Lottery program criticized
The President of the United States encouraged Congress to eliminate the ‘Diversity Visa’ program following October 31st, 2017 terrorist attack in New York. 50,000 green cards are available annually, drawn from random selection among all entries. However, not all countries are eligible. When more than 50,000 natives of a country immigrated to the United States in the previous five years (2013-2017). Among those who cannot participate are Mexico, Pakistan, and Brazil. See details…
15-year history and social media handles part of certain visa applications
Form DS-5535 asks for a 15-year address, employment, travel history; as well as a 5-year history of public profiles used to create or share content. The visa officer may require this additional information for all applicants requiring ‘greater scrutiny’.
Emphasis on F-1 returning home after studies
The State Department updated its guidelines to emphasize that if the F-1 applicant’s ‘present intent is not to depart the United States at the conclusion of his or her study’, then the F-1 visa must be denied.
No change to J-1 Exchange Programs so far
In its liaison meeting with immigration lawyers, the State Department confirmed that it ‘continues to implement J-1 exchange visitor programs at the same levels we have for the past few years.
Awaiting final decision on TPS for Honduras and Nicaragua
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) allows, as summarized by Axios ‘certain foreign individuals to stay in the United States because the government judges their home countries too dangerous to return to, either due to civil wars, environmental disasters or epidemics’. According to reporting by Miroff and DeYoung of the Washington Post, the State Department said that TPS was no longer needed for:
- Nicaraguans, Hondurans (final decision by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Monday the 6th of November)
- Haitians (final decision at the end of November)
- Salvadorans (final decision early January 2018).