DOS Publishes Final Rule On Schedule Of Fees For Consular Services

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[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 234 (Tuesday, December 6, 2011)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 76032-76035]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-31175]

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DEPARTMENT OF STATE

22 CFR Part 22

[Public Notice 7706]

RIN 1400-AC57

Schedule of Fees for Consular Services, Department of State and Overseas Embassies and Consulates

AGENCY: Bureau of Consular Affairs, State.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: This rule adopts without change the interim final rule published in the Federal Register, 75 FR 28188, on May 20, 2010 (Public Notice 7018). Specifically, the rule proposed changes to the Schedule of Fees for Consular Services (Schedule) for nonimmigrant visa and border crossing card application processing fees. This rulemaking adopts as final the change from $131 to $140 for the fee charged for the processing of an application for most non-petition-based nonimmigrant visas (Machine-Readable Visas or MRVs) and adult Border Crossing Cards (BCCs). The rule also provides new tiers of the application fee for certain categories of petition-based nonimmigrant visas and treaty trader and investor visas. Finally, the rule adopts as final the increase in the BCC fee charged to Mexican citizens under age 15 who apply in Mexico, and whose parent or guardian already has a BCC or is applying for one, from $13 to $14. This latter change results from a congressionally mandated surcharge that went into effect in 2009.

The Department of State is adjusting the fees to ensure that sufficient resources are available to meet the costs of providing consular services in light of an independent cost of service study's findings that the U.S. Government is not fully covering its costs for the processing of these visas under the current cost structure. The Department endeavors to recover the cost of providing services that benefit specific individuals, as opposed to the general public. See OMB Circular A-25, section 6(a)(1), (a)(2)(a). For this reason, the Department has adjusted the Schedule.

DATES: Effective Date: This rule is effective December 6, 2011.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Polly Hill, Office of the Comptroller, Bureau of Consular Affairs, Department of State; phone: (202) 663-1301, telefax: (202) 663-2599; email: fees@state.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

For the complete explanation of the background of this rule, including the rationale for it, the Department's authority to make the fee changes in question, and an explanation of the CoSM that produced the fee amounts, consult the prior public notices: 75 FR 66076 (Dec. 14, 2009); 75 FR 14111 (Mar. 24, 2010); and 75 FR 28188 (May 20, 2010).

The Department published a proposed rule in the Federal Register, 74 FR 66076, on December 14, 2009, proposing to amend 22 CFR 22.1. Specifically, the rule proposed changes to the Schedule of Fees for Consular Services for nonimmigrant visa and border crossing card application processing fees, and provided 60 days for comments from the public. In response to requests by the public for more information and a further opportunity to submit comments, the Department published a supplementary notice in the Federal Register, 75 FR 14111, on March 24, 2010. The supplementary notice provided a more detailed explanation of the CoSM, the activity-based costing model that the Department used to determine the proposed fees for consular services, and reopened the comment period for an additional 15 days. During this and the previous 60-day comment period, 81 comments were received, either by email or through the submission process at www.regulations.gov. The Department analyzed these 81 comments in the interim final rule at 75 FR 28188, 28190-82, and does not reproduce that analysis here. Instead, the current notice addresses only the additional comments received in the further 60 days during which the comment period for this interim final rule was open. In total, the public has been given 135 days to comment on this change to the Schedule of Fees.

This rule establishes the following fees for these categories corresponding to projected cost figures for the visa category as determined by the CoSM. These fees incorporate the $1 Wilberforce surcharge that must be added to all nonimmigrant MRVs, see Public Law 110-457, Title II, Sec. 239(a):

--H, L, O, P, Q, and R: $150;

--E: $390; and

--K: $350.

The Department rounded these fees to the nearest $10 for the ease of converting to foreign currencies, which

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are most often used to pay the fee. The additional revenue resulting from this rounding will be used to cover the costs of Global Support Strategy (GSS) services.

Analysis of Comments

The proposed rule was published for comment on December 14, 2009. During the comment period, which initially closed February 12, 2010 and was subsequently extended until April 8, 2010, the Department received 81 comments. For an analysis of those comments, please see the interim final rule in the Federal Register, 75 FR 14111, published May 20, 2010 (Public Notice 7018).

The Department published the interim final rule on May 20, 2010, and reopened the comment period for an additional 60 days. During that comment period, which closed on July 19, 2010, the Department received an additional nine comments. The following analysis addresses these nine comments. Of the nine, three were in support of the increase. Reasons for support included endorsement of the fee changes as necessary to allow the Department to meet its budget.

Two comments criticized the increased K-category fianc[eacute](e) visa fee, arguing that the increase in the K visa fee will make it more difficult for U.S. citizens to bring their loved ones to the United States. While the Department appreciates the financial difficulties that increased fees can create, it has determined that it must recover the cost of providing the service. The Department is adjusting the fee for K-category fianc[eacute](e) visas from $131 to $350 specifically because adjudicating the K visa requires a review of extensive documentation and a more in-depth interview of the applicant than other categories of Machine Readable Visas (MRVs). Rather than setting a single MRV fee applicable to all MRVs regardless of category as was done in the past, the Department has concluded that it will be more equitable to set the fee for each MRV category at a level commensurate with the average cost of producing that particular product. The more extensive K visa processing procedure requires pre-processing of the case at the National Visa Center, where the petition is received from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), packaged, and assigned to the appropriate embassy or consulate. K visa processing also requires intake and review of materials not required by some other categories of nonimmigrant visas, such as the I-134 affidavit of support and the DS- 2054 medical examination report. See 75 FR 14111, 14113 (discussing some of the extra steps needed to process a K visa).

The higher incidence of fraud in K visa applications also requires, in many cases, a more extensive fraud investigation than is necessary for some other types of visa. Indeed, the Department of State's processing of K visas is almost identical to that required for a family-based immigrant visa, so it follows that the costs of K visa processing are similar to those for immigrant visas. Spouses, children, and parents applying for immigrant visas to the United States currently pay the Department of State a $330 application processing fee as well as a $74 immigrant visa security surcharge, Items 32 and 36 on the Schedule of Fees.

The Department received three comments from the same commenter concerning instances in which specific subsets of E-category or H- category visas appear to the commenter to require simpler processing, and suggesting that those subsets should pay lower fees than standard E and H applicants. The Department decided to charge a higher fee for visa categories that require more complex processing, seeing this as a more equitable solution than spreading the additional cost to produce certain visa categories (H, L, O, P, Q, R, E, and K) across all visa categories. The commenter appears not to challenge this decision as concerns tiered fees for visa categories more broadly. He argued, however, that there is no reason to charge more than $140--the base MRV fee--to Singaporean and Chilean H-1B1 visa applicants; such applicants, if approved, qualify for non-petition-based visas to work in a specialty occupation under legislation implementing treaties between the United States and those countries. The commenter made a similar argument with respect to E-3 visas issued to Australian applicants pursuant to legislation that authorizes non-petition based visas for Australians to work in a specialty occupation; he argued that E-3s should cost the same as H-1B1 visas for Singaporean and Chilean applicants and thus have the same fee. Another commenter suggested that the costs of processing E visas for spouses and children must be less than for principal applicants, and that therefore these derivative applicants should be charged a lower fee.

Yet as the proposed and interim final rules explained, the CoSM showed that some categories of visa require more time and resources to process than others. On average, H-category visas require the Department to perform a number of additional tasks and processes beyond those that are necessary for producing a BCC or other MRV, including review of extensive documentation and a more in-depth interview of the applicant. E-category visas require considerably more tasks on average than H-category visas and most other MRV categories. The Department has previously explained that, because E-3 visas are not petition-based when issued overseas, they require the Department of State visa adjudicator to both determine whether the employment falls under the E- 3 program (similar to the work DHS performs in adjudicating a petition), and assess the eligibility of the applicant; this process is more like that required for other E visas than the process for most H visas, for which DHS has already adjudicated a petition. See 75 FR 28188, 28191.

In addition, the fees established by this rule are based on unit costs--global average costs for service types as a whole. The most recent CoSM, on which the new Schedule of Fees is based, improved substantially upon prior cost of service models by identifying unit costs not just for nonimmigrant visas as a whole, but for specific visa classes that involved more work (e.g., H, E, K, etc.). This CoSM did not, however, distinguish between subcategories of visas (e.g., E-1 versus E-3; H versus H-1B1). Instead, the cost model averaged together the cost of processing all subcategories of a particular type of visa. Admittedly, the amount of resources required to adjudicate individual applicants can vary significantly from case to case. As an example, a B1/B2 applicant could be a individual with a long history of good travel to the United States, and the adjudication could be made in just minutes; a different B1/B2 applicant could, however, be seeking to travel to the United States for extensive medical care over a period of years, which would require the officer to spend much more time considering the case before making a decision. The Department does not, however, charge these applicants different fees based on the time spent. The cost of the more time-consuming case and the cost of the less time-consuming case are both taken into account in determining an average unit cost for the visa category. In the same vein, the time spent adjudicating a principal applicant for an E-1 visa generally will take more time than that required to adjudicate that applicant's minor, accompanying children; the application fee charged to those applicants is based on a unit cost that takes into account both the higher-cost and the lower-cost processing. The Government Accountability Office

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(GAO) has noted that government agencies should define the classes of persons subject to their fees by the ``smallest unit that is practical.'' GAO, 3 Principles of Federal Appropriations Law (3d ed. 2008) 12-161 (citing Electronic Industries Ass'n v. FCC, 554 F. 2d 1109, 1116 (DC Cir. 1976)). The Department determined that establishing four separate tiers of fees in this latest Schedule, based on visa category, was equitable and practical. The Department will explore the practicability of expanding in a future fee schedule the number of separate unit costs examined in the CoSM to the visa subcategory level, while keeping in mind the need to balance the administrative burden with the potential benefit to applicants.

A comment submitted jointly by United Airlines, Inc., and the U.S. Travel Association expressed concerns about how the CoSM ensured that administrative support costs were correctly attributed to individual consular services, and urged that costs for positions not dedicated to fee-based consular activities be excluded from the CoSM. As previously stated, to address the sharing and allocation of administrative support costs at embassies and consulates, the Department uses the International Cooperative Administrative Support Services (ICASS). The CoSM includes not all Department of State ICASS costs, but rather only the share of those costs equal to the share of consular ``desks'' at all embassies and consulates. The consular share of ICASS costs was then assigned within the model to all overseas services. While the Department will continue to endeavor to assign and allocate costs in the most accurate manner possible, its CoSM includes all costs for consular services--whether a fee is charged for those services or not. The Department will review, and continuously seek to keep accurate, the calculations used for allocating ICASS costs to specific service types.

Regulatory Findings

Administrative Procedure Act

The provisions of 5 U.S.C. 553 and 554 have been followed through the course of this rule making, and the Department cannot identify any adverse impact on the conduct of foreign affairs from the use of these procedures. This final rule is effective upon publication. This rule was previously published as an interim final rule on May 20, 2010, with an effective date 15 days from the date of that publication (i.e., on June 4, 2010). The Department provided ``good cause'' justification at that time under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). See 75 F.R. at 28192-28193.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

This rulemaking is subject to the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq; however, no action is required under this Act. The Department has reviewed this rule and, by approving it, certifies that it will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities as defined in 5 U.S.C. 601(6). This rule raises the application processing fee for nonimmigrant visas. Although the issuance of some of these visas is contingent upon approval by DHS of a petition filed by a U.S. company with DHS, and these companies pay a fee to DHS to cover the processing of the petition, the visa itself is sought and paid for by an individual foreign national overseas who seeks to come to the United States for a temporary stay. The amount of the petition fees that are paid by small entities to DHS is not controlled by the amount of the visa fees paid by individuals to the Department of State. While small entities may be required to cover or reimburse employees for application fees, the exact number of such entities that does so is unknown. Given that the increase in petition fees accounts for only 7 percent of the total percentage of visa fee increases, the modest 15 percent increase in the application fee for employment-based nonimmigrant visas is not likely to have a significant economic impact on the small entities that choose to reimburse the applicant for the visa fee.

Unfunded Mandates Act of 1995

This rule will not result in the expenditure by state, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 million or more in any year, and it will not significantly or uniquely affect small governments. Therefore, no actions were deemed necessary under the provisions of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995, 2 U.S.C. 1501-1504.

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996

This rule is not a major rule as defined by section 804 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996. See 5 U.S.C. 804(2). This rule will not result in an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more; a major increase in costs or prices for consumers, individual industries, federal, state, or local government agencies, or geographic regions; or significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or on the ability of United States-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises in domestic and export markets.

