By Michael Phulwani
The following information is provided by the Visa Office regarding the cut-off dates for the month of February 2010.
F1-Family first preference: Unmarried sons and daughters over the age of 21 years of US Citizens. The cut-off date has moved forward by eight (8) weeks for most of the countries, including India to June 1, 2004.
F2A-Family second preference: Spouses and minor children, and unmarried sons and daughters of permanent residents. The cut-off date has moved forward by eight (8) weeks for most countries, including India to March 1, 2006.
F2B-Family second preference: Unmarried sons and daughters over 21 of permanent residents. The cut-off date has moved forward by four (4) weeks for most of the countries, including India to January 1, 2002.
F3-Family third preference: Married sons and daughters of US Citizens and their spouses and children. The cut-off date has not moved at all and remains the same for most of the countries, including India at May 22, 2001.
F4-Family fourth preference: Brothers and sisters of US Citizens. The cut-off date has moved forward by six (6) weeks for most of the countries, including India to November 15, 1999.
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 at all and remains the same at January 22, 2005.
EB3-Professional Skilled workers: The cut-off date for this category has moved forward by seven (7) weeks to September 22, 2002 for most of the countries and for India it has not moved at all and remains the same at June 22, 2001.
EB3-Other workers: The cut-off date for this category has not moved at all and remains the same at June 1, 2001 for most of the countries, including India.
EB4 (Certain Special Immigrants) & EB4 (Certain Religious Workers) is current for all countries, including India.
EB5 (Targeted Employment Programs) & EB5 (Pilot Programs) is current for all countries, including INDIA.
DS-160 web-based application
Starting January 19, 2010, all nonimmigrant visa (NIV) applicants in India must use the new DS-160 web-based application. The DS-160 incorporates all existing NIV application forms (DS-156, 157, and 158) into one interactive, online form.
If you are applying for a visa on or after January 19, 2010, you will need to fill out the DS-160 form; the old forms will not work. The DS-160 will not be available in India before January 19.
Frequently asked questions about the DS-160
How to apply for a nonimmigrant visa after January 19, 2010
* First you will scan and save your photo.
* Next, log on to the Web site. Upload your photo, and answer questions according to the instructions. Save your application often to avoid data loss. All answers should be in English, using English characters only.
* The final page of the application is a barcode. Print the barcode on a laser printer, as ink-jet or dot-matrix printers do not print with sufficient resolution for the bar code to work.
* Pay the visa application fee (at the current exchange rate) at one of the designated branches of the HDFC Bank.
* You will use your barcode and fee receipt number to schedule appointments for nonimmigrant visa interviews through the VFS Web site.
What to bring for the interview?
Bring the following to your interview:
* Your passport (and your old passports);
* Your application photo;
* The DS-160 barcode page (you will not need the full application);
* The HDFC visa application fee receipts;
* VFS appointment letter;
* Petition-based visa applicants should bring petition-related documents; and
* Students and exchange visitors should bring their SEVIS receipts and I-120 (for F or M visas) and DS-2019 for J visas.
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.