Updated Service Center Processing Times

October 24, 2012

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.

Updated Service Center Processing Times

October 11, 2012

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.

Updated Service Center Processing Times

September 17, 2012

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on September 13, 2012 with processing dates as of July 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.

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, August 31, 2012

August 27, 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, August 31, 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.

Updated Service Center Processing Times

July 23, 2012

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on July 19, 2012 with processing dates as of May 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.

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

July 6, 2012

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. Therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.


Question #1 – General
What exactly is the Visa Waiver Program?

Answer #1
As provided on the Department of State website, The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) enables nationals of 36 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 #2 – Employment Based: Green Card
Is labor certification required for ALL Employment or just some?

Answer #2
Labor certification is not required for ALL Employment based preference categories; however, it is required for Employment Based 2nd and 3rd preference categories.


Question #3 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
How does premium processing for the H-1B visa work?

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


Question #4 – General
How much are the Required Visa Filing Fee’s?

Answer #4
Click to review the USCIS filing fees.


Question #5 – Aslyee
What is an Asylee?

Answer #5
According to Webster’s Dictionary, an aslyee is an alien in the United States or at a port of entry who is found to be unable or unwilling to return to his or her country of nationality, or to seek the protection of that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution. Persecution or the fear thereof must be based on the alien’s race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. For persons with no nationality, the country of nationality is considered to be the country in which the alien last habitually resided.


Question #6 – Temporary Work Visa
What’s the difference between an E work visa and an L work visa?

Answer #6
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-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-3 visa is exclusively reserved for Australian nationals. The visa allows Australian Professionals to come to the U.S. to work in a specialty occupation, similar in many aspects to the H-1B nonimmigrant worker 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.


Question #7 – Refugee
What is a Refugee?

Answer #7
According to Webster’s Dictionary, a refugee is any person who is outside his or her country of nationality who is unable or unwilling to return to that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution. Persecution or the fear thereof must be based on the alien's race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. People with no nationality must generally be outside their country of last habitual residence to qualify as a refugee.


Question #8 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
If I did not use all six years on my previous H-1B visa, can I apply to USCIS to use the remaining years now?

Answer #8
Yes, if you have time remaining on your H-1B nonimmigrant visa status and have applied for the visa within the past six years, you are not subject to the H-1B numerical cap and are able to apply to use those remaining years now if you have an employer willing to sponsor you for your employment in the Specialty Occupation.


Question #9 – Employment Based: Green Card
What is a good type of employment position and employment duties to have so my labor certification/green card process goes quicker??

Answer #9
There is no such thing to speed up the process. The Department of Labor operates on a first come, first serve basis. Accordingly, when a prevailing wage determination is submitted, others who submitted their requests prior to yours will be served first, before you. Additionally, when submitting the Labor Certification Application to the DOL, again, it operates on a first come, first serve basis.


Question #10 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
When does my time on my H-1B visa start? The day that is approved or when I first enter the U.S. using it?

Answer #10
The six year period begins to accrue when you first enter the U.S. on a valid H-1B nonimmigrant visa. Your I-94 card will be stamped to reflect the date you arrived.



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

Our next “Immigration Q & A Forum” is scheduled for Friday, July 20th, 2012!

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

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, April 13, 2012

April 10, 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, 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, April 13th, 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.

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, March 30, 2012

March 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, priority dates, the monthly visa bulletin, adjustment applications or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, March 30th, 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.

Updated Service Center Processing Times

March 21, 2012

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on March 20, 2012 with processing dates as of January 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.

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, March 16, 2012

March 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, AZ SB1070, priority dates, the monthly visa bulletin, adjustment applications or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, March 16th, 2012. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, March 2, 2012

March 2, 2012

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.


Question #1 – Green Card
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 2008 with a priority date of 27-Jun-2008. I am from India and my priority date is current now. I am applying for me and my dependent wife. 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, March 16, 2012!

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

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

February 13, 2012

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, priority dates, the monthly visa bulletin, adjustment applications or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, February 17th, 2012. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

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

January 16, 2012

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, priority dates, the monthly visa bulletin, adjustment applications or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, January 20th, 2012. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

Alternatives to the H-1B Visa for Individuals who did not make the FY2012 H-1B Quota

November 29, 2011

Now that all of the new H-1B visas for the 2012 Fiscal Year have been allocated, What options do Employers who are looking to hire Foreign National Professionals have?

