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🇮🇱✈🇺🇸️ Visa-free travel from Israel is now open!

Kudos to the Department of Homeland Security for expediting the timeline, enabling Israeli citizens to apply for visa-free trips to the U.S. following Israel's U.S. Visa Waiver Program admission. Starting October 19, eligible Israelis can seek travel authorization through ESTA, making tourism and business trips possible for up to 90 days without a U.S. visa. This marks a significant convenience for Israeli travelers

ESTA, an automated eligibility system, ensures compliance with law enforcement and security standards. Travelers receive prompt notifications of their Visa Waiver Program eligibility, and DHS rigorously screens applications to identify potential security concerns.

Travelers planning to exceed 90 days or considering status changes may still prefer a visa. For further details and to initiate your ESTA application, please visit or download the “ESTA Mobile” app from the iOS App Store or Google Play. DHS announcement details at:

Posted October 20, 2023

Posted October 19, 2023

Due to unprecedented long processing times USCIS temporarily increased the length for the automatic EAD extension and thus the employment authorization from the previous 180-days to 540-days. After October 26, 2023 USCIS will revert to the 180-days of extended automatic extension of work authorization. Any applications for the renewal in the eligible categories received by USCIS prior to 10/26/23 will benefit from the 540-day extension. More details at:

EAD 540-day automatic extension expires 10/26/2023

Impact Of Government Shutdown On Immigration Services

If Congress fails to agree on an appropriations bill or a short-term spending measure, the US Government will enter a partial shutdown on October 1. This will have a varying impact on immigration services, depending on the department.

Here is a summary of the anticipated impact by department:

  • USCIS (United States Citizenship And Immigration Services) is a fee-funded agency and will continue to process all applications.

  • DOS (Department of State) will continue to process visas until the funds remain available.

  • DOL (Department of Labor) will suspend operations and stop accepting and processing all applications, including labor condition applications (LCAs), PERM, prevailing wage determinations, and any other applications or certifications.

  • E-Verify will be unavailable until reauthorized by Congress.

  • ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) will continue normal operations.

  • CBP (Custom and Border Protection) will continue normal operations.


The biggest impact of a government shutdown for immigrants would be from the Department of Labor (DOL), as certifications and determinations from the DOL are a prerequisite for many types of immigration petitions, including H-1B, H-1B1, E-3, and the PERM program for any EB-2 and EB-3 petitions. Without the DOL certifications, USCIS cannot process these applications, and immigrants may not be able to come to the United States to work or live in the short term.

E-Verify is a system used by employers to verify the work authorization of their employees. If E-Verify is unavailable, employers will not be able to enroll in the program, access existing cases, create new cases, or resolve tentative nonconfirmations. The employers will not face any penalties for delays caused by the shutdown. Once the program is reauthorized, employers will need to enter all the missed new cases in the program as well as resolve any outstanding tentative nonconfirmations.

In simpler terms:

  • USCIS will continue to process applications for visas, citizenship, and other immigration benefits but some visa categories may be impacted by the missing certifications from the DOL.

  • DOS will continue to process visas, but there may be delays.

  • DOL will not be able to process applications for labor certifications, which are required for many types of immigration visas. This means that it will be more difficult for employers to hire foreign workers and for foreign workers to come to the United States.

  • E-Verify, a system used by employers to verify the work authorization of their employees, will also be unavailable.

  • ICE and CBP will continue to operate normally.

The impact of a government shutdown on immigration can be significant, and it is important for immigrants and employers to be aware of the potential consequences.

October Visa Bulletin Update

The Department of State released the Visa Bulletin for the first month of the Fiscal Year 2024 and it provides some but not widespread relief. In a switch from last month, USCIS indicated that it will accept the Dates of Filing Chart for the employment-based categories instead of the Final Action Dates Chart, i.e. applicants with priority dates earlier than those listed on the Final Action Dates Chart will be able to submit their Adjustment of Status applications. For the family-based categories, USCIS will continue to use the Dates of Filing Chart. For ease of reference, below are the respective dates for each category for both employment-based and family-based categories.

Background on the Visa Bulletin

The Visa Bulletin is a Department of State (DOS) publication that informs applicants of the updated monthly numbers. These applicants are waiting to file the final application, in their immigration journey, to obtain permanent residence, i.e. the filing of the application for the adjustment of status or submit a consular application.

The DOS is responsible for managing the numerical limitations outlined for immigrant visa categories in the Immigration and Nationality Act. Due to the immense demand for the immigrant visas, there is a backlog across the various categories for both family-based and employment-based immigration. The Visa Bulletin informs monthly of the progression of the priority date per country for the high demand countries such as China, India, Mexico and the Philippines. Specifically, the Visa Bulletin lists the cut-off dates for each category based on the supply and demand. Applicants whose priority dates are earlier than the cut-off dates are eligible to move forward with their visa applications, while those with later priority dates must wait until their dates become current.


The good news is that there is progression across all categories. Specifically:

Worldwide, Mexico and Philippines:

  • EB-1 became current;

  • EB-2 moved from July 2022 to January 2023;

  • EB-3 moved from May 2020 to February 2023 (Jan 2023 for Philippines).


  • EB-1 moved from February 2022 to August 2022;

  • EB-2 moved from July 2019 to January 2020;

  • EB-3 moved from September 2019 to September 2020


  • EB-1 moved from January 2012 to July 2019 - still a far cry from the June 2022 date in the July visa bulletin but a welcome relief for some;

  • EB-2 moved from January 2011 to 15 May 2012 - a two week progression from the July visa bulletin;

  • EB-3 moved from January 2009 to August 2012 - the same date as in the July visa bulletin.


There has been no movement for any category for the family-based categories.