Immigration Updates January 2024
F-1 Students - Stay Safe!
The national and international news reported on the “cyber kidnapping” case of Kai Zhuang, a Chinese high school student studying in Utah, who was thankfully found safe after going missing for several days. However, he was the victim of an extortion scam that has been labeled “cyber kidnapping” and is targeting international students, and specifically Chinese students. We want all international students to be aware of this scam and know how to protect yourself against it.
According to reports from major news sources, cyber-kidnapping is an extortion scheme in which “kidnappers” tell a victim to isolate and provide pictures as if being held captive – photos that are then sent to the victim’s family to extort a payment. The victims comply under the belief their family will otherwise be harmed.
The scheme works by calling or contacting family members and saying their loved one is being held captive. Family members are coerced into paying a ransom to ensure the loved one’s “quick release.” In most cases, the loved one is never in actual physical danger.
Typically, victims have reported getting calls and hearing screams in the background. In another version of the fraud, victims are told their family member is injured and won’t be allowed to go to the hospital until damages are paid.
Police said that anyone approached by cyber kidnappers should not give them any money and should contact the authorities immediately while stopping all communication with the criminals.
USCIS will increase Premium Processing fee in Feb 2024
On February 24, 2024, USCIS will further increase the filing fee for its premium processing service. The fee will increase from $2,500 to $2,805. This fee will apply to O-1 and O-2 petitions, as well as P-1, P-1S, P-3 and I-140 petitions.
The Premium Processing fee for I-539 O-3 beneficiaries will increase from $1,750 to $1,965.
USCIS Premium Processing service allows petitioners or beneficiaries to pay an additional fee in order to get an approval or Request for Additional Evidence from USCIS within 15 calendar days.
EB-1 Priority Dates
EB-1 priority dates advanced significantly for citizens of India in January 2024, with the priority date jumping from Dec 1, 2017 to Sept 1, 2020. For citizens of China the EB-1 priority dates also advanced from Feb 15, 2022 to July 1, 2022.
Make sure USCIS has your current address
In 2023, USCIS greatly enhanced and expanded the use of their online portal system. If you are in the U.S. with a temporary visa or green card, USCIS is encouraging you to keep your address up to date using your online profile. Instructions for creating an online account and updating your address can be found here: https://www.uscis.gov/addresschange
Love is in the air LIVE STREAM
Join our “Love is In the Air” Livestream on Thursday, February 8 at 10am PST and again at 4pm PST, where we will answer questions about marriage-based green cards.
Contact us to discuss your O, P, or EB-1 case
Is your O or P visa expiring in the next 9 months? If you’d like to discuss the renewal process with one of our attorneys, schedule a call HERE.
Want to apply for your EB-1 green card under a Biden Administration? If you’d like to discuss an EB-1 green card with one of our attorneys, schedule a call HERE.