Adjustment of Status
Unless the context shows otherwise, all answers here were provided by Rajiv and were compiled and reported by our editorial team from comments and blog on immigration.com.
Unless the context shows otherwise, all answers here were provided by Rajiv and were compiled and reported by our editorial team from comments and blog on immigration.com.
Getting married when AOS I-485 is pending (following to join and other options)Detailed 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:
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.Add new comment
The Proposed I-140 EAD Rule - FAQ'sDetailed 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.Add new comment
Applying for green card while visiting the USADetailed question:
I am contemplating marriage to a GC holder and I have a question regarding I-130 and AOS. My prospective spouse got GC in Jan 2015. I currently hold a valid visitors visa to USA and I have visited USA many times on this visa.Is it possible to get married, enter USA on the existing visitors visa and then immediately apply for I-130 and Adjustment of Status. What are the risks/implications with this approach. What is the best procedure in these circumstances?Answer:
See clip from Attorney Rajiv S. Khanna's conference call video that addresses this question.
It will be wrong if you entered USA for a visit visa and had a preconceived intention of getting married. I think that would be considered as a fraud by the government. On the other hand, you entered USA wanting to visit and fell head over heels in love with somebody, I think in a case like this we can definitely go and do a green card if you can demonstrate that you had no preconceived intention then I think you are ok.
My advice to people is don’t get married till you apply for a K-1 (fiancé visa) which would be a smart thing to do in a situation like this. It takes a few months or maybe more than a year.Add new comment
October 2015 Visa Bulletin Confusion FAQ'sDetailed question:
FAQ's Updated on 21 September 2015Answer:
FAQ's Updated on 21 September 2015
FAQ 1. I am on the H-1B visa and my spouse on F-1. When my Priority date is eligible is it ok to apply for I-485 for me and my wife given she is on F1 or she has to be on H4 before we can apply for i485? If it is ok to apply with her F1 status, are there any possibilities that she can have issues in the future if she wants to get back to H-4 with a ending I-485?
Answer: The law does NOT require that the spouse be on a derivative visa (like H-4 or L-2, if you are on H-1 or L-1) to file AOS through you. BUT, F-1 presents some potential issues that should be discussed with the school.
FAQ 2. My sincere thanks for your service. I had one quick question. I am on consular processing currently outside USA. My priority date is July 2010. My application is with NVC (National Visa Center). Do I need to submit my paper work for EAD, will I be eligible EAD ?
Answer: You need to wait till NVC asks for papers, and no EAD, sorry.
FAQ 3. Do you anticipate any date movement of the new date for I-485 eligibility for EB2 India? Also, are there any chances that this date will also retrogress?
Answer: I think dates are likely to move in both directions: retrogression as well as advancement.
FAQ 4. I filed for my 1-485 concurrently before I got married, now as per the new set of dates. In the October visa bulletin, I am eligible for filing Employment based visa application. Can I add my wife (who is currently on H4) to my application, after 1st Oct,15? Or do I need to wait for a notification before doing so?
Answer: Ideally, wait till receipt. You have all of October to file AOS.
FAQ 5. I have been waiting last 6 yrs and recently I booked h1b stamping interview at Hyderabad thinking that dates won’t move for next few years. My priority date is Jun 2010. If I start initiating process for EAD, AD, AP how long does it take? Not sure should I go for stamping or should i wait for few months.
Asnwer: Your first priority must be to file and maintain the AOS. I would suggest you file AOS and plan your trip only AFTER you get AP.
FAQ's Updated on 14 September 2015
FAQ 1. My PD is December 2010. Will file for I-485 next month. My wife is travelling to India on Sept 26. Is it OK to add her while she is travelling (technically she will be in India next month). If not, she will come back March 2016. Can I file for her later and file only mine next month?
Answer: She has to be in the USA when 485 is received by USCIS.
FAQ 2. From the USCIS point it seems that this bulletin was the last action item on Obama executive order for Empl based immigration,please let us know what do you think?
Answer: I think there should be more. An explanation of promotion not being fatal to an employment-based green card, etc.
FAQ 3. My priority date is April 2013. I left the previous employer and he revocked my approved I-140 . I got copy of approved I-140 and revocation letter from USCIS . When my current company will file I -140 , will I able to retain my old priority date ?
Answer: No. The current thinking of the USCIS is that you will lose your PD. I am sorry.
FAQ 4. My Priority date is Jan2011 (EB2) and it is current now and it is with company A. Now I have moved to company B and they are in the process of filing Perm. And my previous I-140 is not withdrawn by company A. So my question is can we apply for I-485 based on company A's I-140 approval without even involving company A and then after 180 days can we use AC21 and port to company B. At this point i cant leave job at Company B since it is Fulltime. Please advice.
Answer: You must not file I-485 without a genuine job offer from the I-140 sponsoring employer.
FAQ 5. My Priority date under EB2 is June 9, 2011 with my Old Employer and my I-140 was approved on March 7, 2012 and stayed with that company till Nov 2014 and in dec 2014 moved to a new company, Can I file for I-1485, EAD and AP on October 1, 2015 and my Old Employer is ready to give offer letter and here I see you have mentioned to Mr. Pavan that you can only apply AOS, does it mean Adjustment of Status which Includes filing of I-1485 along with EAD and AP or only I485 ?
Answer: If you are entitled to file I-485, you are ALSO entitled to file AP and EAD.
FAQ 6. Perhaps a mute point - but promised myself I will have this clarified by you. My priority date is in May 2011 - but that PERM and I140 are from previous employer. Current employer hasn't filed PERM yet (it's a non-profit org and things move slow I guess). My spouse has her PERM and i140 (priority date in 2014) from her current employer.
1) Can I use my previous employers i140 to file i485?
2) Can my wife use my PD and file for i485?
Answer: 1. Only if you have a genuine job offer letter from previous employer.
FAQ 7. Hi, my priority date is April'2011 in EB2 and based on recent employee based priority date for EAD, my date is become current. I am going to India on October 29th. I am planning to file 485 and then leave for vacation. Will that be a problem, kindly sugget.
Answer: Travel after filing I-485 is a problem only if you do not have a valid H-1 visa stamp.
FAQ 8. Can new employer re capture OLB priority date in case old employer revocked approved I 140 ?
Answer: A revoked I-140 takes away the PD.
FAQ 9. There is I-140 EAD petition blog(regradless of any categories) is going on through out many website. Is it going to get approved this year that all approved I-140 folks are eligible for EAD? Do you have any insight on this? may be this could be scam?
Answer: That was the original plan of Obama Admin: when you file 140 (or 140 is already approved), you can filed 485 without waiting for PD. But that plan has not been implemented so far.
FAQ 10. What I understand from the news on the Visa Bulletin is that we (Indians) can only file for AOS under EB2 category if the PD is before 1st July 2011. But even if the PD is before 1st July 2011, the I-485 will ONLY be processed/approved until the Priority date becomes current (which is May 2005). Am I right?
Answer: A green card will be approved only if a visa number is available. EVERYTHING you see in the visa bulletin is an estimate.
FAQ'S as of September 10, 2015
FAQ 1. My husband has his priority date Dec 2012. As per the new changes in VB , which might have progressive dates every month, Any idea how long it might take to reach to Dec 2012 ?
Answer: I am not sure if this will be repeated every month and how will the movement continue.
FAQ 2. I have been waiting last 6 yrs and recently I booked H-1B stamping interview at Hyderabad thinking that dates wont move for next few years. My priority date is Jun 2010. If I start initiating process for EAD, AP how long does it take? I am sure should I go for stamping or should I wait for few months.
Answer: Your first priority must be to file and maintain the AOS. I would suggest you file AOS and plan your trip only AFTER you get AP.
FAQ 3. I have prior approved valid I-140 with previous employers with Sep-2010 as PD and my current employer has applied LC and waiting for approval. Can I apply for EAD with the previous employer I-140.
Answer: You can only apply for AOS if the old employer, in good faith, can provide you an offer of employment.
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Priority date port and multiple I-485/AOS petitionsDetailed question:
I have my old Priority date as Dec 2009 in EB-3 and when I changed the company they filed the Labor and I-140 in EB-2 and my old Priority date is not ported on my new I-140 and I see the new I-140 in EB-2 with the Priority Date as Jan 2013. Now with the revised USCIS VISA Bulletin can I apply my I-485 with old PD ( EB-3) and simultaneously to be safer side can I apply I-485 from my wife's side and her PD is July 2010.Answer:
See clip from Attorney Rajiv S. Khanna's conference call video that addresses this question.
