Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘Direct Consular Filing’

30th June 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has implemented a new policy regarding the I-130 petition for visas such as the CR-1 visa and the IR-1 visa. To provide further insight it may be prudent to quote directly from the official website of the USCIS, USCIS.gov:

WASHINGTON – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced that effective Aug. 15, 2011, petitioners residing in countries without USCIS offices will be able to file a Petition for an Alien Relative (Form I-130), with the USCIS Chicago Lockbox facility. This will increase the efficiency of the relative petition filing process and give USCIS more flexibility in managing its workload. Previous regulations permitted these petitioners, who comprise about 5 percent of all I-130 petitioners, to file with USCIS or the U.S. Department of State at their local U.S. embassy or consulate. Under the new regulation, published today in the Federal Register, petitioners residing in countries without USCIS offices may file a Petition for an Alien Relative based on the addresses provided in the revised form instructions…

Clearly, this new policy could have significant ramifications for those seeking a United States visa on behalf of a foreign loved one. Concurrently, those familiar with the American visa process may note that this new policy effectively ends the Direct Consular Filing option for petitioners in certain Consular jurisdictions. In the past, it may have been possible for petitioners to file their visa petition directly with a US Embassy or US Consulate if the petitioner resided in the Consular District. These recent regulatory changes would appear to bring this era of Consular Processing to an end.

Meanwhile, in news related to Southeast Asia and the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) community, it appears that Malaysia is poised to engage in a Free Trade Agreement with India. To provide further insight into these developments it may be best to quote directly from the website MoneyControl.com:

The free trade agreement (FTA) between India and Malaysia will come into force from July 1, giving Indian professionals like accountants, engineers and doctors access to the key South-East Asian nation. In addition, exports of items of considerable interest to India, like basmati rice, mangoes, eggs, trucks, motorcycles and cotton garments, will attract lower or no duty in Malaysia with the implementation of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA), according to a statement of the Commerce Ministry issued today…

The administration of this web log strongly encourages readers to click upon the relevant hyperlinks noted above to learn more on this developing story.

As nations in ASEAN, such as Malaysia, continue to become more integrated into broader markets it stands to reason that new trade arrangements will be forged. The ASEAN community (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam) has been the topic of a great deal of recent discussion regarding future free trade agreements as many nations around the world try to make headway into this important and increasingly lucrative regional market.

For information related to legal services in ASEAN, please see: Legal.

more Comments: 04

16th March 2011

The following estimated processing times were quoted directly from the official website of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS):

