Wednesday, May 28, 2014


US Green cards are either approved domestically through the I-485, Adjustment of Status process, or approved abroad through the Consular process. When the approval is made at the Consulate, the immigrant must make a final payment of $165 to the USCIS before they will start the production of the green card.

The $165 USCIS Immigrant Visa fee is for the cost of producing the green card.  This payment must be made through the USCIS ELIS (Electronic Immigrant System) on-line payment system.

MU Law encourages you to make this payment after you receive the immigrant visa packet from the US Consulate or Embassy, before you come to the US.  Until this payment is made the USCIS will not start production on your green card.

At the time of your interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate, the DOS interviewing officer should give you a USCIS Immigrant Fee handout. This document provides instructions on how to pay the $165 immigrant fee and included your A-Number and DOS Case ID. Your A-Number and DOS Case ID are located in the top right corner.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


One of the largest blocks of applications for the H-1B cap is foreign students who are currently working on OPT (optional practical training).  Students who are authorized to work on OPT will hold an employment authorization document (EAD) or card.  The validity dates of the student’s work authorization under OPT will be printed on the face of the card.

Students with work authorization under OPT whose H-1B has been chosen under the cap are eligible for cap-gap work authorization.  The student should present the H-1B receipt notice to his/her international student office.  The school will issue a new I-20 to the student extending his/her work authorization to October 1 when the H-1B will take effect.

If the student’s H-1B has not been chosen under the cap, the student must stop working on the end date of his/her OPT authorization.  The student then has the following options:

1. If the employer participates in e-verify and the student’s degree is in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) field, the student may qualify for an extension of their OPT. 
2. The student can change to a different immigration status, such as H4 or L2. 
3. The student can return to school to seek a new degree.  The student should contact his/her school to have his/her SEVIS record updated or transferred to a new school.
4. The student can depart the US and return to his/her home country. 

At the end of the OPT period, the student has a sixty day grace period during which the student is not authorized to work but is authorized to remain in the US to conclude his/her affairs and pursue one of the options above.  

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


The Department of Homeland Security has formally proposed the H-4 EAD rule.  The rule, if passed as drafted, will allow H-4 spouses of H-1B holders to obtain EAD employment authorization.  Several major news publications, including Bloomberg BNA, have picked up on the news.  MU Law attorney Chris Musillo was interviewed for the Bloomberg article

DHS estimates that this rule will allow about 100,000 H-4 spouses to obtain work authorization, representing a tiny proportion of the overall workforce (0.0647%), and that figure assumes that every single possible H-4 spouse immediately files for the work authorization.

On the other hand the enactment of the regulation will provide tangible benefits for the H-4 spouses who will be able to enter the labor market earlier than they would have otherwise been able to due to lack of visa availability.  The DHS continues,

While there would be obvious financial benefits to the H-4 spouse and the H-1B nonimmigrant's family, there is also evidence that participating in the U.S. workforce and making gains in socio-economic attainment has a high correlation with smoothing an immigrant's integration into American culture and communities.

The comment period will remain open until July 11, 2014.  After that the DHS must review the comments and issue a final published law.

NOTE – the Bloomberg article is reproduced with permission from Daily Labor Report, 87 DLRA-3 (May 6, 2014). Copyright 2014 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (800-372-1033)  <>

Bloomberg DHS Regs Story.pdf

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


The Department of State has just released the June 2014 Visa Bulletin.  This is the ninth Visa Bulletin of the 2014 US Fiscal Year, which began on October 1, 2013.  

The Philippines EB-3 continued to move steadily.  It is now into 2008.

The Chinese EB-2 and EB-3 are no longer inverted.  The Chinese EB-3 moved all the way back to October 2006.  It remains to be seen if the Chinese EB-2 and EB-3 swap places again in the next US fiscal year, which starts October 1, 2014.

The All Other EB-3 moved back as well.  It is now April 2011.  Our sense is that it will not progress until the next US fiscal year.

The Indian numbers basically remained the same.

Employment- Based
All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed
Other Workers01APR1101JAN0315OCT0301APR1101JAN08

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


As expected the Department of Homeland Security has just issued a press release announcing that some H-4 nonimmigrants will be allowed to apply for EAD (Employment Authorization Documents) cards.  H-4 nonimmigrants are spouses of H-1B workers.  The EAD cards will allow H-4 spouses to work in any occupation.  This is a major change that has been considered for several years.

In order to qualify for the EAD card the principal H-1B worker must have either:
1. An approved I-140; or
2. A PERM Application (Labor Certification) that has been pending for at least one year.

This proposed rule will help many H-4 spouses who are prohibited from working because of retrogression.  At a press conference this morning, the DHS indicated that 97,000 H-4 spouses would be immediately eligible for the EAD.  It is an enormous step in the right direction and DHS and Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas deserves praise for their effort to produce a meaningful, well-thought out rule aimed at treating fairly the people who are playing by the rules. 

UPDATE (MAY 9 2014): It looks like the rule will be published on May 12 and the comment period will end 60 days later. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014


The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) discontinued paper I-94 cards in May 2013, replacing them with an electronic I-94 record, which is accessible through

Now the CBP is rolling out the latest enhancement of that service: a five year historic record off a foreign national’s arrival and departure history.  Foreign nationals will need their name, date of birth, and passport information, in order to access their travel history.  The database is solely for entries and exits from the U.S.  It does not identify changes of status, extensions of stay, or adjustments of status granted by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.