Posted On: February 27, 2012

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, March 2, 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, March 2nd, 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: February 22, 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 February 21, 2012 with processing dates as of December 31, 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: February 17, 2012

MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, February 17, 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 – Green Card
Can you obtain permanent residence outside of the country in which you intend to be a resident?

Answer #1
Yes, this process is called Consular Processing. After the necessary forms are filed and approved by the USCIS, an individual will be scheduled for and attend a visa interview at a U.S. Consulate abroad where a Consular Officer will decide within their discretion if an applicant is eligible to receive the requested benefit.


Question #2 – Immigrant Investor
Until recently, I had never heard of an investor immigrant. Is that a new type of person who is allowed to immigrate? If so, what qualifies you to be an investor immigrant?

Answer #2
It is not a new type of visa. USCIS administers the Immigrant Investor Program, also known as “EB-5,” created by Congress in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. Under a pilot immigration program first enacted in 1992 and regularly reauthorized since, certain EB-5 visas also are set aside for investors in Regional Centers designated by USCIS based on proposals for promoting economic growth. All EB-5 investors must invest in a new commercial enterprise, create or preserve at least 10 full-time jobs for qualifying U.S. workers within two years, and must make a minimum qualifying investment in the United States of $1 million OR a minimum qualifying investment of $500,000 in the U.S. in a high-unemployment area or rural area.


Question #3 – Green Card
What happens to me if the employer goes bankrupt or withdraws my labor certification or visa petition?

Answer #3
You will need to seek new employment/sponsorship and/or leave the country.


Question #4 – Green Card
What is the “Green Card Lottery”?

Answer #4
The congressionally mandated Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (“Green Card Lottery”) makes available up to 55,000 diversity visas (DVs) annually, drawn from random selection among all entries to persons who meet strict eligibility requirements from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.


Question #5 – Temporary Visas
Will a criminal conviction impair my ability to receive a temporary visa?

Answer #5
It depends upon the type of criminal conviction. Depending upon the seriousness of the criminal conviction, it is possible to be inadmissible and/or deportable for certain criminal convictions – crimes of moral turpitude, crimes involving domestic violence.


Question #6 – Green Card
If I lose my green card, how do I go about replacing it? Is there a fee to replace it?

Answer #6
Yes, there is a standard procedure in place if you lose your Green Card. You will need to apply with the USCIS for a new GC by filing Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card. The fee for replacement is $365.00 plus a biometrics fee of $85.00 made payable to the USCIS.


Question #7 – Green Card
I obtained my green card in 2009, but I know that the USCIS redesigned the green card, so does that mean I need to replace my current green card?

Answer #7
No, you will however, need to renew your GC prior to its expiration. GCs are normally granted for a period of 10 years, unless you received your initial GC through marriage.


Question #8 – Green Card
Are permanent residence cards and green cards the same thing?

Answer #8
Yes


Question #9 – Student Visa
If I am here on an F-1 visa, can I being working even though I’m not on a work based visa?

Answer #9
Generally no, yet it depends. Temporary work within the school system may be authorized by the designated school official, you should speak with your Counselor in order to determine if you are eligible. Work outside of school is not allowed. OPT status is granted post completion of your F1 student studies.


Question #10 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
I am working on OPT. If H-1 B processing time goes beyond validity of OPT, what will happen?

Answer #10
If your H-1B CAP case was filed with a beginning work date of October 1, of the present fiscal year, then you are covered under the CAP GAP. Therefore, you are allowed to remain working until your H1B petition is approved by the Service. If the above does not apply to you, then you should, once your OPT expires - stop working - until your H-1B petition is approved by the Service.


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

Our next “Immigration Q & A Forum” is scheduled for Friday, March 2, 2012!

Please remember to submit your questions/comments on our h1bvisalawyer blog.

Posted On: February 16, 2012

FY2013 H1B CAP - MVP EARLY BIRD SPECIAL

MVP Law Group is now accepting H1B cap-subject cases for Fiscal Year 2013 (FY2013). Many foreign nationals and their employers have asked when they should start working on H1B FY2013 cap cases. The cap filings may be filed as of April 1, 2012. It is vital to file on the first day. For FY2012, the cap was not reached immediately; however, in years past, the filings have far outweighed the available H1B cap numbers. Since it is difficult to predict FY2013's outcome, our recommendation is to file as soon as possible to ensure that your case is accepted.

In order to have a case ready to be filed with the USCIS on April 1st, it is necessary to prepare in advance. To facilitate this, as in past years, our firm begins accepting and preparing these cases months in advance. If there is an employer / employee match, it is best to start early to avoid the last minute rush.

Please contact our office or visit our website to find out more about our current H1B EARLY BIRD SPECIAL running until MARCH 7th, 2012.

Posted On: February 13, 2012

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, February 17, 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 17th, 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: February 10, 2012

Administrative Appeals Office Processing Times

Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) Processing Times were released with processing dates as of February 1, 2012.

