USCIS has recently issued a notice that Syrian nationals will soon be eligible for TPS, which is an 18-month status that allows beneficiaries to receive employment authorization. TPS is short for “Temporary Protected Status” and is available for certain countries where there is national disaster or country conditions, etc.
The registration period has not yet opened, so we need to check www.uscis.gov for updates to determine when Syrian nationals can actually file for this relief.
Applicants who previously were interviewed for a visitor visa, also known as B-1/B-2 visas, and who were granted these visas can now renew their visas without an interview. This is a new initiative that is being instituted at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, India.
This is a pilot program where the consular officers can waive an interview for worldwide non-immigrant applicants who are renewing their B1/B2 visas within 48 months of the expiration of the previously issued visa. Of course, consular officers are not obligated to waive interviews for all applicants; Consular officers still have the authority to require interviews for any applicant, in their discretion.
USCIS has issued a news release on the current number of H-1B visas that it has received for the FY 2013. As of May 11, USCIS has received approximately 36,700.00 H-1B regular cap visa applications. This number does not include the Master’s cap H-1B visas applications. Of those Master’s cap H-1B visa petitions, USCIS has received 14,800 applications as of May 11, 2012.
USCIS received almost 20,000 H-1B applications in just one month. As of April 6, 2012, for example, USCIS had only received 17,400 H-1B cap visa applications at that time.
For the H-1B regular cap cases, there are approximately 28,300 H-1B visas still remaining, for a total of 65,000 regular cap H-1B visas allowed for FY 2013. For the H-1B Master’s cap, there remains about 5,200 H-1B visas available, for a total of 20,000 master’s cap H-1B visas allowed. As you can from above, the H-1B visas may well run out within a month or two, so be sure to apply sooner than later if you are eligible.
Nationals of Brazil and China are recipients of a new policy enacted by the State Department that they are now welcome to visit the U.S. The State Department has enacted this new policy because it has realized that more visitors from China and Brazil mean more American jobs.
In Brazil, consular officers have issued 59 % more visitor visas this year than they did last year. This means that 555,000 visitor visas were issued during a period of time in the year of 2012, while only 350,000 visas were issued last year during the same period of time in Brazil. New Consulates were also opened in Belo Horizonte and Porto Alegre.
In China, the consular officers have issued 46 % more visitor visas than they did last year for the same amount of time. The State Department is now also considering adding Visa services in Wuhan, China.
In addition, the wait times for the application processed have also been drastically reduced. In Brazil, the wait times have been reduced to less than two weeks for their visa appointments. In China, the wait times have been reduced to five days (yes, 5 days) for an appointment at the U.S. Consulates in China.
The above is great news for Americans, since these tourists have money to spend at our local businesses, shops, restaurants, etc. We welcome this new policy.
The Department of Motor Vehicles, also known as DMV, has issued an update as part of their Liaison meeting. There are some interesting tidbits of information in that meeting, as I am sure many people are interested to know the types of documents needed for obtaining a driver’s license.
Administrative Closure or Termination of Removal Proceedings:
The DMV liaison minutes indicates that it will accept Immigration Judges’ Orders for Administrative Closure or Termination of Removal Proceedings as “proof of status.” Presumably this means that applicants that have an original Order from an Immigration Judge showing Administrative Closure or Termination of removal proceedings are now eligible for a driver’s license. This appears to be new, as previously the DMV employee would have needed proof of an employment card before the license could be issued. There is no mention of an employment card requirement in the liaison minutes notes.
The above is important, as hopefully thousands of people have been recipients of administrative closure, and so these individuals can now apply and receive a driver’s license from the DMV.
Cancellation of Removal Applicants:
Applicants for cancellation of removal, who are in removal proceedings, usually need to show an employment card to obtain a driver’s license. If they have a reason for not obtaining an employment card, a system has been put into place where the DMV can be contacted to explain why the applicant for cancellation of removal does not have an employment card but should still be eligible for a driver’s license.
The DMV has indicated that they have updated their systems to note that Syrian nationals are now part of the TPS program.
WHITE USCIS Receipts:
The DMV now accepts white USCIS receipts (Form I-797) as official proof. The white receipts are a new form of receipt issued by USCIS. The original receipts were printed on colored quality stock paper with the USCIS emblem present all over the form I-797. Now, some of the receipts are printed on ordinary white paper. The DMV has adjusted their policy to accept these white receipts as original receipts.