• DOS has published its Final Rule on Amended Requirements for Religious Workers. The new rule matches DHS's recently adopted regulations mandating approval of R-1 petition proceedings by the USCIS in the U.S. prior to R-1 visa issuance by U.S. consulates abroad. With the new USCIS and DHS regulations, R-1 visas join the majority of U.S. work permit proceedings requiring two-step adjudication: (1) petition filing with the USCIS and (2) visa application at a U.S. consulate abroad.
  • The annual Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (DV-2011) is already off to a big start, with more than 13 million entries expected this year. The program provides 55,000 immigrant visas to nationals of countries with low immigration rates to the U.S., on a lottery basis. Nationals of the following countries are ineligible for DV-2011 participation: Brazil, Canada, China (mainland), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam. The DV-2011 registration period will continue until noon (Eastern Standard Time) on Nov. 30, 2009. Applicants may access the electronic lottery entry form at http://www.dvlottery.state.gov prior to that date. Importantly, each applicant should review lottery entry requirements and only one lottery entry from a given applicant is allowed.