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U.S. Department of State Issues Unclassified Cable on Extension of 3 Visa Programs

dosThe U.S. Department of State (DOS) has issued a cable on the Continuing Resolution that the House and Senate passed on September 28, 2016 and signed into law by President Obama on September 29, 2016. The resolution extends a number of immigration programs, including the EB-5 Regional Center Program, the Conrad State 30 Program, and the non-minister special immigrant religious worker program (SR Visa Program).

Extension of Three Visa Programs

The unclassified cable issued by the DOS stated that the EB-5 Regional Center Program, the Conrad State 30 Program, and the SR Visa Program are all set to expire on December 9, 2016. Below are the instructions given by the DOS:

EB-5 Regional Center Program

  • EB-5 visas (immigrant visa categories R51 and I51) made in regional center projects must be issued by December 9, and the expiration date also applies to children and dependent spouses.
  • Visa issuing posts must hold in abeyance any pending R51 and I51 immigrant visa applications starting December 10, if there is no extension on or before that date.
  • Extension of the EB-5 Regional Center Program through December 9 will allow priority dates to immediately become “current” for October for all countries except mainland China.
  • The “current” priority date for China-mainland born I5 and R5 applicants is February 22, 2014. Mainland-born investors with an I-526 Petition filed after February 22, 2014 will not have immigrant visas immediately available to them, and they must wait until the priority dates advance further.
  • Immigrant visas for investors not investing through a regional center (T51 and C51) can continue to be issued as that program remains valid beyond December 9.

Conrad State 30 Program

  • The Conrad 30 Program allows medical doctors on J-1 visas to apply for a waiver of the two-year home residence requirement upon completion of the visitor program. Applicants who entered or were granted J-1 status on or before December 8 may still apply for a Conrad State 30 waiver. 

SR Visa Program

  • The expiration of the SR Visa Program relates to immigrant visa recipients and their accompanying spouses and children only, and does not affect any non-immigrant categories such as R-1 visas.
  • Applicants seeking SR visa status are required to have applied and be admitted into the U.S. prior to December 9.
  • If the SR visa holder is not admitted into the U.S. before the program expires, replacement visas cannot be issued.
  • Visa issuing posts that have issued SR visas in recent months should consider informing the recipients that they must travel by December 8. More importantly, posts should consider informing individual recipients of the expiration date and necessity of traveling before the expiration date. Starting December 9, posts are advised to hold in abeyance any pending SR visa application.

If you want to know more regarding the extension of the EB-5, Conrad State and SR Visa Program, schedule a consultation with Lyttle Law Firm. Contact us at (512) 215-5225 or visit our Austin and San Marcos offices.