Immigration News

H-1 B Registration starts March 01, 2020

By: David Gardner

USCIS has announced the formal implementation of the new rule which requires H-1B petitioners to pre-register electronically in order to be eligible to file a petition for the immigration fiscal year which commences October 01, 2020. The earliest date for filing H-1B petitions in April 01, 2020, however the pre-registration period commences March 01, 2020.


By: David Gardner


This month, our law firm, together with Co-Counsel Louis A Gordon, won a major victory in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The case impacts many immigrants who have suffered from bad or ineffective advice from prior Counsel. The Court in its published decision, Flores v Barr, overturned a Board of Immigration Appeals ruling which denied our client, the Petitioner, the opportunity to have his case reopened because of ineffective assistance of his prior immigration lawyer. 


Investors and EB5 industry professionals have been anxiously waiting for the publication of a final regulation regarding the EB5 Program. USCIS has now published the final regulation which modifies the  proposed rule which was announced in February this year.

E-1 and E-2 Now Available for New Zealand

New Zealand citizens can now obtain E-1 and E-2 treaty trader and investor visas to work in the U.S. These categories, which allow up to 2 years’ renewable stay, are determined by trade treaties secured between the U.S. and the foreign country or by Congressional legislation.

Citizens of New Zealand who are already inside the U.S. may file Form I-129 to change status – a spouse or child of such an applicant should file Form I-539 to change status to match the E-category applicant. 

Waiting List Announced for Indian EB-5 Starting in July

The latest Visa Bulletin, published by the U.S. Department of State (DOS) earlier this month, confirms industry predictions of a waiting list for Indian-born EB-5 investors. Starting in July 2019, EB-5 visas will be available only to those Indian-born investors who filed their petitions before 05/01/2017. This cut-off date creates a waiting list of approximately two years, which is significantly shorter than the waiting list currently facing mainland Chinese-born investors, which currently stretches back to 10/01/2014.

Premium Processing Returns to H-1B

Starting June 10, 2019, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will resume Premium Processing for all remaining H-1B petitions. This completes a trial arrangement whereby USCIS allowed limited Premium Processing starting May 20 for H-1B petitions with a Change of Status. The approach was introduced after recent years eliminated Premium Processing altogether, resulting in lengthy delays, with some H-1B petitions remaining under adjudication even after the usual annual start date of October 1.

USCIS Tightens Forms Criteria for H-1B Filings

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a caution on June 4, 2019, stating that H-1B petitions will be rejected if they fail to include names and addresses on Part 1 of Form I-129. Specifically, applicants are cautioned not to list outside counsel, clients, or other third parties, in such fields requesting the names and addresses of the petitioning U.S. employer. This measure, which goes into effect starting August 5, 2019, comes as part of the current administration’s moves to raise barriers to entry for the H-1B category overall. 

US Government Requires Visa Applicants to Provide Access to Social Media

Washington DC, June 2, 2019 – The US Department of State recently announced that it will be explicitly requiring visa applicants who seek new visas or who are renewing existing visas to provide access to their personal social media accounts as part of the application process. The changes are being implemented by new questions found in two electronic forms that are core for all visa applications to the US filed at US Consulates: Form DS160 — for all temporary visas — and Form DS260 — for all green cards to the US.

U.S. Department of State Update – Visa Retrogression and Future Wait Lists

Washington DC, June 2, 2019 – The American Immigration Lawyers Association recently spoke to Charlie Oppenheim, the Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division at the U.S. Department of State (DOS) to obtain his analysis of current trends and future projections, beyond the basic visa availability updates provided in the monthly Visa Bulletin. Mr. Oppenheim re-confirmed previous predictions for the EB-5 visa category for Indian nationals. India will reach its per country visa limit and a visa waitlist for Indian-born individuals will begin in July of 2019 with an initial Final Action Date (cut-off date) in 2017. 

Community Seminar on June 5: Latest Employment and Family Immigration News

Washington, D.C. – May 30, 2019: Benjamin Hu, a Partner Attorney at I. A. Donoso & Associates, will host a seminar at the Chinese Culture and Community Center (CCACC) on June 5. Topics will include employment-based and family-based petition outlook for 2019, Visa Waiting List predictions for employment-based categories for Mainland Chinese candidates, and new trends for EB-1C multinational managers and executive visas. Presentation will be in English and Chinese with an open Q&A session to follow.

USCIS Director Francis CIssna Resigns

Washington D.C., May 28, 2019: The Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) resigned from his post Friday at President Donald Trump’s request, according to his resignation letter. Francis Cissna is expected to be replaced by former Virginia Attorney General, Ken Cuccinelli. 

I.A. Donoso & Associates, LLC, is a law firm based in Washington, D.C., and is recognized as a leading immigration law firm with recognized expertise in visas for investors, executives, professionals and academics.

Industry Letter Proposes to Raise Minimum EB-5 Amount, Cut Visa Waiting Lists

In a letter dated May 17, 2019, EB-5 industry leaders called upon U.S. Senate and House leaders from both parties to enact EB-5 reform. The main proposals included an increase in the minimum investment amount to US$800,000, additional set-asides for certain target investment communities, and the designation of one EB-5 visa per investor, rather than per family member. The letter proposed a change to the visa allocation, so that each EB-5 investor consumes only one visa. 

It Is Ok to Smile Again – but Not Too Much

Washington, D.C. – May 22, 2019: The Department of State (“DOS”) announced today that it is updating its guidance regarding photographs for visa processes. Under the latest guidance, it is permissible for applicants to show a faint smile, with no teeth showing.

