US Immigration Questions

  1. Tuesday, 19...
    Question: I have BSc., [Maths] – 3 yrs degree + MSc., [Computer Science] – 2 yrs degree in India Grade A Universities and 11 years exp in IT industry applied I-140 under EB2 category. Last week I got the RFE like below. I can provide my legal name change evidence. Please see the RFE description and labor certification details below. <br> "Is USCIS not certain that I have met the educational requirements of the labor certification position"? I can see only one statement that "USCIS is unable to determine if the beneficiary has met the educational requirements "Once I have documentation that NEW NAME and OLD NAME are the same person, will USCIS accept my educational documents?
    Answer:

    Watch Video: Name variation in diploma or degree, name change for immigration


    Video TranscriptOne of the easiest way to remedy is to actually get a decree from the local court. You can just contact the local court system and tell them you want to do a change of name. They will typically give you some paper work to fill out and then you advertise in the newspaper and then you can show it to USCIS but of course then you have to take care of your passport, social security number. It is a little bit of a hassle but needs to be done. 


    Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the referenced audio/video media delivered as oral communication, and, therefore, may not conform to written grammatical or syntactical form.

  2. Tuesday, 19...
    Question: My current status is AOS (Advance Parole) based on an employment-based EB3 green card filing with a PD of April 2007. I am an Indian citizen. My H-1B expired in 2007 and since then I have been working in the US on my EAD. My parents have found a prospective bride in India, so I am looking to get married soon and have her accompany me to the US after marriage. She does not have a US Visa. I have not found any information from any venue of getting married to an Indian girl from India in my current immigration status, except for hearing about Form I-824. Could you speak towards or confirm if indeed this is the process/procedure and its success rate or any caveat : filing Form I-824 to have my future wife added as a dependent to my pending AOS application, while she is still in India? And then subsequently filing my next I- 765 application and adding her as a dependent/spouse on the application. Once the EAD cards arrive then traveling to India and she could travel back to the US on her new EAD card?
    Answer:

    Watch Video: Getting married when AOS I-485 is pending (following to join and other options)

     

    Video Transcript: As per the law if you have an employment based case pending and you are married on the date your green card is approved, she is entitled to come through you through the same priority date and through a much shorter process called following to join. 

    What is following to join?

    Lets say you are here and your spouse is in India you will file form I-824 and request the government to send her papers to the consulate and that can take time. But this is processing time. It can take 6-10 months. But eventually she gets processed through an interview in the consulate following to join.

    In the above situation H-1/H-4 is the only option because unless she is in USA in legal status she can't file adjustment of status. When you are outside you can do only following to join.

    Get your H-1 stamping done and also her H-4 done. Both of you travel to USA on H-1 and H-4. If your priority date is current when you land you can file for her I-485 otherwise she can stay on H-4 and you can stay on H-1.

     

     

    Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the referenced audio/video media delivered as oral communication, and, therefore, may not conform to written grammatical or syntactical form.

  3. Tuesday, 19...
    Question: A couple of questions on Gap in status:<br> 1. I am on H-1B and my project/job is going to end on April 29,2016 (Friday). I have my H-4 approved effective May 2, 2016. I will get salary slip from 1 April to 30 April. Do I need to have salary slip for May 1, 2016 (which is a Sunday) to maintain H-1B/ legal status (considering that I won't be getting May 1 to May 31 salary slip).<br> 2. I am currently on H-1B and have an approved H-4 Effective 15 July 2016. As part of my H-4 application (which I had filed along with my spouse extension) , I had requested USCIS to give me H-4 effective date of 13 May 2016 as my project was going to end on 13 May 2016. But, the request was not honoured and USCIS responded citing the reason "Since the beneficiary of the I-539 and I-765 will change status, we cannot give an earlier start date than what is shown on the I-129 approval notice." If my project ends on 13 May 2016 , should I leave the country as my H-4 effective start date is 15 July 2016 to maintain legal status ?
    Answer:

    Watch Video: Gap in Status


    Video Transcript:

    Answer 1: These kinds of de minimis small gaps are sometimes  even a product of the way the government works. In your case I don't think it is going to be a problem. Technically yes even for one day being out of status the government can say you are out of status, but when they have already approved your status I don't think this is going to be a major issue. 

    Answer 2: I personally think it is still not a big issue because  if you got the H-4 already with an I-94 attached I doubt if the government is going to make an issue out of it. But you can do another thing. You can file a tourist visa to cover you for those two months but make sure it does not go beyond July 14. Other wise your status will be changed to B. So you could do a stop gap kind of arrangement or you could leave USA for a couple of months. But even if you stayed I doubt whether it is going to be an issue. 


    Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the referenced audio/video media delivered as oral communication, and, therefore, may not conform to written grammatical or syntactical form.

  4. Wednesday,...
    Question: I am currently on H-1B(Valid till Sep 2018) with approved I-140 for Company A and spouse has H-4 EAD (valid till Sep 2018). My question is, if I switch my job to a company B. Can my spouse continue working with the current H-4 EAD (which is valid till sep 2018)?Will it cause any issue during next H-4/EAD extension?
    Answer:

    Watch Video: Does H-4 EAD have to be applied again if H-1 changes jobs?

    Video Transcript: The answer is of course not. The only time you have to worry is if you fall out of status. As long as you are maintaining status every time you change jobs her H-4 and H-4 EAD is good until her H-4 and H-4 EAD is about to expire there is nothing else you got to do. She can continue working and she need not change H-4 every time you change H-1.

     

    Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the referenced audio/video media delivered as oral communication, and, therefore, may not conform to written grammatical or syntactical form.

  5. Tuesday, 5...
    Question: My Spouse is on H-4 and has a Valid H-4 stamped till Jan 16 2017. I am planning to apply H-1 for my Spouse through an Employer this year. Is it advisable to travel to India while her H-1B is in Process? What will be the implications if she travels to India?
    Answer:

    Watch Video: Travel while H-1 COS is pending

    Video Transcipt: Whenever you are on one status and you apply for another status, like from F-1 to H-1, from H-1 to H-4 or from tourist visa to student visa, anytime you have a situation where you are going from one status to another your application with the government has two requests implicitly contained in your application. One request is find me eligible for the status I am asking for. When I go from H-4 to H-1 I tell the government (USCIS) can you please hold me to be eligible to receive H-1 and if they say yes then you go on to the next step.

    Next step is actual change of status. So not only do I want to be held eligible for H-1, I want you to then change my status to H-1. So there are two applications within that one application when you file for going from one status to another. One is the determination and the other one is the change. When you travel outside USA generically speaking there can be exceptions. Generically and generally speaking your application for determination is not invalid but your change of status is invalid. So what does that do. Let's say I am on H-4 like the questionnaires wife is and they file for my H-1 change of status, I travel to India or Switzerland where ever I want to go and I come back. Government will give me my H-1 if it is approved, but they won't give me status change from H-4 to H-1. I am still on H-4, my H-1 is approved but only the determination has been issued that I am entitled to an H-1. Now I have two choices either I cannot apply for change of status from H-4 to H-1, because by traveling out I abandoned that part. I didn't abandon my determination request but I abandoned my change of status. The second option is to go to a consulate and get a visa stamping and come. So if she travels she has to do one of these two things when she comes back. She won't have to wait outside the USA if she doesn't want to. She can come back on H-4. 

    Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the referenced audio/video media delivered as oral communication, and, therefore, may not conform to written grammatical or syntactical form.

  6. Tuesday, 5...
    Question: My amendment has been filed by my company in Aug15 but not approved yet. Now I want to travel to India in month of April & get back in same month . after coming back H1B extension will be filed by company. My question is can they create any problem on my return since my visa is about to expire in June 2016 & amendment is not approved yet.
    Answer:

    Watch Video: H-1 entering USA when visa is about to expire

    Video Transcript: You can enter the United States even if you have one day left on your visa. There could be questions as to how long you are going to stay, how are you going to stay, if the employer has already filed an extension and what is the process of filing the extension., and if these questions are answered brilliantly and completely you will not have a problem. Nevertheless you are allowed to enter the United States under the law even if you have one day remaining in the visa stamping.

    Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the referenced audio/video media delivered as oral communication, and, therefore, may not conform to written grammatical or syntactical form.

  7. Thursday, 3...
    Question: Using an existing approved I-140, can a H-1B be renewed any number of times, with new/multiple different employers, even without restarting any paperwork for GC with the new employer?
    Answer:

    Yes, as long as the I-140 is not revoked.

  8. Thursday, 3...
    Question: My wife has H-4 plus EAD. If my job details changes, will my wife's EAD will be affected?
    Answer:

    As long as appropriate H-1 amendments are filed and you maintain status, the change in your job description has no effect on the H-4 EAD. 

