US Immigration Questions

  1. Monday, 31...
    Question: How does it work with financial co-sponsorship? Can a family member or a close friend co-sponsor a fiancee?
    Answer:

    Anyone who is a US Citizen or green card holder can co-sponsor affidavits of support .

  2. Monday, 31...
    Question: I am a US Citizen residing in the UAE with my Wife and two children. My Wife is a Syrian passport holder. We petitioned her case for residency in the US under I-130. We have received the first notice from the NVC which was on the 24th of June. The letter stated that all documentation necessary to complete the National Visa Center processing of your case has been received, and as soon as an interview date has been scheduled then we will be notified. How long does it take to receive the second notification with an Interview Date that we are closing on week eight? Is there a way that you can expedite an Interview Date? If the answer is Yes, Could we officially request your service? Case Number: ABD2014671004 Beneficiary's Name: KINANA WARD Preference Category: IR1 Priority Date: 25-NOV-13
    Answer:

    Hi Loay. Times are highly variable from a few weeks to a few months. Expedites are only granted for showing of some sort of urgent humanitarian situation in cases like yours. We would like to help, but I am not sure we can add much value at this stage. Contact us if there are any issues (other than timing). 

  3. Wednesday,...
    Question: I am on H-4 visa and my husband is on H-1 visa since 2008. We have an approved I-140 and have applied for a three year extension on the basis of approved I-140 on May 8, 2015, but we have not got any confirmation from USCIS yet, so my concern is that can I apply for a H-4 EAD before our visa extension is approved.
    Answer:

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

    https://youtu.be/tSRYmjhoEzA?t=928

    FAQ Transcript:
    You can apply for EAD. But USCIS has said they don’t like the idea of separating the applications as it can cause delays. Personally I think that’s baloney. I would file it if I were you. You have two options. You can premium the H-1 then H-4 gets premium. Kind of piggy bank on it and when the H-1 is approved file EAD as long as you have a receipt number. I don’t see why it should be a problem. So your choice I would file it.

  4. Wednesday,...
    Question: I entered US on Jan 2011 on F-1 Visa, completed my Masters and am now working for a reputed US organization since May 2012(OPT start date: May 2012, H-1B start date:Oct 2012. H-1B till: Oct 2017). My work does not require me to go to office, so I work from Home. Now I am planning to visit India next year and get my Visa stamped.<br> My Questions are<br> 1. Can telecommuting job cause any issue during Visa stamping? I heard someone was asked "if you can work from home, why can’t you work from India?” The organization I am working for has offices in India.<br> 2. Do I need any extra evidence to prove that I am telecommuting, therefore not within commuting distance from my office?<br> 3. I am married. Would you suggest going alone to India for Visa stamping and in case of rejection comeback on H-4 or will it be good to go as a family. My husband is also on H-1B
    Answer:

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

    https://youtu.be/tSRYmjhoEzA?t=437 

    FAQ Transcript:

    1. The answer is it can. When you have a telecommuting job in most cases what we do is we actually get an LCA for that location. I think that is the proper method to do things. So make sure you have LCA for your home location. You can always come back on H-4 if the H-1 is denied and your husband does not have to go with you. It is not necessary to go as a family but the option of coming back on H-4 is always there. 

    2. We always get LCA for home location. So if your employers have not obtained LCA for you I think they might need to do an H-1B amendment depending upon the facts of your case. So before you go for visa stamping it would be a good idea to discuss it with your lawyers. In my view the safest thing is to have an LCA and that location specifically approved under the H-1 process.

  5. Tuesday, 21...
    Question: I am currently on H-1B visa and I applied for my spouse, H-4 visa (Dallas Texas service center) on They received it on March 4th and Receipt Date March 6th. Now 4.5 months completed. I heard that usually visa processing time is 3 months, but no idea what happened. Like to know what are my options available to expedite it, due to this we could not visit India.
    Answer:

    Open a Service Request by calling USCIS customer service. By the way, you do NOT need an H-4 approval from USCIS to obtain a visa. In this respect, H-4 is different from H-1.

  6. Tuesday, 21...
    Question: I received my H-1 approval & other documents yesterday. I am worried because the I-129 document I received yesterday states no dependents are filed with my petition (Page 4, Part 4). I had sent all my spouse details/ marriage certificate etc. while attaching supporting documents in March. What is the process for H4 visa approval as my spouse would be accompanying me.
    Answer:

    H-4 visas do NOT require a USCIS approval for a spouse who is going to the consulate for visa stamping.