Field Office Processing Dates for California Service Center as of: January 31, 2011
Form Title Classification or Basis for Filing: Processing Timeframe:
I-102 Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival/Departure Record Initial issuance or replacement of a Form I-94 2.5 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker Blanket L 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker E – Treaty traders and investors 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-1B – Specialty occupation – Visa to be issued abroad 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-1B – Specialty occupation – Change of status in the U.S. 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-1B – Specialty occupation – Extension of stay in the U.S. 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-2A – Temporary workers 1 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-2B – Other temporary workers 1 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-3 – Temporary trainees 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker L – Intracompany transfers 1 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker O – Extraordinary ability 2 Weeks
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker P – Athletes, artists, and entertainers 2 Weeks
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker Q – Cultural exchange visitors and exchange visitors participating in the Irish Peace process 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker R – Religious occupation 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker TN – North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) professional 2 Months
I-129F Petition for Alien Fiance(e) K-1/K-2 – Not yet married – fiance and/or dependent child 5 Months
I-129F Petition for Alien Fiance(e) K-3/K-4 – Already married – spouse and/or dependent child 5 Months
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative Permanent resident filling for a spouse or child under 21 5 Months
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for a spouse, parent, or child under 21 5 Months
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for an unmarried son or daughter over 21 September 27, 2007
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative Permanent resident filling for an unmarried son or daughter over 21 May 7, 2010
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for a married son or daughter over 21 June 1, 2010
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for a brother or sister April 25, 2007
I-131 Application for Travel Document All other applicants for advance parole 3 Months
I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant All other special immigrants 5 Months
I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant Religious workers 5 Months
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status Employment-based adjustment applications July 16, 2010
I-526 Immigrant Petition By Alien Entrepreneur For use by an entrepreneur who wishes to immigrate to the United States August 13, 2010
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status Change status to the F or M academic or vocational student categories 2.5 Months
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status Change of status to H or L dependents 2.5 Months
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status Change Status to the J exchange visitor category 2.5 Months
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status All other change of status applications 2.5 Months
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status Extension of Stay for F or M academic or vocational students 2.5 Months
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status Extension of stay for H and L dependents 2.5 Months
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status Extension of Stay for J exchange visitors 2.5 Months
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status All other extension applications 2.5 Months
I-612 Application for Waiver of the Foreign Residence Requirement Application for a waiver of the 2-year foreign residence requirement based on exceptional hardship or persecution 4 Months
I-751 Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence Removal of lawful permanent resident conditions (spouses of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents 6 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on an approved asylum application [(a)(5)] 3 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on a request by a qualified F-1 academic student. [(c)(3)] 3 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on a pending asylum application [(c)(8)] 3 Weeks
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on a pending I-485 adjustment application [(c)(9)] 3 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on TPS for El Salvador [(c)(19)(a)(12)] 3 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on TPS for Honduras/Nicaragua [(c)(19), (a)(12)] 3 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization All other applications for employment authorization 3 Months
I-817 Application for Family Unity Benefits Voluntary departure under the family unity program 6 Months
I-821 Application for Temporary Protected Status El Salvador extension September 16, 2010
I-821 Application for Temporary Protected Status El Salvador initial or late filing September 16, 2010
I-821 Application for Temporary Protected Status Honduras and Nicaragua extension September 16, 2010
I-821 Application for Temporary Protected Status Honduras and Nicaragua initial or late filing September 16, 2010
I-824 Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition To request further action on an approved application or petition 3 Months
I-829 Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions Removal of lawful permanent resident conditions (immigrant investors) 6 Months
I-829 Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions Removal of lawful permanent resident conditions (immigrant investors) based on PL107-273 September 12, 1997
Field Office Processing Dates for Nebraska Service Center as of: January 31, 2011
Form Title Classification or Basis for Filing: Processing Timeframe:
I-102 Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival/Departure Record Initial issuance or replacement of a Form I-94 2.5 Months
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative Permanent resident filling for a spouse or child under 21 5 Months
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for an unmarried son or daughter over 21 5 Months
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative Permanent resident filling for an unmarried son or daughter over 21 5 Months
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for a married son or daughter over 21 5 Months
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for a brother or sister April 16, 2005
I-131 Application for Travel Document Refugee or asylee applying for a refugee travel document 3 Months
I-131 Application for Travel Document Permanent resident applying for a re-entry permit 3 Months
I-131 Application for Travel Document Haitian Refugee Immigrant Fairness Act (HRIFA) dependent applying for advance parole 3 Months
I-131 Application for Travel Document Haitian Refugee Immigrant Fairness Act (HRIFA) principal applying for advance parole 3 Months
