Q Visa Law

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Sec. 214.2(q)  Cultural Visitors


  (1) (i) International cultural exchange visitors program . Paragraphs (q)(2) through (q)(11) of this section provide the rules governing nonimmigrant aliens who are visiting the United States temporarily in an international cultural exchange visitors program (Q-1). (Added 3/17/00; 65 FR 14774 )  
(ii) Irish peace process cultural and training program. Paragraph (q)(15) of this section provides the rules governing nonimmigrant aliens who are visiting the United States temporarily under the Irish peace process cultural and training program (Q-2) and their dependents (Q-3). (Added 3/17/00; 65 FR 14774 )

(iii) Definitions. As used in this section: (Redesignated 3/17/00 as paragraph (q)(1)(iii), previously paragraph (q)(1)(i); 65 FR 14774

  Country of nationality means the country of which the participant was a national at the time of the petition seeking international cultural exchange visitor status for him or her.

  Doing business means the regular, systematic, and continuous provision of goods and/or services (including lectures, seminars and other types of cultural programs) by a qualified employer which has employees, and does not include the mere presence of an agent or office of the qualifying employer.

  Duration of program means the time in which a qualified employer is conducting an approved international cultural exchange program in the manner as established by the employer's petition for program approval, provided that the period of time does not exceed 15 months. (Amended 3/17/00; 65 FR 14774 )

  International cultural exchange visitor means an alien who has a residence in a foreign country which he or she has no intention of abandoning, and who is coming temporarily to the United States to take part in an international cultural exchange program approved by the Attorney General. (Amended 3/17/00; 65 FR 14774 )

  Petitioner means the employer or its designated agent who has been employed by the qualified employer on a permanent basis in an executive or managerial capacity. The designated agent must be a United States citizen, an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence, or an alien provided temporary residence status under sections 210 or 245A of the Act.

  Qualified employer means a United States or foreign firm, corporation, non-profit organization, or other legal entity (including its U.S. branches, subsidiaries, affiliates, and franchises) which administers an international cultural exchange program designated by the Attorney General in accordance with the provisions of section 101(a)(15)(Q)(i) of the Act. (Amended 3/17/00; 65 FR 14774 )

(2) Admission of international cultural exchange visitor -- (Revised paragraph heading 3/17/00; 65 FR 14774 )

(i) General. A nonimmigrant alien may be authorized to enter the United States as a participant in an international cultural exchange program approved by the Attorney General for the purpose of providing practical training, employment, and the sharing of the history, culture, and traditions of the country of the alien's nationality. The period of admission is the duration of the approved international cultural exchange program or fifteen (15) months, whichever is shorter. A nonimmigrant alien admitted under this p rovision is classifiable as an international cultural exchange visitor in Q-1 status. (Amended 3/17/00; 65 FR 14774 )

(ii) Limitation on admission. Any alien who has been admitted into the United States as an international cultural exchange visitor under section 101(a)(15)(Q)(i) of the Act shall not be readmitted in Q-1 status unless the alien has resided and been physically present outside the United States for the immediate prior year. Brief trips to the United States for pleasure or business during the immediate prior year do not break the continuity of the one-year foreign residency. (Amended 3/17/00; 65 FR 14774 )

(3) International cultural exchange program. -- (i) General . A United States employer shall petition the Attorney General on Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, for approval of an international cultural exchange program which is designed to provide an opportunity for the American public to learn about foreign cultures. The United States employer must simultaneously petition on the same Form I-129 for the authorization for one or more individually identified nonimmigrant aliens to be admitted in Q-1 status. These aliens are to be admitted to engage in employment or training of which the essential element is the sharing with the American public, or a segment of the public sharing a common cultural interest, of the culture of the alien's country of nationality. The international cultural exchange visitor's eligibility for admission will be considered only if the international cultural exchange program is approved. (Amended 3/17/00; 65 FR 14774 )

(ii) Program validity. Each petition for an international cultural exchange program will be approved for the duration of the program, which may not exceed 15 months, plus 30 days to allow time for the participants to make travel arrangements. Subsequent to the approval of the initial petition, a new petition must be filed each time the qualified employer wishes to bring in additional cultural visitors. A qualified employer may replace or substitute a participant named on a previously approved petition for the remainder of the program in accordance with paragraph (q)(6) of this section. The replacement or substituting alien may be admitted in Q-1 status until the expiration date of the approved petition. (Amended 3/17/00; 65 FR 14774 )

(iii) Requirements for program approval . An international cultural exchange program must meet all of the following requirements:

(A) Accessibility to the public. The international cultural exchange program must take place in a school, museum, business or other establishment where the American public, or a segment of the public sharing a common cultural interest, is exposed to aspects of a foreign culture as part of a structured program. Activities that take place in a private home or an isolated business setting to which the American public, or a segment of the public sharing a common cultural interest, does not have direct access do not qualify.

