US Immigration Questions

  1. Friday, 23...
    Question: The visa bulletin refers to two tables, dates for filing applications and final action dates. The latest Bulletin, June 2017, for category F2A, has 15AUG15 specified for final action dates and 08APR16 for dates for filing applications.Assuming that the dates move at the same pace, we might see the dates for filing applications move to 08JUN16 in a couple of months from now. If this happens, will my husband be eligible to apply for the next step (consular processing) or have to wait for the final action dates to become current? When will he be eligible to take action on the next step?
    Answer:

    Watch the Video on this FAQ: What are Visa Bulletin Final Action Dates and Date for Filing

    Video Transcript: 

    Visa Bulletin is an estimate. It is not mathematically accurate. It is an estimate based upon certain rules, statistical as well as legal which is an estimation by the State Department of what visa numbers they will be taking in the following month. In other words, it is the projection of the availability of visas in the month following the announcement of the visa bulletin. Let's say if your date is currently according to the visa bulletin which means either from your date forward or before your date, priority date cases are going to be dealt with in the following month you can then if you are in the USA in legal status apply for Adjustment of Status. If you are in the USA you need to look at the USCIS website and see what the final action date is according to them. Sometimes they might allow you to file as earlier than suggested by the visa bulletin. More...

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

  2. Wednesday,...
    Question: What are the dos and don'ts to qualify for US Citizenship?
    Answer:

    Pay your taxes, don't default on your taxes, try not to get too many traffic tickets. If you get few that's OK, but if you get too many that can be ground for troubles. Don't get into any criminal plot, as you can lose your Green Card if you have a felony conviction. There are other things that can hurt your Green Card like DUI more than one or two of them then you can get into trouble. So, as long as you are like regular people I don't think there is anything to worry about.

  3. Wednesday,...
    Question: 1. I got my green card after that should I notify any US government agencies and Indian government regarding the change in status and having received my Green Card? <br> 2. Is there any restriction on my traveling outside the USA when I am on Green Card status?<br> 3. So what if I want to go to India for two months? <br> 4. What is N-470?<br> 5. Does any unemployment in the future affect Green card?
    Answer:

    1. There is no such requirement that I am aware of at this point today (June 2017) that you have to notify any US government agency or Indian government just because you received your Green Card. However, what you should do is you should inform your employer that you have got your Green Card so they can update your Form I-9 which is an internal matter within the files of the employer. They don't have to update any government agencies.

     

    2. Now, traveling has certain predicates or certain dependencies that should be calculated and that should be known. First of all, people have this idea that if I leave the USA for less than 6 months I won't lose my Green Card. Well, its little bit more complicated than that. Technically, if you leave the United States after you got the Green Card, you leave the United States with the intention to never come back even if you are gone for one day and the second day you change your mind and come back. If it could be proven that you left with the intention to never come back your Green Card is gone. So, the first thing very important - your intention. If you have to travel outside the USA where your intention is never to come back, your Green Card technically can be lifted.


    3. No problem at all, especially when your home is in the USA, you live here, you work here, your children go to school here taking vacations for a month, two months even three -four months is not the problem. So, some of these factors are important. Sometimes what happens is, let’s say you are in the USA and decide to go to India and take the job over there for two or three months and that goes up to seven or eight months you could be in trouble because the government can say that it looks like you quit your job here. The job is important, where your children are going to school is important, your permanent home is important. These are not issues for most of the people who live in the USA but I am just pointing out these so when a situation arrives I want you to consult a lawyer before you make a plan.

    An Intention is a state of mind, the state of mind cannot be directly looked at it can only be inferred from circumstances. So circumstantial evidence is important to prove your intention. For example, if you leave the USA with a one-way ticket and you don't come back for one year, chances are you lost your Green Card because if you are outside the USA for more than one year you will automatically lose your Green Card.

    There is something called Reentry permit which allows you to go up to two years and the reentry permit is a definitive announcement by the US Green Card holders that I do not intend to give up my Green Card. It is not the full proof for saving your Green Card but it is quite effective, if you need to go away for two years you can file for a reentry permit.  