I-131 Application for Travel Document All other applicants for advance parole 3 Months
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Extraordinary ability 4 Months
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Outstanding professor or researcher 4 Months
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Multinational executive or manager 4 Months
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Advanced degree or exceptional ability 4 Months
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Skilled worker or professional 4 Months
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Unskilled worker 4 Months
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Advanced degree or exceptional ability requesting a National Interest Waiver 4 Months
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Schedule A Nurses 4 Months
I-212 Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the U.S. After Deportation or Removal Readmission after deportation or removal June 3, 2009
I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant All other special immigrants 5 Months
I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) June 3, 2009
I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant Religious workers 5 Months
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status Employment-based adjustment applications 4 Months
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status Under the Indochinese Adjustment Act 4 Months
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status Under the Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) 4 Months
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status Based on grant of asylum more than 1 year ago 4 Months
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status Based on refugee admission more than 1 year ago 4 Months
I-526 Immigrant Petition By Alien Entrepreneur For use by an entrepreneur who wishes to immigrate to the United States 5 Months
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status Change status to the F or M academic or vocational student categories 2.5 Months
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status Change of status to H or L dependents 2.5 Months
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status Change Status to the J exchange visitor category 2.5 Months
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status All other change of status applications 2.5 Months
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status Extension of Stay for F or M academic or vocational students 2.5 Months
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status Extension of stay for H and L dependents 2.5 Months
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status Extension of Stay for J exchange visitors 2.5 Months
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status All other extension applications 2.5 Months
I-612 Application for Waiver of the Foreign Residence Requirement Application for a waiver of the 2-year foreign residence requirement based on exceptional hardship or persecution 4 Months
I-730 Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition Petition for accompanying family members of a refugee or an asylee 5 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on an approved asylum application [(a)(5)] 3 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on a request by a qualified F-1 academic student. [(c)(3)] 3 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on a pending asylum application [(c)(8)] 3 Weeks
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on a pending I-485 adjustment application [(c)(9)] 3 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on TPS for El Salvador [(c)(19)(a)(12)] 3 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on TPS for Honduras/Nicaragua [(c)(19), (a)(12)] 3 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization All other applications for employment authorization 3 Months
I-817 Application for Family Unity Benefits Voluntary departure under the family unity program 6 Months
I-821 Application for Temporary Protected Status El Salvador extension 3 Months
I-821 Application for Temporary Protected Status El Salvador initial or late filing 3 Months
I-821 Application for Temporary Protected Status Honduras and Nicaragua extension 3 Months
I-821 Application for Temporary Protected Status Honduras and Nicaragua initial or late filing 3 Months
I-824 Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition To request further action on an approved application or petition 3 Months
I-829 Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions Removal of lawful permanent resident conditions (immigrant investors) 6 Months
I-829 Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions Removal of lawful permanent resident conditions (immigrant investors) based on PL107-273 6 Months
I-90 Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card Initial issuance or replacement 3.5 Months
I-90 Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card 10-year renewal 3.5 Months
I-90A Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card Initial issuance or replacement for Special Agricultral Workers (SAW) 3.5 Months
N-565 Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document U.S. citizen applying for a replacement of naturalization or citizenship certificate 6 Months
N-600 Application for Certification of Citizenship Application for recognition of U.S. citizenship 5 Months
N-643 Application for Certification of Citizenship on Behalf of an Adopted Child Application for recognition of U.S. citizenship on behalf of an adopted child 5 Months
Field Office Processing Dates for Texas Service Center as of: January 31, 2011
Form Title Classification or Basis for Filing: Processing Timeframe:
I-102 Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival/Departure Record Initial issuance or replacement of a Form I-94 November 3, 2010
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker Blanket L 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker E – Treaty traders and investors 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-1B – Specialty occupation – Visa to be issued abroad 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-1B – Specialty occupation – Change of status in the U.S. 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-1B – Specialty occupation – Extension of stay in the U.S. 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-1C – Nurses 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-2A – Temporary workers 1 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-2B – Other temporary workers 1 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-3 – Temporary trainees 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker L – Intracompany transfers 1 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker O – Extraordinary ability January 3, 2011
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker P – Athletes, artists, and entertainers January 3, 2011
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker Q – Cultural exchange visitors and exchange visitors participating in the Irish Peace process 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker R – Religious occupation 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker TN – North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) professional 2 Months
I-129F Petition for Alien Fiance(e) K-1/K-2 – Not yet married – fiance and/or dependent child 5 Months
