Posted On: January 31, 2013

Reminder: USCIS Immigrant Fee Takes Effect on Feb. 1

Starting Friday, Feb. 1, those who receive an immigrant visa package from a U.S. consulate or embassy abroad will be required to pay a new $165 immigrant fee.

We are aware of the effect that any new fee has on the communities we serve. However, the fee is necessary to cover the costs of producing and delivering permanent resident cards.

Important Points to Remember
• Starting on Feb. 1, 2013, applicants must pay both the Department of State (DOS) application fee and the USCIS Immigrant Fee.
• To simplify and centralize the collection of this new fee, we will require immigrants to pay online through the USCIS website.
• Applicants must submit their payment online after they receive their visa package from DOS and before they depart for the United States.

Children who enter the United States under the Orphan or Hague adoption programs, Iraqi and Afghan special immigrants, returning residents (SB-1s), and those issued K visas are the only immigrant visa cases exempt from paying the new fee.

Please see the following page on our website for more information: http://www.uscis.gov/immigrantfee

Source of Information: “The Beacon, the official blog of USCIS (Posted 1/28/13)

MVP Law Group understands the need to collect reasonable fees, but we are worried about the effect even a small increase can have on our clients and their families. We feel they should be kept to a minimum!

Posted On: January 30, 2013

Bipartisan Framework for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Eight high ranking U.S. Senators, four Democrats and four Republicans have developed and agreed on a framework for Immigration Reform. This newly released outline is entitled, “Bipartisan Framework for Comprehensive Immigration Reform”. The first sentence of the framework is “We recognize that our immigration system is broken.” This sentence tells all about the need for comprehensive immigration reform in this country.

This framework is built on four main points which they call the “four basic legislative pillars” to achieve the goal of immigration reform. We have listed these “pillars” below. Each pillar is then taken individually and explained in more detail as part of the framework. We have also included links to the complete transcript of this document and to some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) from Senator John McCain’s web site.

We at MVP Law Group feel that this is a real start! Just having a bipartisan agreement between the Senators is a great achievement but to have a framework for immigration reform shows that there could be actual movement in this important area.

Four Basic Legislative Pillars:
1. Create a tough but fair path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants currently living in the United States that is contingent upon securing our borders and tracking whether legal immigrants have left the country when required;
2. Reform our legal immigration system to better recognize the importance of characteristics that will help build the American economy and strengthen American families;
3. Create an effective employment verification system that will prevent identity theft and end the hiring of future unauthorized workers; and,
4. Establish an improved process for admitting future workers to serve our nation's workforce needs, while simultaneously protecting all workers.

Transcript: Bipartisan Framework for Comprehensive Immigration Reform is available from ABC News/ Univision.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Bipartisan Framework from Senator John McCain’s web site.

Posted On: January 29, 2013

H-2B Cap Count UPDATE – 1/18/2013

The H-2B non-agricultural temporary worker program allows U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary non-agricultural jobs.

The H-2B cap limit for first half of FY 2013 (October 1 - March 31) is 33,000. As of the last count (1/18/2013); 26,831 beneficiaries have been approved and 3,914 are still pending for a total of 30,745.

The H-2B cap limit for the second half of FY 2013 (April 1 - September 30) is 33,000. As of the last count (1/18/2013); 924 beneficiaries have been approved and 2,401 are pending for a total of 3,325.

For further details read, “Cap Count for H-2B Nonimmigrants


Source of Information: “AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 12102342. (Posted 1/23/13)”

Posted On: January 28, 2013

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, February 1, 2013

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, February 1, 2013. 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: January 25, 2013

USCIS Policy Manual Webinars

As we posted on 1/17/13, “USCIS Begins Transition to Online Centralized Policy Manual”, the USCIS has started the transition to a centralized online policy manual. The first phase of the policy manual covers Citizenship and Naturalization. They have been offering webinars on the subject during the month of January. There is still one webinar left for this month, Wednesday, January 30 (1 – 2 p.m.). For complete information and how to sign-up please view the USCIS Outreach web page on the subject. If interested I would hurry; they have been filling up fast.