Here are some creative solutions to this problem:

O-1 Visa
The O-1 visa is suited for individuals of extraordinary ability or achievement. The O classification is a useful and flexible alternative to the H-1B program because there is no overall limit on time in the classification and there is no cap. O-1 beneficiaries in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics must have extraordinary ability “demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim.”

E-3 Visa
The E-3 visa classification is limited to Australian Professionals. The E-3 visa is a “specialty occupation” visa similar to the H-1B visa. Therefore to be eligible for the visa, the Australian citizen must possess a bachelor’s degree or higher (or its equivalent) in the specialty and the specialty occupation must require the degree. There is a 10,500 annual limit on the E-3 visa.

L-1 Visa
The L-1 visa is an option for international organizations with offices in the United States who transfer employees to the United States for temporary periods of time. In order to be eligible for an L-1 visa, the petitioning entity must prove that the beneficiary of the visa has worked for the non-U.S. based sister company/subsidiary for at least one full year within the last three years as an executive, manager or employee with specialized knowledge.

H-1B Visa for FY2013
WAIT for the H-1B FY2013 Quota. The H-1B FY2013 Quota will open on April 1, 2012 with employment beginning on October 1, 2012. 65,000 visas are annually allocated to foreign nationals who possess a bachelor’s degree or higher (or its equivalent) in the specialty and the specialty occupation must require the degree. We can begin to prepare cases for the annual quota now; however, no cases will be filed with the USCIS towards the CAP until after April 1, 2012.

Contact MVP Law Group for more information!

Updated Service Center Processing Times

November 16, 2011

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on November 14, 2011 with processing dates as of September 30, 2011.

If you filed a petition with one of the Service Centers, please review the links below to determine the applicable processing time associated with your particular case.

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

**Please be aware that the data provided above is approximately 45 days old at the time of posting.

If your petition is out-side of the normal range listed, contact USCIS. (1-800-375-5283)

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

MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, November 11, 2011

November 15, 2011

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.


Question #1 – Employment Based Immigration – Green Card
I have applied to become a lawful permanent resident of the United States, but I have a family emergency outside of the country. Will I have trouble re-entering the United States upon my return?

Answer #1
If you applied for and have a valid Advance Parole (AP) document then you should not experience any issues when re-entering the United States. Carry your advance parole document and your I-485 receipt notice as evidence of your Adjustment of Status filing. If you did not apply for Advance Parole (AP) and you have a valid H-1B nonimmigrant visa, then you should be able to re-enter as an H-1B nonimmigrant. Valid meaning an unexpired visa status and you are currently employed by the H-1B sponsoring employer.


Question #2 – Nonimmigrant Visas
What is the difference between an H-1B and an H-2B visa?

Answer #2
An H-1B is a nonimmigrant Specialty Occupation visa. Specialty Occupations are defined as those that require a theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge, and the attainment of a bachelor's or higher degree in the specific specialty (or its equivalent) as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States. The H-1B visa allows foreign workers to enter the U.S. and work in a variety of fields ranging from architecture and engineering to teaching and medicine. The H-1B visa offers a wide range of employment possibilities and is a logical first step toward permanent immigration. 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. The period of employment is generally for a period up to three years, and may be extended for up to six years. Extensions may be available beyond the sixth year if green card processing has been initiated on behalf of the individual.

H-2B nonimmigrant visas are available for individuals to perform nonagricultural work of a temporary or seasonal nature, if U.S. workers capable of performing such service or labor cannot be found in the U.S. This classification requires the Sponsoring Employer to conduct active recruitment to determine if U.S. workers are available to fulfill the temporary need. Nonagricultural work includes Amusement Park workers; Bellhops; Bricklayers; Cannery workers; Commercial, Industrial and Residential Cleaners;Construction workers; Cooks; Crab Meat Processors; Fishing Vessel Deckhands;Dining Room Attendants; Electricians; Fast Food Workers; Forest Workers; Game Attendants; Industrial Groundskeepers; Landscapers; Kitchen Helpers; Sales Clerks; Tree Planters and the list goes on. In order to be eligible for H-2B classification, the Employer (Petitioner) should confirm that the job is temporary, that the Department of Labor (DOL) has certified that no U.S. workers are available to perform the job, that the beneficiary’s employment in the U.S. will not harm U.S. workers, and that all requirements have been met. The employer’s need for the services or labor shall be either: (1) a one-time occurrence; (2) a seasonal need; (3) a peakload need; or (4) an intermittent need. The period of employment is generally for a period of 1 year or less, but could be for a specific one-time need of up to 3 years. The foreign national must also be able to demonstrate that they have strong ties to their home country and will return at the end of the season. Nationals from the following countries are eligible to participate in the H-2B visa program: Argentina; Australia; Belize; Brazil; Bulgaria; Canada; Child; Costa Rica; Croatia; Dominican Republic; Ecuador; El Salvador; Ethiopia; Guatemala; Honduras; Indonesia; Ireland; Israel; Jamaica; Japan; Lithuania; Mexico; Moldova; the Netherlands; New Zealand; Nicaragua; Norway; Peru; Philippines; Poland; Romania; Serbia; Slovakia; South Africa; South Korea; Turkey; Ukraine; United Kingdom and Uruguay. Nationals from other countries not listed above may be eligible; however, additional evidence will be required. This is not a self-petitioning category; therefore the applicant must have a sponsoring employer in the U.S.


