US Immigration Questions

  1. Friday, 29...
    Question: What is the difference between a blue or black stamp from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)?
    Answer:

    As of July 1, 2014, U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began using a new secure blue ink for many of its secure stamps. The older secure red ink will be retired and no longer used by USCIS on the effective date.

    USCIS stamps with secure blue ink:

        Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Parole Stamp
        Temporary I-551 Alien Documentary Identification and Telecommunication (ADIT) Stamp
        Refugee Stamp (Section 207)
        Asylum Stamp (Section 208)
        Initial / Replacement I-94 Stamp

    USCIS will continue to use regular black ink on the following stamps:

        Approval Stamp (Applications Received)
        Denial Stamp (Applications Received)
        Director's Signature Stamp (Certificates of Naturalization, Certificates of Citizenship)
        Other USCIS similar documents

  2. Thursday,...
    Question: As a H-4 visa holder in the USA (my husband is on H-1B), and an Indian citizen, I plan on applying for Canadian PR via the federal skilled worker program, to eventually start working there. The question I have is if my PR does come through within a year, will my H-4 visa in the USA get affected or be void immediately? Provided I don't get a job in Canada by then, how long will my H-4 be valid after I get my PR in Canada? Can I choose to live in either country in that case? Also, while applying for the PR, they asked for sufficient funds. Since I am a H-4 dependent, can I show my husband's funds and income as a source? Because I am not earning here, I will have to have his money transferred. Will that be a problem?
    Answer:

    Your H-4 visa does not get affected by PR in Canada, and whether or not you stay in the USA or Canada. The visa stays valid through the date of its stamping, as long as your husband is maintaining status. US immigration laws also should not create any issues with a funds transfer, but check Canadian laws and US Tax Laws.

    Your H-4 visa does not get affected by PR in Canada, and whether or not you stay in the USA or Canada. The visa stays valid through the date of its stamping, as long as your husband is maintaining status. US immigration laws also should not create any issues with a funds transfer, but check Canadian laws and US Tax Laws. - See more at: http://www.immigration.com/comment/14325#comment-14325
  3. Thursday,...
    Question: My H-1 6 years are about to be over. No way to extend per lawyers. Can I move to CPT?
    Answer:

    This is tricky. Usually CPT in the first semester is looked upon with suspicion by USCIS, unless: 1. yours is a graduate program; 2. the practical training is integral to the academic program; and 3. the employer has signed a co-operative agreement with the school.

    This is tricky. Usually CPT in the first semester is looked upon with suspicion by USCIS, unless: 1. yours is a graduate program; 2. the practical training is integral to the academic program; and 3. the employer has signed a co-operative agreement with the school. - See more at: http://www.immigration.com/comment/14458#comment-14458
  4. Tuesday, 26...
    Question: I am planning to start an IT company in USA which is registered in India. Currently I am planning to travel on B1/B2 visa for my company set up. Can I transfer my visa status from B1/B2 to L1 if required within USA? What are the possible chances of success? Kindly you please suggest me the best way.
    Answer:

    There are several issues that should be examined before you can make an informed decision.

    1.  B visa or ESTA does not allow you to “work:”

    To enter the USA, a B-1 visa or ESTA (Visa Waiver Program) is a good option, but you need to remember, these visas do not allow you to actually engage in income generating business yourself.  There are several impediments to what you can do.  You are, of course, allowed to enter the USA, seek a business, negotiate and/or purchase the business.  You are also allowed to incorporate and/or start a new business, including, a US branch of your business in your home country.

    Read about B (the same limitations exist for ESTA entries) visas: http://www.immigration.com/visa/b-visa/b-visa-overview

     

    2.  Are you already a part of or own an established business in your home country?

    (a)  Yes: Look at the following options:

                                                                   i.      L-1 (Intra-company transferee – visas where you have or are starting a company related to your foreign company) http://www.immigration.com/visa/l-visa/l-visa-overview

                                                                 ii.      E-1 and E-2 (Treaty trader and treaty investor visas – require a treaty between your home country and the USA.  India does not have any such treaties with the USA.  http://www.immigration.com/visa/e-visa/e-visa-overview

                                                                iii.      EB-5 (These are investment-based green cards requiring investment of $500,000 or $1 Million and creation/preservation of ten American jobs over two years) http://www.immigration.com/greencard/eb5-green-card/eb-5-investment-green-card

    (b)  No: Look at E-1/E-2 and EB-5 visas (links are in the previous para).

