MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, Sept. 30, 2016

September 26, 2016

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, Sept. 30, 2016. 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.

Watch out for Diversity Visa Program Fraud

September 23, 2016

The Department of State, Office of Visa Services is warning the public of an increase in fraudulent emails and letters sent to Diversity Visa (DV) program (Visa Lottery) applicants. They warned that scammers may try to pose as U.S. government officials, trying to deceive applicants and possibly trying to take their money and private information. They warned DV applicants to only interact with the U.S. Department of State (DOS). Applicants should visit https://www.dvlottery.state.gov/ for official U.S. government information on the program.

DOS began taking online registration for the FY2018 Diversity Visa Program on 10/4/16. The registration period will end on Monday, 11/7/16. Again, please visit https://www.dvlottery.state.gov/ for official U.S. government information on the program and more details.


Source of Information:
travel.state.gov, Web Page: Fraud Warning - Diversity Visa Program Scammers Sending Fraudulent Emails and Letters

U.S. Department of State, Electronic Diversity Visa Lottery, Web Page: https://www.dvlottery.state.gov/

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Avoid Scams, Web Page: http://www.uscis.gov/avoidscams

Updated Service Center Processing Times (7/31/16)

September 22, 2016

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on 9/15/16 with processing dates as of 7/31/16.

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.

Diversity Visa (DV-2018) Lottery

September 21, 2016

Annually, the United States government issues a maximum of 50,000 green cards through a computer-generated random lottery drawing. Applications for the DV-2018 random lottery will be accepted from noon (EDT) (GM-4) Tuesday, October 4, 2016 through noon (EST) (GM-5) Monday, November 7, 2016. Paper entries will not be accepted, eligible participants may access the electronic Diversity Visa entry form (E-DV) to apply during this period. Early entry is recommended and they strongly encourage applicants not to wait until the last week of the registration period to enter!

These green cards are only available to those eligible participants from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. Please check the “INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE 2018 DIVERSITY IMMIGRANT VISA PROGRAM (DV-2018)” for the complete list of countries/areas whose natives are eligible for DV-2018.

Note: Please review the list of countries/areas whose natives are eligible for DV-2018 because it also includes the countries that are not eligible. Natives of countries that sent more than 50,000 immigrants to the U.S. in the previous five years are not eligible.

Eligibility:
To enter the DV lottery, you must be a native of one of the eligible countries. In most cases this means the country in which you were born. However, there are two other ways you may be able to qualify. First, if you were born in a country whose natives are ineligible but your spouse was born in a country whose natives are eligible; you can claim your spouse's country of birth provided both you and your spouse are on the selected entry, are issued visas and enter the U.S. simultaneously. Second, if you were born in a country whose natives are ineligible, but neither of your parents was born there or resided there at the time of your birth, you may claim nativity in one of your parents' country of birth if it is a country whose natives qualify for the DV-2018 program.

You must also meet either the education or work experience requirement of the DV program. You must have either a high school education or its equivalent, defined as successful completion of a 12-year course of elementary and secondary education; OR, two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation requiring at least two years of training or experience to perform. The U.S. Department of Labor's O*Net OnLine database will be used to determine qualifying work experience. For more information about qualifying work experience for the principal DV applicant, see the Frequently Asked Questions which are included in the instructions.

Do not submit an entry to the DV program unless you meet both of these requirements.

Diversity Visa Program Entry Instructions

Note: If you submit more than one entry you will be disqualified.


Source of Information:
travel.state.gov, Web Page: Diversity Visa Program Entry Instructions

travel.state.gov, Web Page: INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE 2018 DIVERSITY IMMIGRANT VISA PROGRAM (DV-2018)

travel.state.gov, Web Page: The Diversity Visa Process

USCIS.gov, Web Page: Green Card Through the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program

U.S. Dept. of State, Video:
U.S. Diversity Immigrant Visa Program Tutorial: Submitting an Entry

BALCA Says Attempts to Explain NOF Deficiencies Are Almost Certainly Destined to Fail

September 20, 2016

The Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA) recently affirmed the decision of a Certifying Officer (CO) to deny labor certification for the position of “Director of Sales.”

After receiving & reviewing an Employer’s Application for Permanent Labor Certification, the CO denied certification of the application for multiple reasons. Most importantly, the Employer did not include their name on their Notice of Filing (NOF) in violation of PERM regulation 656.10(d). PERM regulation 656.17 (f)(1) mandates that the advertisements “name the employer.”

