USCIS Stakeholder Teleconference with Director León Rodríguez – 8/14/14

August 14, 2014

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will be holding a stakeholder teleconference on Thursday, August 14, 2014 between 1:30 to 2:30pm (EST). The subject of the event will be a “Dialogue with USCIS Director León Rodríguez” and will include his introduction and a Q&A session. León Rodríguez was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in June and sworn in on July 9, 2014, as the new director of USCIS. For more information on this teleconference please review the Meeting Invitation.

Event Information:
DATE: Thursday, August 14, 2014
TIME: 1:30 – 2:30 pm (EST)

To register for this session:
- Visit our registration page to confirm your participation
- Enter your email address and select “Submit”
- Select “Subscriber Preferences”
- Select the “Event Registration” tab
- Provide your full name and organization
- Complete the questions and select “Submit”


Source of Information:
USCIS.gov, 8/12/14, National Engagement:
- Teleconference Invitation Dialogue with USCIS Director León Rodríguez
- Meeting Invitation

Updated Service Center Processing Times

August 12, 2014

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on 8/7/14 with processing dates as of 6/30/14.

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 (CSC)

National Benefits Center (NBC)

Nebraska Service Center (NSC)

Texas Service Center (TSC)

Vermont Service Center (VSC)

EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program Office (IPO)


**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.

Excerpt from MVP Law Group’s July 2014 Immigration Newsletter

August 5, 2014

This is an excerpt from MVP Law Group’s July 2014 Immigration Newsletter, our Managing Attorney, Kellie Lego’s monthly greeting/commentary.

I recently attended the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) annual conference in Boston, MA from June 18 - June 21 attended by over 3,000 Immigration Attorneys across the U.S. In our July 2013 newsletter (my report following last year's annual conference), I was delighted to be able to report on the status of DACA filings and the Supreme Court of the United States ruling where they declared Section 3 of DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. At that time, huge strides were being made in the Immigration realm. As I write this newsletter greeting a year later, I am appalled by our Congressional Representatives failure to act.

On June 27, 2013, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) was passed by the U.S. Senate. Although the legislation is not perfect, it is a compromise, a compromise that is long overdue and very much needed. To date, the House has not acted on CIR nor do they intend to do so. If anything, they have stated that they will create their own immigration reform through piecemeal legislation, focusing on border enforcement first...yet, with the recent unaccompanied minor crisis at our Southern Border, they still have failed to act.

Within the past few months, we have had a significant increase of unaccompanied minors cross our southern border, which has been covered nationally by various news outlets. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) statistics show unaccompanied minors have been crossing our southern border in large numbers for the past several years! 'Why?' is the question that is causing so much debate! Is it to seek new immigration benefits provided to minors (unfortunately there are no new laws or protections on the books for unaccompanied minors) or to escape violence, sex/drug trafficking and poverty? Are we faced with an Immigration Crisis or a Humanitarian Crisis? I highly recommend that you take the time to read some of the articles that are being published concerning this issue and from what you have read, formulate your own opinion and join the discussion.

We need Immigration Reform. We are a nation of Immigrants! We are losing the Global fight for STEM resources and are continuing to weaken our agricultural system! The United States has to compete in the Global market and economy, which means we need to have the best, the brightest in the STEM fields and a reliable agricultural workforce. We need to continue to urge members of the U.S. House of Representatives to work on real solutions to fix our immigration system by passing true Immigration Reform, which encompasses EVERYONE: workers, employers, students, families, and the undocumented. We have nearly 12 million undocumented individuals living in the shadows of America.

I am reminded of my days in law school when I marched in Jena, Louisiana in support of the Jena Six! At that time, I was told by many of my elders that you must take a stand for something, or you will fall for anything. Now is the time to take a stand!

MVP Law Group would like to invite you to sign up for our monthly Immigration Newsletter! Please use this link: Join our monthly mailing list.


Source of Information:

MVP Law Group, 7/28/14, Email:
MVP Law Group’s July 2014 Immigration Newsletter

MVP Law Group, Immigration Newsletter sign up:
Join our monthly mailing list


Social Media Sites:

MVP Law Group’s Web Page
MVP Law Group’s Immigration Blog
MVP Law Group’s Facebook Page
MVP Law Group’s Twitter Page

Interactive Map: Where Unaccompanied Immigrant Children are finding temporary homes

July 30, 2014

USA Today has put together an interactive map of the United States (state by state) showing the number of unaccompanied immigrant children placed within individual states. They are using the data released by the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement showing a state-by-state breakdown of the number of unaccompanied immigrant minors who had been released temporarily to different sponsors. The data used for this report and the interactive map covers the time period from 1/1/14 to 7/7/14. The interactive map has three categories: (1) Below 100, (2) 100 to 999 and (3) More than 1,000. To view the Map please follow this link: Where unaccompanied immigrant children find a temporary home.


The top three states accepting these children are:

Texas – 4,280

New York – 3,347

California – 3,150


Note: U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement describes sponsors as "typically a parent or relative" who can care for the child while their immigration case is processed.


Source of Information:

usatoday.com, 7/29/14, News Article and Map:
Where unaccompanied immigrant children find a temporary home

U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement, Web Page:
Unaccompanied Children Released to Sponsors By State

House GOP Working Group releases Recommendations on Humanitarian Crisis at the Southern Border

July 24, 2014

On Wednesday, July 23, 2014, Congresswoman Kay Granger (R-TX), the Chairwoman of the GOP House Working Group on national security and humanitarian crisis at the southern border released their recommendations and solutions. Granger stated, “This morning, I presented to the House GOP Conference the recommendations of Speaker Boehner’s working group. I am proud of the set of recommendations and solutions that the working group has crafted over the last few weeks. These recommendations reflect the immediate crisis this country faces by providing common-sense, compassionate, but tough solutions.”

The working group which was setup by Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) includes the following members:
Rep. John Carter (R-TX)
Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL)
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)
Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX) (Chairwomen)
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX)
Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM)
Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ)

Here is a summary list of the GOP working group’s recommendations and solutions:
• Deploy the National Guard to the Southern border to assist Border Patrol
• Prohibit the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture (USDA) from denying or restricting U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) activities on federal land
• Require a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) strategy and implementation plan for the Southwest border
• Establish independent commission to develop border security metrics
• Establish border security in Central American countries and Mexico
• Establish repatriation centers in originating countries
• Deploy aggressive messaging campaigns in originating countries and the U.S. to dispel immigration myths and to clarify dangers and legal penalties of entering the United States illegally
• Mandate the detention of all Family Units apprehended at the border with a goal of processing them in 5-7 days
• Amend the Trafficking Victims Protection and Reauthorization Act of 2008 so all unaccompanied minors are treated the same
• Deploy additional judge teams and temporary judges to expedite the hearing of asylum and credible fear claims
• Establish tough penalties for those engaged in human smuggling, including the smuggling of unaccompanied minors
• Increase law enforcement operations domestically and in originating countries to disrupt and dismantle transnational criminal organizations

For more details on these recommendations and solutions please read Congresswoman Kay Granger’s news release, “Granger Releases Border Crisis Working Group Recommendations”.


Source of Information:

kaygranger.house.gov, 7/23/14, Congresswoman Kay Granger (R-TX) News Release:
Granger Releases Border Crisis Working Group Recommendations

speaker.gov, 6/24/14, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) News Release:
Boehner: Granger to Lead Working Group on Humanitarian Crisis at Southern Border

Updated Service Center Processing Times

July 23, 2014

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on 7/17/14 with processing dates as of 5/31/14.

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 (CSC)

National Benefits Center (NBC)

Nebraska Service Center (NSC)

Texas Service Center (TSC)

Vermont Service Center (VSC)

EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program Office (IPO)


**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.

Leon Rodriguez Sworn in as USCIS Director

July 21, 2014

On Wednesday, July 9, 2014, Leon Rodriguez was sworn in as the next Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). USCIS is a federal government agency with nearly 18,000 employees. They are responsible for administering the country’s immigration and naturalization system. USCIS is under the control of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Director Rodriguez stated, “Our role in administering our nation’s immigration and naturalization laws has never been more important. I look forward to working with the entire USCIS family, including our partners and constituents, to ensure that our mission is carried out with fairness and integrity.”

Director Rodriguez previously served as the Director of the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) from 2011 to 2014. For more detailed information on his background please review the link, “Background Experience/Significant Achievements”.

MVP Law Group would like to congratulate Director Rodriguez and wish him great success! USCIS has shown great innovation in improvement of customer service and the use of technology for data collection! We here at MVP Law Group hope that this culture of innovation continues and grows under the new Director’s leadership!


Source of Information:

USCIS.gov, 7/9/14, News Release:
Leon Rodriguez Sworn in as USCIS Director

USCIS.gov, 7/9/14, Web Page:
Leon Rodriguez, Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Background Experience/Significant Achievements

MVP Law Group’s Immigration Blog, 6/26/14, Blog Post:
U.S. Senate has confirmed Leon Rodriguez to be the next Director of USCIS

Updated Service Center Processing Times

July 15, 2014

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on 7/8/14 with processing dates as of 5/31/14.

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 (CSC)

National Benefits Center (NBC)

Nebraska Service Center (NSC)

Texas Service Center (TSC)

Vermont Service Center (VSC)

EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program Office (IPO)


**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.

President Obama Asks Congress for $3.7 Billion for Border Crisis

July 10, 2014

President Obama has asked Congress for $3.7 billion in emergency funds to deal with the current crisis of unaccompanied minors crossing the southwest border of the United States. These children are fleeing from Mexico (25%) and the Central American (75%) countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

The list below is a breakdown of how the $3.7 billion in emergency funds would be spent by the federal government:

- $1.1 billion for Immigration and Customs Enforcement,
- $433 million to Customs and Border Protection,
- $64 million for the Department of Justice,
- $300 million to the State Department, and
- $1.8 billion to the Department of Health and Human Services

Why are these children fleeing their homes? The violence and extreme poverty in their home countries, and some of them also have a desire to reunite with close family members already in the United States. The truth is - there is no simple answer! For more detailed information on this subject please read the Immigration Policy Center (IPC) Report, “No Childhood Here: Why Central American Children are Fleeing Their Homes”.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reports the main problem area is the Rio Grande Valley (Sector) of the U.S.–Mexico border. CBP data shows a 178% increase in apprehensions of Unaccompanied Alien Children from Central America along this section of the border in the last (8) and a half months (10/1/13 to 6/15/14). Rio Grande Valley is located at the southernmost tip of Texas, along the U.S.–Mexico border.


Source of Information:

NBCnews.com, 7/8/14, News Article:
White House Asks Congress for $3.7 Billion for Border Crisis

Immigration Policy Center, 7/1/14, Report:
No Childhood Here: Why Central American Children are Fleeing Their Homes

CBP.gov, Newsroom/Stats and Summaries:
Southwest Border Unaccompanied Alien Children

WhiteHouse.gov, 7/8/14, News Release:
Letter from the President -- Regarding Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Request to Address the Increase in Child and Adult Migration from Central America in the Rio Grande Valley Areas of the Southwest Border; and Wildfire Suppression

USCIS updated FY2014 Performance Data – All Form Types (Qtr#2)

July 7, 2014

USCIS has released their second quarter, Fiscal Year 2014 (FY2014) performance data for all form types as a statistical table. They have divided the forms by category: Family, Employment, Humanitarian, Citizenship and Naturalization, and Other as the rows. The columns are divided by case status: Received, Approved, Denied, and Pending. These updated FY2014 statistics (second quarter) cover January 2014 through March 2014. Here is the link to the Q2 table, “All Form Types Performance Data (Fiscal Year 2014, 2nd Qtr)”.


Source of Information:

- USCIS.gov, 5/13/14, Table (PDF):
All Form Types Performance Data (Fiscal Year 2014, 2nd Qtr)

- USCIS.gov, Web Page:
Data Set: All USCIS Application and Petition Form Types

USCIS updated FY2014 Performance Data – All Form Types (Qtr#1)

July 1, 2014

USCIS has released their first quarter, Fiscal Year 2014 (FY2014) performance data for all form types as a statistical table. They have divided the forms by category: Family, Employment, Humanitarian, Citizenship and Naturalization, and Other as the rows. The columns are divided by case status: Received, Approved, Denied, and Pending. These updated FY2014 statistics (first quarter) cover October 2013 through December 2013. Here is the link to the Q1 table, “All Form Types Performance Data (Fiscal Year 2014, 1st Qtr)”.


Source of Information:

- USCIS.gov, 4/29/14, Table (PDF):
All Form Types Performance Data (Fiscal Year 2014, 1st Qtr)

- USCIS.gov, Web Page:
Data Set: All USCIS Application and Petition Form Types

Watch "Documented" Sunday, June 29, at 9 p.m. on CNN

June 27, 2014

On Sunday, June 29, at 9 p.m. EST, the Cable News Network (CNN) will be airing the CNN Film, "Documented." This film is the story of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas and other undocumented immigrants in this country. Vargas, who wrote, produced and directed this film, describes himself as a gay, undocumented Filipino-American. Vargas states, "I am not the 'illegal' you think I am, and immigration is not what you think it is." Vargas won the Pulitzer Prize as part of a team of Washington Post reporters for their coverage of the Virginia Tech shootings.

MVP Law Group’s Managing Attorney, Kellie Lego attended an advanced screening of the film in Boston at the AILA Annual National Immigration Conference last week. Jose Antonio Vargas held a question and answer session with attendees after the film. She felt the film was very informative. She encourages everyone to watch this film! No matter where you stand concerning immigration in the United States, this film promises to give you a different insight into the problem.


Source of Information:

CNN.com, Video Clip:
Watch a clip of CNN Films 'Documented'

CNN.com, 3/13/14, News Article:
Jose Antonio Vargas: Why I made 'Documented'

AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 14062550 (posted Jun. 25, 2014):
Video: A Special AILA Q&A with Filmmaker Jose Antonio Vargas

U.S. Senate has confirmed Leon Rodriguez to be the next Director of USCIS

June 26, 2014

Secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson announced (June 24, 2014) that the U.S. Senate has confirmed Leon Rodriguez as the new Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Leon Rodriguez was the Director of the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) prior to his appointment. Director Rodriguez will be replacing Alejandro Mayorkas who served as the Director of USCIS from August 12, 2009 – December 23, 2013.

Lori Scialabba, who was appointed by President Obama as Acting Director of USCIS on Dec. 23, 2013, has filled the position until now. She served as Deputy Director of USCIS before that.

We here at MVP Law Group would like to congratulate Director Leon Rodriguez and wish him great success at USCIS.


Source of Information:

DHS.gov, 6/24/14, Press Release:
Statement by Secretary Johnson

U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, 6/19/14, Executive Nominations:
Leon Rodriguez, of Maryland, to be Director of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security, (Confirmed)

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) updated FY2014 Statistics (Third Quarter)

June 23, 2014

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) has provided FY2014 statistics (third quarter) in the form of program factsheets for each of the major immigration programs. These updated FY2014 statistics (third quarter) cover April 2014 through June 2014.

The link to each program factsheet is listed below:

Permanent Labor Certification Program – Select Statistics, FY 2014 (third quarter)

Prevailing Wage Determination Program – Select Statistics, FY 2014 (third quarter)

H-1B Temporary Visa Program – Select Statistics, FY 2014 (third quarter)

H-2A Temporary Agricultural Visa Program – Select Statistics, FY 2014 (third quarter)

H-2B Temporary Non-agricultural Visa Program – Select Statistics, FY 2014 (third quarter)


Source of Information: OFLC Performance Data

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) updated FY2014 Statistics (Second Quarter)

June 17, 2014

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) has provided FY2014 statistics (second quarter) in the form of program factsheets for each of the major immigration programs. These updated FY2014 statistics (Second quarter) cover January 2014 through March 2014.

The link to each program factsheet is listed below:

Permanent Labor Certification Program – Select Statistics, FY 2014 (second quarter)

Prevailing Wage Determination Program – Select Statistics, FY 2014 (second quarter)

H-1B Temporary Visa Program – Select Statistics, FY 2014 (second quarter)

H-2A Temporary Agricultural Visa Program – Select Statistics, FY 2014 (second quarter)

H-2B Temporary Non-agricultural Visa Program – Select Statistics, FY 2014 (second quarter)


Source of Information: OFLC Performance Data

Updated Service Center Processing Times

June 5, 2014

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on 6/3/14 with processing dates as of 4/30/14.

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 (CSC)

National Benefits Center (NBC)

Nebraska Service Center (NSC)

Texas Service Center (TSC)

Vermont Service Center (VSC)

EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program Office (IPO)


**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.

Obama - Delay Results of Immigration Deportation Review by DHS

May 30, 2014

President Obama has reportedly told the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Jeh Johnson to continue the review of his department’s deportation policies! The President has instructed him to delay the release of the report until after Congress takes its August recess. The White House is concerned that the Republican controlled House would not act on any Immigration Reform legislation if the President tries to act on his own, using his Executive Authority. At least it looks like Immigration Reform still has a chance in this Congress or at least a compromised version.

For more detailed information, review the news articles linked below.


Source of Information:

WashingtonPost.com, 5/27/14, News Article:
Obama orders delay of immigration deportation review

Latino.Foxnews.com, 5/28/14, News Article:
President Delays Homeland Security Deportation Review, Still Hopes For Immigration Reform

Politico.com, 5/27/14, News Article:
Deportation review delayed

Asylum in the United States

May 29, 2014

Each year, people from all over the world come to the United States in search of protection because they have experienced oppression or fear that they will suffer oppression due to religion, race, nationality, political opinion or membership in a social group.

There is no limit placed on the number of immigrants who can receive asylum in the US. Anyone can apply for asylum regardless of their immigration status. However, he/she must ask for asylum at their port of entry or apply within one year of coming to the United States.

In order to apply, one must file an I-589 form with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). A case is conducted, including taking biometrics, as well as an interview with an Asylum Officer. In some cases, the officer will refer this case to a hearing with an Immigration Judge. During the hearing, applicants must present physical evidence, provide witnesses and document conditions in their home country to prove they were persecuted at home or would be if they went back. The Immigration Judge will make the decision whether or not to grant asylum. Once asylum is granted, the person(s) can live and work in the United States for the remainder of their lives. After one year of being in “Asylee Status,” he/she can submit an application for a Green Card and ultimately United States citizenship.

