Posted On: October 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 October 29, 2012 with processing dates as of September 30, 2012.

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: October 30, 2012

USCIS Notice of Field Office Closings (10/30/2012)

USCIS notice of multiple east coast field office closings on Tuesday, October 30, 2012 due to Hurricane Sandy.

All applicant appointments will be rescheduled to the next available appointment date. If applicants plan to visit a USCIS office in an area that is or may be affected by the severe weather, please call the National Customer Service Center (NCSC) 1-800-375-5283 to ensure the office is open for business and for further instructions on rescheduling appointments.

Source: "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 11082361 (posted Oct. 29, 2012)"


Posted On: October 26, 2012

MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, October 26, 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. Therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.


Question #1 – Nonimmigrant Visa
Can I travel on my current nonimmigrant visa or do I need to get advance parole?

Answer #1
If you have a valid nonimmigrant visa stamp in your passport and copies of your approval notice and a copy of the petition, you should be able to travel on your nonimmigrant visa. Advance Parole is a separate creature that you may apply for once you are able to file an I-485 petition for either a family based or employment based green card. The Advance Parole document allows you to travel outside the country while your I-485 application is pending.

The nonimmigrant visa and advance parole are two separate and distinct items, you may have both if you are applying for adjustment, but if you only have a valid nonimmigrant visa stamp in your passport, you should be able to travel.


Question #2 – Green Card
How long can you live outside the United States and still keep your green card valid?

Answer #2
One should be able to use one's green card to return from trips abroad of up to one year. However, anytime a green card holder leaves the U.S., he or she is subject to being accused by the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) of having abandoned the intention of living in the U.S., and is subject to having the green card taken away--on the spot. Staying longer than one year may also affect the naturalization process if and when you attempt to apply.


Question #3 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
I have been considering teaching for a while as a way to give back and was wondering being on H1-B, would I be able to hold a part-time/adjunct teaching position at a university, if given the opportunity?

Answer #3
You would be able to hold a part-time/adjunct teaching position at a university; however, the University must be willing to sponsor your H-1B visa. The University would have to go thru the normal process of preparing and filing the necessary forms and paying the necessary USCIS filing fees, if applicable, as well as paying all legal fees involved.


Question #4 – Nonimmigrant Visa
What is the TN Visa and how can I qualify for it?

Answer #4
The TN Visa is a product of NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), certain citizens of Canada and Mexico are eligible to enter the U.S. under the nonimmigrant TN status. The TN Visa enables Canadian and Mexican citizens to temporarily work in the U.S. in a NAFTA-approved professional occupation.


Question #5 – Employment Based Immigration – Green Card
I always check the visa bulletin and the movement varies. One time, there was a 3 month movement and the next time it was just 22 days, then a month. Why is that so?

Answer #5
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.


Question #6 – Employment Based Immigration – Green Card
After my priority date becomes current, when is my spouse able to get a working permit?

Answer #6
You will file the I-485 application along with the I-765 application and I-131, Advance Parole application if requested. Your spouse will be able to get a working permit once the I-765, Employment Authorization application is approved with the USCIS. Once approved, your spouse will receive an EAD card and will be able to begin working.


Question #7 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
I found a company willing to sponsor me, but they are strongly considering not sponsoring me due to the costs associated with sponsoring me – lawyer fees, filing fees, etc. Can I pay these fees directly to USCIS and lawyer or can I reimburse my sponsoring company, or arrange some type of payment plan?

Answer #7
NO. Lawyer fees and USCIS filing fees MUST be paid solely by the employer, not by the beneficiary. This action would be in violation of the laws governing the H-1B nonimmigrant visa program.


Question #8 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
One of our employees is nearing his 6th year on H-1B visa status and he has an approved I-140 filed by a different company. Is it possible to use the approved I-140 to get a three year extension with our company?

Answer #8
Yes. Pursuant to AC21 law, an H-1B non-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 non-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 #9 – Temporary Work Visa
If I work for a company with offices overseas, and I want to work for the company in its United States offices, would I apply for a employment based visa? If not, which visa would I apply for?

Answer #9
It depends. You could apply for an H-1B nonimmigrant visa; an L1, Intra-Company Transferee visa; possibly an E1, Treaty Trader visa or an E2, Treaty Investor visa, an E3 Australian visa, or a TN visa, etc. Please contact our office to further discuss your particular situation and which visa would be a better fit for you.