  9. Tuesday, 26...
    Question: The physician group I'm talking with are looking to hire me on to work alongside them, and they would not actually pay me a direct salary. I would bill insurance for each patient seen, and the practice would take a certain percentage and give me the rest. Would this be allowed? Or do I have to actually receive a salary from the future employer? My understanding is that as long as the potential employer can show the ability to pay the prevailing wage via a business income tax return, that is all that is needed. Whether or not I actually get paid and how much I get paid once the green card is approved, is irrelevant, correct?
    Answer:

    First of all generally speaking, for H-1 and for green card your salary cannot include terms that are variable. So for instance if you get a yearly bonus, but the bonus changes from year to year you cannot include that as a part of your salary. Salary cannot include per diem. A lot of companies and a lot of employees get stuck with a lot of problems because per diem is set up as part of the salary. Per diem is not salary. Benefits are not salary. So all three of these items are big problems when you talk about H-1 and green card salaries. You cannot include benefits, You cannot include per diem and you cannot include variable amounts such as bonuses. if the bonus is guaranteed, in terms of the amount then you can include it otherwise but this is not salary.   

    But how about a percentage?... In PERM for sure you cannot have this arrangement because this is not a fixed amount. Green card is a job in the future and what if you have a different set up now and another set up when you actually get the green card, I think that's ok but the  problem is if you are in H-1 this actually offends H-1 as well.  


    Watch Video from Rajiv S. Khanna's conference call that addresses this issue


     


     Note: The answer is a verbatim transcript of the referenced audio/video media delivered as oral communication, and, therefore, may not conform to written grammatical or syntactical form.

  10. Monday, 11...
    Question:
    Answer:

    Question 1: Redo the PERM or just the I-140. If redoing the PERM again then what's new in this regulation? 

    Answer: After 180 days, you can extend H-1 even if 140 is withdrawn.

    Question 2: It seems that there is no easy provision for EAD/AP for approved 140 applicants. So is there any point in waiting for this rule or Should I consider Visa stamping is only option for traveling outside US? Please suggest as I waited for a year or long thought they are going to give AP.

    Answer: Your observation about EAD/AP is correct- no easier. I will be surprised if USCIS changes these proposed rules in any significant manner when they finalize.

    Question 3: If I have consumed my 6 years of H-1B and I have approved I-140. If I go to India and of some reason I got stuck in India. After a while I want some other employer to file my H-1B petition other then with approved I-140 employer. Do the new employer can apply for my new H1b cap exempt petition based on approved i-140 from my old employer. OR New H-1B petition from the new employer comes under H-1 cap count?

    Answer: You have raised two separate issues. One, the I-140 can be used to extend your H-1 through ANY employer, if it is not withdrawn within 180 days of approval. Two, you are exempt from H-1 cap if your H-1 was approved any time within the last 6 years.

    Question 4: Is there any provision for promotions internally within a company that filed the petition and the I-140 is approved more than 180 days previously?

    Answer: These regs will only clarify (I am not sure they really do that) what "same or similar" jobs are. That concept is crucial when your I-140 has been approved and I-485 has been pending 180 days. At that time, you can accept a same or similar job anywhere, including within the same company, and NOT have to start your green card all over again. That comes under the topic of AC21 portability.

    Question 5: Is direct portability of I-140 across multiple employers, ever possible. because I-140 is a property of the Employer and not the Employee (unlike 1-485) ?.Can we suggest any other creative options, of working around this legal hurdle. a. Can PERM be made portable across multiple employers. So employees donot have to go through the hassle of the PERM filing, repeatedly. This will save, almost 4 months of pre PERM filing effort and another 8-10 months of PERM processing window.

    b. Or, can the I 140 be made an Employee’s property after 180 days it is approved. If that can be done then portability of the same may be legally possible across different Employers

    Answer: The Priority date IS the "property" of the employee, NOT of the employer. So, an employee can port it to any job, anywhere, any number of times. But, I do not think they are excusing us from having to refile the PERM.

    Question 6: Does the 60 day grace period is accepted in this case; H-1 Ext filed before expiry of I-94, then Current H-1 and I-94 expired, then H-1 Ext denied. Can we use 60 day grace period for filing new H-1 with new employer? In what cases does this 10 day validity before and after petition dates is used. The 60-day grace period appears to apply only in those cases where an approved H-1 employment abruptly comes to an end. The proposed regs say, upto 60 days may be given: "on the basis of the cessation of the employment on which the alien’s classification was based".

    Answer: The 10 days allow you enter (but, not work) upto 10 days before the date your "validity period" (approval of petition) begins, and another 10 days to leave the USA (but, not work), after that period ends.

    Question 7: Emp A - I-140 Approved and Moved to Emp B. Got i-140 with Emp B and priority date retained. submitted Emp A Experience letter while fling PERM. Now I want to move to Emp C. Do I still need to get experience letter from Emp B? If I am not able to get experience letter from Emp B, Can Emp C file PERM. if so and filed new PERM and I-140 with Emp C, Can I still retain priority date even though if its not same or similar job?