    For reentry permit, you have to be in the United States to file for it. After you file it within a few weeks you will be scheduled for Biometrics. You have two choices whether you file and leave the USA, you have to be physically present when USCIS receives your application and then you can leave and come back for the Biometrics or you can stay here, do your Biometrics and then you go. The choices for receiving your reentry permit when it is approved are either to your lawyer or to the address in the United States or to the Consulate of your home country. If you go to live in Mumbai, you could pick up your reentry permit in Mumbai Consulate. 

    If you face a very bad emergency when you are in India, you can always apply for reinstatement of Green card which is called Returning Resident Permit or SB-1 Visa, that is done through the US Consulate. You go to the Consulate, explain to them in writing through the form. Everything has a Form, that shows that your stay was unintentional, they can take time and reinstate your Green Card for you. There is another Form you need to fill in, that's called Form N-470. 

     

    4. N-470 is a highly misunderstood Form. N-470 is helpful in naturalization only to the extent that normally, if you are gone for one year you have to start naturalization five years all over again. Normally, you can apply for Naturalization five years after you get your Green Card. If you need to stay away for one year you have to start your five years all over again. By filing N-470 you prevent that re-setting your five-year clock and there are very specific rule that covers N-470 including that there must be one year during which after getting the Green Card you must not have traveled outside the USA even for one day, this is one odd little rule but keep all these things in mind. So, N-470 is usually filed in conjunction with reentry permit application.

     

    5. No, of course not.

  4. Friday, 9...
    Question: Planning to change my employer. Priority Date: Sept 2014 (EB2). H1: on my 5th Year (Filed for an extension it is currently in process). My plan is to change my employer once my extension is approved but I have the following questions. I am 100% sure my employer is going to withdraw my I-140. How is my H1 transfer going to work?
    Answer:

    Watch the Video on this FAQ: Changing employers after I-140 approval; impact on H-1, green card, H-4 EAD, etc.

    Video Transcript

    First of all the moment, your I-140 is approved no matter which category EB-1 or EB-2, the Priority Date is yours to keep that means if you got your green card filed in let's say 2017 and you left this employer after the I-140 approval, they revoked your I-140 and you started another green card in 2020 your Priority Date will be still 2017 because your I-140 was approved. So the moment the I-140 was approved the Priority Date becomes your property and it can be carried across categories, across employers, and across geographical areas. So if you go from a PERM filing in New York to an employer in California and your previous filing was EB-3 next filing is EB2 or even EB-1 you can carry the date of the work petition as long as the I-140 was approved. The moment the I-140 is approved, the Priority Date is yours.

    There are limited exceptions unless the I-140 is revoked for fraud, etc., by the USCIS. Even if the employer revokes the I-140 you will keep your Priority Date. In addition to that, if the I-140 gets approved and stays approved for 180 days you will not only carry your Priority Date you will carry your right to extend your H-1 through any employer indefinitely. You will get a second benefit after 180 days and if the lawyer revokes the I-140 you will still get the benefit of both Priority Date and the right to extend your H-1 through any employer. The government has also said if you have an H-4 EAD for your spouse, your I-40 stayed approved for 180 days your wife's or your husband's H-4 EAD is safe even if the old employer revokes the I-140 later on as long as the I-140 stayed approved for 180 days. So if you left but the I-140 stayed approved for 180 days H-4 EAD is safe. That, in a nutshell, is the general law. More 


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

  5. Tuesday, 6...
    Question: I am on H1 Visa, my H1, wife's H4 and H4 EAD expires on 7/18/2017. I will be completing my 6 years by 7/18/2017. My I-140 is approved. I have a question<br> 1. Should I file for H4 EAD extension along with my H1 and H4 extension<br> 2. Can my spouse (H4-EAD) work while her extension in progress?
    Answer:

    Watch the Video on this FAQ: Extending H-1/H-4EAD; working while extension pending

    Video Transcript

    1. Yes, you should. 

    2. No. Once the current H-4 expires and EAD expires and you are waiting for the new EAD to arrive she has to stop working. More...

