Visa Services
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News Flash
 
  • 6/6/2014 - DOS Alert: TCN Processing in Canada "Extremely Limited" This Summer

    DOS informed reliable sources that due to increasingly heavy demand by Canada-based visa applicants, the seven U.S. visa processing posts in Canada are extremely limited in their ability to accept TCN cases during the peak demand period of June, July, and August. Canadian posts encourage such applicants to seek appointments elsewhere in the world, such as in the applicant’s home country. Canadian posts offer increased appointment availability for TCNs during non-peak processing times, such as October and November, and January through May.

    Emergency cases may seek consideration for scheduling an interview by visiting the U.S. Embassy of Ottawa webpage.

  • 6/5/2014 - Secretary Johnson Announces Process for DACA Renewal

    Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson today announced the process for individuals to renew enrollment in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has submitted to the Federal Register an updated form to allow individuals previously enrolled in DACA, to renew their deferral for a period of two years.

    For more information, please read the full article on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website.

  • 6/5/2014 - ICE Granted DACA Renewal Guidance

    This notice contains renewal information only for those individuals granted DACA by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from June 15, 2012 until August 15, 2012, when USCIS started receiving requests. Our records indicate that this notice only applies to a small fraction of the DACA population. This notice does not apply to any individuals who received deferred action by making a request to USCIS using Form I-821D on or after August 15, 2012. In the coming months, USCIS will issue guidance about the renewal process for this group.

    For more information, please read the full article on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website.

  • 5/13/2014 - C2 Bus Schedule For Smith Warehouse

As we have been notified by Parking and Transportation Services, the C2 (East-Central-West) bus will begin transporting customers to
and from Smith Warehouse beginning tomorrow, Tuesday, May 13. This is due to road construction along Campus Drive. Passengers will be served at the outbound Maxwell Street stop across from Smith Warehouse.

Buses will stop at the Smith Warehouse Monday through Friday throughout the summer with 15-20 minute service from 7:32 a.m. - 6:02 p.m. and 35 minute service from
6:02 - 8:57 p.m. on weekdays.

For more information, please visit the C2 Bus Schedule webpage provided by Parking and Transportation Services.

  • 2/20/2014 - USCIS and ICE Guidance for Individuals Renewing DACA Employment Authorization

    Reminder for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients with expiring employment authorization documents (EAD) to apply at the CIS website for renewal in the next 120 days.
  • 1/28/2014- Employment Authorization Information Sessions for F-1 and J-1 students

Are you a F-1 or J-1 Duke-Sponsored student planning to work away from Duke's campus after your May graduation or during the summer? If so, you must apply for either Optional Practical Training (OPT for F-1 students), Academic Training (AT for J-1 students) or Curricular Practical Training (CPT for F-1 students before graduation).

Currently, USDHS is taking at least two to three months to approve OPT applications. You *cannot* work until you have the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) in your possession.  You also *cannot* travel outside the U.S. after graduation until your application has been approved.

The Duke Visa Services Office has scheduled the following Employment Authorization Information Sessions for all Duke-Sponsored F-1 and J-1 -international students:

  • Monday, January 27 – 3:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, February 11 – 10:30 a.m.
  • Friday, February 28 – 3:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, March 19 – 10:30 a.m.

Pratt Masters and PHD students and students from the Fuqua School of Business will have separate meetings. Check your emails for announcements!

Please arrive 15 minutes early to claim your seat. All sessions will be held at the conference room #B143 at Smith Warehouse, 114 S. Buchanan Blvd, Duke University. Directions to the Smith Warehouse can be found on our Driving Directions and Map wepage.

This is your opportunity to ask employment authorization procedure questions directly to a Duke Visa Services Advisor.

If you cannot attend one of the Information Sessions, you can find all the information and a powerpoint presentation on these pages of our website:

  • 9/17/2013-2015 DIVERSITY IMMIGRANT VISA PROGRAM (DV-2015)

Program Overview:

The congressionally mandated Diversity Immigrant Visa Program is administered annually by the Department of State. Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides for a class of immigrants known as “diversity immigrants,” from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States. For fiscal year 2015, 50,000 diversity visas (DVs) will be available.

There is no cost to register for the DV Program. Applicants who are selected in the lottery (“selectees”) must meet simple, but strict, eligibility requirements in order to qualify for a Diversity visa . Selectees are chosen through a randomized computer drawing. Diversity visas are distributed among six geographic regions and no single country may receive more than s even percent of the available DVs in any one year.