A few months back, one of the immigration headlines making internet news was a German couple who sought asylum for themselves and their seven children. They feared prosecution from the German government for not wanting to send their kids to government approved schools. The couple wanted to Home School all of their children. However, they feared they would lose custody and be put in prison for making the choice to home school. In 2008, the family fled Germany for Tennessee and applied for asylum in the US. A Tennessee judge did initially grant them asylum but an Appeals Court overturned the ruling. The couple continued to fight for an asylum with the help of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). More than 127,000 people signed an online petition asking the government to grant the family asylum. The US Supreme Court declined to hear their appeal in the case but US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) granted "indefinite deferred action" status to the family. However, the deferred status enabling the family to stay in the US could be revoked, but the family does not believe they will be deported for the remainder of President Obama’s term in office.

Contributed by Melodie Hagner-Salava


Source of Information:
cnn.com, 3/3/14, News Article: Homeschooling family loses asylum appeal

huffingtonpost.com, 3/4/14, News Article: German Home-School Family Won't Be Deported

bbc.com, 3/5/14, News Article: German home-school family will not be deported from US

DHS Proposes Reforms to Attract and Retain Highly Skilled Immigrants

May 15, 2014

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued an announcement proposing two new rules aimed at attracting and retaining highly skilled workers. Comments on the proposed rules are due by July 11, 2014.

Rule #1 (Extend employment authorization to spouses of certain H-1B workers)

The first rule would grant employment authorization to the spouses of certain H-1B holders.

Eligible individuals would include H-4 dependent spouses of principal H-1B workers who:
• Are the beneficiaries of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker; or
• Have been granted an extension of their authorized period of stay in the United States under the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000 (AC21) as amended by the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act. AC21 permits H-1B workers seeking lawful permanent residence to work and remain in the United States beyond the six-year limit.
The existing immigration laws do not allow the spouses of H1B nonimmigrants to work.

Rule #2 (Remove obstacles impacting E-3, H-1B1, and CW-1 workers)

The second rule would enhance opportunities for certain groups of highly-skilled and transitional workers by removing obstacles to their remaining in the United States.
This change would also expand the types of evidence outstanding professors and researchers could submit for purposes of establishing eligibility for the EB1 preference category.

MVP Law Group agrees with AILA President Doug Stump that these rule changes are helpful; however, it remains incumbent on Congress to act to fix our laws so that these small measures are not necessary. For more detailed information, please read the DHS Press Release, “DHS Announces Proposals to Attract and Retain Highly Skilled Immigrants“ and the other articles listed below.


Source of Information:

DHS.gov, 5/6/14, Press Release:
DHS Announces Proposals to Attract and Retain Highly Skilled Immigrants

USAToday.com, 5/6/14, News Article:
Obama to ease rules for foreign high-skilled workers

AILA.org, 5/6/14, AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 14050651:
AILA: Proposed Reforms to Highly Skilled Visa Rules Will Help

USCIS At Your Fingertips!

May 13, 2014

One of the best ways of keeping current with the latest news and announcements from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is to follow them using a tablet or a smartphone. You can now follow USCIS on Facebook and Twitter. On Facebook follow them at http://www.facebook.com/uscis and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/@uscis. Their social media sites include official USCIS information and articles that they feel are relevant to U.S. immigration.

They often include more photos then on their official web site. I especially like their monthly posts showing photos of immigrants becoming naturalized U.S. citizens, called #newUScitizen.


Source of Information & related links:

USCIS Official Home (Web) Page: http://www.uscis.gov

USCIS Official Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/uscis

USCIS Official Twitter Channel: https://twitter.com/@uscis

Updated Service Center Processing Times

May 6, 2014

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on 5/1/14 with processing dates as of 3/31/14.

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 (CSC)

National Benefits Center (NBC)

Nebraska Service Center (NSC)

Texas Service Center (TSC)

Vermont Service Center (VSC)

EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program Office (IPO)


**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.

DOJ releases Asylum Statistics for FY2009-2013

April 30, 2014

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) has released the Statistical Chart, “Asylum Statistics” for FY2009-2013 as part of “Frequently Requested FOIA* Records”. This statistical chart is made up of six tables. The first table is a summary by fiscal year and the other five tables are for each fiscal year listed individually by nationality. Each of these tables’ lists six statistical headings for each table; Received, Granted, Denied, Abandoned, Withdrawn and Other. Please review the link to the Chart, “Asylum Statistics” listed below for the details.

Every year people come to the United States seeking Asylum protection because they have suffered persecution or fear that they will suffer persecution on account of: Race, Religion, Nationality, Membership and/ or Political View. Asylum is the protection provided under our existing immigration laws. For more details please review the USCIS’s web page on Asylum.

The mission of the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) is to judge immigration cases. EOIR conducts immigration court proceedings, appellate reviews, and administrative hearings.

*FOIA – Freedom of Information Act

Source of Information:

Justice.gov, Web Page, Frequently Requested FOIA Records:
Asylum Statistics by Nationality: Asylum Statistics Chart (PDF)

USCIS.gov, Web Page: Asylum

RFEs for Expiring Medical Exams (More than One (1) year old)

April 24, 2014

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has reported that some of their members have received RFEs (Request for Evidence) for adjustment of status (AOS) applicants. The RFE is requesting the applicants to submit a new Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record (Medical Report).

The reason for the RFE is the validity of the civil surgeon’s endorsement on Form I-693. The endorsement is normally only good for one (1) year; however, due to significant backlogs in processing, USCIS in the past has agreed to extend the civil surgeon’s endorsement until the time of adjudication.

AILA contacted USCIS Service Center Operations Directorate (SCOPS) and were informed that the policy will change effective June 1, 2014. USCIS also informed AILA that public notice of the impending change is in progress and MVP Law Group will post it when available!

AILA is a national association of more than 13,000 attorneys and law professors who practice and teach immigration law. Our Managing Attorney, Kellie N. Lego, Esq. is an active member.


Source of Information:
AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 14042146 (posted Apr. 21, 2014)


Related Link:
USCIS.gov, 4/17/13, Web Page:
I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record

Revised - Updated Service Center Processing Times

April 23, 2014

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on 4/21/14 with processing dates as of 2/28/14.

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 (CSC)

National Benefits Center (NBC)

Nebraska Service Center (NSC)

Texas Service Center (TSC)

Vermont Service Center (VSC)

EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program Office (IPO)

Revisions:
NBC and TSC
The processing time for I-130 petitions for U.S. citizens filing for spouse, parent, or child under 21 was changed from 8/21/13 to 9/8/13.
CSC
The processing time for I-130 petitions for U.S. citizens filing for spouse, parent, or child under 21 was changed from 9/4/13 to five months.


**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.

USCIS H-1B Premium Processing to Begin April 28

April 22, 2014


Information Source: USCIS.GOV

On April 28, 2014, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin premium processing for H-1B petitions subject to the fiscal year 2015 cap, including H-1B petitions seeking an exemption from the fiscal year cap for individuals who have earned a U.S. master’s degree or higher.

USCIS first announced that we would begin premium processing for H-1B cap cases no later than April 28 in a news release on March 25. USCIS provides premium processing service for certain employment-based petitions and guarantees a 15-calendar-day processing time.

Source:
USCIS H-1B Premium Processing to Begin April 28

Immigrant and Nonimmigrant Visa Ineligibilities – FY2013 DOS Statistical Table

April 17, 2014

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has released the Statistical Table, “Immigrant and Nonimmigrant Visa Ineligibilities” for FY2013 as part of the VISA Office 2013 Report. The table lists two statistics for both the Immigrant and Nonimmigrant classifications, “Ineligibility Findings” and “Ineligibility Overcome”. Basically this table lists the most common grounds for refusal under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and if the grounds where overcome. Please review the link to Table XX listed below for the details.

Note: FY2013 data is preliminary and is subject to change. Any changes would not be statistically significant.


Source of Information:
Table XX, “Immigrant and Nonimmigrant Visa Ineligibilities for FY2013”


Related Links:
DOS Report of the Visa Office 2013

Updated Service Center Processing Times

April 15, 2014

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on 4/3/14 with processing dates as of 2/28/14.

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

Immigrant Investor Program Office (EB-5) *NEW*


**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.

AILA-DC Attorneys Will Provide Free Citizenship Assistance on April 26, 2014

April 14, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC – On Saturday, April 26, 2014, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., the Washington, DC Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA-DC) will take part in the eighth annual AILA Citizenship Day, hosting events at nine locations throughout D.C., Maryland, and Virginia.

Each year in April, at sites across the country, AILA attorneys and other stakeholders provide assistance to lawful permanent residents eligible for naturalization. Last year, AILA and its partner "ya es hora ¡Ciudadanía!" held 40 naturalization clinics in 23 states and the District of Columbia serving thousands of immigrants who aspired to become citizens.


The sites below have been confirmed for Citizenship Day 2014 :

Catholic Charities Esperanza Center
430 S. Broadway
Baltimore, MD 21231
Pre- Registration Required
Contact: 443-825-3421
*$50 Fee collected by Catholic Charities


CASA De Maryland
8151 15th Avenue,
Langley Park, MD 20783
Contact: Molly: 240-670-4850
*$25 Fee for CASA membership collected


Jesus House DC
919 Philadelphia Ave
E. Adeboye Hall (L.L)
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Contact: 240-271-0148


FIRN
5999 Harpers Farm Road, E-200
Columbia, MD 21044
Contact: Roselyn:410-992-1923
$20 Fee collected by FIRN


Carlos Rosario International
(Sponsored by Carlos Rosario and CARECEN)
1100 Harvard Street, NW,
Washington, DC 20009
Pre- Registration Required
*$25 Fee will be collected for completed applications
*Free to Carlos Rosario Students with valid ID
Contact: Rachel @ 202-328-9799 ext. 23



Ethiopian Community Center
(Sponsored by Mayor’s Office on African Affairs & ECC)
7603 Georgia Avenue, NW,
Suite 100
Washington, D.C. 20012
Contact: eth@prodigy.net


Chinese Community Church
(Sponsored by DC Mayor’s Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs and Chinatown Service Center)
500 I Street, NW,
Washington D.C 20001
Contact: Ngoc (202)727-3120


Just Neighbors Ministry
5827 Columbia Pike, #320
Falls Church, VA 22041
Pre-Registration required
*$20.00 Fee collected by JNM
Contact: Kyle-703-979-1240 Ext. 34


Branch Baptist Church
3400 Broad Rock Blvd
Richmond, VA 23234
Contact: refugelaw@gmail.com


At each site, a dozen attorneys will be joined by numerous other volunteers and staff to help eligible local immigrants apply for citizenship. Detailed information about registration and documentation requirements is available upon request.

“In discussing the plight of the undocumented and the need for immigration reform, we sometimes forget how many people have come here from other countries not only with lawful status, but also the desire to become citizens,” observed Cynthia Rosenberg, AILA-DC Chair. “Citizenship Day is a wonderful opportunity to highlight how many foreign nationals wish to take this important final step toward joining the American dream.”

AILA Citizenship Day is an award-winning venture, capturing the 2008 Award of Excellence in the Associations Advance America Awards program, a national competition sponsored by the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and The Center for Association Leadership. AILA’s successes with this event are due in large part to the national collaborative relationships that AILA has developed both with community organizations and stakeholders, as well as the USCIS Office of Citizenship. Last year, AILA-DC members co-sponsored local events with seven community-based organizations in the Washington metropolitan area, from Baltimore to Richmond.


###
The AILA-DC Chapter represents over 1000 member attorneys in Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members. Located close to the headquarters offices of the agencies that administer our immigration system, as well as the houses of Congress, our chapter maintains close contact with the lawmakers and officials who have an important impact on our clients' lives.

USCIS Conducted Lottery for FY2015 H1B CAP - April 10, 2014

April 11, 2014

INFORMATION SOURCE - USCIS

USCIS Reaches FY 2015 H-1B Cap

Release Date: April 10, 2014


WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on April 7 that it has received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap of 65,000 visas for fiscal year (FY) 2015. USCIS has also received more than the limit of 20,000 H-1B petitions filed under the advanced degree exemption.

USCIS received about 172,500 H-1B petitions during the filing period which began April 1, including petitions filed for the advanced degree exemption. On April 10, 2014, USCIS completed a computer-generated random selection process, or lottery, to select enough petitions to meet the 65,000 general-category cap and 20,000 cap under the advanced degree exemption. For cap-subject petitions not randomly selected, USCIS will reject and return the petition with filing fees, unless it is found to be a duplicate filing.

The agency conducted the selection process for the advanced degree exemption first. All advanced degree petitions not selected then became part of the random selection process for the 65,000 limit.

On March 25, USCIS announced that they would begin premium processing for H-1B cap cases no later than April 28.

USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap. Petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap will not be counted towards the congressionally mandated FY 2015 H-1B cap. USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions filed to:
• Extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the United States;
•Change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers;
•Allow current H-1B workers to change employers; and
•Allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position.

U.S. businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in occupations that require highly specialized knowledge in fields such as science, engineering, and computer programming.

For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit www.uscis.gov or follow us on Facebook (/uscis), Twitter (@uscis), YouTube (/uscis) and the USCIS blog The Beacon.

Updated Service Center Processing Times

March 26, 2014

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on 3/18/14 with processing dates as of 1/31/14.

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.

Affordable Care Act Update: Helpful Hints about Immigration Status

March 20, 2014

How does your immigration status affect your eligibility for health care benefits under the
Affordable Care Act (ACA)? Not Sure? USCIS has put together a list of helpful links from www.healthcare.gov website that may help you.

The www.healthcare.gov website includes some helpful resources and they are listed below:

Common immigration documents that you may need to apply for health insurance;
Health insurance options for your family;
How your immigration status affects your eligibility for health insurance; and
How you can verify your citizenship and immigration status to help you apply


Note: Open enrollment ends March 31, 2014


Source of Information:

USCIS, 3/14/14, USCIS Email Message:
Affordable Care Act Update: Helpful Hints About Immigration Status

AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 14031340 (Posted 3/13/14):
USCIS on the Impact of Immigration Status on ACA Benefits


Related Link:

National Immigration Law Center,
Immigrants and the Affordable Care Act (ACA)

Customer Service Tools Outage ALERT – 3/19/14

March 19, 2014

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have alerted Web Users that some of their online customer service tools will not be available Wednesday, March 19 from 9-11 p.m. EST. They will be conducting maintenance on that part of their online system.


The following online tools will not be available on Wednesday, March 19 from 9-11 p.m. EST:
• Check My Case Status
• e-Request
• e-Filing
• Change of Address Online
• Check Processing Times
• Civil Surgeon Locator


Source of Information:
USCIS.gov, 3/18/14, News Alert:
Customer Service Tools Outage ALERT

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) updated FY2014 Statistics (First Quarter)

March 6, 2014

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) has provided FY2014 statistics (first quarter) in the form of program factsheets for each of the major immigration programs. These updated FY2014 statistics (first quarter) cover October 2013 through December 2013.

The link to each program factsheet is listed below:

Permanent Labor Certification Program – Select Statistics, FY 2014 (first quarter)

Prevailing Wage Determination Program – Select Statistics, FY 2014 (first quarter)

H-1B Temporary Visa Program – Select Statistics, FY 2014 (first quarter)

H-2A Temporary Agricultural Visa Program – Select Statistics, FY 2014 (first quarter)

H-2B Temporary Non-agricultural Visa Program – Select Statistics, FY 2014 (first quarter)


Source of Information: OFLC Performance Data

USCIS Introduces e-Request, an Enhanced Online Customer Service Tool

March 3, 2014

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that they have updated and streamlined e-Request. E-Request is a USCIS online customer service inquiry tool which allows an individual to quickly select and submit an online request to USCIS for the following instances listed below:

Case Inquiry
• Case outside of normal processing time (longer than expected)
• Did not receive notice by mail (lost or missing)
• Did not receive card by mail* (lost or missing)
• Did not receive document by mail* (lost or missing)

Service Request
• Appointment Accommodations (due to a disability)
• Typographic Error (make corrections)

Note* - not active at this point

USCIS is planning to hold webinars on e-Request and other online resources in the near future. For more information, check www.uscis.gov/outreach for updates, or sign up for email notifications on USCIS’ public engagement events. You can also contact USCIS at Public.Engagement@uscis.dhs.gov or USCIS-IGAOutreach@uscis.dhs.gov if you have any questions.


Source of Information:

USCIS, 2/20/14, USCIS Email Message:
USCIS Introduces Enhanced Online Customer Service Tools

AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 14022044 (Posted 2/20/14):
USCIS Message: USCIS Introduces Enhanced Online Customer Service Tools

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) updated FY2013 Statistics

February 27, 2014

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) has provided FY2013 statistics in the form of program factsheets for each of the major immigration programs. These updated FY2013 statistics cover October 2012 through September 2013.

The link to each program factsheet is listed below:

Permanent Labor Certification Program – Select Statistics, FY 2013

Prevailing Wage Determination Program – Select Statistics, FY 2013

H-1B Temporary Visa Program – Select Statistics, FY 2013

H-2A Temporary Agricultural Visa Program – Select Statistics, FY 2013

H-2B Temporary Non-agricultural Visa Program – Select Statistics, FY 2013


Source of Information: OFLC Performance Data

Updated Service Center Processing Times

February 21, 2014

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on 2/18/14 with processing dates as of 12/31/13.

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.

NJ woman admits to immigration fraud! – BEWARE OF NOTARIOS

February 6, 2014

An Elizabeth, NJ woman, Maritza Chavez, advertised herself to the general public as an Immigration Lawyer. Chavez created a company to help immigrants obtain U.S. citizenship. After a thorough investigation, it was made clear that Chavez was not a Lawyer and her company only helped her to take money from her immigrant customers.

In the course of her business, Chavez would submit citizenship applications with the USCIS that were improperly completed, and/or were filed without the required filing fee. When the applications were rejected and ultimately returned to her with a refund, Chavez would illegally keep the money. When clients called Chavez for an update, she would blatantly lie to them.

As part of a plea agreement, Chavez could be sentenced up to 10 years and required to pay over $100,000 in restitution. Chavez will be sentenced by Judge Robert Mega, NJ Superior Court on March 14, 2014. For more details please review the news articles listed below.


