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March 2016 Visa Bulletin – Cutoff Dates Advance for Most Categories; EB China Advances Significantly
The U.S. State Department has just released the March 2016 Visa Bulletin which is the sixth Visa Bulletin for the FY2016 fiscal year. The major headline in the upcoming month’s Visa Bulletin is the notable advancement in the cutoff dates for many categories, especially for EB-2 and EB-3 China. EB-2 India advances again, although the rate of advancing seems to slow down. The “Filing” cutoff dates advance for many categories as well.
On April 1, 2016 the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will start accepting applications for one of the most popular U.S. work visas, H-1B, for fiscal year (FY) 2017. Our intelligence and past experience suggest that this year’s H-1B cap season will be very short — five business days. Our office is already preparing a number of H-1B applications for our clients and we urge employers to prepare for a very short H-1B season by identifying and initiating H-1B sponsorship cases now.
Many of our clients and readers are already aware of the move by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (“USCIS”) to issue what are hundreds, or perhaps even thousands, of very similar, if not identical, requests for evidence (“RFE”) on pending employment-based primary Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status, cases (mostly for EB-2 India applicants). Our office has been receiving such RFEs and we have been hearing from readers and clients who have also been affected by this large-scale RFE event. We have seen similar RFE flood waves in the past and many EB-2 India applicants may have seen two or even three such RFEs. Like previous RFE waves in the past, USCIS is generally seeking updated medicals, in addition to employment verification documents from the sponsoring employer. […]
As of January 21st, 2016, the U.S. began implementing changes under the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015 (the Act). Under the Act, travelers in the following categories are no longer eligible to travel or be admitted to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP):
- Nationals of VWP countries who have traveled to or been present in Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria on or after March 1, 2011 (with limited exceptions for travel for diplomatic or military purposes in the service of a VWP country).
- Nationals of VWP countries who are also nationals of Iran, […]