The following additional items may be of interest to our readers:
Iraqi Special Immigrant Visa Program Extended: President Obama signed into a law a bill extending the Special Immigrant Visa program for Iraqi nationals who worked for or on behalf of the U.S. government. USCIS may now approve an additional 2,000 cases, as long as the initial applications to the DOS Chief of Mission in Iraq are made by December 31, 2013. The program was set to expire on September 30, 2013.
Global Entry Expanded to Korea, Germany, Qatar, and the UK: CBP announced that the Global Entry international trusted traveler program has been expanded to include certain citizens of the Republic of Korea, the Federal Republic of Germany, the State of Qatar, and the United Kingdom. Global Entry allows pre-approved, low-risk participants expedited entry into the United States using Global Entry kiosks located at designated airports.
Conrad Waiver Applications Now Taking Six Weeks at DOS: J-1 waiver applications for clinical physicians through the Department of State’s Waiver Review Division are currently taking approximately six weeks, about two to three weeks longer than normal. Clients are advised to prepare accordingly.
International Visitors to the U.S. Increases in 2013: The Commerce Department announced that for the first three months of 2013, international visits (15 million) were up six percent, with more than a 10 percent increase in March alone. Forty-one percent of overseas visitors arrived at three ports of entry, Miami, New York and Los Angeles. The top countries of origin for such visits are Canada (up 11 percent), Mexico (+5%), Japan (+7%), the United Kingdom (+2%), and Germany (+4%). Increasing international tourism to the U.S. was part of President Obama’s 2010 initiative to improve the economy.