New York Lawyer's Legal Updates

Eb-4 Cap Is Reached For El Salvador, Honduras And Guatemala

Author: Green Card attorney Alena Shautsova

USCIS reached its EB-4 Visa limit for Special Immigrants from the countries of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. Essentially the cap has been backdated for applicants who have filed on or after January 1, 2010. Those who have filed after this date must wait for new visas to become available. The Fiscal year ends in September and more information will be available as to the amount of visas if any will become available.

What is an EB-4 Visa and how does one apply for it?

An EB-4 visa is available to an individual who qualifies as a Special Immigrant (including Special Immigrant Juvenile). Special Immigrants qualification is a broad category including:

  • Religious Workers
  • Panama Canal Company Employee, Canal Zone Government Employee, or US government in the canal zone employee
  • Juvenile court dependent ( Special Immigrant Juvenile)
  • Physician
  • International Organization Employee Member or Family Member
  • Armed Forces member
  • Iraqi national who worked on behalf of US Government in Iraq
  • Afghan national who worked on behalf of the US Government in Afghanistan
  • Afghanistan or Iraqi translators who supported the US armed forces with translation service

USCIS will accept all properly filed submissions of Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, under the EB-4 classification until April 30, 2016. Those who filed their I 1360 and I 485 forms before January 1, 2010 will expect to get a decision. All other I-485, will remain pending until new visas become available. All I-485 that will be filed based on I-360 after April 30, 2016 will be rejected. However, I -360 s will still be adjudicated.

Basically, the reaching of the cap puts on hold “green card” for Special Immigrants, including Special Juvenile Immigrants. The Special Immigrant Juveniles are children who were neglected or abused in their home countries and came to the US to look for a safe harbor. Before they obtain their green cards, they need to have a petition affirmed from a Family court which grants a US based adult guardianship status over the minor.

The cap was probably reached due to the increased amount of petitions by unaccompanied minors who recently came to the US. Persons waiting for the I-485 adjudication qualify for an EAD (an employment authorization) and an advance parole or permission to travel. It should be noted here, that only those children who properly submitted their I-360s before their 21st birthdays will remain eligible for adjustment of status. It means that despite the delas with the I-485, I-360s still should be submitted timely.

21 April 2016
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