MVP LAW GROUP – Q & A Forum, June 25, 2010

Question #1 – Employment Based Immigration – Green Card
I heard if there are quite a few cases between Feb 2005 and October 2005, USCIS staff can work on cases only up to available VISA numbers and once the numbers are consumed, then it could go back to Feb or March 2005 with the next VISA bulletin.
Hence to not to take any chances, I heard we could call them (USCIS) and provide details of our case so that based on first come first call, they would process and issue the GC.

Answer #1
You cannot call the USCIS to speed up the processing/issuance of your Green Card. Priority dates were established for this exact purpose. Each individual has a specific priority date which was issued to them when their Labor application was submitted to the Department of Labor (DOL). Only when the applicant’s priority date becomes current will the USCIS begin to process the applicant’s I-485 paperwork and thereafter may issue the Green Card.

Question #2 – Employment Based Immigration – Green Card (AC-21)
I have an approved I-140 filed by my previous company and they also submitted my I-485 back in 2007. I have since moved onto employment with another company on my EAD. Can I file AC21 Portability letter?

Answer #2
You may be eligible to file an AC21 106(c) Portability Request if the new position/duties are the same or substantially similar to the position/duties listed in your Labor application certified by the DOL.

Question #3 – Employment Based Immigration – Employment Authorization Document (EAD)/Advance Parole Document (AP)
My EAD and AP are expiring this year sometime. When is the earliest that I can file my renewal petitions?

Answer #3
According to the USCIS, you can petition for an EAD renewal no more than 120 days in advance of the expiration of your current EAD. For instance, if your current EAD card expires on October 16, 2010, the earliest you can file is on or after June 19, 2010.
According to the USCIS, you can petition for AP renewal no more than 30 days in advance of the expiration of your current AP or the USCIS will issue an RFE requesting your current AP document before issuing a new AP document.

Question #4 – Employment Based Immigration – Temporary Work Visas – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
I have vacation plans to go to India in the first week of July 2010. Can we file my H-1B extension petition prior to my leaving? Or can you hold it and file the case after I cross the border?

Answer #4
You may file your H-1B extension prior to your departure; however, unless you upgrade your case to Premium Processing, your vacation plans will need to be delayed. When you have a case pending with the USCIS, you CANNOT leave the United States, as they will interpret it as abandonment of your pending case. Additionally, you may not file a case while outside of the United States; you must be present in the U.S. when filing for Immigration benefits.

Question #5 – Employment Based Immigration – Temporary Work Visas – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
I’d like to apply for an H-1B visa under the H-1B CAP. Is the H1B Visa Quota still available for the year 2010?

Answer #5
The H-1B 2010 CAP opened on April 1, 2009 and closed December 25, 2009. The H-1B FY2010 ran from October 1, 2009 until September 30, 2010. FY stands for Fiscal Year. 65,000 visas have already been allocated for FY2010.
The H-1B 2011 CAP opened on April 1, 2010 and is still OPEN. The H-1B FY2011 runs from October 1, 2010 until September 30, 2011. As of June 18, 42,100 visas are still available for FY2011.

Question #6 – Employment Based Immigration – Temporary Work Visas – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
One of our consultants is nearing his 6th year on H-1B visa status, but he has an approved I-140 filed by a different company. Is it possible to use that approved I-140 to get a three year extension with our company.

Answer #6
Yes. Pursuant to AC21 law, an H-1B immigrant may extend his or her status beyond the 6 year limitation if a labor certification, I-140, or employment based adjustment of status application has been filed where 365 days or more have elapsed since the filing of the labor certification or I-140. Or, where the H-1B immigrant has an I-140 petition which has been approved under the employment based green card and the AOS/485 is pending due to the unavailability of visa numbers.

Question #7 – Family Based Immigration – Green Card – Marriage Based (K1)
Is there any type of restrictions on a ‘conditional green card”? Once my wife gets her green card, can she travel (internationally)?

Answer #7
Yes, she can travel internationally provided the trip is less than 6 months out of the year. The restrictions are mostly just the time frame, given most GCs are issued for 10 years, they want to make sure at the end of the two (2) years, prior to renewal of the GC, that you are still in a legitimate marriage and that the marriage was not for fraudulent purposes. Once the two (2) years are over and the conditions are removed after she applies to remove them, she will receive a GC valid for 10 years.
Within 90 days of the two-year anniversary of obtaining conditional residence, you and your wife will be required to file a Joint Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence (Form I-751). Once the conditions are removed, your wife will officially have Lawful Permanent Residence in the US.

Question #8 – General
Please explain for me what “priority date becoming current” means? I filed under EB2 category.

Answer #8
In order for an individual to obtain an immigrant visa, a visa number must be available to you. This is referred to as the priority date being “current.” 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. This Bulletin is accessible at www.travel.state.gov. Currently, there is a backlog in the Employment-Based Second Preference (EB-2) category, which is the category you are being filed in. This means, that you must wait until a visa becomes available, until your priority date becomes current. When your priority date becomes current, you may file the I-485 application, but until then, you must wait.
Each month, the State Department issues the visa bulletin, usually in the middle of the month. When the bulletin is issued, it will provide information that will take effect on the first day of the following month. Depending on the availability of immigrant visas, the priority dates in each category and for each country can change each month. However, please note that the priority dates can also stay the same. They can move very slowly or progress by several months or years. They can move forward or backward. Therefore, there is no way to anticipate what the priority date will be in a future month or when a category will become current.
In addition to the above website, you can go to http://immigrationroad.com/green-card-tracker.php and track how many green card applicants are in front of you using your priority date and preference category.

Question #9 – Student Visa (F1) and Extension of OPT
Our company just enrolled in E-Verify, what documents are needed when applying for the OPT extension?

Answer #9
The interim final rule extends the maximum period of OPT from 12 months to 29 months for F- 1 students who have completed a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) degree and accept employment with employers enrolled in U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS’) E-Verify employment verification program. Normally, the OPT extension process would need to be initiated at least 90 days before expiration of the current OPT.

The documents that are needed for the OPT extension are provided below:
• Completed original I-765 Application for Employment Authorization;
• Form I-765 Application fee of $340 USD check or money order made payable to “US. Department of HomelandSecurity”;
• Copy of valid Employment Authorization Document (EAD);
• Copy of ALL passport biographical information pages (including photo, birth date, expiration date). Passports must be valid for at least six months beyond end date of OPT;
• Copy of F-1 visa page or Form I-797: Change of status to F-1 approval notice;
• Copy of I-94 card (front and back);
• Copy of current SEVIS I-20 (pages 1 and 3);
• Copy of National University official transcript or a copy of diploma indicating level and program of study;
• Two U.S.-style passport photos (four recommended);
• Proof of your company’s enrollment in E-Verify.

Question #10 – General
Should my company enroll in E-Verify?

Answer #10
We have posted some articles on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog in recent months that may help answer your questions as to enrollment, procedures and other information. Several links have been provided below which: explain the program; provide a link to the website for enrollment, list the Dos and Don’ts of the program, and point out the potential drawbacks of the program.

What is E-Verify?

I-9 Employer Handbook

DOs and DONTS

Potential drawbacks

MVP Law Group would like to thank everyone who contributed a question or comment. We hope that the information provided is helpful.

Our next “Immigration Q & A Forum” is scheduled for Friday, July 9, 2010! Please remember to submit your questions/comments on our h1bvisalawyerblog.

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. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.