  7. Tuesday, 21...
    Question: Is it possible for me to apply I-485 on my own when I have I-140 approved and having receipt number? I am on L-1A visa, employer is not ready to neither provide I-140 approval notice nor file I-485. What documents you need to apply for I-485, is there any documents required from my employer, who actually is not cooperating so that I do not leave, which I do not intend to leave.
    Answer:

    You will need a confirmation of continued employment ("job letter") to file I-485. You should also put in a FOIA request to see you if you can get a copy of the I-140 approval.

  8. Tuesday, 21...
    Question: I got I-140 approved and also got EAD with EB2 category in April 2012. I need to change my employer but my employer did not give me my green card paper like I-140 approval copy, labor code etc. I have only receipt copy of I-140 and I-485. I heard about USCIS form G-884 (Returns of original documents) which use to get all green card documents from USCIS. I have following questions to ask you. Based on G-884, can I get my all green card documents from USCIS without knowing my employer?
    Answer:

    Form G-884 is used to request return of documents YOU had sent to USCIS (e.g., your college degrees and diplomas). Use FOIA for the purpose you are considering.

  9. Monday, 20...
    Question: I have questions related to I-140 denial & refile.<br> My first I-140 got denied in Jul 2013 due to 'unknown' reasons to me, but I suspect it's A2P. After 2 years now they told me that they are refiling it and will not lose the PD if approved. They didn't ask any info from me. Now my questions are:<br> 1) Is it possible to 'refile' I-140 with same old PERM after 2 years of first I-140 rejection?<br> 2) How many times can we 'refile' I-140 on same PERM?<br> 3) Can we do 'refile' under premium?
    Answer:

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

    https://youtu.be/ZBJhcjjIrzs?t=1548

    FAQ Transcript:

    The rule is once PERM is approved the I-140 must be filed within 180 days. If you do not then your PERM is extinguished and you will have to start all over again. However if you file I-140 within 180 days and then for some reason you have to file again, then 180 day limit does not apply. Let me give you an example: Let us say you’re I-140 was denied, you filed it within 180 days and you forgot to submit an education evaluation or because of some technical reason or a serious reason such as the inability of the employer to prove that they have the capacity to pay your wages. You can file an I-140 three years down the line. You are no longer confined to the 180 day deadline because when the first time around when you filed you were confined to the 180 days deadline.

    Now answer to question 1: Yes.

    Answer to question 2: No limit that I know of as long as it is done in good faith. 

    Answer to question 3: This is a tricky question. USCIS has said if you still have the original of the PERM and it has not been archived then they will take the premium processing only if they have the originals in their possession. If it was never submitted or if the case has been shelved they will not take premium processing.

  10. Tuesday, 7...
    Question: My employer did not run my payroll. He told me that we are going to get the project money after 2 months from client. Can I do something for that? If they do not run payroll can it create any problem?
    Answer:

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

    https://youtu.be/PreNUXXW9KU?t=696

    FAQ Transcript 

    The employer will be in a lot of trouble. The law is employers cannot bench or reduce the salaries of the employees just because they are in between projects. They are required to pay the full salary. If they don’t you can file a complaint with the Wage and Hour Division (United States Department of Labor) within a year when the wages were not paid. The form is WH-4. Once you file the complaint, Department of Labor investigates it. You have to do nothing. It does not involve any expense at your part for H-1 holders.  Department of Labor will recover the money and will get the cheques that are due. Secondly if the employer has the practice of doing this in a routine basis then the company can be in a lot of trouble. Please do not get involved in a situation where the employer runs the payroll and you return the cash to them. If that is the situation anybody invites you to that is a party to a fraud. Fraud and misrepresentation can result in criminal prosecution and also can result in a permanent bar from entering the United States.

  11. Monday, 29...
    Question: I am currently on EB-3. I have a company (say Company A) which is willing to file for my GC in EB-2 under 'Future Employment'. Do I or the 'company A' need to be aware of something on this front?
    Answer:

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

    https://youtu.be/PreNUXXW9KU

    FAQ Transcript:

    There are only two things.

    1. “I” the employee has the good faith intention in taking that job. You may never have to join that job but you should have the good faith intention to take up that job when the green card comes through. You may never have to do it but you should have the intention.

    2. The employer must have the same good faith intention of hiring you sometime in the future. What is that time within a commercially reasonable period after you get your green card or any time before that?

     Let’s say you get your green card approval today the future employer should hire you within 3,4 5 months. That is the commercial reasonable period. 

    So applying for a green card through a future job - can it be done and the answer is "yes" it is allowed. The employer should have ability to pay wages and that is an important thing. Other than that all that is needed is good faith intention on part of the employer and employee to give and take the job.

