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EIG Dispatch – April 10, 2015

April 10, 2015

 

Highlights

  • U.S. Consulate in Toronto Only Accepting Visa Appointments from Canadian Nationals
  • South Africa Gives BRICS Nationals Port of Entry Visas
  • USCIS Reaches FY2016 H-1B Cap

U.S. Consulate in Toronto Only Accepting Visa Appointments from Canadian Nationals

The U.S. Consulate in Toronto has notified EIG that due to the high volume of visa appointment requests and its limited resources there are currently no visa appointments available for non-Canadian nationals. Popular U.S. Consulates in Canada (such as the Consulate in Toronto) regularly release only a limited number of appointments to applicants not residing in Canada. These limited appointments are booked many weeks in advance and as a result, even requests for emergency visa appointments are not currently being accommodated.

Those needing an appointment should continue monitoring the online scheduling site to see if an appointment time opens up during the desired timeframe (if someone reschedules or cancels [his or her] appointment). Alternatively, an applicant may schedule an appointment at the U.S. Consulate in Ottawa where visa appointments are currently available for foreign nationals.

South Africa Gives BRICS Nationals Port of Entry Visas

Business travelers are now eligible for long-term, multiple-entry visas, to facilitate short-term visits to South Africa for business purposes. The Home Affairs Minister of South Africa announced the issuance of Port of Entry visas to business travelers from BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China). The Port of Entry Visa is valid for up to ten years, but not to exceed the passport validity, and allows for multiple visits of up to 30 days at a time. The visas are available retroactively as of December 23, 2014 and are expected to be issued within five days.

USCIS Reaches FY2016 H-1B Cap

In case you missed our April 7, 2015 special alert, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that the FY2016 H-1B cap has been met. USCIS further noted that the number of petitions filed under the Master’s cap also exceeds the 20,000 limit for the U.S. advanced degree exemption.

USCIS will complete initial intake for all petitions received during the filing period, which ended April 7, 2015, before conducting a lottery to determine which petitions will be accepted under the cap. Due to the high volume, the date the lottery selection process will begin has not yet been determined.

USCIS will conduct the selection process for the Master’s cap first. All advanced degree petitions not selected under the initial Master’s cap lottery will be eligible for the random selection process for the 65,000 Regular cap. A computer-generated process will randomly select the number of petitions needed to meet the Regular cap of 65,000 visas and the Master’s cap of 20,000 visas. Cap-subject petitions not selected under the lottery will be rejected, and USCIS will return all filing fees, unless found to be a duplicate filing.

EIG will continue to monitor developments and will provide updates as they become available. We will also notify applicants if their cap petition was selected or returned.