For Family-Sponsored Filings:
In the F2A category, there is a cutoff date on the Dates for Filing chart. However, the category is “current” on the Final Action Dates chart. This means that applicants in the F2A category may file using the Final Action Dates chart for April 2020.


For all the other family-sponsored preference categories, you must use the Dates for Filing chart in the Department of State Visa Bulletin for April 2020.


For Employment-Based Preference Filings:
For all employment-based preference categories, you must use the Final Action Dates chart in the Department of State Visa Bulletin for April 2020.



Individuals admitted under the VWP/ESTA program who find themselves unable to depart the US before the expiration of their current period of admission due to COVID-19 related issues and who were admitted to the US through IAH, Houston Hobby, DFW, Austin and San Antonio airports (only)  or are temporarily residing with the Houston Field Office area of responsibility can contact the Deferred Inspections office at the locations below starting Thursday, March 19, 2020 to request Satisfactory Departure (up to 30 days).

The Deferred Inspection hours and contact numbers are listed below:

Location                                                                                 Contact number              Hours of Operation

Houston Intercontinental Airport (IAH)                                281-230-4886                       Mon-Fri 0800-1600

San Antonio International Airport (SAT)                               210-821-6965                        Mon-Fri 0800-1600

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (OKC)                                           405-942-3405                        Mon-Fri 1000-1500

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)                  972 456-2250                       Mon-Thurs 0800-1400

Appointment Requests at

H-1B Premium Processing Update

USCIS will be temporarily suspending Premium Processing for FY2021 Cap-Subject Petitions. Petitioners filing FY 2021 cap-subject H-1B petitions will not be able to request premium processing when USCIS begins accepting cap-subject petitions on April 1. Until premium processing resumes for FY 2021 cap-subject H-1B petitions, USCIS will reject any Form I-907 concurrently filed with a cap-subject H-1B Form I-129.

As USCIS has done in the past, premium processing will resume in a two-phased approach during the FY 2021 cap season so that USCIS can best manage premium processing requests.

USCIS will resume premium processing for FY 2021 cap-subject H-1B petitions requesting a change of status from F-1 nonimmigrant status no later than May 27, 2020, and will notify the public before premium processing resumes for these petitions.

The earliest date that USCIS will resume premium processing for all other FY 2021 cap-subject H-1B petitions is June 29, 2020.

Petitioners filing FY 2021 H-1B cap-subject petitions will be eligible to upgrade to premium processing by filing Form I-907 once premium processing resumes, as applicable. USCIS will notify the public with a confirmed date for resuming premium processing for FY 2021 H-1B cap-subject petitions.

At this time, premium processing remains available for H-1B petitions that are exempt from the cap, such as extension of stay requests.


USCIS announced last night (3/17/2020) that effective March 18, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is suspending in-person services at its field offices, asylum offices and Application Support Centers (ASCs) to help slow the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). This suspension of services will be effective until at least April 1. In the meantime, USCIS will provide limited emergency services. Please call the Contact Center for assistance with emergency services.

USCIS field offices will send notices to applicants and petitioners with scheduled appointments and naturalization ceremonies impacted by this closure. USCIS asylum offices will send interview cancellation notices and automatically reschedule asylum interviews. When the interview is rescheduled, asylum applicants will receive a new interview notice with the new time, date and location of the interview. When USCIS again resumes normal operations, USCIS will automatically reschedule ASC appointments due to the office closure. You will receive a new appointment letter in the mail. Individuals who had InfoPass or other appointments must reschedule through the USCIS Contact Center once field offices are open to the public again. Please check to see if your field office has been reopened before reaching out to the USCIS Contact Center.

Education and precautions are the strongest tools against infection. Get the latest facts by visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 website. Continue to practice good health habits, refrain from handshakes or hugs as greetings, and wash hands and clean surfaces appropriately.


People who have Temporary Protected Status (TPS) under Yemen’s designation may re-register in order to maintain their status through September 21, 2021. Applicants must submit Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status. If applicants are re-requesting employment authorization, they must file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.

DOS’s Charlie Oppenheim: March Visa Bulletin

Charlie’s predictions as reflected in his comments on the March Visa Bulletin:

A final action date of January 1, 2017 is imposed in March for EB-3 Worldwide as well as for the EB-3 (EW) Other Workers category. Unfortunately, no forward movement is expected in these categories in the foreseeable future.

EB-1 Worldwide could possibly become current in the summer of 2020. However, it is also possible that this category could advance less quickly if USCIS shifts resources previously used to adjudicate EB-3 cases to EB-1 processing, thus increasing the demand.

After holding steady, the final action dates for EB-1 China and EB-1 India start to advance again in March, with EB-1 China advancing one week to June 1, 2017 and EB-1 India advancing two months to March 1, 2015.


EB-2 Worldwide could regress as early as April 2020.

USCIS To Implement H-1B Cap Online Registration System

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that it has completed testing of its new online H-1B registration system for the upcoming FY2021 cap season, with an initial registration period starting March 1, 2020.

Under this new process, employers seeking cap-subject H-1B workers, or their authorized representatives, will complete an initial registration process that requires basic information about the company and each requested worker, in addition to a $10 fee per applicant. This registration period will be held from March 1 through March 20, 2020. If the number of registrants meets the annual numerical cap for H-1B petitions, USCIS will run a random lottery on the pool of registrations no later than March 31, 2020. If the registration is selected in the lottery, Petitioners will then be eligible to file cap-subject H-1B petitions during a 90-day filing period on behalf of those beneficiaries.

USCIS is currently in the processing of posting instructions on its website and hosting webinars about this registration system.

If you need to file a cap subject petition, please contact Susan Lane for more information.

February Visa Bulletin Highlights from Charlie Oppenheim, Chief of the DOS Visa Control and Reporting Division

Family-Based Preference Categories

All F2A categories remain current in February. However, per the January 2020 Visa Bulletin, prepare for a final action date to be imposed within the next few months across all F2A categories.

Employment-Based Preference Categories

EB-1: Based on currently available information, it remains possible–yet too early to confirm–that this category could become current in the summer of 2020.

EB-2 Worldwide: A final action date may be imposed at some point during the second half of FY2020.

EB-3 Worldwide and EB-3 Other Workers Worldwide will become subject to a final action date in March 2020.