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1. State Dept. Sends Guidance to Posts on New Electronic Immigrant Visa Application - The Department of State recently sent a cable to all diplomatic and consular posts providing guidance and describing the timeline for deployment of the new electronic DS-260 (Immigrant Visa Application) and DS-261 (Choice of Address and Agent).
2. USCIS Implements Identity Verification at Field Offices - The new tool allows applicants to submit biometric data (fingerprints and photographs) when appearing at USCIS offices for interviews or to receive evidence of an immigration benefit. USCIS still requires applicants and petitioners requesting immigration or naturalization benefits to visit an Application Support Center to provide biometric data.
3. DACA Reaches One-Year Mark - 588,725 applications have been received so far. Of those, 567,563 were accepted and 21,162 were rejected.
4. Thousands Will Be Naturalized at Constitution Day and Citizenship Day Ceremonies - More than 18,000 new citizens will be naturalized during more than 180 ceremonies between September 16 and September 23.
5. Special Immigrant Visa Program for Iraqis To Expire - On September 30, 2013, the Special Immigrant Visa program for Iraqi nationals who worked for or on behalf of the United States government in Iraq will expire.
6. New Publications and Items of Interest - New Publications and Items of Interest
7. Member News - Member News
8. Government Agency Links - Government Agency Links
 

 
 
1. State Dept. Sends Guidance to Posts on New Electronic Immigrant Visa Application
 

The Department of State recently sent a cable to all diplomatic and consular posts providing guidance and describing the timeline for deployment of the new electronic DS-260 (Immigrant Visa Application) and DS-261 (Choice of Address and Agent), which replaces the paper-based DS-230 (Application for Immigrant Visa Registration, parts I and II) and the DS-3032 (Choice of Address and Agent). Worldwide use of the DS-260/261 took effect for new cases on September 1, 2013.

The cable notes, among other things, the availability of software that includes a "biometric oath module" allowing posts to record an electronic fingerprint in lieu of  a written signature attesting to the oath administered before every immigrant visa interview.

The cable states that the Department intends to deploy the DS-260/261 as follows:

  • Beneficiaries submitting new cases that arrive at the National Visa Center (NVC) from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on or after September 1 will be instructed to complete the DS-260/261 in lieu of the DS-230/3032. The State Department will update travel.state.gov to reflect this guidance and will remove the PDF versions of Forms DS-230 and DS-3032 from public circulation. If a beneficiary submits a DS-230, NVC will instruct him or her to re-submit a DS-260.
  • The State Department will not require DS-260s for beneficiaries of "pipeline" cases already in process at NVC on September 1 if: 1) the case has already been documentarily qualified and sent to scheduling, or 2) NVC receives a single submission of documents that makes a case documentarily qualified. For all other pipeline cases where NVC has occasion to send a "checklist" of missing documents after September 1, NVC will instruct petitioners/agents/beneficiaries to submit the DS-260 along with those missing documents, even if a DS-230 was already on file.
  • Those filing petitions locally overseas (with either USCIS or a consular section) on or after September 1 must submit a DS-260 once the petition is approved. Posts should instruct beneficiaries to enter the principal applicant's DOB in YYYYMMDD format in lieu of an "Invoice ID" on the DS-260 login page.
  • For cases filed locally overseas before September 1, if beneficiaries have already submitted a DS-230 or received instruction to do so, the consular post should accept the DS-230. If a consular post has not yet provided beneficiaries instructions on how to submit their applications, the post must require the DS-260. The consular post should not, as a general rule, require the submission of a DS-260 if a valid, signed, unexpired DS-230 is already on file and requiring the DS-260 would result in a 221(g) refusal for an otherwise issuable case.
  • For Havana Only: Cuban Family Reunification Parole (CFRP) cases are the lone exception to the scenarios described above. The DS-260 will not allow an applicant whose case is not current to access the DS-260. For now, NVC will continue to solicit and accept Form DS-230 from applicants who opt in to the CFRP program.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
 
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2. USCIS Implements Identity Verification at Field Offices
 

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has begun employing "Customer Identity Verification" (CIV) in its domestic field offices. The tool allows applicants to submit biometric data (fingerprints and photographs) when appearing at USCIS offices for interviews or to receive evidence of an immigration benefit. It will be phased in between September 9 and October 21, 2013.

After an applicant arrives at a field office, clears security, and is called to the counter, USCIS will electronically scan two fingerprints and take a picture to verify identity. The process takes a few minutes and applies only to those who have an interview or are receiving evidence of an immigration benefit. Those who come to a USCIS office for InfoPass appointments or to accompany an applicant will not undergo this process.