Source of Information:

NJ.com, 1/28/14, News Article:
Elizabeth woman admits $100,000 immigration scam, authorities say

NorthJersey.com, 1/28/14, News Article:
North NJ woman admits role in immigration scheme


Related Links:

USCIS.gov, 8/21/13, Web Page:
Report Immigration Scams

USCIS Launches Redesigned Interactive Voice Response System

February 5, 2014

On February 1st, the USCIS launched a newly redesigned Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system. When calling the USCIS toll-free National Customer Service Center (1-800-375-5283), you will hear a new series of interactive messages to help streamline your access to immigration information, case status, and customer service representatives. This system redesign is in response to USCIS customer feedback, so your feedback is important!

This IVR system will be available 24/7, with live assistance available Monday through Friday (8:00am to 8:00pm) within the continental United States. You can find more information on USCIS’ customer service options on their website!


Source of Information:

USCIS.gov, 1/30/14, Email Alert:
USCIS Launches Redesigned Interactive Voice Response System


Related Links:

USCIS website – see “Services” about half way through the page

USCIS online customer service tools – see this page for online tools that are available

MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, January 31, 2014

January 31, 2014

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 – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
I think I am eligible under DACA. Do you think given the potential risks, I should file my application with USCIS?

Answer #1
Only YOU can make the decision of whether or not to file your application. I would recommend that you speak with a qualified Immigration Attorney first to discuss your eligibility and the risks involved in submitting a DACA Application to the USCIS. Please feel free to contact our office.


Question #2 – Family Based Immigration
I’ve read conflicting information on the internet, can you please clarify for me who is responsible for scheduling the Green Card Interview, my spouse or the Consulate itself?

Answer #2
The Consulate is responsible for scheduling the Interview and will send you notice of the date and time of the scheduled interview.


Question #3 – General
What is the Visa Waiver Program? Is Portugal included in the VWP?

Answer#3
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.

Yes, Portugal is a participating country in the Visa Waiver Program.


Question #4 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
If I have not use all six years on my previous H-1B visa and still have time remaining, can I apply to USCIS to use the remaining years now as I have found new employment in the U.S.? I am currently abroad.

Answer#4
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. Please contact our office to speak with an Immigration Attorney.


Question #5 –Immigration – Green Card
The fingerprints that I gave the USCIS a while ago are set to expire soon. Should I make an Info Pass appointment at my local USCIS office to give them a new set of fingerprints?

Answer #5
As written on the I-797C, Notice of Action, in some types of cases USCIS requires biometrics. In such cases, USCIS will send you an appointment notice with a specific date, time and place for you to go to a USCIS Application Support Center (ASC) for biometrics processing. You must WAIT for that appointment notice and take it to your ASC appointment along with your photo identification.


Question #6 – Non-Immigrant Visas
Are a B-1 and an H-1B visa interchangeable as far as my ability to work in the United States?

Answer #6
NO. A B-1 visa is reserved for Business visitors who are not allowed to be gainfully employed in the United States. B1 visa holders are limited in the actions that they may partake in while in the U.S. as a business visitor. In order for them to be able to work (gainful employment) while in the U.S. a work visa is required. An H-1B nonimmigrant visa is a work visa reserved for specialty occupation foreign workers.


Question #7 – Employment Based Immigration
I filed for my EAD renewal back in October 2013 and it is still pending. My current EAD expires next week. What are my options moving forward - can I expedite the EAD since my card is expiring? What can I do I can’t risk losing my current job?

Answer#7
When an EAD renewal has been pending for 75+ days, you may initiate an ‘outside the processing times’ Service Request with the USCIS. If you do not receive your EAD approval by the time your current EAD expires, you MUST WAIT and NOT WORK until your EAD is approved. You MAY NOT continue to work. You MUST wait for your EAD card to arrive in the mail before you can begin to work again.

You may file an EAD renewal request up to 120 days in advance of the expiration of your current EAD and should be aware of the Service Center processing times well in advance of filing so that you can obtain an approval of the EAD to continue working.


Question #8 - H-1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
I am looking forward to obtaining an H-1B visa under the CAP for this year. When does time begin to accrue in H-1B status? The day that the visa is approved or when I first enter the U.S. using it?

Answer #8
The six year period begins to accrue when you first enter the U.S. on a valid H-1B nonimmigrant visa. Your I-94 will be recorded in the CBP database to reflect the date you arrived along with other details governing your authorized stay in the U.S.


Question #9 - H-1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
I am an international student with F1- status and Associate degree that I obtained here in US. Am I qualified to change my status to h1B VISA?

Answer #9
Unfortunately, you are not, unless you possess qualifying work experience (3 to 1 rule). To be eligible to obtain an H-1B visa, you must have a Bachelor’s degree in a Specialty Occupation field, and the position for which you are being sponsored must require at a minimum the attainment of a Bachelor’s degree in a specific specialty occupation field. Please contact our office to speak with an Immigration Attorney.


Question #10 - Temporary Work Visas – H-1B & L1A/L1B Nonimmigrant Visas
I need clarification; does the public law apply to transfer and extension petitions for nonimmigrant workers, or only to transfer petitions and new CAP filings?

Answer#10
Under Public law 111-230, Petitioners subject to the new fees must submit the fee with an H-1B or L-1 petition filed (1) initially to grant an alien nonimmigrant status (initial cases); or (2) to obtain authorization for an alien having such status to change employers (transfer cases). Therefore, the fee must be submitted with any initial H-1B filings and any transfers, but extensions with the same employer do not require the new fee.


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 14, 2014!

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

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, January 31, 2014

January 27, 2014

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 31, 2014. 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

January 24, 2014

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on 1/21/14 with processing dates as of 11/30/13.

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.

USCIS Invitation - National Creole Language Engagement (Konsèy)

January 23, 2014

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) will be presenting a national Creole (Konsèy) language engagement session. Konsèy stands for Haitian Creole and the session will take place on Wednesday, January 29, 2014, from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (EST). This free session is an opportunity for Creole speakers to engage with USCIS officials using their native language.

The Konsèy session will include the following:

- USCIS agency updates;
- Overview of the immigration and naturalization processes;
- Discussion of Immigration-related topics such as regulations, policies, operations, and forms;
- Questions and Answers.

The event will broadcast live and in Creole from USCIS West Palm Beach Field Office and you can participate in two ways:

- In-person at the USCIS West Palm Beach Field Office:
9300 Belvedere Road, Royal Palm Beach, FL 33411

- Via Teleconference - Calling toll-free 1-866-844-9416 (Passcode: Konsèy)

Note: The USCIS will NOT offer legal or case- specific advice during this presentation!

Please review the USCIS Invitations linked below for more details!


Source of Information:

- USCIS Invitation - National Creole Engagement (English).pdf

- USCIS Invitation - National Creole Engagement (Creole).pdf

Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) Processing Times - 1/1/14

January 16, 2014

Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) Processing Times were released with processing dates as of 1/1/14.

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 current; for an I-140 EB3 Appeal for a Skilled or Professional Worker is current.

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


Source of Information:

USCIS.gov, (1/13/14), AAO Processing Times

AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 14011541 (posted 1/15/14)

Updated Service Center Processing Times

January 7, 2014

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on 12/19/13 with processing dates as of 10/31/13.

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, December 20, 2013

December 20, 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 – Employment Based Immigration – Green Card
How long before my H-1B visa ends should I apply for EB-2 Green Card category? Can I apply in the 5th or the 6th year of my H1B?

Answer #1
Only an employer can initiate an employment based green card filing. It is recommended that an employer initiate this process within the 4th or 5th year of H-1B status, or sooner depending upon the circumstances.


Question #2 – H1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
My resignation date with my old company and joining date with my new company is on the same day. I am on H1B visa. Will this cause any issue in future since I was on the payroll for the both companies on the same day?

Answer #2
It should not; however, it is always recommended that you give a prior employer a two week notice period before leaving the company.


Question #3 – Family Based Immigration – Green Card
Can a Conditional Permanent Resident submit a permanent resident petition for my 20 year old unmarried son?

Answer #3
A Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) may petition on behalf of a child or unmarried son or daughter. A conditional permanent resident may not until their conditional LPR status is removed. A child must be unmarried and under 21 for the F2A preference classification. An unmarried son or daughter must be 21 years of age or older to qualify for the F2B preference classification.


Question #4 – Citizenship
This January, I can apply for citizenship because I have had my green card for 5 years. Next year, my university offered me a chance to study abroad. Will this affect my citizenship application?

Answer #4
There are several eligibility requirements for seeking U.S. citizenship; one of those requirements is a period of continuous presence in the United States. The answer to your question depends upon the timing of your application for citizenship. Please contact our office to discuss the specifics of your case.


Question #5 – Employment Based Immigration – Green Card
Can my employer charge me the fees for a Green Card application if I terminate employment? I believe they can charge me for the I-140, but am I liable for all legal costs as well as costs of the PERM process?

Answer #5
An employer MAY NOT charge you for the costs of the PERM process.


Question #6 – Family Based Immigration – Green Card
If I marry someone who lives outside the country, will they be able to return home with me?

Answer #6
No, unless they have a valid visa to present for admission into the United States. You will have to go through the Family Based Immigration process by sponsoring your spouse through an I-130, Immigrant Petition for Alien Relative.


Question #7 – General
How do I know if I can apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD)?

Answer #7
If you are eligible to file Form I-485, Adjustment of Status petition; if you are eligible for DACA – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals; if you are eligible for OPT – Optical Practical Training; if you are eligible for TPS – Temporary Protected Status; etc., then more than likely, you are eligible to apply for an Employment Authorization Document. Please contact our office to further discuss your eligibility for an EAD, Employment Authorization Document.


Question #8 – General
What can I do if I can't locate my I-94 online?

Answer #8
According to the CBP website, if you tried to retrieve your I-94 from the cbp.gov online system and you receive a response that your I-94 is "Not Found", please read the following questions to help you check for mistakes and try to enter the information again:
1. Did you enter your first and last name the same way it appears on your passport? Please do not use dashes or titles.
2. Did you enter the passport number that appears on the upper right hand side of your passport?
3. Did you enter your country of citizenship (country that issued the passport, not where you currently live)?
4. Under Class of Admission, did you enter the visa classification that appears on your U.S. visa OR, if you are traveling under the visa waiver program (VWP) enter WT/WB?
5. If you entered your first and middle name and it is not found, try one name or the other. Also try entering your first and middle name in the first name box.
6. Try entering either your most recent date of entry or your original date of entry into the U.S.
If you still cannot find your I-94, please contact your nearest* Customs and Border Protection Deferred Inspection Site and a CBP Officer will be able to assist you.


Question #9 – General
I am currently on an L-1 visa, but I am thinking of resigning from my job. I have an Australian passport. If I do resign, could I just change my status to the Visa Waiver Program or would I need to physically exit and re-enter the country?

Answer #9
Contact an Immigration Attorney.


Question #10 – Employment Authorization
When should I file for an extension of my employment authorization?

Answer #10
You should not file more than 120 days before the expiration date shown on your current employment authorization document; however, you should file 90 days before the expiration date.


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 3, 2014!

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

January INFOPASS Availability is limited for WAS and BAL field offices

December 19, 2013

INFOPASS availability will be limited for the first half of January, 2014 for both USCIS’s Washington and Baltimore field offices. The Washington Field Office (WAS) will be installing a software upgrade and the Baltimore Field Office (BAL) will be moving to a new location in Baltimore, MD.

Washington Field Office*
At WAS, there will be no appointments available January 6 or 8, and curtailed appointment allotments, ranging from 36 to 75 per day, available January 2, 3, 7, and 9. (Note that the first Wednesday of each month is a WAS training day, such that January 8 would not have had INFOPASS appointments allotted in any event.) Beginning January 10, WAS will maintain allotments of 100 INFOPASS appointments per day.

Note: WAS will continue to accept emergency INFOPASS walk-ins during these days, but WAS asks that attorneys and clients be patient, as the software systems used to manage case flow will not be operational at some points.

Baltimore Field Office*
BAL Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) are in the process of packing up for its move to Joh Avenue, and no INFOPASS appointments will be scheduled from January 2 through approximately January 14. The office is expected to remain open at Hopkins Plaza through January 3, but there will be no public access thereafter until the opening of the new Joh Avenue offices.

Note: For the period January 6 through January 14, the Washington Field Office has advised that it is prepared to accept emergency walk-ins which would normally be directed to the Baltimore Field Office. The Baltimore Field Office plans to announce additional move details shortly, which may include additional options for emergency INFOPASS opportunities.

* Chuck Tievsky, AILA DC Chair Elect

Background:
InfoPass is a free service that lets you schedule an appointment with a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Immigration Officer by using the Internet at any time of day or night. If you have an immigration issue that is best handled by a trained USCIS Immigration Officer, InfoPass will let you schedule your appointment instead of requesting it in person at your local USCIS office.


Source of Information:

Email Alert from: American Immigration Lawyers Association, District of Columbia Chapter (AILA DC Chapter) Chuck Tievsky, AILA DC Chair Elect
Sent on: Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Related Information:

Welcome to InfoPass

Your Guide to InfoPass

Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) Processing Times - 11/1/13

December 17, 2013

Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) Processing Times were released with processing dates as of 11/1/13.

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 current; for an I-140 EB3 Appeal for a Skilled or Professional Worker is current.

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


Source of Information:

AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 13120601 (posted 12/6/13)

USCIS.gov, (8/12/13), AAO Processing Times

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, December 20, 2013

December 16, 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, December 20, 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.

FY2014 Cap for U Visas is filled

December 11, 2013

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a News Alert (12/11/13) stating that the statutory maximum of 10,000 U nonimmigrant petitions (U Visas) for FY2014 has been reached. This is the 5th year in a row that this maximum cap has been reached before the end of the fiscal year. USCIS will continue to accept U visa petitions! USCIS will process them in the order received at the beginning of FY2015, which starts October 1, 2014, at that point the U Visa cap of 10,000 will open again.
The U nonimmigrant status (U Visa) is set aside for victims of crimes who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse and are willing to assist law enforcement and government officials in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity. Note that a U-Visa petition requires certification of assistance from law enforcement.

Source of Information:

USCIS.gov, 12/11/13, News Alert:
USCIS Approves 10,000 U Visas for 5th Straight Fiscal Year

USCIS.gov, 11/20/13, Web Page:
Victims of Criminal Activity: U Nonimmigrant Status

USCIS.gov, 11/5/13, Web Page:
Questions & Answers: Victims of Criminal Activity, U Nonimmigrant Status

MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, December 6, 2013

December 6, 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
One year ago I employed someone on HIB 3yr visa. I just found out today that he has applied for a similar job in Australia. What recourse do I have?

Answer #1
Generally, employers are rather limited in what they can do to H-1B employees who transfer employment, unless your employment agreement/contract provided for liquidated damages or other alternatives in case the employee would decide to terminate the employment prior to the end of the validity period of the visa or some other specified date. If you are terminating the H-1B employee, you are responsible for paying for the nonimmigrant’s travel back to his/her home country. H-1B employees are free to transfer their H-1B employment to a new employer at any time.


Question #2 – General
Both my husband and I are in H-1B status. If I am being laid off from my job, can I apply for some other status? What are my other options?

Answer #2
Based upon the brief information you have provided, you are likely eligible to apply for an H4 dependent visa based upon your husband’s status in H1B. You would need to submit a Change of Status Petition (I-539) with the USCIS. To speak about any additional options available, please contact our office to discuss.


Question #3 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
Right now I am on my second year of an H1B. Recently I was relocated to a new client's site. Do I need to let the USCIS know my new working location? If not, is there any problem for my status? Do I need to file a new labor condition application?

Answer #3
It depends. If the move to a new client site is outside of the MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area) as listed on the certified LCA, then yes, it would require the filing of an amended petition with the USCIS, which includes an amended certified LCA covering the new location. As stated above, it depends upon the specific circumstances of the case, and you should contact our office to speak with an Immigration Attorney about your situation.


Question #4 – H4 Dependent Visa
When my employer extended my H-1B Visa, they forgot to renew my wife's H-4 status. What should I do now? Does this means that she has failed to maintain her H-4 status in the U.S.?

Answer #4
Contact our office to discuss.


Question #5 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
I am H-1B Candidate in US. My H-1B was filed (new) this year in April and is under "initial review" process and no decision has been made yet. Now, I have new offer from a new employer. Can I interfile my current H-1B application with USCIS with this new employer? Can we use Premium Processing?

Answer #5
Unfortunately, until a decision is made on your H1B CAP case, you cannot transfer H-1B status to another employer. In essence, in order to be eligible to transfer your H-1B to a new company, you would first need to be granted H-1B nonimmigrant visa status. The fact that your case is still pending means that H-1B status has not been granted for you, as of yet. Hang in there and explain the present situation to the current job offer and see if they will wait, as there is nothing you can do at this point unless you decide to premium process the pending H1B application.


Question #6 – Family Based Immigration
I am preparing an AOS package with my wife. I am a USC and my wife is on OPT but wants to adjust. We live together in California and are going to file an I-485 and I-131. Which status does my wife belongs to, Advanced Parole or Reentry permit?

Answer #6
An ancillary benefit of being eligible to file for adjustment of status is the beneficiary also being eligible to receive a travel document and employment authorization while the adjustment case is processing. The travel document is referred to as Advance Parole in the AOS context, as you would only be eligible for a re-entry permit if you were already a Permanent Resident or Conditional Resident of the United States. If you have any further questions, please contact our office.


Question #7 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
How soon can I get an AP card? I am on a H1B but need to travel out of the country urgently on business.

Answer #7
Have you filed a I-485 petition? How are you eligible for an Advance Parole document? Normal AP requests are processed in a 2-3 month period. If you are eligible to receive an AP document, please note that Advance Parole documents are only expedited in certain cases: Severe financial loss to company or individual; Extreme emergent situation; Humanitarian situation; Nonprofit status of requesting organization in furtherance of the cultural and social interests of the United States; Department of Defense or National Interest Situation (Note: Request must come from official United States Government entity and state that delay will be detrimental to our Government.); USCIS error; or a Compelling interest of USCIS. You may make an expedite request by contacting the National Customer Service Center (NCSC) at 1-800-375-5283 or by submitting a written request and supporting documentation with your application.
If you are experiencing an extremely urgent situation, you may visit your local USCIS office to request an emergency advance parole document. When visiting a local office to request emergency advance parole, you should bring the following items: A completed and signed Form I-131, Application for Travel Document; The correct I-131 filing fee; Evidence to support the emergency request (e.g. medical documentation, death certificate); and Two passport-style photos. The agency reviews these requests on a case-by-case basis, and the USCIS field office director has discretion to grant or deny them.


