Announcement: Attorney Jennifer Howard Joins Our Team

We are so thrilled to announce a new addition to our Watson Immigration Law Team! Jennifer Howard (we call her Jenny!) has joined our firm. She is a recent graduate of University of Washington Law School.  She is smart, funny and very warm and caring, just like us! Below is her bio that will be posted to our website soon. We know you will like her just as much as we do.  Please join us in welcoming her.

Jennifer Howard


Jenny Howard is a 2013 graduate of the University of Washington School of Law in Seattle, Washington.  While in law school, Jenny held leadership roles in the Immigrant Families Advocacy Project and the Washington International Law Journal. In 2012, Jenny published “Fatal Flaws: New Zealand’s Human Tissue Act Fails to Provide an Avenue for Individuals to Give Legally Binding Informed Consent.” Jenny also served as an extern for the Honorable Judge Ricardo Martinez in federal district court in the Western District of Washington.


Jenny was admitted to the bar of South Carolina in 2013 and spent her first year of practice working in complex and commercial litigation.  In 2014, Jenny returned to the Seattle area.  She was admitted to the Washington State Bar in 2015.  She is a member of the American Bar Association and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and serves as Co-Chair of the AILA New Member Division.

Community Activities and Hobbies

Jenny enjoys volunteering for the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project and the King County Bar Association. She also enjoys spending time in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her husband.


September 2015 Visa Bulletin Commentary

The September 2015 Visa Bulletin was released today.  To our regular readers, we will start to cover the China EB5 category from hereon given the retrogression issues involved and it’s effect on our readers and clients.

September 2015 Visa Bulletin

For all countries except India, China, Philippines, and Mexico: F2A category advances 77 days to priority date at 1 March 2014, 38 days movement forward in F2B preference with PD at 22 December 2008; F4 category advanced 32 days to PD at 15 January 2003; EB2 is current and, and EB3 moves forward 32 days to PD at 15 August 2015.

For India only: F2A category advances 77 days to priority date at 1 March 2014, 38 days movement forward in F2B preference with PD at 22 December 2008; F4 category advanced 32 days to PD at 15 January 2003; EB2 retrogresses by 2 years and 6 months to PD at 1 January 2006; EB3 advances 6 months and 22 days taking PD to 22 December 2004.

EB5 China only: Priority date now 22 September 2013 moving forward 3 weeks.

We are sorry to see the retrogression for EB2 India.  October, the new fiscal year, is not too far away. Hopefully things might move forward again soon. If your priority date is current in September 2015, then best to start preparing now so you can submit your documents on September 1st. Good luck! We will report on the October 2015 visa bulletin as soon as it is out in due course.


Tahmina interviewed by the American Immigration Lawyers Association about her book

Thank you to the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) for inviting me for the AILA Interview of the Month (AIM). I am honored and grateful.

I should have been a little clearer about what a Startup Visa is in the inteview, particularly if someone is hearing about it for the first time. I wanted to clarify that when I mention the pattern businesses opening in the US, I meant businesses that are founded upon an idea for a product or service but specifically funded by someone other than the founder. We do not have a visa for this scenario.

Hope you will enjoy the video!

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 and  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 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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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.


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