Question #10 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
What document determines how long I can stay legally in the United States: my visa, my I-94 card or the expiration of my current passport?

Answer #10
Short answer: The visa stamp issued by the U.S. State Department displayed in your passport allows you to enter the U.S. at a port of entry. The I-94 card issued by an Immigration Inspector at the port of entry, is your admission ticket and displays the time period you are authorized to stay in the United States. If your I-94 card expires and you did not obtain an extension, and you remain in the U.S. without taking further action, this inaction will result in you accruing unlawful presence in the U.S.


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 9, 2012!

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

Posted On: October 24, 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 October 19, 2012 with processing dates as of August 31, 2012.

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)

Note: USCIS re-released its processing time reports as of 8/31/12, to include a line item for I-601s.

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

Posted On: October 23, 2012

Mass. Immigrant Advocacy group registers 4,000 immigrants to vote

The Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA) announced on Wednesday, October 17, 2012 that it has registered more than 4,000 naturalized citizens for voting in the next election. This is the largest number of immigrants it has registered to vote in the organization’s history.

Representatives of MIRA attended naturalization ceremonies in different parts of Massachusetts to find and register these new citizens to vote. Naturalized Americans represent 12 percent of voters in Massachusetts.

MIRA’s Organizing Director Marcony Almeida said, ‘‘Candidates have too often taken their immigrant constituents for granted, or worse, used them as scapegoats,’’. He also stated, ‘‘we wanted to empower new Americans to fight back by representing their own interests and those of their fellow immigrants at the ballot box.’’

Posted On: October 22, 2012

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, October 26, 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, 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, October 26, 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. Therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

Posted On: October 19, 2012

USCIS Program Extension Alert

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) advises the public that Public Law 112-176, signed by the President on Sept. 28, 2012, extends the following USCIS programs until Sept. 30, 2015:

• E-Verify
• Immigrant Investor (EB-5) Pilot Program
• Special immigrant visa category for non-minister special immigrant religious workers
• The date by which J-1 nonimmigrant exchange visitors must obtain that status in order to qualify for the Conrad 30 program.

Program Details

E-Verify: E-Verify, an Internet-based system operated by USCIS in partnership with the Social Security Administration (SSA), allows participating employers to electronically verify the employment eligibility of their newly hired employees. More than 402,000 participating employers at nearly 1.2 million worksites nationwide currently use the program. Since Oct. 1, 2011, more than 20 million employment verification queries have been run through the system and approximately 98.3 percent of all queries are now automatically confirmed without any need for employee action.

Immigrant Investor (EB-5) Pilot Program: Under the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program, USCIS will continue to receive, process, and adjudicate all Regional Center Proposals, Forms I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur, and Forms I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, affiliated with Regional Centers relying on “indirect” job creation analysis. Currently, there are more than 70 regional centers throughout the United States.

Religious Worker Visa: The special immigrant visa category for non-minister religious workers covers individuals within a religious vocation or occupation and also applies to accompanying or “following-to-join” spouses and children of these religious workers. USCIS will continue to receive and process Forms 1-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant, Forms I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, and Forms I-824, Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition, that relate to religious workers and their families covered by Public Law 112-176.

Conrad 30: USCIS will continue to adjudicate immigration benefits covered by the Conrad 30 program. The Conrad 30 program allows each state health department to submit a request directly to the Department of State to initiate the waiver process for a foreign medical graduate who obtained J-1 status to change to another status without the required two-year foreign residence. The law previously required the foreign medical graduate to have acquired J-1 status before Sept. 30, 2012; the law now extends the program to cover J-1 admissions before Sept. 30, 2015.

Source of Information: "USCIS.com NEWS (10/05/2012)"

Posted On: October 18, 2012

Round-Up of Immigration Related Legislation (Jan-Sept 2012)

The following immigration-related bills were introduced into the House of Representatives and the Senate January 2012-September 2012.

Senate Bills

S. 3245
Introduced by Sen. Leahy (D-VT) on 5/24/12
Permanently reauthorizes the EB-5 Regional Center Program, the E-Verify Program, the Special Immigrant Nonminister Religious Worker Program, and the Conrad State 30 J-1 Visa Waiver Program

Student Visa Integrity Act (S. 3527)
Introduced by Sen. Schumer (D-NY) on 9/11/12
Creates increased criminal penalties for individuals misuing the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), mandates certification for institutions enrolling international students, and prohibits certain schools from accessing the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System.