Question #8 – DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals)
When I was 15 years old, I entered the USA in May of 2007. I have a GED. Will I qualify to apply for DACA? I have not left the USA since 2007.

Answer #8
You may request consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals if you: Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012; Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday; Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time; Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS; Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012; Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety. In order to request consideration of deferred action for child hood arrivals – qualified youth must mail their forms and supporting documentation to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). To discuss your eligibility, please contact our office.


Question #9 – Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR)
My sister applied for her citizenship but she just realized her green card expired. Does she still need to renew her green card? Or can she just wait for the citizenship application to respond for the next step?

Answer #9
Although her physical green card may have expired, her actual status as a Lawful Permanent Resident does not expire.


Question #10 – Employment Authorization
I sent my Form I-765 application, received a receipt notice but then last week, I received a denial decision letter. I didn’t attach my photographs with my original application. Do I need to re-apply?

Answer #10
It depends upon what the denial decision letter provides. Is it a denial decision or a request for evidence (RFE)? If it is a denial, then yes you will need to re-apply. Before re-applying, make sure there are no other grounds for denying the initial application. If it is an RFE, you may submit the photographs with your response to the RFE. If you have any further questions, please contact our office.


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

Our next “Immigration Q & A Forum” is scheduled for Friday, December 20, 2013!

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

USCIS Invitation - National Spanish-Language Engagement (Enlace)

December 4, 2013

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) will be presenting a national Spanish language Enlace session. ENLACE stands for ENgaging LAtino Communities for Education and it will take place on Wednesday, December 11, 2013, from 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm (EST).

The Enlace session will include the following:

- USCIS agency updates;
- Discussion of Immigration-related topics such as regulations, policies, operations, and forms;
- Questions and Answers.

The event will be broadcast live and in Spanish from USCIS Headquarters and you can participate by:

- Calling toll-free on 1-888-790-1962 (Password: Enlace);
- Viewing the live Web stream at www.uscis.gov/live/enlace;
- Emailing a question at OPE-Live@uscis.dhs.gov; or
- Following the USCIS on Twitter at @Uscis_es.

Note: The USCIS will NOT offer legal or case- specific advice during this presentation!

Source of Information:

- USCIS Invitation - Enlace (English).pdf

- USCIS Invitation - Enlace (Spanish).pdf

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, December 6, 2013

December 2, 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, December 6, 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.

Update on the Processing Times for Form I-130

November 27, 2013

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have sent out an email notice to USCIS Stakeholders that they are working to reduce the extended processing times for Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. This form is filed by U.S. citizens for their eligible immediate relatives and is the first step in helping the relative to immigrate to the United States.

The USCIS has been receiving feedback from the public expressing concerns regarding extended processing times for Form I-130. USCIS is working on the delays as part of their goal of preserving family unity. In the last few months the processing time has went from October 2012 to February 2013; that puts the processing time to around 9 months. We have found in practice that current I-130 processing is taking between 6 months to 11 months. USCIS’s goal is to return to an average processing time of five months by May 2014.

Last month, in an effort to expedite the adjudication of these cases, USCIS began transferring stand-alone Forms I-130 filed by U.S. citizens for their immediate relatives from USCIS’s National Benefits Center to its Nebraska, Texas, and California Service Centers. This shift improves USCIS’s ability to adjudicate the cases in a timely manner.”

If your case was transferred you will receive a Notice of Transfer which will include the date of transfer and where your case will now be processed. The original receipt number will not change and this action will not cause any further delay in processing your case. For further information and details please review the email notice listed below.


Source of Information:

USCIS Message: Update on the processing times of Form I-130s filed by U.S. citizens for their eligible immediate relatives

MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, November 22, 2013

November 22, 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
I have been offered a full time position as a charge nurse for the Emergency Department in an underserved area in Kansas. I'm currently a graduate student with F1 visa and a bachelor’s degree in nursing. My employer is willing to sponsor H-1B in April 2014. Please let me know if it is possible to file for an H-1B.

Answer #1
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.

Please contact our office or have your employer contact our office to speak with an Attorney concerning your specific circumstances.


Question #2 – Employment Based Immigration – GREEN CARD
I just read the latest Visa Bulletin numbers for EB2. Why did the numbers change so drastically? My Priority date is in July of 2009. Will the numbers go back up soon? I am very frustrated!

Answer #2
The numbers changed drastically because the demand for visa numbers clearly exceeds the available supply. The Department of State does not predict any further movement in the EB2 preference category for Indian Nationals until May 2014.


Question #3 – Lawful Permanent Resident
Are Green Card holders allowed to vote in elections? I have heard that I could participate in state but not national elections.

Answer #3
You must be a United States Citizen in order to vote in any Federal election. As far as local and state elections are concerned, it depends upon the laws of the locality and state. For example, seven municipalities in Maryland and Massachusetts have extended the right to vote for local offices to noncitizens.


Question #4 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
My H-1B visa was approved and now I need to get my H-1B visa stamp. What do I need to take with me for visa stamping? What about my dependents?

Answer #4
If you are applying for an H-1B visa:
I-797 -- the original notice of approval; Two (2) copies of the complete I-129 petition submitted by your prospective employer including the Labor Condition Application (LCA); The originals, plus one copy, of your university diplomas, mark sheets and any certificates you may have (Secondary school information is not required); Letter from petitioning employer confirming employment; Original, plus one copy, of your work experience letters from your previous employers.

First time applicants may consider submitting the following documents:
Pay slips from current or most recent place of employment; Names and current phone numbers of the personnel managers at the applicant's present and past jobs; Photographs of the inside and outside of current or most recent employer's place of business; Names and contact information of two co-workers from your current or most recent place of employment; Names and contact information of two co-workers from past jobs; A complete resume/bio-data and cover letter describing current job duties in detail; Personal bank records for the last six months; US company information: photographs of the inside and outside of the company's offices, prospectus, brochures, and annual report.

For dependents:
Documentation establishing proof of the relationship to the H-1B applicant – passport, birth certificate, marriage certificate, and pay slips of the H-1B applicant.

*It is important to note that you will only have a short period of time with the Consular Officer, so you should be thoroughly familiar with your position and your sponsoring employer. The Consular interview is more about a conversation with the Officer than just a presentation of documents. It is recommended that you speak with an Immigration Attorney about your case in preparation for your Consular Interview.

**Additionally, H-1B applicants appearing at Consulates for visa stamping who work for IT Consulting companies should speak with an Immigration Attorney prior to the Consular Interview to prepare for the types of questions asked and documentation that may be requested.


Question #5 – Employment Based Immigration – GREEN CARD
My previous employer applied for an I-140 in EB-3 for me, now, can I transfer my priority date to my I-140 application in EB-2 filed by my current employer?

Answer #5
According to the regulations, a petition approved on behalf of an alien under §§203 (b)(1), (2) and (3) of the Act accords the alien the priority date of the approved petition for any subsequently filed petition for any classification under §§203 (b)(1), (2) or (3) of the Act for which the alien may qualify. In the event that the alien is the beneficiary of multiple petitions under §§203 (b)(1), (2) or (3) of the Act, the alien shall be entitled to the earliest priority date.


Question #6- H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
How can I extend my H-1B status beyond the six-year maximum period?

Answer #6
An applicant may extend H-1B status beyond the six-year maximum period in a number of ways. If the applicant spent any time outside of the U.S. since receiving the initial grant of H-1B visa status, s/he may be eligible to apply to recapture the time spent outside of the U.S. in an H-1B extension petition.

Additionally, under AC21 law, an applicant may extend status in one year increments if a Labor Application or I-140 Immigrant Petition were filed on behalf of the applicant and 365 days or more have elapsed since the filing of the Labor or I-140 and it has not been revoked or denied. An applicant may be eligible to extend H1B status in three year increments until a visa number becomes available, if they are the recipient of an approved I-140 Immigrant petition.


Question #7- Employment Based Immigration – GREEN CARD
In a month, my company will be merged in to another company. Will this affect my pending I-140 application and pending I-485 application?

Answer #7
For Successor-in-interest purposes, the transfer of ownership may occur at any point after the filing of the original labor certification. The USCIS will evaluate the following factors: If the position described on the immigrant visa petition is the ‘same job’ as the one described on the labor certification application, and the ‘same job’ that the applicant will be performing for the Successor; whether the Successor has established eligibility for the requested visa classification in all respects; and whether the Successor has adequately detailed the nature of the transfer of rights, obligations, and ownership of the prior entity.


Question #8 - Lawful Permanent Resident
My spouse just received her I-485 Welcome Notice. What is the next step?

Answer #8
As a result of the issuance of the I-485 Welcome Notice, your spouse’s green card should be in production. Once the card is produced, it will be mailed to the address provided in your spouse’s I-485 application. You are not required to do anything further, as the green card will be mailed to your spouse.


Question #9 - Employment Based Immigration – GREEN CARD
If my employer is a start-up company, does it weaken my case for an EB-2?

Answer #9
As long as the company sponsoring your green card can meet the ‘ability to pay’ requirement, the fact that they are a startup should not weaken the case. The requirement to prove that a company has the ‘ability to pay’ attaches when the Labor application is filed on behalf of the foreign national and continues until the foreign national receives the green card. Contact our office to speak with an Immigration Attorney.


Question #10 - Employment Based Immigration – GREEN CARD
How does the USCIS determine your Priority Date?

Answer #10
The priority date is determined in an employment based immigration case once the Labor application is accepted for processing by the Department of Labor. In order to move forward with the priority date and file an I-140, Immigrant Petition, the Labor Application must be certified by the DOL.


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

Our next “Immigration Q & A Forum” is scheduled for Friday, December 6, 2013!

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

USCIS Teleconference - 2D Barcode Forms Technology – Tuesday, 11/6/13

November 21, 2013

I participated in the USCIS Teleconference on their development and use of 2D Barcode Forms Technology. I have included some of the main points covered during this discussion.

Points Covered in Teleconference:


  • As the new 2D form is filled out a unique 2D barcode is created.

  • USCIS will at some point release the code for the 2D forms to the public so they can develop their own versions of the forms.

  • USCIS will NOT test 3rd party developed 2D forms!

  • Some of their forms are being created using 3D barcodes and this discussion did not cover that.

  • If the 2D barcode is not printed or developed correctly don’t use it!

Q&A (partial):

Q - If after a 2D form is filled out and completed and its unique 2D barcode is developed can you delete or change the form and will the 2D barcode also change?
A – USCIS developers in this teleconference could not answer that question.

Q – When the USCIS accepts a 3rd party form, isn’t that a form of testing? So why not test ahead of time?
A – We (USCIS) will not be responsible for 3rd party developed forms of any kind!


Related Link:

2D Barcode Technology and Third-Party Software Compatibility


Background:

2-D bar codes carry information in two directions, both vertically and horizontally. 2-D bar codes are capable of holding tens and even hundreds of times as much information as 1-D bar codes or the kind of bar codes we see on products for sale at stores.
USCIS will publish high-volume forms with 2D barcode technology. Their website* states, “When you complete these forms using a computer, the barcode at the bottom of the page will store the data entered on the form. We will be able to scan the information from the barcode and upload it directly to USCIS systems, allowing us to improve data quality and operational efficiency.”

*USCIS.gov, 7/26/13, Web Page: USCIS Form Improvements Initiative

Updated Service Center Processing Times

November 20, 2013

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on 11/18/13 with processing dates as of 9/30/13.

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, November 22, 2013

November 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, November 22, 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.

Wrap-up - Forum on Potential Immigration Reform and Stopping Notario Fraud

November 14, 2013

The DC Pro Bono Week (Oct. 19–26) presented by the Washington Council of Lawyers (WCL) finished the week with an Immigration Reform Clinic on Saturday, Oct. 26th, 2013 in Arlington, VA. The Immigration Reform Clinic which was sponsored by the DC Chapter of AILA and Equal Justice Works included a forum on Potential Immigration Reform and Stopping Notario Fraud. MVP Law Group’s Managing Attorney, Kellie Lego was one of the Attorney Panelists presenting at the clinic.

List of Panelists:

Julia Toro – Attorney, Private Practice
Adonia R. Simpson –Attorney, Non-profit
Kellie Lego – Attorney, Private Practice
Lory D. Rosenberg – Attorney, Private Practice
Anne Schaufele – Law Clerk, Non-profit

The Immigration Reform Clinic which was open to the public was attended by about thirty law students (from across the country) which were participating in the “Equal Justice Works Conference and Career Fair.” The law students joined area immigration attorneys for an informal meeting before the panel presentation started.

The panel presentation provided a comprehensive overview of how immigration reform could affect legal practice areas and how to advise clients on preparing now for any possible changes. The panelists also discussed the increasing problem of notario fraud; fraudulent immigration consultants (notarios), who “capitalize on immigrants’ vulnerability and ignorance of the U.S. legal system to offer substandard, false, or nonexistent immigration services.” The panel presentation ended with a half hour Q&A session.


Source of Information:
WCL - Pro Bono Week Wrap-Up: Lawyers Seek to Protect Immigrants from Notario Fraud


Photos of Event:
Immigration Forum (Oct. 26, 2013)

MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, November 8, 2013

November 8, 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 – General
Can an illegal immigrant apply for a Driver’s license? If so, what do they need to bring?

Answer #1
The answer to your question is going to depend upon the laws of the State in which the undocumented immigrant lives/resides. Some states allow for undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses, while other states do not.


Question #2 – Family Based Immigration
We received a notice from the USCIS stating my I-130 case was transferred to another office for processing. Will this affect the processing of my case?

Answer #2
Yes. It is highly likely that the case was transferred to another office for processing so that the USCIS can attempt to process the case in a timely manner. According to the posted processing times, it is currently taking 5-11 months for an I-130 petition to be processed by the USCIS.


Question #3 – Family Based Immigration
I'm a Green Card holder and would like to get married in India. How long would it take for my spouse to come to US?

Answer#3
If you marry your spouse in India, you will have to file form I-130 along with supporting evidence with the USCIS to establish the validity of your marriage/relationship. Currently the posted processing times for the I-130 petition are between 5-11 months. Once the I-130 petition is approved, then your spouse would go through Consular Processing to obtain his/her Green Card. You would need to file the necessary documents online or with the National Visa Center itself, and the NVC would then coordinate with the specific Consular Post to schedule the Green Card interview.


Question #4 – Family Based Immigration
I am a US Citizen and I want to file forms I-130 and I-485 for parents so that I can start their green card process. Unfortunately, they both don't have their birth certificates. They both have visited USA and have the multi-entry visit visas. They both have Indian passports. What is an alternative acceptable form that I can provide with my application packet if I don't have their birth certificates?

Answer #4
You will need to make a request with the civil authority responsible for producing and recording their birth certificates in their home country. If you are still unable to obtain the birth certificates, then you can attempt to submit affidavits of birth from numerous relatives attesting to the birth of your parents. Each application should be accompanied by at least two affidavits of birth from relatives who were present at the birth of your parents.


Question #5 – General
When you receive a notice of intent to deny, once you reply to the notice, do other issues not addressed in the notice of intent to deny affect the decision?

Answer #5
In almost all Notices of Intent to deny, all grounds for denial are listed and the Petitioner/Applicant has the opportunity to rebut/address each ground for denial with evidence. If the Petitioner/Applicant is not able to address all grounds listed in the Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID), then it is likely that the case will be denied. If there is an option to appeal, it will be listed in the denial notice.


Question #6 – Family Based Immigration
This year, I married my spouse overseas. I am a US Citizen and I am filing the petition I-130 to bring her to the states. I meet all of the requirements. But, I am unemployed. Please advise if it is Ok to apply now or wait until I get a job?

Answer #6
It depends upon your particular situation. You may use a joint sponsor or a household sponsor to establish that you meet/exceed the poverty guidelines; however, in my experience I would highly recommend that you wait until you get a job before filing the I-130 petition.


Question #7- Naturalization/Citizenship
My 10 year Green Card is about to expire next month. Can I apply for Naturalization using the N-400 form now or do I have to apply for another 10 year renewal using the I-90 form?

Answer #7
If you meet the eligibility requirements for Naturalization/Citizenship, then you may apply now using Form N-400. However, if you do not meet the eligibility requirements for Naturalization/Citizenship because of presence issues, criminals issues, or other reasons, then you may want to renew your green card by filing Form I-90 with the USCIS. You should contact our office to speak with an experienced Attorney concerning your particular situation before doing anything.


Question #8 - Adjustment of Status
If you are applying for an I-485, do all of the foreign documents need to be translated? My birth and marriage certificates are in Spanish.

Answer #8
Yes, all documents submitted to the USCIS must be translated and certified by a translator.


Question #9 – H1B Nonimmigrant Visa
For an H-1B Visa, what is considered a specialty occupation?

Answer #9
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. We have filed numerous H-1B cases for doctors, dentists, pharmacists, teachers/professors, various IT positions, graphic designers, civil engineers, etc.


Question #10 – H1B Nonimmigrant Visa
My H-1B visa was approved through my United States employer, but I am currently abroad. Do I have to enter the U.S. on the start date listed on my H-1B approval notice or can I enter sooner?

Answer #10
Do you have a valid H-1B visa stamp in your passport? If so, then you are able to enter the U.S. at least a week prior to the commencement of your employment in H-1B nonimmigrant visa status.


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 22, 2013!

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

USCIS Launches Redesigned Website

November 7, 2013

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) now have a redesigned website. The USCIS site has been redesigned to be more user-friendly and is also available in both English and Spanish. USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas stated, “This redesign demonstrates our ongoing commitment to improving the quality of service we provide.”

The first thing that I noticed about the new website is the tab type navigation menus at the top of the page, just below their name. They include the titles: FORMS, NEWS, CITIZENSHIP, GREEN CARD, TOOLS and LAWS. When your mouse pointer just goes over top of one of menus a related pull-down menu appears for you to make a fast and easy selection. Try the website for yourself; I think you will find it to be an improvement.

Please visit the new website at www.uscis.gov and www.uscis.gov/espanol


Source of Information:
USCIS.gov, 10/30/13, News Release:
USCIS Launches Redesigned USCIS.GOV Website

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, November 8, 2013

November 4, 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, November 8, 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.

USCIS’s new online Change of Address Tool is now available

October 30, 2013

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has introduced an enhanced version of their online “Change of Address” tool that allows customers to change their address more quickly and easily. Online users will complete a single form with guided questions which simplifies the process. The new “Change of Address” tool is now compatible with various Web browsers and when completed correctly will send an email confirmation.