     

     

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


  6. Monday, 22...
    Question: 1. Can we file multiple green cards together? If yes what will be the side effect? <br> 2. My company filed my green card in EB-2 category and I-140 is approved with priority date 2013. I want to give a try with EB1 category personally if I will try in EB-1 and let’s say it is not approved, then will it affect my EB-2 green card?<br> 3. Should job description match in EB-1 and EB-2?<br> 4. What may all possible issues occur?
    Answer:

    Watch the Video on this FAQ: Filing green card through multiple categories or employers and/or family simultaneously

    Video Transcript

    1. The answer is yes. You can file green cards through as many categories as you want to. Both employment as well as a mixture of employment and family or investment. Any number of green cards can be filed as long as they are being filed honestly.

    2. I don't see why not. 

    3. It doesn't have to.

    4. It all depends on the facts of each case but at least theoretically it is possible. More...

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

     

  7. Sunday, 21...
    Question: 1. Can an H-4 EAD person open a small business like ice cream shop as part time? <br> 2. Also can h1b spouse support the maintenance of the business without taking any remuneration. Is it legal and allowed?
    Answer:

    Watch the Video for this FAQ: Activities permitted under H-4 EAD

    Video Transcript

    1. With a H-4 EAD, you can do anything you like. You can work, you can choose not work, you can start your own business, you can work three hours a day, you can work ten hours a day, you can work eighteen hours a day. 

    2. I am a little uncomfortable with that. Normally it should not be a problem as a volunteer activity, but there are two problems here.

    a. the ice cream business is a for-profit business under the Fair Labor Standards Act, they cannot take free work.

    b. this might be a violation of your status because it is giving you a benefit directly or indirectly. I think it is a difficult situation. She can do what she wants. You should not work for her. More

     

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

  8. Saturday,...
    Question: I would like to know is there anything change in recent EO's that prevent one get Green Card or USC when a person issued a SuperSpeeder ticket. Is this considered a misdemeanor?
    Answer:

    Watch the Video on this FAQ: Impact of a misdemeanor under Trump EO

    Video Transcript

    The law is still the same as far as I know. There is no change if you are legally in the United States. If you are illegal things would be different. If you are in the legal status in the United States and you get convicted of one misdemeanor you are still covered and exempted by Petty Offence Exception. More...

     

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

  9. Saturday,...
    Question: Do the 3 years spent in residency training in an HPSA/MUA area be counted towards the five years required for NIW? The residency training (3 years) and subsequent job (2 years) were on H1B visa in two different HPSA/MUA areas but not processed through NIW route. Can the NIW petition be filed now retrospectively for those years already worked in underserved areas? My current GC sponsoring job is in a University teaching hospital (job designation Assistant Professor) but obviously also involves treating patients. The PERM prevailing wage category was teacher/ Professor but job description included patient care. Can the job be changed to that involving only patient care (no teaching) and still be considered same/ similar? How about a job (with patient care only & no teaching) in a private practice (as opposed to hospital employee)?
    Answer:

    Watch the Video on this FAQ: Physicians (FMG) NIW, AC21 portability, Teaching to clinical position

    Video Transcription

    Under the current regulations beginning January 17, you can actually ask for a predetermination before you change jobs. You can send your Supplement J and wait, for they got to decide it before you join the new employer. They will readjudicate the case so you will know if you are safe when you move instead of just jumping. More...

     

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

  10. Friday, 19...
    Question: My wife has received her L-2 visa. She plans to continue with her US branch of her India employer once she lands in the US and gets her EAD. However for the period while she is US waiting for her EAD to come in, can she continue to be employed with her employer in India and keep receiving paychecks in India, while technically not working for any US based employer prior to getting her EAD?
    Answer:

    Watch the Video on this FAQ: Is it legal to work for a foreign-based company in the USA?

    Video Transcript:

    In my view, if your wife has come here on L-2 visa and she wants to continue working I would wait till her EAD because I just don't like to have that grey area. I would not want her to continue getting her paychecks. I have had other colleagues of mine say if the business work for which she is working has nothing to do with the USA, they have no clients in the USA, they are receiving no money from the USA, they are not channeling any money through the USA that it is OK to work for this company in the USA while you are getting paid abroad. I have my doubts so my advice will be not to. More..


