The President’s Immigration Accountability Executive Actions

November 21, 2014

On Thursday, November 20, 2014, President Barak Obama announced his Temporary Plans to fix our broken immigration system.

The President’s Immigration Accountability Executive Actions will help secure the border, hold nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants accountable and ensure that everyone plays by the same rules.

As an Immigration Attorney, I see the results of our broken system every day and in the absence of Congressional action, the President had to act. While a lot of the details are still waiting to be filled in, we know that many of these changes will make a real impact. We are aware that these initiatives are not going to help everyone, as not everyone will be eligible. Therefore, we need to continue to pressure Congress into finishing the job by passing a bipartisan Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill.

The initiatives as announced by the President include:

• Expanding the population eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to young people who came to this country before turning 16 years old and have been present since January 1, 2010, and extending the period of DACA and work authorization from two years to three years

• Allowing parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who have been in the country since January 1, 2010, to request deferred action and employment authorization for three years, in a new Deferred Action for Parental Accountability program, provided they pass required background checks

• Expanding the use of provisional waivers of unlawful presence to include the spouses and sons and daughters of lawful permanent residents and the sons and daughters of U.S. citizens

• Modernizing, improving and clarifying immigrant and nonimmigrant programs to grow our economy and create jobs

• Promoting citizenship education and public awareness for lawful permanent residents and providing an option for naturalization applicants to use credit cards to pay the application fee

PLEASE NOTE - At this time NOTHING mentioned yesterday evening has been implemented. The President’s Address yesterday evening was just an announcement of what is expected to happen within the next few months. The various governmental agencies involved (DHS/DOS/CBP/USCIS/ICE/EOIR) are still working out the details.

PLEASE BE AWARE OF ANYONE WHO IS OFFERING TO HELP YOU AT THIS TIME. DO NOT BECOME A VICTIM. SPEAK WITH AN IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY!

*An Attorney has to have a license from a State Bar Association
*If you Suspect Fraud, REPORT IT

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WHAT YOU CAN DO AT THIS TIME:

Speak with an Immigration Attorney to determine whether you are eligible for temporary relief

Start collecting the documents listed below now because you may need to
provide proof of:

Identity
Birth certificate and a photo identification (ID). Passport, school or military ID, identification document from your country of origin like a Matricula Consular, or any U.S. document with your name and photo, like a Driver’s License or ID.

Entry to the United States Before a Particular Date
Immigration record or documents with your date of entry, passport with admission stamp (Form I-94/I-95/I-94W), or travel records.
• You can also use medical records (including immunization record) or school records.

Presence and Residence in the United States From a Particular Date
Proof of presence with dates and addresses using immigration documents, government records, medical records, military records, employment records, religious or community organizations records, insurance policies, tax records, etc.
• Bank receipts, financial records, credit card receipts, money order receipts, rental agreements, deeds, mortgages, utility bills, club memberships, etc.

Tax Filings
If you do not have copies of your past filings, call the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) at 1-800-908-9946 to order a transcript for free.
• If you have not filed your taxes, ask for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) by calling 1-800-829-1040 and file them.

Employment History & Residence History
Record dates, names, and addresses of the places where you have worked.
• Record dates and address of the places where you have lived.

Criminal Records
For Maryland- Maryland Judiciary Case Search
For Virginia- General District Court Online
For the District of Columbia-Court Case Search

Application Fee and Fines
Start saving money for the application fee and for any fines.
• Also save money in case you need it for an attorney.

Record Keeping
• Record all of this information in a notebook, keep the original documents, and store them in a safe place.

Selective Service
MALES ONLY. Some non-citizens are required to register. Others are not. Non-citizens who are not required to register with Selective Service include men who are in the U.S. on student or visitor visas, and men who are part of a diplomatic or trade mission and their families. Almost all other male non-citizens are required to register, including undocumented immigrants, legal permanent residents, and refugees. The general rule is that if a male non-citizen takes up residency in the U.S. before his 26th birthday, he must register with Selective Service.
Visit the SSS website , print, complete, sign and mail to:
Selective Service System
P.O. Box 94739
Palatine, IL 60094-4739

Stay tuned to our Immigration blog, Facebook page, and Twitter feeds for more information as it becomes available!

MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, November 21, 2014

November 21, 2014

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. Therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.


Question #1 – NAFTA
I am on a TD visa in the US. Can I get a work permit?

Answer #1
No. The spouse and/or child of a TN visa worker “shall not accept employment in the United States unless otherwise authorized.”


Question #2 – Conditional Green Card
I'm applying for removal of conditional green card and submitting all my paper work this month. In March 2015, I am planning to travel to my country for three weeks for medical reasons. Can I get an extension for my Green Card or do I need to apply for a reentry permit?

Answer #2
Once you file the Petition to Remove the Conditions on your Conditional Permanent Residency, you will receive a receipt notice, in the small print on the receipt notice – it will provide that your lawful status will continue for one year while the petition is processed by the USCIS. If you plan to travel after submitting the petition, after providing your biometrics to the USCIS, and after your Conditional Green Card has expired - you should appear at an INFOPASS appointment at USCIS to request proof of lawful status for travel purposes. Please contact our office to schedule a consultation to further discuss.


Question #3 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
I was on H1 Status from June 2008 through December 2009. If my new employer files my H1 Petition in December 2014, will I am able to get the remainder period of my H-1B?

Answer #3
If you have not exhausted your initial 6 years of H-1B nonimmigrant visa status, then you should be eligible to petition for the period of time remaining. Further information is required to fully analyze your situation. Please contact our office to schedule a consultation to further discuss.


Question # 4 – Naturalization/Citizenship
My mom wants to get her citizenship. She is a resident alien and has been living in the US for 30+ years. Right now, she is going through a divorce. Will the divorce impact her filing for naturalization?

Answer #4
It should not; however, we cannot provide a sufficient answer without more information. How long has she been a lawful permanent resident? When did she get married? How did she receive her Green Card –through employment, marriage, family relationship, asylum, diversity visa, etc.? Please contact our office to schedule a consultation to further discuss.


Question #5 – General
I am currently on OPT valid until the end of this year. If I get married to someone holding an L-1 visa, can I transfer to an L-4 and still be able to work in the US and apply for H1 in next year’s H1-b Cap in April?

Answer #5
There is no such visa as an L4. As a dependent of an L1 visa holder, you would be classified as an L2 dependent visa holder. L2 visa holders are eligible for work in the United States. You could still apply under the H1B CAP, opening April 1, 2015 requesting a change of status from L2 to H1B if a valid job opportunity exists with a sponsoring employer.


Question #6 – Adjustment of Status
If my I-485 is denied, how long can I stay in the US? My previous visa was already expired. I have an EAD card now.

Answer #6
Generally, you should depart from the U.S. within a reasonable time. It is recommended that you contact our office to schedule a consultation to further discuss your present situation and to ascertain if any alternative options are available to you.


Question #7 – General
Can I apply for SSN on my F-1 visa status? I need one to apply for a loan.

Answer #7
It depends. Have you been authorized to work? Are you only taking classes at this point and have not applied for OPT? Only those who have been authorized and approved for work may apply for a SSN. You may be eligible for an ITIN number. Please contact our office to schedule a consultation to further discuss.


Question #8 – Employment Based Immigration
I have an approved I-140 employment based petition which the priority date was current up until last month. Next month, I'm going to the US and would like to remain there and then adjust my status once my priority date becomes current again. Is that possible?

Answer #8
It depends upon a lot more information. Are you eligible for/do you have a nonimmigrant work visa? What category was your I-140 filed under? Where are you from? More information is needed to fully analyze and provide a sufficient answer. Please contact our office to schedule a consultation to further discuss.


Question #9 – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
My mom brought me into the US when I was 2 with a visa. The visa expired about 10 years ago. I am getting my GED. Will this help me apply for DACA?

Answer #9
Yes it will; however, please note that there are other requirements that must be satisfied in order to be eligible to apply for DACA. Please contact our office to schedule a consultation to further discuss.


Question #10 – Employment Based Immigration
Can my company charge me the fees for a green card application if I terminate employment? I think they can charge me for the I-140, but am I liable for all legal costs as well as costs of the PERM process?

