FGI News and Publications

September 28, 2010 Issue – Immigration News

Department of State Posts FY 2012 Diversity Visa Lottery


Sep 24, 2010: Rules and guidelines for the 2012 Diversity Immigrant Visa program have just been published by the U.S. Department of State. For Fiscal Year (FY) 2012, a total of 50,000 Diversity Visas will be made available to people from countries with low rates of immigration to the U.S.

The annual DV Lottery program gives permanent visas to people that meet a few simple eligibility requirements. These requirements include:

1) Applicants must be natives of a country whose natives qualify.

2) Applicants must have either a high school education (or its equivalent) or two years of work experience within the past five years that requires at least two years of training or experience.

For FY 2012, natives of the following countries are not eligible  for the lottery program, because these countries have sent more than 50,000 immigrants to the U.S. in the past five years:




KINGDOM (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and VIETNAM.


Please note that people born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan are eligible. Learn more online at:

Department of State Issues Updated Travel Warning for US

Citizens Traveling to Mexico.

Sep 22, 2010: Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of State issued an updated travel warning to U.S. citizens planning to travel to and live in Mexico. According to the Department of State, while most victims of criminal violence in Mexico are Mexican citizens associated with criminal activity, the current situation poses serious risks to U.S. citizens in the region as well.

As of September 10, the U.S. Consulate in Monterrey has removed all minor dependents of U.S. government personnel and family members in other areas of northern Medico had also been previously authorized to depart.

While millions of U.S. citizens do safely visit Mexico each year, the Department of State does strongly urge U.S. citizens to understand the risks involved in travel to Mexico, how to best avoid dangerous situations and who to contact if they become a victim of crime or violence.

ICE Serves Hundreds of Notices of Inspection to U.S.


Sep 17, 2010: This week, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) served hundreds of Notices of Inspection (NOI) to U.S. companies. These NOIs were served as part of the Obama administration’s campaign to target the employers of illegal immigrants. The NOIs give employers three days to submit their I-9 documentation for inspection. In certain cases, an extension may be granted.

So far this year, 147 employers have been either criminally convicted or cited with worksite violations. Fines for knowingly hiring an illegal immigrant can be from $1,100 to $16,000 per unauthorized worker, making it pertinent that employers follow regulations and ensure proper validation of employees in their organizations.

Relief Offered to Certain Haitian F-1


Sep 15, 2010: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has just announced a new special relief program for some F-1 Haitian students who have been the victims of severe economic hardship because of the January earthquake in Haiti. This new relief applies to students who were lawfully present in the U.S. at the time of the January earthquake and are enrolling in an educational institution that is listed as certified by ICE’s Student and Exchange Visitor program (SEVIS)

The new relief program will allow eligible Haitian F-1 students to work in the U.S., work an increased number of hours during their school term and reduce their course load, if necessary, while still maintaining F-1 status.

“We want to ensure that students from Haiti, who were here at the time of January’s tragic events, are able to concentrate on their studies without the worry of financial burdens created by the devastation of the earthquake,” said Louis Farrell, director, SEVIS. “These students have the full support of SEVP and designated school officials for assistance.”

How Puerto Rico’s New, More Secure Birth

Certificates Will Affect the I-9 Process.

Sep 10, 2010: On July 1, 2010, the Vital Statistics Office of¬† the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico started issue new certified copies of birth certificates to U.S. citizens born in Puerto Rico. This process began due to a change in Puerto Rico’s birth certificate law and enabled a higher level of security in the issuance process of birth certificates.

As of September 30, 2010, all certified copies of birth certificates issued before July 1, 2010 will be invalid, stated USCIS in an official memo. Please note, however, that this new regulation should not affect citizenship status of people born in Puerto Rico; it only affects whether or not a certified copy of a birth certificate is considered valid.

All forms of certified copies of Puerto Rico-issued birth certificates will be acceptable on the Form I-9 up to September 30. However, after that date, only Puerto Rico birth certificates issued on or after July 1 will be acceptable as proof of identity on the I-9 form.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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