Legal Updates & Alerts

Recent Developments in Immigration

October 1, 2007
Diversity Lottery (DV-2009)

The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program ("DV Program"), also known as the "Diversity Lottery," is now open. The Department of State ("DOS"), which administers the DV Program, began accepting applications on October 3, 2007. The application period will close at noon, Eastern Standard Time, Sunday, December 2, 2007. DOS recommends applying as early as possible because website delays may occur during the last week of the application window. All applications must be electronically submitted (paper entries are no longer permitted) at the following web address:

DOS' instructions for the DV Program are located at the following web address:

The DV Program provides a maximum of up to 55,000 immigrant visas each year to natives of countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. The definition of "native" most often means the person's country of birth, however, exceptions do exist. The DOS instructions referenced above provide the list of eligible countries for DV-2009.

Visa Bulletin, November 2007

DOS has issued its Visa Bulletin for November 2007. The employment-based first preference category, which includes multinational managers and executives, outstanding researchers, and individuals of extraordinary ability, are current for all countries. The employment-based second preference category, which primarily includes advanced degree professionals, individuals of exceptional ability and national interest waivers, is current for all countries except China and India; China has a priority date of January 1, 2006, and India a priority date of April 1, 2004. Finally, the employment-based third preference category, which primarily includes professionals (Bachelor's degree) and skilled workers, remains significantly backlogged with priority dates ranging from 2001 to 2002, depending on country of chargeability.

The November 2007 Visa Bulletin is available at the following web address:

At the end of FY2007, DOS made all categories temporarily current, which resulted in a large number of immigrant visa filings. DOS explained in the Visa Bulletin that there was no forward movement in employment-based immigrant visa numbers from October 2007 because it is still too early to determine the impact on demand for immigrant visa numbers that will result from the increased number of filings.

USCIS Receipting Delays

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) continues to experience delays in the issuance of receipt notices as a result of increased filings at the end of FY2007. USCIS is providing weekly updates on the status of receipt notice issuance; in early October, USCIS announced that it was issuing receipt notices for I-140 immigrant petitions and I-485 adjustment of status application filed two months prior. It has been generally observed, however, that many cases have been pending for longer than two months without issuance of a receipt notice.

Alan Perkins Joins Tonkon Torp Immigration Practice Group

Tonkon Torp is pleased to welcome Alan C. Perkins to the firm's Immigration Practice group, where he will focus on employment-related immigration and naturalization matters. For the past eight years, Perkins has practiced corporate immigration law in San Francisco with Cooley Godward LLP, and most recently with Duane Morris LLP. At Tonkon Torp, he will again work with Turid L. Owren, who chairs the firm's Immigration Practice group. Perkins and Owren formerly practiced together at another Portland firm.