The Employer sent a reconsideration request to the CO. In its argument, the Employer stated the NOF was acceptable regardless of the omission of their name. The Employer argued that public access to its building is limited and it is very plausible that only the company’s three employees would have access to the filing. With its request, the Employer submitted multiple documents including their articles of incorporation; federal tax return; photographs of the facility & bulletin posting area; certifications of accreditation; Florida Resale Certificate for Sales Tax; lease agreements; Google Map print-outs; and Miami.Dade.gov Property Information. With its Reconsideration Request, the Employer relied upon the Stone Tech decision.

Upon reexamining the evidence, the CO delivered a second denial and forwarded the case to BALCA for examination.

After BALCA’s examination of the case, BALCA sided with the CO. The Board thought the Employer clearly violated the PERM regulations by failing to list its name in the NOF. BALCA believed the sizeable documentation from the Employer could not assist the motion for reconsideration because none of the extensive documentation provided could be used to support a motion for reconsideration under the current regulations. Furthermore, the BALCA panel stated that the regulations require that “the NOF must comply with the regulatory content requirements.” It was fatal to the Employer’s application to have failed to include its name on the NOF.

Economic Power of New Americans (Update) - Georgia, Hawaii & Idaho

September 19, 2016

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).

With national immigration policy being discussed as part of Presidential Elections, 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 three states at a time. This week we will highlight; Georgia, Hawaii & Idaho.

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:

Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho

Update
To view the state-by-state Infographics click on the links below:

Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho


Source of Information:

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC), List (fact sheets):
Economics of Immigration - State by State

MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, Sept. 16, 2016

September 16, 2016

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 – H1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
How long can my employer continue to request three year extensions based on my approved I-140? I have completed my 6 years on H-1B status.

Answer#1
Indefinitely - until an immigrant visa number is available for you.


Question #2 – H1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
If my H-1B was not accepted during the CAP, do I have to wait another year to file a new one? Are there other alternatives for me to work in the US?

Answer #2
Please take a look at our H1B Visa Lawyer Blog article: Alternatives to the H-1B Visa for Individuals who did not make the FY2017 H-1B Quota


Question #3 – Employment Based Immigration
Can I file for a Green Card on my own or does my employer have to sponsor me? Does it make a difference in processing?

Answer #3
It depends upon the preference category that you are filing under. Certain preference categories require employer sponsorship; whereas, others do not.


Question #4 – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
Can I work if I obtain DACA status? I am a college student and would like to work part-time.


Answer #4
Applying for DACA also allows you to submit a request for Employment Authorization, along with a Worksheet showing your annual income, and your annual expenses. The USCIS then uses this information to determine whether or not employment authorization should be granted in your case.


Question #5 - Biometrics
It has been 3 years since I have taken fingerprints for my Green Card. Should I have new ones done to update my case?

Answer #5
If the USCIS has not specifically made a request for you to show up for new fingerprints, then you must wait for them to make/schedule you an appointment and send you a notice for you to appear for the taking of your fingerprints.


Question #6 – Employment Authorization (EAD) Form I-765
Can you expedite the EAD renewal process? My EAD expires in June.

Answer #6
You may only expedite the EAD renewal process under certain circumstances. However, if you have filed 120 days in advance of the expiration of your current EAD and your case is still pending and has been pending more than 90 days, you may contact the USCIS Customer Service Center, schedule an Info Pass Appointment or write a letter to your local office.


Question #7 – H1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
Can I get a Social Security card if I am working in the US on H-1B status?

Answer #7
Yes.


Question #8 –Application for Travel Document (AP) Form I-131
How long is AP valid? What happens if I am out of the country when it expires?

Answer #8
The USCIS will issue an Advance Parole document for a period of one (1) or two (2) years.
You should plan accordingly so that you are not outside of the country when your Advance Parole document expires. If you have traveled outside of the U.S. and your AP has expired, contact our office to discuss with an Immigration Attorney.


Question #9 - Green Card
How do I remove the conditions of my permanent residency?

Answer #9
You file Form I-751 with the USCIS to remove the conditions within 90 days of the expiration of your conditional permanent residency. Contact our office to speak with an Immigration Attorney concerning your case.


Question #10 – Employment Based Immigration
Right now, I have an approved I-140 filed by my previous employer and they also submitted my I-485 back in 2014. Since then, I have started employment with another company on my EAD. Can I file an AC-21 Portability letter?

Answer #10
Has your employment based, Adjustment of Status petition (I-485) been pending for 180 days or more; and is the new job the same or substantially similar to the job for which the labor certification/I-140 approval support? Contact our office to speak with an Immigration Attorney concerning your case.


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

Our next “Immigration Q & A Forum” is scheduled for Friday, September 30, 2016!