USCIS is offering a free webinar on Friday, November 1, 2013 from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. (EDT) to discuss their online self-help customer service tools including the new “Change of Address” tool. During the webinar, USCIS officials will also be available to answer questions about the new online tools. To Register, click the registration page link here or below.

To register for this Session: registration page


Source of Information:

USCIS.gov, Online Tool: Change of Address

USCIS.gov, 10/25/2013, Webinar Invitation: USCIS Online Customer Service Tools

MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, October 25, 2013

October 25, 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- H1B Nonimmigrant Visa
My Visa was expired on Sept' 2010(first 3 yrs.), still is it eligible to re-open my Visa, after I got Visa I didn't travelled to US in Visa valid period. 2) I would like to know if the expired H1 can be re-opened/ re-filed?

Answer #1
Generally speaking, as long as an H-1B petition was filed on your behalf and approved in the past 6 years and there is time remaining, and you have a current offer of employment from a U.S. employer, you are eligible to recapture and reinstate any time remaining in H-1B status.


Question #2 – H1B Nonimmigrant Visa
I am from Bangladesh (nearby India). I have Master's Degree in Commerce & working experience 10 years + as an Accountant. I need your help for employment/Sponsors offer from USA Company also.

Answer #2
Our office does not assist in finding offers of employment from Sponsoring U.S. employers. However, once you find a willing U.S. Sponsoring Employer, our office may assist you in obtaining the requisite visa applicable to the sponsorship.


Question #3 – H1B Nonimmigrant Visa
My H1B case is still "Initial Review" from 2009 and my employer is out of the business and he closed his office. I am staying out of USA and living in India. Please help how to proceed to get the H1B case to move forward for next steps.

Answer #3
If the sponsoring employer is out of business and has closed his office, then a valid job offer does not continue to exist, and therefore, an approval will not be forthcoming. You should speak with a qualified immigration attorney to discuss the specifics of your situation and whether there are other options available for you.


Question #4 – H1B Nonimmigrant Visa
How soon can we begin to prepare for H-1B Annual Quota?

Answer #4
MVP Law Group, P.A. begins to accept H-1B CAP cases beginning in November for the CAP period opening April 1. Generally, we begin to publically advertise in mid-January, as it takes time to adequately prepare and gather all of the supporting documents, credential evaluations, etc.


Question #5 – E3 – Australian Visa
I am currently in Australia, Australian national, never rec’d E3 before, and I have conflicting information concerning this. Is it necessary that my sponsoring employer submit an I-129 to the USCIS for me to obtain the E3 visa?

Answer #5
It is not necessary to submit and obtain approval of Form I-129 with the USCIS prior to applying for the E3 visa at the Consulate. There are several required documents that you are required to submit at the Consulate, one of the most important being a certified LCA; however, there is no requirement that an I-129 be filed with and approved by the USCIS prior to applying for the E3 directly at the Consulate.


Question #6 - Family Based – Removal of Conditions
My child is a U.S citizen; can I obtain legal status in the U.S from my child?

Answer #6
The U.S. citizen petitioner must be 21 years of age in order to petition on behalf of their parents.


Question #7- Employment Based Green Card
How long do I have to live and work in the United States before I can apply for my Green Card?

Answer #7
There is no set period of time that you must live and work in the United States before you may apply for a Green Card or have a U.S. employer sponsor your Green Card.


Question #8 – Employment Based Green Card
I am in 6th year of H-1B. I have an approved I-140 from my previous company, and my current company is in the process of filing a new I-140. Can I extend my H-1B with the previous company’s I-140 approval?

Answer #8
Pursuant to AC21 law, an H1B nonimmigrant 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 H1B nonimmigrant has an I-140 petition which has been approved under the employment based green card and the AOS/485 is pending due to the unavailability of visa numbers.


Question #9 – Family Based Green Card
Is it true that the CIR that the Senate passed a while back would totally eliminate the ability for U.S. citizens to bring their sisters and brothers to the U.S. and receive green cards?

Answer #9
The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 (S. 744) passed by the Senate on June 27, 2013 would eliminate the F4 Category.
This means that Adult U.S. Citizens would no longer be able to petition on behalf of their Brothers and Sisters. Although the backlog is significant, if you are eligible under this category, you should consult with an Immigration Attorney to discuss your case.
PLEASE NOTE THAT S.744 IS NOT A LAW.


Question #10 – H1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
I am an international student with F1- status and Associate degree that I obtained here in US. Am I qualified to change my status to h1B VISA?

Answer #10
Unfortunately, you are not, unless you possess qualifying work experience and/or training in the related specialty occupation. You can combine your education, training and/or work experience to satisfy the Bachelor’s degree requirement if you have the requisite years of experience. To be eligible to obtain an H-1B visa, you must possess a Bachelor’s degree in a Specialty Occupation field, and the position for which you are being sponsored must require at a minimum the attainment of a Bachelor’s degree in a specific specialty occupation field.


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 8, 2013!

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

AILA-DC’s FORUM ON POTENTIAL IMMIGRATION REFORM AND STOPPING “NOTARIO” FRAUD – SAT., OCT. 26th

October 25, 2013

AILA Washington, D.C. Chapter, News Release:

“WASHINGTON, DC – The American Immigration Lawyer’s Association’s Washington, D.C. chapter (AILA-DC) is partnering with Equal Justice Works to host The Forum on Potential Immigration Reform and Stopping Notario Fraud on Saturday, October 26 from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Crystal Gateway Marriot at 1700 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington, VA 22202.
The Forum will provide an update on the status of immigration reform efforts, and outline steps that immigrants can take now to prepare for the enactment of legislation. It will also describe various forms of legal relief currently available.”

The Forum will focus on:
- Myths vs. Facts: An update on the status of immigration reform
- Safety First: Don’t become a victim of immigration fraud
- What to do now to prepare for potential immigration reform legislation
- A brief overview of various forms of relief currently available

Note: Attorney, Kellie Lego is one of the Forum’s Panelists

For more details please review the following links:

- AILA-DC, Meeting/Event Information: Forum on Potential Immigration Reform and Stopping Notario Fraud - LIMITED SEATING

- The American Immigration Lawyer’s Association’s Washington, D.C. chapter (AILA-DC)

- Equal Justice Works

- stopnotariofraud.org

Updated Service Center Processing Times

October 22, 2013

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on 10/16/13 with processing dates as of 8/31/13.

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, October 25, 2013

October 21, 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, October 25, 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.

USCIS Message: Important Information on Form I-129 H-1B, H-2A, and H-2B Petitions

October 18, 2013

From the USCIS Public Engagement Division:

If an H-1B, H-2A, or H-2B petitioner submits evidence establishing that the primary reason for failing to timely file an extension of stay or change of status request was due to the government shutdown, USCIS will consider the government shutdown as an extraordinary circumstance and excuse the late filing, if the petitioner meets all other applicable requirements.

For more information, please visit www.uscis.gov.

SIV Program for Iraqi Nationals has been Extended

October 18, 2013

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that Congress passed a bill extending the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program for Iraqi nationals who worked for or on behalf of the U.S. government in Iraqi. President Obama signed the bill into law on October 4, 2013. The SIV program had expired September 30th and has now been extended by three months until December 31, 2013. Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said the visa program was important because those affected had risked their lives to help the U.S. military.

The USCIS announcement stated, “The extension permits USCIS to approve petitions or applications for visas or adjustment of status in any Iraqi SIV case under section 1244 that were pending with USCIS or with the Department of State (DOS) when the program expired on Sept. 30, 2013. USCIS may also approve an additional 2,000 cases as long as the initial applications to the DOS Chief of Mission in Iraq are made by Dec. 31, 2013.” For up-to-date information on the SIV program, check the USCIS website or call their National Customer Service Center (1-800-375-5283).


Source of Information:

USICS.gov, 10/10/13, News Alert
Special Immigrant Visa Program for Iraqi Nationals Who Worked For or On Behalf Of the U.S. Government Extended

Travel.State.gov, Web Page
Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) for Iraqi and Afghan Translators/Interpreters

TheHill.com, 10/2/13, Floor Action Blog
Congress passes measure to extend Iraqi visa program

Senate Reaches Deal that Would End Government Shutdown

October 16, 2013

Senate leaders announced today that they have reached a last-minute agreement to end the 16-day government shutdown. The shutdown, which went into effect on October 1st, caused many government offices to close, including the Department of Labor, resulting in delays or even lapses in normal services.

The Senate deal would reopen the government, funding it through January 15th. It would also raise the debt limit until February 7th.

The deal still awaits approval by the House, but House Democrats, following the lead of the Minority Leader, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, are expected to support it. Congress is trying to push the vote through by the end of today in order to avoid a potential default on payment of the national debt.


NOTE:
The Federal Government remains closed as of 3:00pm, Wednesday, October 16, 2013!

MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, October 11, 2013

October 11, 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
My husband is a naturalized US Citizen and my daughter was born in the United States. I am from Ireland but have a Green Card. How do I know I am eligible to apply for Citizenship?

Answer #1
If you received your GC through Marriage to a USC, you will have to wait three years once becoming an LPR, and also meet the eligibility criteria for applying for Citizenship through Naturalization. If you received your GC through Employment or other means, you will have to wait five years once becoming an LPR, and also meet the eligibility criteria for applying for Citizenship through Naturalization.


Question #2 – H1B Nonimmigrant Visa
Can I work for more than one employer on an H-1B Visa Status?

Answer #2
Yes, you may work for multiple employers in H-1B visa status, as long as an I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker has been filed on your behalf by each of the companies with the USCIS and approved. As an H-1B visa holder, you are able to hold full time work as well as a sponsored part time position, if your employers are willing and able to accommodate you, or multiple part time positions, etc. It is recommended that you contact an experienced Immigration Attorney so that the Form I-129 and LCA are prepared and filed appropriately.


Question #3 – Family Based Immigration
I would like to file a Family Based Immigration application for my Scottish husband. How do I know which preference category?

Answer #3
We would need some further information from you concerning your question. What is your current status in the US? Are you a USC, an LPR, temporary work visa holder, a visitor, etc.? If you are a USC, your husband would be considered an immediate relative. If you are an LPR, your husband would fall under the F2A preference category. If you are not a USC or LPR, you cannot file a Family Based immigration application on behalf of your Scottish husband.


Question #4 – Green Card
Do I have to be living in the United States to apply for permanent residence?

Answer #4
No. If you are living in the United States and eligible to apply for permanent residence, you would do so by preparing and filing Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status to Permanent Resident. If you are not living in the United States and are eligible to apply for permanent resident status, you would do so through Consular Processing, filing the necessary forms/documentation with the National Visa Center who then works directly with the Consulate to schedule your Interview for permanent resident status.


Question #5 – Green Card
What happens if I am here without permission and I try to adjust my status?

Answer #5
DO NOT DO IT. It is highly recommended that you speak with a qualified Immigration Attorney about your present situation and any forms of relief that may be presently available.


Question #6- Employment Based Immigration
I am a Medical Research Doctor from India and I am planning to work at a US University. What Employment Based preference category do I use for my Visa?

Answer #6
It is recommended that you speak with an experienced Immigration Attorney about your qualifications as you may be eligible for an EB1 and/or EB2 preference filing.


Question #7 - Green Card
What should I do if I lost my Green Card?

Answer #7
Apply for a new one. File Form I-90 with the USCIS with the necessary USCIS filing fee of $365.00 + $85.00 for biometrics, and supporting documentation.


Question #8 – H1B Nonimmigrant Visa
I do not have a copy of my I-94 from my last entry to the US in August, but I need it for my H-1B renewal. What should I do?

Answer #8
Go to https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/request.html to retrieve and print a copy of your electronic I-94.


Question #9 – Nonimmigrant Visa
Can I travel on my current nonimmigrant visa or do I need to get advance parole?

Answer #9
If you have a valid nonimmigrant visa stamp in your passport and copies of your approval notice and a copy of the petition, you should be able to travel on your nonimmigrant visa. Advance Parole is a separate creature that you may apply for once you are eligible to file an I-485 petition for either a family based or employment based green card. The Advance Parole document allows you to travel outside the country while your I-485 application is pending.


Question #10 – H1B Nonimmigrant Visa
I have been working with my present employer for two years, but have found a position with a different company. My H-1B Approval Notice is valid until next year. Can my H-1B approval be transferred to this new company?

Answer #10
Yes. The new company interested in sponsoring your H-1B work visa will need to prepare and file the requisite paperwork with the USCIS in order for you to transfer your H-1B to the new employer.


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

Our next “Immigration Q & A Forum” is scheduled for Friday, October 25, 2013!

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

Police arrest 8 House members at immigration rally in DC

October 10, 2013

A large Immigration Rally was held on Tuesday, October 8, 2013 seeking to push the House Republicans to hold a vote on the stalled immigration reform bill. A rally and concert were held on the National Mall in front of the U.S. Capitol. When members of the rally started blocking the main street in front of the Capital over (200) were arrested! Among those arrested were (8) members of the U.S. House of Representatives, which I have listed below.

Congressman, John Lewis of Georgia (D)
Congressman, Luis Gutiérrez of Illinois (D)
Congressman, Jan Schakowsky of Illinois (D)
Congressman, Raúl Grijalva of Arizona (D)
Congressman, Keith Ellison of Minnesota (D)
Congressman, John Crowley of New York (D)
Congressman, Charles Rangel of New York (D)
Congressman, Al Green of Texas (D)

*As reported by the Associated Press

The National Mall is closed because of the government shutdown; however, a spokesman for the National Parks Service said that Tuesday's immigration rally was allowed because it is considered a First Amendment demonstration. He also said the park service is now allowing veterans to visit the memorials for the same reason.


Source of Information:
WTOP.com, 10/9/13, DC News
Police arrest 8 House members at immigration rally
USA Today, 10/8/13, News Article
Immigrants rally in D.C.; urge Congress to pass a bill

Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) Processing Times - 10/1/13

October 8, 2013

Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) Processing Times were released with processing dates as of October 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 current; for an I-140 EB3 Appeal for a Skilled or Professional Worker is current.

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


Source of Information:

AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 13100306 (posted 10/3/13)

USCIS.gov, (8/12/13), AAO Processing Times

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, October 11, 2013

October 7, 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, October 11, 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.

E-Verify is UNAVAILABLE due to the Federal Government Shutdown

October 4, 2013

E-Verify, the Internet-based system that employers use to check whether job applicants may legally work in the U.S. is currently unavailable due to a Federal Government shutdown. You will not be able to access your E-Verify account!

E-Verify Customer Support and any related services are also closed.

Which includes the following:



For more details on the E-Verify closure, please review the USCIS News Bulletin, “E-Verify is Currently Unavailable”!


Source of Information:

USCIS.gov, 10/1/13, News Bulletin: E-Verify is Currently Unavailable

Bloomberg.com, 10/1/13, News Article: E-Verify Goes Dark as Shutdown Cuts Links to Companies

What Happens During a Government Shutdown (Updated 10/1/13)

October 2, 2013

What happens during a government shutdown? The simple answer is it varies by agency! The federal government shutdown is officially underway as of 12:01 am, October 1, 2013. The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has put together an updated list of what to expect from the federal government agencies involved in the immigration system! Below is an excerpt from AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 11040730 (posted Oct. 1, 2013).

~-------~

CIS Ombudsman: The CIS Ombudsman's Office will be closed and will not be accepting any inquiries through their online case intake system.

DOL: The Administration is working very hard to avoid a government shutdown and believes there is sufficient time to avoid such an occurrence; however, prudent management requires the Department to plan for the possibility that it may need to suspend operations should Congress be unable to pass a funding bill by midnight on Monday, September 30, 2013.

OFLC functions are not "excepted" from a shutdown and its employees would be placed in furlough status should a lapse in appropriated funds occur. Consequently, in the event of a government shutdown, OFLC will neither accept nor process any applications or related materials (such as audit responses), it receives, including Labor Condition Applications, Applications for Prevailing Wage Determination, Applications for Temporary Employment Certification, or Applications for Permanent Employment Certification. OFLC's web site, including the iCERT Visa Portal System and the PERM system, would become static and unable to process any requests or allow authorized users to access their online accounts.

DOL's Office of Administrative Law Judges will be unable to perform any case-related activities, including conducting hearings. Hearings that have been previously scheduled will therefore be cancelled prior to the date of the hearing, and they will not be rescheduled for hearing until an appropriations bill or continuing resolution takes effect.

DHS: Due to the lapse in federal, DHS’s website will not be actively managed.

DOS: The Department will continue as many normal operations as possible; operating status and available funding will need to be monitored continuously and closely, and planning for a lapse in appropriations must be continued. Review their “Guidance on Operations” for more information.

EOIR: EOIR has indicated that its response to a potential shutdown is the same as it was in 2011. EOIR has been advised to "put its shutdown plans in place." As with other agencies, personnel who are not considered "essential" will be furloughed. EOIR has indicated that the detained docket would likely be considered an essential function and would therefore be able to continue in operation.

Update from EOIR on October 1, 2013: Court functions that support the detained caseload will continue, but other functions are suspended. The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) is processing emergency stay requests as well as cases where the alien is detained, including case appeals, motions, federal court remands, and bonds. Please review their notice for more information.

ICE: From ICE Community Outreach - ICE detention and enforcement operations shall continue. ICE chief counsel trail attorneys will still work on the detained docket only during a shutdown. Please coordinate with your local Chief Counsel Office on more specifics. The ICE Community and Detainee Helpline will remain operational.

USCIS: All USCIS offices worldwide are open and individuals should report to interviews and appointments as scheduled. E-Verify is currently unavailable due to a government shutdown. Please see their notice for policies implemented due to E-Verify’s unavailability.

DHS OIG: The majority of DHS OIG staff has been furloughed due to the lapse in appropriations.

Summary of Government Services:

Government Services During the Shutdown
Washington Post Round Up of Various Agency Responses on Impact of a Government Shutdown

Agency Memos:

• DOL Notice on Impact of Temporary Suspension of Federal Government Services on Employment and Training Administration including Foreign Labor Certification (9/30/13) (AILA Doc. No. 13092551)
• DHS Lapse Contingency Plan Summary (9/27/13) (AILA Doc. No. 13092551)
• DOL Update to its 4/7/11 Plan (9/25/13) (AILA Doc. No. 13092551)
• OMB Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies (9/17/13) (AILA Doc. No. 13092551).
• DOS Guidance on Operations During a Lapse in Appropriations (9/27/13) (AILA Doc. No. 13092551)

~-------~

Source of Information:
- AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 11040730 (posted 9/ 25/13)

What Happens If the Government Shuts Down? – Updated 9/30/13

September 30, 2013

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has requested information from the federal government agencies involved in the immigration system for updates on their contingency plans in case of a government shutdown. A possible government shutdown could happen as early as October 1, 2013, the beginning of the new fiscal year 2014 (FY2014). AILA has reported that they have not received any updated information at this time. They suggested reviewing the shutdown plans for the last threatened federal government shutdown, which was in 2011.

