USCIS FAQs

H-1B Extension beyond 6 Years; Stay Outside One year; Remainder Option

Authored on: Mon, 06/14/2021 - 05:46

Question

I stayed in US on H1b from 2013-18, almost 5 years and went back to India. In 2020(after 1 year of cooling period), my employer has filed new application for H1B and lottery got selected in 2020.
I got my visa stamped in April 2021 with a validity till 2023.Because of new location & salary mismatch, I had to file the amendment and this time I got the approval for next 9 months only till March 2022.
On further enquiry with my employer's immigration team, I came to know that USCIS has used the remaining 9 months on the first H1B. My queries are:
1. Does it mean I will be allowed around 7 consecutive years of stay in US( 9 months on older visa plus 6 years on new visa) or I need to come back to India and serve 1 year of cooling period after spending 9 months ?
2. Will my new visa be applicable once I spend 9 months of time in US?
3. Is there a way I can opt to take approval duration on the current visa only?

Answer

Video URL

Obtaining Asylum in the United States

Authored on: Wed, 08/07/2019 - 03:42

Question

What are the grounds for qualifying for asylum in the United States?

Answer

Qualified asylum-seekers are those who are fleeing persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.

For more information please visit this link: https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/refugees-asylum/asylum/obtaining-asylum-united-states

The Impact of the NTA Memo

Authored on: Tue, 08/21/2018 - 23:47

Question

Under new deportation and denial policy 2018, I have following questions if I want to renew green card after 10 years. Can green card renewal I 90 be denied because of some common errors like forgot to submit copy of old green card, or any court document ( removal proceedings canceled without prejudice). Will I get deported if GC is denied due to minor administrative error?

Answer

Watch the Video on this FAQ: The impact of the NTA memo

Video Script

Green card renewals have been pretty much an administrative process. It is like renewing your drivers licence. If your green card is denied due to a minor administrative process can you be deported? Well, even under NTA if they put you in deportation your lawyers can walk over the evidence of the error to the court. Right now USCIS has postponed implementing its NTA policy until further notice. Even if it gets implemented chances are that as and when the NTA policy get implemented, it would be more reasonable than the way they had announced. More...

Visit the blog section to read more about this policy: https://www.immigration.com/blogs/deportation-and-denial-policy-2018-ju…

 

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.

 

 

 


Section 245(k) Protection During AOS/I-485

Authored on: Thu, 08/02/2018 - 06:14

Question

1. For the Yes/No questions on I-485 form, I have answered all "No" at the time of filing as I was not even aware of this situation. I have no intentions of mis-stating the fact during interview and would like to mention it. But my question is would this be considered as un-authorized employment ? Should I say I'm not sure of this but mentioning it ?<br>
2. Also, after doing some research, looks like there is an exemption based on INA 245(k) and my case seems to be falling into this. Below is the link I was referring to. Am I correct in assuming so ?

Answer

Watch the Video on this FAQ: Section 245(K) protection during AOS/I-485

Video Transcript

This is a very important protection given to employment based applicants and their dependents when they apply for adjustment of status. What it says is that under Section 245(k) USCIS will forgive your being out of status or having worked without authorization for upto 180 days from the date of your last entry into the US immediately before you filed the I-485. 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.

RFE and Audit

Authored on: Tue, 06/27/2017 - 04:10

Question

What is RFE and audit of GC?

Answer

Watch the Video on this FAQ: RFE and Audit of GC

Video Transcript:

An RFE simply means a Request For Evidence, which is typically a request by the USCIS to get more information from you. It can come in any petition. RFE typically gives you 87 days to respond sometimes it gives you lesser days to respond. RFE, when it is sent by the consulate, is called administrative proceedings where they will give you a notice. When it is sent by the US Department of Labor it is called an Audit. An audit from the US Department of Labor is the same thing as RFE from the USCIS. It merely requests for more evidence. It doesn't mean the case is denied, it just means it needs to be clarified. 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.

