GREEN CARD LOTTERY
The mail-in registration period for DV-2001 will be from October 4 trough November 3, 1999. Lottery applications received before or after the official registration period will be disqualified. Instructions on entering the DV-2001 program will be publicized by the US State Department on August 2, 1999.
The INS announced on June 15, 1999 that this years H-1B cap of 115,000 has been reached. Those who submitted their applications to the INS on or before April 9, 1999 should receive an answer to their cases.
If your case for first-time H-1B employment was received by the INS before June 15, 1999 the INS will continue to process it and change the start date automatically to October 1, 1999, the first day of the next fiscal year. If you submit a case on or after June 15, 1999 you must indicate a start date on or after October 1, 1999.
In a major announcement published by the INS on June 15, 1999, if you are currently in F or J status (without a 2-year home resident requirement) your "grace period" to leave will automatically be extended to October 1, 1999 if (1) there is an application filed on your behalf either on or after June 15, 1999 to change your status to H-1B, and (2) you do not violate your d/s status (for example, by working after your practical training expires).
If you have already passed your naturalization interview and were told that you would be scheduled for an oath ceremony you usually must wait about 60 days. Many people are scared to travel during this time for fear of missing the ceremony. If you want to find out the dates of all scheduled ceremonies, this information is available at the Los Angeles INS website at the following address: http://www.ins.usdoj.gov/fieldoffices/losangeles/Community.htm
EMPLOYMENT BASED US IMMIGRATION PETITIONS
The California Service Center (CSC) is currently processing I-140 (Immigrant Visa Petitions based on employment) filed with them in July 1998. The INS headquarters in Washington, D.C. sent out a memo to the CSC on March 18, 1999 to speed up processing on this type of case to no more than 60 days. To date little progress has been made, but at least the headquarters is aware of the problem. Such delays primarily affect workers who have children who are approaching 21 years old who will no longer qualify for a green card as a child, and workers who are close to the 6 year (H) or 7 year (L-1A) limit on continuous stay in the United States.