Below is an excerpt from MVP Law Group’s original blog post on the subject dated (4/8/11).

~---------------~

In general, if the government shuts down for budgetary reasons, all but "essential" government are furloughed and not allowed to work. So what does this mean for immigration agencies?

USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services): A couple of shutdown threats back, a USCIS official stated at a stakeholder engagement that USCIS (other than the human touches on E-Verify) would not need to shut down, since all of the agency, other than E-Verify, is funded by fees. However, it is not clear that this is the case, and at least one local office has indicated that it is working on its shutdown plan. AILA will update this information as they get more information.

DOS (Department of State): If there is a shutdown, the result for DOS will likely be the same as it was in the 1996 government closing. Then, the only visa issuance being done was for some diplomats and for "life or death" situations. As DOS is wont to say "a really, really important business meeting is not life or death."

CBP (Customs and Border Patrol): Inspection and law enforcement are considered "essential personnel," though staffing may be more limited than usual. The borders will be open, and CBP is unsure of how the shutdown will affect the processing of applications filed at the border.

EOIR (Executive Office for Immigration Review): EOIR has indicated that personnel who are not considered "essential" will be furloughed, but that the detained docket would likely continue in operation. (Updated as of 9/30/2013)

DOL (Department of Labor): In the event of a government shutdown, the Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) will neither accept nor process any applications or related materials it receives. (Updated as of 9/30/2013)

Other agencies will be added, and the above updated, as AILA obtains more information.


Source of Information:

- AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 11040730 (posted 4/7/11)
- AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 11040730 (posted 9/ 25/13)

MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, September 27, 2013

September 27, 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
I have an H-1B application pending since April 2013, CAP case, no RFE issued yet. Can I contact USCIS and make a service request for them to look further into the case and why it is taking so long? Filed at Vermont.

Answer #1
If your case is outside of the normal processing time, the Petitioner/Authorized Representative or an Attorney for the Petitioner/Applicant should contact the USCIS National Customer Service Center, which can be reached at 1-800-375-5283, to initiate the service request for a petition that is outside of the normal processing time.

If making a service request to the Customer Service Center, please have the following information available so the Representative will be better able to assist you: your full name, the applicant’s full name, your complete company mailing address, the applicant’s complete mailing address, the applicant’s date of birth, the applicant’s receipt number for the pending application/petition, and the filing date of the applicant’s pending application/petition. If your case is outside of the normal processing time, the Officer should initiate a service request and will provide you with a timeframe for a response and a referral number in case you have to call back because no correspondence was issued within the timeframe suggested.


Question #2Family Based Immigration
How does the USCIS define an immediate relative?

Answer #2
The term “immediate relative(s)” is used to define certain immigrant relatives of U.S. citizens. Immediate relatives include:
• Spouses of U.S. citizens
• Children (unmarried and under 21) of U.S. citizens
•Parents of U.S. citizens (The petitioning citizen must be 21 or older.)


Question #3 – Removal Proceedings
What is a Cancellation of Removal?

Answer#3
Cancellation of removal is a form of immigration relief available to individuals who have been placed in removal proceedings before the United States Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR).


Question #4 – Naturalization
About three and a half years ago, I was admitted to the United States as a legal permanent resident because I am the wife of another legal permanent resident. My husband naturalized about two and a half years ago. I am anxious to become a citizen as soon as possible. What requirements do I have to meet? When is the earliest I can apply?

Answer#4
The general requirements for administrative naturalization include:
• A period of continuous residence and physical presence in the United States;
• Residence in a particular USCIS District prior to filing;
• 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

For more information and Natz resources, please check out our website.


Question #5 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
Do non-profits come under the same category as far as H1B is concerned?

Answer #5
If you are the beneficiary of an H-1B nonimmigrant visa for a company that is a not-for-profit, and they have sufficient proof of their qualifying non-profit status according to USCIS criteria, then any new H-1B nonimmigrant petition filed by that company is not subject to the annual H-1B nonimmigrant visa CAP. An H-1B petition for new employment can be filed at any time.


Question #6 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
I recently filed for H4 Change of Status and yet to get my receipt notice. My employer came back to me with another job offer. Can we file for H1B Extension while H4 Change of Status is in progress? My H1B Visa validity is till 12/13/2013. Can my H4 Change of Status filing be stopped?

Answer #6
Generally, yes. Does your employer have an Immigration Attorney? If not, I would recommend contacting an experience Immigration Lawyer to discuss the specifics of your case.


Question #7- Employment Based Green Card
How soon can we file a second I-140? It has been six months since our first was denied.

Answer#7
You can file a second I-140 at any time as long as you have valid certified Labor Certification to support the I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker.


Question #8- Family Based Immigration
Do you need a Certificate of Naturalization to file an I-130? I can’t find a copy of mine. Can I use my US passport?

Answer #8
You can send a copy of your US passport biographic data page as proof of your US citizenship.


Question #9 – Employment Based Green Card
Can an employer withdraw a PERM electronically or do they have to mail in a request?

Answer #9
Yes. If the application was filed online, the application can be withdrawn by accessing the account wherein the application was filed and simply marking the appropriate box. If the application was filed by mail, a withdrawal request must be sent to the National Processing Center to which the application was originally submitted.


Question #10 – Employment Based Green Card
If I have a Master’s Degree (or foreign equivalent), can I automatically qualify for the EB-2 category?

Answer #10
It depends upon the particular sponsoring employer’s minimum education and experience requirements for the proffered position.

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

Our next “Immigration Q & A Forum” is scheduled for Friday, October 11, 2013!

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

Employment-Based Quota Limit Reached for FY2013

September 26, 2013

The State Department has confirmed that employment annual limits have been reached, as is often the case at the end of a fiscal year.

USCIS will continue to process pending adjustment cases, and is able to submit visa number requests for all cases which are being finalized. The State Department will place requests in a “Pending Demand” file.

Eligible cases which have been submitted to the State Department that are within the October cut-off dates will be automatically authorized effective October 1, 2013.

Source of Information: "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 13092553 (posted Sep. 25, 2013)"

DACA Report released by the Center for American Progress

September 26, 2013

On Friday, September 20, 2013, the Center for American Progress released a report on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The report entitled “Undocumented No More” is a nationwide analysis of DACA’s implementation over the last year. The (51) page report has many great sections, from summarizing DACA to how the different regions of the country have implemented it and how that has caused differences. The report has a section entitled;” The gendered dimensions of DACA” which examines how DACA is being implemented across gender lines, which is not something that we have seen discussed before and is very interesting. We encourage you to read the report.


The Center for American Progress describes itself is an independent nonpartisan educational institute dedicated to improving the lives of Americans through progressive ideas and action. The Center which is headquartered in Washington, D.C. is a Public Policy Think Tank!


Source of Information:

- AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 13092340 (posted 9/23/13)

- Center for American Progress, (9/20/13), Report:
Undocumented No More: A Nationwide Analysis of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA


Related Links:

Website: Center For American Progress

USCIS.gov, Web Page: Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Process

USCIS Announces FY 2013 Grants

September 24, 2013

On Tuesday, September 17, 2013, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced they have awarded nearly $9.9 million in grants to qualified organizations serving immigrants. These grants will be used by 40 organizations from 21 states to help prepare legal permanent residents (LPR) for U.S. citizenship.

The News Release stated, “Under this year’s program, grant recipients will offer citizenship instruction to prepare permanent residents for the civics and English components of the naturalization test, and naturalization application services within the scope of the authorized practice of immigration law. The period of performance for the grants is two years.”

USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas stated, “This funding will help thousands of permanent residents gain the support they need to learn English and civics, and embrace the important rights and responsibilities of United States citizenship.” For more detailed information please review the USCIS News Release listed below.


Source of Information:

USCIS.gov, 9/17/13, News Release:
USCIS Announces Fiscal Year 2013 Grant Recipients on Constitution Day and Citizenship Day


Related Links:

USCIS’s Citizenship Resource Center

USCIS’s Citizenship and Integration Grant Program

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, September 27, 2013

September 23, 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, September 27, 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.

Diversity Visa (DV-2015) Lottery Announced

September 20, 2013

Annually, the United States government issues a maximum of 50,000 green cards through a computer-generated random lottery drawing. Applications for the DV-2015 random lottery will be accepted from noon (EDT) Tuesday, October 1, 2013 through noon (EDT) Saturday, November 2, 2013. Paper entries will not be accepted, eligible participants may access the electronic Diversity Visa entry form (E-DV) to apply during this period. Early entry is recommended and they strongly encourage applicants not to wait until the last week of the registration period to enter!

These green cards are only available to those eligible participants from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. Please check the “INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE 2015 DIVERSITY IMMIGRANT VISA PROGRAM (DV-2015)” for the complete list of countries/areas whose natives are eligible for DV-2015.

Natives of the following countries are not eligible to apply because the countries sent a total of more than 50,000 immigrants to the U.S. in the previous five years: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam. Also, persons born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan are eligible. A notable change in eligibility for DV-2015, natives of Nigeria are no longer eligible.

Eligibility
To enter the DV lottery, you must be a native of one of the eligible countries. In most cases this means the country in which you were born. However, there are two other ways you may be able to qualify. First, if you were born in a country whose natives are ineligible but your spouse was born in a country whose natives are eligible; you can claim your spouse's country of birth provided both you and your spouse are on the selected entry, are issued visas and enter the U.S. simultaneously. Second, if you were born in a country whose natives are ineligible, but neither of your parents was born there or resided there at the time of your birth, you may claim nativity in one of your parents' country of birth if it is a country whose natives qualify for the DV-2015 program.

You must also meet either the education or work experience requirement of the DV program. You must have either a high school education or its equivalent, defined as successful completion of a 12-year course of elementary and secondary education; OR, two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation requiring at least two years of training or experience to perform. The U.S. Department of Labor's O*Net OnLine database will be used to determine qualifying work experience. For more information about qualifying work experience for the principal DV applicant, see the Frequently Asked Questions which are included in the instructions.

Do not submit an entry to the DV program unless you meet both of these requirements.

Detailed Diversity Visa Program: DV-2015 Instructions

Note: If you submit more than one entry you will be disqualified.


Source of Information: Travel.State.Gov, Current Year - Visa News

Updated Service Center Processing Times

September 19, 2013

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on 9/17/13 with processing dates as of 7/31/13.

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.

DACA Statistics - USCIS Update through 8/31/13

September 17, 2013

These USCIS statistics on DACA cases from 8/15/12 to 8/31/13 show a total of 567,563 DACA requests accepted for processing, 555,958 biometric services appointments scheduled, 455,455 requests approved, and 9,578 requests have been denied.

The data also shows the number of accepted and approved requests from the top countries of origin and the top states of residence. Mexico was the top county of origin with 433,318 received to date and 350,056 approved. California was the top state of residence with 161,624 received to date and 134,857 approved.

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

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


Source of Information: “USCIS Performance Data (Posted 9/13/13)”

MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, September 13, 2013

September 13, 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- Family Based Immigration
I was married to a U.S. citizen for 4.5 years. Seven months ago, my husband passed. We were not separated and were living together at the time of his death. Neither of us filed an immigrant application during our marriage. May I still file an immediate relative immigration petition based on my marriage to my deceased U.S. citizen husband?

Answer #1
Yes, you may still file an I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant based upon your marriage to a deceased U.S. Citizen. You may self-petition for an immediate relative petition based on a marriage to a deceased U.S. citizen if you:


  • Were married to the deceased U.S. citizen for at least two years;

  • Entered the marriage in good faith and not solely to obtain an immigration benefit;

  • Were not legally separated or divorced at the time of his death;

  • Are Able to file the immigrant petition within two years from the date of the death; and
  • Have not remarried after his death.

Question #2 – Marriage
Could my upcoming marriage impact the I-485 process? I just got my approved I-140 and want to apply for my I-485.

Answer #2
A definitive answer to your question would require a discussion concerning your circumstances. Is your priority date current? Is your spouse a U.S. Citizen, an LPR? Will they be filing with you? Are there children involved? ETC. It is recommended that you speak with a qualified Immigration Attorney to discuss your specific circumstances.


Question #3 – Employment Based Green Card
Why should you file and I-140 and I-485 concurrently?

Answer#3
It is recommended that you file the I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, along with the I-485, Adjustment of Status petition, when you are able to file them concurrently, because filing concurrently allows you to file the I-485, along with the I-765 and I-131 (ancillary benefits) rather than waiting for the I-140 to be approved first before being able to submit the I-485 application. Your priority date must be current in order for you to file the I-140 and I-485 concurrently.

On the other hand, if you are not able to file concurrently because your priority date is not current, you must submit the I-140 petition first and wait for it to be approved, and also wait for your priority date to become current prior to being able to file the I-485 and receive the ancillary benefits of employment authorization and advance parole.


Question #4 – Green Card
Three days before my Green Card expired; I applied for Green Card renewal online. I received a confirmation, a receipt, and an I-797. In one month, I have to travel overseas for a family member’s wedding. Will I have a problem re-entering the U.S.?

Answer #4
You should not, if you have the evidence that you have mentioned pursuant to the following - Section 264 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) states, "Every alien in the United States . . . shall be issued a certificate of alien registration or an alien registration receipt card in such form and manner and at such time as shall be prescribed under regulations . . .." It also says, "Every alien, eighteen years of age and over, shall at all times carry with him and have in his personal possession any certificate of alien registration or alien registration receipt card issued to him . . .. Any alien who fails to comply with [these provisions] shall be guilty of a misdemeanor ..." The specific requirements and procedures for applying to renew an expiring green card are contained in the Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] at 8 CFR section 264.5.

However, if you are not comfortable with the evidence you have, you may schedule an InfoPass appointment at your local USCIS Office to obtain further evidence of LPR status in the form of a stamp in your passport.


Question #5 – Family Based Green Card
About 5 months ago, I had concurrently filed for my mother's I130 and I485. I also applied for advance parole and received the approved document. Today, I got a letter from USCIS that my mother's application is a potential” interview waiver case” and it mentioned that there's a delay of approx. 6 months in processing the case. My mother would like to leave for a short time to go see my other sister in South America. In the light of current situation and with advance parole document is it ok for her to leave for a couple months?

Answer #5
Our firm always recommends that applicants not travel when you have a pending case with the USCIS for a variety of reasons unless there is an emergency and you must leave. Yes, your mother has the advance parole document – however, she could potentially miss her appointment – she should be fully aware of all of the risks involved before making a decision to travel. It is recommended that she contact a competent immigration attorney to discuss the specifics of the case before leaving the United States for a couple of months.


Question #6 – Green Card
Just recently, I got married and I’m in the process of applying for my green card. I have a baby with another woman. Will this situation affect my green card processing?

Answer #6
It should not; however based upon the limited information that you have provided, it is recommended that you contact an experienced Immigration Attorney to discuss your specific circumstances.


Question #7- H-1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
My employer is in the process of filing an extension of my H-1B. Since my last H-1B Approval, the title of my job has changed. Will this cause any problems in extending my H-1B?

Answer #7
As long as the position is a Specialty Occupation that requires an individual holding at least a U.S. Bachelor’s degree or its foreign equivalent in a specified field and you possess a U.S. Bachelor’s degree or its foreign equivalent in that specified field and are otherwise technically/professionally qualified for the job, it should not cause any problems in extending the H-1B.


Question #8 - Employment Based Green Card
Can my company still sponsor an employee for green card even though we filed for bankruptcy in 2008? Our business has been successful the past 4 years.

Answer #8
If your sponsoring employer can successfully show that it has the financial ‘ability to pay’ your proffered wage, then your company should be able to sponsor you as an employee for the employment based green card process. Your sponsoring company should speak with a qualified Immigration Attorney to discuss pursuing an employment based green card which will encompass a discussion concerning their current financial status.


Question #9 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
My EAD ended in June 2013. Now I am on a Cap Gap until Sep 30 as my new H1B is still pending. Can I still work or I have to leave the country or I can go on some kind of leave (paid or unpaid) here in US?

Answer #9
You may continue to work under the CAP GAP extension. Pursuant to the regulations, once a timely filed request to change status to H-1B on October 1, 2013 has been made, the automatic cap-gap extension will begin and will continue until the H-1B petition adjudication process has been completed.


Question #10 – Employment Based Green Card
I have an EB-1 Green card and my employer wants me to leave the country to work for a few months. Do I have to apply for Advanced Parole to re-enter the US?

Answer #10
Considering that an LPR who stays outside of the U.S. for 6 months or more per year risks losing his/her green card when trying to reenter the U.S. due to possible abandonment, filing for a re-entry permit may be a good option for you. You should speak with a competent Immigration Attorney to discuss the specifics regarding your trip/time spent outside of the U.S. while in LPR status.


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

Our next “Immigration Q & A Forum” is scheduled for Friday, September 27, 2013!

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

FY2013 Cap for U Visas is filled

September 12, 2013

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a News Alert (9/6/13) stating that the statutory maximum of 10,000 U nonimmigrant petitions (U Visas) for FY2013 has been reached. This is the 4th year in a row that this maximum cap has been reached before the end of the fiscal year. USCIS will continue to accept U visa petitions! USCIS will process them in the order received at the beginning of FY2014, which starts October 1, 2013, at that point the U Visa cap of 10,000 will open again.

The U nonimmigrant status (U Visa) is set aside for victims of crimes who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse and are willing to assist law enforcement and government officials in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity. Note that a U-Visa petition requires certification of assistance from law enforcement.


Source of Information:
USCIS.gov, 9/6/13, News Alert:
USCIS Approves 10,000 U Visas for Fourth Straight Fiscal Year

USCIS.gov, 10/3/11, Web Page:
Victims of Criminal Activity: U Nonimmigrant Status

USCIS.gov, 11/22/10, Web Page:
Questions & Answers: Victims of Criminal Activity, U Nonimmigrant Status

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, September 13, 2013

September 9, 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, September 13, 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.