Executive Order 12866

OMB considers this rule to be a ``significant regulatory action'' under Executive Order 12866, section 3(f), Regulatory Planning and Review, September 30, 1993. Accordingly, this rule was submitted to OMB for review. This rule is necessary in light of the Department of State's CoSM finding that the cost of processing nonimmigrant visas has increased since the fee was last set in 2007. The Department is setting the nonimmigrant visa fees in accordance with 31 U.S.C. 9701 and other applicable legal authority, as described in detail in other notices associated with this rulemaking (RIN 1400-AC57). See, e.g., 31 U.S.C. 9701(b)(2)(A) (agency head may prescribe regulations establishing charge for service or thing of value provided by agency based on, inter alia, costs to Government). This regulation sets the fees for nonimmigrant visas at the amount required to recover the costs associated with providing this service to foreign nationals.

Executive Order 13563

The Department of State has considered this rule in light of Executive Order 13563, dated January 18, 2011, and affirms that this regulation is consistent with the guidance therein.

Executive Orders 12372 and 13132

This rule will not have substantial direct effects on the states, on the relationship between the national government and the states, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. Therefore, in accordance with section 6 of Executive Order 13132, it is determined that this rule does not have sufficient federalism implications to require consultations or warrant the preparation of a federalism summary impact statement. The regulations implementing Executive Order 12372 regarding intergovernmental consultation on federal programs and activities do not apply to this rule.

Executive Order 13175

The Department has determined that this rulemaking will not have tribal implications, will not impose substantial direct compliance costs on Indian tribal governments, and will not preempt tribal law. Accordingly, the requirements of section 5 of Executive

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Order 13175 do not apply to this rulemaking.

Paperwork Reduction Act

This rule does not impose any new or modify any existing reporting or recordkeeping requirements subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. Chapter 35.

List of Subjects in 22 CFR Part 22

Consular services, fees, passports and visas.

Accordingly, for the reasons stated in the preamble, 22 CFR part 22 is amended as follows:

PART 22--[AMENDED]

1. The authority citation for part 22 is revised to read as follows:

Authority: 8 U.S.C. 1101 note, 1153 note, 1183a note, 1351, 1351 note, 1713, 1714, 1714 note; 10 U.S.C. 2602(c); 11 U.S.C. 1157 note; 22 U.S.C. 214, 214 note, 1475e, 2504(a), 4201, 4206, 4215, 4219, 6551; 31 U.S.C. 9701; Exec. Order 10,718, 22 FR 4632 (1957); Exec. Order 11,295, 31 FR 10603 (1966).

2. Revise Sec. 22.1 Item 21 to read as follows:

Sec. 22.1 Schedule of fees.

* * * * *

Schedule of Fees for Consular Services

(SEE PDF VERSION FOR TABLE)

Dated: August 9, 2011.
Patrick F. Kennedy,
Under Secretary of State for Management, Department of State.
[FR Doc. 2011-31175 Filed 12-5-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4710-06-P

 

 

[Federal Register: May 20, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 97)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Page 28188-28194]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr20my10-3]

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DEPARTMENT OF STATE

22 CFR Part 22

[Public Notice: 7018]

RIN 1400-AC57

Schedule of Fees for Consular Services, Department of State and Overseas Embassies and Consulates

AGENCY: Bureau of Consular Affairs, State.

ACTION: Interim final rule.

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SUMMARY: Further to the Department's proposed rule to amend the Schedule of Fees for Consular Services (Schedule) for nonimmigrant visa and border crossing card application processing fees, this rule raises from $131 to $140 the fee charged for the processing of an application for most non-petition-based nonimmigrant visas (Machine-Readable Visas or MRVs) and adult Border Crossing Cards (BCCs). The rule also provides new tiers of the application fee for certain categories of petition- based nonimmigrant visas and treaty trader and investor visas (all of which are also MRVs). Finally, the rule increases the $13 BCC fee charged to Mexican citizen minors who apply in Mexico, and whose parent or guardian already has a BCC or is applying for one, by raising that fee to $14 by virtue of a congressionally mandated surcharge that went into effect in 2009. The Department of State is adjusting the fees to ensure that sufficient resources are available to meet the costs of providing consular services in light of an independent cost of service study's findings that the U.S. Government is not fully covering its costs for the processing of these visas under the current cost structure. Eighty-one comments were received during the period for public comment, and this rule also addresses a comment received about a prior change to the MRV fee implemented on January 1, 2008. This rule addresses comments received thus far, and reopens the comment period on these fees for an additional 60 days.

DATES: Effective Date: This interim final rule becomes effective June 4, 2010. Comment date: Written comments must be received on or before July 19, 2010.

ADDRESSES: Interested parties may contact the Department by any of the following methods:

Persons with access to the Internet may view this notice and submit comments by going to the regulations.gov Web site at: http:/ /www.regulations.gov/index.cfm.

Mail (paper, disk, or CD-ROM): U.S. Department of State, Office of the Executive Director, Bureau of Consular Affairs, U.S. Department of State, Suite H1001, 2401 E Street, NW., Washington, DC 20520.

E-mail: fees@state.gov. You must include the RIN (1400- AC57) in the subject line of your message.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Amber Baskette, Office of the Executive Director, Bureau of Consular Affairs, Department of State; phone: 202-663-3923, telefax: 202-663-2599; e-mail: fees@state.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

The Department published a proposed rule in the Federal Register, 74 FR 66076, on December 14, 2009, proposing to amend 22 CFR 22.1. Specifically, the rule proposed changes to the Schedule of Fees for Consular Services for nonimmigrant visa and border crossing card application processing fees, and provided 60 days for comments from the public. In response to requests by the public for more information and a further opportunity to submit comments, the Department subsequently published a supplementary notice in the Federal Register, 75 FR 14111, on March 24, 2010 (Public Notice 6928). The supplementary notice provided a more detailed explanation of the Cost of Survey Study (CoSS), the activity-based costing model that the Department used to determine the proposed fees for consular services, and reopened the comment period for an additional 15 days. During this and the previous 60-

[[Page 28189]]

day comment period, 81 comments were received, either by e-mail or through the submission process at http://www.regulations.gov. The current notice reflects responses by the Department to the comments received in the 75 days during which the comment period for this proposed rule was open. While the Department will implement the proposed changes to the Schedule of Fees contained in this notice and begin collecting the new fees 15 days after publication of this rule, on that same date it will also post additional information regarding the CoSS model and fee-setting exercise on its Web site (travel.state.gov) and will accept further public comments for an additional 60 days. The Department will consider these further comments, and whether to make any changes to the rule in response to them, prior to publishing a final rule.

What Is the Authority for This Action?

As explained when the revised Schedule of Fees was published as a proposed rule, the Department of State derives the statutory authority to set the amount of fees for the consular services it provides, and to charge those fees, from the general user charges statute, 31 U.S.C. 9701. See, e.g., 31 U.S.C. 9701(b)(2)(A) (``The head of each agency * * * may prescribe regulations establishing the charge for a service or thing of value provided by the agency * * * based on * * * the costs to the Government.''). As implemented through Executive Order 10718 of June 27, 1957, 22 U.S.C. 4219 further authorizes the Department to establish fees to be charged for official services provided by U.S. embassies and consulates. When a service provided by the Department ``provides special benefits to an identifiable recipient beyond those that accrue to the general public,'' guidance issued by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) directs that charges for the good or service in question shall be ``sufficient to recover the full cost to the Federal Government * * * of providing the service * * * or good * * * .'' OMB Circular A-25, ] 6(a)(1), (a)(2)(a).

Other authorities allow the Department to charge fees for consular services, but not to determine the amount of such fees, as the amount is statutorily determined, such as the $13 fee, discussed below, for machine-readable BCCs for certain Mexican citizen minors. Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act of 1999, Public Law 105-277, 112 Stat. 2681-50, Div. A, Title IV, Sec. 410(a), (reproduced at 8 U.S.C. 1351 note).

A number of other statutes address specific fees and surcharges related to nonimmigrant visas. A cost-based, nonimmigrant visa processing fee for MRVs and BCCs is authorized by section 140(a) of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1994 and 1995, Public Law 103-236, 108 Stat. 382, as amended, and such fees remain available to the Department until expended. See, e.g., Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002, Public Law 107-173, 116 Stat. 543; see also 8 U.S.C. 1351 note (reproducing amended law allowing for retention of MRV and BCC fees). Furthermore, section 239(a) of the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (``Wilberforce Act'') requires the Secretary of State to collect a $1 surcharge on all MRVs and BCCs in addition to the processing fee, including on BCCs issued to Mexican citizen minors qualifying for a statutorily mandated $13 processing fee; this surcharge must be deposited into the Treasury. See Public Law 110-457, 122 Stat. 5044, Title II, Sec. 239 (reproduced at 8 U.S.C. 1351 note).

The Department last changed MRV and BCC fees in an interim final rule dated December 20, 2007 and effective January 1, 2008. 72 FR 72243. See Department of State Schedule for Fees and Funds, 22 CFR 22.1-22.5. This rule changed the MRV fee from $100 to $131.

Why Is the Department Raising the Nonimmigrant Visa Fees at This Time?

Consistent with OMB Circular A-25 guidelines, the Department contracted for an independent cost of service study (CoSS), which used an activity-based costing model from August 2007 through June 2009 to provide the basis for updating the Schedule. The results of that study are the foundation of the current changes to the Schedule.

The CoSS concluded that the average cost to the U.S. Government of accepting, processing, adjudicating, and issuing a non-petition-based MRV application, including an application for a BCC, is approximately $136.93 for Fiscal Year 2010. (The only exception is the non-petition- based E category visa, discussed below, for which costs are greater than $136.93.) The CoSS arrived at the $136.93 figure taking into account actual and projected costs of worldwide nonimmigrant visa operations, visa workload, and other related costs. Please note that in the proposed rule published December 14, 2009, the Department used a figure of $136.37, which was calculated using a weighted average of Fiscal Year 2009 and Fiscal Year 2010 costs; the $136.93 figure now included is based exclusively on Fiscal Year 2010 costs--as are all other costs presented in this Interim Final Rule. This cost also includes the unrecovered costs of processing BCCs for certain Mexican citizen minors. That processing fee is statutorily frozen at $13, even though such BCCs cost the Department the same amount to process as all other MRVs and BCCs--that is, significantly more than $13. (As discussed below, a statutorily imposed $1 surcharge brings the total fee for Mexican citizen minor BCCs to $14.) The Department's costs beyond $13 must, by statute, be recovered by charging more for all MRVs, as well as all BCCs not meeting the requirements for the reduced fee. See Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act of 1999, Public Law 105-277, Div. A, Title IV, Sec. 410(a)(3) (reproduced at 8 U.S.C. 1351 note) (Department ``shall set the amount of the fee [for processing MRVs and all other BCCs] at a level that will ensure the full recovery by the Department * * * of the costs of processing'' all MRVs and BCCs, including reduced cost BCCs for qualifying Mexican citizen minors).

Subsequent to the completion of data-gathering for the CoSS, the Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs decided to consolidate visa operations support services through an initiative called the Global Support Strategy (GSS) in Fiscal Year 2010. GSS consolidates in one contract costs of services currently being paid by MRV and BCC applicants directly to various private vendors in addition to the application processing fee paid to the Department, including appointment setting, fee collection, offsite data collection services, and document delivery. The GSS contract was initiated due to concerns that total application fees for visa services varied from country to country because, although the Department charges the same application processing fee for the same category of visa across all countries, the private vendors providing the necessary ancillary services charged fees that were different from one another. The Department's intent is to charge a consistent fee worldwide to applicants for the same category of visa that is comprehensive of the services the Department performs to process the visa, including any support services performed by companies contracted by the Department. The Department awarded the GSS contract on February 26, 2010, but total costs are not yet known. According to Department estimates, the costs of GSS services performed in Fiscal Year 2010 will be at least $2 per application. Future costs

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related to GSS will be significantly higher and will impact fee revenue for the Department. When this additional cost is factored in along with the costs of recovering losses from the Mexican citizen minor BCC, the estimated cost to the U.S. Government of accepting, processing, and adjudicating non-petition-based MRV (except E category) applications, and BCC applications for all Mexican citizens not qualifying for a reduced-fee minor BCC, becomes $138.93.

Moreover, section 239(a) of the Wilberforce Act requires the Department to collect a fee or surcharge of $1 (``Wilberforce surcharge'') in addition to cost-based fees charged for MRVs and BCCs, to support anti-trafficking programs. See Wilberforce Act, Public Law 110-457,Title II, Sec. 239.