I-129F Petition for Alien Fiance(e) K-3/K-4 – Already married – spouse and/or dependent child 5 Months
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative Permanent resident filling for a spouse or child under 21 5 Months
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for a spouse, parent, or child under 21 5 Months
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for an unmarried son or daughter over 21 5 Months
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative Permanent resident filling for an unmarried son or daughter over 21 5 Months
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for a married son or daughter over 21 5 Months
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for a brother or sister 5 Months
I-131 Application for Travel Document Refugee or asylee applying for a refugee travel document 3 Months
I-131 Application for Travel Document Permanent resident applying for a re-entry permit 3 Months
I-131 Application for Travel Document Haitian Refugee Immigrant Fairness Act (HRIFA) dependent applying for advance parole 3 Months
I-131 Application for Travel Document Haitian Refugee Immigrant Fairness Act (HRIFA) principal applying for advance parole 3 Months
I-131 Application for Travel Document All other applicants for advance parole 3 Months
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Extraordinary ability August 21, 2010
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Outstanding professor or researcher August 21, 2010
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Multinational executive or manager August 21, 2010
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Advanced degree or exceptional ability August 21, 2010
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Skilled worker or professional August 21, 2010
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Unskilled worker August 21, 2010
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Advanced degree or exceptional ability requesting a National Interest Waiver August 21, 2010
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Schedule A Nurses August 21, 2010
I-212 Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the U.S. After Deportation or Removal Readmission after deportation or removal June 2, 2009
I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant All other special immigrants August 2, 2010
I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) June 2, 2009
I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant Religious workers August 2, 2010
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status Employment-based adjustment applications August 16, 2010
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status Under the Haitian Refugee Immigrant Fairness Act (HRIFA) 4 Months
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status Under the Indochinese Adjustment Act 4 Months
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status Under the Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) 4 Months
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status Based on grant of asylum more than 1 year ago September 18, 2010
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status Based on refugee admission more than 1 year ago 4 Months
I-526 Immigrant Petition By Alien Entrepreneur For use by an entrepreneur who wishes to immigrate to the United States October 1, 2008
I-612 Application for Waiver of the Foreign Residence Requirement Application for a waiver of the 2-year foreign residence requirement based on exceptional hardship or persecution 4 Months
I-730 Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition Petition for accompanying family members of a refugee or an asylee 5 Months
I-751 Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence Removal of lawful permanent resident conditions (spouses of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents 6 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on an approved asylum application [(a)(5)] 3 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on a request by a qualified F-1 academic student. [(c)(3)] 3 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on a pending asylum application [(c)(8)] 3 Weeks
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on a pending I-485 adjustment application [(c)(9)] 3 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on TPS for El Salvador [(c)(19)(a)(12)] 3 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on TPS for Honduras/Nicaragua [(c)(19), (a)(12)] 3 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization All other applications for employment authorization 3 Months
I-817 Application for Family Unity Benefits Voluntary departure under the family unity program 6 Months
I-821 Application for Temporary Protected Status El Salvador extension 3 Months
I-821 Application for Temporary Protected Status El Salvador initial or late filing 3 Months
I-821 Application for Temporary Protected Status Honduras and Nicaragua extension 3 Months
I-821 Application for Temporary Protected Status Honduras and Nicaragua initial or late filing 3 Months
I-824 Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition To request further action on an approved application or petition August 3, 2010
I-90 Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card Initial issuance or replacement June 2, 2010
I-90 Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card 10-year renewal October 2, 2009
N-565 Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document U.S. citizen applying for a replacement of naturalization or citizenship certificate 6 Months
N-600 Application for Certification of Citizenship Application for recognition of U.S. citizenship 5 Months
Field Office Processing Dates for Vermont Service Center as of: January 31, 2011
Form Title Classification or Basis for Filing: Processing Timeframe:
I-102 Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival/Departure Record Initial issuance or replacement of a Form I-94 2.5 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker Blanket L 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker E – Treaty traders and investors 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-1B – Specialty occupation – Visa to be issued abroad 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-1B – Specialty occupation – Change of status in the U.S. 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-1B – Specialty occupation – Extension of stay in the U.S. November 20, 2010
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-1C – Nurses 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-2A – Temporary workers 1 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-2B – Other temporary workers 1 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-3 – Temporary trainees 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker L – Intracompany transfers 1 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker O – Extraordinary ability 2 Weeks
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker P – Athletes, artists, and entertainers 2 Weeks
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker Q – Cultural exchange visitors and exchange visitors participating in the Irish Peace process 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker R – Religious occupation 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker TN – North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) professional 2 Months