    Answer: There are two fundamental principles that you need to apply to your case:

    1. Priority date transfer does NOT require that your jobs must be same or similar.

    2. Experience letters are NOT required for priority date transfer or retention. 

    Question 8: Now that it is clear that there is almost nothing much in the so called reform, how can the immigrant community represent themselves forcefully, while the public comment period is in place? I understand that each one of us can go and put our comments, but is your firm, or someone else, planning to represent us? For lack of proper words, these so called reforms are a piece of trash, and only done to pretend as if reforms are taking place. It could not be worse actually. 

    Answer: There is a limit on what USCIS can do without action from the Congress. You can certainly write your comments and several organizations will place their comments on the record as well. NORMALLY, USCIS does not change the rules much once they have been proposed. I think US immigration policy in "skilled" immigration is distressingly short-sighted. Our adopted country does not recognize the value brought in by us.

    Question 9: My I-140 already withdrawn/revoked after 180 days of initial approval date. Now after implements new rule, will it apply for my case to extend my H-1 beyond 6 years?

    Answer: I cannot say for sure whether USCIS intends to apply these rules retroactively. I hope they do. 

    Question 10: Can you comment on what date will this become effective ? Is it after the comment period is over?

    Answer: The effective date is unpredictable. Usually, it is a few months after the comments are over. 

    Question 11: I need to clarify regarding the I-140 EAD for H-4. If the principal applicant has I-140 approved but the priority date for that category and country in the visa bulletin is more than 10 years back, Can the dependents, such as H-4, apply for I-140 EAD without the documentation for compelling evidence? If no, what are the examples of compelling evidence?I think the regulation does very little incremental for the EB categories. As mentioned, it provides clarification rather than provide more flexibility to the household or family of EB categories. I am disappointed with the revisions that have been made.Also, the compelling evidence was not required till now. What happens to those H-4 EADs which were issued since USCIS started applications from May 27, 2015? How would those H-4 EADs which are approved on the basis of I-140 approval of principal applicant be dissolved?Also, if the spouse moves from H-4 to H-4 EAD. Can he/she move from H-4 EAD to H-1B or any other non-immigrant category? Does the form I-539 allows movement among all categories?

    Answer: H-4 EAD does NOT require compelling evidence. That is a different rule: http://www.immigration.com/blogs/form-i-140-form-i-765/h-4-ead-rule-cont...

    I-594 does allow movement between all categories. H-4 to H-1 is definitely no problem. I agree; I am not too thrilled with the regs. But there is a limit to what Pres. Obama can do, folks. 

  11. Friday, 8...
    Question: What documents, identification, and paperwork does a U.S. citizen need to travel internationally?
    Answer:

    If you are traveling in the Western Hemisphere (Canada, Mexico, Caribbean, Central and South America):

    Air Travel:  All U.S. citizens departing from or entering the United States from within the Western Hemisphere by air are required to present a valid passport or NEXUS card (if utilizing a NEXUS kiosk when departing from a designated Canadian airport). Merchant Mariner Document (for U.S. citizens on official maritime business.) U.S. Military identification card when traveling on official orders;   Note that children are also required to present their own passport when traveling by air.

    Land or Sea Travel:  U.S. citizens entering the United States by land or sea are required to present a valid WHTI-compliant document, which include:

    • U.S. Passports
    • U.S. Passport Cards
    • Enhanced Driver's Licenses
    • Trusted Traveler Cards (Global Entry*, NEXUS, SENTRI, or FAST)
    • Military Identification Cards (for members of the U.S. armed forces on official orders)
    • U.S. Merchant Mariner Document (for U.S. citizens on official maritime business)

    *The Global Entry (GE) card is only an ENTRY document and may not be used to enter Canada, Mexico or Adjacent Island.

    Military personnel traveling under orders may present photo ID and orders.  Family members must present a passport (with the exception of children 15 and younger arriving by land or sea.)

    Children:  U.S. citizen children ages 15 and under arriving by land or sea from a contiguous territory may present an original orcopy of his or her birth certificate (issued by the Vital Records Department in the state where he or she was born), a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or a Naturalization Certificate.  If the child is a newborn and the actual birth certificate has not arrived from the Vital Records Department, the center will accept a Hospital issued birth certificate.

    Groups of Children:  U.S. citizen children between the ages of 16-18 arriving by land or sea from contiguous territory and traveling with an adult supervised school group, religious group, social or cultural organization, or sports team, may also present an original or copy of his or her birth certificate, a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or a Naturalization Certificate.

