Resources for Immigrants

USCIS is celebrating the Fourth of July this year with 100 naturalization ceremonies throughout the country. The majority of naturalizations occur in the courtroom or at USCIS. A few naturalizations occur at special ceremonies such as the ones occurring throughout the country this weekend. The hashtag for the ceremonies is #newUScitizen.

Here are some of the largest naturalizations:

Largest All Military

5,000 at Fenway Park

Ellis Island

EB-1 Cut Off Date

EB-1 Cut Off Expected for India and China

The Employment-Based 1 Category is usually one of the categories that you can rely on being current, meaning that someone with an approved I-140 in EB-1 can file for adjustment of status or for permanent residence through the consulate abroad. However, that is going to change for the remainder of the Fiscal Year for China and India. Charlie Oppenheimer, the guru of Department of State’s visa availability, forecasts that EB-1 for China and India is going to retrogress back to January 1, 2010 when the visa bulletin is released for August 2016. The EB-1 dates for China and India will reset on October 1, 2016, the first day of Fiscal Year 2017. The reason for retrogression is that there are strict visa quotas for each category and preference that cannot be exceeded each year.

VIBE – Business Immigration


Validation Instrument for Business Enterprises.

USCIS uses VIBE to verify its information for employer-based petitions. Businesses are required to provide some information about their operations in immigration petitions, such as number of employees, net income, and location. VIBE verifies that information for USCIS and the adjudicator looking at the petition. An adjudicator cannot deny a petition for a discrepancy that VIBE detects. Instead, he or she is supposed to send a Request for Evidence so that information can be verified. USCIS stresses that only public information is available for VIBE.

A company does not have to update its information in a database. However, it may verify and correct information by contacting Dun and Bradstreet, which is the independent information provider for VIBE.

Citizenship Test

Americans and the Citizenship Test

Resources for Immigrants

One of the requirements to become a naturalized citizen of the United States is to pass a civics test. The knowledge contained within the civics test is supposed to be basic historical, social, and political information about the United States. There are many requirements to become a citizen – good moral character, physical presence, continuous residence – but the citizenship test is one that is symbolic of the process.

Ipsos Public Affairs gave the examination to 2,000 Americans. You can see how they performed here.

USCIS Adjudications

A light at the end of the delayed processing tunnel?

It has been a year since the processing times for H-1B cases jumped from an approximate of 2 months to 7 and 8 months. The delays are not just a matter of inconvenience. They have meaningful effects on people’s lives and businesses. A 240 day extension of employment kicks in if an extension of status is filed before the expiration of the previous visa, but there are possible ramifications for renewing Driver’s Licenses and college tuition, among other practical things. The long delays constructively forced businesses and applicants to pay the $1,225 premium processing fee.

Recently many H-1B cases were transferred to the Nebraska Service Center. Our office recently had an H-1B extension case decided in 7 weeks. That seems to signal a return to normal processing times.

Unfortunately, many other kinds of cases are struggling with lengthy delays. Employment Authorization Document applications are not being adjudicated within 90 days, despite regulations that instruct adjudication within 90 days. This is also in spite of case transfers to other service centers. O and P visas are supposed to be adjudicated within two weeks. The Vermont Service Center is hovering at 2.5 months. U visas have finally started to move forward, but the adjudication of those cases has been at a standstill for a year.