(B) Cultural component. The international cultural exchange program must have a cultural component which is an essential and integral part of the international cultural exchange visitor's employment or training. The cultural component must be designed, on the whole, to exhibit or explain the attitude, customs, history, heritage, philosophy, or traditions of the international cultural exchange visitor's country of nationality. A cultural component may include structured instructional activities such as seminars, courses, lectur e series, or language camps. (Amended 3/17/00; 65 FR 14774 )

(C) Work component . The international cultural exchange visitor's employment or training in the United States may not be independent of the cultural component of the international cultural exchange program. The work component must serve as the vehicle to achieve the objectives of the cultural component. The sharing of the culture of the international cultural exchange visitor's country of nationality must result from his or her employment or training with the qualified employer in the United States. (Amended 3/17/00; 65 FR 14774 )

(iv) Requirements for international cultural exchange visitors . To be eligible for international cultural exchange visitor status, an alien must be a bona fide nonimmigrant who: (Amended 3/17/00; 65 FR 14774 )

(A) Is at least 18 years of age at the time the petition is filed;

(B) Is qualified to perform the service or labor or receive the type of training stated in the petition;

(C) Has the ability to communicate effectively about the cultural attributes of his or her country of nationality to the American public; and

(D) Has resided and been physically present outside of the United States for the immediate prior year, if he or she was previously admitted as an international cultural exchange visitor. (Amended 3/17/00; 65 FR 14774 )

(4) Supporting documentation -- (i) Documentation by the employer . To establish eligibility as a qualified employer, the petitioner must submit with the completed Form I-129 appropriate evidence that the employer:

(A) Maintains an established international cultural exchange program in accordance with the requirements set forth in paragraph (q)(3) of this section;

(B) Has designated a qualified employee as a representative who will be responsible for administering the international cultural exchange program and who will serve as liaison with the Immigration and Naturalization Service;

(C) Is actively doing business in the United States;

(D) Will offer the alien(s) wages and working conditions comparable to those accorded local domestic workers similarly employed; and

(E) Has the financial ability to remunerate the participant(s).

(ii) Certification by petitioner . (A) The petitioner must give the date of birth, country of nationality, level of education, position title, and a brief job description for each international cultural exchange visitor included in the petition. The petitioner must verify and certify that the prospective participants are qualified to perform the service or labor, or receive the type of training, described in the petition. (Amended 3/17/00; 65 FR 14774 )

(B) The petitioner must report the international cultural exchange visitors' wages and certify that such cultural exchange visitors are offered wages and working conditions comparable to those accorded to local domestic workers similarly employed. (Amended 3/17/00; 65 FR 14774 )

(iii) Supporting documentation as prescribed in paragraphs (q)(4)(i) and (q)(4)(ii) of this section must accompany a petition filed on Form I-129 in all cases except where the employer files multiple petitions in the same calendar year. When petitioning to repeat a previously approved international cultural exchange program, a copy of the initial program approval notice may be submitted in lieu of the documentation required under paragraph (q)(4)(i) of this section. The Service will request additional documentation only when clarification is needed. (Amended 3/17/00; 65 FR 14774 )

(5) Filing of petitions for international cultural exchange visitor program -- (i) General . A United States employer seeking to bring in international cultural exchange visitors must file a petition on Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, with the applicable fee, along with appropriate documentation. The petition and accompanying documentation should be filed with either the service center having jurisdiction over the employer's headquarters or the service center having jurisdiction over the area where the international cultural exchange visitors will perform services or labor or wi ll receive training. A new petition on Form I-129, with the applicable fee, must be filed with the appropriate service center each time a qualified employer wants to bring in additional international cultural exchange visitors. Each person named on an approved petition will be admitted only for the duration of the approved program. Replacement or substitution may be made for any person named on an approved petition as provided in paragraph (q)(6) of this section, but only for the remainder of the approved program. (Paragraph amended and heading revised 3/17/00; 65 FR 14774 )