BRAINS Act (S. 3553)
Introduced by Sen. Schumer (D-NY) on 9/19/12
Provides for immigrants visas for certain advanced STEM graduates, student visa reform, age-out protections for children, retention of priority dates, and family reunifications for high-skilled workers

House Bills

Scott Gardner Act (H.R. 3808)
Introduced by Rep. Myrick (R-NC) on 1/23/12
Directs DOJ to take into custody an alien who is unlawfully in the United States and is arrested by a state or local law enforcement officer for driving while intoxicated or similar violation. The bill also directs the officer, upon reasonable grounds to believe the individual is an alien, to verify immigration status and to take into custody for federal transfer if unlawfully in the United States.

Adjusted Residency for Military Service (ARMS) Act (H.R. 3823)
Introduced by Rep. Rivera (R-FL) on 1/24/12
Authorizes DHS to cancel the removal of, and adjust to conditional nonimmigrant status, an alien who meets specific requirements, including (1) entered the United States before his or her 16th birthday and has been present in the United States for at least five years immediately preceding this Act's enactment; (2) is a person of good moral character; (3) is not inadmissible or deportable under specified grounds of the Immigration and Nationality Act; (4) has not participated in the persecution of any person on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion; (5) has not been convicted of certain offenses under federal or state law; (6) has been admitted to an institution of higher education or has earned a high school diploma or general education development certificate in the United States; (7) has never been under a final order of exclusion, deportation, or removal unless the alien has remained in the United States under color of law after such order's issuance, or received the order before attaining the age of 16; and (8) was under age 30 on the date of this Act's enactment.

H.R. 3842
Introduced by Rep. Black (R-TN) on 1/31/12
Prohibits federal funds from being used by a federal agency or instrumentality to participate in a lawsuit to overturn, enjoin, or otherwise invalidate specified immigration-related laws in Oklahoma, Missouri, Arizona, Utah, Indiana, Alabama, South Carolina, or Georgia.

Visa Waiver Program Enhanced Security and Reform Act (H.R. 3855)
Introduced by Rep. Quigley (D-IL) on 1/31/2012
Amends the INA in regards to the visa waiver program to 1. Authorize the Secretary of Homeland Security to designate any country as a program country; 2. Adjust visa refusal rate criteria, including the addition of a 3% maximum overstay rate; and 3. Revise probationary and termination provisions

Ensuring Mental Competence in Immigration Proceedings Act (H.R. 3881)
Introduced by Rep. Stark (D-CA) on 2/2/12
Authorizes immigration judges to order a competency evaluation, terminate a proceeding, or appoint counsel when necessary for aliens with mental disabilities

Strengthening America's Public Schools Through Promoting Foreign Investment Act (H.R. 3983)
Introduced by Rep. Owens (D-NY) on 2/8/12
Permits a lawful alien who enters the United States on a nonimmigrant student visa to attend a U.S. pubic secondary school for longer than one year if such alien reimburses the full, unsubsidized per capita cost of providing education at such school for the period of the alien's attendance

H.R. 3992
Introduced by Rep. Berman (D-CA) on 2/9/12
Makes Israeli nationals eligible to enter the United States as nonimmigrant traders and investors if Israel provides reciprocal nonimmigrant treatment to U.S. nationals

H.R. 4021
Introduced by Rep. Faleomavaega (D-AS At-Large)
Waives certain requirements for naturalization for American Samoan U.S. nationals to become U.S. citizens

H.R. 4982- VAWA Reauthorization
Introduced by Rep. Biggert (R-IL) on 4/27/12
Reauthorizes Violence Against Women Act of 1994 with amendments.

Virgin Islands Visa Waiver Act of 2012 (H.R. 5875)
Introduced by Rep. Christensen (D-VI -At Large) on 5/31/12
Establishes a visa waiver program for the United States Virgin Islands for a national of a country that is a member/associate member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and who is applying for admission as a nonimmigrant business or pleasure visitor for not more than 30 days.