Combining the $138.93 cost to the U.S. Government with the $1 Wilberforce surcharge, the Department has determined that the fee for non-petition-based MRV (except E category) and BCC applications, with the exception of certain Mexican citizen minors' BCCs statutorily set at $13, will be $140. (The BCC fee is being set at the same level as the MRV fee--$140-- because its processing procedures, and attendant production costs, are almost identical to those of the MRV.) This $140 fee will allow the Government to recover the full cost of processing these visa applications during the anticipated period of the current Schedule, and to comply with its statutory obligation to collect from applicants the $1 Wilberforce surcharge. The Department rounded up to $140 to make it easier for U.S. embassies and consulates to convert to foreign currencies, which are most often used to pay the fee.

As noted above, for Mexican citizens under 15 years of age who apply for a BCC in Mexico, and have at least one parent or guardian who has a BCC or is also applying for one, the BCC fee is statutorily set at $13. See Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act of 1999, Public Law 105-277, Div. A, Title IV, Sec. 410(a)(1)(A) (reproduced at 8 U.S.C. 1351 note). Nevertheless, the $1 Wilberforce surcharge applies to this fee by the terms of law establishing the surcharge, which postdates Public Law 105-277, Division A, Title IV, Sec. 410(a)(1)(A), and does not exempt it from its application. See Wilberforce Act, Public Law 110-457, Title II, Sec. 239(a). Therefore, the Department must now charge $14 for this category of BCC.

As discussed in the supplementary notice of March 24, 2010, the Department has used detailed activity-based costing models in past years to set fees in Consular Schedules of Fees. However, in previous iterations of the CoSS, the Department was not able to review the activity-based costs of its services, including the production of MRVs and BCCs, with the same degree of accuracy that the most recent CoSS now allows.

The most recent CoSS found that the cost of accepting, adjudicating, and issuing MRV applications for the following categories of visas is appreciably higher than for other categories: E (treaty- trader or treaty-investor); H (temporary workers and trainees); K (fianc[eacute](e)s and certain spouses of U.S. citizens); L (intracompany transferee); O (aliens with extraordinary ability); P (athletes, artists, and entertainers); Q (international cultural exchange visitors); and R (aliens in religious occupations). Each of these visa categories requires the Department to perform a number of additional tasks and processes beyond those that are necessary for producing a BCC or other MRV, including review of extensive documentation and a more in-depth interview of the applicant. Some of the specific additional tasks and processes required to process the K- category fianc[eacute](e) visa, for example, are described below in the ``Analysis of Comments'' section.

The CoSS determined that for FY 2010, the average cost of processing applications for H, L, O, P, Q, and R visas is $148.16; the average cost of processing applications for K visas is $348.39; and the average cost of processing applications for E visas is $390.58. These totals do not include the Wilberforce surcharge or any funding for GSS. Rather than setting a single MRV fee applicable to all MRVs regardless of category as was done in the past, the Department has concluded that it will be more equitable to set the fee for each MRV category at a level commensurate with the average cost of producing that particular product. Accordingly, since applications for BCCs and non-petition- based MRVs (except E-category) require less review and have unit costs lower than E, H, K, L, O, P, Q, or R visa applications, the applicant should pay a lower fee. By the same token, those applying for an H, L, O, P, Q, or R visa should pay a lower fee than those applying for an E or K visa, as the latter two categories require an even more extensive review.

Therefore, this rule establishes the following fees for these categories corresponding to projected cost figures for the visa category as determined by the CoSS. These fees incorporate the $1 Wilberforce surcharge that must be added to all nonimmigrant MRVs, see Public Law 110-457, Title II, Sec. 239(a):

--H, L, O, P, Q, and R: $150;

--E: $390; and

--K: $350.

The Department rounded these fees to the nearest $10 for the ease of converting to foreign currencies, which are most often used to pay the fee. The additional revenue resulting from this rounding will be used for GSS services.

Analysis of Comments

As noted, the proposed rule was published for comment on December 14, 2009. During the comment period, which initially closed February 12, 2010 and was subsequently extended until April 8, 2010, the Department received 81 comments. With the publication of this interim final version of the rule, the Department is reopening the comment period for an additional 60 days, and will consider any further comments received before publishing a final rule.

The majority of comments received--48 out of 81--criticized the increase in the application fee for K-category fianc[eacute](e) visas. The Department of State is adjusting the fee for K-category fianc[eacute](e) visas from $131 to $350 specifically because adjudicating a K visa requires a review of extensive documentation and a more in-depth interview of the applicant than other categories MRVs. As noted in the supplementary notice, for example, a K visa requires pre-processing of the case at the National Visa Center, where the petition is received from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), packaged, and assigned to the appropriate embassy or consulate. K visa processing also requires intake and review of materials not required by some other categories of nonimmigrant visas, such as the I-134 affidavit of support and the DS-2054 medical examination report. See 75 FR 14111, 14113. The higher incidence of fraud in K visa applications also requires, in many cases, a more extensive fraud investigation than is necessary for some other types of visa. Indeed, Department of State processing of a K visa is almost identical to that required for a family-based immigrant visa, so it follows that the costs of K visa processing are similar to those for immigrant visas. (Spouses, children, and parents applying for immigrant visas to the United States currently pay the Department of State a $355 application processing fee as well as a $45 immigrant visa security surcharge, items 32 and 36 on the Schedule of Fees.)

Several authors commented on the overall price of a K visa, which includes fees paid by the U.S. citizen fianc[eacute](e) to

[[Page 28191]]

DHS. It is important to note, however, that DHS fees are not received by and do not cover the costs of Department of State processing. While the Department of State is aware of the financial impact this fee increase will have on individuals seeking to bring their fianc[eacute](e)s to the United States, the Department has concluded that it would be more equitable to those applying for other categories of MRVs, for which such extensive review is not necessary, to establish separate fees that more accurately reflect the cost of processing these visas, rather than set a single average fee for all MRV categories that is necessarily higher due to the inclusion of K visas in the calculation.

The Department received one comment that supported the fee increase for K visas, but argued that these fees should be based not on the cost of maintaining the current level of visa processing services, but rather should assess the quality of those services and seek to determine if there would be a public preference for higher fees if they resulted in higher quality expedited visa services. This proposal offers an alternative to the current fee structure, which is based on cost. See, e.g., 31 U.S.C. 9701(b)(2); OMB Circular A-25, ] 6(a)(2). Furthermore, while the Department does not as a policy offer expedited visa service in exchange for a higher fee, it appreciates the recommendation and will examine it for future fee-setting exercises.

One commenter argued that Australian applicants for E-3 ``treaty alien in a specialty occupation'' visas, which are not petition-based, should be charged the same fee as applicants for H visas, which are petition-based, rather than the proposed higher E rate--that is, $150 instead of $390. However, because E-3 visas are not petition-based when issued overseas, they require the Department of State visa adjudicator to both determine whether the employment falls under the E-3 program (similar to the work DHS performs in adjudicating the petition), and assess the eligibility of the applicant; this process is more similar to other E visas than to H visas, for which DHS has already adjudicated a petition.

One comment requested that the Department allow exchange visitors in the United States on a J-1 visa to renew their visas by mail in order to save costs. Current policies and procedures do allow a consular officer to waive the physical appearance of an applicant in the J-1 visa class, but only if he or she meets a number of specific criteria. 9 Foreign Affairs Manual 41.102 N3.

The Department of State received seven comments endorsing the fee increases or asking that the fees be increased further. As described above, the Department has set the current proposed fees at cost, and it may not set its fees above cost. See, e.g., 31 U.S.C. Sec. 9701(b)(2)(A). The Department received one request for clarification as to whether these fee increases will eliminate all visa reciprocity fees. They will not eliminate such fees.

A number of other comments proposed alternatives to cost-based fees, or expressed other concerns over charging fees commensurate with the Department's cost to produce the visa in question. For instance, the Department received six comments arguing that increasing MRV fees would be disadvantageous to applicants in less wealthy nations, and one comment arguing that fees should be based on the ability of the applicant to pay, rather than the cost to the U.S. Government of providing the service. The Department received four comments questioning whether increasing these fees will result in higher visa fees charged to U.S. citizens by foreign governments, two of which referenced China in particular. Two additional comments argued against the fee increases in general, suggesting that these fee changes were based not on cost but only on a desire to get more money from applicants. The Department is sympathetic to those with less means to cover the costs of a visa application, and acknowledges that the higher fees may result in some countries reciprocally raising visa fees charged to U.S. applicants. Nevertheless, as noted above, the Department of State is required to recover the costs of visa processing through user fees, and the Department has accordingly set these fees at a level that will allow full cost recovery.

The Department received two comments regarding U.S. nationality law, which is not affected in any way by this rule.

The Department received five comments, including one submitted jointly by United Air Lines, Inc. and the U.S. Travel Association on January 29, 2010, that expressed concern that raising MRV fees would result in a decline in travel to the United States and harm the U.S. economy. While the Department appreciates the concerns expressed, it reiterates that it is required to set its visa processing user fees at an amount that allows full cost recovery, so that these services are not subsidized by U.S. taxpayers. See, e.g., OMB Circular A-25, ] 6(a)(2). The Department also points out that 92 percent of MRV applicants will see an increase of less than ten dollars. In addition, demand for U.S. nonimmigrant visas did not decline as a result of the last MRV fee increase, which took effect January 1, 2008. In fact, workload in the final three quarters of Fiscal Year 2008 was greater than the same period in Fiscal Year 2007.

Three comments, including the previously referenced joint comment from United Air Lines and the U.S. Travel Association, one from the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and one from the Air Transport Association of America, Inc., requested that the Cost of Service Study be made publicly available. In response, the Department published the supplementary notice of March 24, 2010, see 75 FR 14111, and allowed an additional 15 days for public comment. The Department received one further comment from United Airlines and the U.S. Travel Association, on April 8, 2010, within the 15-day period. That comment made an additional request for actual cost and related data and specifically requested: Specific inputs used to determine cost for the U.S. passport book and passport card; that the Department confirm how the CoSS ensured that administrative support costs were correctly attributed to individual consular services and that these costs for positions not dedicated to fee-based consular activities were excluded from the CoSS; and that the Department confirm whether the CoSS accounted for the transition to the DS-160 electronic nonimmigrant visa application. The comment also requested that the Department suspend final publication of the rules, release additional data supporting its proposed fee increases, and hold a public meeting to address questions from the public.

Concerning the request for specific inputs used to determine the cost for the U.S. passport book and card, the Department will address that request in the separate interim final rule governing fees for those and other consular services, RIN 1400-AC58.

With regard to the question of administrative support costs, the International Cooperative Administrative Support Services (ICASS) system is the means by which the Department shares with other agencies the costs of shared administrative support at embassies and consulates overseas. The CoSS includes not all Department of State ICASS costs, but rather only the share of those costs equal to the share of consular ``desks'' at all embassies and consulates. The consular share of ICASS costs--which represent an ``allocated cost'', a concept described in more detail in the supplementary notice of March 24, 2010--was then assigned equally within

[[Page 28192]]

the model to all overseas services. Because the Department aims to use the most accurate and complete cost data in its cost calculations, beginning in Fiscal Year 2011 the Bureau of Consular Affairs will be considered its own separate entity for ICASS purposes, which the Department believes will result in a more precise accounting of ICASS costs than calculating consular ICASS costs based on the proportion of consular staff. We anticipate that this adjustment will actually increase the ICASS costs attributed to consular services.

With regard to the DS-160, United and the U.S. Travel Association suggest that the DS-160 will ``presumably reduce the space, personnel, storage and other costs associated with previous paper based nonimmigrant visa applications.'' The most recent CoSS, upon which the proposed fees are based, were calculated using Fiscal Years 2006, 2007, and 2008 as ``base years'' and Fiscal Years 2009 and 2010 as ``predictive years.'' The DS-160 was still only a pilot program through Fiscal Year 2009, and has not yet been rolled out worldwide. Once changes in costs are known, they will of course be incorporated into future Cost of Service Studies. Further, while the DS-160 presents great advantages in making more applicant data available electronically and allowing advance review of such data, it has not thus far resulted in any significant time savings for consular staff. Even storage space and labor required to box and ship applications will continue until all previous paper applications are retired from embassies and consulates, which we anticipate will be sometime in Fiscal Year 2011.

