US Immigration Questions

  1. Wednesday,...
    Question: Can we apply for indefinite H-1 extensions( on yearly basis) based on PERM appeal as long as your case is still in appeal?

    As long as PERM appeal is pending (Not, MTR), you can apply for one-year H-1 extensions indefinitely, even beyond 6 years.

  2. Tuesday, 26...
    Question: What is an EAD?

    What is an EAD?  

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

    Why does my new EAD look different than my prior one 

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

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

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

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

    • If you are an asylee or refugee

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    How do I apply for an Employment Authorization Document?  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Initial EAD  

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

    Renewal EAD  

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

     Replacement EAD  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    under category (c)(18) 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    When am I eligible for an Interim EAD? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Why is USCIS changing the validity period for some EADs?  

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

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

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

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

    Will the new EAD affect my current valid EAD card?  

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

    Why USCIS redesigned the Employment card?  

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

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

  3. Monday, 25...
    Question: What is consular processing?

    The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) offers an individual two primary paths to permanent resident status (a green card). An individual who is the beneficiary of an approved immigrant petition and has an immigrant visa number immediately available may apply at a U.S. Department of State consulate abroad for an immigrant visa in order to come to the United States and be admitted as a permanent resident. This pathway is referred to as “consular processing.” 

    Adjustment of status is an alternate process by which an eligible person, who is already in the United States, can apply for permanent resident status without having to return to his/her home country to complete processing. For more information, see our Adjustment of Status page .

    Steps for Consular Processing

    1. Determine Your Basis to Immigrate

    The first step in consular processing is to determine if you fit into a specific immigrant category. Most immigrants become eligible for a green card (permanent residence) through a petition filed on your behalf by a family member or employer.  Others become permanent residents through first obtaining refugee or asylum status, or through a number of other special provisions.  To see the many different ways to get a green card, see the links to the left. 

    2. File the Immigrant Petition

    When you know what category you believe best fits your situation, in most cases, you will need to have an immigrant petition filed on your behalf.

    • Family Based

    Family based categories require that a U.S. citizen or permanent resident relative file a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, for you. For more information, see our Family page.

    • Employment Based

    Employment based categories most often require the intending U.S. employer to file a Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker, for you.  Entrepreneurs who intend to invest significant amounts of capital into a business venture in the United States may file Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur” on their own behalf. For more information, see Working in the U.S. page.

    • Special Classes of Immigrants

    In some cases, certain immigrants may file a Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), and Special Immigrant, or have one filed on their behalf.

    • Humanitarian Programs

    Most humanitarian programs do not require an underlying petition, although individuals may need to meet additional requirements before they can adjust status. For more information, see Humanitarian page.

    Although immigrant petitions are filed with USCIS, In some cases, an I-130 petition may be filed for an immediate relative (spouse, child, or parent of a U.S. citizen) with a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. Situations where this may be applicable include:

    • If the U.S. citizen has been authorized to be continuously residing within the jurisdiction of the consular office for at least the previous 6 months
    • Members of the military
    • Emergency situations
    • Situations involving the health or safety of the petitioner
    • When in the national interests of the United States

    Please check with the consulate before submitting a petition.  For more information, see the U.S. Department of State website.  

    3. Wait for a Decision on Your Petition

    USCIS notifies the petitioner of a decision.  If the petition is denied, the notice will include the reasons for denying the petition and any rights to appeal the decision.  If the petition is approved and if you are the beneficiary of the petition and living outside the United States or living in the United States, but choose to apply for your immigrant visa abroad, USCIS will then send the approved petition to the Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC), where it will remain until an immigrant visa number is available. See Visa Availability & Priority Dates pages for more information. 

    4. Wait for Notification from the National Visa Center

    The National Visa Center, which is responsible for the collection of visa application fees and supporting documentation, will notify the petitioner and beneficiary when the visa petition is received and again when an immigrant visa number is about to become available. They will also notify the petitioner and beneficiary of when they must submit immigrant visa processing fees (commonly referred to as “fee bills”) and when supporting documentation must be submitted. 

    5. Go to Your Appointment

    Once a visa is available or a beneficiary’s priority date is current (earlier than the cut-off date listed in the monthly Visa Bulletin),the consular office will schedule the applicant for an interview. The consular office will complete processing of the applicant’s case and decide if the beneficiary is eligible for an immigrant visa.

    6. Notify the National Visa Center of Any Changes

    You do not need to contact the National Visa Center about your petition, they will contact you for the information they need.  You should, however, contact the NVC if there is a change in your personal situation or if you change your address. For NVC contact information, see the “NVC Contact Information” link to the right. It is important to notify the NVC if you reach the age of 21 for a child or have a change in your marital status, as this may affect your eligibility or visa availability.