Question #3 – General
I’ve been told that I can find my case status online. Where would I go to find out my approximate processing time?

Answer #3
The USCIS website provides case status information. You will find the case status online mechanism at www.uscis.gov on the left hand side of the screen. Use your receipt number found on Form I-797 in the upper left hand corner and enter it into the box. If you wish to determine the applicable processing time for your case, you will find a link on the USCIS website on the left hand side of the screen which reads: Processing Times, click on the link and scroll down to the bottom and find the Service Center where your case is undergoing processing. You will find the Service Center where your case was filed on Form I-797. Your Form I-797 will also display the Form type/number that was filed on your behalf in the upper right hand corner.

EAC – Vermont Service Center
SRC – Texas Service Center
WAC – California Service Center
LIN – Nebraska Service Center


Question #4 – Family Based Immigration - Green Card
Can a relative currently living in the United States legally write my affidavit of support?

Answer #4
Yes, if the relative currently living in the United States is willing and able to be a sponsor/joint sponsor and is aware of and understands the responsibilities associated with being a sponsor/joint sponsor.


Question #5 – Employment Based Immigration - Green Card
My wife and I have been working on H-1B for different employers. My employer applied for my green card in 2007 and my I-140 has been approved. My wife's H-1B term ends on Jan 2012. If she wishes to continue her employment with the same employer after Jan 2012, is she required to use her Employment Authorization Documents?

Answer #5
If she is no longer eligible to extend her H-1B nonimmigrant visa status beyond January 2012 , then yes, she will be required to utilize her Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to legally remain working.


Question #6 – Green Card
I am an Indian born citizen, but I have also attained Canadian citizenship. When I am applying for an I-485, which priority dates do I need to regard: Canada or India?

Answer #6
Country of Chargeability is determined by your country of birth. Accordingly, when applying for I-485 you would need to monitor the priority dates for India in the preference category under which your case was filed.


Question #7 – H1B Nonimmigrant Visa
Any H1B visas left under cap?

Answer #7
As of November 2, 2011, there were approximately 14,200 H-1B Regular CAP subject nonimmigrant visas remaining and the H-1B Masters CAP has been reached. USCIS will continue to accept cap-subject petitions until a sufficient number of H-1B petitions have been received to reach the statutory limits, taking into account the fact that some of these petitions may be denied, revoked, or withdrawn. Petitions filed on behalf of beneficiaries who have obtained a U.S. master’s degree or higher will be counted against the regular cap once USCIS has received sufficient petitions to reach the advanced degree exemption.


Question #8 – Employment Based Immigration - Green Card
What is AC21 Portability?

Answer #8
AC21 portability allows an individual to change employers while undergoing the Green Card process without having to start the process over from the beginning with a new employer. To qualify for AC21 portability, a foreign national must be the beneficiary of a certified labor application (first step of the green card process), an approved I-140 petition (second step of the green card process) and have an I-485 application (third step of the green card process) pending over 180 days. A new position which is within the “same or similar” occupational classification as listed on the certified labor application would make the applicant eligible for AC21 portability.


Question #9 – Family Based Immigration - Green Card
As a U.S. citizen, for whom can I file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative?

Answer #9
As a U.S. citizen, you may file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative on behalf of the following relatives:
Immediate relatives (no annual limit/quota) - spouse; unmarried children under age 21; parents

Preference relatives (subject to priority dates/preference categories) – unmarried and married children of any age; siblings.


Question #10 – General
What is the difference between and immigrant and non-immigrant visa?

Answer #10
An immigrant visa is for individuals who intend to permanently live in the United States.

A nonimmigrant visa is for people who enter the United States on a temporary basis – whether for tourism, business, temporary work or study. Once a person has entered the United States in a nonimmigrant visa status, they are restricted to the activity or reason for which they were granted entry.