Based on review of all the comments, including those of United and the U.S. Travel Association, the Department has determined that it is unnecessary to suspend publication of this interim final rule pending release of additional data or a public meeting. As explained above, the Department has provided information regarding the basis for the MRV and BCC fee increases in an initial notice of proposed rulemaking on December 14, 2009, and provided additional qualitative information in response to the requests of United, the U.S. Travel Association, and others in a supplemental notice dated March 24, 2010. The Department provided the public a total of 75 days in which to make comments and pose questions to the Department about the proposed MRV and BCC fee changes. The Department determined that a supplemental written notice would provide more useful information and reach a broader public audience, than a public meeting or other action. The Department has also decided to post additional quantitative information regarding its CoSS model and fee-setting exercise on its Web site (travel.state.gov), which will be available on the date this rule is published. It will accept public comments for an additional 60 days and consider them in advance of publishing a final rule.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association argued that the Department did not provide evidence to support what it termed a ``substantial'' increase for petition-based employment visas, and stated that adjudication of these petition-based visa applications should require less time than for non-petition cases. The Department has provided cost data for those cases: The average cost of processing applications for H, L, O, P, Q, and R visas is $148.16 in Fiscal Year 2010, versus $136.93 for most non-petition-based visas. (Neither cost figure includes the Wilberforce surcharge or GSS costs.) As discussed above, the unit cost for petition-based cases includes the costs of activities that are not required for non-petition cases, such as receiving petition information from DHS, conducting reviews of government and commercial databases to confirm the existence of the petitioning business, and entering that data into the Petition Information Management Service (PIMS) database. The single exception to the greater expense of producing petition-based visas is the non- petition-based E-category visa which, for reasons described above, is even more costly to produce than the various categories of petition- based visa.

The Department received a comment from the Microsoft Corporation regarding the January 2008 MRV fee increase resulting from the interim final rule dated December 20, 2007. See 72 FR 72243. That comment argued that the Department should give the public an opportunity to comment on proposed MRV fee changes before they are put into effect, and that it should make available a more detailed analysis of overall cost. The Department has made this information available, and has given the public a total of 75 days to comment on it and the proposed fees, in the proposed rule of December 14, 2009, and the supplementary notice of March 24, 2010. See 74 FR 66076, 75 FR 14111. The comment also touched upon the cost of FBI fingerprint and name checks, suggesting that such checks may not be effective or necessary. The U.S. Government has determined that checking the fingerprints of visa applicants against the FBI's Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System database is a critical tool for identifying applicants with criminal ineligibilities. Further, FBI name checks are an important piece of the interagency clearance process for applicants subject to security advisory opinions. Microsoft also argued that the December 20, 2007 interim final rule did not provide assurance that the fee increases would lead to improvements in customer service. However, as noted repeatedly above, these fees must be based on actual cost. See, e.g., OMB Circular A-25, ] 6(a)(2). While customer service is extremely important to the Department and it strives constantly to improve the quality of its service, changing process or altering customer service standards do not figure strictly into the calculus of setting user fees.

Finally, in their joint comment of January 29, 2010, United Airlines and the U.S. Travel Association protested the incorporation of a $2 startup cost per MRV or BCC application for GSS, since as of the date of the proposed rule on MRV and BCC fees, final costs of GSS were not yet known and the contract had not yet been awarded, and thus the Department had not yet incurred any GSS startup costs. The Department awarded the GSS contract on February 26, 2010, with a 10-year ceiling of $2.8 billion. The costs of the three-to-five task orders the Department will award under this contract in Fiscal Year 2010 will be at least $2 per application.

Regulatory Findings

Administrative Procedure Act

The Department is issuing this interim final rule, with an effective date 15 days from the date of publication. The Administrative Procedure Act permits a final rule to become effective fewer than 30 days after publication if the issuing agency finds good cause. 5 U.S.C. Sec. 553(d)(3). The Department finds that good cause exists for an early effective date in this instance for the following reasons.

As stated in the supplementary information above, the Department's mandate is to align as closely as possible its user fees for consular services with the actual, measured costs of those services. This enables better cost recovery and ensures that U.S. taxpayers do not subsidize consular services. 31 U.S.C. 9701; OMB Circular A-25. See also GAO-08-386SP, Federal User Fees: A Design Guide. The CoSS, which supports the fees set by this rule, used data from past years, as well as predictive data for Fiscal Years 2010

[[Page 28193]]

and 2011, to determine the amount of the fees set by this rule.

The fees currently charged by the Department cover less than 94 percent of the underlying services' true cost. On a monthly basis, taxpayers are paying $5.4 million in unmet costs for consular services that should be borne by those who actually benefit from those services. In the current economic climate, this shortfall is unusually grave, exacerbating budgetary pressures and threatening other critical Department priorities. It is thus in the public's interest to make the appropriated funds currently used to fill this gap available as soon as possible.

For these reasons, and because the public's level of preparation for this fee increase is unlikely to be meaningfully improved by 15 additional days of advance warning, the Department finds that good cause exists for making this rule effective 15 days after its publication as an interim final rule.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

The Department, in accordance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 605(b), has reviewed this rule and, by approving it, certifies that it will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities as defined in 5 U.S.C. 601(6). This rule raises the application processing fee for nonimmigrant visas. Although the issuance of some of these visas is contingent upon approval by DHS of a petition filed by a U.S. company with DHS, and these companies pay a fee to DHS to cover the processing of the petition, the visa itself is sought and paid for by an individual foreign national overseas who seeks to come to the United States for a temporary stay. The amount of the petition fees that are paid by small entities to DHS is not controlled by the amount of the visa fees paid by individuals to the Department of State. While small entities may be required to cover or reimburse employees for application fees, the exact number of such entities that does so is unknown. Given that the increase in petition fees accounts for only 7 percent of the total percentage of visa fee increases, the modest 15 percent increase in the application fee for employment-based nonimmigrant visas is not likely to have a significant economic impact on the small entities that choose to reimburse the applicant for the visa fee.

Unfunded Mandates Act of 1995

This rule will not result in the expenditure by state, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 million or more in any year, and it will not significantly or uniquely affect small governments. Therefore, no actions were deemed necessary under the provisions of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995, 2 U.S.C. Chapter 25.

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996

This rule is not a major rule as defined by section 804 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996. See 5 U.S.C. 804(2). This rule will not result in an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more; a major increase in costs or prices for consumers, individual industries, federal, state, or local government agencies, or geographic regions; or significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or on the ability of United States-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises in domestic and export markets.

Executive Order 12866

OMB considers this rule to be a ``significant regulatory action'' under Executive Order 12866, section 3(f), Regulatory Planning and Review, September. 30, 1993. Accordingly, this rule was submitted to OMB for review. This rule is necessary in light of the Department of State's CoSS finding that the cost of processing nonimmigrant visas has increased since the fee was last set in 2007. The Department is setting the nonimmigrant visa fees in accordance with 31 U.S.C. 9701 and other applicable legal authority, as described in detail above. See, e.g., 31 U.S.C. 9701(b)(2)(A) (``The head of each agency * * * may prescribe regulations establishing the charge for a service or thing of value provided by the agency * * * based on * * * the costs to the Government.''). This regulation sets the fees for nonimmigrant visas at the amount required to recover the costs associated with providing this service to foreign nationals.

Executive Orders 12372 and 13132

This regulation will not have substantial direct effects on the states, on the relationship between the national government and the states, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. Therefore, in accordance with section 6 of Executive Order 13132, it is determined that this rule does not have sufficient federalism implications to require consultations or warrant the preparation of a federalism summary impact statement. The regulations implementing Executive Order 12372 regarding intergovernmental consultation on federal programs and activities do not apply to this regulation.

Executive Order 13175

The Department has determined that this rulemaking will not have tribal implications, will not impose substantial direct compliance costs on Indian tribal governments, and will not preempt tribal law. Accordingly, the requirements of section 5 of Executive Order 13175 do not apply to this rulemaking.

Paperwork Reduction Act

This rule does not impose any new or modify any existing reporting or recordkeeping requirements.

List of Subjects in 22 CFR Part 22

Consular services, fees, passports and visas.

Accordingly, for the reasons stated in the preamble, 22 CFR part 22 is amended as follows:

PART 22--[AMENDED]

1. The authority citation for part 22 is revised to read as follows:

Authority: 8 U.S.C. 1101 note, 1153 note, 1183a note, 1351, 1351 note, 1714, 1714 note; 10 U.S.C. 2602(c); 11 U.S.C. 1157 note; 22 U.S.C. 214, 214 note, 1475e, 2504(a), 4201, 4206, 4215, 4219, 6551; 31 U.S.C. 9701; Exec. Order 10,718, 22 FR 4632 (1957); Exec. Order 11,295, 31 FR 10603 (1966).

2. Revise Sec. 22.1 Item 21 to read as follows:

Sec. 22.1 Schedule of fees.

(SEE PDF VERSION FOR TABLE)

Dated: May 14, 2010.
Patrick Kennedy,
Under Secretary of State for Management, Department of State.
[FR Doc. 2010-12125 Filed 5-19-10; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4710-06-P

This content is tagged for employers and Human Resources professionals responsible for hiring foreign professionals/workers in USA

US Department of Labor is charged with protecting the labor market and investigation and enforcement activities related to that.

Immigration and Custom Enforcement. This agency used to be a part of old INS. When DHS was formed, enforcement personnel of US Customs Service and INS were combined to form ICE, which is now responsible for a large part of immigration enforcement activity.

Department of State (State Department) is responsible for issuing visas, which are a permission to travel to USA.

A method to obtain green card used to avoid the need for PERM based labor certification.

Customs and Border Protection. This agency was spun off from old INS. CBP is responsible for inspecting people when they land at airports, docks and land borders.

To qualify for an A-1 (or A-2 visa), you must be traveling to the United States on behalf of your national government to engage solely in official activities for that government.  The fact that there may be government interest or control in a given organization is not in itself the defining factor in determining if you qualify for an A visa; the particular duties or services that will be performed must be governmental in character or nature, as determined by the United States Department of State, in accordance with U.S. immigration laws. Government officials traveling to the United States to perform non-governmental functions of a commercial nature, or traveling as tourists, require some other appropriate visa, and do not qualify for A visas.

To qualify for an A-2 (or A-1 visa), you must be traveling to the United States on behalf of your national government to engage solely in official activities for that government. The fact that there may be government interest or control in a given organization is not in itself the defining factor in determining if you qualify for an A visa; the particular duties or services that will be performed must be governmental in character or nature, as determined by the United States Department of State, in accordance with U.S. immigration laws. Government officials traveling to the United States to perform non-governmental functions of a commercial nature, or traveling as tourists, require some other appropriate visa, and do not qualify for A visas.

Consulates all over the world issue visas - a permission to enter USA for a specific purpose. Consulates are a part of the State Department (DOS - Department of State).

Bangladesh Immigration

Indonesia Immigration

I-94 aka Arrival Departure Record is what governs your status in the USA. An expired I-94 can lead to bar from entering USA for 3 to 10 years.See details on "Unlawful Presence".

When used in relation to immigration, this is another name for being LEGALLY present in the USA

This is a complicated term. Very simply (there is a lot more to it), you could have your status expire and still be authorized to stay in USA awaiting the outcome of a legally filed petition. This is something less than "Status" but much better than "Unlawful Presence."

This is another complicated concept with some very serious consequences. Briefly, if you have been unlawfully present in USA for more than 180 days, you cannot come back to USA for 3 years and if unlawfully present for a year or more, you cannot come back for 10 years. Very generally speaking unlawful presence begins after expiration of the I-94 or after having been asked by the govt. to leave USA.

These are topics related to appeals and motions for reconsideration or reopening of decisions (MTR) by govt. agencies such as USCIS, USDOL, etc.

These are topics related to appeals and motions for reconsideration or reopening of decisions (MTR) by govt. agencies such as USCIS, USDOL, etc.

Adjustment of Status

Includes topics of loss of physical green card papers or the card itself as well as loss of green card through abandonment and criminal activity.

When used in relation to immigration, this is another name for extending your status.

Employees working in USA

Personal employees, attendants and servants of A-1 and A-2 visa holders.

EB4 category is for religious workers.

“Priority Date” determines your place in the queue for waiting for green card in the categories where there is a wait. When the govt. has reached your PD, it is said to be “current.” For family-based green cards, PD is the date your I-130 was filed; for PERM-based cases, the date your PERM was filed; for employment-based cases other than through PERM (like EB-1 cases), PD is the date your I-140 was filed. DOS publishes the movement of the PD queue every month in the Visa Bulletin: http://www.immigration.com/visa-bulletin

A publication of the US State Department that keeps track of the green card backlogs and informs us which "Priority Dates" are current so the applicants can expect to get through the last step of their green card processing. This is published every month around the 14th and tells us the availability for the following month. Note that certain categories of applicants ("immediate relatives") such as spouse of a US citizen are not shown in the visa bulletin because they are entitled to have their applications considered without any wait.

Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (now USCIS)

Central Intelligence Agency

Department of Homeland Security

Department of Justice

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Immigration and Naturalization Service (now reconstituted into USCIS)

Internal Revenue Service

Office of Management and Budget

Social Security Administration

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Earlier known as INS. USCIS is responsible for providing immigration benefits to applicants. Homepage http://wwww.uscis.gov

American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998.

Approval Date (When your application was approved)

Alien Documentation, Identification & Telecommunications System

Assistant Field Office Director

Abbreviation for American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Adjudications Officer

Administrative Review

Application Support Center: offers biometric services including fingerprinting services

Birth Certificate

Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (now USCIS)

Board of Immigrant Appeals

Biometrics (include Digital photo, index finger print and your digital signature). This is needed for the production of Green Card.

Customs and Border Protection

Central Intelligence Agency

Citizenship and Immigration Services

Consulate Officer

Consular Processing

Conditional Permanent Resident

Curricular Practical Training

Central Regional Office

California Service Center

Cancelled Without Prejudice

Deputy Field Office Director

Department of Homeland Security

Drivers License

Department of Motor Vehicles

Department of Justice

Department of Labor

Dallas Office Rapid Adjustment of Status

Department of State

Detention and Removal Operations

Diversity Visa (a.k.a. Green Card Lottery)

Eastern Application Center

Employment Authorization Document (I-765, approval to work while waiting for Adjustment of Status - AOS Approval)

Electronic Data Systems

Executive Office of Immigration Review

Expedited Removal

Eastern Regional Office

Entered Without Inspection

Foreign Affairs Manual

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Field Office Director

Finger Print

File Transfer Request

Green Card

Immigration Judge

International Marriage Brokers Act

Immigration and Nationality Act

Is an online appointment so you can go to your DO if you have a doubt or want to know something about your case in person or to request your interim EAD

Immigration and Naturalization Service (now called USCIS)

Immigration officer / Interviewing officer

Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986

Internal Revenue Service

Internet Service Provider

Immigrant Visa

Immigrant Visa Applicant Control System

John F. Kennedy International Airport

Kentucky Consular Center

Labor Condition Application

Lawful Permanent Resident

Lawful Permanent Resident Alien

Last Update Date on your on-line portfolio at USCIS website. It is the date when they last took action on your application, could be anything.

Machine Readable Data

Machine Readable Passport

Machine Readable Visa

Missouri Service Center

Notice Date (When USCIS notified you that they received your application)

National Data Entry Center

Non Immigrant Visa

Notice of Action is your receipt/letter that you received after you filed your forms (indicates I-797C)

Notice of Proposed Rule Making

Notice To Appear

Nebraska Service Center

National Visa Center

New York District Office

Office of Management and Budget

Optional Practical Training

Other Than Mexican

Police Clearance Certificate

Priority Date

Port of Entry

Permanent Resident (Also LPR - Legal Permanent Resident)

Quality Assurance

Receipt Date (When USCIS received your application)

Remote Adjudications Center

Request for Evidence

Request for Initial Evidence

Service Center (this is used with a prefix, eg CSC - California Service Center; MSC - Missouri Service Center, that is the address from where you will received your NOA (Notice of Action))

Supervisory Detention & Deportation Officer

Student Exchange Visitor Information System

Student and Exchange Visitor Program

Social Security Administration

Social Security Number

State Workforce Agency

When the UCSIS "Touches" your petition or file it means that an action was taken which required your file to be physically touched or moved. Example: Your file is touched when it is given to an adjudicator to process.

Temporary Protected Status

Texas Service Center

Transit Without Visa

US Citizen

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

System in airports that captures biometrics of people entering the country

Voluntary Return

Vermont Service Center

Visa Waiver Program

Western Application Center

Western Regional Office

Alien's Change of Address Form

NAFTA Professional visa

NAFTA Professional Dependant visa

Pre-Flight Inspection

PERM Processing: Program Electronic Review Management

Individual Taxpayer Identification Number

Interim EAD

Application to Replace Permanent Residence Card

Employment Eligibility Verification

Affidavit of Support

Application for Employment Authorization

Green Card

Application To Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status

Welcome Notice

Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker

Affidavit of Support

Application for Travel Document

Advance Parole or AP (Form I-131): The authorization to travel outside the US while your adjustment of status is pending. Note, Form I-131 is also used for Reentry Permit, an application by a US green card holder to be away from USA for over one year.

Administrative Appeals Office

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is temporary employment that is directly related to an F-1 student’s major area of study. Under the prior rules, an F-1 student could be authorized to receive up to a total of 12 months of practical training either before (pre-) and/or after (post-) completion of studies.

This is an abbreviation for test_term and can be deleted

AC21 is the name given to a law that provides for several matters including the ability to change jobs while an employment-based green card is pending (I-485 AC21 portability) and to start working for an H-1B employer as soon as transfer petition is filed with the USCIS.

AC21 is the name given to a law that provides for several matters including the ability to change jobs while an employment-based green card is pending (I-485 AC21 portability) and to start working for an H-1B employer as soon as transfer petition is filed with the USCIS.

American Immigration Lawyers Association

Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs

The process though which a person within USA obtains a change in their status to green card holder. This is usually the last step for (most not all) green card process.

Includes Zoologists, Botanists

Includes occupations in biochemistry, cytology, genetics, physiology

Fashion Models

Hotel management and related professions

An alternative to obtaining the last step in the green card through the consulates outside USA. This is an alternative to adjustment of status.

DOD (Department of Defense) project visas.

Includes CPA's CA's and all other accountants and auditors

Violence Against Women Act

Child Status Protection Act

Labor Condition Application. This is a part of some nonimmigrant visa applications process including H-1 visas. Not to be confused with "Labor Certification" also known as PERM, which is a part of the green card process. An LCA, or Labor Condition Application, is required to be submitted to and certified by the U.S. Department of Labor as a part of an H-1B application. The LCA serves to ensure that U.S. wages will not be depressed by the hiring of the H-1B employee and that the H-1B worker will not be exploited. In the LCA, the employer guarantees that it will pay the H-1B worker the required wage, which is the greater of the prevailing wage or the actual wage paid to other employees in the same position; that the H-1B employee will not displace a U.S. worker; and that the employment will not adversely affect the working conditions of workers similarly employed in the area of intended employment.

Also known as CIS Ombudsman, this office provides recommendations for resolving individual and employer problems with the USCIS. As mandated by the Homeland Security Act of 2002 § 452, CIS Ombudsman is an independent office that reports directly to the Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security. http://www.dhs.gov/xabout/structure/editorial_0482.shtm

PERM audits typically involve questions from the USDOL regarding the PERM filing.

Used mostly in the context of the last step in green card processing (Adjustment of Status), preadjudication means USCIS is proceeding to make decision on the file even though priority date is not yet current. The idea is that way when the PD gets current, all they need to do is send approval notice and then the green card. So if the AOS is preadjudicated, you still need to wait for the PD to become current.

Petition for a conditional resident who obtained status through marriage to apply to remove the conditions on his or her residence.

Vermont Service Center

California Service Center

Nebraska Service Center

Texas Service Center

Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO) is one of the three adjudicative bodies within the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). It has jurisdiction over three types of civil penalty cases: employer sanctions (INA § 274A - 8 USC § 1324a), unfair immigration-related employment practices (INA § 274B - 8 USC § 1324b), and immigration-related document fraud (INA § 274C - 8 USC § 1324c).

Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals is an adjudicative agency that decides in appeal PERM and wage disputes.

Certifying Officer is the highest Department of Labor officer for a region. They are charged, amongst other things, with the responsibility to adjudicate PERM and LCA cases.

Fraud Detection and National Security. FDNS was created to strengthen the ability of the U.S. Citizenship and
Immigration Services (USCIS) to provide the right benefit to the right person at the right time, and no benefit to the wrong person.

Citizenship in USA can be obtained through naturalization or through birth in USA.

The process through which a person becomes a US Citizen.

N-470 helps you preserve your stay abroad for naturalization under certain circumstances. So, even though you are living outside USA, you can accumulate that time for naturalization.

Electronic System for Travel Authorization

Congressional Research Service. A "think tank" that provides reports to members of Congress on a variety of topics relevant to current political events.

Missouri Service Center (MSC) was transitioned into the National Benefits Center (NBC). The NBC was established to serve as the hub and conduit for USCIS local field offices by completing all pre-interview processing of Forms generally requiring an interview. This pre-processing includes conducting background security checks, performing initial evidence reviews, adjudication of associated I-765 and I-131 applications (filed with the I-485 or separately), denial of adjustment of status cases for applicants who are statutorily ineligible, and forwarding scheduled cases to the USCIS local office for adjudication. In employment based cases, transfer to NBC usually means an interview can be expected. This can occur even if PD is retrogressed.

Online Form DS-160, Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application can only be used by visa applicants applying at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate which has converted to the new electronic fully online form and process. For more information visit travel.state.gov DS-160 informational webpage for a listing of embassy locations using Form DS-160. Next, visit one of the U.S. Embassy websites using the Form DS-160 and where you will apply, to review detailed nonimmigrant visa how-to-apply instructions, in addition to these FAQs.

1. Where can I find the DS-160?
You can access the DS-160 from the Consular Electronic Application Center website or from the link on the U.S. Embassy or Consulate website.

The mission of the Employment and Training Administration is to contribute to the more efficient functioning of the U.S. labor market by providing high quality job training, employment, labor market information, and income maintenance services primarily through state and local workforce development systems.

A form issued by school for applicants to obtain a Student Visa.

A form issued by school or sponsor for applicants to obtain a J Visa.

United Kingdom

Cyprus Immigration

Japan

France

Germany

Ireland

Kuwait Immigration

Saudi Arabia Immigration

United Arab Emirates Immigration

Singapore Immigration

Chile Immigration

China Immigration new

Egypt Immigration

France Immigration

Malaysia Immigration

Maldives Immigration

Malta Immigration

Mauritius Immigration

Nepal Immigration

Norway Immigration

New Zealand Immigration

Romania Immigration

South Africa Immigration

South Korea Immigration

Sweden Immigration

Switzerland immigration

Trinidad immigration

In April of 1994, the Department of State opened a permanent Immigrant Visa processing facility at the National Visa Center (NVC) in Portsmouth, NH. The NVC processes all approved immigrant visa petitions after they are received from Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security (CIS) and retains them until the cases are ready for adjudication by a consular officer abroad.

Every month, the Visa Office (VO) establishes Qualifying Dates that determine if a petition will be eligible for processing. Qualifying Dates are the latest priority dates that can be processed for certain visa categories. An immigrant visa petition can only become ready for further processing when the Qualifying Date in the appropriate visa category has advanced up to the priority date of the petition. Petitions may remain at NVC for several months or for many years depending on the visa category and country of birth of the visa applicant.

NVC’s Role

The NVC is responsible for the collection of visa application fees and visa application documentation. When an applicant's priority date meets the most recent Qualifying Date, the NVC will contact the applicant and petitioner with instructions for submitting the appropriate processing fees. After the appropriate processing fees are paid, the NVC will again contact the applicant and petitioner to request that the necessary immigrant visa documentation be submitted to the NVC.

The U.S. Department of State's official site for U.S. visa information

InfoPass is an Internet-based system that enables the public to go online to schedule appointments with immigration information officers at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offices. If you have a complex immigration question or need that is best addressed by a trained USCIS officer in person, InfoPass offers a convenient alternative to waiting in line for assistance. InfoPass is a secure Internet site.

8 C.F.R. ง 214.3(l)(1)(ii):

(l) Designated official.

(1) Meaning of term Designated Official. As used in งง 214.1(b), 214.2(b),
214.2(f), 214.2(m), and 214.4, a Designated Official, Designated School
Official (DSO), or Principal Designated School Official (PDSO), means a
regularly employed member of the school administration whose office is
located at the school and whose compensation does not come from commissions
for recruitment of foreign students. An individual whose principal
obligation to the school is to recruit foreign students for compensation
does not qualify as a designated official. The PDSO and any other DSO must
be named by the president, owner, or head of a school or school system. The
PDSO and DSO may not delegate this designation to any other person.

(i) A PDSO and DSO must be either a citizen or lawful permanent resident of
the United States.