  12. Monday, 29...
    Question: Below are questions I have on the H-1B Amendment and H-1B transfer being filed almost at the same time with little gap with USCIS for the same person. The H-1B Amendment is in light of the new H-1B regulation that has been mandated by USCIS when there is a significant change in the Job Location of the beneficiary from the address mentioned in the initial Petition from the employer which was approved initially.<p> 1. Does the USCIS Last action rule apply in case of the below 2 being applied almost at the same time for the same beneficiary?<br> a) H-1B Amendment with Current Employer<br> b) H-1B Transfer to New employer while H1B Amendment is pending with Current Employer.<br> 2. If the answer for the above is 'Yes', then incase the H-1B Amendment Approval comes after the H-1B Transfer would the H-1B transfer to the new employer that was approved earlier be automatically nullified?<br> 3. If the answer for #2 above is 'Yes' Is there any way to request USCIS to consider the H-1B Transfer approval to new employer as the primary incase that get approved earlier and avoid the H-1B amendment to dictate the latest H-1B for a given employer? (I believe we can request USCIS to withdraw/cancel the Amendment but is this something that the new employer/employee can do or only the existing employer who was filed for H-1B amendment has the authority to request any cancellation/withdrawal of the H-1B amendment?)<br> 4. Also does the current suspension of H-1B premium processing apply even for the H-1B transfers (with a new extension for 3 Years) or is it only for new H-1B extensions of Petitions from the current employer?
    Answer:

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

    https://youtu.be/PreNUXXW9KU

    FAQ Transcript: 

    Filing for two benefits for eg: H-4 and F-2 or F-1 or even H-1 becomes problamatic when there is a change of status involved. So if you are applying for two different statuses at the same time that becomes problematic. If on the other hand your status is H-1 - the same status one is in the amendment mode, the other one is in the extension mode I don’t see it as a problem. Whether your amendment gets done first or your extension gets done later or the other way round I do not see how that makes a difference as long as your statuses is being maintained.  I do not see any problem with having simultaneous filing of H-1 amendment and extension. There is no question of the application of the last action rule really doesn’t matter. If the amendment comes before the extension or transfer comes before the extension it is your choice you can stick with the same employer and join the new employer later when the approval comes. Last action rule has little bearing on this. 

    Regarding question four what the government has said is we will not do premium processing where you request an extension whether the extension is with the same employer or with a new employer. So extension cases will not be processed in premium processing until the government says otherwise.

  13. Wednesday,...
    Question: FAQ 1. I am presently in Canada on a work permit and want to apply for H-4 EAD. My husband has a valid H-1 and an approved green card application . So we are eligible for applying. My question is that can I visit US for 2-3 days, mail my application and then leave the country? Do I need to be in the US when the USICS receives my application? Or I can immediately leave after mailing the application? <p> FAQ 2. My spouse's PERM approved & his employer is still gathering required documents to file I-140. It is still within 180 days limit. Can I apply for H-4 EAD with my spouse approved PERM copy and other documents required ( eligible under beyond 6 years extension of H-1 & PERM pending 365 days) ? Or do I have to wait until his I-140 filed ?
    Answer:

    Answer 1: Unless you are already on H-4, you cannot leave while the change of status request is pending. 

    Answer 2: I think you will need the I-140 APPROVAL, not just receipt (or 7+ year H-1 extension). 

  14. Tuesday, 2...
    Question: My husband got his I-140 approved from his previous employer. Then he changed his employer and has filed his LC which has NOT been approved yet. His previous employer has WITHDRAWN the I-140.He is in his 11th year of H-1. Couple of questions.<br> 1) Can I file for H-4 EAD?<br> 2) My husband currently has no I-140 approved. While checking my application, will they look into his application and cause any issues to his present H-1 extension?
    Answer:

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

    https://youtu.be/8N82R3qAiJo?t=569

    FAQ Transcript:

    Did he get his H-1 approval for one year or three years? If he got it for one year then you might be still able to get H-4 EAD filed. But if he got a three year approval or more than one year approval based upon the I-140 rather than the perm application you may not qualify and in fact the government has said if you are basing your H-4 EAD filing upon the I-140 then the I-140 is withdrawn you are no longer eligible to file the application and somebody asked a question what if my EAD is approved then the I-140 is withdrawn the government has said even then we reserve the right to revoke your H-4. So you cannot file unless you qualify under one of the two grounds. I-140 or one year extension based upon labor certification.