Error by USCIS Giving Time Beyond 6 Years on H-1

Authored on: Fri, 12/05/2014 - 17:06

Question

Error in last H-1B extension- now I-140 approved and I have been working on H-1B since 2005. In between, I changed to -F1 and also spent time outside USA. Cumulatively, I would have completed six years of working on H-1B by March 30 2015, after excluding stays in USA on non-H-1B status and stays out of USA.I changed my job in Feb 2014 and have been working with this employer since then. At the time of change, the current employer filed for a H-1B petition and requested an extension for three years – from Jan-2014 until Jan 2017, even though, if I added up all the time of work on H-1B visa in USA, I would have completed six years by March 30 2015.
My I-140 has been approved this month. Now I do not know whether my employer should file for an extension of H-1B (assuming that without the I-140 approval, I was allowed to work until I completed six years of H-1B in USA) or not file for H-1B extension, because, the last extension is valid until Jan 2017.

Answer

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YV-qIlAEpI#t=1831

 

FAQ Transcript

What happens is sometimes, USCIS by mistake gives you more time than you are entitled soon for your H-1. Let's say your 6 years is getting over in one year and they give you 2 or 3 years by mistake.

Can you use that time?

And the answer is, that is very risky, don't do that because USCIS could say that you are deliberately misusing an error made by them. They can consider it to be a deport-able offense. It can be a mess. You should assume you have to go through whatever the correct date. You can even call USCIS, make notes of date and time of call etc. Ask them what they want you to do. This is something that your lawyer should be able to resolve. Have them talk with USCIS, protect yourself. Don't assume that because USCIS made an error and gave you more time, you can use it.

USCIS Stamps

Authored on: Fri, 08/29/2014 - 02:48

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

USCIS Updated Questions &Answers on the H-1B Employer-Employee Relationship

Authored on: Mon, 04/14/2014 - 06:03

Question

Does this memorandum change any of the requirements to establish eligibility for an H-1B petition?

Answer

No. This memorandum does not change any of the requirements for an H-1B petition. The H-1B regulations currently require that a United States employer establish that it has an employer-employee relationship with respect to the beneficiary, as indicated by the fact that it may hire, pay, fire, supervise or otherwise control the work of any such employee. In addition to demonstrating that a valid employer-employee relationship will exist between the petitioner and the beneficiary, the petitioner must continue to comply with all of the requirements for an H-1B petition including:

  • establishing that the beneficiary is coming to the United States temporarily to work in a specialty occupation;
  • demonstrating that the beneficiary is qualified to perform services in the specialty occupation; and
  • filing of a Labor Condition Application (LCA) specific to each location where the beneficiary will perform services.

See more at: http://www.immigration.com/news/h-1-visa/uscis-updated-questions-answer…



F-1 OPT Requirements

Authored on: Wed, 10/23/2013 - 05:33

Question

1. How do I apply for F-1 OPT?

2. How do I get a 17-month STEM extension of my post-completion OPT?

Answer

1. Once you receive a recommendation for post-completion OPT from your Designated School Official (DSO) to pursue OPT, you must apply for an employment authorization document (EAD) with USCIS within 30 days. Additionally, you may file up to 90 days prior to your program end-date and not later than 60 days after your program end date. 

2. If you have completed a qualifying Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM) degree, and you are currently in an approved post-completion OPT period based on a designated STEM degree, you may be eligible to apply for a 17-month STEM extension of your  post-completion OPT. For a STEM degree to qualify, it must appear on the STEM Designated Degree Program List. If you want to apply for a STEM extension, you must file for an extension of your EAD with USCIS before your current OPT work authorization expires. USCIS recommends that you file 90 days before the expiration of your OPT.   

For further information visit the USCIS page on F-1 OPT requirements

USCIS Immigrant Fee

Authored on: Thu, 09/12/2013 - 01:30

Question

How Do I Pay the USCIS Immigrant Fee?

Answer

The USCIS Immigrant Fee of $165 recovers USCIS costs related to immigrant visas granted by the U.S. Department of State at U.S. Embassies and Consulates.The fee covers the cost of USCIS processing, filing and maintaining immigrant visa packets, plus the cost of producing Permanent Resident Cards.

Foreign nationals who seek permanent residence in the United States and receive an immigrant visa from the Department of State need to pay the USCIS Immigrant Fee online before departing for the United States.

