Debra R. Shpigler Co., LPA
DV-2004 LOTTERY ANNOUNCED
The U.S. State Department announced that the mail-in period for the next Diversity Visa Lottery (DV-2004) will run from October 7, 2002 to November 6, 2002. The DV Lottery makes 50,000 immigrant visas (“green cards”) available each year to persons meeting certain eligibility requirements. Visas are allotted among six geographic regions, with a greater number of visas going to regions with lower rates of immigration, and no visas going to countries sending more than 50,000 immigrants to the U.S. in the past five years.
Who may apply?
Natives from all countries except the following are eligible for this year’s DV Lottery: Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam.
When should you apply?
All entries must be received between noon on October 7, 2002 and noon on November 6, 2002.
How do you apply?
There is no specific form you must use, but each entry (and you may submit only one) must include certain information in a specific order. For details, call the State Department at (202) 663-1225 or go to http://travel.state.gov.
CONCURRENT FILING OF I-140 AND I-485 NOW PERMITTED
Employment-based petitions are now being processed faster at the INS, thanks to a new rule that permits “concurrent” processing of I-140's and I-485's. Previously, an employer that sponsored an alien for an immigrant visa (a “green card”) generally had to follow a three-step process: (1) apply for Labor Certification (a process that takes about 6 months); (2) file a Form I-140 and wait for it to be processed (6-9 months); and (3) have the alien file an I-485, Application to Adjust Status. Now, as long as a visa is otherwise immediately available, the alien worker may file his I-485 together with the I-140. This eliminates the 6-9 month delay that occurs between the filing of the I-140 and the subsequent filing of the I-485.
This new rule is welcome news to employers and their alien employees. In addition to speeding up the overall process of obtaining a green card, it will allow aliens and their dependents to obtain Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) earlier in the process than ever before. An alien and his or her dependents can apply for an EAD when they file an I-485. Since it takes the INS about 80 days to issue an EAD, the alien and his/her spouse may start working pursuant to their EAD cards earlier than ever.
Aliens who have EADs are also entitled to other benefits. For example, they may apply for social security numbers and, in South Carolina, driver’s licenses. As a result, the concurrent filing rule should make life easier for aliens and their employers.
This Immigration Bulletin is not intended as a substitute for professional legal advice.
Debra R. Shpigler Co., LPA is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.