    For documentation requirements regarding cruises see  Frequently Asked Question "What Documents do I need for Cruises"

  12. Tuesday, 22...
    Question: I saw some online forums stating that if I-140 withdrawn you can retain your PD date. Is it true under current circumstances? What is difference between I-140 Withdraw vs I-140 Revoke? If both are not the same, in which cases employers to for withdraw.
    Answer:

    See clip from Attorney Rajiv S. Khanna's conference call video that addresses this question. 

    https://youtu.be/Gl2WiBEALtk?t=273

    FAQ Transcript:

    A revocation means, an I-140 was approved and then cancelled. So revocation means there was an approval first. If a case has never been approved, it cannot be revoked. It can only be withdrawn or it can be denied.

    Let’s say for e.g.: I file your I-140, and USCIS says we deny this case as there are problems that’s a denial. Everybody understands that. So I file your case (I am your employer) before the case gets approved I send a cancellation request that’s a withdrawal. My case gets approved then I write to the USCIS and say I want to cancel this case that is a revocation.

    Another circumstance of revocation is when USCIS says we approved this case and they can go back and issue a notice of intent to revoke the case. Or if they find any fraud which is a very serious matter that should never be ignored that has criminal complications, that on an employee can operate as a permanent bar from entering the US. 

    Therefore, when a case is approved and then cancelled out it is a revocation, whether it is done by the employer or the government, if the case is still pending it can only be withdrawn or denied.

  13. Tuesday, 22...
    Question: I am Canadian citizen and got job offer in USA and going to work on TN visa. They are going to employ me as an independent contractor and are going pay using 1099. Can TN workers work as an independent contractor? Is this something valid and can I accept this one?
    Answer:

    See clip from Attorney Rajiv S. Khanna's conference call video that addresses this question.  

    https://youtu.be/Gl2WiBEALtk?t=68

    FAQ Transcript:

    A TN can be set up in one of the two ways. Either a US employer directly offers employment to a professional from Canada or Mexico, and they come in as a Treaty National. So direct employment, simplest case W2. They are a full employee of the company, US employer, so that part is easy to understand.

    The second way to set up a TN if for e.g.  there is a company in Canada, there is a company in USA, the company in USA contracts with the company in Canada, and it says you send employee xyz to us to work, and we will pay you and you pay the employees the salary. In that case the US company is sending out a 1099 to the Canadian company. Another easy one to understand.

    Problematic cases are those were the Canadian worker is being sponsored by the US company and the US company wants to put them on a 1099. I think that is not a good idea. Lot of employers have said as long as employer employee relationship exists you can file a 1099 and that to me is a little short-sighted. Reason being because the difference between an independent contractor and an employee is the degree of control. If you are maintaining control as an employer, then IRS could get you in trouble. IRS could say you should be putting this person on W2, deducting their social security taxes, other benefits, you have to put them on W2, you can’t have them on 1099. So remember you have to balance control under immigration law, with control under taxation laws otherwise you could get into a lot of trouble. 

    Short answer I don’t know how you can comply with US laws when a TN worker works on a 1099 on a US sponsored job.

  14. Tuesday, 22...
    Question: My wife is on H-1B visa working for a consulting firm. We are expecting baby in Feb 2016. What could be the maximum allowed time period on FMLA. Can my wife continue on H-1 status without pay checks on FMLA period?
    Answer:

    See clip from Attorney Rajiv S. Khanna's conference call video that addresses this question. 

    https://youtu.be/1QbgUmUUJvc?t=1746

    FAQ Transcript:

    If she considers to be in H-1 status FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) allows up to 12 weeks of guaranteed employment leave in 12-month period. It can be more or less also depending on the state law and remember if there is a medical need, for e.g. if the doctor says you have some medical issues you need to stay extra 6 weeks you will still be in status.

  15. Monday, 21...
    Question: I have a delayed birth registration certificate issued by municipal authority with place of birth: hospital name, city. My passport just got the city name as place of birth. Do I need to submit secondary evidence when I file I-485 because of delayed registration?
    Answer:

    See clip from Attorney Rajiv S. Khanna's conference call video that addresses this question.

    https://youtu.be/1QbgUmUUJvc?t=1405

    FAQ Transcript:

    In many countries especially India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, it can happen that the birth occurred much earlier but the registration of the birth was done much later. Remember it was not the law that you have to register every birth, it was a voluntary action. So if a child was born in 1980 or 1970 you registered the birth in 2015 because that’s when you needed to get the green card. Now those are not acceptable registration. What you should do in those cases is get a letter from the municipal corporation, or local government, that says before this was registered there was no other registration. Like a non-availability before the registration. Along with that get two affidavits, from your parents or other people, who were alive when you were born, that will take care of it.

    Secondary evidence becomes acceptable only when you can’t get non-availability from the municipal corporation and that’s a much more complicated area. I think you should get the non-availability.

