Posted On: January 31, 2012

Updated Service Center Processing Times

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on January 25, 2012 with processing dates as of November 30, 2011.

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
National Benefits Center
Nebraska Service Center
Texas Service Center
Vermont Service Center

**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.

Posted On: January 30, 2012

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, February 3, 2012

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, AZ SB1070, priority dates, the monthly visa bulletin, adjustment applications or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, 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, February 3rd, 2012. 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. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

Posted On: January 25, 2012

Updated List: SEVP Approved Schools as of January 12, 2012

The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) recently updated the list of Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) approved schools. The schools listed have all been certified to participate in the program.

The program allows foreign students interested in obtaining an education in the United States to complete a visa petition, pay the required fee, attend a visa interview at a U.S. Consulate, and enroll in a U.S. College or University.

Interested Foreign students: There is a process in obtaining a student visa, but it is not a difficult one. The student must first obtain Form I-20 from the U.S. College or University from which he/she intends to enroll, pay the required visa fee (Form I-901) and contact a local U.S. Consulate/Embassy to schedule an interview. The SEVP procedures differ among U.S. Consulates/Embassies; contact your U.S. Consulate/Embassy NOW to determine its particular procedure on applying for a visa before planning for the interview.

Interested Schools: There is a separate process to obtain F & M Certification. Authorized school officials must obtain and complete Form I-17. An overview of the SEVP Certification process can be found on the ICE website. If approved, the school will be certified and allowed to issue Form I-20 to qualifying foreign students.

If you need assistance or an explanation of the SEVP/student visa, please contact our office to schedule a consultation.

Posted On: January 20, 2012

MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, January 20, 2012

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.


Question #1 – General
If I do not speak English, when I go to my interview for my visa, will a translator be provided for me or will I need to provide one myself?

Answer #1
It depends upon the type of visa you are applying for and from where you are applying for the visa. Most Consulates have counters were different languages are spoken. If you are applying in the U.S., when you go to your visa interview, you will need to provide a translator for yourself. This translator should not be an interested party in your case.


Question #2 – Consular Processing
What is the purpose of consular processing?

Answer #2
Consular Processing allows applicants who have been approved for an Immigrant Visa, with an Immigrant Visa immediately available - the ability to apply at the U.S. Department of State Consulate abroad in order to come to the United States and be admitted as a Permanent Resident.


Question #3 – Consular Processing vs. AOS
What is the difference between consular processing of immigrant visa and adjustment of status?

Answer #3
Adjustment of Status is an alternate process by which an individual who has been approved for an Immigrant visa with an Immigrant visa immediately available,the ability to apply from within the United States to adjust status to that of a Permanent Resident without returning to their home country to process paperwork.


Question #4 – Temporary Work Visa
If I plan to continue working for my employer in the United States, at what point should I apply for an extension?

Answer #4
It depends upon which type of nonimmigrant visa you are utilizing. For the H-1B (Specialty Occupation) nonimmigrant visa, you are able to apply for an extension at least 6 months prior to the visa’s expiration date.


Question #5 – Premium Processing
How does premium processing for the H-1B visa work?

Answer #5
Premium Processing is an option that allows a case to be adjudicated within a period of 15 calendar days from the date the USCIS receipted the case. For an additional USCIS filing fee of $1225.00, the USCIS will review the case and make a decision within the specified time period. If an RFE is issued, once the response is received by the USCIS, the clock begins to run again for 15 calendar days. Regular processing is currently taking 2-3 months from the date of filing to be adjudicated by the USCIS.


Question #6 – General
Is it necessary that I have someone sponsoring me when I apply for a visa?

Answer #6
It depends, as almost all types of visas require sponsorship whether employment based or family based.


Question #7 – Visitor Visa v. Temporary Work Visa
Are a B-1 and an H-1B visa interchangeable as far as my ability to work in the United States?

Answer #7
NO. A B-1 visa is reserved for Business visitors who are not allowed to be gainfully employed in the United States. B1 visa holders are limited in the actions that they may partake in while in the U.S. as a business visitor. In order for them to be able to work (gainful employment) while in the U.S. a work visa is required. An H-1B nonimmigrant visa is a work visa reserved for specialty occupation foreign workers.


Question #8 – General
My sister is filling up the form DS 160 for H1b through her multinational company in India. What should she mention in the question, “Do u have a relative in USA”? I was on J1 visa for 3 years and got F1 approved while in USA only. But unfortunately, I lost my F1 visa due to Tri Valley University, but I am still enrolled as full time student in a school in USA and the F1 reinstatement application is still pending with USCIS. Will she face further questions on my visa details or terminated SEVIS during visa interview? Can it jeopardize her prospects of getting visa?

Answer #8
Your sister should be truthful in the completion of her DS-160 application. Your status should not affect her status. This ultimately is an application and an interview regarding her potential employment and should not concern you. It is not her business to know all of the details of your visa status. The questioning from the visa officer should be centered on her, not her family or your status. Your visa status/circumstances should not jeopardize her attainment of an H1B nonimmigrant visa.