Related PDF files:

Meeting Invite

Presentation

Posted On: January 24, 2013

USCIS updates FAQs for DACA – 1/18/2013

The USCIS has updated their Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) on their web site. The new FAQs cover a wide range of DACA subjects including “Lawful Status” and “Travel Outside of the U.S.” and are marked, “NEW”. These new questions and answers have been added to the already existing list and add to the knowledge base for this subject.

For more information please read the USCIS FAQs updated January 18, 2013 on DACA.

Posted On: January 23, 2013

USCIS Releases New DACA Statistics through January 17, 2013 - UPDATE

These USCIS statistics on DACA cases from 8/15/12 to 1/17/13 show a total of 394,533 DACA requests accepted for processing, 371,103 biometric services appointments scheduled, and 154,404 requests approved. The data also show the number of accepted requests from the top countries of origin and states of residence.

View the (.PDF) USCIS Report, “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Process (January, 2013)

For further information regarding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, please visit www.uscis.gov/childhoodarrivals.


Source of Information: “USCIS Performance Data (Posted 1/18/13)”

Posted On: January 22, 2013

Secretary Napolitano Announces Final Rule to Support Family Unity During Waiver Process

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced the posting of a final rule that reduces the time U.S. citizens are separated from their immediate relatives, who are in the process of obtaining visas to become lawful permanent residents of the United States under certain circumstances. The final rule establishes a process that allows certain individuals to apply for a provisional unlawful presence waiver before they depart the United States to attend immigrant visa interviews in their countries of origin. The process will be effective on March 4, 2013.

“This final rule facilitates the legal immigration process and reduces the amount of time that U.S. citizens are separated from their immediate relatives who are in the process of obtaining an immigrant visa,” said Secretary Napolitano.

For more information please read the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Alert on the subject.

The MVP Law Group agrees with Secretary Janet Napolitano efforts to reduce the hardship to U.S. citizens and their families. By establishing this final ruling, she reduces the time that the families in these qualified cases are separated.

Posted On: January 21, 2013

Today is a very special day for the United States of America

Today is a very special day for the United States of America. First, we as a nation are celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his goals of equality for all Americans by marking this day as a Federal Holiday. On this same day, we as a nation are witnessing the second Inauguration of President Barack Obama and the 57th Presidential Inauguration. Here, we celebrate the same goal of equality for all Americans by the peaceful passing of power from one American Citizen to another or in this case the re-election of that citizen.

“Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” - Abraham Lincoln
Posted On: January 18, 2013

MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, January 18, 2013

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 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
My employer somehow lost my original I-797 H1 approval notice and I need it to renew my driver’s license and get visa stamping in the future when I travel. Can I get a new approval notice?

Answer #1
Your employer will need to submit Form I-824 to the USCIS along with the USCIS filing fee of $405.00 to request a duplicate approval notice.


Question #2 – Family Based Immigration
If my child is a U.S citizen can I obtain legal status in the U.S?

Answer #2
The U.S. citizen petitioner must be 21 years of age in order to petition on behalf of their parents.


Question #3 – General
I am a national of Singapore; I have a Master’s degree and am looking for work in the United States. I want to live in the U.S. Can you please help me?

Answer #3
Our office cannot assist with your employment search. Once you find a willing sponsor/employer, we can assist with explaining the various Immigration options and with preparing and filing the necessary paperwork with the USCIS.


Question #4 – Visa Waiver Program
What exactly is the Visa Waiver Program?

Answer #4
As provided on the U.S. Department of State website… The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) enables nationals of 37 participating countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business (visitor [B] visa purposes only) for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa. The program was established to eliminate unnecessary barriers to travel, stimulating the tourism industry, and permitting the Department of State to focus consular resources in other areas. VWP eligible travelers may apply for a visa, if they prefer to do so. Nationals of VWP countries must meet eligibility requirements to travel without a visa on VWP, and therefore, some travelers from VWP countries are not eligible to use the program. VWP travelers are required to have a valid authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) prior to travel, are screened at the port of entry into the United States, and are enrolled in the Department of Homeland Security’s US-VISIT program.