(ii) Each campus must have one PDSO. The PDSO is responsible for updating
SEVIS to reflect the addition or deletion of any DSO on his or her
associated campus. SEVP will use the PDSO as the point of contact on any
issues that relate to the school's compliance with the regulations, as well
as any system alerts generated by SEVIS. SEVP may also designate certain
functions in SEVIS for use by the PDSO only. The PDSO of the main campus is
the only DSO authorized to submit a Form I-17 for recertification. The PDSO
and DSO will share the same responsibilities in all other respects.

(iii) Each school may have up to 10 designated officials at any one time,
including the PDSO. In a multi-campus school, each campus may have up to 10
designated officials at any one time including a required PDSO. In a private
elementary or public or private secondary school system, however, the entire
school system is limited to 10 designated officials at any one time
including the PDSO.

The DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, is a fully integrated online application form that is used to collect the necessary application information from a person seeking a nonimmigrant visa for temporary travel to the United States.

OFLC processes labor certification applications for employers seeking to bring foreign workers into the United States and grants certifications in those cases where employers can demonstrate that there are not sufficient U.S. workers available, willing and qualified to perform the work at wages that meet or exceed the prevailing wage paid for the occupation in the area of intended employment.

Designated School Official is a school officer designated to work with students and act as a representative of USCIS/ICE in certain matters.

Student and Exchange Visitor Information System www.ice.gov/sevis.

SEVIS is an Internet-based system that maintains accurate and current information on non-immigrant students (F and M visa), exchange visitors (J visa), and their dependents (F-2, M-2, and J-2). SEVIS enables schools and program sponsors to transmit electronic information and event notifications via the Internet, to the ICE and Department of State (DOS) throughout a student or exchange visitor’s stay in the United States. The system will reflect international student or exchange visitor status changes, such as admission at Port of Entry (POE), change of address, change in program of study, and other details. SEVIS will also provide system alerts, event notifications, and basic reports to the end-user schools, programs, and Immigration related field offices.

SEVP acts as the bridge for government organizations that have an interest in information on foreign students. SEVP helps the Department of Homeland Security and Department of State monitor school and exchange programs and F, M and J category visitors. SEVP administers the F and M visa categories, while the Department of State manages the J exchange visitor program.
SEVP uses the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), a web-based solution, to track and monitor schools and programs, students, exchange visitors and their dependents while approved to participate in the U.S. education system.
SEVP collects, maintains and provides the information so that only legitimate foreign students or exchange visitors gain entry to the United States. The result is an easily accessible information system that provides timely information to the Department of State, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
For more details, please visit the link, http://www.ice.gov/sevis/

Introduction:

VIBE is a web-based adjudication tool used by USCIS to validate basic information about companies petitioning to employ alien workers. VIBE uses commercially available data from an independent information provider (IIP) to validate basic information about companies petitioning to employ certain alien workers. Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) is the current IIP for this program.

This service is available to US based, privately held companies only. It is free of charge, and petitioning employers may access this process via D&B’s iUpdate for U.S. government customers -- a free, password-protected and encrypted online service tool offered by D&B.

Please note that USCIS does not expect or require petitioners to contact D&B or pay any fees associated with creating or updating an existing record. Employers who wish to update their information through D&B directly may be subject to direct marketing by the organization or encounter D&B representatives who may suggest a purchase of the firm’s products and services.

Purpose of VIBE:

The purpose behind VIBE is to increase the efficiency of the visa petitioning process by reducing the amount of documents employers have to submit with each petition in order to prove eligibility. Furthermore, USCIS will also be able to reduce the number of RFEs issued to otherwise eligible petitioners.

An important point to note is that USCIS will not deny a petition based solely on information from VIBE without at least first giving the petitioner an opportunity to respond to the RFEs or NOIDs issued by USCIS.

Please note that whether or not you choose to create a record or update your record with D&B, you must respond to any RFE or NOID received from USCIS. Failure to respond could result in the denial of your petition. Furthermore, it is necessary to resolve relevant inconsistencies in the information provided by the employer, on one hand, and information available on VIBE, on the other.

Employment Authorization Document. This is evidence that a person is authorized to work in USA. People undergoing Adjustment of Status (AOS or I-485 process) are entitled to an EAD.

Specific information related to our team and this site.

Deferred Action is consent by the Government not to deport (remove) an otherwise deport-able individual. Usually it is given for humanitarian reasons and work authorization is also provided. Unlawful presence is stopped during deferred action, but any unlawful presence already accrued does not get wiped away. Deferred action is not a visa or a full legal status.

Automatic Visa Revalidation - Definition from Travel.state.gov

Re-entering the U.S. with a Valid I-94 Form & Expired Visa is Limited
What Is Automatic Revalidation?

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has the authority and the responsibility over the admission of travelers to the U.S. Under the automatic revalidation provision of immigration law, certain temporary visitors holding expired nonimmigrant visas who seek to return to the U.S. may be admitted at a U.S. port of entry by CBP, if they meet certain requirements, including, but not limited to the following:

Nonimmigrants who departed the U.S. for brief travel to Canada, Mexico, or an adjacent island (for F and J nonimmigrants) for thirty days or less;
Nonimmigrants with a valid (unexpired) Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Record, endorsed by DHS.

More Information about Automatic Revalidation

For more information about automatic revalidation provisions and reentry to the U.S., visit the International Visitors webpage and the Automatic Revalidation Fact Sheet on the CBP website. Students and Exchange Visitors should review additional important information about travel outside the U.S. and reentry procedures on the DHS Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) website.

Automatic revalidation is not the same as applying for a new visa. If you apply for a new nonimmigrant visa, you cannot take advantage of automatic revalidation.
Who Must Reapply for and Be Reissued a Visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate?

This webpage explains which travelers must reapply and be reissued visas when their existing visas have expired, even if they are in possession of valid I-94 forms, in order to gain admission to reenter the U.S.

Many nonimmigrants will need to reapply and be reissued visas to reenter the U.S. when their existing visas have expired, even if they are in possession of valid I-94 forms, because automatic revalidation applies to limited categories of travelers. Refer to the Automatic Revalidation Fact Sheet on the CBP website. The following temporary visitors whose nonimmigrant visas have expired, but who have valid I-94 forms, must reapply for and be issued nonimmigrant visas prior to their reentry to the U.S., if one or more of the following situations exists (this is not a complete listing):

The nonimmigrant traveler with an expired nonimmigrant visa (but valid Form I-94):

Applied for a new visa which has not yet been issued;
Applied for a new visa and was denied;
Has been outside of the United States for more than thirty days;
Has traveled to a country other than Canada, Mexico, or an adjacent island which is not included in the automatic revalidation provisions;
Is a national of a State Sponsor of Terrorism designated country, including Cuba, Iran, Syria, and Sudan. Review more about State Sponsors of Terrorism and FAQs on this website;
Is in possession of an F student visa or J exchange visitor visa and has traveled to Cuba;
Is in possession of an M student visa and has traveled to a location outside the U.S., other than Canada and Mexico.

Additional Resources – Laws

The automatic revalidation provision of U.S. immigration law is described in both 8 CFR 214.1(b) and 22 CFR 112(d).
We Want You to Know

Visa News
Adoption Alerts
Diversity Visa
Visa Waiver Program (VWP)
Iraqis & Afghans-SIV
Business Visa Center
Customer Service Statement to Visa Applicants
Fraud Warning

Visa denial based upon immigrant intent defined in Section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Immigrant intent becomes an issue when an applicant outside or inside USA seeks a benefit (such as a visa, when outside USA, or a change of status, when within USA) that does not allow an applicant to possess the intention of residing permanently in USA ("immigrant intent"). For example, an applicant for a visitor's visa must not have the intention to reside in USA permanently. Their visa can be refused if they have immigrant intent.

NOIR (Notice of Intent to Revoke) is a notice the government issues when it intends to revoke (cancel) approval of a case that it has already approved. This happens when the government notices that the case either should not have been approved initially or, subsequent to the approval, has become revocable. This notice gives us a last chance to present evidence and arguments why the government should not revoke the approval.

NOID (Notice of Intent to Deny) is a notice the government issues when it intends to deny a pending case and gives us a last chance to present evidence and arguments why it should not be denied.

NOID (Notice of Intent to Deny) is a notice the government issues when it intends to deny a case and gives us a last chance to present evidence and arguments why it should not be denied.

NOIR (Notice of Intent to Revoke) is a notice the government issues when it plans to remove approval of a case that it has already approved. This happens when the government notices that the case either should not have been approved initially or, subsequent to the approval, has become revocable. This notice gives us a last chance to present evidence and arguments why the government should not revoke the approval.

NOIR (Notice of Intent to Revoke) is a notice the government issues when it plans to remove approval of a case that it has already approved. This happens when the government notices that the case either should not have been approved initially or, subsequent to the approval, has become revocable. This notice gives us a last chance to present evidence and arguments why the government should not revoke the approval.

NOID (Notice of Intent to Deny) is a notice the government issues when it intends to deny a case and gives us a last chance to present evidence and arguments why it should not be denied.

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. The term often refers to the Designated Degree program requiring a degree in one of these fields of study. STEM programs, in recognition of their importance to US interests, are awarded special consideration in certain areas under US immigration laws.

A Returning Resident Permit, or SB-1 Visa, is what a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR or Green Card holder) can get to return to the United States after being out of the country for more than one year. When an LPR leaves the United States, they must return within a year. If they stay more than a year, they must obtain a Returning Resident Permit in order to return. This also applies to those who remain outside of the country longer than is allowed by their reentry permit.
You apply for a returning residence visa through the consulate in your home country. There, you have to explain in quite some detail the genuine reason for your inability to return to USA within one year. It is discretionary upon the consulate whether they are convinced by the genuineness of your response or not.
For more information, see this State Department’s webpage: http://travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/info/info_1333.html

A Returning Resident Permit, or SB-1 Visa, is what a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR or Green Card holder) can get to return to the United States after being out of the country for more than one year. When an LPR leaves the United States, they must return within a year. If they stay more than a year, they must obtain a Returning Resident Permit in order to return. This also applies to those who remain outside of the country longer than is allowed by their reentry permit.
You apply for a returning residence visa through the consulate in your home country. There, you have to explain in quite some detail the genuine reason for your inability to return to USA within one year. It is discretionary upon the consulate whether they are convinced by the genuineness of your response or not.
For more information, see this State Department’s webpage: http://travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/info/info_1333.html

U.S. Legislature responsible for making laws. Consists of two houses: Senate and the House of Representatives.

One of the two houses of U.S. Legislature responsible for making laws. The other is the House of Representatives.

One of the two houses of U.S. Legislature responsible for making laws. The other is the Senate.

Default Web Links group

We host free calls for the community every other Thursday at 12:30 pm Eastern Standard Time.  All are welcome to call in phone 202-800-8394 and ask their questions.

This content is tagged for employers and Human Resources professionals responsible for hiring foreign professionals/workers in USA

US Department of Labor is charged with protecting the labor market and investigation and enforcement activities related to that.

Immigration and Custom Enforcement. This agency used to be a part of old INS. When DHS was formed, enforcement personnel of US Customs Service and INS were combined to form ICE, which is now responsible for a large part of immigration enforcement activity.

Department of State (State Department) is responsible for issuing visas, which are a permission to travel to USA.

A method to obtain green card used to avoid the need for PERM based labor certification.

Customs and Border Protection. This agency was spun off from old INS. CBP is responsible for inspecting people when they land at airports, docks and land borders.

To qualify for an A-1 (or A-2 visa), you must be traveling to the United States on behalf of your national government to engage solely in official activities for that government.  The fact that there may be government interest or control in a given organization is not in itself the defining factor in determining if you qualify for an A visa; the particular duties or services that will be performed must be governmental in character or nature, as determined by the United States Department of State, in accordance with U.S. immigration laws. Government officials traveling to the United States to perform non-governmental functions of a commercial nature, or traveling as tourists, require some other appropriate visa, and do not qualify for A visas.

To qualify for an A-2 (or A-1 visa), you must be traveling to the United States on behalf of your national government to engage solely in official activities for that government. The fact that there may be government interest or control in a given organization is not in itself the defining factor in determining if you qualify for an A visa; the particular duties or services that will be performed must be governmental in character or nature, as determined by the United States Department of State, in accordance with U.S. immigration laws. Government officials traveling to the United States to perform non-governmental functions of a commercial nature, or traveling as tourists, require some other appropriate visa, and do not qualify for A visas.

Consulates all over the world issue visas - a permission to enter USA for a specific purpose. Consulates are a part of the State Department (DOS - Department of State).