Details can be found at the following webpage:   http://travel.state.gov/pdf/DV_2015_Instructions.pdf

  • 7/2/2013 : Implementation of the Supreme Court Ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act

“After last week's decision by the Supreme Court holding that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional, President Obama directed federal departments to ensure the decision and its implication for federal benefits for same-sex legally married couples are implemented swiftly and smoothly.  To that end, effective immediately, I (Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano) have directed U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to review immigration visa petitions filed on behalf of a same-sex spouse in the same manner as those filed on behalf of an opposite-sex spouse.”

More information can be found at: http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.5af9bb95919f35e66f614176543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=4579215c310af310VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD&vgnextchannel=e7801c2c9be44210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD

  • 6/13/2013 Scam Alert: Individuals Misrepresenting Themselves as DHS Employees Calling Indian Nationals

The American Council on International Personnel (ACIP) has received recent reports of Indian nationals in the U.S. receiving phone calls from people falsely representing themselves as DHS employees asking the foreign nationals to pay a penalty via money transfer to resolve discrepancies in their immigration cases.  The people making the phone calls have had access to personal information such as passport numbers and foreign addresses and have threatened adverse actions such as deportation.

While we know some phone calls have come from Ohio numbers with a 567 area code, we have also heard reports that such calls might also be coming from Washington, DC with a 202 area code.

ACIP has alerted the Department of State, USCIS and the CIS Ombudsman about the matter.    

  • 04/03/2013 - TPS Update: Temporary Protected Status Extended for Honduras

WASHINGTON—Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano has extended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for eligible nationals of Honduras for an additional 18 months, beginning July 6, 2013, and ending Jan. 5, 2015.

Current Honduran beneficiaries seeking to extend their TPS status must re-register during the 60-day re-registration period that runs from April 3, 2013, through June 3, 2013. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) encourages beneficiaries to register as soon as possible once the 60-day re-registration period begins. Applications will not be accepted before April 3, 2013.

Additional information can be found at: www.uscis.gov

  • 03/21/2013 - Automation of Form I-94

    As you prepare to take your summer vacation or travel for business during the summer, the following information is extremely important:

    As of 4/30/2013, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials at the ports of entry will no longer issue paper I-94s to foreign nationals entering the U.S. by air or sea. Because advance information is only transmitted for air and sea travelers, CBP will still issue a paper form I-94 at land border ports of entry. CBP will phase-in the Form I-94 automation at air and sea ports through April and May. Foreign nationals will continue to receive the paper Form I-94 unil the automated process arrives at their port of entry. Following automation, the record number and other admission information will be available at CBP.gov/I94.

CBP.gov/I94 WILL NOT BECOME A LIVE WEBSITE UNTIL THE END OF APRIL.

Detailed information can be found at: http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/newsroom/news_releases/national/03212013.xml

  • 01/09/2013 - DHS Announces Redesignations and 18-Month Extensions of Temporary Protected Status for Sudan and South Sudan

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today redesignated Sudan and South Sudan for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and extended the existing TPS designations for the two countries from May 3, 2013, through Nov. 2, 2014. This allows eligible nationals of the two countries to register or re-register for TPS in accordance with notices for Sudan  and South Sudan  published today in the Federal Register. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) encourages eligible individuals to register or re-register as soon as possible.

http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.5af9bb95919f35e66f614176543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=4cf3c4762df1c310VgnVCM100000082a60aRCRD&vgnextchannel=68439c7755cb9010VgnVCM10000045f3d6a1RCRD

 

  • 1/9/2013 - Department of State Online Visa Application Status Check Now Available

You can now check the status of your visa application through the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) website at https://ceac.state.gov/CEAC/. You will need to input the barcode number (application ID) from your DS-160 application to access your case and provide the visa type.

  • 11/28/2012 - USCIS Director Mayorkas Unveils Online Entrepreneur Resource Center at MIT

Today , U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Alejandro Mayorkas marked a significant milestone for the USCIS Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIR) initiative by launching an online resource center at the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship in Cambridge, Mass. The resource center, Entrepreneur Pathways , provides entrepreneurs who seek to start a business in the United States an intuitive way to navigate the immigration process.  It also provides information on future opportunities for engagement with the entrepreneurial community .  For more information, please visit the USCIS blog, The Beacon .