Question #5 – Nonimmigrant Work Visa
What’s the difference between an E work visa and an L work visa?

Answer #5
The E-1 visa allows individuals to enter the U.S. temporarily to engage in substantial trade. There are strict requirements as to the nationality of individuals and the level of trade necessary to qualify for the visa. As an advantage to this category, individuals may apply directly at a U.S. Consulate. The E-1 Visa is issued to individuals known as 'treaty traders'. A treaty trader is defined as a national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation. An applicant should be coming to the U.S. to carry on substantial trade, or to develop and direct the operations of a business in which they have invested or will soon invest a substantial amount of capital. An applicant must be a national of a treaty country and must be involved in international trade. An applicant’s spouse and/or children may accompany them under the same status. An applicant’s employees, or the employees of the treaty company, may also be eligible to receive E-1 visas.
The E-2 visa allows foreign entrepreneurs from treaty nations to enter the U.S. temporarily to carry out substantial investment and trade activities. To qualify for this visa, the applicant must be a key employee of their company and a national of a country that has an investor treaty with the U.S. The E-2 visa is available for individuals known as 'treaty investors'. A treaty investor is a national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation. A treaty investor should be coming to the U.S. to involve themselves in a substantial investment. The investment may be less than that demanded for the EB-5 ($500,000). However, if the investment becomes equal or greater than $500,000, the treaty investor may petition for permanent immigration status. The treaty investor's spouse and/or children under the age of 21 may accompany him/her under E-2 status. The treaty investor's employees may also be eligible for the E-2 Visa.
The L-1 visa allows companies operating both in the U.S. and abroad to transfer certain types of employees from its overseas office to the U.S. office for up to seven years. This visa comes in the following categories: L-1A - for executives and managers; and L-1B - for personnel with specialized knowledge. Businesses that function both in the United States and in their home country gain the benefits of the best of both areas. The L-1 visa is open to international organizations with offices in the U.S. who transfer employees to the U.S. office for temporary periods of time. This visa is sometimes referred to as the 'intra-company transferee' visa. To obtain an L-1 visa, you must be able to prove that you have worked for the non-U.S. company for at least one full year within the last three years as an executive, manager or employee with specialized knowledge. The L-1 visa enables the transfer of managers, executives and specialized knowledge personnel to a U.S. office, subsidiary or affiliated company. Spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 qualify for L1B status and they are not allowed to work, but may attend school or college.


Question #6 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
If I am terminated from a job and I cannot find new work, what affect will that have on my H1B Status?

Answer #6
If you are terminated from your H-1B sponsored employment and cannot find new work with a possible new H-1B sponsor, your employer is responsible for paying the reasonable costs of transportation for you to return to your home country.


Question #7 – Family Based Immigration
Can my husband get deported if his visa has expired but we are married?

Answer #7
Your inquiry cannot be answered in this general forum. You need to consult with an experienced Immigration Attorney immediately to do a final assessment of his eligibility to remain in the US.


Question #8 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
I came here to do internship right after graduating from my University in 2012 March. Now, i'm trying to get H-1 from this company but i'm not sure its possible to get H-1 with this company since our company is small and doing online business. In addition, I don't have any job history. Could you please advise me?

Answer #8
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. In order to qualify for H-1B classification, the applicant must have at least a U.S. bachelor’s degree or its foreign equivalent AND the job sought must require at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. This is not a self-petitioning category; therefore the applicant must have a sponsoring employer in the U.S. It is our recommendation that you or your employer contact an experienced Immigration Attorney to discuss the possibility of obtaining an H-1B temporary nonimmigrant work visa on your behalf.


Question #9 – General
Can bankruptcy alter my immigration status?

Answer #9
It is well known that it is not a crime to file for bankruptcy; however, it could potentially affect your immigration status. We recommend that you speak with an experienced Immigration Attorney to discuss your options.


Question #10 – General
Will an expunged felony affect my Visa Process?

