5 changes that will impact the process to obtain work and investor visas in the United States by 2020

1. Substantial increase in the rates of important immigration procedures

The United States Migration Service (USCIS) plans to increase this year the rights of the majority of migratory efforts by 50% on average (80% in the case of naturalization). This increase in rights is expected to take effect in March / April of this year, unless lawsuits are filed to suspend it.

Despite the increase in the above-mentioned rights, it is expected that delays in the adjudication of immigration applications before the USCIS will remain during 2020.

2. Preliminary Registration for employers seeking to hire workers in H-1B status

Due to the high percentage of returns of applications for H-1B visas (visa for professionals in a specialized area) that did not reach the lottery, as of this year, the USCIS will require all employers interested in hiring foreign professionals in H-1B status, register as prospective H-1B employers prior to submitting the visa petition, in the period from March 1 to 20, 2020, paying a fee of $ 10 per registration. Only those registered selected through a lottery may subsequently submit their petition to the USCIS.

3. Proposal of stricter rules for L-1 and H-1B visas

The USCIS plans to publish this year more stringent rules for the definition of specialized occupation (H-1B) and to regulate the salary that must be paid to L-1 visa holders (visa for the transfer of managers, executives or workers with special knowledge to the United States).

4. More immigration inspections in the workplace

Compared to the government of President Barack Obama, the number of immigration inspections has quadrupled in 2019. That trend is expected to continue by 2020.

5. Highest investment required to obtain permanent residence as an investor (EB-5)

Based on new USCIS rules, as of November 21, 2019 the amount of the standard investment required for permanent residence as an investor increased to $ 1.8 million (formerly $ 1 million). The amount to invest in certain areas with a high unemployment rate increased to $ 900,000 (before it was $ 500,000). For this year, the USCIS plans to publish, in addition, two new rules that will allow greater control of investments by the USCIS.


Faced with this uninviting panorama, at Graf Legal, S.C., we recommend first of all to start your immigration processes in the first quarter of 2020 to avoid being subject to the new rates and rules of the USCIS. In addition, we suggest evaluating the availability of immigration benefits that do not pass through the USCIS and therefore are not subject to new rates and rules, such as E (investor or merchant) visas, TN (NAFTA professional) or B-1 (business ) that can be processed directly at the Embassy or a Consulate of the United States.

At Graf Legal, S.C., we provide professional and effective advice to get your work or investor visa for the United States. Contact us and schedule your appointment to help you find the best solution.

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