    3.  Should you convert from B visa to any other visa?

    Generally speaking, that is a bad idea.  Watch this video:  http://youtu.be/es4SlhcXr9E

    For more information related to B visas, you can watch videos from this play list: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL13184E6EA97A1593

    4.  How do you start a business in the USA:

    This matter should be addressed based upon the advice you receive from legal counsel in the State where you wish to start your business.  The incorporation of foreign business entities is regulated at the state level (as opposed to the federal or national level) in the United States. The application process will vary from state-to-state.  Here is a good resource page from SBA, Small Business Administration (SBA is a US Government agency) on the types of business entities you can form in the USA.  Generally speaking, you, as a B or ESTA visitor, should be able to form any of these entities:  http://www.sba.gov/category/navigation-structure/starting-managing-business/starting-business/choose-your-business-stru

  5. Tuesday, 26...
    Question: When should an employer mark "yes" when responding to the Question C.9: "is there a familial relationship between the foreign worker and the owners, stockholders, partners, corporate officers, and incorporators?"
    Answer:

    If there is a familial relationship between the owners, stockholders, partners, corporate officers, or incorporators, and the alien, the employer must be able to demonstrate the existence of a bona fide job opportunity, i.e., the job is available to U.S. workers. 20 C.F.R. 656.17(l). In order to provide the Certifying Officer (CO) the opportunity to evaluate whether the job opportunity has been and is clearly open to qualified U.S. workers, an employer must disclose any familial relationship(s) between the foreign worker and the owners, stockholders, partners, corporate officers, and incorporators by marking "yes" to Question C.9 on the ETA Form 9089. See also Matter of Modular Container, 1989-INA-228 (Jul. 16, 1991) (en banc).

    A familial relationship includes any relationship established by blood, marriage, or adoption, even if distant. For example, cousins of all degrees, aunts, uncles, grandparents and grandchildren are included. It also includes relationships established through marriage, such as in-laws and step-families. The term "marriage" will be interpreted to include same-sex marriages that are valid in the jurisdiction where the marriage was celebrated.

    A familial relationship between the alien and the employer does not establish the lack of a bona fide job opportunity per se. Ultimately, the question of whether a bona fide job opportunity exists in situations where the alien has a familial relationship with the employer depends on "whether a genuine determination of need for alien labor can be made by the employer corporation and whether a genuine opportunity exists for American workers to compete for the opening." Modular Container at *8. Therefore, the employer must disclose such relationships, and the CO must be able to determine that there has been no undue influence and control and that these job opportunities are available to U.S. workers. When the employer discloses a family relationship, and the application raises no additional denial issues, the employer will be given an opportunity to establish, to the CO's satisfaction, that the job opportunity is legitimate and, in the context of the application, does not pose a bar to certification. The CO will consider the employer's information and the totality of the circumstances supporting the application in making this determination.

    Please note that failure to disclose familial relationships or ownership interests when responding to Question C.9 is a material misrepresentation and may therefore be grounds for denial, revocation or invalidation in accordance with the Department's regulations.

    For more information please visit this link : http://www.foreignlaborcert.doleta.gov/faqsanswers.cfm

  6. Friday, 22...
    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
  7. Thursday,...
    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.

  8. Wednesday,...
    Question: What kind of visa can I get for medical treatment. I have an appointment with a Surgeon in Anderson. Can the visa be extended without leaving America?
    Answer:

    Typically, medical treatment in the USA is undertaken on a B-1 ("Business" visa. Strange, huh?). But do not get confused. Consulates often mark visas as B-1/B-2 or even B-2 (visitors/tourist) for medical treatment. Once here, you can ask for extensions of stay if the circumstances so require. I remember extending the stay of a child and his parents for two years (in 6-monthly chunks), where the baby was being treated for ongoing medical problems.

  9. Wednesday,...
    Question: When do you think the H-4 regulations giving EAD will become in operation? Will they be changed or will they remain the same?
    Answer:

    Timing is impossible to predict. It could be as early as September or so, or as late as the government wants it to be. Also, government CAN and often does change or modify regulations after comments from the public are reviewed. 

  10. Thursday,...
    Question: I have a approved I-140 with on H-1B for more than six years working for company A. If I change to company B I will get 3 years of extension for new employer B. If I leave employer B before my PERM or I-140 is approved with employer B and join employer C. How many years of H-1 extension I will get ? Can I get 3 years of H-1 extension using approved I-140 with employer A.
    Answer:

    Unless and until the I-140 is revoked, your first approved I-140 can continue to be used for H-1 extensions for any number of employers.

