Immigration News

November Visa Bulletin is here!

Visa Bulletin For November 2015

Number 86
Volume IX
Washington, D.C

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A. STATUTORY NUMBERS

This bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers duringNovember for: “Application Final Action Dates” (consistent with prior Visa Bulletins) and “Dates for Filing Applications,” indicating when immigrant visa applicants should be notified to assemble and submit required documentation to the National Visa Center.

Unless otherwise indicated on the USCIS website atwww.uscis.gov/visabulletininfo, individuals seeking to file applications for adjustment of status with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the Department of Homeland Security must use the “Application Final Action Dates” charts below for determining when they can file such applications. When USCIS determines that there are more immigrant visas available for the fiscal year than there are known applicants for such visas, USCIS will state on its website that applicants may instead use the “Dates for Filing Visa Applications” charts in this Bulletin. Applicants for adjustment of status may refer to USCIS for additional information by visitingwww.uscis.gov/visabulletininfo.

1.  Procedures for determining dates. Consular officers are required to report to the Department of State documentarily qualified applicants for numerically limited visas; USCIS reports applicants for adjustment of status. Allocations in the charts below were made, to the extent possible, in chronological order of reported priority dates, for demand received by October 9th. If not all demand could be satisfied, the category or foreign state in which demand was excessive was deemed oversubscribed. The cut-off date for an oversubscribed category is the priority date of the first applicant who could not be reached within the numerical limits. If it becomes necessary during the monthly allocation process to retrogress a cut-off date, supplemental requests for numbers will be honored only if the priority date falls within the new […]

Will the Guidance on Extreme Hardship Waivers Allow More Individuals to Become Permanent Residents?

Will the Guidance on Extreme Hardship Waivers Allow More Individuals to Become Permanent Residents?
Written by Beth Werlin October 8, 2015 in Department of Homeland Security, Executive Action, USCIS with 0 Comments

This week, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued draft guidance on what constitutes “extreme hardship” for purposes of an immigration waiver. The much anticipated guidance is a component of the Administration’s executive actions on immigration announced in November 2014. Many had hoped that the guidance, and its potential to make waivers available to more people, could help remove obstacles to obtaining legal permanent status in the United States. The guidance is in draft form only and has not gone into effect. USCIS now is seeking the public’s feedback, with comments due by November 23, 2015. Following review of the comments, USCIS will issue a final version.

The immigration laws contain several waivers that allow noncitizens to overcome certain bars to admission (such as having unlawful presence in the United States) where certain family members (called “qualifying relatives”) would suffer “extreme hardship.” The immigration statute, however, does not define the term “extreme hardship.” Over the years, the agency has failed to apply the hardship standard consistently. In a November 20, 2014 memo, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson directed USCIS Director Leon Rodriguez to “clarify the factors that are considered by adjudicators in determining whether the ‘extreme hardship’ standard has been met.” In issuing such a directive, his intent was clear: “It is my assessment that additional guidance about the meaning of the phrase ‘extreme hardship’ would provide broader use of this legally permitted waiver.”

Whether the final guidance will achieve the goal of “broader use” of the waiver remains to be seen. The draft guidance, in […]