Answer #10
Although the conviction has been expunged by a federal, state or foreign court, it does not necessarily mean that the conviction has been expunged for immigration purposes. It is our recommendation that you contact an experienced Immigration Attorney to discuss your situation.


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 1, 2013!

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

Posted On: January 17, 2013

USCIS Begins Transition to Online Centralized Policy Manual

On January 7th the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) introduced a new online USCIS Policy Manual. They released the first volume, Citizenship and Naturalization and plan on releasing many other volumes as development progresses. The policies included in this volume will take effect on 1/22/2013, but are available online now.

“With the introduction of the Policy Manual, we take a further step to provide our customers, stakeholders and workforce with an efficient and effective adjudication process that provides a high level of quality and consistency,” said USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas.

For more information please read the USCIS News Release on this subject. There is also a video available, the USCIS Policy Manual Video.

Posted On: January 16, 2013

U.S. Embassy Mexico Expands Expedited Visa Processing

The United States Embassy is pleased to announce the expansion of its Business Facilitation Program (BFP) that allows access to expedited visa processing for employees of qualifying firms traveling to the U.S. on company business. The BFP will provide time-saving benefits for businesses whose employees need to travel to the U.S., and highlights the United States’ commitment to deepening trade and economic engagement with Mexico.

The BFP is open throughout Mexico and is available at all U.S. Consulates and the Embassy. The BFP requires interested firms to register with the U.S. Embassy’s or Consulates’ Consular Section.

For more information please read the Embassy of the United States / Mexico Press Release on the subject.

The MVP Law Group would like to applaud the United States Embassy for its use of technology and forward thinking policy to streamline visa processing for those eligible companies. The time-saving process will have benefits for both countries.

Posted On: January 15, 2013

USCIS NCSC has adds Saturday Hours

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) National Customer Service Center (NCSC) has expanded hours for its toll-free telephone assistance (1-800-375-5283) to include Saturday hours. This expanded service started on Saturday, 1/12/2013. They will now be taking calls Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information please read the USCIS Alert on the subject.

Posted On: January 14, 2013

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, January 18, 2013

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, January 18, 2013. 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: January 11, 2013

Visa Bulletin - February 2013

The Department of State has released its latest Visa Bulletin.

Click here to view the February 2013 Visa Bulletin.

The February 2013 Visa Bulletin shows employment based second preference (EB-2) and employment based third preference (EB-3) as both being oversubscribed. EB-2 is current for all chargeability areas except those listed.

The employment based second preference cut-off date for China is 01/15/08 and 9/1/04 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: January 10, 2013

Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) Processing Times

Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) Processing Times were released with processing dates as of January 1, 2013.

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 processing time for an I-129 H-1B Appeal is current; for an I-129 L1 Appeal is current. 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 19 months.

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

Posted On: January 9, 2013

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 4, 2013 with processing dates as of November 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: January 8, 2013

The Early Bird Catches the Worm - FY14 H1B Cap Season

It is that time of year again! The MVP Law Group has already begun accepting and working on H1B cap-subject cases. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will start accepting H1B cap-subject filings for Fiscal Year 2014 (FY14) on Monday, April 1, 2013. We are advising employers and individuals who are in need of H1B cap-subject filings that it is time to start preparing for the H1B cap.

Many foreign nationals and their employers have asked when they should start working on H1B 2014 cap-subject cases. The cap filings may be filed as of April 1, 2013. It is vital to file on the first day. Last year, FY13, the H-1B CAP was reached by June 12, 2012. Since it is difficult to predict FY14's outcome, our recommendation is to file as early as permitted under the law. The law allows H1B cases to be filed up to six months before the requested start date for employment. The first allowable date of employment is October 1, 2013, the first day of FY14.

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, MVP Law Group 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 and panic that inevitably sets in right before April 1st and lasts until the cap is reached.