Bangladesh Immigration

Indonesia Immigration

I-94 aka Arrival Departure Record is what governs your status in the USA. An expired I-94 can lead to bar from entering USA for 3 to 10 years.See details on "Unlawful Presence".

When used in relation to immigration, this is another name for being LEGALLY present in the USA

This is a complicated term. Very simply (there is a lot more to it), you could have your status expire and still be authorized to stay in USA awaiting the outcome of a legally filed petition. This is something less than "Status" but much better than "Unlawful Presence."

This is another complicated concept with some very serious consequences. Briefly, if you have been unlawfully present in USA for more than 180 days, you cannot come back to USA for 3 years and if unlawfully present for a year or more, you cannot come back for 10 years. Very generally speaking unlawful presence begins after expiration of the I-94 or after having been asked by the govt. to leave USA.

These are topics related to appeals and motions for reconsideration or reopening of decisions (MTR) by govt. agencies such as USCIS, USDOL, etc.

These are topics related to appeals and motions for reconsideration or reopening of decisions (MTR) by govt. agencies such as USCIS, USDOL, etc.

Adjustment of Status

Includes topics of loss of physical green card papers or the card itself as well as loss of green card through abandonment and criminal activity.

When used in relation to immigration, this is another name for extending your status.

Employees working in USA

Personal employees, attendants and servants of A-1 and A-2 visa holders.

EB4 category is for religious workers.

“Priority Date” determines your place in the queue for waiting for green card in the categories where there is a wait. When the govt. has reached your PD, it is said to be “current.” For family-based green cards, PD is the date your I-130 was filed; for PERM-based cases, the date your PERM was filed; for employment-based cases other than through PERM (like EB-1 cases), PD is the date your I-140 was filed. DOS publishes the movement of the PD queue every month in the Visa Bulletin: http://www.immigration.com/visa-bulletin

A publication of the US State Department that keeps track of the green card backlogs and informs us which "Priority Dates" are current so the applicants can expect to get through the last step of their green card processing. This is published every month around the 14th and tells us the availability for the following month. Note that certain categories of applicants ("immediate relatives") such as spouse of a US citizen are not shown in the visa bulletin because they are entitled to have their applications considered without any wait.

Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (now USCIS)

Central Intelligence Agency

Department of Homeland Security

Department of Justice

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Immigration and Naturalization Service (now reconstituted into USCIS)

Internal Revenue Service

Office of Management and Budget

Social Security Administration

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Earlier known as INS. USCIS is responsible for providing immigration benefits to applicants. Homepage http://wwww.uscis.gov

American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998.

Approval Date (When your application was approved)

Alien Documentation, Identification & Telecommunications System

Assistant Field Office Director

Abbreviation for American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Adjudications Officer

Administrative Review

Application Support Center: offers biometric services including fingerprinting services

Birth Certificate

Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (now USCIS)

Board of Immigrant Appeals

Biometrics (include Digital photo, index finger print and your digital signature). This is needed for the production of Green Card.

Customs and Border Protection

Central Intelligence Agency

Citizenship and Immigration Services

Consulate Officer

Consular Processing

Conditional Permanent Resident

Curricular Practical Training

Central Regional Office

California Service Center

Cancelled Without Prejudice

Deputy Field Office Director

Department of Homeland Security

Drivers License

Department of Motor Vehicles

Department of Justice

Department of Labor

Dallas Office Rapid Adjustment of Status

Department of State

Detention and Removal Operations

Diversity Visa (a.k.a. Green Card Lottery)

Eastern Application Center

Employment Authorization Document (I-765, approval to work while waiting for Adjustment of Status - AOS Approval)

Electronic Data Systems

Executive Office of Immigration Review

Expedited Removal

Eastern Regional Office

Entered Without Inspection

Foreign Affairs Manual

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Field Office Director

Finger Print

File Transfer Request

Green Card

Immigration Judge

International Marriage Brokers Act

Immigration and Nationality Act

Is an online appointment so you can go to your DO if you have a doubt or want to know something about your case in person or to request your interim EAD

Immigration and Naturalization Service (now called USCIS)

Immigration officer / Interviewing officer

Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986

Internal Revenue Service

Internet Service Provider

Immigrant Visa

Immigrant Visa Applicant Control System

John F. Kennedy International Airport

Kentucky Consular Center

Labor Condition Application

Lawful Permanent Resident

Lawful Permanent Resident Alien

Last Update Date on your on-line portfolio at USCIS website. It is the date when they last took action on your application, could be anything.

Machine Readable Data

Machine Readable Passport

Machine Readable Visa

Missouri Service Center

Notice Date (When USCIS notified you that they received your application)

National Data Entry Center

Non Immigrant Visa

Notice of Action is your receipt/letter that you received after you filed your forms (indicates I-797C)

Notice of Proposed Rule Making

Notice To Appear

Nebraska Service Center

National Visa Center

New York District Office

Office of Management and Budget

Optional Practical Training

Other Than Mexican

Police Clearance Certificate

Priority Date

Port of Entry

Permanent Resident (Also LPR - Legal Permanent Resident)

Quality Assurance

Receipt Date (When USCIS received your application)

Remote Adjudications Center

Request for Evidence

Request for Initial Evidence

Service Center (this is used with a prefix, eg CSC - California Service Center; MSC - Missouri Service Center, that is the address from where you will received your NOA (Notice of Action))

Supervisory Detention & Deportation Officer

Student Exchange Visitor Information System

Student and Exchange Visitor Program

Social Security Administration

Social Security Number

State Workforce Agency

When the UCSIS "Touches" your petition or file it means that an action was taken which required your file to be physically touched or moved. Example: Your file is touched when it is given to an adjudicator to process.

Temporary Protected Status

Texas Service Center

Transit Without Visa

US Citizen

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

System in airports that captures biometrics of people entering the country

Voluntary Return

Vermont Service Center

Visa Waiver Program

Western Application Center

Western Regional Office

Alien's Change of Address Form

NAFTA Professional visa

NAFTA Professional Dependant visa

Pre-Flight Inspection

PERM Processing: Program Electronic Review Management

Individual Taxpayer Identification Number

Interim EAD

Application to Replace Permanent Residence Card

Employment Eligibility Verification

Affidavit of Support

Application for Employment Authorization

Green Card

Application To Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status

Welcome Notice

Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker

Affidavit of Support

Application for Travel Document

Advance Parole or AP (Form I-131): The authorization to travel outside the US while your adjustment of status is pending. Note, Form I-131 is also used for Reentry Permit, an application by a US green card holder to be away from USA for over one year.

Administrative Appeals Office

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is temporary employment that is directly related to an F-1 student’s major area of study. Under the prior rules, an F-1 student could be authorized to receive up to a total of 12 months of practical training either before (pre-) and/or after (post-) completion of studies.

This is an abbreviation for test_term and can be deleted

AC21 is the name given to a law that provides for several matters including the ability to change jobs while an employment-based green card is pending (I-485 AC21 portability) and to start working for an H-1B employer as soon as transfer petition is filed with the USCIS.

AC21 is the name given to a law that provides for several matters including the ability to change jobs while an employment-based green card is pending (I-485 AC21 portability) and to start working for an H-1B employer as soon as transfer petition is filed with the USCIS.

American Immigration Lawyers Association

Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs

The process though which a person within USA obtains a change in their status to green card holder. This is usually the last step for (most not all) green card process.

Includes Zoologists, Botanists

Includes occupations in biochemistry, cytology, genetics, physiology

Fashion Models

Hotel management and related professions

An alternative to obtaining the last step in the green card through the consulates outside USA. This is an alternative to adjustment of status.

DOD (Department of Defense) project visas.

Includes CPA's CA's and all other accountants and auditors

Violence Against Women Act

Child Status Protection Act

Labor Condition Application. This is a part of some nonimmigrant visa applications process including H-1 visas. Not to be confused with "Labor Certification" also known as PERM, which is a part of the green card process. An LCA, or Labor Condition Application, is required to be submitted to and certified by the U.S. Department of Labor as a part of an H-1B application. The LCA serves to ensure that U.S. wages will not be depressed by the hiring of the H-1B employee and that the H-1B worker will not be exploited. In the LCA, the employer guarantees that it will pay the H-1B worker the required wage, which is the greater of the prevailing wage or the actual wage paid to other employees in the same position; that the H-1B employee will not displace a U.S. worker; and that the employment will not adversely affect the working conditions of workers similarly employed in the area of intended employment.

Also known as CIS Ombudsman, this office provides recommendations for resolving individual and employer problems with the USCIS. As mandated by the Homeland Security Act of 2002 § 452, CIS Ombudsman is an independent office that reports directly to the Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security. http://www.dhs.gov/xabout/structure/editorial_0482.shtm

PERM audits typically involve questions from the USDOL regarding the PERM filing.

Used mostly in the context of the last step in green card processing (Adjustment of Status), preadjudication means USCIS is proceeding to make decision on the file even though priority date is not yet current. The idea is that way when the PD gets current, all they need to do is send approval notice and then the green card. So if the AOS is preadjudicated, you still need to wait for the PD to become current.

Petition for a conditional resident who obtained status through marriage to apply to remove the conditions on his or her residence.

Vermont Service Center

California Service Center

Nebraska Service Center

Texas Service Center

Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO) is one of the three adjudicative bodies within the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). It has jurisdiction over three types of civil penalty cases: employer sanctions (INA § 274A - 8 USC § 1324a), unfair immigration-related employment practices (INA § 274B - 8 USC § 1324b), and immigration-related document fraud (INA § 274C - 8 USC § 1324c).

Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals is an adjudicative agency that decides in appeal PERM and wage disputes.

Certifying Officer is the highest Department of Labor officer for a region. They are charged, amongst other things, with the responsibility to adjudicate PERM and LCA cases.

Fraud Detection and National Security. FDNS was created to strengthen the ability of the U.S. Citizenship and
Immigration Services (USCIS) to provide the right benefit to the right person at the right time, and no benefit to the wrong person.

Citizenship in USA can be obtained through naturalization or through birth in USA.

The process through which a person becomes a US Citizen.

N-470 helps you preserve your stay abroad for naturalization under certain circumstances. So, even though you are living outside USA, you can accumulate that time for naturalization.

Electronic System for Travel Authorization

Congressional Research Service. A "think tank" that provides reports to members of Congress on a variety of topics relevant to current political events.

Missouri Service Center (MSC) was transitioned into the National Benefits Center (NBC). The NBC was established to serve as the hub and conduit for USCIS local field offices by completing all pre-interview processing of Forms generally requiring an interview. This pre-processing includes conducting background security checks, performing initial evidence reviews, adjudication of associated I-765 and I-131 applications (filed with the I-485 or separately), denial of adjustment of status cases for applicants who are statutorily ineligible, and forwarding scheduled cases to the USCIS local office for adjudication. In employment based cases, transfer to NBC usually means an interview can be expected. This can occur even if PD is retrogressed.

Online Form DS-160, Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application can only be used by visa applicants applying at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate which has converted to the new electronic fully online form and process. For more information visit travel.state.gov DS-160 informational webpage for a listing of embassy locations using Form DS-160. Next, visit one of the U.S. Embassy websites using the Form DS-160 and where you will apply, to review detailed nonimmigrant visa how-to-apply instructions, in addition to these FAQs.

1. Where can I find the DS-160?
You can access the DS-160 from the Consular Electronic Application Center website or from the link on the U.S. Embassy or Consulate website.

The mission of the Employment and Training Administration is to contribute to the more efficient functioning of the U.S. labor market by providing high quality job training, employment, labor market information, and income maintenance services primarily through state and local workforce development systems.

A form issued by school for applicants to obtain a Student Visa.

A form issued by school or sponsor for applicants to obtain a J Visa.

United Kingdom

Cyprus Immigration

Japan

France

Germany

Ireland

Kuwait Immigration

Saudi Arabia Immigration

United Arab Emirates Immigration

Singapore Immigration

Chile Immigration

China Immigration new

Egypt Immigration

France Immigration

Malaysia Immigration

Maldives Immigration

Malta Immigration

Mauritius Immigration

Nepal Immigration

Norway Immigration

New Zealand Immigration

Romania Immigration

South Africa Immigration

South Korea Immigration

Sweden Immigration

Switzerland immigration

Trinidad immigration

In April of 1994, the Department of State opened a permanent Immigrant Visa processing facility at the National Visa Center (NVC) in Portsmouth, NH. The NVC processes all approved immigrant visa petitions after they are received from Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security (CIS) and retains them until the cases are ready for adjudication by a consular officer abroad.