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

  11. Tuesday, 9...
    Question: Lost job recently. Was working on H1B. I am trying to understand how much time I have effectively to find another job and have the H1B filed by next employer. Is it necessary that the H1B “start date” in the I-129 petition be within the 60-day mark ( the grace period) from the last day of job in order for USCIS to grant H1B approval after a layoff?
    Answer:

    Watch the Video on this FAQ: H-1B 60 days grace period explained

    Video Transcript

    The 60 day grace period is not a right, it is something you ask the government for. If you got unexpectedly laid off or something of that nature happened beyond your control you can request the government when to file for an H-1 transfer even though you were out of status for 45 to 50 days. You should request the government to give you status without having to leave the USA.  Once you file the application and get a receipt you can start working. AC21 does protect you under this rule. More


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

  12. Tuesday, 9...
    Question: I stayed with my last employer more than 6 months after I-140 was approved. My employer revoked I-140 but I can retain my priority date. Now, I am filing I-140 again with a new employer. Will I have stay with my current employer more than 6 months after I-140 is approved to retain my (old) priority date? If I change job after I-140 is approved, my employer can't revoke it. True? Is there any period I need to be employed with the current employer after I-140 is approved?
    Answer:

    Under the law effective from 17 January 2017, an employee will retain their priority date once an I-140 is properly approved, even if a day later the employer asks for a revocation. There is no requirement that the employee be employed with that employer for a certain period of time.

  13. Tuesday, 9...
    Question: 1. I have approved I-140 with company A and my wife got H-4 EAD. I am planning to move to company B. Can my current employer (Company A) revoke I-140? (I-140 has been approved for more than 6 months). If he can't revoke I-140, can my wife work on the H-4 EAD that she got based on company A's I-140?<br> 2. If my H-1 and my wife's H-4 transferred to Company B, do I need to apply for new H-4 EAD or can she continue working on H-4 EAD from company A (that H-4 EAD still has validity)?
    Answer:

    1. The employer can revoke, but, USCIS says, after 180 days they will not revoke the H-4 EAD.

    2. You will not need to change the H-4 EAD upon moving to any number of companies, as long as you maintain your H-1 status.

  14. Thursday, 4...
    Question: Can my wife travel to India and then back to the USA for a period of 12 days while her H4 EAD application is pending? Based on current estimates of processing times we do not estimate that her H4 EAD will come before the first week of July. We will be back to the USA in the first week of May.
    Answer:

    Watch the Video on this FAQ: Travel while H-4 EAD is pending

    Video Transcript

    If somebody has applied from H-1 to H-4 or F-1 to H-4 and applied for EAD at the same time they should not travel until the F-1 or H-1 to H-4 status is approved because if you do then you have to go apply for a visa come back and then apply for EAD all over again. On the other hand, if your H-1 is approved or you already have it and EAD is pending you are allowed to travel. The government discourages it as it can cause delays in EAD processing but it is not illegal. More...

     

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

  15. Thursday, 4...
    Question: I lost my job recently. I was working on H1B. I am staying in the US until my grace period ends or until I find a new job. Can I apply for the Unemployment Insurance in my state? I believe that is paid by the employer.
    Answer:

    Watch the Video on this FAQ: Getting unemployment payments on H-1B

    Video Transcript

    Getting unemployment payments is not an issue because unemployment is private insurance, not really government funding. The problem is that it does not protect your status so don't think if you are getting unemployment payments you are in status. More...

     

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

  16. Wednesday,...
    Question: Brief history - 7th year on H1, 140 approved.<br> 1. Per recent USCIS memo 'H-1B for Programmers - 2017 Guidance'.... if the designation in my current LCA has 'Programmer' word, should I be changing the designation to a different one when I apply for H1 ?renewal?<br> 2. Also in the same memo, it said: "USCIS will now target employers petitioning for H-1B workers who work off-site at another company or organization’s location." ........what does that mean......between my employer and the end client there is middle vendor...is that in any way related to what's stated above? <br> 3. My most recent H1 is via COS from H4 and is valid until March -18. I will be applying for H1 renewal 6 months before but just in case the renewal doesn't go through, can I apply for a change of status to H4 while I'm here .
    Answer:

    Watch the Video on this FAQ: H-1B title "Programmers" and USCIS site visits

    Video Transcript

    1. Sure, if your job is indeed something other than a programmer. The problem is in the IT industry titles are very misleading you could have somebody called a programmer but they are doing software architecture. The job description is the most important thing. Titles matter only as pointers. Titles are not definitive.

