The Departments of State and Homeland Security published an interesting short public notice this week in the Federal Register. You may recall that the President noted in his November 20th announcements that he was planning on pursuing initiatives to modernize the legal immigration system. Now the Obama Administration is taking the first step in moving that forward with a call for public input in the development of recommendations. I’m planning on submitting my own list of ideas. Readers with good suggestions for items for me to include are welcome to post in the comments.  Here are the areas where views are being sought –

1. Streamlining and improve immigrant visa processing at US consulates.

2. Streamlining and improve non-immigrant visa processing at US consulates.

3. Improving USCIS processing of the following types of applications:

  • family-sponsored green cards
  • employment-based green cards
  • non-immigrant petitions
  • humanitarian petitions and applications (U, T and VAWA applications)
  • H-1B petitions

4. Improving the process for changing non-immigrant status.

5. Improving the process for adjusting status to permanent residency.

6. Improving the process of inspecting immigrants and non-immigrants at US ports of entry.

7. Implementing policy changes to attract the world’s most talented researchers to US universities, national laboratories and other research institutions.

8. Implementing policy changes to attract the world’s most talented entrepreneurs who want to start businesses in the US.

9. Policies that could assist in creating additional immigration opportunities for high-demand professions such as physicians.

10. Ways to improve the EB-5 immigrant investor program.

11. How to improve labor market requirements for temporary workers to protect both US and temporary foreign workers and also achieve efficiency for employers and government agencies.

12. Improving the occupational data that is used to determine prevailing wages for various visa programs.

13. How to improve the diversity visa program including stopping fraud.

14. Any other changes to combat waste, fraud and abuse in the legal immigration system.

15. Ways to ensure that non-immigrant visa numbers are fully and fairly allocated.

16. Ways to ensure that immigrant visa numbers are fully and fairly allocated.

17. Which elements of the current legal immigration system are most in need of modernized IT solutions?

18. Which government-collected data and metrics would be must valuable to make available to the public in order to improve oversight and understanding of the legal immigration system?


fed reg.pdf

Greg Siskind

Greg Siskind

Greg Siskind is a partner with Siskind Susser, PC - Immigration Lawyers. After graduating from Vanderbilt University, he received his law degree at the University of Chicago. He created the first immigration law web site in 1994 and the first law blog in 1997. He's written four books and currently serves on the board of governors of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. He can be reached by email at
Greg Siskind
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3 Responses to Ideas for Visa Modernization?

  1. Don Riding says:

    As a retired USCIS manager, I would like more than “improve processing of …” What suggestion do you have for improving processing of a particular application? Of course, the agency will want to defend itself, so suggestions should be practical and realistic. The goal of USCIS is to decrease processing times while maintaining or improving security and fraud prevention.

  2. kwhartington says:

    I have some ideas based on things I’ve encountered as an immigration attorney.

    – Provide a means for attorneys to communicate with the consulates via email. The new and only allows the applicant to email the consulate, and the response goes to the client. Most of my immigrant visa clients do not have email or do not check their email regularly. Many consulates no longer have a direct email address, but rather refer you to the “contact us” link on the ustraveldocs page. Frustrating!

    – Provide a SRC number in ELIS once a new immigrant’s I-551 card is in process. There is currently no way to track delivery of a new I-551 card.

    – Provide a means by which USCIS can access I-130 approvals without having to file an I-824. If my client loses her I-130 approval notice but wants to file adjustment of status, shouldn’t USCIS be able to look the I-130 up in their own system rather than issuing an RFE to provide the approval notice?

    – Complete overhaul of National Visa Center – what a nightmare it has become.

  3. […] The below 18 points were orginaly written by Greg Siskind on January 9, 2015 and appeared on the IL… […]

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