Answer #10
656.12(b) An employer must not seek or receive payment of any kind for any activity related to obtaining permanent labor certification, including payment of the employer's attorneys' fees, whether as an incentive or inducement to filing, or as a reimbursement for costs incurred in preparing or filing a permanent labor certification application, except when work to be performed by the alien in connection with the job opportunity would benefit or accrue to the person or entity making the payment, based on that person's or entity's established business relationship with the employer.


MVP Law Group would like to thank everyone who contributed a question or comment.

Our next “Immigration Q & A Forum” is scheduled for Friday, December 5, 2014!

Please remember to submit your questions/comments on our H1B Visa Lawyer blog!

FINALLY Taking Action on Immigration – President Obama is Expected to Address the Nation Tonight!

November 20, 2014

The White House Blog and White House Facebook page posted an announcement yesterday that on Thursday, November 20th at 8 p.m. ET, President Obama will lay out the Executive Actions he's planning on taking to fix America's broken Immigration system. The Nation can watch LIVE at WhiteHouse.gov/Live, and more than likely every major television news channel will also be carrying his address.

President Obama stated, “Everybody agrees that our immigration system is broken. Unfortunately, Washington has allowed the problem to fester for too long." Further, he said, “So what I'm going to be laying out is the things that I can do with my lawful authority as President to make the system work better even as I continue to work with Congress and encourage them to get a bipartisan, comprehensive bill that can solve the entire problem”.

Exactly WHAT the President will do remains unknown, as there is much speculation about whom and how many people may benefit from the President’s Executive Action. We must wait as a Nation to hear of the details, as they have not been released to the Public.

We here at MVP Law Group feel it’s about time that our broken immigration system is fixed. We know that President Obama’s Executive Authority can only temporarily fix the problem, so we encourage the new Congress, which will meet for the first time in January, to act on Comprehensive Immigration Reform as soon as possible for the sake of the Country and our economy!

Stay tuned to our Immigration blog, Facebook page, and Twitter feeds for up-to-date information!


Source of Information:

MSN.com, 11/19/14, News Article (Reuters):
Obama to address nation on immigration on Thursday at 8 p.m. ET: White House

The White House Blog, 11/19/14, Blog Post:
Tune In: The President Addresses the Nation on Immigration Reform

BostonHerald.com, 11/19/14, News Article:
Obama to announce immigration steps Thursday

Impact of New Americans - Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota & Mississippi

November 19, 2014

Immigration Policy Center Releases Updated State-by-State Fact Sheets (2014)

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) has released all fifty states, the District of Columbia and the United States (Overall), for a total of fifty-two updated fact sheets with accompanying info graphics and other details. These fact sheets highlight the demographic and economic impact of Immigrants, Asians and Latinos in each state. The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) is the research and policy division of the American Immigration Council (AIC).

As Washington D.C. continues the discussion of Comprehensive Immigration Reform, we thought that it would be a good time to provide some statistics on the Immigrant population in the United States as provided by this IPC research. Once a week we will be posting a blog with information on four states at a time. This week we will highlight; Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota & Mississippi.

The IPC has compiled research which shows that Immigrants, Latinos and Asians are an essential part of each of these states’ economy, labor force and tax base. Immigrants and their children are a growing economic and political force as consumers, taxpayers and entrepreneurs. With the nation working towards economic recovery, immigrants and their children will continue to play a key role in shaping the economic and political future of each of these states.

To view the state-by-state fact sheets click on the links below:

Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi


Source of Information:

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC), Interactive Map (fact sheets):
The Economic and Political Impact of Immigrants, Latinos and Asians State by State

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC), List (fact sheets):
The Economic and Political Impact of Immigrants, Latinos and Asians in all 50 States

Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) Processing Times - 11/1/14

November 18, 2014

Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) Processing Times were released with processing dates as of 11/1/14.

If you filed an appeal, please review the link below to determine the applicable processing time associated with your particular case.

Administrative Appeals Office

The processing time for an I-129 H-1B Appeal is current; for an I-129 L1 Appeal is current. The current processing time for an I-140 EB2 Appeal for an Advanced Degree Professional is current; for an I-140 EB3 Appeal for a Skilled or Professional Worker is current.

