Immigration updates for January 2011

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Michael Phulwani is a prominent attorney admitted to practice law in New York, New Jersey and India. He practices immigration and nationality laws and visa matters in the USA and abroad. He is a frequent lecturer on immigration laws and co-hosts several TV and radio programs on immigration. In this column, Phulwani will discuss frequent problems relating to immigration legislation and answer questions from our readers. All questions should be forwarded to Michael Phulwani, 888 Maywood Avenue, Maywood, NJ 07607.

By Michael Phulwani

The following information is provided by the Visa Office regarding the cut-off dates for the month of January 2011.

Family preferences

F1-Family first preference: Unmarried sons and daughters over the age of 21 years  of US citizens. The cut-off date has retrogressed by one (1) year and six (6) weeks  for most of the countries,  including India to January 1, 2005.

F2A – Family second preference: Spouses and minor children, and unmarried sons and daughters of permanent residents. The cut-off date has retrogressed by two (2) years and seven (7) months for most countries, including India to January 1, 2008.

F2B- Family second preference: Unmarried sons and daughters over 21 of permanent residents. The cut-off date has retrogressed by two (2) and six (6) weeks for most of the countries, including India to April 15, 2003.

F3-Family third preference: Married sons and daughters of US citizens  and their spouses and children. The cut-off date has retrogressed by one (1) year and five (5) months for most of the countries, including India to January 1, 2001.

F4-Family fourth preference: Brothers and sisters of US citizens. The cut-off date has not moved at all and remains the same for most of the countries, including India at January 1, 2002.

Employment preferences

EB1 – Priority workers: The cut-off date for this category for all countries, including India is current.

EB2 – Advanced degree holders: The cut-off date for this category for most countries is current and for India it has not moved and remains the same at May 8, 2006.

EB3 – Professional  skilled workers: The cut-off date   for this category has  moved forward by four (4) weeks to March 22, 2005 for most of the countries and for India it has moved forward by one (1) week to February 1, 2002.

EB3 – Other workers: The cut-off date for this category has not moved at all and remains the same at April 22, 2003 for most of the countries and for India it has moved forward by one (1) week to February 1, 2002.

EB4 (Certain special immigrants), EB4 (Certain religious workers), EB5 (Targeted employment programs) & EB5 (Pilot programs) is current for all countries, including India.

Note: The Department of State (DOS) January 2011 Visa Bulletin retrogressed the cut-off dates for a number of family-based categories. It should be noted that immigrant visa applicants, who have cut-off dates that retrogress on January 1, 2011, must complete their immigrant visa processing and have their immigrant visas issued on or before December 31, 2010. DOS cannot issue an immigrant visa as of January 1, 2011, unless the applicant meets the January Visa Bulletin’s newly-established cut-off dates.

The DOS Visa Office (VO) allocates blocks of visa numbers to posts for their use each month. The allocations represent applicants who have been reported as documentarily qualified and eligible for an interview during that month, based on the newly-established cut-off dates. The allocated numbers are not reserved for applicants whose cases cannot be finalized and issued during the original month of allocation/interview. At the end of the month, posts are required to return any unused numbers to VO, which are reincorporated into the pool of visa numbers available for future allocation. Appli-cants are always subject to the cut-off date that applies to their visa category at the time when visa issuance could occur. Therefore, if the immigrant visa cannot be approved by the end of December, applicants will need to wait until the priority date is within their established cut-off date to receive their immigrant visas.

US Citizenship and Immigration Services Opens New Office in Holtsville, Long Island

On October 14, 2010, USCIS celebrated the grand opening of a new field office in Holtsville, Long Island. The office is located at 30 Barretts Avenue, Holtsville, NY, 11742. Alejandro Mayorkas, Director of USCIS, led the  ribbon-cutting ceremony and was joined by USCIS New York District Director, Andrea Quarantillo and the new Holtsville Field Office Director, Charles Akalski. The office is a fully equipped USCIS facility with the capacity for serving approximately 400 customers a day for residents of Nassau, Suffolk and Queens Counties.

“We are proud to open our new USCIS office in Holtsville,” said Director Mayorkas. “We are striving to provide excellent service to our customers in easily accessible locations across the country.”

“The new Holtsville office is ‘one-stop shopping’ for our customers in Nassau, Suffolk, and Queens Counties,” said District Director Quarantillo. “This all-in-one service model will eliminate the need for traveling to another office for fingerprinting and other services.”

The facility will offer a full suite of immigration services, from fingerprinting to processing naturalization and green card applications. It features hi-tech, innovative customer service tools such as InfoPass (a convenient, internet-based system that allows customers to schedule ap-pointments with Immi-gration Services Officers), a spacious waiting area, private offices for conducting interviews, and a room for hosting naturalization ceremonies and other public events.

The new 47,000-square-foot facility is the result of a national effort by USCIS to create more accessible, efficient and customer-friendly offices. Its location was  chosen based on a geographic analysis of where USCIS  customers live and its easy access to major traffic routes, including the Long Island Expressway.

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