I-129F Petition for Alien Fiance(e) K-1/K-2 – Not yet married – fiance and/or dependent child 5 Months
I-129F Petition for Alien Fiance(e) K-3/K-4 – Already married – spouse and/or dependent child 5 Months
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative Permanent resident filling for a spouse or child under 21 5 Months
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for a spouse, parent, or child under 21 5 Months
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for an unmarried son or daughter over 21 5 Months
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative Permanent resident filling for an unmarried son or daughter over 21 5 Months
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for a married son or daughter over 21 5 Months
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for a brother or sister June 26, 2010
I-131 Application for Travel Document Refugee or asylee applying for a refugee travel document October 12, 2010
I-131 Application for Travel Document Permanent resident applying for a re-entry permit October 12, 2010
I-131 Application for Travel Document Haitian Refugee Immigrant Fairness Act (HRIFA) dependent applying for advance parole 3 Months
I-131 Application for Travel Document Haitian Refugee Immigrant Fairness Act (HRIFA) principal applying for advance parole 3 Months
I-131 Application for Travel Document All other applicants for advance parole 3 Months
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Extraordinary ability August 22, 2010
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Outstanding professor or researcher August 22, 2010
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Multinational executive or manager August 22, 2010
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Advanced degree or exceptional ability August 22, 2010
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Skilled worker or professional August 22, 2010
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Unskilled worker August 22, 2010
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Advanced degree or exceptional ability requesting a National Interest Waiver August 22, 2010
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Schedule A Nurses August 22, 2010
I-212 Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the U.S. After Deportation or Removal Readmission after deportation or removal 4 Months
I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant All other special immigrants 5 Months
I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) 5 Months
I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant Religious workers 5 Months
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status Employment-based adjustment applications September 25, 2010
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status Under the Haitian Refugee Immigrant Fairness Act (HRIFA) 4 Months
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status Under the Indochinese Adjustment Act 4 Months
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status Under the Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) 4 Months
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status Based on grant of asylum more than 1 year ago 4 Months
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status Based on refugee admission more than 1 year ago 4 Months
I-526 Immigrant Petition By Alien Entrepreneur For use by an entrepreneur who wishes to immigrate to the United States 5 Months
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status Change status to the F or M academic or vocational student categories October 2, 2010
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status Change of status to H or L dependents October 2, 2010
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status Change Status to the J exchange visitor category October 2, 2010
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status All other change of status applications October 2, 2010
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status Extension of Stay for F or M academic or vocational students October 2, 2010
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status Extension of stay for H and L dependents October 2, 2010
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status Extension of Stay for J exchange visitors October 2, 2010
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status All other extension applications October 2, 2010
I-612 Application for Waiver of the Foreign Residence Requirement Application for a waiver of the 2-year foreign residence requirement based on exceptional hardship or persecution 4 Months
I-730 Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition Petition for accompanying family members of a refugee or an asylee 5 Months
I-751 Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence Removal of lawful permanent resident conditions (spouses of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents 6 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on an approved asylum application [(a)(5)] 3 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on a request by a qualified F-1 academic student. [(c)(3)] 3 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on a pending asylum application [(c)(8)] December 23, 2010
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on a pending I-485 adjustment application [(c)(9)] 3 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on TPS for El Salvador [(c)(19)(a)(12)] October 31, 2010
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on TPS for Honduras/Nicaragua [(c)(19), (a)(12)] 3 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization All other applications for employment authorization 3 Months
I-817 Application for Family Unity Benefits Voluntary departure under the family unity program 6 Months
I-821 Application for Temporary Protected Status El Salvador extension October 31, 2010
I-821 Application for Temporary Protected Status El Salvador initial or late filing October 31, 2010
I-821 Application for Temporary Protected Status Honduras and Nicaragua extension October 31, 2010
I-821 Application for Temporary Protected Status Honduras and Nicaragua initial or late filing October 31, 2010
I-824 Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition To request further action on an approved application or petition 3 Months
I-829 Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions Removal of lawful permanent resident conditions (immigrant investors) 6 Months
I-829 Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions Removal of lawful permanent resident conditions (immigrant investors) based on PL107-273 6 Months
I-90 Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card Initial issuance or replacement 3.5 Months
I-90 Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card 10-year renewal 3.5 Months
N-565 Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document U.S. citizen applying for a replacement of naturalization or citizenship certificate 6 Months
N-600 Application for Certification of Citizenship Application for recognition of U.S. citizenship 5 Months
N-643 Application for Certification of Citizenship on Behalf of an Adopted Child Application for recognition of U.S. citizenship on behalf of an adopted child August 29, 2010