*Current = 6 months or less

**Most other cases are within USCIS's processing time goal of 6 months or less.


Source of Information:

USCIS.gov, (10/6/14), AAO Processing Times

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, November 21, 2014

November 17, 2014

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, DREAMers, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, priority dates, the monthly visa bulletin, adjustment applications, etc., please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, November 21, 2014. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. Therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

Impact of New Americans - Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine & Maryland

November 14, 2014

Immigration Policy Center Releases Updated State-by-State Fact Sheets (2014)

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) has released all fifty states, the District of Columbia and the United States (Overall), for a total of fifty-two updated fact sheets with accompanying info graphics and other details. These fact sheets highlight the demographic and economic impact of Immigrants, Asians and Latinos in each state. The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) is the research and policy division of the American Immigration Council (AIC).

As Washington D.C. continues the discussion of Comprehensive Immigration Reform, we thought that it would be a good time to provide some statistics on the Immigrant population in the United States as provided by this IPC research. Once a week we will be posting a blog with information on four states at a time. This week we will highlight; Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine & Maryland.

The IPC has compiled research which shows that Immigrants, Latinos and Asians are an essential part of each of these states’ economy, labor force and tax base. Immigrants and their children are a growing economic and political force as consumers, taxpayers and entrepreneurs. With the nation working towards economic recovery, immigrants and their children will continue to play a key role in shaping the economic and political future of each of these states.

To view the state-by-state fact sheets click on the links below:

Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland


Source of Information:

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC), Interactive Map (fact sheets):
The Economic and Political Impact of Immigrants, Latinos and Asians State by State

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC), List (fact sheets):
The Economic and Political Impact of Immigrants, Latinos and Asians in all 50 States

Updated Service Center Processing Times

November 13, 2014

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on 11/10/14 with processing dates as of 9/30/14.

If you filed a petition with one of the Service Centers, please review the links below to determine the applicable processing time associated with your particular case.


California Service Center (CSC)

National Benefits Center (NBC)

Nebraska Service Center (NSC)

Texas Service Center (TSC)

Vermont Service Center (VSC)

EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program Office (IPO)


**Please be aware that the data provided above is approximately 45 days old at the time of posting.

If your petition is out-side of the normal range listed, contact USCIS (1-800-375-5283).

If you are a client of MVP Law Group and would like our assistance please contact our office.

Visa Bulletin - December 2014

November 12, 2014

The Department of State has released its latest Visa Bulletin.

Click here to view the December 2014 Visa Bulletin

As projected by the U.S. Department of State, the December 2014 Visa Bulletin shows the EB2 date for nationals from India remains at 2/15/05; the EB3 date for nationals from India made a small movement from 11/22/03 to 12/1/03; the EB2 for Chinese Nationals moved from 12/8/09 to 1/1/10; the EB3 for Chinese Nationals moved from 1/1/10 to 6/1/10; and EB3 for WW moved from 6/1/12 to 11/1/12; and the F2A category moved from 3/1/13 to 3/22/13, except Mexico which moved from 9/22/12 to 1/1/13. The F2A category is reserved exclusively for Spouses and unmarried children (under the age of 21) of green card holders (LPRs).


*The priority date is current if there is no backlog in the category, or if the priority date is on or before the date listed as current in the State Department's monthly Visa Bulletin.

**”All Chargeability Areas except Those Listed”, includes all other countries except: China, India, Mexico and Philippines.

Honoring our Veterans!

November 11, 2014

“So if you’re an American, and you see a veteran -- maybe with a prosthetic arm or leg, maybe burns on their face -- don’t ever look away. Do not turn away. You go up and you reach out, and you shake their hand, and you look them in the eye and you say those words every veteran should hear all the time: “Welcome home, thank you. We need you more than ever. You help us stay strong, you help us stay free.” – President Obama

Excerpt from remarks made by the President of the United States at the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial Dedication (10/5/14)


In the United States, Veterans Day is a national holiday which is observed every November 11th. This holiday is set aside to honor all who have served in the U.S. Military.


MVP Law Group is proud to honor our Veterans and their sacrifices for our country!

H-2B Cap Count UPDATE – 10/31/14

November 10, 2014

The H-2B non-agricultural temporary worker program allows U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary non-agricultural jobs.

The H-2B cap limit for first half of FY 2015 (October 1 - March 31) is 33,000. As of the last count (10/31/14); 9,574 beneficiaries have been approved and 1,528 are pending for a total of 11,102.