Question #9 – Green Card
My EB-3 priority date is October 18, 2006 and I have a pending I-485 application filed back in July 2007 when all categories were current. My fiancé and I are getting married in February 2012. Since my I-485 is not approved yet, I heard that it is possible to include him in my green card application so that both of us can get our green cards when my priority date is current. Is that true? If so, when and how should I start the process?

Answer #9
You will need to wait for your priority date to become current before you are able to file your spouses’ I-485, Adjustment of Status application.


Question #10 – Schedule A Green Card
Hi! I would like to ask regarding the schedule A visa for Registered Nurse. I am a Filipino citizen, residing at spring, Texas, USA. My visa is H1-B as medical Technologist and i just came last November 2011.I have SSN already. I am a registered Nurse also in the US with CGFNS visa screen certificate and NCLEX passer, licensed in the states of California and Texas.. My employer just mentioned to me about the green card application for Registered nurses. Is it possible for my case to apply for the said green card application? Thank you.

Answer #10
Based on the information you have supplied, you seem to be eligible as a Registered Nurse to obtain permanent residency through the Schedule A Green Card category.


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

Our next “Immigration Q & A Forum” is scheduled for Friday, February 3, 2012!
Please remember to submit your questions/comments on our h1bvisalawyer blog.

Posted On: January 16, 2012

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, January 20, 2012

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, AZ SB1070, priority dates, the monthly visa bulletin, adjustment applications or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, 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, January 20th, 2012. 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. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

Posted On: January 11, 2012

U.S. Consulate General in Chennai will no longer process Immigrant Visas

As reported on the U.S. Consulate General Chennai, India website - The U.S. Consulate General in Chennai will no longer process Immigrant Visa petitions as of January 1, 2012. The U.S. Embassy in New Delhi and U.S. Consulate in Mumbai will become the only acceptance centers in India for Immigrant Visas. The Immigrant Visa allows an individual to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis, as well as provides the immigrant the opportunity to work towards U.S. citizenship.

Examples of Immigrant Visa based petitions are those that work toward family reunification of parents, children and siblings. These petitions also include Fiancée and the unique employer category, where one’s employer can petition for the individual and their dependents to immigrate to the United States.

This change affects only the locations for processing of Immigrant Visas; it does not change the law or policy for visa processing.

*The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) contacted the Consulate regarding the change in procedure, please see the questions AILA asked and the answers received, provided below:

Why the change?
This change is in order to streamline the immigrant visa (IV) issuance process and is part of the U.S. Government's ongoing effort to provide efficient visa services throughout India. It does not affect any other category of visa, including non-immigrant visas for work, study, or tourism. The change brings India in line with other large countries, including Mexico and China, where IV processing is administered in a more central fashion within the Mission.

When will IV interviews stop in Chennai?
The last day for IV interviews at U.S. Consulate General Chennai was on December 30, 2011.

I have a pending application. Where should I send my follow up documentation?
If you have a pending application and were requested to provide additional documents, please contact the U.S. Consulate General Chennai via e-mail at ChennaiIVU@state.gov

Pending applications will be processed in Chennai through March 30, 2012. If an applicant has not completed his/her application process by March 30, 2012, the case will be transferred to Mumbai. The IV unit in Chennai has been working aggressively since October 2011 to bring closure to pending cases.

Source of Information: AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 12011064 (posted Jan. 10, 2012)

Posted On: January 9, 2012

FEBRUARY 2012 VISA BULLETIN

The Department of State has released its latest Visa Bulletin.

Click here to view the February 2012 Visa Bulletin.

The February 2012 Visa Bulletin still shows employment based third preference (EB-3) visas as oversubscribed while the employment based second preference (EB-2) is current for all areas of chargeability except for China and India.

**There has been significant forward movement in the EB-2 category for the past 4 visa bulletin issues.

**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.

Posted On: January 6, 2012

MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, January 6, 2012

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.


Question #1 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
Any H-1B visas left under quota for this year?

Answer #1
The H-1B FY2012 Quota was reached on November 22, 2011, accordingly, you will have to wait until April 1, 2012 to submit an H-1B CAP petition for employment beginning October 1, 2012.


Question #2 – J-1 Visa
My niece has a J1 visa and some things have occurred and now the sponsor wants to cancel her visa. My question is what is the time period that she has to leave the country without incurring any unlawful presence?

Answer #2
Considering the circumstances, if your niece’s visa was cancelled, she should make arrangements to leave immediately. If your niece’s visa has expired, which is different, she should make arrangements to leave within 30 days of the expiration of her J1 visa, this time period is called a ‘grace period.’


Question #3 – Travel
We just applied for my wife’s green card (she just became my wife here in U.S.). Can she travel back home to visit family while the I-485 is pending?