    2. Regarding site visits, they are going to target consulting companies and companies who are basically off-sitting their employees for site visits more than they would normally. Make sure you are working where you are supposed to be working, you are doing the job you are supposed to be doing at the level you are supposed to be doing. The job description should be the same as what you are actually doing and it should reflect the level of your seniority.

    3. When you have a case pending it is OK to stay, it is called Authorized Period of Stay, but you don't have full status if your old I-94 is expired. More...

     

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

  17. Tuesday, 2...
    Question: I am a Canadian citizen and was staying in Canada from Feb2008 to Nov 2011. From Canada, I filed for CP EB3 with employer A and GC was approved for the same employer in September 2011. I entered the US in the mid of Nov 2011. Didn't join employer immediately after coming to the US. I told my employer verbally and assure him that I will join him in 2-3 months and He agreed to it. In December 2011 went to India for two weeks(due to father's death anniversary). After coming back from India took a break (needed time to heal. Didn't try or looked to join any other employer).And finally from February 2012 started working for employer A who sponsored my GC. I joined a different employer in mid of 2013.<br> After entering US through CP EB3 in Nov 2011 and not working at all taking break and then joining GC sponsorship employer A. Will this gap (3 months) negatively affects citizenship application? Is it mandatory to join immediately? Can a new GC card holder legally stay without a job for a while immediately after GC is approved?
    Answer:

    Watch the Video on this FAQ: Joining an employer after green card approval

    Video Transcript

    You not only were first working for this employer then you went to Canada, you were never out of status, then you came and joined the same employer after three months and actually you continued working for them. I don't think it is a problem. I don't think it will be a problem for your naturalization either. More...


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

  18. Tuesday, 25...
    Question: Pending I-485 petition (AOS), AP&EAD approved and valid until another 6 months. I-485 petitioner went to India, on approval of AP. While in India, I-485 approved on 29/3/2017 and Card received
    Answer:

    Watch the Video on this FAQ: I-485 approved while outside the USA - travel on AP or GC

    Video Transcript

    This is a common situation where your I-485 is pending and you got your Advance Parole and you traveled outside the United States and while you were outside the United States your green card got approved and now you want to enter the USA. In a situation like this, you can enter the United States using your Advance Parole. You can also wait and get your green card delivered to you for e.g. by hand and then use that to enter the United States. But I am not sure if there is any law on that, but I know people do it. I don't think it's forbidden, but I would feel a whole lot more comfortable if people came back on their Advance Parole. More...

     

     

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

  19. Friday, 21...
    Question: My son is a US citizen and he is 2 yrs old. we have OCI card (Overseas Citizen of India) for him and it is valid until March 2020. He has been staying in India for the past 1 yr with his grandparents. My question is How much duration can he live outside the US? Does US citizen have any limit for living outside the USA?
    Answer:

    Watch the Video on this FAQ: How long can a US Citizen stay outside the USA

    Video Transcript

    As long as you like. You could stay outside for thirty years and never come to the USA. You will still be a US citizen. Green card holders don't have that benefit, but US citizens do.

    More...

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

  20. Friday, 21...
    Question: I have my H-1 extension till 2020. I recently visited India and got visa stamped 2020 as well but while coming back as my passport validity was till Feb 2018 - I got the I94 till Feb 2018. How do I extend my I-94?
    Answer:

    Watch the Video on this FAQ: H-1 I-94 given at the airport for a duration shorter than the H-1 approval, how to extend I-94?

    Video Transcript

    Let's say you have an H-1 which was good until August and you came to the airport in January and they gave you a I-94 good only till June because your passport was expiring in June. In that case, you have two options. If your passport is renewed and your visa is still good you can go outside and come back using the approval notice and the visa on your passport. You should be given the entire time remaining given in your petition plus 10 days. 

    The second option is if you still have time on the I-94 that was given to you at the airport you can apply for an extension while you are within the USA. More...

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

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