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 25, 2011!

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

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, July 22nd, 2011

July 18, 2011

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, priority dates, or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, July 22nd, 2011. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, July 8th, 2011

July 5, 2011

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, priority dates, or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, July 8th, 2011. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, June 24th, 2011

June 20, 2011

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, priority dates, or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, June 24th, 2011. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, June 10th, 2011

June 6, 2011

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, priority dates, or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, June 10th, 2011. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, May 27th, 2011

May 23, 2011

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, priority dates, or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, May 27th, 2011. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

REMINDER - Submit Your Questions

March 14, 2011

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, March 18th, 2011

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, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, March 18th, 2011. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

Alternatives to the H-1B Visa for Individuals who did not make the H-1B Quota

January 31, 2011

Now that all of the new H-1B visas for the 2011 Fiscal Year have been allocated, What options do Employers who are looking to hire Foreign National Professionals have?

Here are some creative solutions to this problem:

O-1 Visa
The O-1 visa is suited for individuals of extraordinary ability or achievement. The O classification is a useful and flexible alternative to the H-1B program because there is no overall limit on time in the classification and there is no cap. O-1 beneficiaries in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics must have extraordinary ability “demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim.”

E-3 Visa
The E-3 visa classification is limited to Australian Professionals. The E-3 visa is a “specialty occupation” visa similar to the H-1B visa. Therefore to be eligible for the visa, the Australian citizen must possess a bachelor’s degree or higher (or its equivalent) in the specialty and the specialty occupation must require the degree. There is a 10,500 annual limit on the E-3 visa.

L-1 Visa
The L-1 visa is an option for international organizations with offices in the United States who transfer employees to the United States for temporary periods of time. In order to be eligible for an L-1 visa, the petitioning entity must prove that the beneficiary of the visa has worked for the non-U.S. based sister company/subsidiary for at least one full year within the last three years as an executive, manager or employee with specialized knowledge.

H-1B Visa for FY2012
WAIT for the H-1B FY2012 Quota. The H-1B FY2012 Quota will open on April 1, 2011 with employment beginning on October 1, 2011. 65,000 visas are annually allocated to foreign nationals who possess a bachelor’s degree or higher (or its equivalent) in the specialty and the specialty occupation must require the degree. We can begin to prepare cases for the annual quota now; however, no cases will be filed with the USCIS towards the CAP until after April 1, 2011.

Contact MVP Law Group for more information!

MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, October 15th, 2010

October 15, 2010

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.


Question #1 – Temporary Work Visa – E3 Australian Visa
As an Australian, I am eligible for an E-3 visa, but my potential employer has suggested I am eligible and should look into an H1-B visa too. What is the difference, and which is preferable?

Answer #1
The H-1B non-immigrant worker visa is subject to numerical limitations imposed by Congress. Each fiscal year, beginning on April 1, 65,000 visas are available for those who qualify for ‘Specialty Occupations.’ Specialty Occupations are defined as those that require a theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge, and the attainment of a bachelor's or higher degree in the specific specialty (or its equivalent) as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States. The H-1B visa allows foreign workers to enter the U.S. and work in a variety of fields ranging from architecture and engineering to teaching and medicine. The H-1B visa offers a wide range of employment possibilities and is a logical first step toward permanent immigration. 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.

The E-3 visa is exclusively reserved for Australian nationals. The visa allows Australian Professionals to come to the U.S. to work in a specialty occupation, similar in many aspects to the H-1B nonimmigrant worker visa. The new E-3 visa classification is limited to 10,500 Australian nationals annually. E-3 principal nonimmigrant aliens must be coming to the United States solely to perform services in a “specialty occupation”. This term is used and defined in the Immigration and Nationality Act in the same context as the H1B visa program, and will be interpreted in accordance with the criteria used for H1Bs. The category has requirements with respect to the education of the beneficiary and the job duties to be performed which mirror the H1B requirements. It thus will be helpful in some situations where the H1B CAP has been exhausted. To be eligible, the Australian citizen must possess a bachelor's degree or higher (or its equivalent) AND the specialty occupation must require the theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge.


Question #2 – Employment Based Immigration – Green Card - EAD Renewal
Can I expedite the EAD renewal process since my EAD expires next week? I made a Service Request after 90 days. Is there an interim EAD card that I can get in the meantime?