  16. Monday, 21...
    Question: I am living in Lexington, Ky. My wife and I filed N-400 for citizenship on 2nd Feb 2015. Our 5 years’ green card date was 14th April 2015. My wife already got her interview, oath, passport done 3.5 months back but I am still waiting for my interview. Its already 9.5 months. Our field office is in Louisville, KY and their website shows that their processing time is 5 months. My application is way beyond 5 months. I did submit case inquiries and first time (9/11/15) they told me that “Due to workload unrelated to your case there is a delay” and second time 10/15/15 they told me that “security clearance is being done”. I took the infopass and went to Louisville field office. They told me that my case is with “national service center” I think and they are waiting for security clearance. Just wondering, is there a time limit to the security clearance?
    Answer:

    See clip from Attorney Rajiv S. Khanna's conference call video that addresses this question.

    https://youtu.be/1QbgUmUUJvc?t=1115

    FAQ Transcript:

    Typically, there is a law on the box that allows you to file a lawsuit against the government. If there has been an unreasonable delay and there has been a certain time period provided. But some courts (depends on which place you reside) have said that the time for which we start counting the delay does not begin until the security clearance are received.  

    Question: I am living in Lexington, Ky. My wife and I filed N-400 for citizenship on 2nd Feb 2015. Our 5 years’ green card date was 14th April 2015. My wife already got her interview, oath, passport done 3.5 months back but I am still waiting for my interview. Its already 9.5 months. Our field office is in Louisville, KY and their website shows that their processing time is 5 months. My application is way beyond 5 months. I did submit case inquiries and first time (9/11/15) they told me that “Due to workload unrelated to your case there is a delay” and second time 10/15/15 they told me that “security clearance is being done”. I took the infopass and went to Louisville field office. They told me that my case is with “national service center” I think and they are waiting for security clearance. Just wondering, is there a time limit to the security clearance? I was reading over the web that some people in my situation did something called “writ of mandamus” with the help of a Lawyer. Do you think, this is something an option for me? 

    I think what you should do is get with your congressmen’s office. Call your congressmen, tell them to follow up the case. Let’s see what they say. That would be the quickest and zero cost method for you.

  17. Wednesday,...
    Question: I am holding a Canadian student visa, now is my second year in Canada. I was issued a B-1/B-2 visa last year. Then I was charged of Theft under $5000 this June, and the charge goes withdrawn-diversion in July. When I went to US Embassy for visa renewal this October, the officer asked my about the charge, and I answered honestly that I did it on purpose and I really regret my behavior. He rejected my class B visa, gave me a pink paper, which says the denial is under Section 214(b), which says that alien doesn't show strong ties with home country. After I carefully searched online resources, I found that my admission of the offence will make me inadmissible to enter US, as a moral turpitude. But the officer didn't say that I need waiver to enter US.<br> 1. So my question is:<br> does this mean that their denial is not based on the Crime of Moral Turpitude, but I really didn't show strong ties? Or they just don't reject me explicitly with the real reason? I will marry a Canadian citizen next year so it would be a strong tie then. Or do you suggest me to apply for Waiver of Ground of Inadmissibility like I-106 whatsoever?<br> 2. Another question is:<br> I got an offer of a big well-known US company for summer internship, and I need to apply for J1 Visa. How will the charge affect me J-1 application?
    Answer:

    See clip from Attorney Rajiv S. Khanna's conference call video that addresses this question.

    https://youtu.be/1QbgUmUUJvc?t=598

    FAQ Transcript:

    First of all, not every crime leads to serious consequences in USA. There are two kinds of crimes. Misdemeanours which are small crimes, punishment is typically less than a year and the other felonies where the punishment is a year or more, those are more serious crimes. In immigration law we look if the crime is of moral turpitude or not. If a crime is not of moral turpitude, I believe it has absolutely no consequences, unless it is a drug offence. Moral turpitude simply means that you are doing something, which reflects on your poor moral character.

    The next step: is it misdemeanour or felony. If it is a felony, we almost certainly have a problem. It could lead to deportation, non-admission, and then you will need a waiver of some kind. Waivers are usually available for green card only for family based reasons. You cannot get a waiver just because you want to come to USA. So in an employment based case, and you have a felony conviction for moral turpitude crime you will not be able to come to USA.

    Remember the rules are different for deportation, what is called removal and admission. So when you try to enter you could be subject to different laws, sometimes you think you are in USA and I am safe, because your lawyer told you are not going to be deported, but when you come back they won’t let you in and now you have to go back, the reason is the rules for admission are different. This is a very complex area of the law. 

    Question: What if I am convicted of misdemeanour involving moral turpitude?

