US Immigration Questions

  1. Wednesday,...
    Question:
    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. 

  2. Thursday,...
    Question:
    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
  3. Tuesday, 8...
    Question:
    Answer:

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

  4. Tuesday, 24...
    Question:
    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.

  5. Friday, 6...
    Question:
    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
  6. Friday, 6...
    Question:
    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
  7. Thursday,...
    Question:
    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.

  8. Thursday,...
    Question:
    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.

  9. Wednesday,...
    Question:
    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!  

  10. Monday, 5...
    Question:
    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. 

  11. Monday, 5...
    Question:
    Answer:

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

  12. Tuesday, 22...
    Question:
    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.

  13. Tuesday, 22...
    Question:
    Answer:

    Internships do qualify as experience. You need to get your degrees evaluated under AACAO EDGE standards first .

  14. Monday, 14...
    Question:
    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-answers...



  15. Friday, 28...
    Question:
    Answer:

    This question is raised often and debated much amongst lawyers focusing their practice on employment-based immigration.  I have a call scheduled with a corporate client who is considering the legality of accepting a volunteer in their for-profit IT business.

    I intend to inform them that under US immigration laws, if the work is performed for NO remuneration or other benefits, it would not violate the law. This issue has been explored in my blog entry here.

    The problem, however, is that the Fair Labor Standards Act (Federal Law) does not permit for-profit employers to hire unpaid "interns" or "volunteers." See this link for FLSA standards according to US Department of Labor. There has been considerable litigation on this issue with employers on the losing side. So, please consult your employment law counsel before deciding on retaining the services of unpaid employees.

  16. Wednesday,...
    Question:
    Answer:

    Employees retain PD even if the old employer withdraws the approved I-140. PD is lost only if USCIS revokes I-140 for fraud/misrepresentation. Do remember, however, there is no right to H-1 extensions based upon a withdrawn I-140. 

  17. Tuesday, 18...
    Question:
    Answer:

    That is covered by section 222(g) of INA. See this link: http://www.uscis.gov.edgesuite-staging.net/ilink/docView/SLB/HTML/SLB/0-...

    "(g) 2/ (1) In the case of an alien who has been admitted on the basis of a nonimmigrant visa and remained in the United States beyond the period of stay authorized by the Attorney General, such visa shall be void beginning after the conclusion of such period of stay."

  18. Wednesday,...
    Question:
    Answer:

    1. You can apply for green card without any wait.
    2. Yes, but EB-1 is a gazillion times faster for Indian-born people.
    3. Degree is not a requirement for international managers/execs.
    4. Your employer needs to apply. 

  19. Thursday,...
    Question:
    Answer:

    This section of the FAQ applies to continuing F-1 students who travel outside the United States for five months or less.

    Students should consult their Designated School Official (DSO) prior to traveling. Your DSO generally works in the International Student Office. You must have a current SEVIS Form I-20 endorsed for travel and your DSO needs to be able to verify that your SEVIS record is accurate and up-to-date.

    1. What are the basic requirements for an F-1 to reenter the United States after traveling abroad on pleasure or personal business?

    • A Form I-20, endorsed for travel and signed by your DSO
    • You have been out of the United States for less than five months
    • A current passport valid for at least six months after the date of your reentry or, if you are from one of the countries listed below, a passport that is current through the date of entry
    • A valid, current visa or you traveled to contiguous country or adjacent island for less than thirty days
    • Financial information showing proof of necessary funds to cover tuition and living expenses

    If you are from a visa exempt country, you do not need a visa to reenter the United States from the western hemisphere, but make sure that you present your I-20 to be admitted as an F-1 student and not a visitor.

    2. What if my F-1 student visa has expired?

    You can stay in the United States on an expired F-1 visa as long as you maintain your student status. However, if you are returning home or traveling to a country where automatic revalidation does not apply, you must have a valid visa to return to the United States.

    Ensure that you have all the documentation you need for your visa application and allow sufficient time for processing a new visa. The documentation you may need for a new visa includes, but is not limited to the following:

    • A Form I-20, endorsed for travel and signed by your DSO (see your DSO before you travel)
    • Original evidence showing proof of necessary funds to cover tuition and living expenses
    • Evidence showing your intention to return to your home country upon program completion, including evidence of compelling social and economic ties to your home country
    • If you have applied for or had optional practical training (OPT) approved, bring a copy of your Form I-20 endorsed for OPT and your Employment Authorization Document (EAD), if you have one

    The Department of State recommends that you apply for a visa in your home country. For more information about visa applications visit the Department of State (DoS) website at http://travel.state.gov/.

    You can apply in a third country for a visa, but you will not be able to return to the United States until DoS issues your visa. In some cases, this could take several weeks if DoS requires a background check. If DoS denies your visa, you will not be able to return to the United States. Be sure to check the DoS website for specific information pertaining to each embassy or consulate.

     

    If you have an expired visa and a terminated record, we strongly advise that you do not travel outside the United States until your SEVIS record shows that you are in active status. If you do travel, you may not be able to renew your visa or return to the United States.