SIV Program for Iraqi Nationals to Expire on 9/30/13

September 5, 2013

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have issued a bulletin reminding Iraqis Nationals that the U.S. government’s authorization for their Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program will expire on September 30, 2013. This SIV program was setup for Iraqis Nationals who worked for or on behalf of the U.S. government in Iraq. Individuals and their family members applying under this program must be admitted to the U.S. or adjust status before October 1, 2013.

The U.S. Embassy in Iraq’s website states, “We recognize that many who have been employed or worked on behalf of the U.S. government in Iraq, and their families, face real threats as a result of their U.S. government affiliation. We take these threats, and the concerns of those who work with us, very seriously and we are committed to providing them with the benefits for which they are legally eligible.”

For more information on the Iraq SIV program, please check the USCIS website or call their National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283. You can also find other useful information about the Iraq SIV program on the U.S Embassy in Iraq’s website.

The Department of State is working with interested members of Congress to try to extend this deadline but as of now the deadline is September 30, 2013!


Source of Information:


MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, August 30, 2013

August 30, 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 - Employment Based – Green Card
My PERM application is in BALCA Review. I would like to withdraw my current petition and go for a new petition. Is there any defined period for me to withdraw my PERM petition from BALCA? Kindly clarify

Answer #1
An employer may withdraw the PERM petition at any time to file a new petition.

Question #2 – Employment Based – Green Card
My daughter and Spouse have applied for green cards about five years back under the EB-3 category. Their present status is I-485. How long will it take to get to get their GC’s?

Answer #2
Your answer depends upon providing more details, including - their country of chargeability and their priority date. It could be a matter of weeks, months or years, depending upon the specific case details.


Question #3 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
I don't have a U.S. bachelor's degree. Can I still qualify for an H-1B Visa?

Answer #3
Possibly - A 4-year bachelor’s degree from an accredited or recognized foreign university or college will generally be considered equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree. However, if you have less than a 4 year degree you may combine the years of your degree/diploma with years of study completed on a post-baccalaureate diploma, master’s degree or other studies. The regulations also allow you to combine progressive work experience in the field with university study, or in some cases you may use work experience only, to meet the equivalency requirement.


Question #4 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
If my bachelor's degree is unrelated to the occupation, will I be turned down for an H-1B?

Answer #4
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.
It is recommended that you speak with an experienced Immigration Attorney to review the specific details of your situation.


Question #5 – General
My wife’s I-130 is in "administrative processing" in the U.S. Consular of her home country. What is "administrative processing" and how long does it take?

Answer #5
As taken from the DOS website: Applicants are sometimes refused under section 221(g) because your case requires further procedure or review by our office or another U.S. government agency. At the interview, if your case required further administrative processing, you will be advised of these circumstances. You will receive a “pink sheet” that shows your case number.

The reason for this additional processing is never made clear, and the timetable for completion of the processing is never known in advance. It is inherently a non-transparent process. Consular Officers are advised not to revel to visa applicants the specific reason for administrative processing in a given case. Most administrative processing is resolved within 60 days of the visa interviews; others within months of the visa interview.


Question #6 - Temporary Work Visa
I found a company willing to sponsor me, but they are strongly considering not sponsoring me due to the costs associated with sponsoring me – lawyer fees, filing fees, etc. Can I pay these fees directly to USCIS and lawyer or can I reimburse my sponsoring company, or arrange some type of payment plan?

Answer #6
NO. Lawyer fees and USCIS filing fees MUST be paid solely by the employer, not by the beneficiary. This action would be in violation of the laws governing the H-1B nonimmigrant visa program. With the H1B, only the premium processing fee and H4 USCIS filing fee may be paid by the H1B applicant.


Question #7 - Green Card
What does “Age Out” mean in the Green Card process?

Answer #7
As taken from the USCIS website: A “child” is defined as an individual who is unmarried and under the age of 21. Before CSPA took effect on August 6, 2002, a beneficiary who turned 21 at any time prior to receiving permanent residence could not be considered a child for immigration purposes. This situation is described as “aging out.” Congress recognized that many beneficiaries were aging out because of large backlogs and long processing times for visa petitions. CSPA is designed to protect a beneficiary’s immigration classification as a child when he or she ages out due to excessive processing times. CSPA can protect “child” status for family-based immigrants, employment-based immigrants, and some humanitarian program immigrants (refugees, asylees, VAWA).


Question #8- Temporary Work Visa
I had gone for visa stamping and was issued 221(g) blue form. This is the reason given: "Your petition is not currently reflected in the PIMS database. Processing of your case will be suspended until we can verify your petition details." According to the visa officer, I should get my passport in 10 days. I am worried, is this normal?

Answer #8
It is a normal process and there is no reason to be alarmed, this is a standard procedure, so unfortunately, you must wait until your status/case can be confirmed and then you will receive your visa stamp. As stated below by the DOS, extensions of stay and change of status petitions take longer to verify through the database.

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has instructed consular posts that approvals of H, L, O, P and Q visa petitions must be verified through the Petition Information Management Service (PIMS) before a nonimmigrant visa can be issued. PIMS is an electronic report generated by DOS’s Kentucky Consular Center that collects nonimmigrant visa petition approval information from USCIS. PIMS contains data on initial petition approvals and on L blanket petitions that were approved in 2004 or later. PIMS does not contain information on approvals of extension of stay or changes of status petitions. Consular officers adjudicating visa applications must consult PIMS to verify the approval of the underlying nonimmigrant visa petition. If the petition approval cannot be verified through PIMS, the officer must contact the Kentucky Consular Center, which in turn attempts to verify the approval through USCIS’s Computer Linked Applications Information Management System (CLAIMS).
DOS officials state that PIMS verification typically takes no more than 24 hours and that verification through CLAIMS typically takes two business days. Most cases involving initial nonimmigrant visa petitions are verified within these timeframes. However, they have received many reports of longer processing times for extension of stay and change of status cases. These cases must be verified with the assistance of the Kentucky Consular Center and can take longer to be processed. DOS has indicated that there are no current plans to include extension and change of status approval information in PIMS, which may result in significant delays for many applicants. Foreign nationals who will be applying for nonimmigrant visas should expect longer processing times due to the new PIMS and CLAIMS verification requirement. How long the electronic process will take may vary from case to case. However, same-day and next-day visa issuance should not be expected.


Question #9 – Student – F1 Visa Status
I want my youngest sister to come to USA to go to school; she has mentioned it many times. What do we need to do to make it happen?

Answer #9
Please visit the following website http://www.ice.gov/sevis/students/index.htm as it will provide the steps for how your sister can obtain an F1 visa to come to the U.S. for school.

The first step for a prospective nonimmigrant student is being accepted for enrollment in an established school which is SEVP certified. There is a list of SEVP certified schools on the website listed above. Therefore, as her first step, your sister must first apply for enrollment at a college of her choice which is listed on the SEVP certified list. Once she has been accepted by that SEVP certified school, she will then need to apply for her F1 student visa. All of the steps for obtaining such status are available on the website listed above, and additional information can be found on this website http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_1268.html.


Question #10 –Employment Based Immigration – Green Card
My I-140 Immigrant petition has been approved. My next step is to apply to adjust status to permanent resident. What kind of documents do I need to have for AOS application?

Answer #10
In order to apply for AOS, your priority date needs to be current, once your priority date is current, you will able to file the Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status to Permanent Resident along with the Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization and Form I-131, Application for Travel Document. There are numerous background documents that will need to be submitted along with your petition, including: a sealed medical examination from a civil surgeon in your area, birth certificates, copies of federal tax returns, bank statements, and an employment verification letter, among other documents.


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

Our next “Immigration Q & A Forum” is scheduled for Friday, September 13, 2013!

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

Pocket DACA – Free smartphone app to help undocumented immigrants understand the DACA process

August 29, 2013

The Immigration Advocates Network (IAN), the American Immigration Council (AIC) and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) launched a new mobile app for your smartphone called, “Pocket DACA.” This app is designed to help undocumented immigrants brought to this country as children understand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) process.

“Pocket DACA” includes:

  • DACA Screening - An online interview to see if you qualify for DACA; takes less than 5 minutes!
  • Legal Help - Helps you to find local DACA legal help; including organizations, law firms and individual lawyers!
  • DACA News - Lists news articles related to DACA and undocumented immigrants!
  • DACA Poll - Presents selected DACA related questions for you to vote on and then see the final poll results! The questions are chosen by the “Own the Dream” campaign.
  • Resources - Lists DACA related resources from general information to helping find financial aid.
  • FAQs - Lists answers to frequently asked questions about DACA!

This app is available for both iPhone and Android smartphones and tablets! “Pocket DACA” is free of charge and is part of the “Own the Dream” campaign! Download it at www.weownthedream.org/pocketdaca!

Source of Information:

Related Information:

AILA, 8/14/13, YouTube Video - Pocket DACA: A How-To Guide

Updated Service Center Processing Times

August 27, 2013

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on 8/20/13 with processing dates as of 6/30/13.

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 30, 2013

August 26, 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, August 30, 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.

Impact of New Americans: West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming & The United States*

August 23, 2013

Immigration Policy Center Releases Updated State-by-State Fact Sheets!

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) has released all fifty states, the District of Columbia and the United States (Overall), for a total of fifty-two updated fact sheets with accompanying info graphics. These fact sheets highlight the demographic and economic impact of Immigrants, Asians and Latinos in each state. The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) is the research and policy division of the American Immigration Council (AIC).

As Washington D.C. debates Comprehensive Immigration Reform, we thought that it would be an appropriate time to provide some statistics on the Immigrant population in the United States as provided by this IPC research. Once a week we will be posting a blog with information on four states at a time. This week we will highlight; West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming and the United States*.

The IPC has compiled research which shows that Immigrants, Latinos and Asians are an essential part of each of these states’ economy, labor force and tax base. Immigrants and their children are a growing economic and political force as consumers, taxpayers and entrepreneurs. With the nation working towards economic recovery, immigrants and their children will continue to play a key role in shaping the economic and political future of each of these states.

To view the state-by-state fact sheets click on the links below:

Source of Information:

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC), May 2013, Just the Facts
http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/just-facts


*not a state

DACA Statistics - USCIS Update through 7/31/13

August 22, 2013

These USCIS statistics on DACA cases from 8/15/12 to 7/31/13 show a total of 552,918 DACA requests accepted for processing, 540,821 biometric services appointments scheduled, and 430,236 requests approved.

The data also shows the number of accepted and approved requests from the top countries of origin and the top states of residence. Mexico was the top county of origin with 421,649 received to date and 329,833 approved. California was the top state of residence with 157,182 received to date and 127,207 approved.

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

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


Source of Information: “USCIS Performance Data (Posted 8/15/13)”

DHS Report - Estimates of the Legal Permanent Resident Population in 2012

August 21, 2013

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Office of Immigration Statistics has released a report entitled, “Estimates of the Legal Permanent Resident Population in 2012.” This report uses estimates of the legal permanent resident (LPR) population living in the United States as of January 1, 2012. An LPR is any person not a citizen of the United States, who is residing in the U.S. under legally recognized and lawfully recorded permanent residence as an immigrant, also known as a "Green Card Holder.” The estimates are shown for the total LPR population, and the LPR population eligible to apply to naturalize by country of birth, state of residence, and the year LPR status was obtained.

Data for the estimates was obtained primarily from administrative records of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). An estimated 13.3 million LPRs lived in the United States as of January 1, 2012, and 8.8 million of them were eligible to become U.S. citizens. The majority (61 percent) obtained LPR status in 2000 or later.


Source of Information:
DHS.gov, July 2013, Publications
Estimates of the Legal Permanent Resident Population in 2012

MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, August 16, 2013

August 16, 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
I am currently on H1B status with my employer and my future employer has filed a H1B. Can I start working for the other employer without an approval?

Answer #1
If you have maintained a valid H-1B nonimmigrant visa status with your previous employer up until the time of filing the present petition, then it seems you would be able to commence employment with the new sponsoring employer upon filing the H-1B transfer petition with the USCIS pursuant to the provisions of AC21 law.


Question #2 – Employment Based Green Card
My priority date just became current, EB2 for India. How long do I have to wait to receive my green card?

Answer #2
This period of time varies and depends upon numerous factors: Issuance of an RFE; how many individuals are in front of you with earlier PD’s that have not been issued a GC yet; demand from your country; backlog at the Service Centers, the period of time your I-485 petition was filed; etc. Generally, I-485 applications take 6 months or less to process; however, please note that I did mention ‘generally’. A GC can only be issued if there is an available immigrant visa number. You should monitor the monthly visa bulletin and speak with an experienced Immigration Attorney concerning the specific details of your case.


Question #3 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
Does filing with your H1B case Premium Processing always guarantee that it will be approved faster?

Answer #3
Regular processing takes 3-5 months for an approval; in the meantime, an RFE may be issued which may further delay the case. With premium processing, the premium processing clocks begins to run the date the case is receipted by the USCIS, and runs for a period of 15 calendar days, in which a decision must be made. This decision; however, can be in the form of an RFE, an approval or an intent to deny, or outright denial. If an RFE is issued, the premium processing clock will stop, and will run again once the RFE response is received by the Service. A new period of 15 calendar days will begin upon the USCIS receiving the RFE response.


Question #4 – General
My husband and I recently bought a new house expected to move in the beginning of September. When should I notify the USICS for our pending I-485s?

Answer #4
By law, you are required to notify the USCIS of any change in address within ten (10) days of the move to the new location. Please use the link below to update your address at USCIS. Please make sure you update the information on all pending cases using the receipt number.

Welcome to Change of Address on the Internet for USCIS


Question #5 – Family Based Green Card
How can you remove the conditions on permanent residency?

Answer #5
You must file a petition (Form I-751) with the USCIS to remove the conditions of the conditional permanent resident status during the 90 days before the conditional green card expires. You must present evidence of the validity of your marriage, or must be eligible for an exception. The exceptions are listed on the instructions to Form I-751.


Question #6 – Employment Based Green Card
Next year, I will enter my 6th year of an H-1B status. Should I apply for my PERM visa now?

Answer #6
It is recommended that an applicant initiate the GC proceedings prior to the 6th year in H-1B status. You will need to speak with your employer to determine if there is a position available for sponsorship and whether you qualify for the position pursuant to their minimum requirements. Only your employer may decide to initiate this process.


Question #7- H1B Nonimmigrant Visa
I have still not received my H-1B approval for my case filed on April 8, 2013. Since I am scheduled to start working for my employer on October 1, should I be concerned?

Answer #7
Our office contacted the USCIS National Customer Service Center last week, August 8; to inquire about the status of a few pending H-1B cap cases and the Officer informed us that the Vermont Service Center was currently processing cases with a receipt date of April 3, 2013. They requested that we contact them again at the end of the month if we did not receive any correspondence between now and then.

There is always the option to upgrade a pending H-1B case to premium processing, to obtain a decision within 15 calendar days of making the request, unless an RFE is issued. Please see Question 3, regarding what occurs once an RFE is issued with a premium processing case.


Question #8 - Green Card
How much are the filing fees for the I-485?

Answer #8
The USCIS filing fee for the I-485 Application is $985.00, plus $85.00 for biometrics, total $1070.00 per applicant. (If an applicant is under 14 and applying with at least one parent - $600.00)


Question #9 – Advanced Parole (AP)
If my Advanced Parole is expiring the end of this month do I need to reapply for a new one right away? My family just got back from a trip and don’t plan to travel anymore in the next year.

Answer #9
You do not need to apply for a new one right away. You may in fact apply at a later date. However, it is recommend to have a valid Advance Parole document, if you have no other valid authorization to re-enter the U.S., because emergencies do occur, and expediting an Advance Parole document can be troublesome if you do not satisfy any of the expedite criteria.


Question #10 – Employment Based Green Card
If I leave my job, can my employer withdrawal my I-140? I have had it for 2 years. If they withdraw it, do I have to leave the US immediately?

Answer #10
Yes, your employer may withdrawal your I-140 petition at any time. You should contact an experienced Immigration Attorney to discuss the specific details of your case.


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

Our next “Immigration Q & A Forum” is scheduled for Friday, August 30, 2013!

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

Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) Processing Times - 8/12/13

August 15, 2013

Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) Processing Times were released with processing dates as of August 12, 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 current; for an I-140 EB3 Appeal for a Skilled or Professional Worker is current.

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


Source of Information:

AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 13081246 (posted 8/12/13)

USCIS.gov, (8/12/13), AAO Processing Times

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, August 16, 2013

August 12, 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, August 16, 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.

Updated Service Center Processing Times

August 9, 2013

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on 8/2/13 with processing dates as of 5/31/13.

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.

Join the USCIS Idea Community

August 6, 2013

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have contracted with IdeaScale.com to allow online USCIS stakeholders to submit interactive feedback and new ideas to improve USCIS customer service. USCIS has setup the “USCIS Idea Community”, an online site that allows registered users to: submit feedback and ideas, to vote on ideas and to comment on ideas. The “USCIS Idea Community” is structured to accept feedback and ideas about USCIS’s services and the way in which those services are provided. It is NOT a place to ask questions about or comment on specific immigration cases. They have stated that, “Any questions or comments regarding a case will be deleted.”

IdeaScale is an easy-to-use web-based (cloud) solution for the collection of feedback and ideas. In its first year (2008), IdeaScale brought in high-profile government contracts with many prestigious clients like the VA, FCC, and the Office of the President of the United States. IdeaScale has quickly expanded into the private and Enterprise sectors, where this online solution is now being used by many of the world's most recognizable brands such as Xerox, Intel, Subaru and many others.


Source of Information:

IdeaScale.com

USCIS Idea Community

Impact of New Americans: Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Virginia & Washington

August 5, 2013

Immigration Policy Center Releases Updated State-by-State Fact Sheets!

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) has released all fifty states, the District of Columbia and the United States (Overall), for a total of fifty-two updated fact sheets with accompanying info graphics. These fact sheets highlight the demographic and economic impact of Immigrants, Asians and Latinos in each state. The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) is the research and policy division of the American Immigration Council (AIC).

As Washington D.C. debates Comprehensive Immigration Reform, we thought that it would be an appropriate time to provide some statistics on the Immigrant population in the United States as provided by this IPC research. Once a week we will be posting a blog with information on four states at a time. This week we will highlight; Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Virginia and Washington.