    7. After Your Visa is Granted

    If you are granted an immigrant visa, the consular officer will give you a packet of information.  This packet is known as a “Visa Packet.”  You should not open this packet. 

    Upon your arrival to the United States, you should give your Visa Packet to the Customs and Border Protection officer at the port of entry. You will be inspected by a Customs and Border Protection officer and if found admissible, will be admitted as a permanent resident of the United States, which gives you the authority to live and work in the United States permanently. 

    8. Receive Your Green Card

    You will be mailed your green card.  If you do not receive your green card within 30 days of your arrival, please call the USCIS National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 or visit your local office by making an InfoPass appointment.  Make an appointment by visiting the Infopass page.

  4. Thursday,...
    Question: What is Administrative Processing?

    Some visa applications require further administrative processing, which takes additional time after the visa applicant's interview by a Consular Officer. Applicants are advised of this requirement when they apply. Most administrative processing is resolved within 60 days of the visa interview. Learn more.

  5. Wednesday,...
    Question: 1. Does the FBI accept personal checks, business checks, or cash? 2. Do you have procedures for expeditious handling? 3. Where can I get my fingerprints taken? 4. What if my fingerprints are continuously rejected? 5. Can I use the fingerprint card I download from this site? 6. Will my fingerprint card be returned? 7. How do I notify the FBI if my address has changed since I submitted my request for my Criminal History Summary or if I want to verify my correct address was submitted? 8. Does the FBI provide apostilles*? 9. How do I challenge my FBI record? 10. How can law enforcement entities request certified copies of fingerprints and/or Criminal History Summary information?

    1. No. Do not send personal checksbusiness checks, or cash, as they are not an acceptable form of payment for Departmental Order (DO) requests. Personal or business checks submitted with a DO request will not be returned. The CJIS Division will destroy the monetary instrument and will provide the customer a letter explaining why the monetary instrument could not be used.

    2. No. The CJIS Division does not expedite requests; however, an expedited response may be provided by an FBI-approved Channeler.

    3. Your local, county, or state law enforcement agencies may take your fingerprints for a fee. Also, someprinting companies offer this service; check the yellow pages in your telephone book or search online. If using the Channeler option, please contact the FBI-approved Channeler for additional information.

    4. Have multiple sets of fingerprints taken, preferably by a fingerprinting technician. (This service may be available at a law enforcement agency). Mail all fingerprint forms to the CJIS Division with your request. For more information on taking legible fingerprints, refer to the Recording Legible Fingerprints brochureHave multiple sets of fingerprints taken, preferably by a fingerprinting technician. (This service may be available at a law enforcement agency). Mail all fingerprint forms to the CJIS Division with your request. For more information on taking legible fingerprints, refer to the Recording Legible Fingerprints brochure.

    5. Yes, but if you go to a law enforcement agency or private fingerprinting agency to be fingerprinted, they may prefer to use a fingerprint card on standard card stock. You may use the fingerprint card provided by the printing agency.

    6. No. Due to concerns related to the protection of personally identifiable information, fingerprint cards are no longer being returned either for a “no summary” response or with a Criminal History Summary.

    7. Please complete and sign the Address Change Request Form and fax it to (304) 625-9792, or scan the form and e-mail it to

    Note: Changes will not be made unless a signature is present on the form.

    8. (*An apostille is a certification that a document has been “legalized” or “authenticated” by the issuing agency through a process in which various seals are placed on the document.)

    The CJIS Division will authenticate all U.S. Department of Justice Order 556-73 fingerprint search results by placing the FBI seal and the signature of a division official on the results at the time of submission.Note: The FBI seal is no longer a raised seal. Documents authenticated by the FBI may then be sent to the U.S. Department of State by the requestor to obtain an apostille if necessary. Requests to authenticate previously processed results will not be accepted. Note: If a Channeler will be used and an authentication (apostille) is needed, please contact the Channeler to determine if this service is provided.


    9. Review the Challenge of a Criminal History Summary to obtain information regarding your FBI Criminal History Summary.


    10. Visit the Certified Copies of Fingerprint and/or Criminal History Summaries page to obtain information on requesting certified copies of fingerprints and/or Criminal History Summary information by law enforcement entities.

    Note: An individual cannot request a certified copy of fingerprints and/or Criminal History Summary information.


    For more information please visit this link

  6. Wednesday,...
    Question: 1. What is the Foreign Labor Certification Process? 2. How long will the employment-based visa process take? 3. Are there any employment-based immigration fees? 4. How do I find out the status of my permanent case?

