Department of State Clarifies India EB-3 Retrogression in July
The Department of State (DOS) recently clarified the Final Action Date retrogression applicable to employment-based third preference (EB-3) visa applicants chargeable to India, effective with the July 2023 Visa Bulletin, and explained the reason for prorating India EB-3 visas.
DOS noted that the Final Action Date is the priority date of the first applicant for whom a visa number could not be immediately allocated. India is currently oversubscribed for immigrant visas in numerically limited immigrant visa categories. The annual limits will reset with the start of the new fiscal year (FY 2024) on October 1, 2023, DOS said. The EB-3 Final Action Date for India “is expected to advance once the annual limits reset for FY 2024; however, the movement of this date throughout the fiscal year depends on various factors” such as visa demand and the employment-based annual limit, which DOS projects to be substantially lower than in FY 2023.
The Department of State’s Visa Bulletin for July notes that due to high demand, retrogressions have been necessary for the employment-based third preference (EB-3) category for India, Mexico, the Philippines, and the Rest of the World. The Rest of the World, Mexico, and the Philippines EB-3 final action dates have been retrogressed to 01FEB22. EB-3 applicants from India are subject to a final action date of 01JAN09.
SOURCES: India EB-3 Retrogression, DOS notice (June 26, 2023). https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/News/visas-news/india-eb-3-retrogression.html; Dept. of State Visa Bulletin (July 2023). https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/legal/visa-law0/visa-bulletin/2023/visa-bulletin-for-july-2023.html
USCIS Launches Online Rescheduling of Biometric Appointments
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has launched a new self-service tool allowing benefit requestors, and their attorneys and accredited representatives, to reschedule most biometric services appointments before the date of the appointment.
USCIS also clarified its guidance on policies and procedures related to “good cause” in this context.
USCIS said good cause exists “when the rescheduled request provides sufficient reason for the benefit requestor’s inability to appear on the scheduled date.” Sufficient reasons may include but are not limited to:
· Illness, medical appointment, or hospitalization;
· Previously planned travel;
· Significant life events such as a wedding, funeral, or graduation ceremony;
· Inability to obtain transportation to the appointment location;
· Inability to obtain leave from employment or caregiver responsibilities; and
· Late delivered or undelivered biometric services appointment notice.
Previously, benefit requestors and accredited representatives could request to reschedule a biometric services appointment only by calling the USCIS Contact Center. With the new tool, those who have or create a USCIS online account can reschedule most requests for biometric services appointments without calling the Contact Center, USCIS said. The new tool, however, cannot be used to reschedule an appointment that already has been rescheduled two or more times, is within 12 hours, or has already passed. USCIS said it only accepts untimely rescheduling requests made to the USCIS Contact Center. It does not accept such requests by mail, in person at a USCIS office, or through the myUSCIS online rescheduling tool.
The biometric services appointment rescheduling tool can be accessed via a USCIS online account regardless of whether the pending case was submitted online or by mail, the agency said. Benefit requestors and accredited representatives can call the USCIS Contact Center to reschedule an appointment, but USCIS “strongly encourages users to use the new tool to save time, increase efficiency, and reduce call volume to the USCIS Contact Center.”
The USCIS Contact Center’s toll-free number inside the United States is 800-375-5283 (TTY 800-767-1833) Monday through Friday, 8 am to 8 pm ET. Outside the United States, the number is 212-620-3418.
SOURCES: USCIS news release, July 6, 2023: https://www.uscis.gov/newsroom/news-releases/uscis-launches-online-rescheduling-of-biometrics-appointments