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

Celebrating Constitution Day and Citizenship Day with Naturalization Ceremonies

September 15, 2016

Constitution Day and Citizenship Day are observed on the same day each year, September 17th. This day is set aside to celebrate the signing of the U.S. Constitution in 1787 and also to observe and recognize the responsibilities of all U.S. citizens! Because the holiday follows on a Saturday, it will be observed on Friday, September 16th.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will mark this occasion by holding special naturalization ceremonies across the country starting on September 16th. Many of the ceremonies will be held using museums, historic and public libraries, government landmarks and national park sites as their backdrop. The U.S. Courts will live stream naturalization ceremonies from Ellis Island and Lincoln Memorial, “Constitution Day & Citizenship Day Coverage Live on Sept. 16”, on September 16th at 10:45 a.m. (ET). You can also follow the actives on @USCIS on Twitter and Facebook.com/USCIS.


Source of Information:
United States Courts, 9/16/16, YouTube:
Constitution Day & Citizenship Day Coverage Live on Sept. 16

USCIS.gov, Citizenship Resource Center:
Constitution Day and Citizenship Day


Related Link:
USCIS.gov, 9/17/15, News Release:
USCIS Expands Efforts to Highlight Citizenship and Immigrant Integration

Upcoming Congressional Hearings on Immigration – Sept. 2016

September 14, 2016

House:

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Committee: Full Committee Border and Maritime Security Counterterrorism
Title: Shutting Down Terrorist Pathways Into America
Time: 10:00 am (ET)
Place: 311 Cannon House Office Building, Washington, D.C.


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Committee: House Judiciary Committee
Title: Full Committee Markup - "American Job Creation and Investment Promotion Reform Act of 2016" and "Protect and Grow American Jobs Act" (H.R. 5801)
Time: 10:00 am (ET)
Place: 2237 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C.


Source of Information:
AILA Doc No. 15031600 | Dated 9/12/16:
Upcoming Congressional Hearings on Immigration

Visa Bulletin - October 2016

September 13, 2016

The Department of State has released its latest Visa Bulletin.
Click here to view the October 2016 Visa Bulletin

The monthly Visa Bulletin has changed. The bulletin now summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers during the reported month for: “Application Final Action Dates” (consistent with prior Visa Bulletins) and “Dates for Filing Applications,” indicating when immigrant visa applicants should be notified to assemble and submit required documentation to the National Visa Center using Consular Processing (outside of the US) or file on their own with USCIS Form I-485 (within the US).

Application Final Action Dates (consistent with prior Visa Bulletins)
The “Application Final Action Dates” chart, as provided in the October 2016 Visa Bulletin shows the EB2 date for nationals from India moved from 2/22/05 to 1/15/07; the EB3 date for nationals from India moved from 2/15/05 to 3/1/05; the EB2 date for Chinese Nationals moved from 1/1/10 to 2/15/12; the EB3 date for Chinese Nationals moved from 1/1/10 to 1/22/13; and the EB3 date for the WW category moved from 5/1/16 to 6/1/16; and the F2A category moved from 11/15/14 to 12/22/14, except Mexico which moved from 9/1/14 to 12/1/14. The F2A category is reserved exclusively for Spouses and unmarried children (under the age of 21) of green card holders (LPRs). Please understand the Immigrant Visas are authorized for issuance ONLY for applicants whose priority date is EARLIER than the cut-off date listed in the chart.

Dates for Filing Applications
The “Dates for Filing Applications” chart, as provided in the October 2016 Visa Bulletin shows the EB2 date for nationals from India at 4/22/09; the EB3 date for nationals from India at 7/1/05; the EB2 date for Chinese Nationals at 3/1/13; the EB3 date for Chinese Nationals at 5/1/14; and EB3 date for the WW category is now CURRENT; and all of the F2A category at 11/22/15. Please understand that the listing of a date for any category indicates that ONLY applicants with a priority date which is EARLIER than the listed date may FILE their application.

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

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, Sept. 16, 2016

September 12, 2016

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, Sept. 16, 2016. 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.

E-Verify Webinars On-Demand!

September 9, 2016

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) are now offering two free E-Verify webinars and they are both available on-demand. E-Verify is a Web-based, free program operated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that allows businesses to determine the eligibility of their employees to legally work in the United States.


Form I-9 Webinar On-Demand: This free self-service tool reviews Form I-9 and imparts best practices at the viewers’ convenience. Viewers can choose the chapters of their choice or watch the entire 22 minute video in one sitting.

E-Verify Webinar On-Demand: This free self-service tool reviews Form I-9 and E-Verify, enrollment, how to run a case and more. It’s another good training tool to help your business. Viewers can choose the chapters of their choice or watch the entire 14 minute video in one sitting.

For further details please review the USCIS Web Page, “E-Verify Webinars”.


Source of Information:
USCIS.gov, 9/2/16, Web Page: E-Verify Webinars

USCIS.gov, Web Page: E-Verify