    1. The actual process for the Foreign Labor Certification varies depending upon the program being used. This website contains information regarding the process for filing for each of the programs under the Department of Labor's (DOL) jurisdiction. The filing of applications is the responsibility of the employer, not the employee. However, the employee can benefit from understanding the program being utilized in his/her behalf. In general the Department of Labor works to ensure that the admission of foreign workers to work in the U.S. will not adversely affect the job opportunities, wages and working conditions of U.S. workers. Once a Foreign Labor Certification application has been approved by the DOL, the employer will need to seek the immigration authorization from USCIS.

    2. Depending upon the nature of the program the process for filing could vary between months and years. To be of assistance, we have provided on our Web site the current processing times in the DOL regions and states. Currently, the process to obtain an employment based temporary labor certification (H-2A, H-2B) usually may take months through the state agency and the DOL regional office. However, H-1B processing usually only takes seven working days. The process to obtain an employment based permanent labor certification can sometimes take up to several months after completing the necessary recruitment steps and filing the application with the National Processing Center. The PERM Processing Times are updated monthly and available for view at

    For the employment-based permanent visa, the USCIS may take up to an additional 9 months to process the request. USCIS will provide"premium processing" for some visa categories with an additional fee.


    3. Most programs administered by the DOL do not charge fees for a foreign labor certification. Every program does, however, require fees be paid to the USCIS upon filing an application for a visa or greencard. See the individual program (H-2A) for details regarding DOL fees. See the USCIS site for details regarding USCIS fees.


    4. An employer should pro-actively and regularly, advisably once a month or less, monitor the status of an electronically filed labor certification application via the Permanent Case Management System, and compare its filing date, i.e., the date the application was submitted for processing, to the PERM processing times posted on the iCERT Visa Portal System ( If there is more than a 30-day difference between the employer's filing date and the PERM processing time, the employer may contact the National Processing Center (NPC) for a status update.

    An employer who filed a labor certification application via mail may contact the National Processing Center's Help Desk at 404-893-0101 for a status update.

  7. Thursday,...
    Question: An experience from our community reader: I did not have to go through the grueling J-1 HRR process from India. A matter of fact for your reference, a lot of students coming from India to US on J-1 for internship or completing their last semester are put on J-1 HRR directly without any inquiry into their application at the visa window. This causes a lot of stress to individuals under J-1 HRR and very few know that J-1 HRR Advisory opinion exists. I had been reading a lot of articles and on the USIEF website when I came to know about this and applied to see after 2 months that the J-1 HRR was never applicable to me.

    Rajiv's Response:

    Thanks for sharing. People, note, it is a good idea to confirm whether or not you are in fact subject to the HRR. We have been doing that for years in cases where there is a likelihood that you are not subject to HRR. Two typical situations where you may NOT be:

    1. No US federal government funding (reinforced by suffix "P" instead of "G" in your program number) and

    2. Your specialization is not on the country skills list.

  8. Tuesday, 29...
    Question: 1. I am currently on an L-1 visa but I am thinking of resigning my job. I have an Australian passport, so if I do so could I just change my status to the Visa Waiver Program or would I need to physically exit and re-enter the country? 2. If I subsequently wish to stay longer than 90 days under the visa waiver program, am I able to simply exit and re-enter the country to restart the 90 day period?

    1. You will have to exit and reenter OR apply for a change of status to USCIS.

    2. This is not guaranteed to work. CBP can decline second entry if they wish.

  9. Monday, 28...
    Question: 1. Are children required to have chest x-rays or blood tests? 2. What if the applicant is mentally retarded or has a learning disability? 3. What is the legal basis for requesting medical information for visa applicants? 4. What should the applicant expect at the medical examination?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  10. Thursday,...
    Question: How do I schedule a conference call?

    Rajiv hosts a free community conference call for immigration related questions every other Thursday. You can post questions for the call if you are a member of the forums. Membership is immediate and free for life. (Click here to register ). Even if you are not a member, you can dial into the call and also ask questions if there is time left after Rajiv has answered the questions posted for the call by members.

    Click here for Conference Call Schedule

    The time and dial-in details are as follows:

    Topic: General Immigration Related Questions
    Start Time: 12:30 PM, EST
    End Time: 1:30 PM, EST

    Conference Dial-in: 202-800-8394

    NOTE: This call does not mean that we have agreed to represent you or that there is an attorney-client relationship between us. This is merely a community service. You should discuss the specifics of your case with the attorney representing you.