It should be noted that the above estimated processing times do not account for processing times at the National Visa Center (NVC) nor Consular processing at a US Embassy or US Consulate abroad.

In many cases, it may be required that an applicant receive approval on an immigration petition before they will be allowed to Consular process an application at a US Mission abroad. In a limited number of cases, it may be possible for a CR-1 visa or an IR-1 visa to be obtained pursuant to local Direct Consular Filing (DCF) protocols, but the majority of such cases are not processed in this manner. It should be further noted that Direct Consular Filing is not generally an option for those seeking the non-immigrant US fiance visa categorized as a K-1 visa.

more Comments: 04

3rd November 2010

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is responsible for adjudicating and processing petitions for American Immigration benefits. In the majority of cases, the petitioner is required to file a petition in the USA. However, in some relatively rare cases, it may be possible to file for immigrant spouse visa benefits at either an overseas office of USCIS or through Direct Consular Filing at a United States Mission, Embassy, or Consulate abroad. This blogger recently discovered that the USCIS is inviting stakeholders to a meeting to discuss overseas filings of I-130 petitions.  To quote directly from a recent memo distributed by the Department of Homeland Security’s USCIS:

The USCIS International Operations Division, Office of Policy & Strategy, and Office of Public Engagement invite you to participate in a teleconference to discuss changes to the adjudication of the Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, filed by petitioners residing overseas.

Currently, petitioners living outside the United States may file a Form I-130 with and have the petition adjudicated by a USCIS field office or American Consulate overseas. USCIS is reviewing options to have all Forms I-130 adjudicated domestically. During the session, USCIS will provide an overview of how changes may affect filing and adjudication as well as address questions and concerns from stakeholders.

It remains to be seen whether or not this proposed policy will be implemented, but if the policy is implemented, then all of those seeking immigrant visas will probably be required to file for visa benefits at a facility in the USA.

The United States Immigration process can vary depending upon the facts of a given case and the visa category being sought. Therefore, those seeking a CR1 visa or an IR1 visa will not undergo the same process as one who is seeking a K1 visa. This is especially true in cases where individuals are seeking non-immigrant visa benefits as many of these applications do not require the initial filing of an immigration petition in the USA. However, applicants for non-immigrant visa categories are likely to be scrutinized pursuant to the provisions of section 214b of the United States Immigration and Nationality Act which can lead to a higher number of visa denials when compared to immigrant visa categories.

Those interested in retaining the services of a professional to assist in the immigration process are well advised to ascertain the credentials of those claiming expertise in United States Immigration law as only a licensed American attorney is entitled to provide advice and counsel in immigration related matters for a fee.

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28th October 2010

Frequent readers of this blog may have noticed that the administration routinely posts the holiday closing schedules of various United States Missions in Asia in an effort to forestall possibly fruitless trips to a US Embassy or US Consulate overseas. Many American Missions close and do not provide routine services in observance of both United States Federal holidays as well as local holidays in the Host Country. The following information was quoted directly from the official website of the United States Consulate in Hong Kong (this Post also has Consular jurisdiction over Macau):

The following have been designated as official holidays for 2010. The Consulate General will be closed to the public on these days.