Current thinking of USCIS is if the old employer revokes I-140 or USCIS revokes I-140 it will take away your Priority Date. Second thing is in a situation when one files the second I-140, USCIS has already given the date from the old I-140 and now if the old I-140 is already revoked why keep the date and the answer is not necessarily. Just because the date has been put on your I-140 does not mean you get to keep it at least that’s the way I see it.
Let’s say husband and wife both have their I- 485 going. Because she had her I-140, you had your Priority Date and might be a few months ahead of the other one should we be filing I-485s? One Primary and the other one Derivative and the answer is ...USCIS does not like it. On the other hand Is it legal to have multiple I- 485s the answer is "yes"... can it cause confusion and delays..."yes" but it also protects a bunch of very important rights.
The interesting this is ...let’s say husband and wife both filed I-485 one each but wife’s case got approved first what USCIS does these days is they take husbands case and convert it to derivative and approve him also. So they automatically convert pending I-485s from derivative to primary...from primary to derivative which is very good. So bottom line - can you file multiple I-485's? " yes"...should you do it ?..get your lawyers check with the USCIS. I probably would where there is an advantage and where there is no advantage ...both jobs are secured nothing to worry about let’s say I would probably file one each and then wait. Chances are USCIS will convert when the approved primary and they will convert the derivatives case also . The second primary case also as a derivative and approved.
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I-485/AOS/AC21 issues in job through future employer - I-485/AOSDetailed question:
Situation -<br> 1. I am working with employer A on L visa.<br> 2. Employer B has filed my future employment based GC under EB2 category. My I-140 is approved. (I have not worked for employer B until now)<br> 3. My I-485 filed by employer B is pending for more than 180 days.<br> 4. I certainly want to join employer B as soon as I get a project prior to getting green card OR when I get my green card.<br> Questions - (in case point # 4 is not MET and I get an RFE on employment verification letter)<br> 1. During I-1485 adjudication if I get EVL RFE and I decide to respond to it using another job offer from employer C, then - How do I prove that I certainly had intention to join employer B at the time of filing I-140 and I-1485?<br> How to prove that my employer B also had intentions to hire me on a permanent Job offer at the time of filing I-140 and I-485?<br> 2. If we want to respond to EVL RFE using Employer C's offer then - How do we prove that this offer was extended prior to I-485 adjudication (with joining date after getting green card)?<br> What should be the offer extended date and<br> What should be the joining date to comply by AC21?<br> 3. If I respond to this EVL RFE using employer B's job offer letter then - What are the chances of getting "Ability to pay RFE" subsequent to my RFE response using Employer B's offer letter (Not using AC21 at all)? (FYI - as far as I know so far none of the GC applications are denied for "Ability to Pay" RFE for employer B)Answer:
It is perfectly legal for an employer to process the green card for you as long as they have the good faith intention and you have the good faith intention of joining them. However once I-140 is approved and I-485 through a future employer has been pending 180 days you’re not required to join them. You could join anyone with same or similar job anywhere in the United States. So AC21 protects not only jobs you already have in hand it also protects future jobs. As long as the intention is honest basically that is based upon your statements and that’s all that matters.
Now you are protected by AC21 job portability or green card portability you can take any job anywhere with any employer as long as it is similar to the job described by your employer B when they file your green card.
Question: During I-1485 adjudication if I get EVL RFE and I decide to respond to it using another job offer from employer C, then - How do I prove that I certainly had intention to join employer B at the time of filing I-140 and I-1485?
How to prove that my employer B also had intentions to hire me on a permanent Job offer at the time of filing I-140 and I-485? If I cannot join them during I-485 adjudication.........can I use another job.
And the answer is - Yes you can and you don’t have to prove that this offer was extended prior to I-485 adjudication. That too can be a future job offer and the joining date does not really have to be specified all that needs to be specified is that is it is their intention to offer you the job and accommodate you either before or promptly after the green card is approved.
So you have all the options open if you want to respond using a job offer from the future employer (employer B/employer A) all of them are open to you and ability to pay RFE is usually only relevant to the employer who filed your green card. So if I use AC21 and go from employer X to employer Y USCIS is not going to question employer Y’s ability to pay. But if you stay with employer X they can question the ability to pay all the way till you actually get the green card.
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Using Obama's Immigration Action to Apply for AOS/EADDetailed question:
I am in L-2 Visa with an approved I-140 from my employer with a priority date of August 2012. My H-1B applications never got picked up in the lottery. My husband's 7 years of L-1A comes to an end in March 2015. So we have to go back to India. My question is, if with Obama's immigration action develops and a possibility occurs for allowing approved I-140 petitioners to apply for I-485 and EAD, what is the process for me to get an EAD while I am in India and how can I come back to US using the approved I-140?Answer:
See clip from Attorney Rajiv S. Khanna's conference call video that addresses this question.
Yes you can apply for I-485 and EAD. Couple of things. You will have to be in USA on a legal status, probably on H-1. So if you are outside USA don't stop try to get H-1 because you can't enter on tourist visa. Let's get a step back and say Obama implements this plan, it gets implemented in few months down the line. We will actually have a guideline what to do for these cases. What will happen is most likely you will have to be in the United States in the legal status and apply for Adjustment of Status. You can't do from outside USA.
Can you enter on something like tourist visa and the answer is probably no because probably it is unacceptable to use tourist visa to come into the United States to do the Adjustment of Status . So H-1, L-1 are the best options. So, somewhere down the line you probably need a H-1, if Obama action kicks in and you want to apply for AOS.Add new comment
J-1 Physician in Waiver Job Applying for AOS/1-485Detailed question:
I am a physician completing my J-1 waiver ( on H-1B now in US, waiver will finish by June 2015). My wife became a U.S. citizen few months ago and she has filed I-130 for me. If I-130 is approved, do I have to wait till June 2015 to apply for adjustment of status or can I apply sooner ? If I have to wait till June to apply for I-485, will I be able to get EAD right away or will I need to be on H-1 for a while I-485 is accepted ?Answer:
See clip from Attorney Rajiv S. Khanna's conference call video that addresses this question.
The way it works is physicians when they have J-1 they get a waiver job like Conrad 30 program or through veteran's administration any one of these things. They are working on completing their waiver job typically 3 years. So the question is when can I file I-485? This comes up very frequently in the context of physician, both when they are trying to do EB-1 or National Interest Waiver. In this case applying for his wife. The answer is you cannot file I-485 until your 3 years of waiver is complete. Even if you file 1 day early your I-485 will be rejected. So until your waiver is complete you cannot file I-485.Add new comment
Concurrent AOS filing for EB-2 Physical TherapistDetailed question:
Is this true ? - "If the ‘Schedule A’ application falls into the “EB-2” or Employment Based Second Preference category (the employer requires a Master’s degree in Physical Therapy or a Bachelor’s degree in Physical Therapy + 5 years of experience), then the Adjustment of Status application can be submitted simultaneously with the Form I-140".Answer:
Concurrent filing is possible ONLY if your priority date for EB-2 is current, and not backlogged.Add new comment
Consular ProcessingDetailed question:
What is consular processing?Answer:
The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) offers an individual two primary paths to permanent resident status (a green card). An individual who is the beneficiary of an approved immigrant petition and has an immigrant visa number immediately available may apply at a U.S. Department of State consulate abroad for an immigrant visa in order to come to the United States and be admitted as a permanent resident. This pathway is referred to as “consular processing.”
Adjustment of status is an alternate process by which an eligible person, who is already in the United States, can apply for permanent resident status without having to return to his/her home country to complete processing. For more information, see our Adjustment of Status page .
Steps for Consular Processing
1. Determine Your Basis to Immigrate
The first step in consular processing is to determine if you fit into a specific immigrant category. Most immigrants become eligible for a green card (permanent residence) through a petition filed on your behalf by a family member or employer. Others become permanent residents through first obtaining refugee or asylum status, or through a number of other special provisions. To see the many different ways to get a green card, see the links to the left.
2. File the Immigrant Petition
When you know what category you believe best fits your situation, in most cases, you will need to have an immigrant petition filed on your behalf.
- Family Based
- Employment Based
Employment based categories most often require the intending U.S. employer to file a Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker, for you. Entrepreneurs who intend to invest significant amounts of capital into a business venture in the United States may file Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur” on their own behalf. For more information, see Working in the U.S. page.