    3. As a continuing student, will I need to pay the I-901 SEVIS fee if I travel outside the United States?

    No. See the I-901 FAQ for detailed information on the I-901 SEVIS fee.

    4. I wish to travel to Canada, Mexico, or one of the islands (other than Cuba) adjacent to the United States. Can I return if my visa is expired?

    Yes, in most cases. You can usually revalidate an expired visa automatically when returning from a visit of less than thirty days to Canada, Mexico, or one of the islands adjacent to the United States (other than Cuba) provided that you have a valid Form I-20 and a valid unexpired Form I-94. This process is known as automatic visa revalidation.

    However, if you meet any one of following criteria, you will not be able to automatically revalidate your visa.

    • You applied for a new visa and DoS has not yet issued it to you
    • You applied for a new visa and DoS denied the application
    • You have a terminated SEVIS record indicating that you are out of status
    • You have been out the United States for more than thirty days

    5. Which islands are defined as “adjacent islands”?

    The adjacent islands are:

    • Saint Pierre
    • Miquelon
    • Cuba
    • The Dominican Republic
    • Haiti
    • Bermuda
    • The Bahamas
    • Barbados
    • Jamaica
    • The Windward and Leeward Islands
    • Trinidad
    • Martinique
    • Other British, French, and Netherlands territory or possessions in or bordering on the Caribbean Sea

    ( INA, Section 101(b)(5))

    6. How do I know if I have a terminated record in SEVIS?

    Your DSO can tell you your SEVIS record status and give you appropriate travel related advice.

    7. I want to travel outside the United States, but my SEVIS record is in terminated status. Can I return if I travel?

    If you need to travel on a terminated record, you must first visit your DSO. If your school has requested a data fix, the DSO will put your help desk ticket number on your Form I-20 and report your pending travel to SEVP.

    There is no guarantee that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will readmit you to the United States if you travel on a terminated record. In most cases, CBP inspectors will allow you to reenter the United States if you are otherwise admissible and your DSO has properly annotated your Form I-20. It is likely, however, that the CBP officer at the port of entry will send you to secondary inspection while they determine whether you are eligible to return to the United States.

    8. Can I travel outside the United States if I have a Form I-485 adjustment of status application pending?

    No, not without advance permission. If you depart the United States with a pending Form I-485, you have abandoned your application unless you receive permission in advance from USCIS to return to the United States. We call this Advance Parole. Additionally, CBP may also consider you ineligible to return to the United States as an F-1 student because your application to change status to that of a permanent resident is evidence of intent to immigrate, which is inconsistent with nonimmigrant student status.

    9. Can I reestablish F-1 student status by obtaining a new initial Form I-20 and reentering the United States?

    Yes. However, you will be considered an initial student for SEVIS purposes. You will have to pay the I-901 SEVIS fee again and you will lose any time that you have accrued toward qualification for training (OPT) or employment.

    You must have the new Form I-20 showing that you are entering on a new SEVIS ID number.

    You should be aware that the CBP inspecting officer will determine whether or not to admit you to the United States with the new Form I-20. If you did not comply with the terms of your status during a prior stay in the United States, the CBP officer may decide that you are not eligible to reenter.

    10. Can I reenter during the 60-day period after finishing my program or OPT?

    No. The 60-day “grace” period is only to prepare to leave the country.

    11. Can I reenter if my request for OPT is pending?

    Yes, but traveling during this time should be undertaken with caution. USCIS may send you a request for evidence while you are away, however, so you would want to make sure you have provided a correct U.S. address both to your DSO and on the application and would be able to send in requested documents. Also, if USCIS approves your OPT application, you will be expected to have your EAD in hand to re-enter the United States. Like a request for further information, USCIS can only send the EAD to your U.S. address.

    12. Can I reenter if I left while on OPT?

    If USCIS has approved your OPT you will be expected to have your EAD in hand to re-enter the United States, in addition to your Form I-20, valid passport and visa, and a letter of employment if you have one. If you exceed the limits on unemployment while outside the United States, you will not be eligible to re-enter the United States in F-1 status.

    13. Are there any other requirements for travel outside the United States?

    The questions above outline the general requirements for reentry for F-1 students. However, because individual circumstances vary, consult your DSO, embassy, or legal advisor before traveling. Planning for your trip early ensures that you have enough time to get all of your travel documents in order.

    If you are not returning to your home country, you should check the requirements of the country you are visiting. Some countries require a visa. You may also need a transit visa for countries where you are making a connecting flight. Be sure to check before you travel. Most countries have immigration websites that provide visa information. If you have additional questions, please contact SEVP atSEVP@ice.dhs.gov or call us at 703-603-3400.

    For more information please visit this link: http://www.ice.gov/sevis/travel/faq_f2.htm



     


     


  20. Wednesday,...
    Question:
    Answer:

    When your application for H-1 is filed within 60 days of OPT expiring and within the time for the H-1 quota, you are protected by cap gap extension rules. See: http://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/temporary-workers/h-1b-specia... 

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