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Rachel Huan Kao's Archived Articles

Immigration News
March 2005

Spanish spoken here!
Please join me in welcoming Francisca, a Spanish-speaking assistant in my office. She will provide Spanish language assistance as needed. Please ask for her if you need Spanish language assistance.

Applicants for F, J, or M visas with first-time I-20 or DS-2019 forms issued on or after September 1, 2004 must pay a SEVIS fee prior to applying for their visas. The full SEVIS fee is $100, and applies to most applicants. The reduced SEVIS fee is $35, and is paid by short-term exchange visitors. Applicants who are participating in Federal Government-sponsored programs (program numbers begin with “G-1”, “G-2”, or “G-3”) are not subject to the fee. Derivatives of F-1, J-1, and M-1 visa holders are not required to pay the fee.

Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
The Ninth Circuit found that based on the Covenant between the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and the United States, Act of March 24, 1976, all persons born on or after January 9, 1978 are citizens of the United States. This decision overrules the district court’s decision.

California Service Center helps out
Nebraska and Texas Service Centers have begun sending immediate relative I-130 petitions to California Service Center for adjudication to alleviate the backlogs at the Nebraska and Texas Service Centers. As a result, cases filed with Nebraska and Texas Service Centers will receive receipt notices from California to reflect this change.

New Photo Requirements
CIS announced that all required photographs should be passport-style, the current standard utilized by the Department of State. All pending cases should wait for further instructions and not send in new photographs until requested to do so.

H-1B Cap 2005
As of September 20, 2004, CIS has reported that they will likely be able to accept H-1B petitions for fiscal year 2005 for a few more weeks. After the supply of H-1B’s has been exhausted for fiscal year 2005, petitioners and beneficiaries will have to wait for fiscal year 2006, which begins October 1, 2005, or work on getting an increase in H-1B’s through legislative means.

Labor Certification Applications
The Department of Labor mobilized their personnel to focus on H-2A cases for the past several months. Since December 2003, officers at the Chicago Regional Office have not worked permanent labor certification cases, but rather temporary H-2A cases, at the behest of the National Office. Beginning in mid-July, officers have been able to return to processing permanent labor certification applications. This explains the lack of activity in permanent cases since December. Anecdotal information from other regions indicates that other Regional Offices have been similarly affected by the National Office’s priority handling of H-2A temporary cases.

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