Tahmina Speaks About Startup Visa Issues at Bitspiration Festival in Poland

It was such an incredible honor and privilege to be invited to speak at the Bitspiration Festival in Warsaw, Poland.  Held 22-23 June 2015, the event was attended by a long list of who’s who in the Startup Community from around the globe.  The festival was grand and fun; entertaining as well as immensely educational.  Folks for Startup Estonia, Startup Poland, Startup Netherlands and so many any other organizations attended.  Here is a wonderful write up by Natalia Burina, Co-Founder of Parable who describes the event so eloquently.  Thank you Bitspiration for inviting me, I am grateful.

Image courtesy of @Bitspiration

Image courtesy of @Bitspiration


Tahmina speaks about Startup Visas at SXSW-V2V

I had the distinct honor and privilege of speaking on a panel at South By South West Las Vegas (SXSWV2V) last week. Following our panel on Startup Visas at SXSW Austin, TX,  our SXSW V2V panel was about regulatory obstacles that startups face. Held 19-22 July, the event was full of energetic and notable individuals from the startup community including founders and venture capitalists.   and reputable in such as Dave McClure and John Brady.  The founder of Banjo Damien Patten was an inspiring speaker.

There were many new startups/founders in attendance. Two most memorable ones for me were www.jrnl.com and ideapod.com.  Check them out if you have time!

Held at Bellagio Hotel & Casino, the event was a great success.  Thank you SXSWV2V for having me! Here are some photos from the event.

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Legal updates- quick snapshot

Dear Readers,

June and July have been busy months of speaking engagements as well as meeting various deadlines mainly H1b RFEs. (You know what I am talking about if you are dealing with them too!). Follow us on Twitter to get real time updates, if you are not already since blogging updates has been a little slow.  Here is a quick summary of some immigration issues that have come up over the last couple of months that might be of interest:

1. DACA: USCIS is recalling DACA cards that were issued for 3 years. Any card issued after February 2015 must be returned.  Clients must act proactively to ensure their deferred action status is not cancelled.  (I would like to add a note that President Obama and the Administration is really trying to help undocumented immigrants. The Administration is taking this action because there is a court order to do so).  The deadline is July 31. Act now if you have not as your deferred action status will be in jeopardy otherwise! Read more here. 

2. Expansion of Provisional Unlawful Presence Waivers of  Inadmissibility:  Update to the Federal Register has been issued following the Executive Actions on immigration regarding who is a qualified relative in a case where one must show hardship.  This is done in an effort to keep families united.  Read more here. 

3. Entrepreneur Parole: A few weeks ago, USCIS held a stakeholder teleconference to seek input from members of the public.  USCIS seems to genuinely want more information on how best to create this new provision.  Though there was a deadline to submit opinions and suggestions, I recommend that people still send in their thoughts.

I will write about each of my speaking events individually soon. Stay tuned!


EB5 Processing Time Update from USCIS

USCIS Processing Time Information for the
Immigrant Investor Program Office

Posted: July 27, 2015

Instructions on Using the Chart

Below is a chart that shows the form number, form name and processing times for the following forms that are processed by the Immigrant Investor Program Office (IPO).

Find the particular form number (in the left column) or form name (in the center column) in which you are interested. In the right column you will find a timeframe in months representing the average processing time for that form type. Please note some cases may take longer to process.

We offer a variety of services after you file. For a Form I-526 you can check the status of your case online or email USCIS.ImmigrantInvestorProgram@uscis.dhs.gov if your Form I-526, Form I-829, or Form I-924 is beyond the stated processing timeframe.

Average Processing Times for Immigrant Investor Program Office as of: May 31, 2015
Form Title Classification or Basis for Filing: Processing Timeframe:
I-526 Immigrant Petition By Alien Entrepreneur For use by an entrepreneur who wishes to immigrate to the United States 13.4 Month(s)
I-829 Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions Removal of lawful permanent resident conditions (immigrant investors) 13.6 Month(s)
I-924 Application For Regional Center Under the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program I924 – Application For Regional Center Under the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program 11.5 Month(s)


USCIS complete return of all H1b cap petitions not selected in the lottery

Here is a copy/paste of USCIS’s announcement of returned H1bs. 

USCIS announced on July 14, 2015, that it completed processing the return of fiscal year 2016 H-1B cap-subject petitions that were not selected in our computer-generated random selection process.


USCIS previously announced on May 4, 2015, that it completed data entry of all selected cap-subject petitions.


If you submitted an H-1B cap-subject petition between April 1 and April 7, 2015 and have not received a receipt notice or a returned petition by July 20, 2015, you may contact USCIS.

Premium Processing for H1b Resumes

This morning USCIS announced that it will lift the suspension on premium processing filings for all H1bs.  Previous guidance was that the suspension would be until July 27th.  This is great news for many I am sure, including some of our clients.