Visa Waiver for Israel Act of 2012 (H.R. 5850)
Introduced by Rep. Sherman (D-CA) on 5/18/12
Includes Israel in the visa waiver program upon determination that Israel: (1) has entered into an agreement with the United States to report, or make available through Interpol or other means, information about passport theft or loss; (2) has entered into an information sharing agreement with the United States regarding whether Israeli citizens and nationals traveling to the United States represent a U.S. security threat; (3) cooperates with the U.S. government on counterterrorism initiatives, information sharing, and preventing terrorist travel; (4) issues all new and reissued passports with biometric identifiers; and (5) has made every reasonable effort, without jeopardizing Israeli security, to ensure that reciprocal privileges are extended to all U.S. citizens.

Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2013 (H.R. 5855)
Introduced by Rep. Aderholt (R-AL) on 5/23/12
Makes appropriations for DHS for FY 2013

Startup Act 2.0 (H.R. 5893)
Introduced by Rep. Grimm (R-NY) on 6/5/12
Authorizes DHS to adjust conditional permanent resident status up to 50,000 aliens who have earned a master's or doctorate degree in STEM fields and permit such an alien to remain in the United States: (1) for up to one year after the expiration of the alien's student visa, if the alien is searching for STEM field employment; and (2) indefinitely if the alien remains actively engaged in a STEM field. Removes a STEM alien's conditional status after five years of maintaining eligibility during the entire five-year period. Authorizes the Secretary to issue conditional immigrant visas to up to 75,000 qualified alien entrepreneurs. Removes such conditional basis after four years of maintaining qualified entrepreneur status. Eliminates the per-country numerical limitation for employment-based visas. Increases the per country numerical limitation for family based immigrants from 7% to 15% of the total number of family-sponsored visas.

Prohibiting Back-door Amnesty Act (H.R. 3932)
Introduced by Rep. Quayle (R-AZ) on 6/18/12
Nullifies the following: 1)June 17, 2011 memorandum from Director of ICE regarding exercise of prosecutorial discretion; 2) June 15, 2012 memoradum from Secretary of Homeland Security regarding prosecutorial discretion with respect to individuals who came to the United States as children 3) draft directive developed by CBP containing guidance on when to exercise discretion

H.R. 5957
Introduced by Rep. Schweikert (R-AZ) on 6/18/12
Prohibits DHS from granting deferred action or otherwise suspending the effectiveness or enforcement of immigration laws

H.R. 6000
Introduced by Rep. Akin (R-MO) on 6/21/12
Requires verification of the immigration status of recipients of Federal benefit programs

H.R. 6001
Introduced by Rep. Burgess (R-TX) on 6/21/12
Prohibits DHS from granting a work authorization to an alien found to have been unlawfully present in the United States

H.R. 6070
Introduced by Rep. Barletta (R-PA) on 6/29/12
Directs the Comptroller General of the United States to conduct a study to determine the impact of the June 15, 2012 policy regarding exercising discretion with respect to individuals who came the United States as children. Directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to refrain from implementing the policy until after the Comptroller General has reported to Congress on the results of the study.

Employee Verification (H.R. 6112)
Introduced by Rep. Woodall (7/12/12)
Requires federal contractors and subcontractors to participate in the E-Verify program. Makes E-Verify permanent.

Family Farm Relief Act of 2012 (H.R. 6373)
Introduced by Rep. Gibson (R-NY) on 9/11/12
Amends the INA to simplify the petitioning process for H-2A workers and expands the scope of the H-2A program.

American Investment and Job Creation Act of 2012 (H.R. 6210)
Introduced by Rep. Conyers (D-MI) on 7/26/12
Provides an employment-based immigrant visa for an alien entrepreneur who has engaged in a new commercial enterprise that has 1) within the four years prior to the filing of a petition, created full-time employment for at least five U.S. workers, or in the case of a Distressed Area Development Zone, for at least three U.S. workers; and 2) received enough investment or revenue during this period to support employment creation requirements.

Attracting the Best and Brightest Act of 2012 (H.R. 6412)
Introduced by Rep. Lofgren (D-CA) on 9/14/12
Provides up to 50,000 visas available to immigrations who 1) possess a graduate degree in STEM fields from qualifying U.S. research institution; 2) have an employment offer from a U.S. employer in field related to degree; 3) are the subject of an approved labor certification; 4) will receive a wage that is at least the actual wage paid by employer to all other individuals with similar experience/qualifications. Makes unused STEM visas available for other employment-based visa categories.

