Immigration News That You Can Use- Some Movement on July Visa Bulletin; Renewed Guidance on Distance Learning; Changed Lockbox for Some I-485 EB Filings; NVC Current Processing Times; USCIS Says "Go Fish"

by Alan Lee, Esq.

  1. Some movement on July visa bulletin.

Finally, some movement on family-based (FB) cases on the dates of filing chart although the employment-based (EB) categories hardly moved with the exception of the China and India EB-2 categories on both dates of filing and final action charts. The July visa bulletin is out with the following developments – FB final action dates – Only Mexico advanced, F-1 moved 1½ months to 3/15/00, F-2B two months to 4/1/01, F-3 one month to 10/15/97, and F-4 three months to 6/1/00. FB dates for filing had a lot of movement as worldwide F-1 advanced 1½ months to 7/1/16, F-2B one week to 10/1/16, F-3 one month one week to 10/1/09, and F-4 one week to 11/8/07. The rest of the action here was Mexico’s F-1 moving forward seven months to 12/1/01, F-2B three months one week to 8/8/01, F-3 1 ½ months to 4/15/01, and F-4 two weeks to 3/15/01. It should be noted that F-2A remains current for all countries under both charts. EB final action dates – China EB-2 moved one month forward to 4/1/19, and the big story is that India EB-2 moved three months to 12/1/14. EB dates of filing saw China EB-2 moving forward one month to 5/1/19 and India’s EB-2 moving forward one month to 1/1/15. The Central American countries El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras EB-4 and certain religious workers categories advanced almost 6 months to 12/8/17. Diversity cases – all DV numbers in July are current for all countries except Egypt, Nepal, and the Bahamas, and all numbers for all countries will be current for August.

It should be noted that USCIS is using dates of filing for FB cases and final action dates for EB adjustment of status applications.

  1. Renewed guidance on distance learning.

ICE reaffirmed to all SEVIS users on 5/31/22 that the policy of allowing schools and students to engage in distance learning in excess of regulatory limits due to Covid-19 only applies to students who were actively enrolled on 3/9/20, and have continually complied with the terms of their nonimmigrant status. Students enrolling after 3/9/20 must adhere to the existing regulations regarding online learning. Under the March 2020 guidance, active F and M students are permitted to temporarily count online courses towards a full course of study in excess of the regulatory limits. Under the regulatory limits, online courses cannot count toward a full course of study for M and English language training students, and only one online or distance learning class can count toward a full course of study for an F-1 student during each term or semester.

  1. Changed lockbox for some I-485 EB filings.

Be aware that for cases with pending or approved I-140s, there is a change of address for I-485’s beginning on 6/6/22 for persons residing in New Jersey or New York. The I-485’s must now be sent to the Elgin lockbox. If filing concurrent I-140/I-485’s, those still go to the Dallas lockbox. The address of the Elgin lockbox is:



Attn: NFB

PO Box 4115

Carol Stream, IL 60197-4115



Attn: NFB (Box 4115)

2500 Westfield Dr.

Elgin, IL 60124-7836

  1. NVC current processing times.

In responses provided to the American Immigration Lawyers Association in lieu of the National Visa Center participating in the Spring 2022 liaison meeting, NVC acknowledged that its processing times continue to be lengthy due to substantial backlogs and that practitioners should refer to the NVC time frames page on to track the current public inquiry form response time and that the processing dates are updated weekly. It should be noted that NVC is also no longer answering its telephones so that it can catch up on the backlog. NVC now wishes everyone to look at its site for processing times before sending in inquiries which are not yet up to the date of processing. The site can be accessed at, or you can just type in on Google “NVC processing times”.

Currently NVC is taking two weeks to create a visa case and enter the data from the petition into the system after getting the file from USCIS (working on cases received 6/2/22 as of 6/13/22); taking 2 ½ months to review documents being sent to them (reviewing documents sent to NVC on 3/30/22 as of 6/13/22); taking one month and three weeks to respond to inquiries (responding to inquiries received on 4/22/22 as of 6/13/22).

  1. USCIS says “go Fish”

We realize that USCIS is behind the 8 ball in many areas, but it should improve especially in providing information to individuals on the status of their cases. The superficial improvements to the published processing times are not very helpful, especially when applicants are given an unrealistic distant date in the future on which they can inquire about their cases after putting in their receipt dates and clicking onto “Get Inquiry Date”. Also the site’s assurance that a person’s case is processing normally is based on no actual knowledge whatsoever. More disturbing is the lack of accommodation in the local USCIS offices with the mantra that everything has to go through the USCIS Contact Center before appointments can be scheduled locally. The difficulty here is that live representatives in the Contact Center are hard to reach and ofttimes unwilling to set up appointments for people to go to the local field office. A further problem is the nonsensical and essentially “go Fish” answers that are being given by USCIS on case inquiries that take about a month to respond to and can come from a variety of immigration offices and service centers that clearly have not even looked at or studied the case, most likely have not even accessed the file, and do not know what to do except to give platonic and not useful answers. For example, on an I-212 (Application for permission to reapply for admission into the US after deportation or removal) case remanded to the New York District office over a year ago, our most recent response last week was from the California Service Center thanking us for the inquiry with the message, “We will review your request and provide notification if additional information is needed.” At the very least, USCIS should make an effort to really solve people’s problems than to provide answers from a service center having nothing to do with the case, having no knowledge of it, and giving the appearance of merely satisfying a USCIS scorecard by racking up robot answers.

About The Author

Alan Lee, Esq. is an exclusive practitioner of immigration law based in New York City with an AV preeminent rating in the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory for 20+ years, registered in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers, on the New York Super Lawyers list (2011-12, 2013-14, 2014-2015, 2015-2021), and recognized as a New York Area Top Rated Lawyer. He has written extensively on immigration over the past years for Interpreter Releases, Immigration Daily, and the ethnic newspapers, World Journal, Sing Tao, Epoch Times, Pakistan Calling, Muhasba and OCS; testified as an expert on immigration in civil court proceedings; and is a regular contributor to Martindale-Hubbell’s Ask-a-Lawyer program. His article, "The Bush Temporary Worker Proposal and Comparative Pending Legislation: an Analysis" was Interpreter Releases' cover display article at the American Immigration Lawyers Association annual conference in 2004; his 2004 case in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, Firstland International v. INS, successfully challenged Legacy INS' policy of over 40 years of revoking approved immigrant visa petitions under a nebulous standard of proof, although its central holding that the government had to notify approved immigrant petition holders of the revocation prior to the their departure to the U. S. for the petition to be able to be revoked was short-lived as it was specifically targeted in the Intelligence Reform Act of 2004 (which in response changed the language of the revocation statute itself). Yet Firstland lives on as precedent that the government must comply with nondiscretionary duties established in law, and such failure is reviewable in federal courts. His 2015 case, Matter of Leacheng International, Inc., with the Administrative Appeals Office of USCIS (AAO) set nation-wide standards on the definition of “doing business” for multinational executives and managers to gain immigration benefits.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.