    First, how many misdemeanour convictions do you have. If you have multiple convictions, then that itself is ground for deportation removal as well as no admission. But if you have only one offence, a misdemeanour, and the actual punishment imposed was less than six months you are covered by something called petty offence exception. Which says we forgive you entirely as long as it was just a single misdemeanour.

    The rules under immigration law and the rules under criminal law for conviction are very different. Sometimes you have a criminal defence counsel. He will tell you this is not a conviction. It may not be a conviction under criminal law but is a conviction under immigration law. Any kind of plea bargain you set up with the government where you are admitting directly that you committed the crime would be considered in all probability to be a conviction. So be careful when you discuss this with your immigration lawyer as well as criminal counsel.

    Question: What is 212(d)(3) waiver?

    Say if you got the kind of conviction where you cannot come back we can let you in on a temporary basis for a non-immigrant visa. 212(d)(3) applies only to non-immigrant visa and the situation has been a little uncertain, especially for Canadians. I think there is a certain timeframe where you can get it or for one visit you can get it.

    Question: I am holding a Canadian student visa, now is my second year in Canada. I was issued a B-1/B-2 visa last year. Then I was charged of Theft under $5000 this June, and the charge goes withdrawn-diversion in July.

    Normally diversion means some kind of a plea bargaining has been made.

    Question: When I went to US Embassy for visa renewal this October, the officer asked my about the charge, and I answered honestly that I did it on purpose and I really regret my behaviour. He rejected my class B visa, gave me a pink paper, which says the denial is under Section 214(b), which says that alien doesn't show strong ties with home country. After I carefully searched online resources, I found that my admission of the offence will make me inadmissible to enter US, as a moral turpitude. But the officer didn't say that I need waiver to enter US. So does this mean that their denial is not based on the Crime of Moral Turpitude, but I really didn't show strong ties? 

    That is correct because they denied it based upon their inability to verify that you will come back.

    Question: I will marry a Canadian citizen next year so it would be a strong tie then. Or do you suggest me to apply for Waiver of Ground of Inadmissibility like I-106 whatsoever?

    Definitely that will make it a much stronger tie and you can try again. You might be covered by a petty offence exception.

    Question: I got an offer of a big well-known US company for summer internship, and I need to apply for J1 Visa. How will the charge affect me J-1 application? 

    If you are covered by petty offence exception, then even J-1 is not affected but the 214(b) denial, affects your J-1. If you had a 214(b) denial, it will bar your entry for J-1, F-1, B-1, B-2.  It will not bar your entry for H-1 or L-1. I suspect the officer realised you were covered by petty offence exception.

  18. Tuesday, 15...
    Question: What is I-485 Pre-adjudicate/Pre-adjudication? <br> How soon must I join my future green card employer?<br> Situation - <br> I have my EB2 India PD as March, 2008. I applied for I-485 in Oct 2014 (Future based GC application). My PD is not current as of yet but I have got an RFE for expired medical form I-693 ONLY in Oct, 2015.
    Answer:

    See clip from Attorney Rajiv S. Khanna's conference call video that addresses this question.  

    https://youtu.be/1QbgUmUUJvc?t=402

    FAQ Transcript:

    Question: What is I-485 Pre-adjudicate/Pre-adjudication?

    You are at the last step of the green card process. Your priority dates became current, you filed the I-485, then the priority dates slipped back two years, at this time USCIS has two choices. They can either put your file in their filing cabinet and forget about the case, until the priority dates become current again. Or they can sit down and can say look we have time, let’s go over the case, adjudicate all the details, decide that the case is completely qualified to receive a green card, so we pre-adjudicate, decide that the person is entitled to get the green card. Make a note on the file. If you need some documents, we send an RFE get the documents so when the priority dates become current again all we have to do is issue the green card. That’s pre-adjudicate.

    Question: How soon must I join my future green card employer? 

    There is really no rule of thumb. But within a commercially reasonable period of time. Three to four months maybe, after approval of the green card, you should join the future green card employer. In your particular case that appears to be a requirement sometimes it may not be a requirement because of AC21 and remember AC21 portability is available even in future employer green card cases.

  19. Monday, 14...
    Question: How can I calculate my sister's possible visa interview? I am confused with these changes on final action date etc.
    Answer:

    See clip from Attorney Rajiv S. Khanna's conference call video that addresses this question.  

    https://youtu.be/1QbgUmUUJvc?t=80 

    FAQ Transcript:

    Priority Date (PD) is the date when your green card visa numbers are available. It means that you are entitled to get your green card. It doesn’t mean you can get it right away. But it means you are in a stage were you are about to get your green card. So Priority Date is usually the date on which your application was started. In case of family based petitions Priority Date is when I-130 was filed. In the case of Employment based cases it is based upon when PERM was filed. Employment based cases were PERM is not involved, direct I-140 is involved such as National Interest Waivers, EB-1s - Priority Date is the date you file the I-140. Your Priority Date depends upon the date your case was started. That’s one thing you got to worry about.