For FY13, the cap was not reached immediately; but was reached on June 12, 2012, which was earlier than expected. In years past, the filings have far outweighed the available H1B cap numbers. In such events, where the USCIS receives more H1B petitions than the amount available provided under law, USCIS randomly selects the number of petitions to reach the numerical limit from the petitions received on the final receipt date. Petitions not randomly selected by USCIS and petitions received after the final receipt date, will be rejected.

Every year there is not one, but many different factors that can all, or in part, combine to influence what will happen during each year for H1B sponsorship employment demand, and for the volume of H1B visas that are filed by US employers. These factors determine the duration, and how quickly the H1B cap will be reached each year. There is no way to accurately predict the length of the H1B cap season, but the clear trend over the past few years is toward shorter periods of time to file an H1B cap-subject case.

The H1B cap-subject is complex in nature. Both Individuals and employers often make incorrect assumptions regarding the H1B cap. Because it is so complex, we advise you consult an experienced immigration attorney to help increase the chance of a petition approval.

The MVP Law Group has successfully handled H1B petitions for a variety of clients ranging from the straight forward to the complex. Please feel free to contact one of our knowledgeable attorneys to discuss your immigration needs and help you effectively with your H1B processing. Our experienced Immigration Attorneys can help you devise an appropriate strategy for the H1B FY14 cap season.

~ Article contributed by Stacey Bell, Senior Paralegal

Posted On: January 7, 2013

Payment Irregularities Spark Increase in PERM Audits

Audits are an inherent part of the PERM (Program Electronic Review Management) labor process, which is attestation based. The United States Department of Labor (DOL) has the option to audit any PERM labor case to verify the accuracy of the statements in the PERM Labor Certification (LC) filing and otherwise assess the case. There are two different types of audits. Cases are sometimes selected for audit at random and in other cases, the DOL targets specific case concerns. A recent DOL trend in PERM audits is occurring that requires sworn statements pertaining to the exchange of certain improper payments between the employee (or any other third party) and the employer.

In addition to requests for documentation pertaining to recruitment efforts and related subjects, we have seen an increase in the number of audits where the DOL has begun issuing requests for declarations from the employer and foreign worker regarding details of payment for the labor certification. Under current regulations, all costs related to the PERM labor preparation and filing must be paid by the employer. There are limited exceptions for certain established third-party relationships. The payment-related audits require employers and the foreign worker to sign declarations, under penalty of perjury, stating whether the employer received payments of any kind by the foreign worker or a third party for any activity related to obtaining permanent labor certification.

The audit requests specify that such fees include the employer's attorney’s fees, advertisement costs, administrative fees, and any other associated costs or fees. The audit further specifies that such payments include wage concessions, kickbacks, bribes or in-kind payments, as well as free labor and/or any other form of payment for services essential to the labor certification process.

As the issuance of these payment-related audits is on the rise, employers and sponsored employees should be aware of the possibility that they could receive a request for a sworn declaration regarding PERM-related payment matters. It is important to comply with the applicable regulation, and to be able to honestly attest to full compliance in response to an audit. Please be sure to consult MVP Law Group if you have concerns as to whether your PERM related cost payment practices comply with the regulatory changes that were put in place on July, 16, 2007.

~Article contributed by Stacey Bell, Senior Paralegal

Posted On: January 4, 2013

MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, January 4, 2013

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
Can you premium process the I-140 for an EB1A or EB1-B Applicant?

Answer #1
The premium processing service is available for the following applicants: Aliens of extraordinary ability; outstanding professors and researchers; Members of professions with advanced degrees or exceptional ability not seeking a National Interest Waiver; Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Workers other than skilled workers and professionals.


Question #2 – General
Can my children go to a U.S. public elementary school on a dependent visa?

Answer #2
Yes.


Question #3 – Green Card
How can I, as an entrepreneur establish that I have exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business?

Answer #3
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 #4 – Employment Based Immigration
Does anyone with an advanced degree qualify for an EB-2 Immigrant Visa?

Answer #4
No. The education and experience requirements are determined by the Employer.


Question #5 – General
May an individual travel while their petition is pending?

Answer #5
It depends upon the type of petition that was filed.