  15. Tuesday, 2...
    Question: I have a question about the H4 EAD. The USCIS states, "You may file Form I-765 with Form I-539, Application to Extend/ Change Nonimmigrant Status. However, USCIS will not process Form I-765 (except filing fees), until after USCIS has adjudicated Form I-539".<br> In our case, my spouse's employer will be filing for our extension (I-539) but are not willing to file the I-765, as it is a new process. I was wondering if I need to wait to receive the approval before filing the I-765 or if it would be fine for us to file the same once we receive an acknowledgement.
    Answer:

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

    https://youtu.be/8N82R3qAiJo?t=382

    FAQ Transcript:

    The reason that they do it that way is because then they are constrained to a 90 day deadline. If they start adjudicating both together the moment they open the I-765 they got 90 days. If they start doing both together they may not be able to meet the deadline. They already have the trouble meeting the deadline of 90 days for EAD cases. Government is discouraging you to file I-765 while the I-539 is pending. They say file either both together or wait till the I-539 is approved. Then file your I- 765.

  16. Tuesday, 2...
    Question: First of all thank you for all your blogs and videos on immigration. They are very informative and knowledgeable. I follow your views and suggestions on all my immigration work. I also recommend your suggestions to lot of my friends and colleagues. I appreciate your help towards the community.<br> I have a situation:<br> I am in my 3rd year of my H-1B status, my I-140 is approved and need to file for my spouse H-4EAD on May 26, but she needs to travel to India for family reasons in August this year.<br> Questions:<br> 1) Will that be a Ok for her to travel to India while her H-4 EAD petition is pending?<br> 2) How long will the petition will take to come to a decision (~estimate)?<br> 3) What happens if her H-4 EAD petition gets approved and she is in India? Does she have to go to the US Embassy again?<br> 4) (Being positive but need to think the other sides of a same coin) what happens if her H-4 EAD petition gets denied? Will she be able to retain her H-4 status? Will she able to enter US without any issues?<br> 5) What would you suggest? Will that be ok for her to visit (or) to wait till the decision is made on her H-4 EAD petition?
    Answer:

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

    https://youtu.be/8N82R3qAiJo?t=123

    FAQ Transcript:

    Answer 1. There are two possible situations. If you are already in H-4 status USCIS says you can travel, of course you will need a visa to enter. And if you’re I-765, EAD is approved while you are outside USA no problem but we advice is not to travel is because this can cause you delay. The reason they give for delays is what if they issue an RFE. That is not a problem if you have a lawyer or somebody else helping you they can take care of the RFE or the notice of intent to deny. Or if they schedule you for fingerprinting etc., in an application support center you can always be informed and you can come back. So it looks like if you are already in H-4 status traveling while the I-765 is pending is not a problem. However if you are applying for  H-4  status the old law was and still remains if you travel when your change of status application is pending then you are out of luck. Your application is deemed to be abandoned and they will also deny the I-765.

    Answer 2. There can be no estimate. What the government has said is if you file for H-4 and EAD at the same time we have by regulations 90 days to adjudicate the I-765 but we will begin the time to run until the H-4 is decided. That’s probably the approach they will take. 

    Answer 3. That’s not a problem. Visa has nothing to do with the H-4 EAD. She need not go to the embassy.

     Answer 4. Absolutely. If the H-4 for some reason is violated or denied EAD has no way of existing. The status can stand by itself or the visa can stand by itself and the EAD denial does not affect it.  

    Answer 5. I think it is ok to travel. It is up to you if you can avoid travel avoid it by all means if you must travel go ahead and travel.

  17. Thursday,...
    Question: I am a US citizen and would like to sponsor green card for my parents once they arrive here. I have couple of questions related to that. 1) My mother’s birth certificate contains name before marriage, is this going to be an issue? Her passport contains her name after marriage. Her mother and father expired long time back, and she is the eldest daughter. 2) My parents does not have marriage certificate with them what are the options. They cannot go their original place to get the marriage certificate 3) My father does not have birth certificate but has College degree/certificates mentioning his date of birth. Will this suffice the requirement, if not what are the options he has? Again he is not in a position to go to his birth place nor is he in position to take help from his elders to give affidavit for him. His mother and father passed away long time back.
    Answer:

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

    https://youtu.be/ZHaiZELtWCE?t=221

    FAQ Transcript:

    This is one thing very common in many cases. The issue of applying for a green card, when you are visiting on a tourist visa or even converting a tourist visa to H-1, L-1 and student visa is always a problem.

    When you try to do that the government can bring the issue that when you entered USA on a tourist visa it was your intention to convert to a long term status which is illegal according to the government. There is actually a 30 - 60 day rule which says if you enter on a tourist visa and you changed to a longer term visa and status within 30 days of entry, will presume it that you had a preconceived intention to do so. That can be considered to be a fraud and if you’re not able to rebut that fraud presumption that can become a permanent bar from entering the USA.