Friday, January 1 New Year’s Day A/L
Monday, January 18 Martin Luther King’s Birthday A
Monday, February 15 President’s Day/Second day of the Lunar New Year A/L
Tuesday, February 16 Third day of the Lunar New Year L
Friday, April 2 Good Friday L
Monday, April 5 Easter Monday L
Tuesday, April 6 The day following Ching Ming Festival L
Friday, May 21 The Buddha’s Birthday L
Monday, May 31 Memorial Day A
Wednesday, June 16 Tuen Ng Festival L
Thursday, July 1 Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Establishment Day L
Sunday, July 4
(observed Monday, July 5)
Independence Day A
Monday, September 6 Labor Day A
Thursday, September 23 The day following Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival L
Friday, October 1 National Day L
Monday, October 11 Columbus Day A
Thursday, November 11 Veterans Day A
Thursday, November 25 Thanksgiving Day A
Saturday, December 25
(observed Friday, December 24)
Christmas Day A
Monday, December 27 First Week-Day after Christmas Day L
Saturday, January 1
(observed Friday, December 31)
New Year’s Day A

A – American Holiday/L – Local Holiday

Notes: Four local holidays falling on Saturdays are not included in the 2010 holiday schedule (the day preceding Lunar New Year’s Day, February 13, the day following Good Friday, April 3, Labour Day, May 1, and Chung Yeung Festival, October 16).

Both Hong Kong and Macau are special administrative regions of the People’s Republic of China and have considerable autonomy under Chinese law. That said, those Americans interested in receiving services such as issuance of a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA), new US passport, new visa pages, or notary services, etc. are well advised to contact the American Citizen Services (ACS) Section of the nearest US Mission in an effort to schedule an appointment at ACS. Scheduling an appointment is an efficient way of streamlining services at an American Mission abroad as Consular Officers can prepare in advance to service a prospective customer’s needs.

Those interested in matters pertaining to United States Immigration are well advised to research the issue before contacting an American Mission abroad to set up an appointment for visa interview. Many non-immigrant visa categories (ex. F1 visa, B1 visa, B2 visa)  may not require the initial filing of a visa petition in the USA. However, non-immigrant visas such as the K1 visa and the K3 Visa do require the initial approval of a petition at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). Also, immigrant visa categories such as the IR1 Visa and the CR1 Visa require the initial filing of a petition with USCIS. Although, some American Consulates and Embassies abroad may allow Direct Consular Filing (DCF) under certain limited circumstances.

For related information please see: US Visa China or EB-5 Visa China.

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27th June 2010

On this blog, we try to provide information for those individuals (be they American Citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents, or prospective immigrants) who may have business with US Embassies and Consulates overseas. That said, the following information is quoted from the website of the United States Embassy in Beijing, China:

The Embassy is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. We are closed on the following American and Chinese holidays:

Embassy Holidays for 2010

***    January 1          Friday                  New Year’s Day
*       January 18         Monday                Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday
**     February 13-17   Sat-Wed               Chinese (Lunar) New Year
*       February 15        Monday                President’s Day
**     April 5                Monday                Tomb Sweeping Day
**     May 1-3             Sat-Mon               International Labor Day
*       May 31              Monday                 Memorial Day
**     June 16              Wednesday           Dragon Boat Festival
*      July 5                 Monday                 Independence Day
*      September 6        Monday                 Labor Day
**    September 22       Wednesday           Mid-Autumn Festival
**    October 1-5         Fri-Tuesday           Chinese National Day
*      October 11          Monday                Columbus Day
*      November 11       Thursday               Veterans’ Day
*      November 25       Thursday               Thanksgiving Day
*      December 24       Friday                   Christmas Day

Those who may be traveling to any US Embassy or US Consulate abroad are generally wise to at least attempt to make an appointment to visit the Embassy in advance. This is particularly true for those seeking assistance from the American Citizen Services Section of US Missions abroad. In many cases, an appointment can be made in advance and this allows the Consular Officers to better anticipate customer needs thereby streamlining the overall process. Those seeking an appointment should first find the official website of the US Embassy in their country of residence and make scheduling decisions accordingly.

