Immigration Updates August 2023
SAG & WGA Strike
As we all know, SAG and WGA are on strike. For writers, the WGA is not issuing the O-1 or O-2 advisory opinion letters that are required to accompany O visa filings, which means that USCIS is unlikely to approve cases for film and TV writers without this letter, which is legally required.
Similarly, SAG can only issue the advisory opinion letters that are required for O-1 visa petitions if the productions seeking to hire O-1 actors have interim agreements in place with SAG.
Writers and actors seeking O-1 visas to work outside of the film and TV industries should not be impacted by the strike.
At the time of writing, it is unclear how the strike is impacting USCIS adjudications for film/TV actors, and it is also unclear if the State Department will issue O-1 visas for actors and writers during the strike. We are following along closely and will provide an update on this topic as soon as we have one.
EB-1 Priority Dates
The Backlog Deepens! In the months of August and September, EB-1 priority dates are still backlogged for citizens of China, and have rolled back an additional 10 years for citizens of India! Citizens of all other countries are also now “backlogged” to August 1, 2023. The hope remains that all EB-1 priority dates will clear on October 1, 2023.
DHS Announces Family Reunification Parole Processes for Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras
DHS has announced new processes for nationals from Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras whose family members are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents and who have received approval to join their family in the United States. Specifically, nationals of these countries can be considered for parole "legal entry into the U.S." on a case-by-case basis for a period of up to three years while they wait to apply to become lawful permanent residents.
The process begins with the Department of State issuing an invitation to the petitioning U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident family member whose Form I-130 on behalf of a Colombian, Salvadoran, Guatemalan, or Honduran beneficiary has been approved. Beneficiaries awaiting an immigrant visa could include certain children and siblings of U.S. citizens and certain spouses and children of permanent residents. The invited petitioner can then initiate the process by filing a request on behalf of the beneficiary and eligible family members to be considered for advance travel authorization and parole.
The new processes allow for parole only on a discretionary, case-by-case, and temporary basis upon a demonstration of urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit, as well as a demonstration that the beneficiary warrants a favorable exercise of discretion. Individuals paroled into the United States under these processes will generally be considered for parole for up to three years and will be eligible to request employment authorization while they wait for their immigrant visa to become available. When their immigrant visa becomes available, they may apply to become a lawful permanent resident.
You can read USCIS’ announcement HERE.
In the months of July and August to date, we’ve had a lot of great approvals. 9 EB-1 clients and their spouses received green cards in July and August and 4 more I-140's are approved, meaning green cards for these 4 clients & their spouses & children are forthcoming. We also had 30 O and P visa petitions approved for a total of 55 clients, with the following job titles: investment advisor, business executive, CEO’s, composers, musicians, singer/songwriters, music editor, photographer, art director, visual and teaching artist, many producers, cinematographers, a DJ collective, a band, and a TV crew - hailing from India, Russia, China, Canada, Argentina, Belarus, the UK, South Africa, Taiwan, Nepal, Colombia, Mexico, and Germany! Congratulations to everyone whose O’s, P-1’s and EB-1’s were approved in July and August!
Contact us about your O or P Renewal
Art of Acting Television Intensive
Thank you to Nick Bonnano and the Art of Acting Studio for allowing us to come speak to your Television Intensive attendees. The audience was an incredibly dynamic and successful group of TV actors from across the globe, who we’re sure will have bright futures!