Thursday, December 18, 2014

CBP Launches Border Wait Time App

From, 12/16/2014

Planning Your Trip Across the Border Just Got Easier

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) today launched the Border Wait Time app making it easier for travelers to plan their trip across the border. The app provides estimated wait times and open lane status at land ports of entry allowing travelers to make an informed decision of where and when to cross the border. Wait times for pedestrian and passenger and commercial vehicle crossings are broken down by lane type (standard, SENTRI, NEXUS, FAST, Ready Lane, etc.). Travelers can download the app for free from Apple’s App Store and Google Play.

“CBP continues to deploy technology that enhances the travel experience at all of our ports of entry,” said Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske. “The launch of this app will provide travelers crossing the land border with more information when and where they need it.”
The app is a one-stop shop for cross border travel. Travelers can locate the three ports of entry closest to their location and then map the best route to the crossing of their choice. For example, the app allows travelers in the Buffalo, New York area to compare wait times at the Peace Bridge, Rainbow Bridge and Lewiston Queenston Bridge and will then direct them to whichever crossing they chose.

The app was developed by CBP and does not require individuals to register or provide any personal information. CBP does not store or have access to any information regarding travelers using the app.
The Border Wait Time app is just one example of CBP’s effort to create a traveler-friendly processing environment. CBP has deployed Automated Passport Control (APC) kiosks to more than 25 airports, including most recently at preclearance locations in Edmonton, Canada and Aruba. Much like APC, CBP launched Mobile Passport Control, the first authorized app to expedite a traveler’s entry into the United States, at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport this summer. CBP has also enrolled more than three million travelers in trusted traveler programs such as Global Entry, NEXUS and SENTRI. These programs allow CBP officers to process travelers safely and efficiently while enhancing security and reducing operational costs.

Friday, December 5, 2014

President Announces Plans for Employment based Immigration

In a speech to the nation in November, President Obama announced several initiatives to facilitate the hiring and retention of skilled workers. The President laid out a broad outline for administrative reform, with several agency directives now published on the DHS website. The timing of the implementation of each discrete action will be different, with some taking place very soon and others, particularly those requiring regulatory review, taking several months or longer. Here is a brief summary of the President’s initiatives pertaining to employment based immigration:

Ability to File Adjustment of Status Applications Earlier: The President’s action includes revamping the way that the employment-based green card backlog is administered, with the goal of allowing for the earlier filing of adjustment of status applications. Once implemented, both principal applicants and dependent family members would be able to obtain employment authorization and advance parole at an earlier point in time. Since adjustment of status applications could be filed earlier, green card portability would also be facilitated The proposal is expected to be published in the Federal Register, though it is unclear whether it would appear as a proposed or interim rule. If the former, it may take quite a while before final promulgation. 

H-4 Spousal Employment: Finalization of the new rule permitting employment authorization for certain H-4 spouses of H-1B workers in the green card process is expected in the next two months. Further expansion of spousal work authorization is also being considered. 

Expansion of STEM OPT: The President plans to accelerate inter-agency discussions to expand Optional Practical Training (OPT) opportunities for F-1 students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. Proposed changes are expected to include expansion and extension of the existing program and to require an ongoing link between work and course of study through continued ties between OPT students and their schools after graduation. 

Source:, 11/21/2014

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Graduate Housing Annual Holiday Party

On behalf of Graduate Family Housing, all international employees and their families are invited to the Graduate & Family Housing Holiday Party. 

When: This Friday, Dec. 5th, 6:00 pm- 8pm

Where: 10th and Home Activity Room

What: Santa will come to Tenth and Home Family Housing Apartments (THA Activity Room).  Santa will give a present to every child and anyone can get pictures taken with Santa.

Sponsored by Graduate and Family Housing and GT Student Alumni Association 

Questions? Please contact Maz Kosma at