In the case of those seeking visas to the USA, American Consulates generally make visa interview appointment on a “first come, first serve” basis. As each post has different administrative protocols it may be wise to contact an Embassy directly if one is seeking a non-immigrant visa to the USA. In the case of Immigrant visas (or pseudo-immigrant visas such as the K1 visa or the K3 Visa) an appointment for interview is generally made after the Embassy or Consulate receives the prospective immigrant’s application package from the National Visa Center. In some cases, a Direct Consular Filing may be available to those prospective immigrants with an American Citizen spouse residing in the Consular District. In any case, many opt to consult an American lawyer prior to submitting an application or petition for a US Marriage Visa or a US fiance visa.

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25th April 2010

ในกระทู้ก่อนๆผู้เขียนได้กล่าวถึง การยื่นแบบ I-130 เพื่อขอวีซ่าอเมริกาสำหรับญาติสนิท สำหรับผู้ที่พำนักอาศัยอยู่ในประเทศที่ไม่มีสำนักงานของ USCIS ก็อาจจะยื่นคำขอต่อกงสุลโดยตรงโดยใช้วิธีการ Direct Consular Filing อย่างไรก็ตาม สำหรับในประเทศที่มีสำนักงาน USCIS อยู่ ผู้ยื่นก็จำเป็นต้องยื่นเรื่องต่อสำนักงาน USCIS โดยตรง โดยมีข้อแม้ว่าจะต้องมีคุณสมบัติคือมีถิ่นที่อยู่ในเขตอำนาจของสำนักงานนั้นๆ นั่นหมายความว่า บางคนเข้าใจผิดๆว่าผู้ยื่นและผู้รับผลประโยชน์เท่านั้นจึงจะยื่นคำขอได้ ซึ่งไม่ใช่เสียทีเดียว

มาตรา 8 CFR 292.1 กล่าวว่า :

(เอ) บุคคลที่สามารถมีตัวแทน ( ต่อ USCIS ) อาจจะใช้ตัวแทนยื่นเรื่องได้ ดังนี้

(1) ทนายความในสหรัฐอเมริกา ทนายความคนใดตามมาตรา 1.1(f) แห่งหมวดนี้

มาตรา 1.1(f) ที่อ้างไว้ข้างต้นกล่าวว่า

คำว่าทนายความหมายถึงบุคคลใดๆที่เป็นสมาชิกแห่งเนติบัณฑิตยสภาของศาลสูงสุดในมลรัฐใดๆ เขตแดน รัฐอาณานิคม คอมมอนเวลท์ หรือ เขตโคลัมเบีย และไม่อยู่ภายใต้คำสั่งศาลจำกัดอำนาจ ห้าม กัน ถอนใบอนุญาติ หรืออื่นๆอันเป็นการจำกัดมิให้ผู้นั้นประกอบอาชีพกฎหมาย

ในทางปฏิบัติ หมายความว่า ทนายความที่มีใบอนุญาติในสหรัฐอเมริกา สามารถเป็นตัวแทนลูกความต่อ USCIS ได้ ไม่มีข้อจำกัดด้านถิ่นที่อยู่สำหรับสิทธิในข้อนี้ ดังนั้น ผู้ที่ต้องการยื่นแบบ I -130 ที่สำนักงานท้องถิ่น สามารถจ้างทนายทำการแทนได้ตามกฎหมาย

วิธีการนี้เป็นประโยชน์ต่อผู้ที่ไม่ต้องการจะดำเนินการกับขั้นตอนการยื่นเรื่อง เนื่องจากเมื่อทนายความมีสิทธิ์ทำการแทนตัวความเกี่ยวกับคำขอ IR1 และ CR1 ในประเทศไทย ผู้ยื่นและผู้รับผลประโยชน์ก็เพียงเตรียมเอกสารที่จำเป็นแก่ทนายความและทนายความก็จะเป็นผู้ดำเนินการต่อเองในนามของผู้ยื่น ในบางกรณี USCIS กำหนดให้ ผู้ยื่นและผู้รับผลประโยชน์มาปรากฏตัวต่อหน้าสำหรับเรื่องที่อยู่ระหว่างดำเนินการ หากมีกรณีเช่นว่า ผู้ยื่นและผู้รับผลประโยชน์ก็สามารถให้ทนายความดำเนินการเข้าพบกับเจ้าหน้าที่ USCIS แทนได้

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