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September 2020 Newsletter


The Sostrin Immigration Lawyers, LLP monthly newsletter provides our clients with immigration news, announcements, helpful links, and information regarding changes in immigration law, procedures, and regulations.
We hope everyone has been having a safe and healthy summer! As we move into fall, we are continuing to see challenges for clients who are attempting to enter the United States from abroad. Due to travel bans and other restrictions, we have been working with clients to apply for National Interest Exceptions and expedited visa appointments at consulates around the world in order to successfully qualify them for visas, admission, or both. Fortunately, the Department of State is waiving visa interviews in some instances to accommodate certain applicants who are seeking visa renewals.

On the domestic front, USCIS recently announced that it is adjusting many of its fees, significantly raising the costs for many petitions and applications. The new fees will go into effect next month, on October 2, 2020; you can find more information below, or on our website. Additionally, USCIS did not implement the previously announced employee furloughs, which would have affected 70% of its current staff and would have effectively halted most immigration benefits. While this is welcome news, USCIS has announced that longer processing times should be expected due to other budgetary adjustments.

Despite these hurdles, we at Sostrin remain committed to fighting for our clients. We also encourage all U.S. citizens, many of whom we have worked with in the past, to exercise their right to vote in the upcoming election on November 3, 2020.  We wish everyone a happy and healthy fall season.

Sostrin Client Spotlight: Henna Patani


As an epidemiologist for AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), Henna Patani studies how the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) impact young people (an extremely important group!). Now, Ms. Patani is also looking at the effects of COVID-19 on the community at large based on a large sample of AHF employees tested for the novel Coronavirus.

Ms. Patani began her career in healthcare after graduating from the Terna Dental College in her native India. While working as a dentist in India, she realized that treating patients was not the only approach to improving health. Instead, she could make a significant impact on health by working on disease prevention, helping patients avoid diseases and any resulting damage. “Improving a population’s knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors was more meaningful to me and my community,” she explains.

To achieve this goal, Ms. Patani came to the United States and obtained a Master of Public Health degree, studying at the University of South Florida, and she has worked in epidemiology since. Today, Ms. Patani is an Epidemiology Analyst for AHF, a global nonprofit organization providing cutting-edge medicine and advocacy to over 1.4 million people in 45 countries, and the largest provider of HIV/AIDS medical care in the United States. Within its Public Health Division, she designs, analyzes, and reports on AHF’s public health and research projects to improve prevention, testing, and treatment options for HIV/STDs and, most recently, COVID-19. 

AHF’s Public Health Division took the initiative to test AHF employees at its offices and clinics nationally for COVID-19 at regular intervals to safeguard both staff and patients. During the program’s implementation phase, Ms. Patani collaborated with teams from various departments at AHF to look at data and help AHF allocate resources across the United States. “My goal,” she said, “was to discover trends of COVID-19 testing, testing locations, and positivity rates among staff.” Using a statistical software called SAS, Ms. Patani analyzed multiple data points, producing daily reports to help curb the spread of COVID-19 among AHF employees.

Ms. Patani is now evaluating the data gathered from these tests and comparing the results to national data in the general population. This research is expected to provide valuable insights into COVID-19 that will help address the current pandemic and prepare for future public health issues.

We are proud to have worked with AHF and Ms. Patani on her recent H-1B approval and are excited to continue to follow her accomplishments in the future.

USCIS Fee Adjustments

USCIS's fee adjustments will go into effect next month, on October 2.  Any application or petition postmarked on or after this date must include payment of the new fees. Some of the affected applications or petitions include H-1B, O-1, and I-140 petitions, and I-485 applications. For more information regarding these new fees, please visit our website.

Along with these fee changes, USCIS will also be updating the premium processing time frame from 15 calendar days to 15 business days, as well as releasing new versions of certain forms.

As the effective date of these changes approach, your legal team may ask you to provide additional information or re-sign certain forms to ensure that your petition or application is processed by USCIS. 

Trump Administration Seeking To Expand Collection Of Biometric Data From Immigrants
September 1, 2020

Department of State Expands Consular Interview Waiver Eligibility
August 25, 2020

The US Immigration System Won't Come To A Halt After Massive Work Furloughs Were Canceled 
August 25, 2020

Trump Nominates Chad Wolf To Be Homeland Security Chief
August 25, 2020

USCIS Implements DHS Guidance on DACA
August 24, 2020

Looming Fee Increase Could Thwart Many U.S. Citizenship Applications
August 16, 2020

Sostrin Immigration Lawyers and partners Rita Sostrin and Alex Dgebuadze were recognized in the 27th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America for work in immigration law.

Alex Dgebuadze spoke on the AILA panel, "Ask BIRT: AILA's Business Immigration Response Team Addresses Members' Most Pressing Questions" on August 28.

Rita Sostrin spoke to Forbes regarding U.S. consular officers in Europe denying O-1 visas to qualified applicants.

Rita Sostrin was selected for inclusion in Who’s Who Legal: Thought Leaders – Corporate Immigration 2021. Rita and Alex have both previously been included in Who's Who Legal: Global Leaders – Corporate Immigration. 
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization are both monitoring and providing regular updates about the current coronavirus outbreak.

For more information, guidance, and updates, please visit the CDC and WHO websites. 
The State Department issues a monthly visa bulletin summarizing the availability of immigrant numbers, indicating when immigrant visa applicants should be notified to assemble and submit required documentation to the National Visa Center. 

For September's monthly Visa Bulletin, please Click Here.
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS") provides estimates of how long each office is taking to process different types of cases. USCIS updates this page every month (around the 15th of each month). Please note that these dates may change without notice.

For Processing Time information, please Click Here.
Copyright © 2020 Sostrin Immigration Lawyers, LLP. All rights reserved.
Contact Us:
Sostrin Immigration Lawyers, LLP
21700 Oxnard Street, Suite 860
Woodland Hills, CA 91367
T: 818.435.3500
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