Answer #2
According to the information you have provided, it seems as though you have made the expedite request when you made the service request after 90 days of your case being in the pending status. You can file an EAD renewal request up to 120 days in advance of the expiration of your current EAD. You should be aware of the Service Center processing times well in advance of filing so that you can obtain an approval of the EAD, so that you can continue working. If you do not receive your EAD renewal request by next week when your current EAD expires, you MUST WAIT and NOT WORK until your EAD is approved and you receive the actual EAD card in the mail.


Question #3 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
Is the H-1B quota still open?

Answer #3
As of October 8, there were approximately 23,100 H-1B Regular CAP subject nonimmigrant visas remaining and approximately 4,600 H-1B Masters Exemption nonimmigrant visas remaining. USCIS will continue to accept both cap-subject petitions and advanced degree petitions until a sufficient number of H-1B petitions have been received to reach the statutory limits, taking into account the fact that some of these petitions may be denied, revoked, or withdrawn. For continuous FY2011 H-1B Cap updates, please refer to www.mvp.com.


Question #4 – Employment Based Immigration – Temporary Work Visa - H-2B Nonimmigrant Visa
What is the H-2B temporary visa?

Answer #4
The H2B working visa is a nonimmigrant visa which allows foreign nationals to enter into the U.S. temporarily and engage in nonagricultural employment which is seasonal, intermittent, a peak load need, or a one-time occurrence. To qualify for an H-2B visa, you must have a valid job offer from a U.S. employer to perform temporary or seasonal nonagricultural work and proof of an intent to return to your home country on expiration of the visa.

The limitations of the H-2B visa are that the job must be temporary in nature and the need must be for one year or less, the employer's need may not be ongoing or continuous. The employer has the burden of establishing the facts necessary to support a finding that the need is a one-time occurrence, seasonal, peak load or intermittent need. H-2b time counts whether you are in the U.S. or abroad, and H-2b dependents may not work in the U.S.


Question #5 – Employment Based Immigration – Temporary Work Visas – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
I recently got a new project in Northern Virginia. I will be working at a client in Northern Virginia and living in Maryland. I have North Carolina labor filed on my H1B petition. Do I need to file a new labor for Northern Virginia? If so can you guide me and my employer in filing a new labor in a new state?

Answer #5
According to the regulations governing the H-1B program, when you move to a new location outside of the geographical location listed on the original certified LCA, a new LCA as well as an amended petition must be filed with the USCIS. In summary, since your location change would be considered a "material change" in your previously approved employment, you would need to file a new LCA as well as the amended petition to stay within the regulations.


Question #6 – Temporary Work Visas – H-1B & L1A/L1B Nonimmigrant Visas
I am a U.S. small business employer with 20 employees with half of them being on H-1B status. I have read different articles about the new public law and its applicability to nonimmigrant visas, but I am somewhat confused based on what I have read. Does the new public law fee apply to me and my company?

Answer #6
Under Public law 111-230, Employers with 50 or more employees in the U.S., for which more than 50% of their workforce utilize H and L visas are subject to the new fee. Employers to which the Public law is applies will have to pay an additional fee of $2,000.00 for each H-1B filed, in addition to normal USCIS filing fees associated with the H-1B visa. If your company employs less than 50 employees, you are not subject to the new fee. If you are a larger company and have 50 or more employees and have less than 50% of those employees on H1B/L1 visas, then you are not subject to the new fee.


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

Answer #7
You can file for an EAD renewal with the USCIS no more than 120 days in advance of the expiration of your current EAD. You can file for AP renewal no more than 30 days in advance of the expiration of your current AP or the USCIS will issue an RFE requesting your current AP document before issuing a new AP document.


Question #8 – General – Social Security Card
How and when do I obtain a Social Security Card?

Answer #8
Generally, you may obtain a Social Security Card once you are legally authorized to work in the United States. Such authorization may be evidenced by receipt of an employment authorization card, an Alien Registration Card (Green Card), or receipt of temporary evidence of Green Card status (as established by presentation of an I-551 stamp in your passport). You will need to file an application for a Social Security Number in person at the Social Security Office. When filing this application at the Social Security Office, you should bring the following documents with you: your original birth certificate, passport, and employment authorization document, stamped passport or Green Card. Call 1-800-772-1213 for further information including the address of your local Social Security office, or visit their website at www.ssa.gov.


Question #9 – Employment Based Immigration – Temporary Work Visas – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
One of my employees is nearing her 6th year on H-1B visa status, but she has an approved I-140 filed by a different company. Is it possible to use that approved I-140 to get her a three year extension with our company.