Answer #3
If you included Form I-131 in your Adjustment of Status petition for your wife, then once Form I-131 is approved, she should be able to travel back home to visit her family while her I-485 remains pending.


Question #4 – Unlawful Presence in USA
I cannot remember the specifics regarding unlawful presence towards the 3yr and 10yr bars, can you provide those time periods?

Answer #4
If an applicant remains in the US unlawfully (without authorization) for more than 180 days, they may be subject to the 3 year bar. If an applicant remains in the US unlawfully (without authorization) for more than 360 days (1 year), they may be subject to the 10 year bar.


Question #5 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
I have exhausted my 6 years on H-1B visa and returned to my home country. I have been here for a little less than a year; can I now apply for a new H-1B visa under the current cap to return to U.S.? Please let me know so we can move forward immediately.

Answer #5
According to the regulations, once you have exhausted the 6 year limit on H-1B, you must return to your home country for one (1) year before you can petition again for an H-1B nonimmigrant visa. Additionally, once you are eligible, you will have to wait until April 1, 2012 in order to submit your new H-1B visa petition under the FY2013 CAP with employment beginning October 1, 2012.


Question #6 – Marriage Based Immigration – Conditional Permanent Resident
Please let me know the procedure for removing conditions based on marriage to a U.S. citizen. When can I file? I am married to a U.S. Citizen and my conditional green card is set to expire in May 2012.

Answer #6
You can file to remove the conditions 90 days prior to the expiration of your second anniversary as a conditional resident. It is very important that you file Form I-751 (Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence) within the 90 day window of time. If you file too early, the USCIS will send your application back. You may file at any time during the 90 day window, but it is suggested that you file fairly early in the window. If you fail to properly file Form I-751 within the 90 day period, your conditional resident status will automatically be terminated and the USCIS will order removal proceedings against you and a hearing will be conducted where you will be given the opportunity to rebut the government’s allegations against you.


Question #7 – Employment Based Immigration – Employment Authorization Document (EAD)/Advance Parole Document (AP)
My EAD and AP are expiring this year. When is the earliest that I can file my renewal petitions?

Answer #7
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, 2012, the earliest you can file is on or after June 19, 2012.

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 could issue an RFE requesting your current AP document before issuing a new AP document.


Question #8 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
One of our IT employees is going on vacation from 03/2012 – 04/2012 and we are getting his h1b ext. in June and he has to go for visa in home country and he is requesting us to premium process his H1 ext. and wondering whether we can do it right now and can get approval before he leaves and he wants to appear for Visa with the new one. Please suggest whether we can do it right now or can we do it after he comes back from the vacation.

Answer #8
The answer to your question depends upon the specifics of your case; whether an end client will need to be obtained and if it can be obtained within the time period, whether forms and filing fees can be returned within a reasonable time; whether the LCA will be certified within the time frame given; etc. There are many circumstances that will need to be considered before a final decision is made on whether to prepare and file the extension now or wait until the return of the beneficiary to the U.S. We can file cases with the USCIS within 6 months of the current visa's expiration. Therefore, if his current H-1B expires on 6/2012, you could prepare and file the extension case now. Knowing the above information, please consider all of the circumstances of the case before you make a decision to proceed forward.


Question #9 – Employment Based Immigration – Green Card
They accepted our petition to remove the conditions on my conditional residence. I just received my GC and my name is spelled wrong on the card. How do I fix this?

Answer #9
You will need to file Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card. If you believe this was an administrative error on the part of the USCIS, you will need to check box d in Part 2, number 2 of the application. Along with the Form I-90 and accompanying filing fee please attach the incorrect card and evidence of the correct information (original birth certificate; passport; previous approval notices, etc). You will need to submit the USCIS filing fees (made payable to the “U.S. Department of Homeland Security”) even though you believe it was an administrative error. If you send the form with accompanying documentation without the filing fees, the case will be returned until you provide those fees. If the USCIS agrees that the error was administrative in nature, they will issue a new card and return the filing fees.


Question #10 – Employment Based Immigration – Green Card: Biometrics
The fingerprints that I gave the USCIS are set to expire soon. Should I make an Info Pass appointment at my local USCIS office to give them a new set of fingerprints?

Answer #10
As written on the I-797C, Notice of Action, in some types of cases USCIS requires biometrics. In such cases, USCIS will send you an appointment notice with a specific date, time and place for you to go to a USCIS Application Support Center (ASC) for biometrics processing. You must WAIT for that appointment notice and take it to your ASC appointment along with your photo identification.


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

Our next “Immigration Q & A Forum” is scheduled for Friday, January 20, 2012!
Please remember to submit your questions/comments on our h1bvisalawyer blog.

Posted On: January 3, 2012

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, January 6, 2012

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, AZ SB1070, priority dates, the monthly visa bulletin, adjustment applications or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, 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, January 6th, 2012. 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. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.