The guidance, set out at 9 FAM 303.6-2(A)(1) (U) “Photo Standards”, is copied below:

We the People


The Naturalization test  is a requirement for most persons who wish to become United States Citizens. This year provides a great opportunity for those who are fortunate to have Naturalized as well as US Citizens  to participate in the greatest Democracy in the history of the world. The right to vote in a Federal Election is the only one Constitutional right granted exclusively to US citizens.To all our citizens please make sure you registered to vote and exercise this treasured right.

DACA Expansion and DAPA Headed to the Supreme Court

Finally, the Supreme Court has announced that it will hear arguments on the lawsuit, which upheld a block on President Barack Obama’s key executive actions on immigration.  A decision by the Court will be issued before the end of June 2016. Undocumented immigrant families across the United States will learn at that time if they will get an opportunity to obtain temporary legal status and work authorization and avoid deportation. 

Welcome to the United States

A Guide for New Immigrants. 

USCIS has published an updated Welcome to the United States: A Guide for New Immigrants. The guide contains practical information to help new immigrants settle into everyday life in the United States, including how to find a place to live, how to get a Social Security number and how the U.S. system of government works. This publication is available in 14 languages.

DHS Proposed Rule: Expansion of Provisional Unlawful Presence Waivers of Inadmissibility

On July 14, 2015, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposed to expand eligibility for provisional waivers of certain grounds of inadmissibility in order to encourage eligible aliens to complete the visa process abroad, promoting family unity, and improving administrative efficiency.

Temporary Protected Status: Nepal

By: Andres Pena

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently announced the designation of Nepal for TPS. Eligible Nepalese nationals, and even people without nationality who last habitually resided in Nepal, residing in the United States may apply for TPS. 

June 2015 Newsletter

By: Andres Peña

On Tuesday a federal appeals court denied the Obama administration’s request to lift a hold on the president’s executive actions on immigration concerning DAPA and DACA expansion. Some of the initiatives under the president’s action, which would have granted protection from deportation as well as work permits to millions of immigrants in the country illegally, were scheduled to take effect this month.

Newly Proposed EB-5 Legislation

On June 3, 2015, Senators Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Chuck Grassley of Iowa introduced Senate Bill S-1501. The proposed bill would reauthorize and reform, as well as extend the EB-5 Immigrant Investment Program by five years, from October 1, 2015 to September 30, 2020. The reform most notably would raise the minimum investment amount required to $800,000 for Targeted Employment Areas (TEA) investments, and $1,200,000 for non-TEA investments.

Immigration Action 2014

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will implement a Southern Border and Approaches Campaign Strategy , which will employ DHS assets in a strategic and coordinated way to provide effective enforcement of our laws and interdict individuals seeking to illegally across land, sea, and air.  To accomplish this, DHS is commissioning three task forces of various law enforcement agencies, the first which will focus on the southern maritime border.  

Executive Action 2014

By: DG

President Obama  is scheduled to announce his plans for executive action for immigration reform today.
I-601 Waivers for Immediate Relatives

By: DG

Great news for persons who have immediate relative U. S. citizen spouses or parents. The new I-601 waiver policy comes into effect on March 4, 2013, allowing persons who are here unlawfully to apply for a waiver without departing the United States.

BREAKING NEWS: Forms for Deferred Action available starting TODAY!


USCIS announces Deferred Action procedures

By: dg

The main features of the new Deferred Action Program were announced by DHS Director Mayorkas.

H-1b New Requirements for LCA


The DOL announced a proposed new rule which would change form ETA-9035 , the Labor Condition (LCA) form which is an essential requirement for the H-1B visa program.
EB5 dedicated office

By: DBGimmigiimmi

USCIS Director Mayorgas has recently announced the establishment of a new EB5 program office.
Beware Notario Fraud


The New York times reported on a new State initiative aimed to educate persons eligible for the new Deferrred Action  Program and to avoid Notario Fraud.
Dream Act Deferred Action Program to start in August

By: dg

The Government has announced that it will finalize regulations to implement the new Deferred Action program for persons who meet the conditions for the "Dream Act" as announced by the President on July 15, 2012. Please contact us for an update and for a  free consultation to determine eligibility.

H-1b program for 2012-2013
The H-1b count as of June 1, 2012 showed approximately 10,000 visas remaining in the regular cap and approximately 1000 for the Master Cap. It is now taking 7 days for a Labor Condition Application (LCA) to be adjudicated by the Department of Labor which delays the time that a Petition can be filed. It appears almost certain that the H-1b cap for 2102-2013 will be reached by the end of June, 2102.
H-1b visa numbers about to run out


H-1b visa number for the year 2011-2012 are almost all used up. The current visa number count can be found on the USCIS website. Please call our office or email for a free consultation.
Prosecutorial Discretion Update

New Prosecutorial Discretion Memos

 The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued new policy directives that outline a more detailed approach to implementation of Prosecutorial Discretion for persons who are in illegal status and subject to Removal proceedings.  

USCIS to Have Direct Email Access with EB-5 RC Applicants

Direct Email Communication with EB-5 Regional Center Applicants & Questions and Answers

"U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is implementing the first phase in a series of proposed enhancements to the EB-5 program. Beginning today, Form I-924 applicants will be able to communicate directly with USCIS adjudicators via email in an effort to streamline the process and quickly raise and resolve issues and questions that arise during the adjudication process." 

FY 2012 H-1B CAP COUNT AS OF AUGUST 12, 2011

25,300 used from the H-1B Regular Cap of 65,000 ,and
14,700 used from the H-1B Master's Exemption of 20,000.