    Unless and until the I-140 is revoked, your first approved I-140 can continue to be used for H-1 extensions for any number of employers. - See more at: http://www.immigration.com/comment/13726#comment-13726
  11. Tuesday, 8...
    Question: I have dual citizenship. Which passport should I use to travel to the United States?
    Answer:

    All U.S. citizens, even dual citizens/nationals, must enter and depart the United States using his/her U.S. passport.

  12. Tuesday, 24...
    Question: My husband and I got our green cards through my husband's Employer (EB3). We submitted I-140, I-485 for primary beneficiary (my husband), I-485 for derivative beneficiary (me) on December 27th 2004 (visa dates were current) Our entire application got rejected on Jan 04 2005.I attached the letters mailed to us. USCIS stated that my signature was missing Our lawyer responded to USCIS on Jan 05 2005 and refiled the rejected application on March 08 2005 (visa dates not available for EB3 in March) He requested USCIS to honor December 27 2004 stamp-date for Primary Beneficiary my husband as his application was complete. He also mentioned that he has is resubmitting my application with my revised signature Instead of just accepting my husband's application, USCIS also accepted my application on March 8th 2005 receipt date - March 10th 2005. During Visa Debacle in July 2007 , we received our green cards on September 2007. I am eligible for applying citizenship. I am in a dilemma whether to apply or not. One of the lawyer’s I contacted before said that USCIS sometimes wrongly accepts applications without visa dates and prematurely approves them too and mine might be one of those cases.During citizenship application, they will review the whole immigration history and there is a chance that your green card will be revoked. Is it safe not to apply for Citizenship and renew it when needed?
    Answer:

    This is likely to be a long discussion. My bottomline recommendation: let your husband obtain his naturalization first. Thereafter you apply for yours. If something goes wrong, his naturalization gets you another green card right away, without ever leaving the USA.

  13. Friday, 6...
    Question: Are they changing the law for EB-1? What is the change?
    Answer:
    The only PROPOSED change is that Outstanding and Researchers will be allowed to present evidence beyond the six categories stated in the regulations.
    The only PROPOSED change is that Outstanding and Researchers will be allowed to present evidence beyond the six categories stated in the regulations. - See more at: http://www.immigration.com/comment/13356#comment-13356
    The only PROPOSED change is that Outstanding and Researchers will be allowed to present evidence beyond the six categories stated in the regulations. - See more at: http://www.immigration.com/comment/13356#comment-13356
    The only PROPOSED change is that Outstanding and Researchers will be allowed to present evidence beyond the six categories stated in the regulations. - See more at: http://www.immigration.com/comment/13356#comment-13356
  14. Friday, 6...
    Question: If the employee was already working for the employer using AC21 (using EAD) and was already on payroll Then what steps employer has to do to actually get the employee on the GC job other than changing I-9 details. And what document proof employee need to have that may be helpful when one apply for citizenship ? to prove that employee indeed gave employee the GC job ?
    Answer:
    Other than updating the I-9, there are no immigration law steps involved in going from AOS to pending to green card. There is no need for any specific documentation. So far, no proof of job has ever been required. Your W-2/Paystubs should suffice, if the issue ever arises. If you are unsure, just get a new offer letter confirming the job.
    Other than updating the I-9, there are no immigration law steps involved in going from AOS to pending to green card. There is no need for any specific documentation. So far, no proof of job has ever been required. Your W-2/Paystubs should suffice, if the issue ever arises. If you are unsure, just get a new offer letter confirming the job. - See more at: http://www.immigration.com/comment/13369#comment-13369
    Other than updating the I-9, there are no immigration law steps involved in going from AOS to pending to green card. There is no need for any specific documentation. So far, no proof of job has ever been required. Your W-2/Paystubs should suffice, if the issue ever arises. If you are unsure, just get a new offer letter confirming the job. - See more at: http://www.immigration.com/comment/13369#comment-13369
    Other than updating the I-9, there are no immigration law steps involved in going from AOS to pending to green card. There is no need for any specific documentation. So far, no proof of job has ever been required. Your W-2/Paystubs should suffice, if the issue ever arises. If you are unsure, just get a new offer letter confirming the job. - See more at: http://www.immigration.com/comment/13369#comment-13369
    Other than updating the I-9, there are no immigration law steps involved in going from AOS to pending to green card. There is no need for any specific documentation. So far, no proof of job has ever been required. Your W-2/Paystubs should suffice, if the issue ever arises. If you are unsure, just get a new offer letter confirming the job. - See more at: http://www.immigration.com/comment/13369#comment-13369
    Other than updating the I-9, there are no immigration law steps involved in going from AOS to pending to green card. There is no need for any specific documentation. So far, no proof of job has ever been required. Your W-2/Paystubs should suffice, if the issue ever arises. If you are unsure, just get a new offer letter confirming the job. - See more at: http://www.immigration.com/comment/13369#comment-13369
    Other than updating the I-9, there are no immigration law steps involved in going from AOS to pending to green card. There is no need for any specific documentation. So far, no proof of job has ever been required. Your W-2/Paystubs should suffice, if the issue ever arises. If you are unsure, just get a new offer letter confirming the job. - See more at: http://www.immigration.com/comment/13369#comment-13369
  15. Thursday,...
    Question: Can a Canadian citizen get H-4 stamping at the border? What is the procedure and what documents are required for the process? What are the risks involved to get H-4 at border, opposed to filing for adjustment of status?
    Answer:

    Canadian citizens can apply for H-4 at the border. Typically, CBP would require proof of relationship like marriage cert and evidence of H-1 approval and status. In my experience, CBP does help people over the phone. Try calling the port field office, for instance, Buffalo: http://www.cbp.gov/contact/ports/field-office/buffalo

    The above link can be used to locate the office that will have jurisdiction over your entry.

  16. Thursday,...
    Question: I got my Ph.D. (biochemistry and molecular biology) and I have 3+ years of post-doctoral experience. I have 4 publications (3 lead author) in human pathogenic research. Could you please comment on my eligibility for EB-1 or NIW.
    Answer:

    My best GUESS is probably not. While NIW/EB-1 should not be a numbers game: how many publications, how many citations..., but it often ends up like that. Given that if you had one publication in a premier journal like Science, that would could count a lot more than 5 or 10 publications in a lower impact factor journal.

  17. Wednesday,...
    Question: I am part of the (Deferred Action), I started going to school in the US since I was 8 years of age and now I am 22, so I have been in this country almost all my life. I was working with Tax ID and of course my own name, I have built credit, invest, save, and spend wisely. I would always filed my taxes even though sometimes it would be a significant amount but I still wanted to keep my record as a good moral character who follows the law and keeps everything in order. I felt very blessed and was very thankful to God because he made a miracle that would help me stay in the US and work legally. The miracle was the (Deferred Action), I would of loved that the (Dream Act) was passed because It would provide me with a green card and be eligible for more federal and state benefits. I am currently enrolled in community college, Montgomery college pursuing my Associate's degree and then transferring to a 4 year university to obtain my Bachelor's degree and last but not least get my Master's degree. I am very goal oriented and I believed if you're a good person, good things will come to you. I apologize if initiated with my personal story rather than my question for eligibility for I-140. <p> Questions:<br> Based on my current status and my story, what are my options and how likely will I be approved for a I-140?<br> What are the factors that can impact the Homeland Security on their decision?<br>
    Answer:

    Unfortunately, there is nothing in the current law that will help you get your green card on your own. While an I-140 can be approved pursuant to employ-based green card process, ultimately, you will not be eligible for a green card because it looks like you have accrued unlawful presence of over one year after the age of 18. That requires either that you stay outside the USA for 10 years OR get a waiver through an eligible immediate family member (tough to get). Our best hope is for a change in the laws. Good luck!  

  18. Monday, 5...
    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. 

  19. Monday, 5...
    Question: I am currently on second year of my H-1B. My PERM is approved with a priority date of March 2013; I-140 is filed and pending approval. I am hoping this would be approved in July 2014. My question is I am planning to switch employer. Can I carry over my priority date with new employer? If so, are there any conditions like minimum period to wait after I-140 is approved to carry over the Priority dates to new employer?
    Answer:

    The priority date is yours the moment the I-140 is approved. There is no "cooling off" period. 

  20. Tuesday, 22...
    Question: Am I allowed to apply for TN status while EAD is pending. E.g Based on my new DS2019, I apply for EAD in May/14 for authorization beginning Jul1/14-Jun30/15. Now I get an offer letter. In Jun/14, can I apply for TN status at the border or for COS with I-129 with USCIS?
    Answer:

    Check with USCIS customer service, but my guess is if you travel outside the US while the EAD is pending, the EAD application is abandoned and would have to be refiled. The only reason I have some doubt that I am correct is because J-2 work authorization is a granted right, legally called "incidental to status.

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