Entrepreneur Pathways

USCIS Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIR) initiative

 

  • 10/01/2012 -DHS also extends the suspension of certain requirements for F-1 nonimmigrant Haitian students

WASHINGTON—Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano has extended : http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-10-01/pdf/2012-23826.pdf

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haiti for an additional 18 months. Napolitano is also  extending : http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-10-01/pdf/2012-23825.pdf the suspension of certain requirements for F-1 nonimmigrant Haitian students.

The extension of TPS for Haiti will begin Jan. 23, 2013, and end July 22, 2014. Secretary Napolitano first designated Haiti for TPS on Jan. 21, 2010, after major earthquakes devastated the country.

Current Haitian TPS beneficiaries, who have continuously resided in the United States since Jan. 12, 2011, and seek to extend their TPS status, must re-register during the 60-day re-registration period that runs through Nov. 30, 2012, if they wish to maintain their TPS. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) encourages beneficiaries to re-register as soon as possible within the 60-day period. USCIS will accept applications starting today through Nov. 30, 2012. Individuals who have not continuously resided in the United States since Jan. 12, 2011, will not be eligible.

Read the entire post at Temporary Protected Status Extended for Haitians http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.5af9bb95919f35e66f614176543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=29a2c566e8c1a310VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD&vgnextchannel=a2dd6d26d17df1 10VgnVCM1000004718190aRCRD on the USCIS website www.uscis.gov .

  • 9/25/2012- USCIS Reminds Syrians to Register for Temporary Protected Status

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reminds Syrian nationals (and persons without nationality who last habitually resided in Syria) that the registration deadline for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is Sept. 25, 2012.

Syrian nationals who have continuously resided in the United States since March 29, 2012, and who meet other TPS eligibility requirements, must file their applications for TPS with a postmark date no later than Sept. 25, 2012. The TPS designation for Syria will remain in effect through Sept. 30, 2013.

USCIS advises Syrian nationals (and persons without nationality who last habitually resided in Syria) to review their TPS application packages carefully. Details and procedures for applying for TPS are provided on the USCIS website and in the  Federal Register  notice announcing TPS for  Syria .

For more information on TPS, visit www.uscis.gov/tps .

  • 9/20/2012 - 2014 Diversity Visa Lottery

Online registration for the 2014 Diversity Visa Lottery will begin on Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4), and end on Saturday, November 3, 2012 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4).

This congressionally mandated program makes available up to 55,000 diversity visas every year. Winners are randomly drawn from the people who enter and meet strict eligibility requirements. In order to be eligible, you must be from a country with low rates of immigration to the United States and meet the education or work experience requirements : http://travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/types/typ es_1322.html#occupations

If you plan to apply, watch out for fraudulent websites posing as official U.S. government websites. Some companies posing as the U.S. government have sought money in order to "complete" DV entry forms. There is no charge to download and complete the Electronic Diversity Visa Entry Form. To learn more, see the Department of State warning : http://travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/types/types_1749.html

Find out if you're eligible to enter the Diversity Visa Lottery and learn how to apply

  • 8/22/2012 - Sanctions Law Applies To Iranian Students Preparing For Energy or Nuclear Sector Careers In Iran

    On August 10, 2012, President Obama signed into law the Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Human Rights Act of 2012? [Pub.L. 112-158]. Section 501 of that law provides:   The Secretary of State shall deny a visa to, and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall exclude from the United States, any alien who is a citizen of Iran that the Secretary of State determines seeks to enter the United States to participate in coursework at an institution of higher education (as defined in section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001(a)) to prepare the alien for a career in the energy sector of Iran or in nuclear science or nuclear engineering or a related field in Iran. This provision is effective "with respect to visa applications filed on or after" August 10, 2012. The bipartisan legislation, led by the chair and ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), and Howard Berman (D-Calif.), respectively, passed both the House and Senate almost unanimously just before breaking for the August recess.

 

  • 8/16/2012: UPDATE: Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Process

As the follow-up to Secretary Napolitano's announcement regarding the deferred action process for young people who are low enforcement priorities, instructions can be found at the following website:

http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.eb1d4c2a3e5b9ac89243c6a7543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=f2ef2f19470f7310VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD&vgnextchannel=f2ef2f19470f7310VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD

 

  • 8/16/2012: CBP Discontinues Stamping Form I-20 and Form DS-2019 At Ports of Entry

    We received notification from the Customs and Border Protection Office (CBP) at the Raleigh-Durham Airport that CBP “ is no longer stamping I-20s and DS-2019s at the ports of entry. Recognizing that some staff at certain benefit granting agencies (for example, motor vehicle agencies) look for a stamp on these documents before granting a benefit, USCIS is conducting extensive outreach to ensure that these agencies are aware of this change”.