For more information please click here for the Customer Guide on Immigrant Fee Questions

FAQs on I-864 Affidavit of Support

Authored on: Thu, 08/22/2013 - 04:12

Question

1. When is the I-864 processing fee paid?

2. When does the NVC send instructions about the I-864, I-864W, I-864EZ and I-864A?

3. Is there a fee I will need to pay for the Affidavit of Support forms?

4. Is there a fee to review the Affidavit of Support at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad?

Answer

1. When your immigrant visa case is ready to begin processing at the NVC, the NVC will send an Affidavit of Support processing fee invoice and payment instructions to your petitioner.

2. If your petitioner pays the Affidavit of Support fee online, your petitioner will gain access to the Affidavit of Support Document Cover Sheet. The Document Cover Sheet will provide access to the Affidavit of Support Instructions. If your petitioner pays the Affidavit of Support fee using the Alternate Payment Method, your petitioner will receive instructions from the NVC after the fees are paid.

3. Yes, there is a $88 fee per case for reviewing the Affidavit of Support (Forms I-864, I-864A, I-864W and/or I-864EZ) when the form(s) is(are) filed in the U.S. SeeImmigrant Services - Other Fees.

4. No, when the I-130 and subsequent Affidavit of Support (AOS) form is filed outside the U.S. a fee is not charged.

Important Notice from DOS on  New Form I-864 - The National Visa Center (NVC), as well as U.S. embassies and consulates will accept either the 09/09/11 version or the newer (03/22/13) version of the Form I-864 until June 23, 2013. However, after June 23, 2013, only the newer version (03/22/13) of the form will be accepted. If an applicant already submitted an old 09/09/11version of the Form I-864 before June 23, applicants will NOT be required to submit a new version of the Form I-864 unless the embassy requires the submission of a new I-864 for some other reason.

Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate

Authored on: Wed, 08/21/2013 - 03:35

Question

Q1. What is FDNS?

Q2. What is the function of FDNS?

Answer

A1.  U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) created FDNS in 2004 in order to strengthen USCIS’s efforts to ensure immigration benefits are not granted to individuals who pose a threat to national security or public safety, or who seek to defraud our immigration system.  In 2010, FDNS was promoted to a Directorate which elevated the profile of this work within USCIS, brought about operational improvements, and enhanced the integration of the FDNS mission in all facets of the agency’s work.  Today FDNS continues to lead the USCIS effort to ensure the integrity of the nation’s immigration benefits processes. FDNS’s primary mission is to determine whether individuals or organizations filing for immigration benefits pose a threat to national security, public safety, or the integrity of the nation’s legal immigration system.  FDNS officers are located in every USCIS Center, District, Field, and Asylum Office.  FDNS officers are also located in other government agencies. 

Supporting the USCIS mission, FDNS’s objective is to enhance USCIS’s effectiveness and efficiency in detecting and removing known and suspected fraud from the application process, thus promoting the efficient processing of legitimate applications and petitions.

Q2.  FDNS officers resolve background check information and other concerns that surface during the processing of immigration benefit applications and petitions.  Resolution often requires communication with law enforcement or intelligence agencies to make sure that the information is relevant to the applicant or petitioner at hand and, if so, whether the information would have an impact on eligibility for the benefit.  

FDNS officers also perform checks of USCIS databases and public information, as well as other administrative inquiries, to verify information provided on, and in support of, applications and petitions.  Administrative inquiries may include:

1. Performance of fraud assessments – FDNS officers engage in fraud assessments (including Benefit Fraud and Compliance Assessments) to determine the types and volumes of fraud in certain immigration benefits programs;

2. Compliance Reviews – Systematic reviews of certain types of applications or petitions to ensure the integrity of the immigration benefits system, and

3. Targeted site visits – Inquiries conducted in cases where fraud is suspected.

FDNS uses the Fraud Detection and National Security Data System (FDNS-DS) to identify fraud and track potential patterns. 

 

USCIS has formed a partnership with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), in which FDNS pursues administrative inquiries into most application and petition fraud, while ICE conducts criminal investigations into major fraud conspiracies. 

 

Other Functions

FDNS also conducts Benefit Fraud and Compliance Assessments to identify the types and volumes of fraud and develop mitigation strategies to deter and disrupt fraud.

