EIG Dispatch | September 19, 2017

USCIS News: USCIS Resumes Premium Processing Service for H-1B Cap Cases / USCIS Adopts Final Action Dates Chart (Chart A) for Employment Based Green Cards

DC Insights: Upcoming Closure of U.S./Tijuana Border Crossing

Headlines: UK Requires Original Documents for Tier 2 and Tier 4 Applications in India

Feature StoryFAQs on US Visa Interviews

Latest USCIS News 

USCIS Resumes Premium Processing Service for H-1B Cap CasesUSCIS has reinstated premium processing for H-1B visa petitions subject to the FY 2018 cap. This is particularly good news for companies and employees with H-1B Cap petitions still pending as we near October 1. Unfortunately, the premium processing suspension remains for all other H-1B petitions (e.g. H-1B transfers and H-1B extensions). Requests to upgrade a case to Premium Processing must be submitted to USCIS with the Premium Processing form and required fee, and may not be suitable in all cases.

UPDATE: USCIS Adopts Final Action Dates Chart (Chart A) for Employment Based Green Cards. As an update to our special visa bulletin alert last week, for the month of October 2017, USCIS has adopted the final action date (Chart A) for employment based adjustment of status applications. This means that, for October, to be eligible to submit an employment-based I-485 applications, a person’s priority date must be earlier than the cut-off date listed on Chart A for the employment based categories.

DC Insights: What We Learned in the Past 7 Days

Upcoming Closure of U.S./Tijuana Border Crossing. The San Ysidro land-border crossing into Tijuana, Mexico will be closed from 3AM Saturday, September 23 until 12PM Monday, September 25, 2017 during the final phases of road expansion project near San Ysidro’s Port of Entry. All southbound traffic will be rerouted to the Otay Mesa border. According to the Los Angeles Times,both northbound traffic and pedestrian facilities (north and southbound) will remain open this weekend. Please prepare accordingly.

Headlines: Immigration News from Around the World

UK now requires Original Documents for Tier 2 and Tier 4 Applications in India. Indian nationals applying for US Tier 2 and Tier 4 entry clearance are now required to submit original documentation in support of their application, along with their passport. Previously, original documents needed to sent to the VAC who then forwarded them to the consulate and were ultimately returned to the applicant at the conclusion of the appointment. The new procedure requires applicants to submit their original documents with the visa application. Once a decision is made by the immigration authorities, the original documents and passport will be returned.

Feature Story: FAQs on US Visa Interviews

Consular Interviews. For this edition of our FAQ series we answer your questions about Consular Visa interviews. (See our prior FAQs on the Visa Bulletin, the Green Card ProcessSummer/Fall Travel Reminders, and I-94s.)

What is the purpose of the visa interview?
The general purpose is to determine if you are eligible for the type of US visa you are requesting.

When should I arrive?
Please report to the Consulate no later than 15 minutes prior to the appointment time. Due to security concerns and space limitations, accompanying persons will not be allowed entry.

What documents should I bring to the Interview?
Each applicant should take their passport(s), DS-160 confirmation page, appointment confirmation letter, approval notices (if applicable), a copy of their filed USCIS petition (if applicable), and other supporting documents as directed by your EIG attorney. If family members are applying for dependent visas, applicants should bring their marriage certificate and children’s birth certificates (if applicable).

What happens at the appointment?
Before the visa interview, you will meet with a processing administrator who will collect any necessary fees and review your supporting documents. After meeting with the processing administrator, you will be interviewed by a Consular Officer. The interview by the consular officer typically is about 2-5 minutes long and the officer typically asks 4-7 questions. If the officer approves your application, s/he will collect your passport (and passports of your dependents) for visa processing.

What are some potential interview questions?
Questions vary, but they will likely include questions like:
1) What company do you work for and what does the company do?
2) How long have you worked for the company?
3) What is your job title? What are your current job duties? What were your previous job duties?
4) What is your salary?
5) What degrees or academic qualifications do you have?
6) How long will you be staying in the U.S?

What are some tips for answering questions?
A Consulate Officer usually makes a determination on your case within a minute of speaking with you.

  • Review your visa application and supporting materials in advance and be familiar with your support letter.
  • When you go up to the counter, start with “My name is XXXX. I am a JOB TITLE at COMPANY NAME and I am applying for VISA TYPE.”
  • Be honest and confident to show you are eligible and qualified for the visa type.
  • Your responses should be more than just “Yes” or “No”. Clearly and completely answer the questions that are asked – 2-3 sentences is the good length.
  • Try not to use words like:
    • “I think”
    • “Maybe”
    • “I guess”

How soon will I get my visa?
Depending on the specific Consulate, visa processing can take from 1 – 5 business days. After you have received your passport and visa back, you may finalize travel to the U.S.

What if my case is put in Administrative Processing?
If you are placed in administrative processing, please contact your attorney to explain what happened and to give copies of any documents you were given at the interview. We recommend you do that the same day while your memory is still fresh. Your attorney will be able to contact the consulate for additional information.

What if my visa is denied?
If your visa is denied, gather as much information as you can from the Officer as to why your visa was denied. While your memory is still fresh, take notes regarding the questions you were asked and how you responded. Then notify your attorney immediately, sharing your notes and any documents you were given at the consulate. Your attorney will determine the best way to move forward with your case.

The FAQs have been provided as general guidance for the visa interview process. For Consulate specific processes and interview questions specific to your case type, please reach out to your EIG attorney.