Every month, the Visa Office (VO) establishes Qualifying Dates that determine if a petition will be eligible for processing. Qualifying Dates are the latest priority dates that can be processed for certain visa categories. An immigrant visa petition can only become ready for further processing when the Qualifying Date in the appropriate visa category has advanced up to the priority date of the petition. Petitions may remain at NVC for several months or for many years depending on the visa category and country of birth of the visa applicant.

NVC’s Role

The NVC is responsible for the collection of visa application fees and visa application documentation. When an applicant's priority date meets the most recent Qualifying Date, the NVC will contact the applicant and petitioner with instructions for submitting the appropriate processing fees. After the appropriate processing fees are paid, the NVC will again contact the applicant and petitioner to request that the necessary immigrant visa documentation be submitted to the NVC.

The U.S. Department of State's official site for U.S. visa information

InfoPass is an Internet-based system that enables the public to go online to schedule appointments with immigration information officers at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offices. If you have a complex immigration question or need that is best addressed by a trained USCIS officer in person, InfoPass offers a convenient alternative to waiting in line for assistance. InfoPass is a secure Internet site.

8 C.F.R. ง 214.3(l)(1)(ii):

(l) Designated official.

(1) Meaning of term Designated Official. As used in งง 214.1(b), 214.2(b),
214.2(f), 214.2(m), and 214.4, a Designated Official, Designated School
Official (DSO), or Principal Designated School Official (PDSO), means a
regularly employed member of the school administration whose office is
located at the school and whose compensation does not come from commissions
for recruitment of foreign students. An individual whose principal
obligation to the school is to recruit foreign students for compensation
does not qualify as a designated official. The PDSO and any other DSO must
be named by the president, owner, or head of a school or school system. The
PDSO and DSO may not delegate this designation to any other person.

(i) A PDSO and DSO must be either a citizen or lawful permanent resident of
the United States.

(ii) Each campus must have one PDSO. The PDSO is responsible for updating
SEVIS to reflect the addition or deletion of any DSO on his or her
associated campus. SEVP will use the PDSO as the point of contact on any
issues that relate to the school's compliance with the regulations, as well
as any system alerts generated by SEVIS. SEVP may also designate certain
functions in SEVIS for use by the PDSO only. The PDSO of the main campus is
the only DSO authorized to submit a Form I-17 for recertification. The PDSO
and DSO will share the same responsibilities in all other respects.

(iii) Each school may have up to 10 designated officials at any one time,
including the PDSO. In a multi-campus school, each campus may have up to 10
designated officials at any one time including a required PDSO. In a private
elementary or public or private secondary school system, however, the entire
school system is limited to 10 designated officials at any one time
including the PDSO.

The DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, is a fully integrated online application form that is used to collect the necessary application information from a person seeking a nonimmigrant visa for temporary travel to the United States.

OFLC processes labor certification applications for employers seeking to bring foreign workers into the United States and grants certifications in those cases where employers can demonstrate that there are not sufficient U.S. workers available, willing and qualified to perform the work at wages that meet or exceed the prevailing wage paid for the occupation in the area of intended employment.

Designated School Official is a school officer designated to work with students and act as a representative of USCIS/ICE in certain matters.

Student and Exchange Visitor Information System www.ice.gov/sevis.

SEVIS is an Internet-based system that maintains accurate and current information on non-immigrant students (F and M visa), exchange visitors (J visa), and their dependents (F-2, M-2, and J-2). SEVIS enables schools and program sponsors to transmit electronic information and event notifications via the Internet, to the ICE and Department of State (DOS) throughout a student or exchange visitor’s stay in the United States. The system will reflect international student or exchange visitor status changes, such as admission at Port of Entry (POE), change of address, change in program of study, and other details. SEVIS will also provide system alerts, event notifications, and basic reports to the end-user schools, programs, and Immigration related field offices.

SEVP acts as the bridge for government organizations that have an interest in information on foreign students. SEVP helps the Department of Homeland Security and Department of State monitor school and exchange programs and F, M and J category visitors. SEVP administers the F and M visa categories, while the Department of State manages the J exchange visitor program.
SEVP uses the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), a web-based solution, to track and monitor schools and programs, students, exchange visitors and their dependents while approved to participate in the U.S. education system.
SEVP collects, maintains and provides the information so that only legitimate foreign students or exchange visitors gain entry to the United States. The result is an easily accessible information system that provides timely information to the Department of State, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
For more details, please visit the link, http://www.ice.gov/sevis/

Introduction:

VIBE is a web-based adjudication tool used by USCIS to validate basic information about companies petitioning to employ alien workers. VIBE uses commercially available data from an independent information provider (IIP) to validate basic information about companies petitioning to employ certain alien workers. Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) is the current IIP for this program.

This service is available to US based, privately held companies only. It is free of charge, and petitioning employers may access this process via D&B’s iUpdate for U.S. government customers -- a free, password-protected and encrypted online service tool offered by D&B.

Please note that USCIS does not expect or require petitioners to contact D&B or pay any fees associated with creating or updating an existing record. Employers who wish to update their information through D&B directly may be subject to direct marketing by the organization or encounter D&B representatives who may suggest a purchase of the firm’s products and services.

Purpose of VIBE:

The purpose behind VIBE is to increase the efficiency of the visa petitioning process by reducing the amount of documents employers have to submit with each petition in order to prove eligibility. Furthermore, USCIS will also be able to reduce the number of RFEs issued to otherwise eligible petitioners.

An important point to note is that USCIS will not deny a petition based solely on information from VIBE without at least first giving the petitioner an opportunity to respond to the RFEs or NOIDs issued by USCIS.

Please note that whether or not you choose to create a record or update your record with D&B, you must respond to any RFE or NOID received from USCIS. Failure to respond could result in the denial of your petition. Furthermore, it is necessary to resolve relevant inconsistencies in the information provided by the employer, on one hand, and information available on VIBE, on the other.

Employment Authorization Document. This is evidence that a person is authorized to work in USA. People undergoing Adjustment of Status (AOS or I-485 process) are entitled to an EAD.

Specific information related to our team and this site.

Deferred Action is consent by the Government not to deport (remove) an otherwise deport-able individual. Usually it is given for humanitarian reasons and work authorization is also provided. Unlawful presence is stopped during deferred action, but any unlawful presence already accrued does not get wiped away. Deferred action is not a visa or a full legal status.

Automatic Visa Revalidation - Definition from Travel.state.gov

Re-entering the U.S. with a Valid I-94 Form & Expired Visa is Limited
What Is Automatic Revalidation?

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has the authority and the responsibility over the admission of travelers to the U.S. Under the automatic revalidation provision of immigration law, certain temporary visitors holding expired nonimmigrant visas who seek to return to the U.S. may be admitted at a U.S. port of entry by CBP, if they meet certain requirements, including, but not limited to the following:

Nonimmigrants who departed the U.S. for brief travel to Canada, Mexico, or an adjacent island (for F and J nonimmigrants) for thirty days or less;
Nonimmigrants with a valid (unexpired) Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Record, endorsed by DHS.

More Information about Automatic Revalidation

For more information about automatic revalidation provisions and reentry to the U.S., visit the International Visitors webpage and the Automatic Revalidation Fact Sheet on the CBP website. Students and Exchange Visitors should review additional important information about travel outside the U.S. and reentry procedures on the DHS Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) website.

Automatic revalidation is not the same as applying for a new visa. If you apply for a new nonimmigrant visa, you cannot take advantage of automatic revalidation.
Who Must Reapply for and Be Reissued a Visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate?

This webpage explains which travelers must reapply and be reissued visas when their existing visas have expired, even if they are in possession of valid I-94 forms, in order to gain admission to reenter the U.S.

Many nonimmigrants will need to reapply and be reissued visas to reenter the U.S. when their existing visas have expired, even if they are in possession of valid I-94 forms, because automatic revalidation applies to limited categories of travelers. Refer to the Automatic Revalidation Fact Sheet on the CBP website. The following temporary visitors whose nonimmigrant visas have expired, but who have valid I-94 forms, must reapply for and be issued nonimmigrant visas prior to their reentry to the U.S., if one or more of the following situations exists (this is not a complete listing):

The nonimmigrant traveler with an expired nonimmigrant visa (but valid Form I-94):

Applied for a new visa which has not yet been issued;
Applied for a new visa and was denied;
Has been outside of the United States for more than thirty days;
Has traveled to a country other than Canada, Mexico, or an adjacent island which is not included in the automatic revalidation provisions;
Is a national of a State Sponsor of Terrorism designated country, including Cuba, Iran, Syria, and Sudan. Review more about State Sponsors of Terrorism and FAQs on this website;
Is in possession of an F student visa or J exchange visitor visa and has traveled to Cuba;
Is in possession of an M student visa and has traveled to a location outside the U.S., other than Canada and Mexico.

Additional Resources – Laws

The automatic revalidation provision of U.S. immigration law is described in both 8 CFR 214.1(b) and 22 CFR 112(d).
We Want You to Know

Visa News
Adoption Alerts
Diversity Visa
Visa Waiver Program (VWP)
Iraqis & Afghans-SIV
Business Visa Center
Customer Service Statement to Visa Applicants
Fraud Warning

Visa denial based upon immigrant intent defined in Section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Immigrant intent becomes an issue when an applicant outside or inside USA seeks a benefit (such as a visa, when outside USA, or a change of status, when within USA) that does not allow an applicant to possess the intention of residing permanently in USA ("immigrant intent"). For example, an applicant for a visitor's visa must not have the intention to reside in USA permanently. Their visa can be refused if they have immigrant intent.

NOIR (Notice of Intent to Revoke) is a notice the government issues when it intends to revoke (cancel) approval of a case that it has already approved. This happens when the government notices that the case either should not have been approved initially or, subsequent to the approval, has become revocable. This notice gives us a last chance to present evidence and arguments why the government should not revoke the approval.

NOID (Notice of Intent to Deny) is a notice the government issues when it intends to deny a pending case and gives us a last chance to present evidence and arguments why it should not be denied.

NOID (Notice of Intent to Deny) is a notice the government issues when it intends to deny a case and gives us a last chance to present evidence and arguments why it should not be denied.

NOIR (Notice of Intent to Revoke) is a notice the government issues when it plans to remove approval of a case that it has already approved. This happens when the government notices that the case either should not have been approved initially or, subsequent to the approval, has become revocable. This notice gives us a last chance to present evidence and arguments why the government should not revoke the approval.

NOIR (Notice of Intent to Revoke) is a notice the government issues when it plans to remove approval of a case that it has already approved. This happens when the government notices that the case either should not have been approved initially or, subsequent to the approval, has become revocable. This notice gives us a last chance to present evidence and arguments why the government should not revoke the approval.

NOID (Notice of Intent to Deny) is a notice the government issues when it intends to deny a case and gives us a last chance to present evidence and arguments why it should not be denied.

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. The term often refers to the Designated Degree program requiring a degree in one of these fields of study. STEM programs, in recognition of their importance to US interests, are awarded special consideration in certain areas under US immigration laws.

A Returning Resident Permit, or SB-1 Visa, is what a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR or Green Card holder) can get to return to the United States after being out of the country for more than one year. When an LPR leaves the United States, they must return within a year. If they stay more than a year, they must obtain a Returning Resident Permit in order to return. This also applies to those who remain outside of the country longer than is allowed by their reentry permit.
You apply for a returning residence visa through the consulate in your home country. There, you have to explain in quite some detail the genuine reason for your inability to return to USA within one year. It is discretionary upon the consulate whether they are convinced by the genuineness of your response or not.
For more information, see this State Department’s webpage: http://travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/info/info_1333.html

A Returning Resident Permit, or SB-1 Visa, is what a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR or Green Card holder) can get to return to the United States after being out of the country for more than one year. When an LPR leaves the United States, they must return within a year. If they stay more than a year, they must obtain a Returning Resident Permit in order to return. This also applies to those who remain outside of the country longer than is allowed by their reentry permit.
You apply for a returning residence visa through the consulate in your home country. There, you have to explain in quite some detail the genuine reason for your inability to return to USA within one year. It is discretionary upon the consulate whether they are convinced by the genuineness of your response or not.
For more information, see this State Department’s webpage: http://travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/info/info_1333.html

U.S. Legislature responsible for making laws. Consists of two houses: Senate and the House of Representatives.

One of the two houses of U.S. Legislature responsible for making laws. The other is the House of Representatives.

One of the two houses of U.S. Legislature responsible for making laws. The other is the Senate.

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