “2019-nCoV” epidemic has resulted in a lockdown of millions of people in China, just as the country was celebrating the Lunar New Year 2020. Many are unable to
Continue Reading Important Update on Immigration Issues Related to U.S. Permanent Residents Unable to Travel Back to U.S. Due to Coronavirus Outbreak in China

Today, President Trump joined Senator David Perdue (R-GA) and Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) announcing the introduction of a bill titled “Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy Act,” known also as the “RAISE Act.”  The president praised the work of the senators and in a statement added, “We want a merit-based system. One that protects workers, our workers, our taxpayers, and one that protects our economy. We want it merit-based.”

Highlights from the bill are included below:

  • Eliminates the diversity visa program.
  • Sets the maximum number of refugee admissions to 50,000 per fiscal year.
  • Worldwide level of family sponsored immigrants is 88,000. The number of humanitarian paroles, if the individual has not departed or has not adjusted status, will be counted against that number.
  • A new classification is created for the alien parents of adult U.S. citizens for admission for five years, but will not be able to receive public benefits or work authorization.
  • A person cannot naturalize if the person who executed an affidavit of support failed to reimburse the Federal Government for all mean-tested public benefits received by the person during the 5-year period.
  • Annual and quadrennial reports will be required to monitor the progress and numbers.
  • The creation of an immigration points system to replace the employment-based immigrant visa categories.
  • Effective date will be the first day of the first fiscal year that begins after the date of enactment.  Those exempt are those who have been granted admission prior to enactment, but he or she will need to enter within one year of enactment.


Continue Reading President Trump Endorses New Bill Addressing ‘Green Card’ Immigration

The Department of State (DOS) recently published its annual report of immigrant visa applicants (2015 Annual Immigrant Visa Report), which tallies up the number of total applicants—including spouses and children—who are waiting for their respective priority date to become current, allowing for them to obtain their green card. The annual report, which totals the number of applicants up to Nov. 1, 2015, does not take into account those applicants who have adjustment of status applications pending with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as of Nov. 1.

Overall, 2015 saw a three precent increase of total applicants compared against last year, increasing from a total of 4,422,660 for 2014 to 4,556,021 for 2015. This total includes both family-based green cards and employment-based green cards. Employment-based green card applicants only accounted for roughly 100,000 of the 4.5 million. When compared against 2014, the percentage of employment-based applicants waiting to apply for their green cards increased from 90,910 to 100,747—an increase of 10.8 percent.


Continue Reading Over 4.5 Million Are Waiting for Green Cards—Over 100,000 of them are Employment-Based

True or FalseMyth 1:  Buy a Green Card – The EB-5 program was established to help high-net-worth individuals buy a green card.

Fact:  The EB-5 program is a highly regulated employment-based permanent residence application that takes years to complete.  The initial application requires detailed proof of investment in a qualified project.  It also requires evidence of an investment of either 1 million USD or 500,000 USD and the creation of 10 jobs for U.S. workers.  The investor’s application is screened and, if approved, only a “conditional green card” is granted. The same in-depth review of the project and the investor’s background are conducted two years after conditional status is granted to ensure the individual’s continued eligibility for the EB-5 immigrant investor category.

Myth 2:   Loophole for Criminals/Terrorists – The EB-5 program provides an easier way for potential immigrants to go through background clearances, providing a loophole for potential criminals and terrorists.

Fact:  As described above, the EB-5 program requires an investor’s record to be reviewed two times – once for a conditional green card and then again when obtaining a permanent green card.  In addition to the normal screening process for other employment based permanent residence applicants, which is conducted twice for EB-5 applicants, the EB-5 applicant must have the project reviewed for compliance with regulatory requirements, including proving the requisite amount of investment and the requisite number of jobs to be created.  Moreover, EB-5 applicants go through a rigorous vetting process to demonstrate that their source(s) of funds is(are) lawful and that those funds can legally be invested into qualified projects.
Continue Reading Myth vs. Fact: Responses to Arguments Against the EB-5 Pilot Program

After finally being issued a Green Card, the last thing any Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) of the United States would want is to lose his / her permanent residency status. It is important that LPRs understand certain requirements they must fulfill in order to maintain this status. Other than obeying all of the laws of the United States and filing income tax returns there, LPRs must take steps to ensure they are not risking abandonment of their permanent residency status. In order to do this, it is essential that LPRs spend at least 180 days each year in the United States. But what specifically is the “United States”?

According to the Immigration and Nationality Act Section 101 (a) (38): the term “United States,” except as otherwise specifically herein provided, when used in a geographical sense, means the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands of the United States, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Therefore, LPRs could spend time in the continental United States or any of the U.S. commonwealths to fulfill their residency requirements. This definition may be particularly interesting for LPRs who face a 7,136 mile, eleven hour long flight from China to the continental United States.


Continue Reading Fulfilling U.S. Residency Requirements a Bit Closer to Home: Saipan an Option for EB-5 Investors