 

In July 2009, FDNS implemented the Administrative Site Visit and Verification Program (ASVVP) to conduct unannounced site inspections to verify information contained in certain visa petitions.  USCIS provides petitioners and their representatives of record (if any) an opportunity to review and address the information before denying or revoking an approved petition based on information obtained during a site inspection. To find out more please click here 

Time Taken by USCIS to Respond to a RFE

Authored on: Wed, 08/07/2013 - 06:07

Question

How much time does USCIS take to respond after the response to a RFE has been submitted?

Answer

If the petition was filed  under premium processing, the 15-day clock will restart when the response is received by USCIS.  If the petition was filed under regular processing, it generally takes two to six months for USCIS to respond.

Combining All USCIS Filing Fees In One Check

Authored on: Mon, 04/15/2013 - 04:08

Question

Can one check be sent, combining all USCIS filing fees?

Answer

If you provide all filing fees in one check and have added incorrectly, your petition will be rejected.  USCIS recommends using separate checks for each filing fee, particularly the premium processing fee.

Proof of Speeding Tickets During an N-400 Interview

Authored on: Sat, 03/30/2013 - 05:45

Question

Should applicants provide proof of speeding tickets during an N-400 interview?

Answer

Applicant should try to provide proof of the ticket and proof of payment of any fine or additional penalties for any tickets over the past five years.

Applicants for Naturalization to Demonstrate Ability to Read, Write, Speak,and Understand English

Authored on: Sat, 03/30/2013 - 05:40

Question

Assuming all other criteria are met, under what circumstances will an application for naturalization be denied where the applicant passed the English test and responded meaningfully to all interview questions, but allegedly does not understand the oath of allegiance? Please provide examples, if possible.

Answer

USCIS says that applicants for naturalization are required to demonstrate an ability to read, write, speak,and understand English.  The ability to read and write English is determined byadministering the reading and writing tests to the applicant.  An applicant’s ability to understand and speak English is determined by the applicant’s ability to understand and speak English during the interview.  This includes responding to all questions on the application including understanding the oath requirements.  When an applicant cannot demonstrate the ability to understand the oath (or other questions crucial to making aneligibility determination), the application will be denied as not fulfilling the English requirement. It should be noted that officers are trained to give applicants multiple opportunities to respond to questions when they appear to have difficulty understanding.  They do this by restating the question in multiple ways.

Application for Naturalization Denied for Lack of Good Moral Character

Authored on: Sat, 03/30/2013 - 05:35

Question

Assuming no other negative factors, under what circumstances will an application for naturalization be denied for lack of good moral character if USCIS determines that an applicant received benefits for which he or she was not entitled? What if the applicant pays back or is paying back the amount owed? Does it matter the extent to which the benefits were received fraudulently (with intent) vs. inadvertently/unknowingly?

Answer

USCIS says that these situations are reviewed on a case-by-case basis looking at all of the factors in the case and that intent would certainly be a factor to consider.

Naturalization Cases Involving Outstanding Tax

Authored on: Sat, 03/30/2013 - 05:31

Question

USCIS notes that naturalization may be denied in the exercise of discretion if an applicant fails to file required tax returns or owes back taxes. Assuming no other negative factors, under what circumstances will USCIS deny an application for naturalization in an exercise of discretion for lack of good moral character where the applicant has filed all required taxes correctly, has a tax debt, has come to a formal agreement with the IRS or other tax authority to repay the taxes owed, and is paying off the debt?

Answer

USCIS instructs officers to accept proof that regular tax payments are being made.  USCIS says that all N-400 cases involving an outstanding tax debt will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, looking at the totality of circumstances.

Procedure for Filing the I-824

Authored on: Fri, 12/21/2012 - 02:21

Question

What is the procedure for filing the I-824?

Answer

The I-824 needs to be filed concurrently. Once the I-485 approval is done, the I-824 must be adjudicated. Any further delays should be reported to USCIS.

I-765 combo card

Authored on: Fri, 12/21/2012 - 02:19

Question

How many photos are required for the I-765 combo card?

Answer

USCIS has made it clear that only two photos are required for the I-765 combo card.

Premium Processing for EB-1-3

Authored on: Wed, 12/05/2012 - 01:42

Question

Has USCIS provided an update on premium processing for EB-1-3 multinational managers and executives. At the AILA conference in Nashville, it was reported that it would be available by the end of the fiscal year.

Answer

USCIS does not anticipate expanding Premium Processing Service to include EB-1-3 multinational executives and managers for the foreseeable future.