STEM Jobs Act of 2012 (H.R. 6429)
Introduced by Rep. Smith (R-TX) on 9/18/12
Creates new visa categories for foreign PhD and masters graduates in STEM fields. Eliminates the diversity immigrant visa program.

Source of Information: "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 12100260 (posted Oct. 2, 2012)"

Posted On: October 17, 2012

Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) Processing Times

Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) Processing Times were released with processing dates as of October 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 12 months; for an I-129 L1 Appeal - 13 months. The current processing time for an I-140 EB2 Appeal for an Advanced Degree Professional is 7 months; for an I-140 EB3 Appeal for a Skilled or Professional Worker is 29 months.

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

Posted On: October 16, 2012

VISA Bulletin - November 2012

The Department of State has released its latest Visa Bulletin.

Click here to view the November 2012 Visa Bulletin.

The November 2012 Visa Bulletin shows employment based second preference (EB-2) as oversubscribed and employment based third preference (EB-3) visas are also listed as oversubscribed. EB-2 is current for all chargeability areas except those listed.

The employment-based second preference cut-off date for China is 09/01/07 and 09/01/04 for India.

**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: October 15, 2012

USCIS Announces a New Filing Option on behalf of Canadian TN Nonimmigrants

Canadian TN Nonimmigrants

On Oct. 1, 2012, USCIS will begin accepting the Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, filed on behalf of Canadian citizens who are outside the United States and seeking classification as a TN nonimmigrant.

With respect to the TN classification, USCIS currently only accepts Form I-129 in connection with a request to extend a TN nonimmigrant’s stay or to change a nonimmigrant’s status to TN.

Canadian citizens continue to have the option of applying to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for TN classification in conjunction with an application for TN admission to the United States. Please refer to CBP’s website for additional information and requirements for applying for admission to the United States.

Please see our Web pages concerning Direct Filing Addresses for Form I-129, TN North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Professionals, and Frequently Asked Questions for TN’s.

Canadian L-1 Nonimmigrants

As a reminder, an employer has the option of filing a Form I-129 individual petition with USCIS on behalf of a Canadian L-1 nonimmigrant. A U.S. employer that has an approved L-1 blanket petition also has the option to file a Form I-129S, Nonimmigrant Petition Based on Blanket L Petition, along with supporting documentation, with the USCIS service center that approved the L-1 blanket petition, on behalf of a Canadian citizen (or any visa-exempt beneficiary) who is outside the United States. As before, Canadian citizens may apply for L-1 classification in conjunction with an application for L-1 admission to the United States by presenting the Form I-129 (individual petition) or I-129S (under an approved blanket petition) and supporting documentation to CBP.

Please see our L-1A and L-1B Web pages.

Background: Beyond the Border

On Feb. 4, 2011, President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the United States-Canada joint declaration, Beyond the Border: A Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness. Beyond the Border communicates a shared approach to security in which both countries work together to address threats within, at, and away from our borders, while expediting lawful trade and travel.

Since the Feb. 4, 2011 announcement, the governments of the United States and Canada have worked to identify specific action items to advance the goals of Beyond the Border. These initiatives are described in the Beyond the Border Action Plan, which was released on Dec. 7, 2011, by President Obama and Prime Minister Harper.

Please see the Department of Homeland Security’s Beyond the Border website for additional information. The filing options noted in this announcement are a result of this collaborative effort.

Source of Information: "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 12100343 (posted Oct. 3, 2012)"

Posted On: October 12, 2012

MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, October 12, 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. Therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.


Question #1 – Green Card
What is Advance Parole?

Answer #1
Advance Parole is an ancillary benefit that one may apply for when submitting the I-485 Petition to the USCIS. Advance Parole is a travel document that once approved, allows you to exit and re-enter the U.S. while the I-485 is pending.


Question #2 – Temporary Work Visa
If I work for a company with offices overseas, and I want to work for the company in its United States offices, would I apply for a employment based visa? If not, which visa would I apply for?

Answer #2
It depends. You could apply for an H-1B nonimmigrant visa; an L1, Intra-Company Transferee visa; possibly an E1, Treaty Trader visa or an E2, Treaty Investor visa, an E3 Australian visa, or a TN visa, etc. Please contact our office to further discuss your particular situation and which visa would be a better fit for you.