The H-2B cap limit for second half of FY 2015 (April 1 - September 30) is 33,000. As of the last count (10/31/14); 0 beneficiaries have been approved and 0 are pending for a total of 0.

For further details read, “Cap Count for H-2B Nonimmigrants


Source of Information:

- USCIS.gov (11/4/14) Web Page

- AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 14101744 (posted 11/6/14)

MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, November 7, 2014

November 7, 2014

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. Therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.


Question #1 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
I am on F-1 visa and my OPT EAD will expire on August 15, 2015. My employer is ready to file my H-1B Petition when the H-1B Cap opens. Can I continue to stay in the US and work during the gap period?

Answer #1
Based upon the facts you have provided, it would appear that the answer to your question is yes. H-1B CAP GAP is a regulatory provision which extends an eligible F-1 student's status to bridge the gap between the end of F-1 status and start of H-1B status, thereby allowing the student to remain in the US during the "gap.” It is recommended that F1 students, whose F1 status expires after submission of the H-1B petition, NOT leave the country prior to receiving the H-1B nonimmigrant visa status in October.


Question #2 – Employment Based Green Card
My H1-B’s 6 year time limit will be reached in January 2015, but my I-140 petition is still pending. Can I apply for H-1B extension according to AC-21?

Answer #2
It depends upon when the I-140 petition was filed. Please contact our office to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.


Question #3 - DACA
If I am no longer in school, would I still be able to renew my DACA?

Answer #3
Yes; however, you will need to make sure that you continue to meet all other eligibility requirements.


Question #4 – Green Card Renewal
I have had a green card since 2005 and it will get expire in 11 months. When do I start the process to renew it?

Answer #4
You may file the renewal application within 6 months of the expiration of your current Green Card. You will need to submit a copy of your expiring Green Card along with the application.


Question #5 – Family Based Immigration
Can I sponsor my grandmother for legal residency if both of my parents are dead?

Answer #5
Were you legally adopted by your grandmother prior to age 16? If not, then the answer is no. Grandparents are not covered under the preference categories nor are they considered immediate relatives of United States Citizens. Please contact our office to further discuss.


Question #6 – Family Based Immigration
Is there a limit on the number of I-130 petitions I can file?

Answer #6
No; however, for each I-130 petition filed, the USCIS requires the Sponsor to file an Affidavit of Support, to establish that they can financially support their household size at 125% of the poverty guidelines.


Question #7 - Naturalization/U.S. Citizenship
Can I still apply for my citizenship even though my green card is expired?

Answer #7
Yes!


Question #8 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
I 'm a comic book artist and I wish I could come to US to develop my career as an artist/illustrator. Would I be eligible for an H-1B visa?

Answer #8
It depends. To qualify for an H-1B, you must have a U.S. employer willing to sponsor you for a certain position, and the position must be a Specialty Occupation. Specialty occupations are defined as those that require a theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge, and the attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree in the specific specialty (or its equivalent) as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States. Please contact our office to schedule a consultation to discuss additional options that may be available.


Question #9 – Green Card
How long after I provide my medicals to the USCIS are they good for?

Answer #9
As of June 1, 2014, a Form I-693 which is more than one year old from the date it was submitted to USCIS will no longer remain valid.

Example – If sealed medicals were submitted with a I-485 application in Year 2012, and the priority date for the primary beneficiary became current in September 2014, the primary beneficiary would be required to obtain a new medical examination from a designated civil surgeon and send the sealed medical exam results to the USCIS, upon the issuance of an RFE.


Question #10 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
How many times can I transfer my H-1B visa status to a new employer?

Answer #10
The amount of times that you can transfer your H-1B visa status to a new employer is unlimited. As long as there is a valid employment offer and the employer is willing to sponsor you, i.e., prepare and file the H-1B transfer case with the USCIS, you can undergo the transfer process as many times as you would like; however, there is a limit of 6 years in H-1B visa status, unless the Employment Based Green card process has been initiated prior to the 6th year in H-1B visa status, then you may be eligible for further extensions of your H-1B nonimmigrant visa status.


MVP Law Group would like to thank everyone who contributed a question or comment.

Our next “Immigration Q & A Forum” is scheduled for Friday, November 21, 2014!

Please remember to submit your questions/comments on our H1B Visa Lawyer blog!