Naturalization Procedures at Atlanta Office

Authored on: Mon, 11/19/2012 - 10:30

Question

Will the USCIS Atlanta Office go back to swearing in applicants on the same day as the interview?

Answer

It is unlikely that the Atlanta District Office will resume swearing-in applicants on the same day as the N-400 interview, aside from customers who come from Alabama or at least four hours away, who CIS makes every effort to swear in the same day due to the distance traveled for the interview. It is unable to do so for applicants who live closer to the local office because the room where oath ceremonies are conducted isn’t large enough to accommodate the number of applicants being interviewed per day. Currently, USCIS is having two ceremonies a day (in the morning and again in the afternoon) and is holding additional ceremonies on Fridays and at the National Archives. This has helped but it’s not a perfect solution. USCIS also has to consider the quality review checks that must be done for each case before an applicant can be sworn in. It found that the quality review was too rushed when swearing in applicants the same day, so it continues to explore options for balancing the volume of cases, the desire of customers to be naturalized as soon as possible, and the agency’s internal needs.

Recanting of Misrepresentation in Naturalization Application

Authored on: Sun, 11/11/2012 - 23:56

Question

With regard to any removal risk, how would USCIS view a voluntary recanting of an intentional misrepresentation in a naturalization application? For example, what if the beneficiary brings the issue to USCIS’s attention and formally withdraws the misrepresentation, thereby subjecting him/herself to denaturalization?

Answer

USCIS would submit the case to Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) counsel for determination.

Misrepresentation in Naturalization Application

Authored on: Sun, 11/11/2012 - 23:54

Question

If there is a knowing misrepresentation in a naturalization application, as opposed to a simple failure to disclose, would this lead to removal proceedings in addition to denaturalization?

Answer

It might.  If Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) counsel proceeds with denaturalization and is successful, removal proceedings may be instituted.

Denaturalization

Authored on: Sun, 11/11/2012 - 23:51

Question

How does USICS handle a situation when, during a marriage-based adjustment application, it transpires that there might have been an eligibility issue with the Naturalization application of the U.S. Citizen (USC) spouse petitioner? For example, it is discovered that divorce proceedings had been initiated after the naturalization application was filed,but prior to the interview and the divorce was finalized soon after the oath, and eligibility being based on three years of residence in marital union with USC. What factual issues arise and what is the standard for proceeding with an action for denaturalization?

Answer

If USCIS determines that an applicant for naturalization was not eligible to naturalize, the evidence is obtained and submitted to Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) counsel for determination of denaturalization.

Naturalization after Extended Absence

Authored on: Sun, 11/11/2012 - 23:48

Question

What is the USCIS approach to an application for Naturalization that shows that the applicant has continually resided in the U.S. for several years in addition to the statutory period, but might have had a prior extended absence after becoming an LPR?

Answer

These applications are decided on a case-by-case basis.

Evidence of Legal Permanent Resident Status

Authored on: Sun, 11/11/2012 - 23:42

Question

If a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) needs proof of LPR status, USCIS provides an ADIT stamp in the passport.This is not done often because the card is usually manufactured and delivered very quickly for newly approved applicants. However, for those in removal proceedings, the ADIT stamp is still needed.For those without passports and for those with expired passports, in the past, USCIS issued the ADIT stamp and a seal on an I-94 card to which a photo of the LPR was attached. Has there been a change to this process?Can an attorney with a G-28 attend with an INFOPASS on behalf of the client for ADIT stamp issuance? Is there any requirement for the client to be physically present?Does it make a difference if the LPR has been ordered by an Immigration Judge to be removed but an Appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) is still pending? (The person is still an LPR until the BIA decision).

Answer

There have been no changes to this policy.  USCIS does not issue ADIT stamps routinely as the applicant should be receiving I-551s within several weeks. If the LPR status has recently being granted, the only reason USCIS would provide an ADIT stamp is in the case of emergencies and with proof of the emergency, along with a travel itinerary/tickets.For those in removal proceedings, USCIS will stamp either a passport or an I-94.The I-94 will be marked “Pending  IJ Order” or “Pending 240 Hearing.”  The applicant must be physically present in the office to receive an ADIT stamp.  If a person has a final removal order, but the case is pending before the BIA, then he or she is considered an LPR until the decision is final.