At MVP, we caution our clients against traveling while a petition is pending unless it is necessary for emergency reasons.


Question #6 – Employment Based Immigration
Where can I find the laws governing the Employment Based Second Preference (EB-2) Immigrant Visa Category?

Answer #6
The statutory requirements may be found in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) at Section 203(b)(2). The regulatory requirements may be found in the Title 8 Code of Federal Regulations (8 CFR) at section 204.5(k).


Question #7 – Temporary Nonimmigrant Visa
How can I qualify for an O1 nonimmigrant visa? I want to come here, have an offer, but don’t know if I want to permanently stay in U.S.

Answer #7
To qualify for an O-1 in the Sciences, Education, Business or Athletics, a person must demonstrate either of the following:
1. Receipt of a major, internationally-recognized award (e.g. the Nobel Prize), or
2. At least three (3) of the following apply to him/her:
o Receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in his/her field.
o Membership in an association in the field which requires outstanding achievements of its members, as judged by national or international experts in the field.
o Published material in professional or major trade publications or major media about the person, concerning the person's work in the field.
o Participation on a panel, or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the field.
o Scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field.
o Authorship of scholarly articles in the field in professional journals or other major media.
o Employment in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation.
o High salary or other remuneration commanded by the person for services


Question #8 –Adjustment of Status
I was able to file I-485 application back in 2007 in EB3. Now I am recipient of an approved I-140 in EB2 classification. Do I need to submit a new I-485 even though the EB-3 I-485 is pending with USCIS?

Answer #8
No. The USCIS should be able to link up your existing I-485 petition with the current filing. You can always contact the USCIS National Customer Service Center for additional information concerning your Adjustment of Status filing, 1-800-375-5283.


Question #9 – Green Card
Who can qualify for EB classification without the labor certification process?

Answer #9
The following applicants can qualify without the labor certification process: EB1 Priority workers - Individuals with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics; outstanding professors or researchers; and Managers and executives transferred to the U.S. EB4 Special Immigrants and EB5 Immigrant Investors.


Question #10 – Immigrant Investor
Are any countries excluded from eligibility for the EB-5 Visa program?

Answer #10
Citizens of all countries are eligible to apply for the EB-5 visa program.


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 18, 2013!

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

Posted On: January 3, 2013

New Year, New Visa Services: Easier, More Convenient Appointment System for U.S. Visas - Abu Dhabi, UAE

The United States Mission to the United Arab Emirates is transitioning to a new appointment service for anyone applying for a non-immigrant visa to the United States. Starting January 6, 2013, applicants will work, online or by phone, with a service provider to schedule an interview, pay the visa application fee, and arrange for the delivery of documents and passports. This new appointment service will also allow applicants to schedule a visa interview with more flexibility and up to six months in advance of travel plans.

Under the new process, applicants can go online and in a few minutes complete the visa application, pay the visa-application fee, schedule an appointment, and arrange to have their passport delivered at the end of the application process to an Empost office anywhere in the UAE. The entire process can be done 24 hours a day from the comfort of home using the online system. During daytime hours, applicants can also get assistance from a live operator call center with services in Arabic, English, and Farsi. The call center can also assist with scheduling an appointment, provided the applicant has already paid the visa application fee. After that, all the applicant must do is attend the scheduled interview at the Embassy or Consulate General.

As part of the transition from the current visa-application process, those seeking interviews in December will see that no appointments are available online after December 31. There will be a brief interim before the transition takes place during which it will not be possible to schedule a visa interview. The new appointment system will debut on January 6, 2013, after which appointments will be available at both the Embassy and Consulate General well into the first six months of 2013.

The United States Mission to the United Arab Emirates wants to ensure that applicants already in the scheduling process are not negatively impacted by the change. If applicants have not already made an appointment and do not have immediate travel plans, they may choose to wait for the new system to be available on January 6. However, if an applicant has already paid the visa-application fee and made an appointment, that appointment will be honored. Applicants should arrive at the Embassy or Consulate General as instructed in their appointment confirmation, bringing with them their DS-160 application confirmation page, passport, and National Bank of Abu Dhabi visa-application-fee payment receipt. Because the process for paying the fee will be very different under the new system, we recommend that applicants not pay the fee unless they are sure they will receive an appointment prior to December 31. Those who pay the fee and do not have an interview before December 31 may have to pay the fee again under the new system. Please note we are unable to refund the National Bank of Abu Dhabi visa-application-fees if unused.

