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San Francisco Immigration Law Blog

Investment visas see a change in petition priority

Obtaining a U.S. visa through investing comes with plenty of requirements – especially patience. Recent years have seen increased wait times, but new policies could move your application up a few spots.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) estimates that there's nearly seven years’ worth of applicants already waiting in line for an EB-5 visa. Fortunately, new changes to how they deal with applications could have you skipping past people from countries with full quotas.

Federal restrictions eased over work visas

The Trump administration issued significant concessions in August relating to immigration restrictions announced in June. The president signed an order on June 22, banning migrants' entry through the end of 2020 in specific visa categories, including L-1B visas for specialized workers.

The suspension does not apply to visa applicants already in-country before the ban took effect on June 24, or those whose visas were active prior to entering the United States. Furthermore, the order does not affect their spouses or children.

Why am I receiving an RFE for my H-1B visa petition?

You worked with your boss to submit your H-1B employment visa petition. A couple months have gone by, and now – instead of receiving your H-1B approval – the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has sent you something called an RFE.

Why have you received this, and is it cause for concern?

USCIS reaches H-1B cap Litwin & Smith ready to file your H1B Petition


A sufficient number of registrations have been received for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to fill its annual allotment of H-1B nonimmigrant specialty employee visas for the upcoming fiscal year.

New application process for H-1B visas begins March 1

A new electronic registration process for the overhauled H-1B visa system is now ready for the fiscal year 2021 lottery. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) says the new system is an easier-to-use streamlined process.

The USCIS says the new electronic system will reduce paperwork and save employers money when petitioning for H-1B visas. Under a simplified online process, employers must share only basic information about themselves and each requested worker.

Pregnancy is no longer considered a pleasure for B visa holders.

Trump has recently announced its changes to the B-1/B-2 tourist visa in its effort to "eliminate the criminal activity associated with the birth tourism industry." 

H-1B visas in 2020: More expensive and more stringent?

The H-1B visa program has already been the subject of some high-profile change. That includes the new electronic registration requirement with $10 fee, its impact on the lottery and reports of ever-increasing application denials. The tumult may not end any time soon.

Two proposed rules could alter the H-1B visa process even further.


On December 6, 2019, USCIS announced that employers seeking to file FY2021 H-1B cap-subject petitions, including those eligible for the advanced degree exemption, must first electronically register and pay an associated $10 fee for each electronic registration they submit to USCIS.

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