Answer #9
Generally, the answer to that question is yes. Pursuant to AC21 law, an H-1B immigrant may extend his or her status beyond the 6 year limitation if a labor certification, I-140, or employment based adjustment of status application has been filed where 365 days or more have elapsed since the filing of the labor certification or I-140. Or, where the H-1B immigrant has an I-140 petition which has been approved under the employment based green card and the AOS/485 is pending due to the unavailability of visa numbers.


Question #10 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
My H1b visa got approved in 2008 which was filed by my previous employer.I did not get chance to travel to USA and even my visa is not stampted. Now I am with another employer. Can I transfer my H1b to the new employer?

Answer #10
The safest option to utilize at this point given the facts as you have provided is to file a new H-1B petition. Transfers and Extensions do not apply in this scenario because you have never entered the U.S as an H-1B nonimmigrant. Once the petition is filed and approval received, you would need to attend the Consulate interview and if all goes well, you would be able to then travel to the U.S. and after speaking with CBP, enter as an H-1B nonimmigrant visa holder.


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

Our next “Immigration Q & A Forum” is scheduled for Friday, November 5, 2010! Please remember to submit your questions/comments on our h1bvisalawyerblog.

REMINDER - Submit your questions

October 11, 2010

MVP "Q & A Forum" - This Friday, October 15th, 2010

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, priority dates, or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, October 15th, 2010. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

REMINDER - Submit your questions

September 27, 2010

MVP "Q & A Forum" - This Friday, October 1st, 2010

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, October 1st, 2010. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

REMINDER - Submit your questions

August 31, 2010

MVP "Q & A Forum" - This Friday, September 3, 2010

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, September 3, 2010. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

REMINDER - Submit your questions

August 16, 2010

MVP "Q & A Forum" - This Friday, August 20, 2010

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, August 20, 2010. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

UPDATE on the Federalized Process for Obtaining PWD Requests

March 26, 2010

Effective January 21, 2010, the Department of Labor's iCERT online system was updated to allow the submission of electronic prevailing wage determination requests. This electronic process was intended to allow Employers and/or their Designated Representatives to submit and obtain prevailing wage determinations (PWD) for use in the H-1B, H-1B1 (Chile/Singapore), H-1C, H-2B, E-3 (Australia), and permanent labor certification programs through the iCERT portal. However, at this time, this federalized electronic process has caused delays in the issuance of prevailing wage determinations.

Prior to January 1, 2010, the date of enactment of the Federalized Process, employers and/or their designated representative were able to obtain PWDs from their State Workforce Agencies (SWAs), which normally took between two (2) to fourteen (14) days or even a months time. Currently, requestors are waiting between thirty (30) to sixty (60) days to obtain a response from the DOL further delaying the commencement of a new PERM case, or the filing of an AC-21 Portability Case.

Requestors who have submitted PWD requests to the NPWHC by U.S. Mail between January 1, 2010 and January 21, 2010, the launch date of the iCERT PWD System have received a response in regards to their PWD requests. However, at this time, there appear to be delays in the issuance of PWDs through the national DOL office with both hard copy and electronically submitted requests since January 21, 2010.

According to many interactive blog posts by various Immigration Law Firms, the DOL has reportedly not acted on any requests submitted online. The DOL has been advised of this situation and the effect that it has upon the Employment Based Green Card (PERM) and H-1B programs, as obtaining a PWD is the starting point in the PERM process for most foreign workers.

The DOL has recently issued updated FAQs to assist employers and others. The FAQs provide that the Department will provide PWDs as quickly as possible, on a first in, first out order. They have advised that determination times will fluctuate as they work to centralize the process. Additionally, they recommend that requestors submit their prevailing wage requests at least 60 days in advance of the employers' initial recruitment efforts.

THE LATEST: Our office submitted an electronic PWD through the iCERT portal on March 8, 2010 and received the determination back on May 5, 2010. Clearly, PWDs are taking anywhere from 45-60 days to be issued by the DOL.

You may still submit hard copy PWD requests to the address listed below:
U.S. Department of Labor-ETA, National Prevailing Wage and Helpdesk Center,
Attn: PWD Request:
1341 G Street, NW
Suite 201
Washington, DC 20005-3142

Or, you may submit electronic PWD requests through the iCERT portal.

Please be aware of the current delays and plan accordingly!

MVP Law Group will continue to monitor the situation and will provide you with any information that becomes available.