(ii) Petition for multiple participants . The petitioner may include more than one participant on the petition. The petitioner shall include the name, date of birth, nationality, and other identifying information required on the petition for each participant. The petitioner must also indicate the United States consulate at which each participant will apply for a Q-1 visa. For participants who are visa-exempt under 8 CFR 212.1(a) , the petitioner must indicate the port of entry at which each participant will apply for admission to the United States. (Amended 3/17/00; 65 FR 14774 )

(iii) Service, labor, or training in more than one location . A petition which requires the international cultural exchange visitor to engage in employment or training (with the same employer) in more than one location must include an itinerary with the dates and locations of the services, labor, or training. (Amended 3/17/00; 65 FR 14774 )

(iv) Services, labor, or training for more than one employer . If the international cultural exchange visitor will perform services or labor for, or receive training from, more than one employer, each employer must file a separate petition with the service center having jurisdiction over the area where the alien will perform services or labor, or receive training. The international cultural exchange visitor may work part-time for multiple employers provided that each employer has an approved petition for the alien. (Amended 3/17/00; 65 FR 14774 )

(v) Change of employers. If an international cultural exchange visitor is in the United States under section 101(a)(15)(Q)(i) of the Act and decides to change employers, the new employer must file a petition. However, the total period of time the international cultural exchange visitor may stay in the United States remains limited to fifteen (15) months. (Amended 3/17/00; 65 FR 14774 )

(6) Substitution or replacements of participants in an international cultural exchange visitor program . The petitioner may substitute for or replace a person named on a previously approved petition for the remainder of the program without filing a new Form I-129. The substituting international cultural exchange visitor must meet the qualification requirements prescribed in paragraph (q)(3)(iv) of this section. To request substitution or replacement, the petitioner shall, by letter, notify the consular office at which the alien will apply for a visa or, in the case of visa-exempt aliens, the Service office at the port of entry where the alien will apply for admission. A copy of the petition's approval notice must be included with the letter. The petitioner must state the date of birth, country of nationality, level of education, and position title of each prospective international cultural exchange visitor and must certify that each is qualified to perform the service or labor or receive the type of training described in the approved petition. The petitioner must also indicate each international cultural exchange visitor's wages and certify that the international cultural exchange visitor is offered wages and working conditions comparable to those accorded to local domestic workers in accordance with paragraph (q)(11)(ii) of this section. (Paragraph amended and heading revised 3/17/00; 65 FR 14774 )

(7) Approval of petition for international cultural exchange visitor program -- (i) The director shall consider all the evidence submitted and request other evidence as he or she may deem necessary. (Paragraph heading revised 3/17/00; 65 FR 14774 )

(ii) The director shall notify the petitioner and the appropriate United States consulate(s) of the approval of a petition. For participants who are visa-exempt under 8 CFR 212.1(a) , the director shall give notice of the approval to the director of the port of entry at which each such participant will apply for admission to the United States. The notice of approval shall include the name of the international cultural exchange visitors, their classification, and the petition's period of validity. (Amended 3/17/00; 65 FR 14774 )

(iii) An approved petition for an alien classified under section 101(a)(15)(Q)(i) of the Act is valid for the length of the approved program or fifteen (15) months, whichever is shorter. (Amended 3/17/00; 65 FR 14774 )

(iv) A petition shall not be approved for an alien who has an aggregate of fifteen (15) months in the United States under section 101(a)(15)(Q)(i) of the Act, unless the alien has resided and been physically present outside the United States for the immediate prior year. (Amended 3/17/00; 65 FR 14774 )

(8) Denial of the petition -- (i) Notice of denial. The petitioner shall be notified of the denial of a petition, the reasons for the denial, and the right to appeal the denial under part 103 of this chapter.