If you are waiting to file for premium processing, you can now file the premium processing form using your pending case number.  Below is a copy of the USCIS text.


Beginning July 13, 2015, USCIS will resume accepting Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service for all Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, H-1B extension of stay petitions. Premium processing requests for Form I-129 H-1B extension of stay petitions received by USCIS before July 13, 2015 will be rejected.We previously announced on May 19, 2015, that premium processing service would be suspended for Form I-129 H-1B extension of stay petitions from May 26, 2015 to July 27, 2015. The temporary suspension allowed us to implement the Employment Authorization for Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses final rule in a timely manner and begin adjudication of applications for employment authorization filed by H-4 nonimmigrants under the new regulation. Premium processing remained available for all other types of Form I-129 H-1B petitions during the temporary suspension.

We have closely monitored our workloads and have determined that we can resume premium processing service for H-1B extension of stay petitions on July 13, 2015.

As a reminder, we will accept only the new version (edition date: 01/29/2015) of Form I-907. You can find the edition date printed on the bottom left corner of every page of the form and instructions. We will reject previous editions of this form.

Please do not reply to this message.  See our Contact Us page for phone numbers and e-mail addresses.



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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services sending to tahmina@watsonimmigrationlaw.com
20 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington DC 20529 · 1-800-375-5283

August 2015 Visa Bulletin is Out!

The Dept. of State released the 2015 August Visa Bulletin today. Here is a link. Usual commentary to follow soon.

pertinent note copied below:


There was an extremely large increase in applicant demand reported for consideration in the determination of the August cut-off dates. Therefore, it has been necessary to retrogress the Employment Third, and Third Other Worker cut-off dates to hold number use within the FY-2015 annual limit.

Every effort will be made to return those categories to the previously announced July cut-off dates as quickly as possible under the FY-2016 annual limits. Those limits will take effect October 1, 2015.

Immigration benefits, same-sex marriage and recent SCOTUS ruling

On June 26th 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that same-sex married couples have equal rights and protection of the law.  Thus, with a stroke of the SCOTUS pen, same-sex marriage is now legal in every state.

Over the past few days, our office has received a number of inquiries about how the decision impacts potential immigration petitions for same-sex spouses.  The latest string of queries leads us to believe that many were not aware that immigration benefits are already conferred to same-sex married couples.

In 2013 when the Supreme Court struck down a key part the Defense of Marriage Act, U.S. immigration benefits were extended to same-sex spouses.   The landmark case of U.S. vs. Windsor, was a game changer from an immigration perspective (among other things of course).

Not only can a US citizen apply for a green card for his or her same-sex spouse, temporary immigration benefits are also possible.

Here are some of our previous blog posts on these issues:

1. Same-sex couples can get green cards. 

2.  USCIS issues guidance for same-sex couples. 

We have been successful in helping many such cases to date. We are sorry to hear that there was confusion on the issue preventing many from applying for their loved ones from staying in the US. We hope that will now change and loved ones can now be united.


Forbes Discusses Startup Visas with Tahmina

Image Courtesy of Forbest

Image Courtesy of Forbes

I am incredibly honored that Forbes magazine interviewed me to discuss the state of Startup Visas in the US.  Journalist Adriana Gardella took the time to read my book and understand the critical issues holding back Startup founders from staying in the US.  Here is an exerpt of from her article:

“The U.S. immigration system is based on models established in the 1950s and 60s that don’t accommodate entrepreneurship,” said Ms. Watson, who has expanded her blog on the topic into a book, The Startup Visa: Key to Job Growth and Economic Prosperity in America. In a recent conversation, she talked about what Procter & Gamble and WhatsApp have in common, how other countries are courting the entrepreneurs we discourage, and why U.S. policies on legal immigration are just as problematic as those on illegal immigration.”

Here is a link to the full article.  I hope you will spread the article within your networks. Unless we keep the topic alive, Congress will not pay attention.  If you want to see a Startup Visa in the US, please be an advocate on the issue.

Tahmina Speaks Up On Executive Action for Entrepreneurs

TW SATX book signing Last weekend was a whirlwind of advocacy and discussion of the new book.  Startup founders create jobs in the US and we need to have a visa to meet the modern day business practices.  FWD.us and Free Flow Research in San Antonio, TX held a pitch for investment competition for global entrepreneurs.  The #SATX event was very well attended and was a display of several talented entrepreneurs.  I was honored to be invited and to say a few words on the need for a Startup Visa and on the pending details on Entrepreneurial Parole through Executive Action. There was also a best tweet book giveaway of our book.  Thank you to @FWD.us and @FreeFlowSearch for the invitation.

The San Antonio local Time Warner Cable news covSATX signed booksered the event.  Here is a link.   Thee are more posts on our Twitter page @tahminawatson.

We hope that immigration policy announcements for high-skilled immigration and specifically for entrepreneurs are released soon!



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