RECENT UPDATE on the Federalized Process for Obtaining PWD Requests

March 4, 2010

Effective January 21, 2010, the Department of Labor's iCERT online system was updated to allow the submission of electronic prevailing wage determination requests. This electronic process was intended to allow Employers and/or their Designated Representatives to submit and obtain prevailing wage determinations (PWD) for use in the H-1B, H-1B1 (Chile/Singapore), H-1C, H-2B, E-3 (Australia), and permanent labor certification programs through the iCERT portal. However, at this time, this federalized electronic process has caused delays in the issuance of prevailing wage determinations.

Prior to January 1, 2010, the date of enactment of the Federalized Process, employers and/or their designated representative were able to obtain PWDs from their State Workforce Agencies (SWAs), which normally took between two (2) to fourteen (14) days or even a months time. Currently, requestors are waiting between thirty (30) to sixty (60) days to obtain a response from the DOL further delaying the commencement of a new PERM case, or the filing of an AC-21 Portability Case.

Requestors who have submitted PWD requests to the NPWHC by U.S. Mail between January 1, 2010 and January 21, 2010, the launch date of the iCERT PWD System have received a response in regards to their PWD requests. However, at this time, there appear to be delays in the issuance of PWDs through the national DOL office with both hard copy and electronically submitted requests since January 21, 2010.

According to many interactive blog posts by various Immigration Law Firms, the DOL has reportedly not acted on any requests submitted online. The DOL has been advised of this situation and the effect that it has upon the Employment Based Green Card (PERM) and H-1B programs, as obtaining a PWD is the starting point in the PERM process for most foreign workers. Although the DOL is aware of the situation, no guidance, alternative route or explanation has been made available, as it is now March 4, 2010 and the delays continue.

You may still submit hard copy PWD requests to the address listed below:
U.S. Department of Labor-ETA, National Prevailing Wage and Helpdesk Center,
Attn: PWD Request:
1341 G Street, NW
Suite 201
Washington, DC 20005-3142

Or, you may submit electronic PWD requests through the iCERT portal.

Please be aware of the current delays and plan accordingly!

MVP Law Group will continue to monitor the situation and will provide you with any information that becomes available.

UPDATE on the Federalized Process for Obtaining PWD Requests

January 15, 2010

Effective January 21, 2010, the Department of Labor's iCERT online system will be updated to allow the submission of electronic prevailing wage determination requests. This electronic process will allow Employers and/or their Designated Representatives to submit and obtain prevailing wage determinations (PWD) for use in the H-1B, H-1B1 (Chile/Singapore), H-1C, H-2B, E-3 (Australia), and permanent labor certification programs through the iCERT portal.

Until January 21, 2010, all prevailing wage determination requests must continue to be submitted by U.S. Mail or comparable physical delivery service to the Washington, D.C. address listed below.

BACKGROUND - On December 19, 2008, the Department published a Final Rule addressing the Labor Certification Process and Enforcement for Temporary Employment in Occupations Other Than Agriculture or Registered Nursing in the United States (H-2B Workers), and Other Technical Changes. The Final Rule implemented a federalized process for obtaining PWD requests for use in the H-2B temporary nonagricultural labor certification program directly from the Employment and Training Administration's (ETA) appropriate National Processing Center (NPC)--which was designated as the Chicago NPC.

Furthermore, effective as of January 1, 2010, the Final Rule also federalized PWD for use in the H-1B, H-1B1 (Chile/Singapore), H-1C, E-3 (Australia), and the permanent labor certification programs.

Requestors must submit PWD requests using the Application for Prevailing Wage Determination, Form ETA-9141.

Requestors must submit PWD requests to the NPWHC by U.S. Mail or comparable physical delivery service at the following address until January 21, 2010 when electronic means are available:
U.S. Department of Labor-ETA, National Prevailing Wage and Helpdesk Center,
Attn: PWD Request:
1341 G Street, NW
Suite 201
Washington, DC 20005-3142

In summary, State Workforce Agencies (SWAs) and the Chicago NPC no longer accept and process PWD requests received on and after January 1, 2010. All PWD Requests submitted on and after 1/1/2010 must be centralized and processed at the DOL Washington, D.C. office until electronic means are available on January 21, 2010.

Alternatives to the H-1B Visa for Individuals who did not make the H-1B Quota

December 24, 2009

Now that all of the new H-1B visas for the 2010 Fiscal Year have been allocated, What options do Employers who are looking to hire Foreign National Professionals have?

Here are some creative solutions to this problem:

O-1 Visa
The O-1 visa is suited for individuals of extraordinary ability or achievement. The O classification is a useful and flexible alternative to the H-1B program because there is no overall limit on time in the classification and there is no cap. O-1 beneficiaries in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics must have extraordinary ability “demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim.”

