Immigration Increasing Filing Fee – Effective Dec. 23; first in six years

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced a final rule increasing filing fee for most immigration applications and petitions. The new fees will be effective Dec. 23, 2016.  USCIS is almost entirely funded by the fees paid by applicants and petitioners for immigration benefits. The law requires USCIS to conduct fee reviews every two years to determine the funding levels necessary to administer the nation’s immigration laws, process benefit requests and provide the infrastructure needed to support those activities.

Fees will increase for the first time in six years, by a weighted average of 21 percent for most applications and petitions.   This increase is necessary to recover the full cost of services provided by USCIS. These include the costs associated with fraud detection and national security, customer service and case processing, and providing services without charge to refugee and asylum applicants, and to other customers eligible for fee waivers or exemptions.

The final rule contains a table summarizing current and new fees – view table by clicking on this link

A modest fee increase of $45, or 8 percent, from $595 to $640 for Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.
USCIS will offer a reduced filing fee of $320 for naturalization applicants with family incomes greater than 150 percent and not more than 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. For 2016, this means that a household of four with an income between $36,000 and $48,600 per year could pay the reduced fee. Those eligible may apply for this option using the new Form I-942, Request for Reduced Fee.

For more information on increasing filing fee, email or call 1-877-GAIL-LAW or 407-292-7730.
FREE in-office consultation – FREE Live Chat
Copyright © 2016, Law Offices of Gail S. Seeram. All Rights Reserved.

Visa Lottery On-line Application

Follow this link to submit visa lottery application on-line:

The visa lottery program will be accepting applications for the 2018 Diversity Visa Lottery program from October 4, 2016 to November 7, 2016. Each year, the Diversity Visa Lottery program makes 50,000 permanent resident visas available to people from eligible countries.

The Department of State chooses the winners of the Diversity Visa Lottery program randomly through a computer-generated lottery drawing. Anyone selected under the Diversity Visa Lottery program will be notified directly by the U.S. Department of State through the mail. Applicants can check the status of their (more…)

#hillaryclinton top 5 quotes from #debate2016

#hillaryclinton top 5 quotes from #debate2016 that are impressive for #GailLaw:

 (5) “A man who can be provoked by a tweet should not have his fingers anywhere near the nuclear codes.”

(4) “Oh Donald I know you live in your own reality, but that is not the facts…”

(3) “As soon as he travels to 112 countries and negotiates a peace deal, a cease fire… Or even spends 11 hours testifying in front of a congressional committee, he can talk to me about stamina.”

(2) “You’ve gotta ask yourself, why won’t he release his tax returns? First, maybe he’s not as rich as he says he is. Second, maybe he’s not as charitable as he claims to be. … It must be something terrible he’s trying to hide… I think the question is, were he ever to get near the White House, what would be those conflicts? Who does he owe money to? Well he owes you the answers to that.”

(1) “Your campaign manager said you built a lot of businesses on the backs of little guys… I have met a lot of the people who were stiffed by you and your businesses, Donald… I can only say that I’m relieved my late father never did business for you…”


For more information, email or call 1-877-GAIL-LAW or 407-292-7730.

FREE in-office consultation – FREE Live Chat

Copyright © 2016, Law Offices of Gail S. Seeram. All Rights Reserved.

Haiti Deportations Resumed by U.S. Government

U.S. Department of Homeland Security has announced that it has changed its deportation policy regarding Haitian nationals. This policy does not affect people granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) status, however. The policy change affects newly arriving Haitians as well as Haitians with criminal histories seeking prosecutorial discretion under the post-earthquake April 2011 policy. It may eventually also affect Haitians here without TPS or other status (although rounding up these individuals may not be a priority at this time).  Haiti deportations will resume immediately for those with final order of removal from the immigration court. (more…)

Immigration Court Allows 57% of Non-Citizens to Remain in U.S.

The following Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) report (see below) revealed that, out of 169,258 noncitizens against whom DHS sought removal orders during the first 10 months of fiscal year 2016, Immigration Judges found that 96,223—or 57 percent—were entitled to remain in the United States.

During the first ten months of fiscal year 2016, immigration judges have determined that 96,223 noncitizens against whom Homeland Security sought removal orders were entitled to remain in this country. By the end of this fiscal year this pace is on track to surpass the record set last year of 106,676 noncitizens that the court found could remain in the U.S. These outcomes account for 56.8 percent of all cases that judges in immigration court have decided so far this year. See Figure 1.