- Special Classes of Immigrants
In some cases, certain immigrants may file a Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), and Special Immigrant, or have one filed on their behalf.
- Humanitarian Programs
Most humanitarian programs do not require an underlying petition, although individuals may need to meet additional requirements before they can adjust status. For more information, see Humanitarian page.
Although immigrant petitions are filed with USCIS, In some cases, an I-130 petition may be filed for an immediate relative (spouse, child, or parent of a U.S. citizen) with a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. Situations where this may be applicable include:
- If the U.S. citizen has been authorized to be continuously residing within the jurisdiction of the consular office for at least the previous 6 months
- Members of the military
- Emergency situations
- Situations involving the health or safety of the petitioner
- When in the national interests of the United States
Please check with the consulate before submitting a petition. For more information, see the U.S. Department of State website.
3. Wait for a Decision on Your Petition
USCIS notifies the petitioner of a decision. If the petition is denied, the notice will include the reasons for denying the petition and any rights to appeal the decision. If the petition is approved and if you are the beneficiary of the petition and living outside the United States or living in the United States, but choose to apply for your immigrant visa abroad, USCIS will then send the approved petition to the Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC), where it will remain until an immigrant visa number is available. See Visa Availability & Priority Dates pages for more information.
4. Wait for Notification from the National Visa Center
The National Visa Center, which is responsible for the collection of visa application fees and supporting documentation, will notify the petitioner and beneficiary when the visa petition is received and again when an immigrant visa number is about to become available. They will also notify the petitioner and beneficiary of when they must submit immigrant visa processing fees (commonly referred to as “fee bills”) and when supporting documentation must be submitted.
5. Go to Your Appointment
Once a visa is available or a beneficiary’s priority date is current (earlier than the cut-off date listed in the monthly Visa Bulletin),the consular office will schedule the applicant for an interview. The consular office will complete processing of the applicant’s case and decide if the beneficiary is eligible for an immigrant visa.
6. Notify the National Visa Center of Any Changes
You do not need to contact the National Visa Center about your petition, they will contact you for the information they need. You should, however, contact the NVC if there is a change in your personal situation or if you change your address. For NVC contact information, see the “NVC Contact Information” link to the right. It is important to notify the NVC if you reach the age of 21 for a child or have a change in your marital status, as this may affect your eligibility or visa availability.
7. After Your Visa is Granted
If you are granted an immigrant visa, the consular officer will give you a packet of information. This packet is known as a “Visa Packet.” You should not open this packet.
Upon your arrival to the United States, you should give your Visa Packet to the Customs and Border Protection officer at the port of entry. You will be inspected by a Customs and Border Protection officer and if found admissible, will be admitted as a permanent resident of the United States, which gives you the authority to live and work in the United States permanently.
8. Receive Your Green Card
You will be mailed your green card. If you do not receive your green card within 30 days of your arrival, please call the USCIS National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 or visit your local office by making an InfoPass appointment. Make an appointment by visiting the Infopass page.Add new comment
I-485 Filed While Applicant is Outside United StatesDetailed question:
Can an I-485 (Adjustment of Status) application be filed while the applicant is outside the United States?Answer:
No. It is required that the applicant be on U.S. soil when the application is submitted. For those applying from outside the United States, Consular Processing would be in order.Add new comment
EB-2 eligibilityDetailed question:
I have Bachelor of science in nursing with 10 years of progressive experience (8 yrs in my home country then more than 2 yrs here in USA), do I qualify for EB2? What are the chances to get approved? If the company will file for concurrent filing of I-140 and I-485; will they give me working permit or EAD within 60 days though I-140 under EB2 category is still pending?Answer:
If your job requires BS + 5 years experience and you meet the requirements, EB2 is a possibility. Assuming you are born in a country for which the EB2 priority dates are current, you should get an EAD while the 140 and AOS are still pending.Add new comment
My mom's green card interviewDetailed question:
My mom came in for a visit in Dec 2009, I applied for I-130 in Feb-10 for her and got approved, then she left to Canada to visit a friend and came back in May, I applied for an adjustment of status in June, and she has her interview this week. Does the fact that she reentered in June with the intent to apply for permanent residency because of the I-130 approval we got lead to denying her application.Answer:
If USCIS so wishes, they can certainly make an issue of it. But they tend to be much more tolerant of cases of immediate family like parents and spouse.Add new comment
Can we still file for AOSDetailed question:
If my finace has overstayed his visa does that make him ineligible for AOS?Answer:
If he entered legally and is not subject to any other bars, and if you are a US citizen, he can apply for AOS when applying for his green card through marriage to you.Add new comment
Quickest way to get a GCDetailed question:
I was a resident physician on the H1B visa.. Prior to completing residency, I got the EAD(my husband , a pharmacist had applied for a Green card through his company). That was in 2006 and we have since made no progress as the EB3 numbers are not current. I did not renew my H1B after the initial 3 years because I could work with the EAD. Would I get a GC faster if I start my own application or should we keep waiting? Can both of us have seperate applications without one affecting the other? Are we better off just waiting?Answer:
Generally speaking, where there is a choice, we always file multiple green card applications for spouses.Add new comment
Pending I-485 and marraigeDetailed question:
Currently My I-485 is pending and I-140 is approved last Year (2009) january My PD 05/29/2007. I am working using my EAD and change my job last year I don't have my H1B. I filed my I-485 as single, but I will get married to my Girlfriend (Germany). She come here Last November with waiver visa (stay up 90days), Now she is thinking to come back using F1 visa a students instead re-entry using waiver visa which she can't change her status anyway). If I get married, can I put her name under my petition (file I-485 for her) ? and apply EAD also with her Travel documents ?Answer:
If your priority date is current, you can file her AOS as long as she is legally in the US. I just have an issue with using F-1 visa to accomplish this purpose. Please consult with a lawyer about the details.Add new comment
K-1 Visa AOSDetailed question:
My fiance came as k-1 and we got married within the 90 days but didn't file for AOS untile a few days before his I-94 expired? What will happen? will they still accept the application or what will we have to do next?Answer:
I think you will be fine. As I recall, the law only requires you to get married within 90 days. But confirm this information and do check with a lawyer as to whether you may travel or not while AOS is pending. This could be the only issue I can think of.Add new comment
AOS and EADDetailed question:
I have been in AOS since Sep 2007. I have a EAD and now a new opportunity hit the door to move to another company, same functions but much better pay, arounf a 40% increase. I also got married to a US citizen. My dilema now is should I take the job? my actual employeer may get angry, so could he do something to screw my case? should I re-apply through a spouse? is something the new employer can do so I can be safe? I don't want to bother new employer, but could he eventually at least help so I can keep my actual status until AOS is approved.Answer:
It looks like you have several options. Once 180 days of AOS pendency are over after I-140 approval, usually employers cannot hurt you. Speak with a lawyer.Add new comment
Question - unlawful presence in AOSDetailed question:
Q1. Suppose, if the husband is on H-1B and spouse is on H4. Husband has filed I-485, spouse name was not included. Now if husband switches to AOS Pending...what will be H4 status? Unlawful presence? Q2. When she is out of status because he is no more on h1.. can she file for COS to F1?Answer:
A1. As I see it, the wife will be out of status right away and unlawfully present if USCIS revokes her H-4 or her I-94 expires.
A2. It is within the discretion of USCIS to grant COS even when an individual is out of status, but they exercise the discretion favorably in rare cases.Add new comment
Working abroad while AOS pendingDetailed question:
My self and my wife are on EAD and advance parole. My wife and I are from India. I have to work in Switzerland on my company business for some time 6 months to a year – would that affect my EAD status in the USA. I would be working for the Swiss branch of my company.The assignment is short term 6-12 months. This is however not the company with which I started my green card. I changed jobs when I got my EAD. But I have several questions: 1. Can I even work abroad while on EAD status - short term, i am only talking 6-12 months. if this term is 11 months is that fine? Or do i have to work in the USA only while on EAD? 2. Do I need to maintain substantial presence in the USA while on EAD. And if so what is that term of stay. 3. Updated FAQ: My case is slightly different than the above one. Currently I am on Derivative EAD, which I got through my spouse's company. (I 485 pending and more than 180 days) I was on H1B and I got laid off in March 2009. I am still finding difficult to find a job in the US. I got an offer from a company in Canada. I know that I can work there once I get canadian work permit. My wife (main applicant and EAD holder) will be working for the same company in the US. My question is how often I can come to US with my Advance Parole? will there be any problem if I visit US often? Please advise.Answer:
1. An EAD is good to work on US soil only. If you wish to work in a third country, you have to look to their laws for work permissions. You should file an AC21 portability and make sure during your entire stay abroad you have at least your Advance Parole; preferable both your AP and H-1 visa.