E-3 Visa
The E-3 visa classification is limited to Australian Professionals. The E-3 visa is a “specialty occupation” visa similar to the H-1B visa. Therefore to be eligible for the visa, the Australian citizen must possess a bachelor’s degree or higher (or its equivalent) in the specialty and the specialty occupation must require the degree. There is a 10,500 annual limit on the E-3 visa.

L-1 Visa
The L-1 visa is an option for international organizations with offices in the United States who transfer employees to the United States for temporary periods of time. In order to be eligible for an L-1 visa, the petitioning entity must prove that the beneficiary of the visa has worked for the non-U.S. based sister company/subsidiary for at least one full year within the last three years as an executive, manager or employee with specialized knowledge.

Contact MVP Law Group for more information!

Federalized Process for Obtaining PWD Requests

December 8, 2009

Effective January 1, 2010, the Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) National Prevailing Wage and Helpdesk Center (NPWHC) in Washington, DC, will receive and process prevailing wage determination (PWD) requests for use in the H-1B, H-1B1 (Chile/Singapore), H-1C, H-2B, E-3 (Australia), and permanent labor certification programs.

On December 19, 2008, the Department published a Final Rule addressing the Labor Certification Process and Enforcement for Temporary Employment in Occupations Other Than Agriculture or Registered Nursing in the United States (H-2B Workers), and Other Technical Changes. The Final Rule implemented a federalized process for obtaining PWD requests for use in the H-2B temporary nonagricultural labor certification program directly from the Employment and Training Administration's (ETA) appropriate National Processing Center (NPC)--which was designated as the Chicago NPC.

Furthermore, beginning on January 1, 2010, the Final Rule also federalized PWD for use in the H-1B, H-1B1 (Chile/Singapore), H-1C, E-3 (Australia), and the permanent labor certification programs.

Requestors must submit PWD requests using the Application for Prevailing Wage Determination, Form ETA-9141.

Requestors must submit PWD requests to the NPWHC by U.S. Mail or comparable physical delivery service at the following address:
U.S. Department of Labor-ETA, National Prevailing Wage and Helpdesk Center,
Attn: PWD Request:
1341 G Street, NW
Suite 201
Washington, DC 20005-3142

*The DOL is in the process of developing an electronic means for the submission of PWD requests. Until this process is completed, all PWD requests made on and after 1/1/2010 must be submitted via hard copy to the address provided above.

In summary, State Workforce Agencies (SWAs) and the Chicago NPC are to Cease Processing PWD Requests Received on and After January 1, 2010. All PWD Requests on and after 1/1/2010 will be centralized and processed at the DOL Washington, D.C. office.

The one exception to this is PWD requests for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana
Islands (CNMI); the NPWHC will begin receiving and processing those effective November 28, 2009.

74 FR 63796 (12/4/09)

The E-3 Australian Professional Visa

October 8, 2008

The E-3 visa is a visa granted to Australian professionals for specialty occupations. The procedure of obtaining an E-3 visa is very similar to that of obtaining an H-1B visa; however, not everything is similar.

The requirements to obtain an E-3 visa are the same as those for an H-1B visa, with one difference; they include the attainment of a bachelor’s degree or higher and a job offer in a field of highly specialized knowledge, and most importantly the individual must be an Australian citizen. All of the forms used for an H-1B filing, are utilized in an E-3 filing; specifically, the LCA, and Form I-129.

With an E-3 visa, the validity period may only be granted for a term of two years; whereas, with the H-1B, the validity period is for a term of three years. Additionally, there is no automatic extension of work authorization while an E-3 visa extension application is pending. Individuals in E-3 status are not covered by 8 CFR 274a.12(b)(20), which provides authorization to continue employment with the same employer while a timely filed application for extension of stay is pending. Premium processing also does not apply to E-3 visa holders. Therefore, E-3 extensions of stay should be filed a full six months ahead of expiration. If an extension of stay application is pending when an individual’s current E-3 status expires, they must be taken off payroll until the petition is approved.

Another difference between the E-3 visa and the H-1B visa is that change of employer portability upon filing is not available to E-3 visa holders, as it is for H-1B visa holders. In fact, when an individual under E-3 status seeks to change his employer, he must exit the U.S., apply for a new visa pursuant to a new E-3 petition filed by the new employer, and then reenter the U.S. pursuant to the new visa to begin working for the new employer.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) is currently working with government agencies regarding all of the issues addressed above.