One Park Plaza
3250 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1918
Los Angeles, CA 90010
Tel: (213)383-3222
Fax: (213)365-9922
Do You Have an Immigration Problem, A Citizenship Question? Together, We'll Find A Solution
5/31/2022 Issue
_____More and more non-citizens in the U.S. have the benefits of TPS status. The BENEFITS are important: protection from deportation and permits to stay and work in the U.S. and – sometimes – even a permit to travel and return to the U.S.
           But what is TPS?
           It is TEMPORARY PROTECTED STATUS, and is granted to people from certain countries, who are in the U.S. on the dates determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security. The eligible countries are selected based on a determination that it is UNSAFE to return to these countries for reasons of ARMED CONFLICT, NATURAL DISASTERS or some other special circumstances.
           TPS is granted for periods of 6 – 18 months, and the Secretary of Homeland Security may extend this status again and again, even for many years.
           At present, 14 countries are designated for TPS status (listed here in alphabetical order): Afghanistan, El Salvador, Burma (Myanmar), Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Ukraine, Venezuela and Yemen.
           The National Visa Center (NVC) is an office belonging to the U.S. Department of State (DOS).
           When the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which is an office belonging to the U. S. Department of Homeland Security, approves a VISA PETITION, the petition goes to the NVC. This is true for both FAMILY based and EMPLOYMENT based petition.
           The function of the NVC is to prepare the paperwork and the supporting documents that every approved petition still requires, and then to schedule an interview for the beneficiaries of the petition at the proper American Consulate overseas.
           Unfortunately, for whatever reasons, the NVC suffers great delays in its work. The inevitable result is a huge backlog, a mountain of approved petitions lying at the NVC (or hanging in its computers) waiting for processing and scheduling.
           Naturally, the result of a backlog is INQUIRIES. Thousands of anxious petitioners (generally, American citizens and American employers), and thousands of worried beneficiaries (generally, non citizens in the U.S. and many other countries), are flooding the NVC with questions, complaints, requests for expedite, and some, bitter, nasty expressions.
           The result? INEFFICIENCY. The staff of the NVC is kept busy responding (politely) to the inquiries, providing explanations (actually – excuses) for the delays. All very inefficient, and the backlog only gets bigger.
           The solution? As of May 23, 2022, the NVC will deactivate its PUBLIC INQUIRY TELEPHONE LINE. NO TELEPHONE INQUIRIES for the sake of increased EFFICIENCY.

           EMPLOYMENT-BASED PETITIONS (Form I-140) are filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Most such I-140 petitions require an Application for Foreign Labor Certification (LC) to be approved by the U.S. Department of Labor (US DOL) before filing the I-140 petition. The DOL may take one year or more to process and approve an LC.
           However, I-140 petitions in the E-1 category are exempt from the requirement to have an approved LC. A sub-category of that group is Multinational Executives and
Managers and they are classified as E13 petitions. 
Another group of I-140 petitions exempt from the requirement to have an approved LC are beneficiaries with ADVANCED DEGREES or EXCEPTIONAL ABILITY in their fields of occupation who seek a NATIONAL INTEREST WAIVER (NIW) for their I-140 petition. They are classified in the EB2 (NIW) category.
USCIS announced that they will begin to accept requests for PREMIUM PROCESSING (actually – EXPEDITE) for such petitions that
have been filed and are still pending for one (1) year or more. (There are some exact dates that must be met). No Premium Processing for such I-140 petitions filed currently.
           Premium Processing (Form I-907) requires a special FILING FEE - $2,500, in addition to the regular fee for the I-140 Form of $700.

           There is a group of legal immigrants, people who are holders of legitimate Green Cards, who became eligible to apply for NATURALIZATION, and who actually filed Form N-400, and paid the required FILING FEE of $640 – and are still waiting two (2) years or more for a citizenship interview.

Why? Because the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) cannot retrieve their immigration files (also known as “A” files) from storage. Without the “A” file, the Immigration officer is not able to determine whether there is some problem in the past that should block the applicant from becoming a U.S. citizen. Until they get the “A” file, they simply do not schedule a citizenship interview.
           Where are those missing “A” files? It seems that some of the millions of paper files that the Immigration Service accumulated were placed in a storage facility that is not under the control of the Immigration Service itself. It is called the National Archives and Records Administration, an agency which is in charge of keeping not millions of records but TRILLIONS of records for the whole U.S. government. Most of the records are “buried” – “stored” - in enormous tunnels under some mountains. The records are safe. No atomic bomb could get to them. But what if you need your file for a naturalization interview?
           Soon, we’ll find out. A group of N-400 applicants filed a FEDERAL lawsuit against the Director of the USCIS and against an official known as the ARCHIVIST of the U.S.
           But not for everybody.
           Recently, the USCIS announced that they allocated an extra bunch of H-2B visas for the second half of 2022. The additional number is truly impressive: 35,000 (thirty five thousand).
           H-2B visas are short-term temporary working visas, which do not require the applicant to have a college or university degree and do not require the position offered to be such that a degree is a requirement (all unlike the H-1B working visa).
           But these extra working visas are designated for two specific groups of applicants: (a) 23,500 for those who already had H-2B visas in the past, but could not get renewals in time for this year, and (b) 11,500 for NEW applicants but only if they are from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
           Why not for applicants from the Philippines? Or Poland?
           Because this is how the U.S. Government wants it.
3250 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1918
Los Angeles, CA 90010
(213) 383-3222