    So if you try to change statuses in 30 days of entry and if you do it within 60 days they can still question it but there is no automatic presumption. If you do after 60 days they may not question. But remember even if you try to change status after 60 days you can be questioned by USCIS, CBP or even consulates about your intention. So when your parents are visiting it is important that they don’t have an intention to apply for a green card when they enter on a tourist visa. If after staying here for 3-5 months it so happens that their intention changes I don’t see any problem with that. Remember you the child, you the son or the daughter what your intentions is I do not care but your parents should not have the intention to convert into green card. If they arrived with the preconceived intention to change to green card they can have a problem. So don’t let them have that intention. After a few months if they are living here and you are able to convince them to file their green card then I think that’s ok.

    As for the question regarding birth certificate it should not be an issue because having the maiden name is common in USA as well as India. That should be ok even though her passport contains her married name and her birth certificate contains her maiden name. Under Indian laws - under Hindu Marriage Act you are not required to have any marriage certificates when you are going through a religious marriage. It only has to comply with the laws of that religion. Having a marriage certificate under religious laws is not required.

    Regarding marriage certification you can get affidavits from two people who attended the marriage. 

    As for the question about your father not having a birth certificate you do need to get a certificate of non availability from the place he was born. There is no particular format to the certificate of non availability. All it has to say is that they have looked at the records. When you have that you can get affidavits of two people who were alive when you father was born. So certificate of non availability combined with two affidavits will be required.

  18. Tuesday, 26...
    Question: My name is Harendra having H-1B and an Indian national , I want to file H-4 for my wife who is a Srilankan national with Srilankan passport , living in India legally with my parents after marriage for the past three months. Can she apply her H-4 from India or she needs to go back to her native country to apply ? Is there any rule for spouse applying visa from primary applicant's country of residence?
    Answer:

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

    https://youtu.be/3Heaadpk1Ik?t=396

    FAQ Transcript:

    Answer is yes. This is the requirement for visa stamping from US. If you want to apply for a US visa, you can actually go to pretty much any country. They are not obliged in that country to take your application but you should. US Consulates don't turn people away no matter you are from which country. They can if they can't verify degrees, for example H-1 visas or they can't verify your family ties in case of tourist and student visas. They can ask you to go to your home country. But there is no harm in asking for an apply. As of right where do you have right to apply, where do you live on the long term basis. Let’s say you are on student visa in Australia, you have right to apply for the US visa from the Australia, in the US Consulate in Australia . Or where you are a citizen, if you are resident in one place and citizen of other you can apply from both places, that's your right.   

    Everything else is called third country national processing TCM. In TCM  almost always Consulate will entertain your application but they may not be able to verify your degrees or your family ties, F-1 visa, H-1 visa, tourist visa this become problematic but you can certainly try.  There is no harm in trying. The only time TCM does not work when you are out of status. If you are out of status even for one day, under the law TCM option is taken away, Third country nationals will not be entertained unless you are in extra ordinary circumstances. In practice, however I have seen Consulates don't really make a big deal of out of status; of course unlawful presence is other thing.

    So for you Harendra there is absolutely no doubt your wife who is Srilankan citizen but living in India with your parents legally can apply for a visa to the United States, H-4 visa from India. 

  19. Tuesday, 26...
    Question: I am looking for opportunities using the remainder option of my H-1B. I have a year and half remaining out of six years. Now, most of the companies do not want to start the GC process immediately; they want to start after 6-12 months. I have the following two questions: 1. What stage do I need to reach on my GC process when the remaining time on H-1B ends. 2. If my company doesn't want to start GC process immediately, can I begin this on my own using my personal fund?
    Answer:

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

     https://youtu.be/3Heaadpk1Ik?t=273

    FAQ Transcript:

    There are only two ways to extend your H-1B beyond six years. One is that you have I-140 approved. So PERM is approved, your  I-140 is approved   and if you are an EB-1 person then your I-140 is approved (NIW EB-1). So if your I-140 is approved, we don't care when your Green Card started, whether its PERM based or direct filing of EB-1, you are entitled to your H-1 extension.

    The other method is your PERM was filed a year ago or your I-140 and NIW.  In the case of first anniversary you will be entitled to 1 year H-1 extension, in case of I-140 approval you will be entitled to 3 year H-1 extension

     

  20. Tuesday, 26...
    Question: Please let us know effective when we can change jobs without having to file for I-140 again?
    Answer:

    When:
    1. I-140 is approved; and
    2. The I-485 has been pending 180 days; and
    3. The job described in green card is the same or is similar to the job you are going to;
    you no longer have to refile the green card.

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