Currently, USCIS requires applicants and petitioners requesting immigration or naturalization benefits to visit an Application Support Center (ASC) to provide biometric data. "This requirement, along with providing a government-issued document for examination, will not change," USCIS said.

CIV connects instantly to the United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology's (US-VISIT) Secondary Inspections Tool (SIT). SIT is a Web-based application that processes, displays, and retrieves biometric and biographic data. US-VISIT also links databases associated with border inspections and security.

ANNOUNCEMENT

 
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3. DACA Reaches One-Year Mark
 

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) started on August 15, 2013. One year later, the numbers for August 2013 show that a total of 588,725 applications have been received. Of those, 567,563 were accepted and 21,162 were rejected. The average number of applications accepted per day is 2,158.

REPORT

 
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4. Thousands Will Be Naturalized at Constitution Day and Citizenship Day Ceremonies
 

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that it plans to naturalize more than 8,000 candidates on September 17, 2013, which is Constitution Day and Citizenship Day. More than 18,000 new citizens will be naturalized during more than 180 ceremonies between September 16 and September 23. The event commemorates the signing of the U.S. Constitution in 1787.

LIST OF CEREMONY LOCATIONS AND DATES

 
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5. Special Immigrant Visa Program for Iraqis To Expire
 

On September 30, 2013, the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program for Iraqi nationals who worked for or on behalf of the United States government in Iraq will expire.

The program covers Iraqi nationals who have been employed by or on behalf of the United States government in Iraq for at least one year, from March 20, 2003, to the present. The expiration date does not apply to spouses and unmarried children who are following to join a principal applicant.

The Iraqi SIV program will expire on September 30 at 11:59 p.m. EDT unless Congress extends the program. After that date, USCIS will reject any Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant, or Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, filed by a principal applicant based on the Iraqi SIV program. Beginning on October 1, 2013, USCIS will suspend processing of any pending I-360 or I-485 filed by a principal applicant based on the Iraqi SIV program.

ANNOUNCEMENT

 
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6. New Publications and Items of Interest
 

Several ABIL members co-authored and edited the Global Business Immigration Practice Guide, released by LexisNexis. The Practice Guide is a one-stop resource for dealing with questions related to business immigration issues in immigration hotspots around the world.

Latchi Delchev, a global mobility and immigration specialist for Boeing, called the guide "first-rate" and said the key strong point of the book is its "outstanding usability." She said she highly recommends the book and notes that it "is helpful even to seasoned professionals, as it provides a level of detail which is not easily gained from daily case management.

Mireya Serra-Janer, head of European immigration for a multinational IT company, says she particularly likes "the fact that the [guide] focuses not just on each country's immigration law itself but also addresses related matters such as tax and social security issues." She noted that the India chapter "is particularly good. The immigration regulations in India have always been hard to understand. Having a clear explanation of the rules there helps us sort out many mobility challenges.'

This comprehensive guide is designed to be used by:

  • Human resources professionals and in-house attorneys who need to instruct, understand, and liaise with immigration lawyers licensed in other countries;
  • Business immigration attorneys who regularly work with multinational corporations and their employees and HR professionals; and
  • Attorneys interested in expanding their practice to include global business immigration services.

This publication provides:

  • An overview of the immigration law requirements and procedures for over 20 countries;
  • Practical information and tips for obtaining visas, work permits, resident status, naturalization, and other nonimmigrant and immigrant pathways to conducting business, investing, and working in those countries;
  • A general overview of the appropriate options for a particular employee; and
  • Information on how an employee can obtain and maintain authorization to work in a target country.

Each chapter follows a similar format, making it easy to compare practices and procedures from country to country. Useful links to additional resources and forms are included. Collected in this Practice Guide, the expertise of ABIL's attorney members across the globe will serve as an ideal starting point in your research into global business immigration issues.

Order HERE. International customers who do not want to order through the bookstore can order through Nicole Hahn at (518) 487-3004 or Nicole.hahn@lexisnexis.com.

Green Card Stories. The immigration debate is boiling over. Americans are losing the ability to understand and talk to one another about immigration. We must find a way to connect on a human level. Green Card Stories does just that. The book depicts 50 recent immigrants with permanent residence or citizenship in dramatic narratives, accompanied by artistic photos. If the book's profilees share a common trait, it's a mixture of talent and steely determination. Each of them overcame great challenges to come and stay in America. Green Card Stories reminds Americans of who we are: a nation of immigrants, from all walks of life and all corners of the earth, who have fueled America's success. It tells the true story of our nation: E pluribus unum--out of many, one.