Question #3 – Student Visa
If I am in the country on a student visa, does that prohibit me from working in the U.S. while I’m here because I’m not on an employment based visa?

Answer #3
Temporary/part time 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 #4 – Green Card
How is “extraordinary ability” determined for the EB-1 green card category?

Answer #4
To qualify under this category the individual should be one at the "top of her/his field of endeavor,” as demonstrated by national or international acclaim which should be recognized through extensive documentation. The alien should continue to work in the same field and provide proof of how s/he would substantially benefit the U.S. prospectively. The law provides that receipt of the Nobel Prize or at least three types of evidence from the list below are needed to satisfy the criteria.
Note that the submitted documentation must relate to and support the specific case presented to the USCIS.
1.Documentation of the alien's receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor.
2.Documentation of the alien's membership to associations in the field for which classification is sought, which require outstanding achievements of their members as judged by recognized national or international experts in their disciplines or fields.
3.Evidence of the alien's participation, either individually or on a panel, as a judge of the work of others in the same or an allied field of specification for which classification is sought.
4.Published material about the alien in professional or major trade publications or other major media, relating to the alien's work in the field for which classification is sought.
5.Evidence of the alien's authorship of scholarly articles in the field, in professional or major trade publications or other major media.
6.Evidence of the alien's original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field.
7.Evidence of the display of the alien's work in the field at artistic exhibitions or showcases.
8.Evidence of commercial successes in the performing arts, as shown by box office receipts or record, cassette, compact disc, or video sales.
9.Evidence that the alien has commanded a high salary or other significantly high remuneration for services, in relation to others in the field.
10.Evidence that the alien has performed in a leading or critical role for organizations or establishments that have a distinguished reputation.


Question #5 – Business Visa (B1)
If from a foreign country, but I have invested in a United States based business, can I apply for a business (B-1) visa?

Answer #5
You may be eligible for a B-1 visa if you will be participating in business activities of a commercial or professional nature in the United States, including, but not limited to:
(i) Consulting with business associates;
(ii) Traveling for a scientific, educational, professional or business convention, or a conference on specific dates;
(iii) Settling an estate;
(iv) Negotiating a contract;
(v) Participating in short-term training


Question #6 – Temporary Work Visa
While on an H-1B visa, does the USCIS impose a limit on the amount of time that I travel out of the country?

Answer #6
The USCIS does not necessarily impose a limit on the amount of time that an applicant may spend outside of the U.S., as an applicant is able to recapture the time spent outside of the U.S. However, an applicant should be aware that too much time spent outside of the U.S. may cause the applicant to lose their sponsored H1B employment.


Question #7 – Derivative Nonimmigrant Visa
As an H-4 dependent, am I allowed to go to public school?

Answer #7
H-4 dependents can enroll and attend schools in the U.S. without obtaining a student visa.


Question #8 – Temporary Work Visa
Do professionals such as dentists and doctors qualify for the H-1B visa? Or would they apply for another category of visa?

Answer #8
Professionals such as Dentists and Doctors would qualify for the H-1B nonimmigrant visa. They may also be eligible for other categories of visas.


Question #9 – Green Card
I would like to file I-485(EB2) application for my Green Card. My I-140 has been approved since 2010 with a priority date of 27-Jun-2010. I am from India. I want to apply for me and my dependent wife when my priority date becomes current again. Please advise about the filing fees involved.

Answer #9
If over the age of 14 and under the age of 65, the USCIS filing fee for the I-485 application is $1070.00 per applicant. This filing fee covers the I-485, the I-765, the I-131 and biometrics (fingerprinting).


Question #10 –Temporary Work Visa
How long can I have my H-1B visa for?

Answer #10
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.


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

Our next “Immigration Q & A Forum” is scheduled for Friday, October 12, 2012!

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

Posted On: October 11, 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 October 4, 2012 with processing dates as of August 31, 2012.

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: October 10, 2012

USCIS Launches Spanish-language I-9 Central

On October 4, 2012 the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) launched a Spanish-language version of I-9 Central, an online resource center designed to provide information and assistance related to the most frequently accessed form on USCIS.gov: Form I-9, Employee Eligibility Verification. This free, easy-to-use website provides employers and employees simple one-click access to resources, tips and guidance to properly complete Form I-9 and better understand the Form I-9 process.

