Immigration News That You Can Use – Formageddon Starting On June 3, 2024; A Blah for the June Visa Bulletin; USCIS Published Processing Times a Waste of Time for F-4 Cases?

by Alan Lee, Esq.


1. Formageddon Starting on June 3, 2024.

Formageddon is coming on Monday, June 3, as USCIS will require mandatory use of the 4/1/24 edition on over 50 forms on that day. Previously, the 4/1/24 edition was only mandatory on 4/1/24 for Forms I-129 Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, I-129 CW Petition for a CNMI- Only Nonimmigrant Transitional Worker, I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, I-600 Petition to Classify Orphan As an Immediate Relative, and I-600A Application for Advanced Processing of an Orphan Petition, So petitioners and applicants should check to ensure that the new form editions are being used on or after that date on the changing forms. This applies to popular forms like I-130 Petition for Alien Relative, I-485 Application to Register for Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, and I-907 Request for Premium Processing, etc. It should be noted that USCIS generally uses the postmark date to determine the form edition. As per its 3/29/24 FAQs, https://www.uscis.gov/forms/filing-fees/frequently-asked-questions-on-the-uscis-fee-rule, the postmark date on couriers like FedEx is the shipping date reflected on the courier receipt, and if there is no shipping date on the label, USCIS considers the date the sender printed the label to be the postmark date. If the label does not have a shipping date or print date, USCIS would then consider the postmark date to be 10 days before it received the package. And in an ironic twist, USCIS is replacing the 4/1/24 edition with one dated 5/6/24 of Form I-941 Application for Entrepreneurial Parole, even before the 4/1/24 edition becomes mandatory for use!

2. A Blah for the June Visa Bulletin.

The June visa bulletin, https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/legal/visa-law0/visa-bulletin/2024/visa-bulletin-for-june-2024.html, had hardly any forward movement at all in both family-based and employment-based cases. A few of the relevant changes except for family-based changes for Mexico and Philippines-born were: FB (Family-based) final action dates: F-2A ROW (Rest of the World) moved up 5 ½ months to 11/15/21 and F-3 ROW two months to 3/1/10. FB dates for filing: F-3 ROW jumped three months to 9/1/10. EB final action dates: Nothing moved except India’s EB-3 and EB-3W moving one week to 8/22/12. EB dates for filing: no movement whatsoever. There are warnings in the visa bulletin that both EB-2 and EB-3 worldwide will most likely retrogress in July. For the month, USCIS continues to accept FB dates for filing and EB final action dates for applications for adjustment of status to permanent residence, https://www.uscis.gov/green-card/green-card-processes-and-procedures/visa-availability-priority-dates/when-to-file-your-adjustment-of-status-application-for-family-sponsored-or-employment-based-101 .

3. USCIS Published Processing Times a Waste of Time for F-4 Cases?

The agency about a year ago revised its procedures to make it easier on its personnel and for the public when petitioners, applicants, and attorneys wish to check on the status of petitions and applications pending with USCIS. https://egov.uscis.gov/processing-times/. To that end, it gave processing time dates and even included at the bottom a specific date by which a formal inquiry could be made on a pending matter. We had occasion to interface with the system as USCIS’ published processing times (for 80% of its cases) have plummeted on F-4 I-130 sibling petitions in its service centers to within five years. The site indicates the service center in Nebraska is at 27.5 months, Potomac 42 months, Vermont 42.5, California 50, Texas 51.5, and NVC 55.5 months – and our clients with F-4 petitions pending since 2013 started calling. With the site allowing inquiries, we sent a number to the service centers only to receive the following common response:

Cases with F4 classification are considered to be out of processing time when they are still pending with USCIS and the visa bulletin date is less than one year ahead of your petition receipt date… Your case will be assigned to an adjudication officer no later than one year prior to the date of visa availability… If you have not received correspondence from USCIS within 45 days of the availability date, please check the USCIS website at www.uscis.gov or call the USCIS contact center at 800-375-5283 for updated processing time information. 

The question is why USCIS would encourage F-4 petitioners, beneficiaries, and their representatives to inquire about the cases when it does not truly intend to work on them until the priority dates are close to becoming current. In the month of June 2024, the F-4 ROW date is only up to July 22, 2007, 16+ years away.


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, 2015-2023), 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.