    1. Link to the Conference Call forum,
    2. A new thread will be opened in the forum as soon as the previous call recording is uploaded. This thread will be closed when we receive 20 questions. If the thread is closed, you can always call in to the conference call and if there is time available, Rajiv will take your question. Else, please post your question for the next call.
    3. You are requested to post your questions in the thread. Please be brief and to the point and present questions in a clear manner that should require short answers so that we can cover maximum possible ground. If you have not posted your question in the forum, there might not be any time during the conference call to assist you. We can try but there is no guarantee that we will be able to answer all questions.
    Our recommendation is: 
    a) Post your questions in the forum ahead of time.
    b) Be present at the conference. If you are unable to do so for some reason, you can listen to the recordings that will be made available after the conference is over. 
    c) Wait for the next conference if you were unable to post your question this time. 
    d) If a question similar to the one you are asking has already been posted, you do not need to post it again. Then, you can just join the conference to hear the answer or listen to the recording later. 
    4. The questions will be answered in the order in which they have been posted.
    6. We do not guarantee that an answer will be provided to every question posted.

    On the conference day
    1. Note that this is an open call and will be recorded. You might want to preserve your confidential information like your name and other personal details. Also, note that your voice shall be recorded.
    2. Call in the conference number and follow the prompts. We suggest that you call in 8 min. earlier than the start time so as to not lose a spot. 
    3. The conference will be started in presentation mode. This means that you will only be able to listen. 
    4. If you have posted your question earlier in the thread, call in early or you may miss your answer. If so, you can listen to the recording later.
    5. Everyone who participates in the conference call will be dialing a regular number (not toll-free/1-800) and depending on your long-distance plan or phone service, you may be charged long distance fees by your own service provider.
    6. After the conference call is over, a link will be posted on the forums to listen to the recording.

  11. Wednesday,...
    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?

    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

  12. Thursday,...
    Question: I currently have a J-1 (for four more years, no HRR). I am thinking about applying for an EB2-NIW. The question is, if I don't get the EB-2, will I have problems with traveling with my J-1? Can the officers at the airport know that I was denied an EB-2 and thus showed immigration intent?

    Exhibiting immigrant intent CAN be a problem for J-1. It is not certain that you will have a problem, but the potential does exist.

  13. Monday, 7...
    Question: I am currently on my Post-completion OPT. I was recently hired as an IT by a company which agreed to sponsor my H-1B. My OPT expires on January 2013. I've done my Associate Degree in Computer Science. Also, I have BS in Computer Science but from foreign country. Seven year experience in IT.I had my BS evaluated recently. It is equivalent to US Bachelors Degree in Computer Science Computer Technology. Q1: I will have a gap of 3 months before April 1. How to maintain my status? Q2: I am under STEM not with my US AAS but with my foreign BS degree. Can I extend my OPT with my evaluated diploma?

    A1. You can consider going back to school or B-1/B-2 status. There is information on our blog on B-1/B-2 to maintain status.

    A2. STEM OPT extension is only for US bachelor's or above. Foreign degree does not help in that.

  14. Friday, 4...
    Question: 1. Our employees are deployed at government sites. Are we still obliged to pay the H-1 wage? 2. Can we ask such employees to use their paid leave?

    A1. Yes. In my view, that obligation continues unabated.

    A2. No. If the employees voluntarily wish to do so for their convenience, I feel that would be legal. But the employer may not force employees to do so.

  15. Tuesday, 1...
    Question: I do not have an I-94 from my last entry to the US in June, but I need it for my H-1B renewal. What should I do?

    Please refer to the following link for information on printing your I-94:

  16. Tuesday, 1...
    Question: When should my H-1B petition for an extension be filed?

    An H-1B petition for extension may be submitted to USCIS no more than 6 months prior to the expiration of the current H-1B status.

  17. Tuesday, 24...
    Question: I am a Registered Nurse. My employer filled an I-140 in January 2010 for me which was approved. My priority date is now current. Right now, I had to get a new employer because my former employer has decided not to continue the sponsorship because of economic issues. What are the steps my new employer has to go through to sponsor me for the green card.

    1. Get an H-1 transfer.

    2. Start another green card (Just I-140) since you are an RN. You will carry the priority date from the old I-140.

  18. Tuesday, 17...
    Question: I am a brand new citizen and I am filing papers to bring my parents from England to NY to live with my husband and our four children. As I understand it once they get their interview and medical stuff out of the way, and get their visas do they enter as Legal Permanent residences?

    They will enter the USA as permanent residents. The duration of the immigrant visa is stated on the visa stamp (I think it will be 6 months) and they must enter the USA within that time. They can come and leave after they get their green card in the USA. Read the instructions on the Form I-131 for reentry permit if they expect to be gone for 6 months or more.

  19. Thursday,...
    Question: How Do I Pay the USCIS Immigrant Fee?

    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

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

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


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