Screenshot 2016-08-21 19.28.11


#melanietrump broke US immigration laws

Screenshot 2016-08-05 03.15.51Based on her comments about her #immigration story, #melanietrump broke US immigration laws after coming to U.S. in 1995.  She claims “every few months you need to fly back to Europe and stamp your visa”.  If she had a proper work visa (H-1B or O) then she would have no need to fly back to Europe every few months as an H-1B or O visas are for 2-3 years.  #GailLaw conclusion is that she was working illegally  (nude modeling) with a B-1/B-2 tourist visa (normally issued for 3-6 months).  Note, a B-1/B-2 tourist visa does not allow work in the U.S.  Most likely, #melanietrump committed visa fraud by working in the U.S. illegally with the B-1/B-2 visa and U.S. Department of Homeland Security should investigate her green card application and ultimate citizenship application.  #melanietrump is subject to same immigration scrutiny that many immigrants face on a daily basis in the U.S. – she is not above the immigration laws. (more…)

Proposed Increase in Filing Fees for Immigration Filings

On May 4, 2016, a proposed rule was published seeking comments on U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) raise filing fees for most types of immigration filings.  The rationale for raising filing fees is that USCIS is facing an annual shortfall of $560 million.  It has been nearly five years since USCIS raised filings fees in November 2010.

Proposed Increase in Filing Fees:

Below are examples of commonly used forms that would see fee increases if the proposed rule become final:

Petition TypeCurrent FeeProposed Fee


Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker$  325$  460


Petition for Alien Relative$  420$  535


Application for Travel Document$  360$  575


Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker$  580$  700


Application to Register / Adjust Status$  985$1140


Application to Extend / Change Nonimmigrant Status$  290$  370


Application for Employment Authorization$  380$  410


Application for Naturalization$  595$  640

For more information on increase in filing fees, email or call 1-877-GAIL-LAW or 407-292-7730.

FREE in-office consultation – FREE Live Chat

Copyright © 2016, Law Offices of Gail S. Seeram. All Rights Reserved.

Earthquakes in Ecuador, Japan – Immigration Relief

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is offering immigration relief measures for people affected by natural disasters, such as the severe earthquakes in Ecuador, Japan and Burma.

One of the immigration reliefs that will be available for those affected by the earthquakes in Ecuador, Japan and Burman is change or extension of nonimmigrant status if you are currently in the United States, even if the request is filed after your authorized period of admission has expired.  Also, for students, expedited adjudication of requests for off-campus employment authorization for F-1 students experiencing severe economic hardship because of the earthquakes in Ecuador, Japan and Burma.  If the applicant can prove inability to pay based on a direct impact from the earthquakes in Ecuador, Japan and Burma then USCIS may consider fee waivers. (more…)

New Rules for Visa Waiver Program & ESTA

Under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), citizens or nationals of 38 participating countries (see list below) are allowed to travel to the United States for tourism or business for stays of 90 days or less without first obtaining a visa. Travelers must have a valid Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) approval prior to travel.

New U.S. laws after the deadly attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California, make significant changes to the Visa Waiver Program. The new laws add a dual national provision that requires citizens of those countries listed below to get visas if they also happen to be nationals of Iran, Iraq, Syria or Sudan.

Nationality can be conferred through marriage or birth and such nationality is rarely easy to renounce.  An Australia citizen born and raised in Australia may be considered Iranian based on father Iranian citizenship even though never visited the Middle East.  Civil liberties and minority rights groups pointed out that there is no international agreement on the rules of nationality and that many people are dual nationals even if they do not wish to be. (more…)

H-1B Filings Reach Record High

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on April 7, 2016, that it has received enough H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap of 65,000 visas for fiscal year (FY) 2017. USCIS has also received more than the limit of 20,000 H-1B petitions filed under the advanced degree exemption, also known as the master’s cap.

USCIS received over 236,000 H-1B petitions during the filing period, which began April 1, including petitions filed for the advanced degree exemption. On April 9, USCIS used a computer-generated random selection process, or lottery, to select enough petitions to meet the 65,000 general-category cap and the 20,000 cap under the advanced degree exemption. USCIS will reject and return all unselected petitions with their filing fees, unless the petition is found to be a duplicate filing.

U.S. businesses use the H-1B visa program to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require the theoretical or practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge, including but not limited to scientists, engineers, or computer programmers.

For more information, email or call 1-877-GAIL-LAW or 407-292-7730.
FREE in-office consultation – FREE Live Chat
Copyright © 2016, Law Offices of Gail S. Seeram. All Rights Reserved.