11/09/2018 – USCIS announced that starting November 19, 2018, USCIS may issue NTAs based on denials for additional forms. Forms I-914, I-918, I-360, I-929 and I-730 as well as I-485 when filed with these types of forms are going to be impacted. H-1B’s and I-129’s are still not being issued NTAs

11/09/2018 – President Trump issued a proclamation suspending, for a limited period, the entry of certain individuals traveling through Mexico and seeking entry the United States.

11/09/2018 – Ninth Circuit affirms preliminary injunction requiring DHS to adjudicate DACA applications for renewal of existing DACA recipients.

10/30/2018 –  USCIS announces phased  elimination of self-scheduling InfoPass appointments.  Information Services Modernization Program ends self-scheduling of InfoPass appointments and instead encourages applicants to use USCIS online information resources to view general how-to information and check case statuses through the USCIS Contact Center. Recent improvements to online tools provide applicants the ability to obtain their case status and other immigration information without having to visit a local field office.

10/29/2018 – AP reports citizenship timelines are now as long as 2 years. Click APNEWS.COM

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Updates to the Board of Immigration Appeals Practice Manual

AILA reports the below updates to the Board of Immigration Appeals practice manual as per email from Department of Justice to the stakeholders.

  • Parties must limit the body of their briefs or motions to 25 pages. Parties may make a motion with the BIA to increase the page limit. (BIA Practice Manual page 40; Chapter 3.3(c)(iii)).
  • Briefing extensions are generally limited to one request per case of 21 days. Briefing extension requests must be received by the BIA by the brief’s original due date or they will not be granted. Until the request is granted by the BIA, the original deadline remains in effect. (BIA Practice Manual page 65; Chapter 4.7(c)).
  • All parties have an ethical obligation to avoid delay. The BIA’s deadlines are designed to provide ample opportunity for filing, and a conscientious party should be able to meet these deadlines. (BIA Practice Manual page 65; Chapter 4.7(c)).


Source: AILA Doc. No. 18101971 | Dated October 19, 2018

Lawsuit filed for fighting a specialty occupation denial

American Immigration Council filed a lawsuit on behalf of a large construction company against USCIS which denied the H-1B (EXTENSION) case for one of its employee citing that the job was not a specialty occupation.

Specifically, the denial stated that “Engineering” which the petitioner stated as required is too broad and denied the case. This case Shandilya et al. v. USCIS filed on  10/16/18 on behalf of Anubhav Shandilya and Balfour Beatty Construction LLC based in Dallas seeks to vacate the denial of the petition.

We will be watching this case to see how the court interprets specialty occupation in this context.

EB2 to EB3 downgrade for Indian Nationals

Recent quick movement of priority dates of EB3 for India has resulted in many looking for options to downgrade.

Porting of Previous Priority Date:

According to 8 C.F.R. § 204.5(e), a subsequent  EB-1, EB-2 or EB-3 petition is entitled to earliest priority date, unless the prior petition is revoked due to fraud. So a subsequent downgrade petition to EB3 or an upgrade petition to EB2 from EB3 typically should retain the previous priority date. In general, nothing additional needs to be done to get the previous priority date other than notifying USCIS that there is a previous approval and request a porting of the previous priority date with the subsequent I-140 petition.

New PERM Filing is not Needed for downgrading  EB2 to EB3:

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Please keep checking for November Visa Bulletin that should be available sometime this week.

I am lately having a lot of questions from various people asking if downgrade from EB2 to EB3 is recommended for Indian nationals with an EB2 approved I-140 petition.  At this point we do not recommend the downgrade but watch out this space for more updates as the visa bulletins are released.