Note: All U.S. employers must complete and retain a Form I-9 for each individual they hire for employment in the United States. This includes citizens and noncitizens.

Read the original “USCIS News Bulletin (released 10/04/2012)”.

Posted On: October 9, 2012

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) updated FY2012 Statistics

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) has provided FY2012 statistics in the form of program factsheets for each of the major immigration programs. These updated FY2012 statistics cover October 2011 through September 16, 2012. The link to each program factsheet is listed below.

Permanent Labor Certification Program

Prevailing Wage Determination Program

H-1B Temporary Visa Program

H-2A Temporary Agricultural Visa Program

H-2B Temporary Non-agricultural Visa Program

Posted On: October 8, 2012

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, October 12, 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, 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, October 12, 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. Therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

Posted On: October 5, 2012

S. 3245 – 3-year Extension of EB-5, E-Verify, Religious Worker, and Conrad State 30 J-1 Visa Waiver (Updated 9/28/12)

S. 3245, introduced by Sen. Leahy (D-VT) on May 24, 2012, provides an extension of:

1. EB-5 Regional Center program - The Immigrant Investor Pilot Program (“Pilot Program”) was created by Section 610 of Public Law 102-395 (Oct. 6, 1992), and has been extended through Sept. 30, 2012. EB-5 requirements for an investor under the Pilot Program are essentially the same as in the standard EB-5 investor program, except the Pilot Program provides for investments that are affiliated with an economic unit known as a “Regional Center.” Investments made through regional centers can take advantage of a more expansive concept of job creation including both “indirect” and “direct” jobs.

2. E-Verify - an internet-based program used by an employer to verify an employee's identity and to establish that the worker is eligible to accept employment in the United States.

3. Special Immigrant Non-minister Religious Worker program – a limit of 5,000 workers who may be issued a special immigrant non-minister religious worker visa during each fiscal year under the (EB-4) visa classification.

4. Conrad State 30 J-1 Visa Waiver program - allows J-1 medical doctors to apply for a waiver of the 2-year home residence requirement upon completion of the J-1 exchange visitor program to work in underserved areas in the US.


On August 2, 2012, the Senate passed S. 3245 with unanimous consent. The bill was amended to provide a 3-year extension of the four programs.

Text of S. 3245

On September 13, 2012, the House passed S. 3245 by a vote of 412 to 3. The measure now goes to the President for signature.

On September 28, 2012, President Obama signed S. 3245 into law.

Source of Information: "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 12080343 (posted Sep. 28, 2012)"

Posted On: October 2, 2012

APPLY TODAY for the 2014 Diversity Visa Lottery (DV-2014) – ONLY ONLINE ENTRIES ACCEPTED

Annually, the United States government issues a maximum of 50,000 green cards through a computer-generated random lottery drawing. Applications for the DV-2014 random lottery will be accepted Tuesday, October 2, 2012 through Saturday, November 3, 2012. 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 2014 DIVERSITY IMMIGRANT VISA PROGRAM (DV-2014)” for the complete list of countries/areas whose natives are eligible for DV-2014.

Natives of the following countries are not eligible to apply because the countries sent a total of more than 50,000 immigrants to the U.S. in the previous five years: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam. Persons born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan are eligible.

Changes in eligibility this year: FOR DV-2014, NATIVES OF GUATEMALA ARE NOW ELIGIBLE FOR SELECTION.

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-2014 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.

If you cannot meet either of these requirements, you should NOT submit an entry to the DV program.

Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery Instructions

A registered entry that complies with submission instructions will result in a confirmation screen
containing your name and a unique confirmation number. You must print this confirmation screen for
your records using the print function of your web browser and ensure that you retain your confirmation
number. Starting May 1, 2013, you will be able to check the status of your DV-2014 entry by
returning to www.dvlottery.state.gov, clicking on Entrant Status Check, and entering your
unique confirmation number and personal information. Entrant Status Check will be the sole
means of informing you of your selection for DV-2014, providing instructions to you on how to
proceed with your application, and notifying you of your appointment for your immigrant visa
interview. Therefore, it is essential you retain your confirmation number.