     When you go to Visas Bulletin which is a monthly publication of the US Department of State it tells you what visa dates are expected to be curbed or in other words where the queue is for the next month. So in December they will issue predictions for January, in January they will issue predictions for February, then on top of that you have to worry about processing times. Sometimes for e.g.: in US Citizen’s cases there is no Priority Date back up, dates are immediately current for e.g.: spouse of a US Citizen, parent of a US Citizen, minor unmarried child of a US Citizen, there are no Priority Date   issues here. In these cases, you have to worry only about the processing times. So when you file the form the form takes set amount of time to process. Now a new concept has been started a couple of months ago, if you go to the USCIS website it tells you if you are in the United States this is the date when you can file your last step of the green card process. If you are outside USA this is the date, you can expect to receive further paper work from the consulate. It doesn’t mean you are going to get your green card right away but you are eligible or close to getting it.

    Here is another variable. How much time is it taking at that consulate to schedule interviews. Some consulates are heavily overworked. Some consulates are relatively less worked. So that’s the fourth variable. First variable was Priority Date, second variable is processing times, third variable is final action dates which is also the part of Visa Bulletin a slightly different table, and the fourth is the local processing times.

    Question: How can I calculate my sister's possible visa interview? I am confused with these changes on final action date etc. Her PD is 1 Feb, 2011 visa category F2B. She has already submitted dox to NVC. When she was waiting for the visa date she turned 21 and moved to f2b cat.1. When do you think it will be? Which table to consider? At the Visa bulletin one, I mean. 

    First of all, if her Priority Date is current normally within a few months, probably less than six months. At the Visa Bulletin the final action table tells you approximately when she can expect her final documents.

    Question: Once the other parent becomes citizen in USA would it be helpful to submit another petition for her? Would you advise it to be in the safe side? 

    You can. You can file multiple cases for the same individual. That is not a problem. As long as you see some gain in it depending upon the country she was born in, in filing through two separate categories you can certainly do that.

  20. Thursday,...
    Question: My wife is on H-1B and became aware of her project end dates. We are currently evaluating the options of H-4 EAD.
    Answer:

    See clip from Attorney Rajiv S. Khanna's conference call video that addresses this question.  

    https://youtu.be/H_VV9kV_lOg?t=1345

    FAQ Transcript:

    Question: My wife is on H-1B and became aware of her project end dates. We are currently evaluating the options of H-4 EAD. Can we file H-1-H-4 transfer and EAD concurrently?

    Let's take the situation where you are filing H-1, for you yes I do not see any problem with it. If you are doing H-1 transfer, you can do her H-4 and EAD concurrently. However, if you are trying to do H-1 transfer for her along with H-4 EAD simultaneously, that can become little complicated. But I don't know what exactly you are trying to accomplish. If you are trying to cover both basis I would recommend to do an H-1 premium processing and then file an H-4. Let one status accomplish before you apply for the next status. If you want to do both simultaneously make H-1 premium.

    Question: Do companies hire full time on H-4 EAD?

    That depends upon the company. EAD holders has all rights almost equivalent to the Green card holder. So if the employer knows what this EAD is or they have good legal advice they should be able to hire full time on H-4 EAD.

    Question: What are the benefits of H-4 EAD over H-1?

    Some really big benefits. One benefit is there is no requirement of a particular salary. Number two is there is no requirement of specific job location. An H-4 EAD holder can work 3 hours in one job, 5 hours in another job location or 10 hours and then keep switching from job to job if they want. There is no limit on how they work. They can even start their own business. So those are some of the big advantages of H-4 EAD.

    The biggest disadvantage is because the status depends upon the H-1 holder, something goes wrong with the H-1 status; they get laid off or they fall out of the status then the H-4 status is also in doubt.

    Question: Do I recommend to convert to H-4 EAD?

    That depends upon the case.

    Question: What are the risks associated with the conversion?

    From H-1 to H-4 not much risk that I can see.

    Question: What is the typical timeline?

    That is very tricky. We had a tweet exchange couple of weeks ago with the community member who said that; his wife's EAD got approved in couple of weeks. My office was reporting that H-4 EAD combine can take months. A few months ago they were only taking a couple of months. So few months is not an extraordinary for H-4 EAD combo. If you are doing EAD alone, already your wife is on H-4, it might be quick. Technically there is 90 days’ deadline on the government to decide these cases of EADs. How far they follow it I don't know.

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