2. As long as the permanent job continues to exist, there is no other requirement of presence.
3. I see no problem with visiting USA as often as you like.Add new comment
Working for two companies on EADDetailed question:
1. Wanted to check if on an EAD one could work for 2 companies. One sponsoring the GC (Maybe part time) and other full time. 2. Updated FAQ: I have a question in similar line. Currently I am on derivative EAD. My spouse is the main applicant and I got my EAD thru her company. She still works for the same company. We (me and my friend) have started a company in India some time back. Now, I want to start our new office in the US. Will there be any legal implications? What kind of company I can start here.. LLC or Inc? Please advise.Answer:
1. Theoretically, you can work for as many companies as you like on EAD. My concern would be the implication that you no longer have a full time job with the sponsoring company, which is a requirement for the green card.
2. Since you are on a derivative EAD, you have even more freedom than the primary applicant. Other than an S corporation (I think that requires green card under tax laws), you can form any kind of corporation (LLC, etc.), but do check on the State law.Add new comment
Leave of absence - I-485 pendingDetailed question:
a). I am an associate professor at XXX State University. Beginning August, 2009 (in two weeks time), I am planning on going for a one-year unpaid professional leave of absence. During the leave I will be in India. However I would technically still be employed by my University. Meanwhile, I have an approved I-140 (EB-2) - I-485 pending. b). What happens if I get my green card while I am on leave (I am going to India)? Can I still receive it legally? If I can legally accept the green card, can I change my address on the USCIS web site and give my relative's address? We currently live in California and our case is is handled by Nebraska Center. Given this scenario, should we give the address of our relatives in California, or is it O.K. to give the address of our relative who lives in New Jersey? c). At the time I filled the I-485 for myself and my wife, my wife was pregnant and could not get one of the immunizations (I think it was MMR). Now I am afraid that when we are out of the country we might get a medical RFE for my wife. Is it possible for us to get the immunizations done by a USCIS authorized doctor, and send the report to the USCIS in anticipation of the RFE? If yes, then which form should be fill/take to the doctor?Answer:
a). The first issue would be whether or not you still have a "permanent job" that would qualify you for a green card. In situations of long vacation, questions could be raised whether or not the green card job is indeed permanent; if so, who will do it in your absence; what is the reason for your leave; are you terminating your relationship with your employer, etc. If you have good answers to all these questions, you are fine.
b). Getting a green card approval while you are abroad is not a large issue as long as you have advance parole. Giving a relative's address is a bad idea. In the absence of a US address, you do run the risk of the green cards being returned back to USCIS, but we can figure that out.
c). USCIS may not accept medicals from anyone except a USCIS approved physician. But we can double check options on this issue also.
Add new comment
Marriage to US Citizen with EB AOS is pendingDetailed question:
I am currently on H1B extension (7th year ; with pending I-485 under NIW, and approved Advanced Parole & EAD) dating an American citizen. We want to get married in India. If I were to leave my current job in October 2009, and go to India (for making marriage arrangements), is it advisable to: 1. First get engaged here in the US and file for fiancé Visa while I am in US (and then travel to India) in order to re-enter US on a legal status. 2. Also do we have to get married in US again in order to provide proper legal marriage documentation and to file family based I-485 as spouse.Answer:
NIW applicants get their green card based upon an expectation of employment - not employment (unless you are a physician). So, if you have a job offer in your area of expertise, your travel on AP is fairly safe.
A legal marriage in India is fully recognized in USA.Add new comment
Nufield Memo-Are you deportable even if in valid AOS/I-485 pending?Detailed question:
I have a question on the new very scary and confusing interoffice memo (May 6, 2009) that the acting associate director of USCIS issued regarding unlawful presence. I am currently on EAD/AP since the expiration of my 6 years of H1-b visa on september 3, 2008 with my I-140 approved and my I-485 (PD-october 2, 2004, EB2) pending. According to the example 2 (page 10) of this memo-, anybody with an expired non-immigrant visa is subject to deportation even though his I-485 was filed properly when that person was in proper non-immigrant status and the petition is still pending. My understanding was that once an AOS is filed, I am authorized to stay here and work on EAD and go in and out of USA on AP until that petition is denied. When did this law change?Answer:
That example does not make any sense. It appears to be more a clarification of a concept - NOT practice. Do NOT worry. You are fine. If someone has not already done so, I will write USCIS next week after reviewing the entire 51 page memo carefully. Do NOT lose sleep over this.Add new comment
What does AOS approval mean?Detailed question:
I filed I-130 for my mother. She has received approval letter for adjustment of status saying that your application has been approved . What does this mean . Does she will have interview or she will get green card in mail? She needs to go to india its emergency in india.Answer:
Approval of AOS (Form I-485) means she is now a green card holder as of the date of the approval. The only thing she needs is the proof of that fact. You can take the approval notice, make an infopass appointment and ask that her passport be stamped with evidence that her green card has been approved. That stamp is as good as a green card. She can travel using that.Add new comment
Following to joinDetailed question:
This is regarding my sister who is going through lot of stress due to visa issues. She has been on H4 for past 9 years. Her H1 was approved in 2007 with an employer who wanted to hire when she was doing her MBA from a reputed University here in US. They were even willing to hire her once she is done. 3 months back her husband lost his job and had to go on EAD since (My sister could not do it because she was traveling out of US in 2007 when the window opened). She has decided to go on H1 status. She has to get it stamped outside US as she had lost her H4 status. It has been now more than a month and she is stuck out of US (in UAE). Her employer is a small firm and due to THE bad economy she is very nervous about the future even if she gets H1 B. Here are our questions/ concerns. Please do answer these: 1. If she gets H1 B could her husband still file for Follow to Join. There is no guarantee in this environment it would give her peace of mind if he could. 2. God forbid - If she doesnot get H1B and her husband files for Follow to Join - would she have to stay out side US to do consulate processing?? How much time it takes? 3. Any advise/ suggestions are welcome.Answer:
I am assuming the situation is that the husband's AOS is pending and he is using AC21 portability. That said, she is entitled to follow to join because she was (is) married to him before his green card got approved. There is NO requirement that a spouse must on a derivative visa (like H-4) in order to follow to join. She can follow to join even if she is outside USA, OR on F-1, H-1, L-1 or any independent visa. She will have to stay outside USA if her H-1 is denied, unless he revives his H-1 and brings her back on H-4.Add new comment
Employment-based out of status protection for AOS - Section 245(K)Detailed question:
My previous employer didn't pay me for 7 continuous months in 2006, Current employer is going to file I-140 and I-485 based on my EB2 PERM. I have all W2 and Pay stubs except that period. will that going to affect my GC application ? Please let me know what are the possible consequences of that. I didn't know about that 180 days rule.Answer:
Pursuant to section 245k of INA, an employment-based applicant and their family can file for an AOS (I-485) if they have been out of status or have worked without authorization for less than 180 days. The protection period is counted since the date of your most recent entry into USA. So if before filing I-485, you leave USA and reenter, you should have no issues. There are other ways to fix this also, but this is the most direct.
See attached USCIS Neufield Memo of 14 July 2008.
I-485: pre-adjudication and employment verification letterDetailed question:
1. I see few cases where CIS has sent an RFE to ask for Employment Verification Letter (EVL). When does this typically happen? 2. For cases where in the EVL was already sent along with the I-485 application, what are the reasons usually for CIS asking EVL again? 3. I had taken an Infopass few months ago, and they had said my I-485 application is pre-adjudicated. What does this mean?Answer:
1. EVL can be asked for at any stage of AOS/I-485 process. It is REQUIRED when you submit the 485, but thereafter it is discretionary.
2. The main reasons are that USCIS has to make sure you still have a job and the job is "same or similar" to what was described in the labor cert (or I-140 for EB1).
3. This means your application has been reviewed and adjudicated to be approvable. So, USCIS is just waiting for the visa numbers to be current.