  • May 11, 2012 - Additions to the STEM-Designated Degree Program List

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today announced an expanded list of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) designated-degree programs that qualify eligible graduates on student visas for an optional practical training (OPT) extension. This announcement builds on a series of administrative reforms designed to further the Department's commitment to attracting international students.

"Attracting the best and brightest international talent to our colleges and universities and enabling them to contribute to their professional growth is an important part of our nation's economic, scientific and technological competitiveness," said Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano. "International students and exchange visitors bring invaluable contributions to our nation, and this helps empower the next generation of international entrepreneurs, right here in America."

Under the OPT program, international students who graduate from colleges and universities in the United States are able to remain in the country and receive training through work experience for up to 12 months. Students who graduate from a designated STEM degree program can remain for an additional 17 months on an OPT STEM extension.

By expanding the list of designated STEM degree programs to include such fields as pharmaceutical sciences, econometrics and quantitative economics, the Department is helping bring the best, most qualified international students to the United States.

These reforms reflect the Obama administration's ongoing commitment to promote policies that embrace talented students from other countries, who come to study in our finest colleges and universities and enrich the nation by allowing highly skilled foreign graduates to extend their post-graduate training in the United States and work in their field of study upon graduation.

A full list of expanded STEM degrees is available here .

Earlier this year, DHS announced several measures they will implement to streamline existing pathways for immigrant entrepreneurs to enter and create businesses in the U.S., retain more foreign-born science and technology graduates from U.S. universities, facilitate immigration by top researchers, and help U.S. startups and other companies compete for global talent.

For more information, visit http://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/ .

  • May 1, 2012 — Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano has re-designated Somalia for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and has extended the existing TPS designation for Somalia from Sept. 18, 2012 through March 17, 2014, allowing eligible nationals of Somalia to register or re-register for TPS in accordance with the Federal Register notice.

Somali nationals with TPS who are seeking to re-register for TPS must file their application packages during the 60-day re-registration period that runs from May 1, 2012, through July 2, 2012. Somalis (or persons without nationality who last habitually resided in Somalia) in the United States who do not currently have TPS may apply under the re-designation during the six-month period that runs from May 1, 2012 through Oct. 29, 2012. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) encourages eligible individuals to register as soon as possible.

For the complete announcement please see DHS Announces Re-designation and 18-Month E xtension of Designation of Somalia for Temporary Protected Status on the usics.gov website.

 

Due to the violent upheaval and deteriorating situation in the Syrian Arab Republic (Syria), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that eligible Syrian nationals (and persons without nationality who last habitually resided in Syria) in the United States may apply for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Details and procedures for applying for TPS are provided in the Federal Register notice published today and are available at www.uscis.gov/tps

Read the entire Temporary Protected Status Designated for the Syrian Arab Republic Update on the www.uscis.go v website

 

  • 1/11/2012 - Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano has extended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for eligible nationals of El Salvador for an additional 18 months, beginning March 10, 2012, and ending Sept. 9, 2013.

     For more information - Temporary Protected Status Extended for Salvadorans

  • 1/4/2012 - Office of Refugee Resettlement (ACF: Warning of telephone grant scam targeting refugees from Bhutan

The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) has been alerted to a new telephone scam apparently targeting Bhutanese refugees.  A man identifying himself as a representative of the “Federal Grants Department” calls from a Washington, DC-based telephone number, (202) 436-9601, informing recently resettled refugees that they are eligible to receive $10,000 because they are refugees from Bhutan.  To claim the money, they are instructed to produce a money order for $650, and call the telephone number for further instructions on where to send the money.   

Be advised that this is NOT a legitimate solicitation .

At least one refugee has been coerced into making multiple payments as “processing fees”, totaling more than $5,000. 

So far, reports are localized in Texas, but ORR advises everyone to be aware of this scam and avoid giving any personal information or payments to unknown callers.

Please note that the federal government does not demand processing fees or security deposits from grant recipients.  If you are the target of a suspicious request, please contact your local police or resettlement agency for further assistance.