(ii) Multiple participants . A petition for multiple international cultural exchange visitors may be denied in whole or in part. (Amended 3/17/00; 65 FR 14774 )

(9) Revocation of approval of petition -- (i) General. The petitioner shall immediately notify the appropriate Service center of any changes in the employment of a participant which would affect eligibility under section 101(a)(15)(Q)(i) of the Act. (Revised 3/17/00; 65 FR 14774)

  (ii) Automatic revocation. The approval of any petition is automatically revoked if the qualifying employer goes out of business, files a written withdrawal of the petition, or terminates the approved international cultural exchange program prior to its expiration date. No further action or notice by the Service is necessary in the case of automatic revocation. In any other case, the Service shall follow the revocation procedures in paragraphs (q)(9) (iii) through (v) of this section. (Amended 3/17/00; 65 FR 14774 )

  (iii) Revocation on notice. The director shall send the petitioner a notice of intent to revoke the petition in whole or in part if he or she finds that:

(A) The international cultural exchange visitor is no longer employed by the petitioner in the capacity specified in the petition, or if the international cultural exchange visitor is no longer receiving training as specified in the petition; (Amended 3/17/00; 65 FR 14774)

(B) The statement of facts contained in the petition was not true and correct;

(C) The petitioner violated the terms and conditions of the approved petition; or

(D) The Service approved the petition in error.

(iv) Notice and decision . The notice of intent to revoke shall contain a detailed statement of the grounds for the revocation and the period of time allowed for the petitioner's rebuttal. The petitioner may submit evidence in rebuttal within 30 days of receipt of the notice. The director shall consider all relevant evidence presented in deciding whether to revoke the petition in whole or in part. If the petition is revoked in part, the remainder of the petition shall remain approved and a revised approval notice shall be sent to the petitioner with the revocation notice.

(v) Appeal of a revocation of a petition. Revocation with notice of a petition in whole or in part may be appealed to the Associate Commissioner for Examinations under part 103 of this chapter. Automatic revocation may not be appealed.

(10) Extension of stay. An alien's total period of stay in the United States under section 101(a)(15)(Q)(i) of the Act cannot exceed fifteen (15) months. The authorized stay of an international cultural exchange visitor may be extended within the 15-month limit if he or she is the beneficiary of a new petition filed in accordance with paragraph (q)(3) of this section. The new petition, if filed by the same employer, should include a copy of the previous petition's approval notice and a letter from the petitioner indicating any terms and conditions of the previous petition that have changed. (Amended 3/17/00; 65 FR 14774)

(11) Employment provisions -- (i) General. An alien classified under section 101(a)(15)(Q)(i) of the Act may be employed only by the qualified employer through which the alien attained Q-1 nonimmigrant status. An alien in this class is not required to apply for an employment authorization document. Employment outside the specific program violates the terms of the alien's Q-1 nonimmigrant status within the meaning of section 237(a)(1)(C)(i) of the Act. (Amended 3/17/00; 65 FR 14774)

(ii) Wages and working conditions. The wages and working conditions of an international cultural exchange visitor must be comparable to those accorded to domestic workers similarly employed in the geographical area of the alien's employment. The employer must certify on the petition that such conditions are met as in accordance with paragraph (q)(4)(iii)(B) of this section. (Amended 3/17/00; 65 FR 14774)

(12) (Reserved) (Added and reserved 3/17/00; 65 FR 14774)

(13) (Reserved) (Added and reserved 3/17/00; 65 FR 14774)

(14) (Reserved) (Added and reserved 3/17/00; 65 FR 14774)

(15) Irish peace process cultural and training program visitors (Q-2) and their dependents (Q-3). (Paragraph (h)(15) added 3/17/00; 65 FR 14774)

(i) General. An Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program (IPPCTP) visitor is a nonimmigrant alien coming to the United States temporarily to gain or upgrade work skills through training and temporary employment and to experience living in a diverse and peaceful environment.

(ii) What are the requirements for participation? (A) The principal alien must have been physically resident in either Northern Ireland or the counties of Louth, Monaghan, Cavan, Leitrim, Sligo, and Donegal in the Republic of Ireland, for at least 3 months immediately preceding application to the program and must show that he or she has no intention of abandoning this residence.

(B) The principal alien must be between the ages of 18 and 35.

(C) The principal alien must:

( 1 ) Be unemployed for at least 3 months, or have completed or currently be enrolled in a training/employment program sponsored by the Training and Employment Agency of Northern Ireland (T&EA) or by the Training and Employment Authority of Ireland (FAS), or by other such publicly funded programs, or have been made redundant from employment (i.e., lost their job), or have received a notice of redundancy (termination of employment); or

( 2 ) Be a currently employed person whose employer has nominated him/her to participate in this program for additional training or job experience that is to benefit both the participant and his/her employer upon returning home.