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Status, authorized period of stay and unlawful presenceDetailed question: Answer:
Status, authorized period of stay and unlawful presence are three VERY important concepts in US immigration laws with far reaching implications. The nuances in these concepts are so intricate that they can trip up even my fellow-lawyers. I see issues in this all the time.
Here is a brief primier to enable you to understand the basics. This is by no means an exhaustive analysis.
Status is the immigration designation what has been given to you by USCIS. For instance, when USCIS approves your H-1 with an I-94 attached to the approval notice, you are in H-1 status.
Status and Visa
The difference between status and visa is important. A visa is a stamp on your passport. This stamp is placed by US consulates outside USA. The system of entry and stay in USA is governed by dual permission (DHS and DOS). When you are outside USA and you wish to enter, you first go to a US consulate (an arm of DOS - Department of State or State Department) for the appropriate visa stamping.
For instance, for a tourist visa, you go the US consulate in your home country, follow their procedures and apply for a "B-2" visa. When you get the B visa stamp you have been permitted by one agency (US State Department) to enter USA. If the visa stamp is valid for 5 years, you may travel to USA any time during those 5 years. This is your first permission in the dual permissioning system.
Now with the B-2 visa, you travel to USA. When you land at the US port, CBP (an arm of DHS - the Department of Homeland Security) decides whether you will be allowed to enter USA and how long you can stay in USA. The permission to stay in USA is given to you in the form of a small card that is put inside your passport. This card is called "Arrival Departure Record" or Form I-94. The I-94 has an expiration date.
Once you are inside USA, you are "in status" only till your I-94 is unexpired. If you wish to seek an extension of of your stay, you must request USCIS (another arm of DHS) for an extension.
Authorized Period of Stay
Authorized period of stay means you are not illegal but you are not in full status. Taking the example of B-2 extension I was discussing above, let us say you want to stay longer than the stay initially given on your I-94. You will need to apply for an extension BEFORE your current status (the termination date on your I-94) expires. Once you have made a timely application for extension or a change of status (for instance you wish to change to H-1B), you can continue to stay in USA till your application is decided (but not past the point you had asked for as an extension). The moment your I-94 expires, you go from being "in status" to being in "authorized period of stay." This is less than full status (for instance you cannot change status within USA when you are in authorized period of stay, but you can do so when you are "in status."
Authorized period of stay also applies to people who have applied for the last step of their green card, "Adjustment of Status" (AOS or I-485). When someone files an appropriate AOS, they are in authorized period of stay until their AOS is adjudicated, no matter how long it takes.
This is the real bad one you have to watch for. If you accrue 180 days of unlawful presence in USA, you are barred from entering USA for 3 years. If you are unlawfully present for one year, you are barred for 10 years. This is referred to as the 3/10 bar. A rule of thumb is, unlawful presence begins to accrue when your I-94 expires and you have done nothing to extend/change your status or when the government says your unlawful presence has begun (typically happens when an extension or change of status is denied.
In AOS (I-485) Context
Quote: Hope you remember me. I am one of your clients and you had represented me for my H1-B. Today I was laid off from my employer who was the H1-B sponsor. I have my AOS EAD as a beneficiery to my husband's PR process. I am concerned about my status in the US. My husband is also on EAD as he recently changed his employer using AC-21. Could you please help me? What status am I on now? Can I stay in the US? I currently have a valid I-94 in my passport. I need to decide the future course of action
Ans. You are now in authorized period of stay and can legally stay in USA. To work, you will need an EAD and to travel an AP.
In Change of Status Context
Updated 11 May 2009
Q. I am currently on H4 visa and the expiration date of my I-94 is May 23, 2009. My spouse had applied for an extension during the last week of April 09. In between, I received an offer for MS course at Penn state University, PA - US. I am planning to join school again on F1 visa since I have received assistantship/ financial aid from my University. I am planning to join for Fall 09 semester which begins in August 09.
Since I have to apply for a change of status from H4- F1 , is it possible to do this having applied for H4 extension now? Is there any way by which I can submit an application for F1 visa directly to USCIS without going for H4 extension?
Ans. The rule of thumb is you can always apply for COS when you are in status, but not when you are in authorized period of stay. Upto 23 May, you are still in full H-4 status. After that day you will move to authorized period of stay because your H-4 status would have expired. So, if you file for a COS now, it should be fine. After 5/23 you have two choices. Wait for H-4 to be extended, then apply for COS to F-1 OR go outside USA any time and get F-1 visa stamping.
I-485 interview-- does arrest create a problemDetailed question: Answer:
Quote: I just got a letter from USCIS that I need to appear for a I-485 interview. I had applied my green card under the EB-XX. To update you i had an arrest record in 2005 for a domestic violence battery case, which was later dismissed in court. Also you might be aware my wife is currently in india, and we are under separation. She will join me on (XXX date) if she agrees for marriage counseling. Under these circumstances I had some questions which I wanted answers for: Please let me know your response.
Quote: a. What all questions can the officer ask me in the interview?
Ans. No one can reliably predict that. But there is nothing in your background that seems to indicate there will be a problem. You were not convicted. The rules are simple: do not answer what is not being asked, and answer every question truthfully.
Quote: b. My wife is now in our home country. Do i need to have her accompany me?
Ans. Your case is an employment-based case. Unless USCIS specifically asks for her presence (which would be strange), it is not required.
Quote: c. Can the officer ask me for another interview with my wife, if she isn't with me the first time?
Ans. They can, but I do not see why.
Quote: d. What should I say about the DV record?
Ans. The truth and nothing but the truth.
Quote: e. Does the officer approve my green card after the interview or does it
take some more time?
Ans. They have the authority to approve on the spot. Whether or not they will is their discretion. Often, the approval comes a few weeks later.
Quote: f. What if the officer asks me about the status of my marriage, what
should I say?
Should I say yes we are married or should I say that we are separated?
Ans. Married but separated. You tell the truth.
Quote: g. Does my wife need to be in US when the final green card is approved?
Ans. No. Make sure she has her AP.
Quote: h. What happens if the green card is approved while she is in india?
Ans. She can reenter with her AP.Add new comment
H-1 Extension based upon spouse's 140; Child born in USADetailed question: Answer:
Quote: 1. Hello Rajiv, my wife and I have been working on H1B for different employers. My employer applied for my GC in 07. I have my I-140 approved, my wife and I have our EAD cards and AP. Thanks to your team! Now my wife's H1B term (6 years) ends on Jan 2010. Does this mean that if she wishes to continue her employment with the same employer after Jan 2010, she "HAS" to use her EAD ?
Ans. Yes. Under the current USCIS policy, they will not extend her H-1, based upon your I-140. They used to do that a few years ago, but not any more, as far as I know.
Quote: 2. If not can her employer file for her H1B extension based on my I-140 application.(Probably not since I-140 is an employer based application,but wanted to know if there is any other way).
Ans. No other way.
Quote: 3.If my wife were to change her employer after Jan 2010, could the new employer file for H1B transfer? If not does this mean that the option of a new employer filing for her H1/green card is completely ruled out?
Ans. She cannot get an H-1 extension beyond 6 years unless her own green card process is started.
Quote: 4. This question is not related to the above, but we are expecting our first baby in the month of August. Are there any applications that need to filed after the kid is born?(I am just glad that USCIS doesnt have any laws regarding making babies during the I-485 pending stage.Or is there...?)
Ans. Congratulations! And no, there are no laws against making babies so far :-). You have to do nothing. The child is born a US citizen if born in USA.Add new comment
EB-3 "Unavailable"Detailed question:
Here is a question this morning from forclients.com, our clients' extranet. Quote: The nightmare has once again come true, eb3 would be unavailable until September 09, if I am not wrong? With this in the background, I am thinking of giving up the hope of getting my green card soon (my pd may 04). If I go back to India, can my GC application still continue to be processed?Answer:
Correct. "Unavailable" means that it is the ESTIMATE of the State Department that visa numbers for India are exhausted for this fiscal year which ends on September 30. But the estimate may not always be accurate. DOS may go back and reopen this category if they need to (unlikely, but not impossible). Your green card can go on in your absence. That is no problem as long as we have answers to these questions: 1. Is the job really permanent? 2. Why is the employer accommodating you? 3. Who is performing the job in your absence? While these questions have never been asked, do not be surprised if they are. Our explanation must be truthful and not contrived.Add new comment
GC future job; H-1 ext. revocation upon 140 denial, etcDetailed question:
I have just been accepted into a residency program here at a university. I am currently working in the same department as a clinical research associate on H1B since april 2006, they have applied for my permanent residency in EB-2 for the same position and I am on 7th year H1B valid till nov 2009. My I-140 is in process and I have responded to RFE on oct 16th and have not got any reply so far. Priority date is oct 2007. The residency starts in july I think I can continue on H1B till my I-140 is pending and since my green card process is in the same department they have assured me that they will not withdraw my I-140 and that I’ll come back and work in the position of research associate after my residency(4years). Please let me know if this is legally possible as they have the intent to hire and I have the intent to join them when green card is approved.Answer:
Ans. Yes. As long as the employer has the intention of keeping the job open for you and you have the intention to join them, the green card process can continue.
Quote: If by any chance they say that I can do it, does it involve just an amendment to my H1b or will it be a fresh H1b? My job responsibilities will change and $8000 change in salary only.( from Research Associate to resident). If yes, can I join residency before the amendment is approved? I heard that INS should receive the petition before the join date and I am fine.
Ans. The petition would need to be amended/extended and you can start residency any time after filing the amendment.
Quote: Worst case scenario my I -140 get’s rejected what are my options to start residency in july? I remember last time you told me that my current H1b will not be revoked, so I can continue for residency till nov 2009 , but what after that?
Ans. I have considered the question of revocation of existing H-1 if the 140 etc is denied. As I see the law, USCIS COULD, some day, start revoking these H-1 extensions already given. Currently, they do not. After Nov 2009, you can still get extensions of H-1 based upon your pending GC. Remember also that if I-140 is rejected, it can be refiled/appealed. You are entitled to H extensions while the refiling/appeal is pending.
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Converting from EAD back to H-1--Updated 6 April 2009Detailed question:
Here is a question from our clients-only extranet - forclients.com. I think this question is relevant for a lot of people.Answer:
Quote: I am currently on H1b status valid till may-2011 and have a valid EAD card, My I-485 is pending for over 180 days. My company has cut my position and may revoke my H1b. If I transfer my H1b to another company and then work on EAD. Will my H1b remain in the dormant status?
Quote: If yes, can i switch back to my H1b if i wish to? and what would be the process?( go out of country to get stamped?)
Ans. You will need to get an H-1 approval by having your new employer apply to USCIS any time you like (just like a new H-1 or an H-1 transfer. This is, of course, NOT subject to quota). After the approval you need to exit and reenter USA using your H-1 visa. You may use the old visa stamp if it is still valid and you have not been out of status or get a new stamp if you were out of status or the old stamp has expired.
If I convert from H1B to EAD with my current sponsoring employer and they revoke the H1B as you have mentioned before being the best thing to do.
1) Does the H1B revocation still mean that my H1 status is dormant?
2) Would I be able to reactivate my H1 again with the current employer?
3) Would my employer have to reapply for the H1 approval or the current approval that I have valid till Apr 2010 enough?
4) I am assuming based on the answer to Q3 above, I will have to go out of the country and come back on my current H1 visa that I have stamped?
Ans. Once revoked, the H-1 will have to be reapplied, will not be subject to the quota and will be valid for 1 or 3 years depeneding upon your situation. And, yes, you will need a visa stamping to activate the H-1.Add new comment
Employers and Employees -- H-1 or EAD?Detailed question:
Considering that the economy is not doing that good and sometimes projects get over and consultants go on "bench" without any clients kinda situation, this is something not that uncommon. Related to this, as being on a H1B requires me to maintain the LCA salary as mentioned on my W2, would switching to EAD with my sponsoring employer help with getting away from this restriction? Does that also mean that if I don't get paid by my employer for a certain period and I am on an EAD, there is no issue with my GC/status at all as there is no H1B. Just trying to find out what the possible advantages would be at this time with EAD.Answer:
There are two situations to analyze here: being benched and getting paid a lower salary. Both of them have problematic implications for employers and employees.
Here is what concerns me. As far as I know, it has never been done so far, but the possible consequences of being benched are that the I-485 can be denied and (POSSIBLY, but there are strong arguments against it) I-140 could be revoked if already approved. If I-140 is not approved, USCIS could easily deny the I-140.
Additionally, I suspect there could be exposure to charges of discrimination if one set of workers is getting paid less than another in the same job categories.
The best solution for most companies is NOT to bench employees whether on H-1 or on EAD. Salary reductions are permissible if they are across the board and still comply with the prevailing wages. The workers on non-immigrant visas will probably need amendments. Watch out for the I-140/I-485 issue though.
H-1 and EADDetailed question: Answer:
Qo. I plan to be on EAD after my 6th year of H1-B expires on September 23, 2008. If I decide to be back on H1-B then is there any time limit within we have to file for H1B extension after its expiration on September 23, 2008 while I am working on EAD?
Ans. Generally speaking there is no time limit as long as you are entitled to the extension.
Qo. For example, will we have to file within 6 months or 1 year after September 23, 2008 while I-185 is still pending?
Ans. If it is an extension beyond six years, you will need to have 485 or 140 pending and meet other related requirements for the extension.
Qo. After USCIS approves H1-B extension in this case, are we required to go immediately to India to get visa stamped or can we keep working on EAD and get the H1-B visa stamped when we like. My I-140 is approved and I-485 pending.
Ans. You can go when you like.
Follow up Qos/Ans
Qo. Thanks a lot, Rajiv. Just one clarification related to H1-B visa stamping in the above case. Do you think the US embassy will ask me why I want to come back to H1-B after having worked on EAD for say 6 months or 1 year after 6 years of H1-B expiration at the time of applying for H1-B visa?
Ans. It should not be any of their concern.
Qo. what should be the response to their question?
Ans. The truth.
Qo. Also, God forbid, in a worse case scenario, if my I-485 is denied after my H1-B extension has been approved in the above case and then I go for H1-B visa stamping, w'd they still give me visa?
Ans. That is legally uncertain. So it is wise to get stamping while the 485 is still "alive."
Qo. On a different note, is there any basis other than a crime, misrepresentation, public health, or revocation of approved I-140 on which the I-485 can be denied?
Ans. Sure. AOS is a discretionary process. It can denied for many reasons (but usually is not).
Qo. If not, then will it still be more advantageous to work on H1-B instead of EAD? I am just trying to evaluate the benefit of coming back to H1-B as opposed to keep working on EAD. Your answers to the above questions will help me greatly in that direction.
Ans. As I have commented several times, I like to keep both options open. So, work on H-1 while keeping your EAD in hand.
Quote: Me and my spouse are working on H1B for two different companies. My spouse company is processing the green card and the process started in 2005 in EB2. We got married in 2006 and I-140 got approved before our marriage. We filed together for I-485 after marriage in August 2007. We got our EAD card in Nov 2007. We also got our second EAD card in Nov 2008 and it will be valid till Nov 2010.
Though we had EAD card, we are using our H1B. Now, I got laid off from my company last week. I am looking for opportunities. I hope I could find one in a week or two. My questions are
1. When I join my new company should I use EAD card or I do H1B transfer? Please advise.
Ans. H-1 is the best option usually. You can try for a transfer. Usually, CIS declines transfer within USA (requiring you to go outside USA for a visa stamping) if there is any gap in status. But, it is in their discretion to permit it. Joining on EAD is no end of the world. You can start work on EAD and file an H-1. Gert stamping done whenever it is convenient. When you reenter on H-1 visa, you are back on H-1.
Quote: 2. Also, if the market goes further bad and my spouse also got laid off, what will happen to me if I am using my EAD?
Ans. If she uses AC21, you should be fine. Otherwise, if her 485 is void, so is yours.Add new comment
I-485 Priority Dates and Processing DatesDetailed question:
One of our community members had asked a questing regarding the processing dates of 485.Answer:
In a pending AOS (I-485), unless your PD is current, USCIS will not touch your application. Only when the PD becomes current, they start processing applications ROUGHLY in the order received.Add new comment
GC Compliance for EmployersDetailed question:
Some of our employees' Green cards have been filed. There projects have ended. They are working on H-1 but possess EAD and have 140 approved and 485 pending more than 180 days.Answer:
Quote: (1) If we revoke their H-1, are we still required to pay full wages if our clients say they do not currently have a project for our employees?