Green Card Stories has won five national awards. It was named a Nautilus book award silver medal winner, and won a silver medal in the Independent Book Publishers Association's Benjamin Franklin Award in the multicultural category. The book also won a Bronze Medal in the Independent Publisher's "IPPY" Awards and an honorable mention for the 2012 Eric Hoffer Book Award. Ariana Lindquist, the photographer, won a first-place award in the National Press Photographers Association's Best of Photojournalism 2012. The writer, Saundra Amrhein, was nominated as a finalist on the short list for the 2011 Santa Fe Writers Project Literary Awards. Green Card Stories is also featured on National Public Radio's photo blog.

For more information, e-mail Lauren Anderson at lauren@greencardstories.com. See also the Green Card Stories website.

ABIL on Twitter. The Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers is now available on Twitter: @ABILImmigration. Recent ABIL member blogs are available on the ABIL Blog.

 
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7. Member News
 

H. Ronald Klasko will discuss "What’s Next? EB-5 Trends and Developments" at the CDFA/IIUSA Intro EB-5 Finance WebCourse on September 19. Mr. Klasko will review trends and developments related to the EB-5 program and highlight important statistics to consider when using this form of financing. Topics to be discussed include capital and job formation, actions taking place at USCIS, the federal agency that administers the program, and legislative reforms that could affect the program. FOR MORE DETAILS OR TO REGISTER.

Mr. Klasko will visit the Wharton Business School of the University of Pennsylvania on Tuesday, October 8, 2013. He will discuss topics of interest to entrepreneurial business students.

Mr. Klasko presented at the Practising Law Institute's 46th Annual Immigration & Naturalization Institute program in New York City on September 3, 2013. The topic was "Challenges to Entrepreneurs Coming to the United States."

Mr. Klasko was a contributing author to the American Immigration Lawyers Association's Immigration Practice Toolbox, 4th Edition (June 2013). The Toolbox contains a collection of articles, templates, samples, and updates to supplement a practitioner’s knowledge of immigration law.

Cyrus Mehta has published a new blog entry. "Can An Undocumented Lawyer Practice Immigration Law?"

Mr. Mehta was listed in Best Lawyers, ALM Martindale, Martindale AV Preeminent, and "Most Powerful" by HR Executive Magazine. A listing of other ABIL attorneys in these categories was published in the September 1, 2013, issue of the ABIL Immigration Insider.

Mr. Mehta spoke at the following recent events:

  • "Ethics in Immigration Practice: Where Zealous Representation Starts and Ends," Practising Law Institute, New York City, September 3, 2013
  • "Ethical Issues In Removal Proceedings, Defending Immigration Removal Proceedings 2013," Practising Law Institute, New York City, August 12, 2013
  • "Careers in Immigration Law," New York City Bar, Summer Series, July 18, 2013

Angelo Paparelli was quoted in a recent Wall Street Journal article about a new crackdown on undocumented workers. Mr. Paparelli said the U.S. government has slashed the time it gives employers to find and train replacement workers, to about 20 days from three to four months. The longer amount of time "avoided disrupting or closing the business." He deems the new policy potentially a "deadly blow" to employers. A version of this article appeared September 13, 2013, on page B1 in the U.S. edition of the Wall Street Journal, with the headline: "New Hunt for Illegal Workers."

Mr. Paparelli recently co-authored a new article, "Prosecutors, Aim Your Weapons—Targeting Fraud Upon Immigrants."

Stephen Yale-Loehr was quoted in a recent Univision article about the complexity of the EB-5 program.

Mr. Yale-Loehr will speak on EB-5 immigrant investor issues on a webinar sponsored by the Council of Development Finance Agencies on September 18, 2013. Topics will include direct EB-5 vs. EB-5 regional center programs, minimum investment requirements, securities regulations, and business plans and economic reports. MORE DETAILS OR TO REGISTER

 
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8. Government Agency Links
 

Follow these links to access current processing times of the USCIS Service Centers and the Department of Labor, or the Department of State's latest Visa Bulletin with the most recent cut-off dates for visa numbers:

USCIS Service Center processing times online

Department of Labor processing times and information on backlogs

Department of State Visa Bulletin

Visa application wait times for any post

 
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