For more information and a full list of Frequently Asked Questions, visit the website of the U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi at abudhabi.usembassy.gov or that of the U.S. Consulate General in Dubai at dubai.usconsulate.gov.

Source of Information: "Consulate General News 2012/Consulate General of the United States Dubai, UAE (12/04/2012)"

Posted On: January 2, 2013

MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum – Originally posted 7/20/12

This blog entry was originally posted on 7/20/12. We here at the MVP Law Group would like to wish every one of our blog readers, Happy Holidays!

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

Answer #1
It depends, as almost all types of visas require sponsorship whether employment based or family based.


Question #2 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B
Next year I will be traveling to India, so while returning do I need to go for fresh Visa Stamping with new H-1B sponsors approval notice or I can come with the old Visa Stamp (with old employer) as my current visa is valid till Mar 2014? Kindly advise.

Answer #2
You can come back to the United States based upon the valid visa stamp in your passport; however, upon appearing before a CBP Officer, you will present the new I-129 approval from the new H1B sponsor.


Question #3 – Temporary Work Visa
Will a criminal conviction impair my ability to receive a temporary visa?

Answer #3
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 #4 – Green Card
My EB-3 priority date is October 25, 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 January 2013. Since my I-485 is not approved yet, I heard that it is possible to include her 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 #4
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 #5 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B
My company is considering merging with another company, if we do merge, will we need to file amended petitions for each nonimmigrant worker to be in compliance? I will still remain President of the organization, and the workers will remain in their respective positions and nothing else will change except for the name of the company. Please advise.

Answer #5
Under the Visa Waiver Permanent Act of October 2000, a person is no longer required to file an H1B amendment after a merger, consolidation or other corporate restructuring in many cases if the new job is identical to the prior job before the merger, etc. We would recommend the applicant carry a letter explaining the merger for travel purposes.


Question #6 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B
What types of questions are asked during the H1-B visa application interview process?

Answer #6
During the interview the Immigration Officer has the authority to ask questions regarding the applicant’s educational background, experience, the sponsoring employer, vendor/end client, if applicable, and any information contained in the submitted H-1B petition. Accordingly, you should be thoroughly familiar with this information.


Question #7 – Naturalization/CitizenshipWhat are the eligibility requirements to apply for naturalization?

Answer #7
The general requirements for administrative naturalization include: a period of continuous residence and physical presence in the United States (if LPR – period of 5 years; if LPR spouse of U.S. Citizen – period of 3 years); an ability to read, write and speak English; a knowledge and understanding of U.S. history and government; Good moral character; attachment to the principles of the U.S. Constitution; and favorable disposition toward the United States.


Question #8 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B
Can more than one (1) employer file a temporary (part-time) H1B visa application on my behalf at the same time? For a part time H1B worker, what is the minimum number of hours per week and days per week of work required to be eligible for maintaining the part-time H1B visa status?

Answer #8
Simply put, yes more than one employer can file a temporary part-time H-1B visa application for you during the same time period, as long as a certified LCA covering the jurisdiction of employment is obtained and the I-129 petition and additional supporting documentation reflects this part-time period. 40 hours + per week would be considered a full time employee, therefore, anything less than 40 hours per week would be considered part-time.


Question #9 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B
If I plan to continue working for my employer in the United States, at what point should I apply for an extension?

Answer #9
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 #10 – General
Can you obtain permanent residence outside of the country in which you intend to be a resident?

Answer #10
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.


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

MVP LAW GROUP –Immigration Q&A Forum – Originally posted 7/20/12

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

Posted On: January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. - Albert Einstein

Happy New Year, from our family to yours!

The MVP Law Group