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 current processing time for an I-129 H-1B Appeal is 22 months; for an I-129 L1 Appeal - 23 months. The current processing time for an I-140 EB2 Appeal for an Advanced Degree Professional is 24 months; for an I-140EB3 Appeal for a Skilled or Professional Worker is 35 months.

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

Posted On: February 9, 2012

MARCH 2012 VISA BULLETIN

The Department of State has released its latest Visa Bulletin.

Click here to view the March 2012 Visa Bulletin.

The March 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 5 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: February 3, 2012

MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, February 3, 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 – Green Card
If my permanent residence card has expired, do I need a visa? Or is it possible to renew my permanent residence?

Answer #1
A green card is valid for a period of 10 years; you may renew 6 months prior to its expiration. You may renew your green card by filing Form I-90 with the USCIS.


Question #2 – Temporary Work Visa: H-1B
When applying for an H-1B, what is considered a “specialty occupation”?

Answer #2
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. The H-1B visa allows foreign workers to enter the U.S. and work in a variety of fields ranging from architecture and engineering to teaching and medicine.


Question #3 – Temporary Work Visa: H-1B
What should I do if I am fired from my job while in the United States on an H-1B visa?

Answer #3
If you have been fired from your job while in the United States your employer is liable to pay for your return transportation to your country of residence. Your employer is also responsible for informing the USCIS that you are no longer an employee. Once the USCIS receives this information, they will revoke the underlying H-1B.


Question #4 – Temporary Work Visa: H-1B
What qualifies me as an “exempt H-1B employee”?

Answer #4
An exempt H-1B nonimmigrant is an H-1B worker who meets one of the following statutory standards: (1) receives at least $60,000 in annual wages; or (2) has attained a master’s or higher degree (or its equivalent) in a specialty related to the intended H-1B employment.


Question #5 – Temporary Work Visa: H-1B
Can I travel in and out the country at free will while on an H-1B visa?

Answer #5
You may travel in and out of the U.S. while on the H-1B visa; however, we recommend that you limit your international travel to emergency/vacation purposes. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) is the agency that grants or denies re-entry into the U.S.


Question #6 – Temporary Dependent Visas
What is a dependent visa (i.e. F2, H4)?

Answer #6
A dependent visa is reserved for spouses and unmarried children. If the primary applicant holds an F1 student visa, then the appropriate dependent visa for the spouse and any unmarried children is called an F2 visa. If the primary applicant holds an H1B nonimmigrant visa, then the appropriate dependent visa for the spouse and any unmarried children is the H4 visa. F2 and H4 dependents may not work; however, children are allowed to attend school while in the U.S.


Question #7 – Temporary Work Visa: H-1B
How long is an H-1B visa valid for?

Answer #7
An H-1B nonimmigrant visa is valid for a period of 3 years. It may be extended for another three years, resulting in a total of 6 years in H1B nonimmigrant visa status. Under AC21 law, an H-1B nonimmigrant may extend their H-1B visa status further under certain circumstances. Otherwise, at the end of the 6 years, the applicant must return to their country of residence and remain there for a period of one (1) year before they can reapply for a new H-1B visa.


Question #8 – Temporary Work Visa: H-1B
If I have more than the required years of experience in my field of work, but no master’s degree or the international equivalent of a master’s degree, can I still apply for an H-1B visa?

Answer #8
At a minimum, the H-1B nonimmigrant visa classification requires the attainment of a Bachelor’s degree in a specific field.


Question #9 – Temporary Work Visa: H-1B
How often does the annual cap on H1B visas change? What determines when or if they change?

Answer #9
65,000 H1B nonimmigrant visas are available under the H-1B CAP each fiscal year. In addition, 20,000 H-1B nonimmigrant visas are exempt from the CAP under the Advanced Degree exemption. Please note that up to 6,800 visas are set aside from the cap of 65,000 during each fiscal year for the H-1B1 program under the terms of the legislation implementing the U.S.-Chile and U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreements. Unused numbers in this pool are made available for H-1B use for the next fiscal year. Only Congress may change the number of H-1B nonimmigrant visas available each fiscal year. The annual cap was originally 195,000 until it was reduced to 65,000 in the fiscal year of 2004.


Question #10 – Temporary Work Visas
If I come on a seasonal work visa, can I stay in the U.S. until the next work season or do I need to return to the country of which I am a citizen and apply for another visa?

Answer #10
You will need to return to the country of which you are a citizen and apply for another visa for the next work season if there remains a need for your services.


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 17, 2012!
Please remember to submit your questions/comments on our h1bvisalawyer blog.

Posted On: February 1, 2012

Administrative Appeals Office Processing Times

Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) Processing Times were released with processing dates as of January 1, 2012.

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 current processing time for an I-129 H-1B Appeal is 22 months; for an I-129 L1 Appeal - 22 months. The current processing time for an I-140 EB2 Appeal for an Advanced Degree Professional is 26 months; for an I-140EB3 Appeal for a Skilled or Professional Worker is 35 months.

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