(D) The principal alien must intend to come to the United States temporarily, for a period not to exceed 36 months, in order to obtain training, employment, and the experience of coexistence and conflict resolution in a diverse society.

(iii) Are there any limitations on admissions? (A) No more than 4,000 participants, including spouses and any minor children of principal aliens, may be admitted annually for 3 consecutive program years, beginning with FY 2000 (October 1, 1999, through September 30, 2000).

(B) For each alien admitted under section 101(a)(15)(Q)(ii) of the Act, the number of aliens admitted under section 101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(b) of the Act is reduced by one for that fiscal year or the subsequent fiscal year.

(C) This program expires on October 1, 2005.

(iv) What are the requirements for initial admission to the United States?

(A) Principal aliens, their spouses, and minor children of principal aliens must present valid passports and either a Q-2 or Q-3 visa at the time of inspection.

(B) Initial admission for those principal and dependent aliens in this program who received their visas at either the U.S. Embassy in Dublin or the U.S. Consulate in Belfast must take place at the Service's Pre-Flight Inspection facilities at either the Shannon or Dublin airports in the Republic of Ireland.

(C) The principal alien will be required to present a Certification Letter issued by the Department of State's (DOS') Program Administrator documenting him or her as an individual selected for participation in the IPPCTP. Eligible dependents may be requested to present written documentation certifying their relationship to the principal.

(v) May the principal alien and dependents make brief visits outside the United States?

(A) The principal alien, spouse, and any minor children of the principal alien may make brief departures, for periods not to exceed 3 consecutive months, and may be readmitted without having to obtain a new visa. However, such periods of time spent outside the United States will not be added to the end of stay, which is not to exceed a total of 3 years from the initial date of entry of the principal alien.

(B) Those participants or dependents who remain outside the United States in excess of 3 consecutive months will not be readmitted by the Service on their initial Q-2 or Q-3 visa. Instead, any such individual and eligible dependents wishing to rejoin the program will be required to reapply to the program and be in receipt of a new Q-2 or Q-3 visa and a Certification Letter issued by the DOS' Program Administrator, prior to any subsequent admission to the United States.

(vi) How long may a Q-2 or Q-3 visa holder remain in the United States under this program ?

(A) The principal alien and any accompanying, or following-to-join, spouse or minor children of the principal alien are admitted for the duration of the principal alien's planned cultural and training program or 36 months, whichever is shorter.

(B) Those participants and eligible dependents admitted for specific periods less than 36 months may extend their period of stay through the Service so that their total period of stay is 36 months, provided the extension of stay is related to employment or training certified by the DOS' Program Administrator.

(vii) How is employment authorized under this program? (A) Following endorsement of his/her Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Record, by a Service officer, any principal alien admitted under section 101(a)(15)(Q)(ii) of the Act is permitted to work for an employer or employers listed on the Certification Letter issued by the DOS' Program Administrator.

(B) The accompanying spouse and minor children of the principal alien may not accept employment, unless the spouse has also been designated as a principal alien (Q-2) in this program and has been issued a Certification Letter by the DOS' Program Administrator.

(viii) May the principal alien change employers? Principal aliens wishing to change employers must request such a change through the DOS' Program Administrator to the Service. Following review and consideration of the request by the Service, the Service will inform the participant of the decision. The Service will grant such approval of employers only if the new employer has been approved by DOS in accordance with its regulations and such approval is communicated to the Service through the DOS' Program Administrator. If approved, the participant's Form I -94 will be annotated to show the new employer. If denied, there is no appeal under this section.

(ix) May the principal alien hold other jobs during his/her U.S. visit? No; any principal alien classified as an Irish peace process cultural and training program visitor may only engage in employment that has been certified by the DOS' Program Administrator and approved by the DOS or the Service as endorsed on the Form I-94. An alien who engages in unauthorized employment violates the terms of the Q-2 visa and will be considered to have violated section 237(a)(1)(C)(i) of the Act.

(x) What happens if a principal alien loses his/her job? A principal alien, who loses his or her job, will have 30 days from his/her last date of employment to locate appropriate employment or training, to have the job offer certified by the DOS' Program Administrator in accordance with the DOS' regulations and to have it approved by the Service. If appropriate employment or training cannot be found within this 30-day-period, the principal alien and any accompany family members will be required to depart the United States.

This information can be found in the Code of Federal Regulations.

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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Nonimmigrant Visas: