General Green Card

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.

Green Card Before Marriage

Detailed question:

I am currently waiting for my final visa interview since my priority date became current just last July. The target date of the interview may be between December to May (6-9 months from priority became current, right?) As of the moment, my civil status is single but I'm planning to get married soon but the schedule might be only after my final visa interview. Will I still be able to include my husband in the petition? If so, what should be done and what will be the range of months for the processing time?

Answer:

It is difficult for me to plan your course, but the law is relatively simple. If you get married BEFORE green card approval, your spouse is entitled to "follow to join." That process tends to be quicker than if you get married after you get the green card approval.

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K Visa for Spouse of Green Card Person

Detailed question:

Can I get K visa for my spouse? I am a US immigrant with green card. Is there something called a V visa?

Answer:

V visa no longer exists. There is no K visa option for green card holders. Sorry. 

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Travel During Pendency of I-829

Detailed question:

Is it a problem to travel outside the US after the temp GC has expired, and assuming the I-829 wouldn't get approved by then ?

Answer:

When the I-829 fees receipt is issued, it should state that your green card is extended for one year and travel and work during this time is permitted.

When the I-829 fees receipt is issued, it should state that your green card is extended for one year and travel and work during this time is permitted. - See more at: http://www.immigration.com/comment/14360#comment-14360
When the I-829 fees receipt is issued, it should state that your green card is extended for one year and travel and work during this time is permitted. - See more at: http://www.immigration.com/comment/14360#comment-14360
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Green Card And Re Entry Permit

Detailed question:

What happens if green card expires while away on reentry permit and it's not possible to stay and return to USA to renew?

Answer:

You lose your green card status. Reapplying or trying to get a returning resident permit would be the only two options that I can think of.

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Green Card for Artists

Detailed question:

How can a artist get a green card?

Answer:

Basically two ways: through a job offer in your field OR through your own qualifications, but only if you are nationally or internationally famous. 

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Green Card Without Employer's Support

Detailed question:

Is there a direct way for me to get a green card or apply for EB-3 without my employer's support? My employer is unwilling to support me for any working visa and I am already out of the status due to this.

Answer:

Three options: Extraordinary Ability Aliens, National Interest Waiver and Investment (EB-5).

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Employment Authorization Document (EAD)

Detailed question:

What is an EAD?

Answer:

What is an EAD?  

Certain aliens who are temporarily in the United States may file a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, to request an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), which authorizes them to work legally in the U.S. during the time the EAD is valid.  

Why does my new EAD look different than my prior one 

USCIS has enhanced the EAD with new security features to reduce fraud. This is part of USCIS’s ongoing efforts to improve the integrity of the 
immigration process. USCIS will replace EADs already in circulation with the new security enhanced EADs as individuals apply for the renewal or 
replacement of their current EAD.  

How do I know if I can get an Employment Authorization Document (EAD)? 

Whether you can obtain, or even if you need, an EAD depends upon what status you have in the United States or, many times, if you have filed or 
are filing for certain other benefits. 

 • If you are in, or want to be in, a valid nonimmigrant category, including a NATO category

• If you are an asylee or refugee

• If you have, or are filing for, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) 

• If you are filing a Form I-485, Application for Permanent Resident Status, you can apply for employment authorization at the same time you file your I-485 or at any time while your I-485 is pending. 

• If you are filing, or have filed for political asylum on Form I-589

• You may also be able to apply for employment authorization if: 

o You have been granted deferred action by USCIS or ICE, 

o You have been granted voluntary return under the Family Unity program, or 

o You are under an order of supervision issued after receiving a final order of deportation or removal from an immigration court.  

How do I apply for an Employment Authorization Document?  

To apply for an Employment Authorization Document, use USCIS Form I-765 

When should I file for an extension of my employment authorization?  

You should not file more than 120 days before the expiration date shown on your current employment authorization document; however, you 
should file 90 days before the expiration date.   

How do I get the Form I-765 "Application for Employment Authorization” (EAD)?  

The Form I-765 can be obtained by downloading it from the USCIS website at www.uscis.gov 
 Note: E- filing may also be available on certain categories on the I-765. 

Under the “I am applying for” area of the form, there are three different blocks. Which one should I check?  

• Initial EAD (this is your first application under a specific category), 

• A Renewal EAD (an extension of previously granted employment authorization), or 

• A Replacement EAD (to replace a lost, mutilated, or destroyed EAD, or to update information, such as a name change on the EAD),  

Initial EAD  

An application for an initial EAD is one in which the applicant is filing for an EAD under a specific category for the first time. For example, if the 
applicant previously had an EAD under the Form I-765(c)(8) category and is now filing under the (a)(5) category, the application is considered an initial application because it is the first one filed under the new category (a)(5), even though they had been issued a previous card under a different category. Each applicant who is required to have an EAD must have it in their possession before they can begin working.  

Renewal EAD  

An application for a renewal EAD is one in which the applicant is filing for an extension of his/her EAD under the same category as he or she 
previously had. Except for applicants in refugee or asylee status, each person must have a valid card in their possession to be eligible to continue working. Therefore, it is important to stress that renewal EADs should be filed at least 90 days before the expiration of the old EAD in order to avoid lapses in employment. 

 Replacement EAD  

An application for a replacement EAD is filed if a card has been lost, stolen, or mutilated, or when the previously issued card contains 
erroneous information, such as a misspelled name or name change. If an application for a replacement EAD is approved, the replacement  EAD will have the same dates and category as the EAD that was lost, stolen, etc.  

Persons applying for replacement documents can present the receipt for the I-765 as evidence of employment eligibility but must produce a
valid card within 90 days of showing the receipt.  

For question 16, how do I know for which category I should apply?  

• If you are filing for Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, file under category (c)(33) 

• If you are an asylee, file under category (a)(5) 

• If you are a refugee, file under category (a)(3) 

• If you were paroled as a refugee, file under category (a)(4) 

• If you were paroled in the public interest, file under category (c)(11). 

• If you are filing for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), file under category (c)(19) 

• If you have been granted TPS, file under category (a)(12). 

• If you are filing a Form I-485, Application for Permanent Resident Status, file your I-765 under category (c)(9). 

• If you are filing, or have filed for political asylum on Form I-589, please refer to Volume 4.4.3.5, Special Programs and Services before 

filing. If it appears you can file for employment authorization, file under category (c)(8). 

• You may also be able to apply for employment authorization if: 

o You have been granted deferred action by USCIS or ICE, file under category (c)(14) 

o You have been granted voluntary return under the LIFE Act Family Unity program, file under category (a)(14) 

o You are under an order of supervision issued after receiving a final order of deportation or removal from an immigration court, file 

under category (c)(18) 

o You have been granted withholding of deportation by an Immigration Court, file under category (a)(10)  

For other categories, please follow the instructions to Form I-765.  

Note: E- filing may also be available on certain categories on the I-765. 

Do I have to submit photos with the Form I-765?  

Yes, you must submit two standard passport-style photos. The photos must have been taken no earlier than 30 days prior to the date you file the
I-765. Please see the Form I-765 for the required specifications for the photos.  

Do I need to submit a “signature card,” I-765A, with my I-765 application?  

No, the signature card is no longer required as part of the filing process. 

How long does USCIS have to make a decision on my Application for Employment Authorization?  

The required times in which USCIS must make a decision on an I-765 are:  

• Ninety (90) days of receipt of applications filed under categories other than asylum-based, or  

• Thirty (30) days if filing based upon a pending asylum case and filing for an initial EAD,  

One exception to this rule is if USCIS requires additional evidence. The processing time limit is extended by the amount of time it takes for you to receive the request for evidence and respond to it. Also, the processing time is extended when a request for evidence is issued for any Form filed concurrently with the I-765.  

If USCIS has to send out a Request for Evidence, the processing “clock” stops. The maximum allowed time to submit evidence is 12-weeks. Once USCIS receives your response, the processing “clock” starts up again.  

When am I eligible for an Interim EAD? 

If USCIS does not make a decision on your I-765 within 90 days, (30 days for Asylum applicants), you may request an Interim EAD. The interim EAD can be granted for a period up to 240 days.  

Note: If the time frame for a decision on the I-765 has expired, please call our toll-free number at 1-800-375-5283.  

My I-765 was approved, but I have not received my EAD. Can I get temporary evidence of employment authorization?  

Customers who have an approved (or denied) I-765 are not eligible for an interim EAD.  

Note: If your I-765 was approved at a Service Center, but you have not received the EAD 30 days or more from the date of approval, you may be eligible for a Non-Delivery of Employment Authorization Document service request referral to the Service Center. Please call our toll-free number at 1-800-375-5283 for further assistance with this issue. 

 Can I get a Social Security card after I get my EAD?  

In most cases, you can apply for a Social Security card after you receive an employment authorization document. You will need another type of officially issued photo identification, a passport, I-94 bearing a stamp of refugee or asylee status and/ or driver’s license.  

For more information about how to apply for a Social Security card, please call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213.  

What if my EAD has incorrect information on it when I receive it?  

For help with this question, please call our toll-free number: 1-800-375-5283.  

Who is eligible for an EAD that is valid for two years?  

The two-year EAD is only available to pending adjustment applicants who are currently unable to adjust status because an immigrant visa numberis not currently available. In order to be eligible for an EAD with a two year validity period, an applicant’s I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, must be approved. 

 When will applicants expect to receive the new two-year EAD?  

Applicants filing Form I-765 began receiving their two-year EAD after June 30, 2008. 

Will applicants get a two-year EAD when they file an I-765 with their I-485 adjustment of status application?  

Generally, no. Initial EAD filings will generally receive an EAD that is valid for one year because they are usually submitted with the Form I-485 which can only be filed when there is an immigrant visa number immediately available to the individual. Applicants are only eligible for a two-year EAD if their immigrant visa availability date retrogresses (i.e., when actual demand for visa numbers exceeds forecasted supply) after the Form I-485 is filed. If an immigrant visa number is available, USCIS will grant the one-year EAD.  

How will USCIS decide whether to issue an EAD valid for one or two years?  

USCIS will decide whether to renew an EAD for either a one or two-year validity period based on the most recent Department of State Visa Bulletin. If an applicant’s visa number has retrogressed and is unavailable, USCIS may issue a renewal EAD valid for two years. USCIS will continue to issue the EAD in one-year increments when the Department of State Visa Bulletin shows an employment-based preference category is current as a whole or the applicant’s priority date is current.  

If I am filing for a replacement EAD, how long is the EAD valid?  

If an individual requests to replace an EAD that has not expired, USCIS will issue a replacement EAD that is valid through the same date as the previously issued EAD. However, if the previous EAD has expired, USCIS will process the request for a renewal EAD and determine the appropriate validity period based on the Department of State Visa Bulletin and the applicant’s priority date.  

Why is USCIS changing the validity period for some EADs?  

USCIS views this change as a way to better serve its customer base, and in particular, persons who are waiting to become lawful permanent residents and are impacted by the lack of immigrant visa numbers. 

 When I file Form I-765, how long will it take to receive a decision?  

You should receive a decision within 90 days (30 days for Asylum applicants) from the receipt date on your Form I-765. In some cases, an EOIR- granted asylee will receive an EAD card valid for 2 years by mail within 7 to 10 days from the day the biometrics information is received. 

Note: If you have not received a decision and over 75 days (25 days for Asylum applicants) has passed, please call our toll-free number at 1-800-375-5283 for further assistance with this issue.  

Will the new EAD affect my current valid EAD card?  

No, it does not affect your current valid EAD card and you do need to file for a new card before your current card expires.  

Why USCIS redesigned the Employment card?  

The new features of the EAD will better equip workers, employers and law enforcement officials to recognize the card as definitive proof of authorization to work in the United States.  

For more information about  EAD please visit our Blog and Podcasts and Video sections. 

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Immigrant Visa Interview - Medical Examination FAQs

Detailed question:

1. Are children required to have chest x-rays or blood tests? 2. What if the applicant is mentally retarded or has a learning disability? 3. What is the legal basis for requesting medical information for visa applicants? 4. What should the applicant expect at the medical examination?

Answer:

1. Chest X-ray and blood tests are not usually required for children under the age of fifteen.

2. Applicants with mental retardation or learning disabilities must present a report of their condition and any special educational or supervision requirements.

3. Medical eligibility is a requirement of INA Sections 212(a) and 221(d). Failure to provide required information may cause delay or denial of immigrant visas. If an immigrant visa is not issued, all medical eligibility forms will be treated as confidential under INA Section 222(f).

4. The applicant must show his/her passport (or other photo identification) and appointment letter to the doctor during the medical examination.

The medical examination will include a medical history review, physical examination, chest X-ray and blood tests for syphilis.

The physical examination will at least include examination of the eyes, ears, nose and throat, extremities, heart, lungs, abdomen, lymph nodes, skin and external genitalia.

In some countries, the panel physician will send the results to the U.S. Embassy/Consulate directly. In other countries, the panel physician will give the applicant his/her medical exam results in a sealed envelope and an x-ray which the applicant must bring to the interview.

Note: The medical examination is not a complete physical examination. Its purpose is to screen for certain medical conditions relevant to U.S. immigration law. The panel physician is not required to examine you for any conditions except those the U.S. Public Health Service specifies for U.S. immigration purposes, nor is the physician required to provide you with diagnosis or treatment even though other matters related to your health might be discovered. This examination is not a substitute for a full physical examination, consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by your primary health care provider.

For more FAQ's on Medical Examination please visit this link

http://travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/info/info_3745.html#page

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Process After Getting Immigrant Visa

Detailed question:

My mother is currently in the US. She entered based on the Immigration Visa on her passport and gave the sealed packet at the port of entry. We went to to the SSN office but were told that we need to wait for the SSN to come (via mail? - they had no clue). She wants to leave in the next few weeks. Questions: 1. Can she reenter without a physical GC in hand? She was told it takes 6-8 months to come at port of entry. 2. How do we get her SSN? Is it mailed automatically? 3. What else should I be aware of before she leaves the US?

Answer:

Make an infopass appointment and get her passport stamped for temporary proof of green card. She can travel with that. Normally, the physical GC takes just a few weeks. I am not concerned about SSN. That will arrive eventually. But do review my blog videos about I-131 and maintaining green card, etc.

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Applicant Accompanied by a Third Party for an Interview

Detailed question:

May a third party (spouse, sponsor, etc.) accompany an applicant to an interview for a Nonimmigrant or Immigrant Visa?

Answer:

The State Department says that on the Immigrant Visa side, the petitioner may accompany the beneficiary if a petitioner is in the Consulate city at the time of the interview.  The interviewing officer will speak to the petitioner only if he/she determines it is necessary to assess the case.  Applicants under 17 years old MUST be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian on the Nonimmigrant Visa side.  Other third parties are not permitted to accompany the Nonimmigrant Visa applicant.

 

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L-1 to GC

Detailed question:

I am on L-1 visa until 2015, according to my employer's attorney the I-140 form was already approved, now my employer does not want to continue with the I-485 form process (because they don't want to pay attorney's fees) and will not release any information related to my case, do I have any chance to continue with the GC process by myself? Or will I be facing deportation at the L-1 visa expiration date?

Answer:

There is no problem with you paying the I-485 fees. But the employer must be involved to the extent that they need to provide a (truthful) letter evidencing continuity of your employment.

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Green Card Holder With No Reentry Permit

Detailed question:

My husband is a UK citizen and has a Green Card, but no re-entry permit. I am a US citizen. We have been living in China for 6 years for my job and plan to return to the States. The last time my husband was in the US was 3.5 years ago. What is the process that he needs to go through to be able to reenter the States and hold onto his Green Card?

Answer:

Start with contacting the local U.S. Consulate. See if they can issue a returning resident permit  (also called SB1 visa).

http://travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/info/info_1333.html

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Green Card Eligibility Under EB-2 Classification

Detailed question:

Is it necessary for a beneficiary petitioned for Green Card under EB-2 classification (based on a U.S Master’s Degree) to have a degree from an accredited U.S. university?

Answer:

A Beneficiary’s degree must be from an accredited university in order for the Beneficiary to be considered eligible for a Green Card under EB-2 classification. Evidence such as SEVIS certification or state board approval, which confirm that the university is a legitimate educational institution, is not sufficient to show accreditation for Green Card purposes. A university’s accreditation status may be determined from the following website:

http://ope.ed.gov/accreditation/

You may also want to watch this video Mr. Khanna prepared, “Accreditation of distance education for EB-2” and read the transcript:

 http://www.immigration.com/media/eb2-green-card/accreditation-distance-e...


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EB-5 Investment-Based Green Cards

Detailed question:

I am currently on H1-B and my I-140 has been approved. Because of the delay in I-485 Processing, I was thinking of doing my green card through the EB-5 Category with a $500,000.00 Investment through a Regional Center or a New Commercial Enterprise. I had a few questions regarding the following: For EB-5 through Regional Center 1. What is the time frame for Investing the money? Does it vary per Project? 2. What is the general Return of Investment on these Projects? Does it vary per Project? 3. Can we withdraw the Investment earlier if the Project is a failure? 4. How much involvement is necessary/allowed in the management of the Project? 5. When can I start withdrawing the money after I get my Green Card? 6. Is there any agency/firm that evaluates the Regional Centers? For EB-5 Immigrant Investor through New Commercial Enterprise 7. Do the 10 people have to employed immediately or over a period of 2 years? 8. If I employ 10 people and put in 500,000.00 in a start up business in a rural area or highly unemployed area towards the income for the employees, is the money counted towards investment?

Answer:

1. I dont know of any regional center who does not want the entire money up front. They also usually add on a few thousand dollars of additional fees.
2. No idea about ROI. We do not get involved with financial assessments. Not our expertise.
3. Not usually. But this depends upon the project and your agreement. But the green card would fail in such a case.
4. None, usually.
5. Hmm. I do not recall the exact time frame. Sorry.
6. No. Beyond the normal SEC regs, as far as I know, you are, unfortunately, on your own. This is the part about the regional centers that bothers me.
7. Over two years. But your business plan has to show how you will create the jobs.
8. Huh? Yes, of course. But there has to be a connection between the investment and the job creation.

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Priority date retrogression -- consequences and concerns

Detailed question:

The current prediction that the priority dates for employment based green card applications are likely to retrogress again has brought a lot of speculation and questions from our clients and our community. Let me clarify some of the questions and concerns. Q 1. What happens if my priority date (“PD”) retrogresses while my I-485 is still pending? Q 2. Can we expedite the adjudication of our pending I-485 (or any application, for that matter)?

Answer:

A 1. There are two possibilities. First, the case is not yet ripe for adjudication (for instance, it has not been assigned to an officer or the security clearances are not yet submitted or obtained), USCIS can shelf the case and not process it any longer untile the PD becomes current again. Second, USCIS can “preadjudicate” that case. That means the case is adjudicated and then shelved for PD to become current again. I do not believe there exists a mechanism currently to determine what USCIS will do with an individual case.


A 2. Not usually. Here is what USCIS says about expediting:
Expedite Criteria
All expedite requests are reviewed on a case-by-case basis, and are granted at the discretion of the Director. The burden is on the applicant or petitioner to demonstrate that one or more of the expedite criteria have been met. The criteria are as follows:
• Severe financial loss to company or individual
• Extreme emergent situation
• Humanitarian situation
• Nonprofit status of requesting organization in furtherance of the cultural and social interests of the United States
• Department of Defense or National Interest Situation (Note: Request must come from official United States Government entity and state that delay will be detrimental to our Government)
• USCIS error
• Compelling interest of USCIS
Note: Discretionary expedite requests for petitions and applications that have Premium Processing Service available will not be considered for expedite processing. The only exception is when the petitioner is a not-for-profit organization designated by the Internal Revenue Service. For information regarding premium processing, please refer to the premium processing webpage.
If you have already filed your application or petition:
You can make an expedite request by contacting the National Customer Service Center (NCSC) at 1-800-375-5283. The NCSC will take a “service request” and forward your expedite request to the office with jurisdiction over the application or petition. You also have the options of 1). visiting your local office by scheduling an InfoPass appointment or 2). writing a letter to the local office or service center.

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Questions regarding I-485

Detailed question:

I am on H1-B visa and my EB-2 Priority Date is May 15, 2010. Please see below questions regarding I-485. Question # 1:- Typically, how long would it take to receive Advance Parole and EAD after filing I-485? Question # 2:- I entered USA on F1-Visa in year 2000, and then changed my status to H1-B visa within USA in year 2004. I never left USA since year 2000. My passport does not have H1-B visa stamp. In order to file I-485, is it required to have H1-B visa stamp in my passport? Question # 3:-After filing I-485 and before receving A.P., if I travel to my home country for H1-B visa stamping, is it possible that my company can mail A.P. documents to my home country so that I could enter USA using my A.P. in case H1-B visa in my home country is denied? Question # 4:- I came to know that it is required for an alien to be present in USA at the time of I-485 filing. Is it also required that an alien must be present in USA until A.P. is approved? Question # 5:- Does Visa Officer have the ability to cancel A.P., in case H1-B visa is denied in my home country due to 221(g)/missing tax returns/W-2's/Paystubs? Question # 6:- If my H1-B visa is denied in my home country, and if i enter USA using A.P., then could my spouse enter USA using H-4 visa using my valid I-797 approval notice even though I do not have H1-B visa stamp in my passport? If I enter USA using A.P., what are the options for my spouse? Question # 7:- At what point of time during GC process, do I need to add my spouse? Should it be before filing of I-485 or before Visa Number is available? Question # 8:- After filing my I-485, and if my spouse is in USA on H-4, will I be able to add my spouse to my I-485 application? By the time, I want to add my spouse to I-485 application, if Visa Number is available and if AOS/I-485 is approved, then would I still be able to add my spouse if spouse is in USA and also outside USA?

Answer:

Answer 1: EAD is usally processed within 90 days and AP within 3-6 months. You can check I-131 processing times from links on this page: http://www.immigration.com/processin...-status-checks

Answer 2: A visa stamp is NOT required. Proper status only is needed.


Answer 3: It is NOT advisable to travel before AP is issued, if you do not have an H/L visa already stamped. For details, listen to recording's of the community conference call. It is posted here: http://www.immigration.com/free-comm...nference-calls


Answer 4: Presence in USA for 485 filing is mandatory. See previous answer for AP.


Answer 5: I do not believe VO has the authority to revoke an AP.


Answer 6: Under Cronin memo, if you enter on AP to continue working on an existing, valid H-1, you are still considered to be on H-1. I believe your spouse can use his H-4.


Answer 7: Before APPROVAL of I-485.


Answer 8: Your spouse can file his 485 if he is in USA; Priority Dates are current AND he has not been out of status for more than 180 days -- whether or not your 485 is already approved.

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Green Card for musicians

Detailed question:

I have a Christian band, and we have 2 CDs out for sell already, one of our singers would like to know how to obtain a green card with our band, is this possible?

Answer:

A green card through work is unlikely unless either he/she has a full-time job offer in her field or is nationally/internationally recognized.

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Family Unification and Green Card

Detailed question:

I want to know how I can come back to US. I came US 2006 like a guest, stayed about 5 years & left US. But my family still there, ex-wife, two daughters older 20 year old & younger 17. When my daughter turns 21 year old can she apply for family reunification, especially for me?

Answer:

One of the ways could be for your daughter to apply for your green card when she turns 21. The problem is, if you were unlawfully present in USA for more than a year, you may be barred from entering USA for 10 years.

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Green Card Stolen

Detailed question:

What is to be done when your green card is stolen? I just got mine not to long ago, I am 17 years old and I am not sure what I am supposed to do?

Answer:

You can easily apply for a replacement green card. Read the instructions on Form I-90. Please visit this link for more information.
http://www.immigration.com/renew-or-replace-green-card

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Out of F-1 visa status

Detailed question:

I just found out a couple of days back by my international advisor that I was out of status for two years now for taking classes in a community and transferring credits and it made me a part time student..He suggested I left the country after the semester and come back with the new I-20 and letter of recommendation he gives me. And I also I have been married to a US citizen for 2 months. Is it safe to go out of the country?

Answer:

You can just apply for your green card. Do not travel outside USA until you get your green card (or travel only as advised by your lawyers).

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Two year temporary green card

Detailed question:

I just received my two year temporary green card, my malicious mother-in-law claims she went to immigration and put a "BLOCK" on me. Is this possible? Can she do this? I have a clean record good credit and have never been in trouble with the law. Should I be worried?

Answer:

She cannot put a "block." There is no such provision in law.

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Green card for L1-B or L1-A holders

Detailed question:

I currently have a L1-B visa and I'd like to know if the company where I work(a Brazilian company where I did work for 2 years, one of them in a managerial position before coming to the U.S in 2009) could apply to change my status from L1-B to L1-A at the same time as filing my GC application. The company is a giant in Brazil with 600 employees but we are still starting the operations in the U.S and I'm the only employee here.

Answer:

Smaller companies can have a tough time getting an L-1A.

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Green Card for musicians

Detailed question:

I am a mexican composer, Im finishing my career on film scoring and composition and I'm intersted to know about the green card for musicians.

Answer:

Green cards in music would be available possibly for two categories of individuals: those who have a permanent job in USA in their field and those who are nationally or internationally famous.

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Green Card Expenses

Detailed question:

For an employment-based green card application in the EB2 category, my employer has said that they would be willing to make the application if I am willing to pay for it. Can the employee bear the total cost of the entire process -- including attorney's processing fees, filing fees for all stages, advertising fees, EAD, advance parole fees -- from start to final stamping?

Answer:

The employer is bound by law to pay for all expenses, including legal fees, associated with the PERM process (but not the rest of the green card process).

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Holding Company Stocks on TN Visa

Detailed question:

I am on TN visa for the more than a year. The company wants to give me some stock option (10-15%). Is that ok to hold stocks of the company you are working for on TN visa, or will it create problem when I apply for renewal of my TN visa. Can I apply for GC on TN visa?

Answer:

I see no issue with holding stock, but that will be a problem for PERM-based green card. Also, processing green card under TN can be problematic.

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Green card and overstay

Detailed question:

My dad has a green card and went back home over 2 years ago. He is now trying to come back after being away from the US for 2 years. I was told by some people that if he stayed over a year outside the US they will not let him back in to the US even though he has a Green Card. Can you please tell me if this is true, or can I just get him a ticket and fly him back to the US?

Answer:

It is highly unlikely that he will be allowed into USA.

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Working outside USA

Detailed question:

Is it possible for me to work outside the US (for the same company that I work for now) while on green card? My company has an office in India, and I have to travel to India for family reasons. I was planning to work in India for some time, and then come back in about a year and half and apply for citizenship. I have lived in the US for about 3 years on my green card now.

Answer:

It is possible. Look into both I-131and N-470 filing through a lawyer.

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Mandated poverty line

Detailed question:

What is mandated poverty line? I want to petition for my husband, can my father sponsor him financially if I do not have enough income to support my husband? My father and me are both permanent residents.

Answer:

Here are the poverty guidelines http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/index.shtml

Your father can co-sponsor (file an affidavit of support) along with you.

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AOS applicants applying for H-1 visa

Detailed question:

My spouse and me are currently working on H1 and we do have our EAD and AP even though we are not using it. We are planning on a trip to India in the month of December. Both of our H1 visa's on passport have expired. We plan on using AP when coming back to US to avoid the hassle of getting our passports stamped. We plan on remaining on H1 even though we use AP to get back. We do plan on renewing our AP and EAD when they expire. What I want to know is... is there any advantage of having visa stamped in your passport as to using AP if you plan on remaining on H1? One that I know is cities like London require you to get a transit visa if your visa has expired when traveling to India.

Answer:

We would highly recommend not applying for an H visa if it can be avoided. In the past few weeks, I have provided consultations to various employers on H-1 visa refusals. The refusals were ridiculous, illegal and would be overturned if there were an adequate mechanism for reversal. So, I see no point in applying for an H-1 visa. Even if you enter on AP and continue working for the original H-1 employer, you ARE considered to still be on H-1. All other matters are more or less ancillary.

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B1/B2

Detailed question:

I entered the US with my mom in 2005. I was underage then. My visa B1/B2/BCC expires in Oct of 2010 and my permit I-94 expired in December of 2007. I am now 20 years old and I am married to the love of my life and he is a US citizen. I want to know what I can do. What files and forms will I need?

Answer:

You should be able to get your green card. Do not travel outside USA until you do. I would suggest getting a lawyer.

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Australian Musician to perform in US

Detailed question:

An Australian Musician that is wanting to come to US for a few weeks to travel and play at approx 15-20 venues across the US. I am willing to sponsor him via my DJ entertainment service, and he will be paid for the shows. He is a professional musician in his country, has been for 15 yrs. Which visa would be required in this case?

Answer:

A "B" visa is appropriate if the artist will not be paid in USA, other than for travel and incidental expense.


An "O-1" Visa is for an individual artist of International Renown - well known outside their home country. A "P-1" is for a performing group that meets the same standard.


"P-2" Visas are issued on reciprocal basis between countries. You may want to contact the US consulate to see if they have programs for Australia.


"P-3" Visas are for groups that are Culturally Unique - for instance, folk musicicians.

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Green card and priority dates

Detailed question:

My father applied for a green card for me back in August 1993 and I was wondering when am I going to get my interview for my green card.

Answer:

Green card waits are determined primarily by your priority date and the available visa dates. It is a queue. See the Visa Bulletin to know where your dates are. http://www.immigration.com/visa-bulletin

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Co sign

Detailed question:

Can a friend co-sign for me to bring my brother to the United States, I have green card and i don't make enough money. I just want to know if a friend can co-sign for me.

Answer:

An affidavit of support can be co-sponsored by your friend. But green card holders cannot sponsor siblings for green cards, only US Citizens can.

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P1 visa to green card

Detailed question:

I have a P1 visa. Is there anyway to change this to a green card?

Answer:

You may be able to apply for a green card if you meet the requirements of EB-1, aliens with extraordinary ability or based upon a job offer, and of course, if a family-based possibility exists

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How to check if I-485 received

Detailed question:

How will i know if they already recived ( i mean is there a way to trck it) my application for the change of status (I-485). i sent that last april 29, 2010....how long do i have to wait for the responds from the uscis....

Answer:

You can verify delivery (if sent by Fed Ex, UPS, etc.) and also check with your bank if your fees checks were encashed.

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Re-entry permit

Detailed question:

If you have a valid LPR and you went and stayed over 2 years in the philippines and you want to come back here. If you don't have a re-entry permit how can you get a re-entry permit?

Answer:

Reentry permit can be obtained only by people who have a valid green card. Your only option (other than filing for a green card again) seems to be to ask the US Consulate for a Returning Resident Permit if you can show them a genuine reason for your absence. Note that this would be a difficult application.

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Outstanding researcher

Detailed question:

I'm a researcher at a university and I will probably try to apply for EB1, Outstanding Researcher. I'm currently on an H-1 (since Oct. 2007). Are there certain stages in the process in which I won't be able to travel outside the US?

Answer:

I cannot think of any stage at which you cannot travel. Good luck!

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EB-2 Eligibility

Detailed question:

Had a question regarding the EB-2 eligibility.My Perm was recently approved in EB-2 category.Had a question about education before we file the 140. I've a bachelors in Computing from UK which was a 3 year course and after that I have a Masters from UK in the computing which was a 1 year course. My question- is this qualification eligible of the EB-2 category. Just want to ensure that there is no RFE in 140.

Answer:

Impossible to predict. It all depends upon the type of degrees and the language used in the Form ETA 9089

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Quickest way to get a GC

Detailed 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.

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I have a green card, I was out of the U.S for more than a year

Detailed question:

I got my green card back in 2003, I traveled to the U.S. in search of a better life. Since my grandmother was sick I had to comeback to my home country in 2008. I've been out of the U.S. for more than a year. My grandmother is fine now and I'd like to comeback to the U.S. My green card expires in 2014, so it's still valid now. Will I be allowed to comeback to the U.S.?

Answer:

Generally speaking, a visit outside USA lasting more than one year terminates your green card (no matter what the card says).

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B visa while GC pending

Detailed question:

A a citizen, I filled up a I-130 form for my parents; they live abroad, but they already have a tourist visa; may they visit USA for short time while they are waiting for the GC process, and then go back to their country, keeping back and forth in the meantime?

Answer:

The law is uncertain. This type of entry will be left at the discretion of CBP. I have a blog entry on this subject. Please review it: http://forums.immigration.com/blog.php?u=1

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AC21 and losing job

Detailed question:

I am EB2 priority date Sep2005. I had lost my job in Apr 09. I started working on Dec09 with another company similar job description, in same geographic location and with 15% higher salary than labor approved. I was out of job for almost 8 months.My old employer has assured not to evoke approved I140 (more than 3 years since I 140 is approved) I have few questions: 1.Shall I file for AC21? 2.is it advisable to send copy of current paystunb with AC21, If yes how many months? 2.Is it okay to file AC21without paystub for around 8 months? 2.If I dont file for AC21, will there be an issue travelling on AP at POE?

Answer:

AC21 should be filed. The fact that you were out of job for 8 months is irrelevant. As long as the jobs are same or similar, you should have no issues.

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EAD restriction for 245i

Detailed question:

I applied for GC through 245i. I currently have a valid EAD. I140 approved. and I485 pending. Its for future employment. Can I work for a non related (not related to my labour) until my 485 is approved?

Answer:

Theoretically, there is nothing wrong with that, but speak with your lawyers. In my view, not working for the future employer raises issues like is there a job, do you really want to work for this employer, etc.

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How to renew green card

Detailed question:

My father's greencard will expire in June. How do we renew it?

Answer:

Please visit this link.
http://www.immigration.com/agency_memo_policy_report/how-renew-a-green-card

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J1 overstayed by years, married to a greencard holder

Detailed question:

I came to US in 2004, overstayed my J1 visa by 3 years and got married to a greencard holder in 2007. My I-130 was approved in 2008 . Is it possible to adjust status when my visa number becomes available. I have read on different sites that I'm not eligible since I have not maintained lawful status during my stay. Are there any loops?

Answer:

Unless your spouse becomes a US citizen, nothing can be done as far as I can see. If you had a 2 years HRR, you have bigger problems.

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Conditional green card

Detailed question:

After you receive your conditional Green card what is next?

Answer:

Off hand, I can think of two types of conditional green cards: marriage-based and investment-based. In both instances, eventually you have to apply to get the condition removed.

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Out of Status

Detailed question:

How many months gap is permisible for H-1 and also in GC process if person is on H-1 ? I mean to say supposse one H-1 holder lost his job and if he got another job after 02 months ( Gap of 02 months ) then his H-1 and GC process will be effected ? His last co. is supporting by keeping her I-140 as such ( no revock ) (Condition: Person has H-1 and his I-140 was also aproved in last co. but due to some reason she left job and would like to join another co. on 3rd month, say after 02 months and would like to file H-1 in this new company )

Answer:

A gap of even one day (unless excused by USCIS) puts a person out of status and is not permitted. When you leave a sponsoring employer, it certainly calls into question the continuity of existence the green card job'

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Importance of having continuity of employment/pay stubs

Detailed question:

Whats the relevance or importance of having continuous pay stubs (How much gap is permissible if Not significant?) in the processing of Green card of an H1B holder.

Answer:

Continued payments are required by law for H-1 holder, unless they come under some very limited exceptions for leave for employee's personal reasons. Not paying, exposes the employer to investigation and penalties and may place the employee out of status.

In the green card context, non-payment can lead to problems with demonstrating ability to pay wages.

For both H-1 and GC, nonpayment can lead to an assumption that no genuine job exists. That could lead to cancellation of one or both processes, except for situations where AC21 portability is involved.

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From a B-2 visa to a green card

Detailed question:

I have a pen pal that is a citizen of Honduras. He would like to come to the US to visit me and our beautiful country. My question is this: if he obtains a 6 months B-2 visitors visa, then maybe half way through, he thinks he would like to move to the US and work here, could he apply for a green card during his 6 month stay. He has no family here in the US, just me, his friend.

Answer:

That does not sound possible. Green cards to USA are granted based upon very limited basis. But, you should have your friend speak with a lawyer to see what options may exist.

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Time Frame for Green Card

Detailed question:

I am a college freshman student on an F-1 visa and am thinking about applying for green card, as I have also completed 2 years of HS in the US. Any idea how long the green card process may take and should I apply already for green card now in order to possibly get it by the time I graduate college?

Answer:

The time frame for employment based green cards depends upon two things: your country of chargeability (usually the country you were born in) and the category of green card through which you apply: EB1, EB2, EB3.

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E-3 visa dual intent - applying for green card

Detailed question:

I am an Indian born, Australian Citizen on a E3 visa. Does applying for a Green Card jeopardize my chances of getting E3 visa renewed in the future? My wife is on E3D visa and has EAD. She is working now and can her employer start GC process and will that jeopardize her E3D visa renewal and/or my E3 visa renewal? What is the best bet? Applying GC on my name or her name? Both are qualified educationally and both have jobs in the U.S

Answer:

Applying for a green card should not be a problem for you or your wife. I always suggest filing two independent green cards where the option is available. This provides for a safety net if the process fails for one of the spouses.

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I-140 Denied

Detailed question:

My I-140 got Denied on Aug 17 on Ability to pay after a RFE.Reason for Denial is "Employer had filed more than 30 cases since sep 2008, and company's net Asset $4M(approx) AND Liablity $2M (approx) and so the net "LIABILITY" is $1M (4-2=1 but they have calculate as -1).30 cases with $1M libality is not sufficient to support this Immigrant , company needs more than $3M to support 30 cases. The truth is (as per my employer) that we have filed 29 cases since 2006 and not sep 2008 also company has more funds and the numbers 4M and 2M are incorrect.What can be done ?

Answer:

You can refile the I-140 or file an MTR/Appeal. Both have pros and cons.

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Current USCIS procedures for PD transfer and AOS

Detailed question:

Recenlty we submitted my NOID response for my 485. Today called USCIS customer service about my status of my 485.They said its PreAdjucated waiting for Visa number.But they mentioned I have 2 I-140s in my file 1.EB3 PD,2002 2.EB2 PD,2005. They said which date first current then that 140 will use. I am not sure about EB3 140( i don't have any info about this 140).B'cos i filed my 485 with Eb2 140.My case is Ac-21 .So i wasn't with both employers now. Is that above statement correct? Do i need to do anything now or just stay calm until either of EB category comes current? Please advice.

Answer:

I would probably do nothing. Under current USCIS procedures, they scan an applicant for all existing I-140 approvals. You are then automatically assigned the earliest PD you are entitled to.

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My mother got her green card

Detailed question:

My mother got her green card in dec08. She left for Asia in March08 and plans to return in Nov08. Since it will be 8 months that she will be out of USA, does she need re-entry permit?

Answer:

There is some error in your facts. It appears she left in March 2009 (NOT 2008). You cannot file a reentry permit while she is outside USA. If she is outside USA for more than one year, the GC is deemed abandoned. If it is out more than 6 months, but less than 1 year, she can be asked to demonstrate that her permanent home is in USA.

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Green card

Detailed question:

My green card got expired in nov 2007, I filled by mistake I-90, when I went for my biometrics, they saw that I filled the wrong application, I have to fill I 751, then I filled I 751, My rec number is EAC*********. I recently went through my biometrics again, in April 2009, but still, I do not have any proper response,when do you think i will get my GC?

Answer:

In my view, failing to file an I-751 in a timely manner could cause serious problems. I think you should consult with a lawyer locally where you are.

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Prevailing Wage - H-1 and GC

Detailed question:

When is the employer bound to pay the prevailing wages as determined for an LCA and if the applicant is already working in the sponsored position. I have an H1B which was renewed recently, but my LCA was filed in March of 2008. Hence there were three wage determinations that were done for me - First one at the time of the initial H1B filing, second one at the time of the Labor for PERM and third one for the renewal. So at what dates does the prevailing wage come into effect as they happen to be different every time.

Answer:

The employer is obliged to pay you the H-1 renewal wage now and the PERM wage after you get the GC approval.

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DWI and Naturalization

Detailed question:

I was stopped by a police once and received a traffic ticket.I paid the ticket in time but I was not aware that my license was suspended,since the suspension notice was sent to my old address which was never frwded back to me.I was stopped again few months later by police officer and he told me my license was suspended.I appeared in the court.I pleaded guilty,since I was driving w/out insurance.They dropped the "driving without a valid license" charge and fined me $100 for driving without insurance.BMV then suspended my license for 2nd time for 1 yr.Is this a problem filing N-40?

Answer:

USCIS can question anything that has bearing upon good moral character.

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Sponsoring Niece and Nephew

Detailed question:

I am a US citizen. Can I sponsor my niece who is 8 years old and nephew who is 4?

Answer:

It depends upon how we define the term "sponsor." If you mean can you apply for their green cards, the answer is no. If you mean can you provide an affidavit of support for them to visit or study in USA, the answer is yes.

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Green Card holder parents bringing to US a child born outside USA

Detailed question:

If the Child is born in India and we have the GC by that time, is there any way the child can travel to US?

Answer:

Your child may accompany you or travel with you to the U.S if the following conditions are met:
a) the child has a separate passport;
b) has a birth certificate from the corporation, municipality or a registrar of births and deaths (please note hospital records are not adequate)
c) the child accompanies the immigrant mother or father upon her or his return to the U.S following the birth of the child
d) the child is under the age of two years
e) the immigrant mother or father has a valid Form I-551 or I-151, alien registration receipt card (in short called green card), or Form I-327 (permit to re-enter the U.S.) valid for two years from the date of issue.
If the above are satisfied then the child may accompany you into U.S without a visa.
Following admission to U.S contact the nearest CIS office to regularize the stay of the child in U.S.

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I-485 AOS Pending, Employer's Bankruptcy

Detailed question:

My company (an LLC) is filing Chapter 11 Bankruptcy to restructure debt. They are planning to emerge out of Bankruptcy filing as a "C corp" company. We were told that there wont be any interruption to the day-to-day business. 1. How does it effect my H1B visa and GC application (filed I-485 - pending)? 2. Do I need to re-apply (transfer) H1 B to the new company or can I send an amendment? 3. Do I need to file AC 21 portability or send an amendment to pending I-485 application?

Answer:

1. If your job remains the same and regular salary continues to be paid I see no issue for H-1 or green card.

2. An amendment should be filed, though it is debatable if it is required.

3. In my view, AC21 port is easier.

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Obtaining H-1 Extension beyond 6 years

Detailed question:

My 6 year period of H1b visa expires in Dec 2010 and my labor application is still pending for approval. It was filed in February 2009. Am I eligible to apply for a visa extension , if so when should I apply for that? I assume I still have time.

Answer:

H-1 extension beyond six years can be obtained under two circumstances:

First, indefinite H-1 extensions in one-year increments can be obtained, if the I-140 (or I-485) was filed and the green card process was started a year ago. The GC process is started for:

- Labor Certification based cases (including PERM) the date for the begining of the countdown is the date when the labor certification is officially received:
- for PRE PERM cases - by the local office (SWA); and
- for PERM cases - the date it is received by the DOL; and

-EB-1 and National Interest Waiver cases; when the I-140 is officially filed with CIS.

Second, if your I-140 has been approved but you cannot file I-485 because your priority date has retrogressed, you can get H-1 extensions (most probably) in chunks of three years each time.

You are permitted to apply for an extension 6 months ahead of time, as long a you meet one of the above two criteria on the requested start date of H-1.

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Important questions on H-1, AP and Travel

Detailed question:

1. I am on H1B. It is valid until 2010. Since I am hearing that there are many queries on the port of entry, do ou think I should travel back to the country with valid AP or H1? Which one is more preferable? 2. Considering I have valid H1B until 2010 and valid AP (though I don't have AP at the moment). I plan to stay on H1 as long as I am waiting for my greencard. But for travel purposes I use AP. Does coming back into the country using AP will change my status from H1 to EAD? 3. How long is AP processing taking these days? 4. All my co-workers are getting huge queries on H1 extension or H1 transfer. Is AP processing also getting queries? Should I even start AP processing? 5. Please list out all the documents that I should carry while traveling?

Answer:

1. I think I prefer AP. Read the Cronin memo and you will understand that even if you enter using AP, you will be considered to be on valid H-1 as long as you were maintaining H-1 status before you left. Search the word "Cronin" on my blog .

2. No. See answer above.

3. It is impossible to predict times. Plan for a six-month turnaround.

4. Do not be scared of queries. We are yet to lose an H-1 case. I am not aware of any queries on AP.

5. Advance Parole and Passport.

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Working abroad while AOS pending

Detailed 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.

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Working for two companies on EAD

Detailed 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.

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May B-1/B-2, E-1, E-2, F-1, H-1, J-1, L-1 O-1 visa or TN holder apply for green card?

Detailed question:

May B-1/B-2, E-1, E-2, F-1, H-1, J-1, L-1 O-1 visa or TN holder apply for green card?

Answer:

One of the questions I am asked quite frequently is whether or not an E-1/E-2 visa holder can apply for a green card and not jeopardize his or her E status. The answer is PROBABLY yes he can.

In the E visa context, this is what the govt says:

Quote:
9 FAM 41.51 N15 INTENT TO DEPART UPON TERMINATION OF STATUS
(TL:VISA-404; 04-29-2002)
An applicant for an E visa need not establish intent to proceed to the United States for a specific temporary period of time. Nor does an applicant for an E visa need to have a residence in a foreign country which the applicant does not intend to abandon. The alien may sell his or her residence and move all household effects to the U.S. The alien's expression of an unequivocal intent to return when the E status ends is normally sufficient, in the absence of specific indications of evidence that the alien's intent is to the contrary. If there are such objective indications, inquiry is justified to assess the applicant's true intent. As discussed in 9 FAM 41.54 N4, an applicant might be a beneficiary of an immigrant visa petition filed on his or her behalf. However, the alien might satisfy the consular officer that his and/or her intent is to depart the United States upon termination of status, and not stay in the United States to adjust status or otherwise remain in the United States regardless of legality of status.
So, are they saying they will apply the same standards as given in the note below? I THINK that is what they are saying, but this is not clear.

Quote:
9 FAM 41.54 N4 ISSUE OF TEMPORARINESS OF STAY

(CT:VISA-803; 04-27-2006)

L aliens are specifically excluded from the intending immigrant presumption of section 214(b) of the INA and are, furthermore, not required to have a residence abroad which they have no intention of abandoning. In addition, INA 214(h) provides the fact that an alien has sought permanent residence in the United States does not preclude him or her from obtaining an L nonimmigrant visa (NIV) or otherwise obtaining or maintaining that status. The alien may legitimately come to the United States as a nonimmigrant under the L classification and depart voluntarily at the end of his or her authorized stay, and, at the same time, lawfully seek to become a permanent resident of the United States. Consequently, the consular officer's evaluation of an applicant's eligibility for an L visa shall not focus on the issue of temporariness of stay or immigrant intent.
There exists in law something called the "doctrine of dual intent." This doctrine permits nonimmigrants to have immigrant intent. In other words, even though, you are coming to USA on a visa that is temporary, you may pursue your green card (exhibiting intent to live in USA permanently).

By law, L-1 and H-1 holders are PERMITTED by the doctrine of dual intent to have their green cards pending. This is beyond question. That your green card application is pending can never be a ground for denial of your H or L visa application (includes H-4 and L-2).

As I have noted above, E-1, E-2 visas have an unclear situation. It appears the consulates WILL permit them dual intent, but may not(???). They do NOT have the same level of protection as H and L visas but usually consulates will permit dual intent.

The following visa types have no such protection and their vise or entry into USA can be denied if they have a green card application application in process: B-1, B-2, F-1/F-2, J-1, J-2.

O-1 is allowed to have an immigrant intent (by regulations - though not by statute).
Pursuant to 8 CFR Section 214.2(O)(13)
(13) Effect of approval of a permanent labor certification or filing of a preference petition on O classification. The approval of a permanent labor certification or the filing of a preference petition for an alien shall not be a basis for denying an O-1 petition, a request to extend such a petition, or the alien's application for admission, change of status, or extension of stay. The alien may legitimately come to the United States for a temporary period as an O-1 nonimmigrant and depart voluntarily at the end of his or her authorized stay and, at the same time, lawfully seek to become a permanent resident of the United States.

TN is also not allowed dual intent, but are often not questioned on their green card pendency.

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Applying for green card while on a B-1 or B-2 visa

Detailed question:

1) I am a US Citizen. My parents (or spouse/spouse-to-be) are in USA on visitors visa. Can I apply for their green card? How does it all work? 2) My parents' I-130 application is currently pending. They are currently living in their home country, India. Can they visit me during the pendency of the green card application? 3) Is it better to apply for adjustment of status or consular processing for the last step of their green card? 4) Updated FAQ - My parent came to US with B1 visa and they are still here. But the visa were expired several years ago. Now I am a citizen, I wonder if I can still apply for green card for them. Could I apply by myself or need to consult with a lawyer?

Answer:

A1. There is nothing that stops you from applying for their green card. Note also that the same answer applies to children and spouse of a US citizens. But it does NOT apply to brothers/sisters.

There is just one issue. It is INAPPROPRIATE (may be even illegal) for a person to enter USA on a tourist or other similar visa if they have the intent to apply for a green card. BUT, if they enter USA without that intent, and after a few days of entry change their mind, that is perfectly appropriate and legal.

The tricky thing is, intent being a state of mind, can only be inferred from circumstances. If intent ever became an issue, INS may look at how soon after entering a green card was applied. Obviously, the more time has elapsed, the better the case is.

Once the I-130/I-485/I-131/I-765 package is properly filed with INS, your relatives can stay in USA without extending their status. Also, once Form I-131 (Advance Parole) is approved, they are free to leave USA and come back during the pendency of their application. Approximate processing times for these petitions are available on our web site at: http://www.immigration.com/node/1412/

A2. Maybe. If they already have a visitors visa stamp on their passport, they should be able to visit. Chances of INS (CBP) sending them back from the airport are probably small. But if they will be applying for a tourist visa (also known as visitors visa) now, they may be refused the visa by the US consulate because they have exhibited immigrant intent. In that case they will have to wait until they receive their green card approval.

A3. In terms of legal effect - they are both the same.

Consular processing is faster (as of May 2002 taking about 3-5 months to completion).

For persons outside USA, consular processing is the only option. Once the I-485/I-131/I-765 package is properly filed with INS, your relatives can stay in USA without extending their status. Also, once Form I-131 (Advance Parole) is approved, they are free to leave USA and come back during the pendency of their application. Approximate processing times for these petitions are available on our web site. See link in the question above.

A4. As I understand the law, they should be able to get their green card. You should talk with a lawyer.

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AC21 - accepting a green card

Detailed question:

1) After getting the GC through a sponsoring employer, is there any procedure to indicate that the future job is accepted by the employee. I mean switching from H1B to GC status is just based on letting the employer know about the status or is there any paperwork needed to be sent to USCIS? 2) Also, based on getting a green card, is there a stringent requirement of payroll checks? This is based on the fact that H1B employees have to maintain the payroll constantly (based on my knowledge). I am asking this in case I want to take a vacation for some time in case I get my GC? 3) After joining the sponsoring employer, if on GC, more opportunities come by, is it allright to consider those opportunities? What is the timeframe for USCIS to consider that the employee did have the right intent to join the sponsoring employer?

Answer:

A1) There is no formal procedure other than joining, preparing a Form I-9, being on the payroll and actually working.

A2) You can behave like you would in any other permanent job - take vacations, etc.

A3) That question has been answered on my blog. See http://forums.immigration.com/blog.php?b=36

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Leave of absence - I-485 pending

Detailed 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.

 

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RFE after the I-140 was approved

Detailed question:

1. One of my friend had his 140 approved in 2005. He has his 485 pending since 2005. now he got RFE which essentialy says that 140 was approved in error and asks for ability pay prooof. Can USCIS go back and raise RFE's in this manner? 2. If yes then would he have been better if he had changed the job using AC21 ? My impression was that Once one is eligible for ac21( 180 days past 485) , RFE's related to old employer should not come. seeing this , using AC21 seems very risky. what happens if someone changes job and then USCIS says that 140 approved was in error , and asks for bunch of proof from the old company. what is your take?

Answer:

1. There is some legal argument for saying no, but in my opinion, USCIS can do this. In fact, I think there is a 9th circuit case from last week that says they can.

2. My take is AC21 would be a better idea, although, not fool proof.

I detest this current trend of USCIS of over-scrutinizing every case and making impossible demands while operating in an environment of regulation by memorandum. I could share some horror stories with you.

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Marriage to US Citizen with EB AOS is pending

Detailed 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.

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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.

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Should you be applying for employment-based green card in this economy?

Detailed question:

Should you be applying for employment-based green card in this economy?

Answer:

A lot of employers have been asking this question in the last few months. Is it even possible to get a labor certification with the US unemployment at a 26-year high.

The answer is yes, if the job requires skills that are not available in the market. For instance, physicians and health care workers in certain areas, IT professionals with specialized skills such as warehousing, BI, LAMP and other open source products, advanced ERP packages (like Peoplesoft, Oracle Apps, SAP, Documentum), Pharmacists, CPA's... there are so many professions and skills still in demand. This list is by no means exhaustive.

The way I look at it, at least you should try. If you fail, at the most you have lost money and can try again in a few months. Job markets can change very rapidly.

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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.

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Following to join

Detailed 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.

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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.

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Can H-1 be extended based upon family-based green card?

Detailed question:

I am on H1B. If applied for GC through Family Based 4 category (brother/sister) can I apply for extension of my stay after my 6 yrs H1 period once the I-130 approved? Or this extension request is applicable only on Employment Based processing after Labor clearance?

Answer:

You cannot. This extension is available only to employment-based applicants.

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I-485: pre-adjudication and employment verification letter

Detailed 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 presence

Detailed 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
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.

Unlawful Presence
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.

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I-485 interview-- does arrest create a problem

Detailed 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.

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H-1 Extension based upon spouse's 140; Child born in USA

Detailed 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.

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H-1 without specific job/GC continuation without H-1

Detailed question:

Answer:


1. I don't have a work order or client letter to support my H1B extension which is expiring on 2nd June. Is it legally not allowed to file for H1B extension without this or to avoid RFE one need to support extension with this.

Ans. USCIS has criminalized civil conduct. To my amazement, I saw a criminal indictment count against an employer (Vision Systems - recently in the news) alleging that to obtain H-1 without a specific job in hand is a crime. I think this is ludicrous overreaching and misuse of law. Nevertheless, it is not a good idea to file an H-1 unless there is a specific job in hand.

2. My labor and I-140 is approved but if H1B extension is denied then I have to go back to Inida. Can GC processing be continued? If yes, In order to maintain my GC processing how quickly do I need to come back to US? What other options do I have in this scenario?

Ans. The green card can go on in your absence, but I am concerned that USCIS may consider that since there is no permanent job available, the green card should be canceled. To the best of my knowledge, they have never done it so far and may not do it, but the risk remains. Not much I can say other than if you dont have a choice then you have to leave and we will deal with other issues when (or if) they arise.

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USCIS Finally correct 140 Premium Policy

Detailed question:

Answer:

Back in June 2008, we, on behalf of clients and community, had sent a letter to USCIS pointing out their defective policy. After 8 months, they have finally (partly) corrected the problem. Read the letter and the details here:
http://forums.immigration.com/blog.php?b=15

The second memo from USCIS is attached.

 

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Watch out - the prioirty date cut off in March was effective immediately

Detailed question:

Answer:

The April 2009 Visa Bulletin was issued on March 9th. The VB said the visa numbers for EB3 were unavailable with immediate effect (Philippines retrogressed to 2003).

This is highly unusual. The visa bulletin is a forecast for the month ahead and does not take effect immediately. But State Department says that this one was of immediate effect.

What does this mean?

1. For people going through consular processing (instead of AOS), consulates with be able to issue immigrant visas only in rare instances where visa numbers were obtained before March 9.

2. Similarly, USCIS will not approve any adjustments unless the visa numbers had already had been obtained.

3. Cases filed after March 9th subject to "immediate effect" will most likely be rejected.

4. We do not yet know if USCIS will eject I-485's filed during March based on the March Visa Bulletin issued February 10, 2009, but it seems unlikely that they will.

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Criteria for Outstanding Researcher/Professor Category

Detailed question:

Answer:

Preliminary requirement: The applicants must be able to document at least three years of experience in teaching and/or research in the specified academic field and that they are "recognized internationally."

Generally speaking, experience in teaching or research while working on an advanced degree will not satisfy the three year requirement.
We can seek an exception if the applicant has acquired the degree, and if the teaching duties included full responsibilities for the courses taught or if the research conducted toward the degree has been recognized within the academic field as outstanding. 8 CFR
204.5(I)(3)(ii).

8 CFR 204.5(I)(3)(I) requires that the applicant must demonstrate that they are recognized internationally in their academic
field by presenting evidence that meets at least two of the following six documentation categories:

1. Receipt of major prizes or awards for outstanding achievement in the academic field;
2. Membership in associations in the academic field for which the classification is sought which require outstanding achievement
of their members;
3. Published material in professional publications written by others about the alien's work in the academic field;
4. Evidence of the alien's participation, either individually or on a panel, as the judge of the work of others in the same or
an allied academic field;
5. Evidence of the individual's original scientific or scholarly research contributions to the academic field; and
6. Evidence of the alien's authorship of scholarly books or articles in scholarly journals with international circulation in the academic field.

Note that professors who qualify for this category through job offers for tenure-track positions will not lose their green card if they fail to reach tenure

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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.

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Watch out for this immigration fraud!!

Detailed question:

Answer:

I have received inquiries on this type of email floating around. This is fraudulent. US govt. does NOT issue green cards based upon random email lottery. Please circulate this to all concerned.

--------------------------email---------------

U.S. Department of State

Bureau of Consular Affairs, National Visa Center

32 Rochester Ave. Portsmouth NH 03801-2909

Attention: Winner.

I have received inquiries on this type of email floating around. This is fraudulent. US govt. does NOT issue green cards based upon random email lottery. Please circulate this to all concerned.

--------------------------email---------------

U.S. Department of State

Bureau of Consular Affairs, National Visa Center

32 Rochester Ave. Portsmouth NH 03801-2909

Attention: Winner.
Congratulations! You are among the lucky selected winners of the U.S Green Card lottery program which was conducted under the terms of Section 203 of the Immigration and Nationality-Act (INA) Section 131 of the Immigration Act of 2006 (Pub.L.101-649)

5.3 million email addresses were randomly extracted during the 66-days extraction period. The email addresses were assigned to different-ticket numbers for representation for final selection, and your email address attached to N0-#76403 was selected among the winners of the Green-Card.

Notification is through the selected email addresses electronically undisclosed. Approximately 685 winners have been notified through their email addresses including you today (28-03-2009)

Please read and follow all the enclosed instructions very carefully.

The filing of an immigrant visa petition is the initial step required to receive the "green card" You will have to obtain your immigrant-visa through the U.S Embassy in your home country or your nearest U.S. Embassy.

The visas have been apportioned among the six geographic regions and our representatives are stationed in all the regions. Your visa type permits you to travel to the U.S. with your family members.

Your Green-Card winning detail falls within the Asia-Pacific region as indicated and we have forwarded your winning details to our Asia-Pacific office to which your case has been assigned for the processing of your application documents for the issuance of your visa.

Therefore, for your Green Card and Immigrant Visa Issuance Application-Forms and Requirements, contact our Asia-pacific office with the below contact details:

Contact Person: Mr. Mark Howard.

Address: Diethelm Towers Building 2nd Floor, 28 North Wireless Road Bangkok, Thailand.

Tel: 66-835 619 209 66-843 578 622

Fax: 66-2251 9977

Email: ugcls<@>America.Hm

If it should be necessary to contact our Asia-Pacific office by telephone, you must always refer to your Case Number as they appear below. Your Case Number is clearly written at the lower left hand corner of your notification letter.

Please complete and return Green-Card application form for yourself and all accompanying family members. Complete G-845S form with your Case Number.

Prior to the submission of the completed forms, please note the followings:

All forms and correspondences should be directed to our Asia-Pacific office where your case

has been assigned and it is important that you complete and return the forms listed above as quickly as possible to enhance your chances of early visa issuance.

Selected winners and accompanying family members who do not receive visas before the (30th of April 2-009) will derive no further benefit from their Green Card winning status. Selected winners living legally in the United States who wish to pursue their Green-Card status should contact any of our regional offices where their winning details falls for information's on the requirements and procedures.

All the selected winners should be prepared to pay the processing fee for the processing of their Actual and Approved Green Card documents for the issuance of their visas.
Application processing fee (for one person), US$970.00

Family: US$1,490.00
Application documents processed by United States officers abroad require a visa "application" (machine-readable visa - MRV) fee that recovers for the United States the costs associated with manufacturing, processing and printing the documents.

Your documents will be post to you once the processing is completed and will be forwarded to the U.S. Embassy in your home country for registration of your Green Card status for the issuance of your visa.

You will be notified of your visa interview appointment and should go to the Embassy on your appointment date with your application documents and visa interview appointment letter for the issuance of your visa.

Case Number: WAC4044844157

Preferences-Categories: DV DIVERSITY

Foreign-State-chargeability: Asia-Pacific

For more information about the program, click here- Visa Lottery
Sincerely yours,

Mrs. Roselyn Hodson.

Secretary General, Kentucky-Consular-Center (KCC)

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Multiple I-140 filings

Detailed question:

Our community member spring09 says: Hi Rajiv, Thanks in advance. I have an question and keeping me up during nights. I am working on H1 with comp A, who has filed for my I-140 in Feb-08. And I also have an Approved I-140 ( Jul'07), have filed for I-485 and also have EAD from company B. I have never used my EAD from comp B, nor have I worked for comp B. Could there be any issues, which I should be prepared for? As I know it is legal to file for more than one I-140. Thanks again.

Answer:

As to possible issues, I can probably write a book. Generally speaking, you can have as many I-140's as you like as long each is motivated by a genuine desire to accept a job before or upon approval of the green card. As to your specific situation, consult your lawyers if they feel there is any problem. I hope this helps you sleep better.

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GC future job; H-1 ext. revocation upon 140 denial, etc

Detailed 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 2009

Detailed 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?

Ans. Yes.

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.

Quote: Rajivji,

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.

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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.

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H-1 and EAD

Detailed 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.

Further Questions 

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. 

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I-485 Priority Dates and Processing Dates

Detailed 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.

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DOL gives PERM processing dates

Detailed question:

Answer:

For recent updates on PERM processing please click here.


http://www.immigration.com/processing-times-and-status-checks

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GC approved. When should I start working on the green card job?

Detailed question:

Now that I received my GC through employment, does my employer need to change my position to the one filed in the Labor Certification?

Answer:

Yes, now that the GC is approved, your employer should "permanently" give you the job described (including the title, salary and job duties) in the Labor Certification. This change should take place within a "reasonable time" after the GC approval.

Keep in mind, "permanent" does not mean forever. This term describes a job that has no pre-decided termination date. We see no violation of the law, If the employer, due to economic or other circumstances, can no longer support the job after having offered it to you in good faith.

As to what is a "reasonable time," we would have to look at the circumstances of each case.

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GC Compliance for Employers

Detailed 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.

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Renewing Expired GC and Citizenship for autistic/disabled persons

Detailed question:

One of our clients (I think I have worked with these folks for over a decade) had these questions:

Answer:

Quote:  A member of our family was issued a Green Card in November 1980. The green card did not have any renewal date (see enclosed). I assume Green Cards at that time did not have a renewal date. Does this need to be renewed?

Ans: Replace the green card. See:
http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-90instr.pdf

Quote: The child is an autistic and her parents have not applied for a US citizenship for her. Can she apply for citizenship? Passing a citizenship exam might be a challenge for her though.

Ans: The law on disability is:

Disability — If you have a physical or developmental disability or a mental impairment so severe that it prevents you from acquiring or demonstrating the required knowledge of English and civics, you may be eligible for an exception to these requirements. To request an exception, you must file a “Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions” (Form N-648). If you believe you qualify, contact a licensed medical or osteopathic doctor or licensed clinical psychologist who will need to complete and sign your Form N-648. To apply for a disability exception, your disability:
• Must be at least 1 year old (or be expected to last 1 year); and
• Must not have been caused by illegal drug use.
If you qualify for this exception, an interpreter, who is proficient in English and the language of your choice, must accompany you to the interview

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Starting business while in AOS/I-485/H-1/H-4

Detailed 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.

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Pointers for EB1/NIW filings

Detailed question:

Answer:

The following pointers have emerged from recent cases and comments from USCIS:

1. Make sure you document the citation records (to show how many hits the journal gets), impact factor and circulation figures of the journals in which your publications appear.

2. (This we already knew) Recommendations from people who know you personally carry less weight than from those who know you by reputation.

3. Emphasize/document the "international" nature of your accomplishments.

Note: These comments have no application to physicians filing NIW through under served areas.

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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.

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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.

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How does the Stimulus Bill affect H-1b, L-1 and Green Cards

Detailed question:

What does the stimulus Bill (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) say about H-1 hiring and about green cards?

Answer:

There is a lot of confusion out there as is obvious from a gazillion emails I have received. So, I braved the lion’s den and tried to figure out this thing. Here is how I see it.

1. If an employer receives TARP funding they can hire NEW H-1B workers only if they comply with certain requirements. Note that existing H-1 workers are not affected. Note also that there is no effect on existing or future green card applications of such employers.

2. These requirements are already in place for employers whose workforce contains a substantial number of H-1 workers. These employers are referred to as H-1B DEPENDENT employers.

3. The additional requirements that TARP accepting companies have to follow are:
a. They must not displace U.S. workers in similar positions nor may they place H-1B employees at places where such displacement has or will occur (I can give more details to those who wish to know more. Feel free to send me an email through the contact form on http://www.Immigration.Com).
b. They must have made good faith efforts to recruit US workers (there is a whole bunch of regulations on how we are supposed to do this. Again, feel free to send me an email through the contact form on http://www.Immigration.Com)
c. TARP employers are bound by these requirements even if they hire exempt workers. An exempt worker is one who makes at least $60,000/year OR possesses a Master’s or higher degree in his/her filed. Normally the additional requirements of non-displacement and good faith recruitment do NOT apply with respect to exempt H-1B workers. Nevertheless, the Bill says, this exemption is not available for TARP recipients.
4. This restriction on hiring H-1B workers will stay in effect for two years after the President signs the Bill.
5. There appears to be no change regarding L-1 provisions.

For those, who would like to read more on the laws, read section 1611 of referred to as “Employ American Workers Act.” This section refers to 8 USC 1182(n)(3). The full text of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 which I referred to is at http://www.house.gov/billtext/hr1_legtext_cr.pdf

Regards to all. Rajiv.

6 March 2009

CIS has clarified that extensions of existing H-1 are not restricted by the new laws. 

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Adoption from India

Detailed question:

Answer:

I am sharing with you a response to a frequently asked question about adopting a child from India. Our inquirer also wanted to know if she could adopt her niece. Here is the info:

Adoptions of children from India to the US are covered under the Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoption. Adoptions of relatives are permitted under the Hague Convention so long as the adoption proceeds in the same manner as other Convention adoptions. Significantly, the relative child must still meet the definition of a "Convention Adoptee". Please see the following US State Dept. Website for more details: http://adoption.state.gov/about/who/relatives.html. In addition to other applicable requirements, all of the following Hague requirements must be true for a child to be eligible for the "Convention Adoptee" classification:

1. The child is under the age of 16 at the time the I-800 petition is filed (with the USCIS) on his or her behalf, is unmarried, and lives in a Convention country (India is a Convention Country); But note, unless there are exceptional circumstances, India only permits relative adoptions for children under the age of six. This may be problematic for you and should be clearly discussed with your State Dept Approved Agency before proceeding.

2. The child will be adopted by a married U.S. citizen and spouse jointly, or by an unmarried U.S. citizen at least 25 years of age, habitually resident in the United States, whom USCIS has found suitable and eligible to adopt (Form I-800A approval) with the intent of creating a legal parent-child relationship. Note that at this stage the child must not have been adopted yet. However, India makes the following additional requirements: Prospective adoptive parents can’t be less than 30 or more than 55 years of age. Married couples must have a combined age of 90 or less. Prospective adoptive parents should be at least 21 years older than the child. Single parents up to the age of 45 can adopt.

3. The child's birth parents (or parent if the child has a sole or surviving parent), or other legal custodian, individuals, or entities whose consent is necessary for adoption, freely gave their written irrevocable consent to the termination of their legal relationship with the child and to the child's immigration and adoption;

4. If the child has two living birth-parents who were the last legal custodian who signed the irrevocable consent to adoption, they are determined to be incapable of providing proper care for the child; and

5. The child has been adopted or will be adopted in the United States or in the Convention country in accordance with the rules and procedures elaborated in the Hague Adoption Convention and the IAA, including that proper accredited adoption service providers were used where required, and there is no indication of improper inducement, fraud, misrepresentation, or prohibited contact associated with the case.

Please note for adopting a relative, item #3 is critical. However, even if the surviving parent provides the written consent of relinquishment, the Indian Government has the right to deny this case based on the sole parent's income, occupation, and reasons for relinquishment. Please see the following Indian Government site which provides guidelines for adoptions of relatives abroad:
http://www.adoptionindia.nic.in/guidelinefamily.htm. If the surviving parent's income, occupation or reason for relinquishment bar classifying the child as a Convention Adoptee, then there is one more possibility. If the child has resided with the United States citizen in legal custody for at least two years, then the U.S. citizen may also file an immigrant visa petition for the child.

If you choose to proceed with the adoption, our firm would work on the immigration petitions (I-800, I-800a) and the State Dept approved agency would be in contact with the Indian Government to arrange for adoption (or legal guardianship) in India of your niece as required by the Hague Convention.

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CIS Reinstates Limited I-140 Premium Processing

Detailed question:

Answer:

The news item and related documents are available here:
http://www.immigration.com/newslette...prmprocss.html

Please note, for now (June 2008), premium processing is only available if you meet ALL of the current requirements:
1. Your are currently on H-1;
2. Your H-1 status is expiring within 60 days when you apply for I-140 premium processing; and

The news item and related documents are available here:
http://www.immigration.com/newslette...prmprocss.html

Please note, for now (June 2008), premium processing is only available if you meet ALL of the current requirements:
1. Your are currently on H-1;
2. Your H-1 status is expiring within 60 days when you apply for I-140 premium processing; and
3. You are not eligible to receive 1-year H-1 extensions because your labor certification was filed less than one year ago.

FAQ

Question 1
Can we file I-140 PP if:
A) The applicant is in 7th, 8th or 9th year extension? If yes, do we have to wait until 60 days before the current year expires or can we file at any time?
Answer No. Because you fail the 3rd condition. You ARE entitled to receive one-year extensions of H-1.

B) The 6th year has already expired because there was no way to extend H1 at that time and the I-140/I-485 are currently pending? Applicant is on I-485 Pending status.
Answer We are sending a letter to CIS asking clarification. In my view, this PP should be allowed.

C) If the 6th year already expired and the applicant transferred to another non-immigrant status (for example, F-1) because could not extend H1?
Answer We are sending a letter to CIS asking clarification. In my view, this PP should be allowed.

See attached copy of the letter sent to CIS.

Addendum 02/27/09
In February 2009, CIS expanded the premium processing to include those people who are not in H-1 status currently or are out of the US. Rest of the requirements are the same. Typical of their style, the public notice was confusing and singularly useless in providing accurate guidance. Note that we had pointed out this problem to USCIS back in June 2008. See attached letter. It took them only 8 months to (partly) fix it.
 

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Can F/J holders apply for green card?

Detailed question:

I am on F-1/J-1 visa (student visa). Can I apply for green card (Permanent Residency)?

Answer:

There is no law that prohibits an F-1, J-1, F-2, or J-2 visa holder from applying for a green card directly. But as a practical matter it takes a long time to obtain a green card in most cases. Therefore, even if you begin your green card process while you are on F or J status you will probably be required to convert to H-1 due to lack of time. Conversion to H-1 during green card pendency is no problem.

One more issue that you have to bear in mind is that F and J visas do not allow you to possess immigrant intent. Therefore, if you travel abroad during the pendency of the green card or if you need to obtain F or J visa stamped, you could have trouble because filing for green card you would have established immigrant intent.

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Turning 21 - do I have to convert to F-1 from H-4?

Detailed question:

My father is on an H1 b visa and his employer has filled for his green card Me and my Family are on H 4 but i am about to be 21 and thus my h4 visa cannot be renewed.I-140 of all the members of the family has been cleared but we cannot yet file I 485 as the priority date is not near. Do I have to convert my visa status into F 1 so that i can live and study here? Is there anyway that i can file for my green card as when i filled my papers i was not 21 and it is because the file is pending i cant put forth my 485 papers. Is there any chance that under special cases like mine we can get my papers filled as I am about to transfer to a University and it is very hard for me to afford to pay the fees as an International student when my papers are so close to green card.

Answer:

 I do not see any way around filing an F-1.

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Checked the wrong box on Form I-90

Detailed question:

Form I-90 Green Card was lost. Instead of checking Part 2, 2a, I checked Part 2, 2f. Submitted online and paid with credit card. The instructions state the following: "If it is necessary t o change any information on your submitted I-90 application, please bring evidence to support the change with you to your biometrics appointment. DO NOT send written correspondence regarding changes to the address below." At the biometrics appointment, can the interested party state the above mistake and solve this situation? Or will the USCIS denie the application? And another filing fee will have to be paid?

Answer:

You should certainly point this out at the biometrics appt. You should also call the CIS customer service number and explain the problem. In addition, you should contact your Congressman. Let them contact CIS and help you correct this issue.

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What happens when an employer is under criminal investigation/indictment?

Detailed question:

What if an employer is indicted on multiple counts and he is cleared of all other charges but he pleads to a conspiracy charge with home detention for a few months as his punishment. How does this effect pending cases at his business?

Answer:

That depends upon whether or not the conspiracy was in fact in relation to the pending cases. For example, if the fraud/conspiracy involved non-payment of H-1 employees, that should have no affect on pending green card cases. 

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Green Cards for Physical Therapists

Detailed question:

I am a licenced physical therapist in Michigan and working on my OPT. Is it true that PTs and nurses are exempted from the labor certification during green card process? and they do not need to file labor certification? And considering the current scenario, can you please let me know approximately how much time does it take for a physical therapist to get a green card?

Answer:

 PT's and RN's are both exempt from filing labor cert, but the time for their green card processing is still tied to the time it takes for people from the country of their birth. An India-born PT will wait the same time in EB-3 category as any other India-born EB-3 applicant.

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May physicians process GC during residency?

Detailed question:

Is it possible to start GC process during my first year medical residency if my hospital agrees. Have you dealt with cases like this.

Answer:

The essence of a green card application is that it is meant to be for a job in the future. 

Thus, where an employee is currently working or working before obtaining a green card
approval is largely irrelevant.

You must, however, be fully qualified to take the job on the date the PERM application is filed. So, if the State in which you are filing your GC, permits you to get a license to practice in 2nd year of residency, you can file only in the second year.

The process is also governed by good faith. You must have a good faith intention of joining the employer and the employer must have the intention of hiring you. Do you actually have to join the employer? Well, probably not. Look at the law on AC21.

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Is salary reduction possible/legal?

Detailed question:

Answer:

Quote:

1. If an employee is on a H1 they cannot have a 10% pay cut unless their H1 was amended and refiled.

Ans. Probably yes. That is the safest thing to do. The rule of thumb is, you can never pay an H-1 holder below the prevailing wage. You can also not pay them below what you pay other similarly employed professionals in the geographical location of the employment. So, if the 10% pay cut does not violate these two principles, the only other issue in immigration compliance is whether 10% cut in salary is a "substantial" change in the job. An H-1 amendment is always necessary when there is a substantial change. To be safe, I would recommend you amend.

Quote:

2. If an employee is on a GC processing (I140 or I485) they can have a reduction but need to be paid the amount equal to or greater that was listed on the GC petition on the day their GC is approved.

Ans. Basically, yes.

The main issue here is, if the salary being paid is below that expressed in the GC application, does the employer still have the ability to pay wages. This issue is usually not raised past the I-140 approval, but I see no law that says it cannot be raised after the I-140 approval. And in all cases before 140 approval, the salary shortfall must be balanced by showing an equal amount of taxable income or net current assets for each GC beneficiary (employee) still in the process.

For example, you have to give a pay reduction to an employee on H-1. Assuming you have not violated the H-1 requirements we have discussed above, you will need to show continued ability to pay the GC salary. Let us say the salary stated on the GC application in $80,000. The employee is now making $75,000 after the pay cut.

For GC, we will have to show $5,000 taxable income/current assets (or the proportion of salary that falls in that tax year). If there are 5 employees in the same situation, that amount would rise to $25,000.

Quote:

3. If an employee is on a GC processing and has a H1 they need to have their H1 revoked and work on their EAD for the #2 above to be accepted.

Ans. You can do that as long as that employee is getting paid the same as others.

Quote:

4. Benefits that were listed as a part of an employees immigration processing cannot be decreased.

Ans. There is no place where we commit to benefits or state them in the GC application as far as I know. The law does not require benefits.

 

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If I-140 gets revoked/denied does my H-1 extension get canceled?

Detailed question:

Answer:

Quote:

If we apply for a H1b extension for another year ( I believe we can apply 6 months before the expiry of the current 7th year H1b ) and if its approved, does that mean that I can still work till Nov 2010 even if the I -140 gets rejected before the extension comes into effect?

Ans. Yes. You are safe. Under current practice, CIS does not take away extensions already given.

Quote:

I really want to thank and appreciate the good work you and your team is doing.
I had a question regarding Status. I am currently working on H1(6th Year) with one company and have another company who has filled for my GC. The I-140 has been approved(Oct'07) and 485 was also filled in Oct'07.
My question is if my present employer lays me off and terminates my H1,
1. Can apply for H1B transfer to other company?
2. Will I be consider out of Status under any condition?
3. Will H1B cap apply to me as its going to be a new H1B as the previous company will cancel the H1b after Layoff.
4. Can you also tell me can I apply for the H1B from another company as a backup and join that company after layoff?

Ans. You should be able to apply for an H-1 through another company. You may have to apply for an H-1 visa to get back into H-1, but you will not be out of status because your 485 is pending. You will not be subject to the quota. Having an H-1 as a backup is legallly possible, but tricky. Make sure you discuss this with your H-1 lawyers.

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DOL Comments on PERM Processing Times

Detailed question:

Answer:

In a recent meeting, USDOL has stated:

Quote:

...As of late January 2009, DOL is processing cases with priority dates in June 2008, cases in the audit queue with priority dates in August 2007, and cases in the appeal queue of April 2007....

One of the reasons that case processing slowed in the 4th quarter of 2008 was that DOL was hiring and training contractor staff for the Atlanta National Processing Center. The contract was awarded last summer, a losing contractor appealed and won the appeal, then the initial contractor sued. The workers did not come on board until last September 2008. The Atlanta Processing Center has only 40 federal employees and the rest of the staff consists of contractors. With the contractors now in place, the pace of processing has picked up. Only 4,571 PERM applications were completed in October-December 2008 but 3,500 PERM applications were completed in January 2009. However, DOL expects this will level off and processing rates will slow down again because of the limited number of federal employees available to review the contractors’ work.

 

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Expected I-140 denial

Detailed question:

Thanks in advance for your help. My current situation is this : 1. Applied for I140 and received RFE 2. RFE requires Employer's 2007 tax document and my recent W2 3. There is a salary difference in W2 and Labor ( salary < Labor = 7000 USD) and the company was in loss for the fiscal year 2008. 4. This is my 6th year in H1 B and it expires in October,2009 My questions are: 1. Can I transfer my H1 B to another Employer at this situation and apply for my new Labor? 2. If Labor is approved, can I file my I140 premium and apply for 7th year extension? 3. How long will it take to cancel the current I140? Please help me out regarding this situation. Thanks and awaiting for your valuable suggestions.

Answer:

 You can get an H-1 extension when your I-140 or an appeal against the denial of an I-140 is pending. So you can have the employer file an appeal against the 140 denial and change employers. The appeal of employer A, will get you H-1 extensions for employer B. This could be easily good for 1-2 years of H-1 extensions. Start the green card again with B.

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Does filing for any green card permit me to stay in USA?

Detailed question:

I am here on L1b visa from x company. My sister sponsored me Immigration visa in 2006. (File is still in processing). My assignment is going to over here. Is there any work around or change of status through which i can stay here?

Answer:

So, the questions is does filing for any green card permit me to stay in USA?

The answer is no.

Only those green card application in which there is no wait for a visa number (example: spouse or parent of a US citizen or EB1 category currently) permit you to stay in USA but only if AOS (I-485) is filed in a timely manner.

That is the reason spouses of green card holders have to wait OUTSIDE USA for many, many years.

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What to do if an I-140 gets rejected?

Detailed question:

Have a situation. My company applied for Labor in oct 2007 which got approved and we filed I-140 (EB-2) in april 2008. We got a RFE in Sep 2008 and reply recieved by the USCIS on oct 16th 2008. Mean while my 7th year of H1b was approved and now it expires on Nov 2009. We have not received any updates on my case and its been >90 days. My current lawyer now says that I should apply for EB-2 NIW as a back up. My concerns are: 1. If my current I-140 gets rejected will my 7th year of H1b be revoked? since it was based on labor pending? 2. What will be my options if it gets denied( can I file for Motion to reconsider). Will I still be in Status and work till nov 2009? 3. Will they extend my H1b beyond nov 2009 if the MTR is not resolved by then? 4. If at all everything is rejected what can I do to start residency in july if I match? If all else fails what are my options to continue working in the US? My wife is on her independent H1B visa and I have 2 US citizen kids. I also have a US citizen brother( dont know if that would help any)

Answer:

Generally speaking, NIW is a lousy back up for a number of reasons. But I say this not knowing the merits of your situation, as your lawyer does.

But here are some things to consider.

Under current practice, CIS does NOT take away the H-1 time they have given you even if the 140 is denied.

An MTR is another dumb option in most cases. An appeal is the way to go. While the appeal is pending, you are permitted to keep getting H-1 extensions (an MTR does not give you that right). During that time you can work out other GC options. Consult with your lawyers and also get a second opinion.

The kids and your brother cannot do much. Your kids can petition for your green card only when they turn 21.

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Do advanced degrees help in marriage-based green card?

Detailed question:

I have recently gotten engaged to a green card holder. We are making plans for our wedding, very likely to happen this year. However, the following questions arose: 1. Does the fact that I already hold another Master and a Ph.D. degrees accelerate my green card application? I understand that the backlog is of 5-6 years, but I wonder if my advanced education will assist my application. 2. My H-1B application last year was approved, but I did not use the visa, as I decided to go back to school for (yet!) another degree. Will the approval of the H-1B be looked at favorably, unfavorably, or will it not make a difference? 3. I am currently an F-1 holder. If I marry my fiance' this year, may I simply maintain my Visa independent of his? I am eligible to an OPT after I graduate (to happen this year or in mid-2010) and I am certain I will be able to obtain an H-1B afterwards. Therefore, I do not depend on my fiance' to keep a legal status in the country. Is it legal (or advisable) to keep my Immigration records separate from his? 4. How about when we file for taxes, after the wedding happens? May we file separately, or do we need to declare we are married?

Answer:

 1. Advanced degrees do not help in a family-based green card.

2. H-1 approval also does not help in the GC process.

3. Check with your international students office about the OPT part. This one is difficult for me to comment upon.

4. Whether or not you declare, if you are married then that is so. You must state that you are married if any immigration forms ask you. This is VERY important. Regarding taxes, check with a CPA. You do not want tax advice from a guy who barely passed his Federal Tax exam in law school.

If I were you, I would depend on my H-1, not OPT. The H-1 permits dual intent (Nonimmigrant and Immigrant) and is likely to be a strong visa for a person married to a green card holder

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Consequences of DUI's on naturalization and green card

Detailed question:

Dear Mr.Khanna, I have reading all your post and found you quite informative. I will appreciate if you can let me know the possible consequences of my case. I was in restaurant in Gaithersburg MD on Jan 29 2008 with my boss who was visiting from Atlanta. I had a beer and 2 glasses of wine with dinner came out sat in the car and started backing up. As you know it was winter and had rained earlier the windscreen at the back got fogged out. While backing up I hit a car parked. Police was in that parking lot and arrested for drunk driving. I blew .09. I was given a bunch of tickets after being 30 minutes in the precinct and was released. In the court they dismissed 2 tickets like DUI and DUI par se and convicted me DWI and Failure to control Speed to Avoid Collision. BTW DWI in MD is a lesser offence when you blow less than the state .08 BAC typically .07. And Failure to control speed to avoid collision which is maximum fine $130.00.Now the Judge gave me Supervised Probation till I finish my MADD Class. After that the Probation goes to Unsupervised for 12 Months. Now I am elligible to file citizenship. I have finished 5 years of LPR time with minimal travel aborad. Now my questions are : 1.) Will I get deported or removed. 2.) Will I have problems while entering POE while travelling from overseas. 3.) Will my Citizenship be denied if I file after my probation gets over. Please share your knowledge It will immensly help my stress. This one mistake of my life has really taken a toll in my life. Your earliest reply will highly appreciated.

Answer:

Let us look at the law for green cards and removal (deportation) first.

Remember the following GENERAL elements of the law (there is more to it).

  1. Traffic violations that are not considered crimes under state law have no implications and create no problems for your green card.
  2. If you have only one conviction ever and it is a misdemeanor, you are AUTOMATICALLY protected by law and forgiven under a provision of law called "petty offense exception."
  3. If you have a conviction for a felony we have to look at the law very carefully, but not all felonies are necessarily a problem fro your green card

For naturalization, even too many traffic tickets can become an issue, if CIS wants to make it so. Generally speaking they look at only the last five years from your application for you history, but there is no law prohibiting them from going back further in time.

Any kind of crimes could become a problem for naturalization and you must get yourself a lawyer if you have a criminal history of any kind.

Both traffic tickets and crimes go to the issue of "good moral character," a prerequisite to naturalization. 

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Does lay-off affect natutralization?

Detailed question:

I obtained my green card 4 1/2 years ago through employment. My former employer sponsored me h-1 visa for 6 years and labor certificate and green card as well. Unfortunately, I was terminated by the employer last year, which ended my 10 years career at the company. After the termination, I then filed workers compensation claim for the injuries at work, and civil lawsuit for discrimations and under-paid wages through lawyers. The two cases are pending at courts. Now I have a part time job which is not related to the job that helped me get the green card. It is almost time for me to apply for citizenship. However I am worried about how much the two cases would affect the application. I will be asked in the citizenship interview why I left the green card sponsor, why you were terminated and so on, so forth. Please help advise if my worries are correct ? Is it better to apply for citizenship when the problems above are ended in courts ? Thank you very much for your help.

Answer:

 I see no reason to worry here. Neither the civil cases nor the fact that you have left and taken a PT job should have any bearing on your naturalization.

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Start-up applying for H-1 and AC21 for employees

Detailed 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.

BUSINESS PLAN
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.

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AC21 Portability and Related Issues

Detailed question:

Answer:

Quote:

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.

Quote:

Can I hire few more peoples on H1B ??

Ans. Yes.

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Filing EB1 while EB2 AOS is pending

Detailed question:

Answer:

I am thinking about applying for green card under EB-1A or EB-1B. Currently I have an approved I-140 (2005, EB2). I have a few questions:
Q.a) Is the EB1A or EB1-B I-140 premium processed?

Q.b) Do I need to submit another set of I-485 with the EB-1 application even though the EB-2 I-485 are pending with USCIS?

Q.c) Which option would be better for me - EB-1A or EB-1B? I am currently an associate professor at XXX University.
 

Ans.a) Currently, there is no premium processing for this type of cases.

Ans.b) No. We should be able to use the same 485.

Ans.c) The answer to that depends upon two main factors: whether or not you have a "permanent" job and whether or not we have a strong enough resume for the higher category. Generally speaking, if we have a permanent job, I shoot for the lower category where the approval is more likely. Just send an email to Leslie for us to talk more about this issue. Email her your resume also.

 

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Further questions on AC21

Detailed 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:

Quote:

 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.

Quote:

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.

Quote:

Within how many days should I file for AC21?

Ans. No limit. But in my view, ASAP.

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Promotion during the green card process through PERM

Detailed question:

Taking Promotion in future The current PERM filing is going to be done for the position "Dentist". In the future can she accept a promotion as "Dentist (Lead)" if offered by the company? Will it invalidate the green card application. If we accept the promotion in future can we use the same PERM application without filing another PERM for "Dentist (Lead)" job (jobs are very similar) . She is now a "Dentist(Associate)" and job duties between associate dentist and lead dentist are 70% the same. The lead dentist will have additional duties like oversee day-to-day operations/Supervision.

Answer:

Quote: Can I receive a promotion, extraordinary increase in salary or change in job location during the pendency of a labor certification based green card?

Ans. That is not advisable. A promotion or change in job description during the pendency of a green card can jeopardize the green card process. The GC process is for a specific job, at a specific location, at a specific salary.

CHANGES IN JOB DESCRIPTION
Minor changes can be accommodated. But any substantial change would require starting all over again.

SALARY INCREASE
Routine raises in accord with the industry practice should not create a problem. But any large salary hikes are likely to be a problem.

CHANGES IN JOB LOCATION
To preserve your green card, we must be able to show that you are TEMPORARILY changing some items in your job description for now, the present time. For instance, the GC is for a job in NY, but you are temporarily working from California. When the GC is approved, you will be placed back in NY.

If there is an irreversible and substantial change in your job description, we will have to start the entire green card process from the beginning. The only exception to this would be where the change is temporary.

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B visa while GC pending or similar situation

Detailed question:

After a long-term relationship, earlier this year I married a U.S. citizen. I do not want to change my immigration status and do not wish to immigrate nor reside permanently in the United States since we both have steady jobs outside the U.S. and I do not want to leave my country. All I want is to be able to travel temporarily into the U.S. for pleasure and leisure as most tourists do, once or twice a year for a couple of weeks each time. I want to know if I can just apply for a new B-1/B-2 tourist visa to travel into the U.S. or if my husband needs to file an I-130 petition for alien relative and I-129 and K visa thereafter instead –which I understand would be the right process if I ever wanted to adjust status or become a U.S. permanent resident.

Answer:

This is upto the discretion of the consulate and then again upto CBP when you land in USA. Consulates have the discretion to issue you a B visa - despite your presumed immigrant intent - if they are convinced that you will return. This is true for all cases where a B (or F or similar) visa is sought while GC is pending or could be pending.

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Supervisory review

Detailed 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.

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Green Card through Citizen brother

Detailed question:

My brother got US Citizenship this month. I would like to apply Green Card using my brother's citizenship.Is it possible ? How long it will take . Now I am holding H1B.

Answer:

This is usually not a feasible option. To see how long it would take, look at the Visa Bulletin: 

http://www.immigration.com/newsletter/vbarchive.html

You will note that it will take more than a decade to get a green card through family-based category 4. You are not permitted to stay in the USA just because this application is pending.

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Changing Careers after the GC

Detailed question:

Q1. Can a legal permanent resident(LPR) change career after say one year from his AOS approval to an entirely different field from the one for which his labor and his AOS was approved? Will this raise any red flags at the time of citizenship? Q2. In other words, after receiving green card on the basis of say job in computer industry, when can one change his/her profession to an entirely different field (let say opening up a restaurant or go into real estate on full time basis) without jeopardizing the citizenship? Would waiting for one year(or some other amount of time?) after AOS approval be good enough to satisfy the "intent to work for in the field noted in labor application on a permanent basis"? Q3. Is the person after receiving green card on the basis of employment in certain field stuck in that field for ever? Q4. What are you thoughts in general about this scenario and how should one go about it?

Answer:

 A1. I see no problem with this nor do I see any red flags.

A2. Sure. Why not. Permanent does not mean forever.

A3. Not at all.

A4. Nothing else I can think of.

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Multiple Labor Certifications

Detailed question:

I have consulted the local lawyers here but they have failed to answer this question with conviction. Can two Labor applications be filed for me by two companies (current and future employers) at the same time ?

Answer:

In my opinion, most definitely, yes. As long as both companies are acting in good faith (honestly) and you have the intention to take whichever green card happens to be more convenient or quicker for you, you can file 2 or more labor certs (PERM) through different employers.

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Can Employer Withdraw My Green card Application?

Detailed question:

I had accepted an offer of employment from a well established Indian Consultancy company last year in the month of June 2007. I was given the pre approved labor and they filed I 140 and 485, EAD, AP during that Visa bulletin fiasco last year. I got EAD and AP for both me and for my wife. My I 140 approved from TSC last month. Now I have a better opportunity. My employer is threatening to withdraw GC files processing unless I work with them till I get my GC. Qo1. Is that possible for them to withdraw like that? Qo2. Does that affect my GC process in negative way? Qo3. What I have to do in case they withdraw? Qo4. Is it possible to re-start the whole GC process again in case? Qo5. By the time I file AC 21, if the present employer withdraws the GC files, what happens to my case? Qo6. How do we know whether they have withdrawn GC process or not?

Answer:

Ans1. They can withdraw the 140. That is their petition, but they cannot withdraw the I-485. That is your petition. If they withdraw the I-140 you can still take recourse to AC21 and not suffer any negative consequences.

Ans2. If you are covered by AC21, you should be fine.

Ans3. File AC21 letter as soon as possible.

Ans4. Sure .

Ans5. See this link: http://www.immigrationportal.com/blog.php?b=25

Ans6. I do not think there is any easy way to do that. Unfortunately, you may find out only when CIS issues a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) your I-485. But you can try calling CIS customer service from time to time.

 

 

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How soon can I leave the employer after I get my GC

Detailed question:

Q1. How soon can I leave my petitioning employer once I get my green card approval? Q2. I did not willingly left the GC sponsor employer but actually after three months I got my GC, i got laid off from the project and due to the bad economy , my employer was not able to get me other project so he gave me letter saying that he wont be able to pay me salary since he doesnt have any project for me.And, after getting that letter I resigned from GC sponsor employer. Q3. I am employed at the XYZ University (XYZU). I applied for 485 myself (without attorney). My 485 was approved last month and I got my passport stamped in July. My contract with XYZU is coming to an end. My job is renewed every year based on the availability of funding. I have been with XYZU for the last 5 years. There is a possibility that they (XYZU) may not extend the contract because the research grant I got is coming to an end in september. Will my termination from the job at XYZU affect my Green Card in the future, and is it better to be terminated from service (based on unavailability of funding) by the WVU or is it better to offer my resignation?

Answer:

A1. There is no brief answer to this question. Let me explain. The basic premise (or theory) behind permanent residence through offer of employment is that an employee is accepting a job on a "permanent" bases. What does "permanent" mean? Does it mean for ever. Obviously not. That would be unreasonable. But "permanent" also does not mean that you pack your bags the moment you receive your green card. So what is the answer? No one really knows. Each case has to be determined upon its own merits. Normally, I would say working for one year or more with the same employer after getting your GC is PROBABLY enough indication of permanency. Less than 4-5 months is perhaps evidence to the contrary

But REMEMBER, this is just my own guess. Technically speaking, the moment you decide that you will leave after a certain period of time, "permanent" intent is gone. Catch-22 eh? Well that is the way it is.

There may be considerable relaxation in this interpretation because in the year 2001 Congress enacted a law that permits employees to leave an employer even while their I-485 is pending. We do not have the regulations or any detailed guidance on these issues.


A2. There are no clear rules as we have stated above. But, In my opinion, there is no risk in this scenario. You acted in good faith to continue the job, but your employer could not continue to employ you.


A3. I think it is better to be terminated. There are no clear rules as we have stated above. But, In my opinion, there is no risk in this scenario. You acted in good faith to continue the job, but your employer could not continue to employ you.

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PERM News July 15 2008 DOL Meeting

Detailed question:

Answer:

The attached PDF document contains information from DOL on PERM backlogs, program future and other pertinent matters. Enjoy. Regards to all. Rajiv.

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AOS Pending, Should H-1 be Renewed

Detailed 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.

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Priority Date and AOS (Form I-485) Processing

Detailed 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.
 

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EAD and H-1 Conversions for Derivatives

Detailed 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)?
Ans3. Correct.

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?
Ans4. Correct.

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.
 

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Gap in Employment during AOS

Detailed 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.

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PERM Through Relative Owned or Controlled Company

Detailed question:

Can a PERM case be filed through a company that is owned or controlled by a relative of the beneficiary?

Answer:

The answer is yes, BUT, the case is likely to be very closely scrutinized and may even require supervised recruitment. That means, USDOL will most likely ask us to place advertisements again under their direct supervision. So, we could end up repeating the advertising. This could cause delays (and of course even denial).
This question had come up a few weeks earlier also. I wanted to clarify this with the USDOL so we wrote to them. Our letter and their response is attached.

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AOS Denial – Consequences for H-1

Detailed 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.

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Basic Criteria for Extraordinary Ability

Detailed question:

Answer:

This morning, I was working on explaining to a client (whom I respect greatly), one of the foremost musicians from India, how EB1 (Extraordinary Ability) category applies to musicians and performers. As I was sending him the basic information on EB1 category, I thought I will share the general criteria with all of you. This information is for EA, generally and applies to all fields - not just music. See attached.

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