Ans. You are not required to pay "bench salaries" for employees whose H-1 are revoked (remember you must inform CIS and offer employee a one-way ticket home). But we then have exposure to the questions, "do you still have a "permanent" job for them?" If the answer is no, then their GC processing can be interrupted unless they use AC21 portability.
Quote: (2) Do we need to notify anyone about their GC process and let them know that they are no longer working for us?
Ans. There is no such requirement, but the better practice is to write to CIS revoking the I-140.
Quote: (3) Can we re-hire them on their EAD after few (or several) months once they get a project on their EAD?
Ans. Yes, but the question about "permanent job" remains.
Quote: (4) Can we continue their Medical Insurance (and our company pays for it) even if they are NOT employed with us.
Ans. I can see that as objectionable on several grounds.
Quote: (5) Can they stay in USA if I cancel there H-1 and they have a valid EAD but they are NOT employed by anyone.
Ans. Yes. Have them review the entries on my blog under I-485. You will still have unanswered questions about "permanent job."
Quote: (6) Is there an alternative for them to apply for Consular Processing, under what circumstances should they do so, what are the benefits / disadvantages
Ans. I see no advantage in CP. The basic question about a permanent job remains unanswered.Add new comment
Starting business while in AOS/I-485/H-1/H-4Detailed question:
1. Hi Rajiv I have a few questions about starting business in partnership. I am currently on H-1B , my I-140 is cleared and priority date is not current. My wife is on H-4 visa and she is interested in starting her own business with some one who has I-485 pending and has EAD. I will be the one who will be investing in this business but I won't be employed with that business. - Is this legal ? 2. Can you be a passive investor on H-1?Answer:
1. She can NOT do this on H-4. Once you folks file 485 and get EAD, things will be different.
You can then be a passive investor (performing no work type activity for the company) even while on H-1. You can also be an active investor if you wish to move to EAD as long as you maintain your intention to work full time for the GC sponsoring employer. Your wife can work for the company, own it, be partners, etc. as long as she has the EAD.
2. I think that should be fine. But passive means performing no work. Think of it as investing in IBM on the stock market. Just because you purchase a few shares, you do not get a seat at the Board of Directors of IBM. That is passive investing.Add new comment
Am I obliged to join my sponsoring employer after GC approval?Detailed question:
For past 7 years I work for company ‘A’ on their H1B visa (EB3). I had a I-140 cleared in 1998 from my previous company ‘B’ under EB2. Company ‘B’ filed for my I-485 in 2004 and I finally got my green card.Answer:
Quote: 1) Do I need to inform company ‘B’ and be in their payroll with immediate effect?
2) If company ‘B’ cannot provide me a job in my location and offer the salary I demand, is it a valid reason for me not to join ‘B’?
3) How should I inform company ‘A’ about my green card and what is the best reason to justify my case to continue work with company ‘A’?
or Should I inform company ‘A’ only when I fill the I-9 form next year Jan 2010.
4) If I inform company ‘A’ now about the green card, is there any legal basis for company ‘A’ to take any action on me and terminate me?
6) If I am impacted in any way, will my spouse and daughter loose their green card status.
Ans. Your basic question revolves around one issue. "Am I obliged to join my sponsoring employer after GC approval?"
This is a tough question to answer with so many shades of gray that I am venturing into conjecture rather than well-founded legal opinion. But I must try, because this situation does come up a lot.
First, we all the know GC is for a future position but you must have an honest intent ("good faith") to join the employer and they to hire you.
Quote: Practical hint 1. Document as best as you can that you had a good faith intent to join the employer and they to hire you, but due to the economy or whatever other reason they do not have a job for you. You can get a letter from the employer and some evidence that shows they have lost business and have had employee lay offs. You are also not obliged to take a pay cut over the labor cert salary or join in a location other that that mentioned in the labor cert.
Ans. Second, in my opinion, if you will join them, you should do so within a reasonable period. There is no definition of that either. May be a few months delay is justifiable.
Quote: Practical hint 2. If the job you are doing now and the job under the GC are same or similar, make sure you document that. Keep copies of your labor cert and of your current job description. This gives an additional argument to protect your GC under AC21.
Ans. The reason I am asking you to document all this is that when you apply for naturalization, these issues may and often do come up. I am thinking of the defense you will need 5 years from now and if we end up taking the govt. to court, we can have good chances of success.
Company A should have no reason to let you go but you should update your I-9 now. If your GC is revoked so will that of your family.Add new comment
Does chargeability change with citizenship change?Detailed question:
I have attained Canadian Citizenship but a born Indian citizen, when I am applying for 485 which priority dates do I need to consider, General or India. I do not have Indian passport.Answer:
Still, India. Your chargeability follows the place of birth, not your citizenship.Add new comment
Start-up applying for H-1 and AC21 for employeesDetailed question:
If a new start-up IT consulting company wants to transfer H1 of a prospective employee who is already on H1 and working for his current H1 sponsor, what are the issues and feasibility for such a transfer? How can such a start-up IT consulting company go about hiring AC21 eligible folks on EAD? May this is the safest route in the beginning until the company gets more employees and grows revenue? Will the AOS of the prospective employee be safe if he is the only employee of this company in the beginning. Of course the company wants to expand in the future but has to start somewhere.Answer:
H-1 by Start-up Companies
It can be really difficult for start up (or very small) companies to obtain H-1 visas. Doubly so, if people are being hired outside the U.S. Normally CIS asks you to prove:
1. You are capable of paying wages
2. You have sufficient amount of work
3. You are a reliable company with proper staff, offices and equipment.
4. If providing consulting services, you are able to procure a letter from your end-client showing the terms of engagement including what the H-1 holder will do and who will supervise them.
YOU MAY SUCCEED If you can:
- SHOW HOW YOU CAN PAY THE WAGES
LINE OF CREDIT
We have advised people to try to get a line of credit from a bank. That works sort of like a credit card. Unless you use the money, you pay no interest on it. Contact any local bank for more details. It is difficult to put down exact numbers, but $250,000 line of credit is a healthy number. Please note, merely having money in the bank may not be sufficient. Also, those companies that are starting with a promised Venture Capital of more than $500,000 should be OK.
Having a solid, detailed business plan can help. There is mush software out on the shelves that can help you put together a good business plan.
This will also help show how you have enough work for employees.
LETTER FROM/CONTRACTS WITH CLIENTS
If personnel are being outsourced, contracts from clients will help.
Start up Companies Doing AC21
There is no law on this issue. The current thinking of CIS appears to be that there is no problem in doing AC21 for a start up, as long as the job offered to the employee is similar to their labor cert job. In the past, CIS had tried to question the start up on ability to pay wages. But Yates memo of May 2005 (posted on my blog under AOS/485 section) shut that down stating that is not relevant.
Start up companies starting new green cards
This would be difficult because you have to demonstrate the ability to pay wages from the day you file the labor cert on to the time an employee actually receives the green card approval. This ability is usually shown through a profitable tax history. But if you are consistently paying an employee the wage he/she is supposed to be paid under the labor cert, you are in a good position to get your GC through.
AC21 Portability and Related IssuesDetailed question: Answer:
Both me & my wife have EAD and have our full time job. My question is , it is possible for us to start a new LLC ??
Ans. On an EAD, you can start a company and do everything that a green card holder can do including opening and owning your company as an active participant/owner. Your spouse has larger freedom than you do. You have to be in a job "similar" to your labor certification job. In the May 2005 Yates Memo (Posted under AOS discussions in my blog), Yates said you can port to your own company, but I recommend that only as the last option, because there are some troublesome issues that are still unsettled in self porting.
Can I hire few more peoples on H1B ??
Ans. Yes.Add new comment
Further questions on AC21Detailed question:
I got laid off from work from my present employer on October 31, 2008 and I have 3 questions. Presently, my employer has sponsored both my H1B (completed initial period of 6 years) and Green Card (EB-2, with priority date 2006). I have filled my I-485 in July 2007 and is currently pending. My I-140 has been approved 2 years ago and my employer promised that he will not revoke it. I have approved EAD & AP both for the primary and dependent.Answer:
I would like to be on my H1B even with the new employer. To my knowledge we should file a new H1B within a month but due to the market situation if I have to get on to EAD then can I get back to H1B? If yes then with in how many days should I apply for H1B?
Ans. If you do go on EAD, you can get back on H-1 provided you are willing to get a visa stamp from outside USA. There is no limit on the number of days.
I also think you can try filing for an H-1 transfer and ask to be "forgiven" the 30 days gap in the H-1 transfer.
Further, per Yates memo (posted above in another note on AC21), even if the employer revokes I-140, you still keep your right to AC21.
If I move from VA to MD the prevailing wages is changing. So should we file for a new LC?
Ans. No. That is the whole point of AC21. You should not have to file a new labor certification or green card as long as the job and salaries are similar.
Within how many days should I file for AC21?
Ans. No limit. But in my view, ASAP.Add new comment
Supervisory reviewDetailed question:
Filed I-130 and I-485 oct 29/07,went for interview feb/08 and have not heard anything from immigration.Is this normal for USCIS.When I did infopass was told that case is under supervisory review,what does this mean.Answer:
Pretty much anything can be within the context of a case. Supervisory review means just that - a review by a senior level adjudicator. Usually, that means there is some unusual procedural or legal issue involved. The good news is that, means your case is being reviewed, the bad, we don't know for what. You can try to go through a Congressman's office to find out more if you like.Add new comment
AOS Pending, Should H-1 be RenewedDetailed question:
Should H-1 be renewed while the AOS is pending?Answer:
Bottomline - I think H-1 should be renewed.
A little more info: A few months ago, I used to feel strongly that AOS applicants should keep their H-1 active for several reasons. Two of these are:
One, EAD issuance was erratic and CIS had discontinued issuance of interim EAD's (that is, if in 90 days your EAD is not issued, you could walk with a infopass appointment to your local CIS office and get an EAD). Thus, EAD's were unreliable and given for only a year. You could have interruptions in your work.
Two, if your AOS were to be denied (even in error), you would have no way to work, because the EAD goes with the AOS. And since there is no appeal against AOS denial, only an MTR can be filed. While the MTR is pending, you are not given a work authorization (as of now, July 2008). In addition, you would not be able to get n H-1 extension beyond the original six years because nothing is pending and "final action" has been taken on your green card. This could result in a situation that can be very dangerous. You do not have an H-1, a pending MTR gives you no legal status to sty in the US. Not only can you not work, you are deportable and you are accruing illegal presence even though the MTR is pending.
While CIS has done well to eliminate the first concern by reinstating the interim EAD issuance policy, the second concern still bothers me. While erroneous denials are few an far between (thank heavens), they do, nevertheless, occur. So, just maintain your peace of mind by keeping your H-1 active. That is my opinion. Reasonable people can easily argue against this and perhaps, their points of view may be just as valid.
All the above holds true, whether or not you intend to use AC21 portability.Add new comment
Priority Date and AOS (Form I-485) ProcessingDetailed question:
Rajiv, this month’s visa bulletin shows our category is current. What does this mean for people who have already applied for 485. Have AP and EAD. And now their dates are current again? Does it mean they will get a GC via mail? What if I haven’t had my FP done yet?Answer:
As of July 2008, this is how the system works.
First, let me provide a little background. Priority Date is the date your PERM is filed (in Case of EB-1 or NIW – the date your I-140 is filed; in case of Family-based petitions – the date your I-130 is filed.).
When the Visa bulletin shows a category is current, the I-485 (AOS) can be filed in the month the PD is current. Once AOS is filed, if the PD stays current, CIS continues to process the case. They call you for FP, put you through security checks and if no further evidence or questions are raised – approve the case. Upon approval, they seek a Visa Number from the State Department. Once that visa number is received (by fax or electronically), they approve your AOS. Eventfully, your GC is produced and mailed to you.
If the PD does not stay current, CIS puts the adjudication on hold till the PD is current again. When the PD is current, again AOS processing is resumed. This part makes no sense to me, but that is how, I believe they generally do it. Now, if you are fortunate enough to have already been assigned a visa number, your case may be approved even if the PD’s slide back again. But if your fingerprinting has not been done, you cannot get a green card approval.
Do feel free to correct me if my understanding is incorrect.
EAD and H-1 Conversions for DerivativesDetailed question:
I have applied for 485 as the primary applicant and my wife is the secondary applicant. Right now both of us are on H1 visa. We had applied for EAD and AP and intend to apply for renewal soon as we near 120 days. I am on my 7th year of H1 and my wife is on 2nd year of H1 and 3 year of (H1 and H4 combine). Her current H1 expires on April 2010. I intend to remain on H1 itself and have no intentions of using my EAD. Can you please clarify these questions.Answer:
Qo1. Would it be advisable for my wife(secondary applicant) to change to EAD in case she gets a better employment with another employer? This employer is not willing to transfer H1.
Ans. That should be fine.
Qo2. All that is required to work on EAD is fill in form I-9 and submit a copy of EAD with it. Does the employer have to do anything like notifying USCIS etc?
Ans2. The employer has to do nothing more than prepare the I-9 and keep updating it every time new EAD is issued.
Qo1. Would it be advisable for my wife(secondary applicant) to change to EAD in case she gets a better employment with another another employer? This employer is not willing to transfer H1.
Ans. That should be fine.
Qo2. All that is required to work on EAD is fill in form I-9 and submit a copy of EAD with it. Does the employer have to do anything like notifying USCIS etc?
Ans2. The employer has to do nothing more than prepare the I-9 and keep updating it every time new EAD is issued.
Qo3. From what I have read on forclients.com if she joins on EAD now she can come back later on H1 but will have to travel out of the country and get her H1 stamping done. Is this right(just confirming it)?
Qo4. When she comes back on H1 she will be using the current H1 itself? It will not be a new H1 and we will not have any issues of new H1 quota right?
Qo5. If she decides to come back to H1 should it be before April 2010(when current H1 expires) or it can be after that also?
Ans5. Any time.
Qo6. What happens if her current employer reinvokes her H1 after she quits them. Can she still come back on H1?
Ans6. When she leaves, they should revoke her H-1. If she wishes to rejoin them, they can reapply the H-1.
Gap in Employment during AOSDetailed question:
My friend lost his job on Friday when he was working on EAD (this is not the employer who has applied for GC). His i-140 was approved last year in May. He is looking for new job which would take couple of weeks. I have following question for the situation:Answer:
Q1. Is there any limit or restriction for number of days without work between changing job?
Ans. No. I do not believe a few weeks should make a difference.
Q2. Will this impact his GC process?
Ans. Not as long as he is eligible for AC21 portability.
AOS Denial – Consequences for H-1Detailed question: Answer:
Qo. If an AOS (adjustment of status or I-485) applicant has already used up six years on H1 and is currently in 8th year of H1, what are his/her options if AOS gets denied before the 8th year on H1 expires?
Ans. A lot depends upon the grounds of denial and whether they are likely to be overturned on a Motion to Reopen/Reconsider. Do note, there is no appeal against a 485 denial.
Technically, as I see the law, if CIS denies the AOS, they can also revoke the H-1 given beyond six years. As a practical matter, they do not. So, even after denial, you should be able to stay in USA to the end of the already granted H-1. You can start a new PERM application and eventually, get H-1 extensions based upon that.
Also, just because AOS is denied, may not mean the CP is not an option. Depending upon the facts of the case, consular processing for green card may still be an option.
Qo. So, would it not be better that a person who applies for AOS should NOT insist on maintaining H1 because he will use up the six years sooner. He should use Advance Parole and EAD to stop the H1 clock because H1 will give him/her more options ONLY IF six years are not up. Your thoughts?
Ans. That may be a good option if there is over one year left on the original H-1 AND the beneficiary is not entitled to three-year H-1 extensions. I get very nervous when your entire work options are based upon an EAD whose renewal time is left in the hands of CIS.
Qo. In your practice, have you encountered similar scenario where I-485 was denied but H1 was not canceled?
Ans. Yes. Several times.
Qo. I was given a three year H1 extension in my 8th year on H1 based on pending I-485 application and approved I-140. Please note that at the time of requesting H1 extension, my employer requested 3 year extension which I thought I wasn't eligible for as visa dates had not retrogressed for my category so I should have been given one year extension.
My three year H1 extension is valid until 2011(8th, 9th, 10th year on H1), in case of AOS denial in the 8 th year, do I have two more years to sort it out?
The maximum time one can stay in H status is 6 year unless the AOS is pending. If AOS is denied and CIS DOES NOT cancel H1 with AOS denial, does such a person start to accrue unlawful presence in US?
Ans. If you have been given an extension mistakenly, that can be taken away and you can have other issues as well. And, I don’t want to us to digress into unlawful presence. That is a whole new topic.