The IPC has compiled research which shows that Immigrants, Latinos and Asians are an essential part of each of these states’ economy, labor force and tax base. Immigrants and their children are a growing economic and political force as consumers, taxpayers and entrepreneurs. With the nation working towards economic recovery, immigrants and their children will continue to play a key role in shaping the economic and political future of each of these states.

To view the state-by-state fact sheets click on the links below:

Source of Information:

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC), May 2013, Just the Facts
http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/just-facts

MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, August 2, 2013

August 2, 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 – Family Based Green Card
Can same-sex marriages, like opposite-sex marriages, reduce the residence period required for naturalization?

Answer #1
According to the recently updated FAQs released by the USCIS, the answer to the question is yes. As a general matter, naturalization requires five years of residence in the United States following admission as a lawful permanent resident. But, according to the immigration laws, naturalization is available after a required residence period of three years, if during that three year period you have been living in “marital union” with a U.S. citizen “spouse” and your spouse has been a United States citizen. For this purpose, same-sex marriages will be treated exactly the same as opposite-sex marriages.


Question #2 – Family Based Green Card
Do my same sex partner and I have to live in a marriage equality state to apply for his green card?

Answer #2
According to the recently updated FAQS released by the USCIS, the answer to the question is No. USCIS will review the law of the place where the marriage took place when determining whether it is valid for immigration law purposes. That general rule is subject to some limited exceptions under which federal immigration agencies historically have considered the law of the state of residence in addition to the law of the state of celebration of the marriage. Whether those exceptions apply may depend on individual, fact-specific circumstances. If necessary, we may provide further guidance on this question going forward.


Question #3 – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
Are there educational requirements to be eligible for DACA?

Answer #3
Yes, in addition to other eligibility requirements. In order to be eligible for DACA, an applicant must be: currently enrolled in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or they are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States.


Question #4 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
I have applied for an H-1B Visa. My wife has applied for a H4 Visa. Do we need to apply for an H4 Visa for all of our children? 2 of our children are under 2. The other one is 12 years old.

Answer #4
If your children are not U.S. citizens, then yes you will need to include them. Your children should have been included in your wife’s H4 application (Form I-539).


Question #5 – Employment Based Green Card
My spouse and son have received their Green Cards but I have not. I filed for all of our Green Cards through my employer. Do you think there is a problem with the processing of my case?

Answer #5
From the facts you have provided, your spouse and son are your derivatives. Generally, the USCIS would not approve their cases without approving your case first. You may wish to contact the USCIS at 1-800-375-5283 to determine the issue with the delivery of your green card.


Question #6 – Green Card General
Once my wife gets her green card, can she travel out of the US?

Answer #6
There are certain restrictions once receiving a Green Card, especially in terms of traveling for long periods of time. She is able to travel; however, for purposes of maintaining LPR status, she should not be outside of the U.S. for more than 6 months at a time, without obtaining the proper re-entry permit.


Question #7- Employment Based Immigration
What is an AC21 Portability letter?

Answer #7
The American Competitiveness in the 21st Century Act (AC21) permits an individual to seek new employment when the following conditions are met:
• New employment must be the "same or similar" occupational classification;
• Form I-140 has been approved, or is approvable when filed concurrently with I-485;
• Form I-485 has been pending for at least 180 days.
Your attorney sends a letter to the USCIS explaining that you have invoked the AC-21 portability provision and includes evidence of your eligibility with the letter.


Question #8 - Green Card
Later this year, my EAD and AP are expiring. When is the earliest that I can file my renewal petitions?

Answer #8
You can file the renewals 120 days prior to the expiration date.


Question #9 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
I just got my H-1B approval; can I get a Social Security Card?

Answer #9
Yes! Make sure you check the Social Security Number (SSN) website, “Get Or Replace A Social Security Card” and carry all the required documents to SSN Office when applying for your SSN.

Additional resource: Social Security Numbers for Noncitizens


Question #10 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
Earlier this month, my employer moved my job location from New York to Virginia. Do they need to submit an amended H-1B?

Answer #10
Under the regulations, an H1B amendment is required if there has been a material change in the employment terms of the H1B petition. The USCIS considers the relocation of an employee outside of the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) or a move from one state to another state, a material change, requiring the filing of an amended H-1B petition.


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

Our next “Immigration Q & A Forum” is scheduled for Friday, August 16, 2013!

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

FAQs on Same-Sex Marriages and Immigration

August 1, 2013

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have added more Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the subject of Same-Sex Marriages and immigration benefits. There are now a total of (9) answered questions on the following subjects: “Petitioning for my Spouse”, “Applying for Benefits”, “Changes in Eligibility Based on Same-Sex Marriage”, “Residency Requirements”, and “Inadmissibility Waivers”. This updated information is now available on the USCIS web page, “Same-Sex Marriages”.


Source of Information:

USCIS.gov, 7/26/13, News Alert
New FAQs on Same-Sex Marriages

USCIS.gov, 7/26/13, Web Page
Same-Sex Marriages

Impact of New Americans: New Mexico, New Jersey, Oklahoma & Oregon

July 30, 2013

Immigration Policy Center Releases Updated State-by-State Fact Sheets!

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) has released all fifty states, the District of Columbia and the United States (Overall), for a total of fifty-two updated fact sheets with accompanying info graphics. These fact sheets highlight the demographic and economic impact of Immigrants, Asians and Latinos in each state. The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) is the research and policy division of the American Immigration Council (AIC).

As Washington D.C. debates Comprehensive Immigration Reform, we thought that it would be an appropriate time to provide some statistics on the Immigrant population in the United States as provided by this IPC research. Once a week we will be posting a blog with information on four states at a time. This week we will highlight; New Mexico, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Oregon.

The IPC has compiled research which shows that Immigrants, Latinos and Asians are an essential part of each of these states’ economy, labor force and tax base. Immigrants and their children are a growing economic and political force as consumers, taxpayers and entrepreneurs. With the nation working towards economic recovery, immigrants and their children will continue to play a key role in shaping the economic and political future of each of these states.

To view the state-by-state fact sheets click on the links below:

Source of Information:

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC), May 2013, Just the Facts
http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/just-facts

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, August 2, 2013

July 29, 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, August 2, 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.

USCIS Annual Reports to Congress on H-1B Petitions & Characteristics

July 26, 2013

The American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998 (ACWIA) requires the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to report annually on the characteristics of H-1B petitioners. They have released two reports which are listed below.

The first report released by USCIS is “Report on H-1B Petitions for Fiscal Year 2012 Annual Report to Congress\October 1, 2011–September 30, 2012”. This report details H-1B filing fees for FY2012, including the number of petitions filed and the number of ACWIA and Fraud Prevention and Detection Fees paid.

The second report released by USCIS is “Characteristics of H1B Specialty Occupation Workers for Fiscal Year 2012 Annual Report to Congress\October 1, 2011–September 30, 2012”. This report details the characteristics of H-1B filings for FY2012, with biographical information on the beneficiaries and statistics on the occupations and industries of approved petitions.

USCIS - Reports and Studies:
  1. Report on H-1B Petitions
  2. Characteristics of H1B Specialty Occupation Workers
Related link:
Source of Information:
  • USCIS.gov, 6/26/13, Reports and Studies
  • AILA Doc. No. 13071741 (posted 7/17/13)
  • AILA Doc. No. 13071742 (posted 7/17/13)

 photo top-LegalInformation-BLOG_zps355810c9.jpg

OFLC’s Updated Factsheets, Third Quarter FY2013

July 25, 2013

The U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) has released updated factsheets containing Third Quarter FY2013 selected program statistics. These factsheets contain vision representations of the data by using graphs and tables, which makes them much easier to read and understand. I have provided the links to the five updated factsheets below for your review.


Permanent Labor Certification Program

Prevailing Wage Determination Program

H-1B Temporary Visa Program

H-2A Temporary Agricultural Visa Program

H-2B Temporary Non-agricultural Visa Program


Source of Information:

OFLC's Web Site, (6/27/13) Announcement:
June 27, 2013. Q3 FY 2013 Selected Statistics by Program

View the links below for more detail on the subject:
OFLC's Performance Data

Updated Service Center Processing Times

July 24, 2013

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on 7/19/13 with processing dates as of 5/31/13.

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.

Impact of New Americans: Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts & Michigan

July 24, 2013

Immigration Policy Center Releases Updated State-by-State Fact Sheets!

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) has released all fifty states, the District of Columbia and the United States (Overall), for a total of fifty-two updated fact sheets with accompanying info graphics. These fact sheets highlight the demographic and economic impact of Immigrants, Asians and Latinos in each state. The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) is the research and policy division of the American Immigration Council (AIC).

As Washington D.C. debates Comprehensive Immigration Reform, we thought that it would be an appropriate time to provide some statistics on the Immigrant population in the United States as provided by this IPC research. Once a week we will be posting a blog with information on four states at a time. This week we will highlight; Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts and Michigan.

The IPC has compiled research which shows that Immigrants, Latinos and Asians are an essential part of each of these states’ economy, labor force and tax base. Immigrants and their children are a growing economic and political force as consumers, taxpayers and entrepreneurs. With the nation working towards economic recovery, immigrants and their children will continue to play a key role in shaping the economic and political future of each of these states.

To view the state-by-state fact sheets click on the links below:

Source of Information:

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC), May 2013, Just the Facts
http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/just-facts

DACA Statistics - USCIS Update through 6/30/13

July 22, 2013

These USCIS statistics on DACA cases from 8/15/12 to 6/30/13 show a total of 537,662 DACA requests accepted for processing, 524,153 biometric services appointments scheduled, and 400,562 requests approved.

The data also shows the number of accepted and approved requests from the top countries of origin and the top states of residence. Mexico was the top county of origin with 408,759 received to date and 310,815 approved. California was the top state of residence with 152,855 received to date and 120,266 approved.

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

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


Source of Information: “USCIS Performance Data (Posted 7/12/13)”

MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, July 19, 2013

July 19, 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 – Family Based Immigration
My foreign born spouse and I were married in a U.S. state that recognizes same-sex marriage, but we live in a state that does not. Can I still file an immigrant visa petition for my spouse?

Answer #1
Yes. According to guidance issued by the USCIS - any same-sex marriage that was officially recognized in a state or country permitting it will now count for immigration purposes. This will be true even if you now live (or plan to live) in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriage.


Question #2 – General
What is the Diversity Lottery?

Answer #2
The congressionally mandated Diversity Immigrant Visa Program makes available up to 55,000 diversity visas (DVs) annually, drawn from random selection among all entries to persons who meet strict eligibility requirements from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.


Question #3 – DACA
Can I renew my Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA)?

Answer #3
DACA was only announced on June 15, 2012, with implementation of the program beginning August 15, 2012, unfortunately, at this time there are no instructions for the renewal of the DACA program. However, you should keep track of your DACA/ EAD expiration and check our blog for updates on renewal at least 6 months prior to your card’s expiration date.


Question #4 – DACA
What would potentially disqualify someone from applying for DACA?

Answer #4
Various factors: Age; criminal history; if they did not enter the U.S. prior to age 16 and entered after age 16; if they were not continuously present in the U.S. since June 15, 2007 to the present; if they were not present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012; and for not meeting certain educational requirements.


Question #5 – Family Based Immigration
How long does it normally take to have my fiancée’ petition approved? We filed it about 7months ago.

Answer #5
According to the USCIS processing times, it is estimated that it takes approximately 4-6 months to obtain approval. However, in practice, it has taken anywhere from 5-9 months to obtain approvals.

If your case appears to be outside of the posted processing times by 30 days or more, you may contact the USCIS at 1-800-375-5283 to initiate a Service Request.


Question #6 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
I have a H1B visa but lost my job a few days ago, can I remain in the US or is my H1B officially no longer valid?

Answer #6
The amount of time that an H-1B worker may stay in the country after being laid off or terminated is not defined in the law or the regulations. The date on the I-94 governs your lawful presence in the U.S., so as long as the I-94 has not expired; you will not begin to accrue any unlawful presence subject to the 3 and 10 year bars. However, you should speak with a qualified Immigration Attorney concerning your situation.


Question #7 – General
Can I travel to India for my sister’s wedding if I lost my Green Card? I have filed for a replacement but it has not arrived.

Answer #7
You should schedule an InfoPass appointment with your local USCIS office. At your appointment, share the circumstances of your situation with the USCIS Representative, show proof that you filed for a replacement and they may be able to stamp your Passport as evidence of your LPR status until your replacement GC is issued.


Question #8 – Family Based Immigration
My husband and I have divorced after 10 years of marriage. Will he be able to remain a resident of the United States?

Answer #8
It depends upon the circumstances of your specific case. It depends upon when you married, when you petitioned for his LPR status, if you have since removed the conditions of his residency, etc. We recommend that you speak with a qualified Immigration Attorney.


Question #9 – General
If my wife overstayed her student Visa, can she still apply to be a Permanent Resident? I am a US Citizen.

Answer #9
Your question requires an attorney consultation. It is not a simple question that can be answered on this type of forum. There are many factors that would need to be considered and evaluated. We strongly suggest that you contact an experienced immigration attorney for a consultation to discuss all of the facts surrounding your situation.


Question #10 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
When should I start preparing my case for the 2014 H-1B Cap?

Answer #10
The FY2014 H1B CAP has concluded, it open on April 1, 2013 and was closed by April 5, 2013, with employment beginning on October 1, 2013. The FY2015 H1B CAP, will open on April 1, 2014, with employment to begin as of October 1, 2014. We normally begin to receive and prepare H1B CAP cases in November-December of the preceding year.


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

Our next “Immigration Q & A Forum” is scheduled for Friday, August 2, 2013!

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

Legal Information BLOG AWARD for 2013

July 18, 2013

MVP Law Group’s Immigration Blog has been awarded a “Legal Information BLOG AWARD for 2013”. This award is given to the top 100 Legal Information Blogs by LAWS.com. David Kang, Marketing Director, LAWS.com stated, “We are giving out this award only to a selected few who have contributed to the betterment of the society and we find your blog very helpful and original.”


 photo top-LegalInformation-BLOG_zps355810c9.jpg

Impact of New Americans: Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska & New Hampshire

July 17, 2013

Immigration Policy Center Releases Updated State-by-State Fact Sheets!

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) has released all fifty states, the District of Columbia and the United States (Overall), for a total of fifty-two updated fact sheets with accompanying info graphics. These fact sheets highlight the demographic and economic impact of Immigrants, Asians and Latinos in each state. The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) is the research and policy division of the American Immigration Council (AIC).

As Washington D.C. debates Comprehensive Immigration Reform, we thought that it would be an appropriate time to provide some statistics on the Immigrant population in the United States as provided by this IPC research. Once a week we will be posting a blog with information on four states at a time. This week we will highlight; Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska and New Hampshire.

The IPC has compiled research which shows that Immigrants, Latinos and Asians are an essential part of each of these states’ economy, labor force and tax base. Immigrants and their children are a growing economic and political force as consumers, taxpayers and entrepreneurs. With the nation working towards economic recovery, immigrants and their children will continue to play a key role in shaping the economic and political future of each of these states.

To view the state-by-state fact sheets click on the links below:

Source of Information:

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC), May 2013, Just the Facts
http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/just-facts

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, July 19, 2013

July 15, 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, July 19, 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.

Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) Processing Times - 7/2/13

July 12, 2013

Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) Processing Times were released with processing dates as of July 2, 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 current; for an I-140 EB3 Appeal for a Skilled or Professional Worker is current.

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


Source of Information:

AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 13071057 (posted 7/10/13)

USCIS.gov, (7/9/13), AAO Processing Times

Impact of New Americans: Arkansas, Colorado, District of Columbia*& Idaho

July 8, 2013

Immigration Policy Center Releases Updated State-by-State Fact Sheets!

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) has released all fifty states, the District of Columbia and the United States (Overall), for a total of fifty-two updated fact sheets with accompanying info graphics. These fact sheets highlight the demographic and economic impact of Immigrants, Asians and Latinos in each state. The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) is the research and policy division of the American Immigration Council (AIC).

As Washington D.C. debates Comprehensive Immigration Reform, we thought that it would be an appropriate time to provide some statistics on the Immigrant population in the United States as provided by this IPC research. Once a week we will be posting a blog with information on four states at a time. This week we will highlight; Arkansas, Colorado, District of Columbia* and Idaho.

The IPC has compiled research which shows that Immigrants, Latinos and Asians are an essential part of each of these states’ economy, labor force and tax base. Immigrants and their children are a growing economic and political force as consumers, taxpayers and entrepreneurs. With the nation working towards economic recovery, immigrants and their children will continue to play a key role in shaping the economic and political future of each of these states.

To view the state-by-state fact sheets click on the links below:

Source of Information:

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC), May 2013, Just the Facts
http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/just-facts


*not a state

MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, July 5, 2013

July 5, 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 – Family Based Immigration - Marriage
Can my same sex spouse partner apply for a Green Card now that DOMA has passed? I am a US Citizen and he is from Spain. We were wed in New York in 2011.

Answer #1
Yes he can, as long as you are able to fully document your bona fide martial relationship, and are able to satisfy other eligibility requirements.


Question #2 – Family Based Immigration - Marriage
If I am a legal permanent resident and I want to marry my partner, will this affect my ability to naturalize?

Answer #2
No it should not, as long as you meet other eligibility requirements for Naturalization (i.e., continuous presence; no serious criminal convictions or crimes of moral turpitude, etc.)


Question #3 – General
This fall, I will graduate from college, but I want to stay in the United States and work. What options do I have?

Answer #3
There are many options available. You should first speak with your DSO – Designated School Official about the various options available. If after speaking with your DSO, and you still have questions concerning your eligibility for the various options available, you should contact a qualified Immigration Attorney to discuss your plans/goals of remaining in the U.S. (Some of the options include: OPT, H-1B, etc.)


Question #4 – Employment Based Immigration
How do I prove exceptional ability in the medical field for an E-B1 Visa?

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 – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
What forms do I need to apply for DACA?

Answer #5
You would need to submit Forms I-821D; I-765 and I-765WS, along with extensive evidence that you meet each of the eligibility requirements.


Question #6- Naturalization/Citizenship
Four years ago, I was admitted to the United States as a legal permanent resident because I am the spouse of another legal permanent resident. When is the earliest I can apply for U.S. Citizenship?

Answer #6
Lawful permanent residents are eligible to apply for U.S. Citizenship after residing in the U.S. in LPR for a period of 5 years; however, technically, an LPR is able to apply after 4 years 9 months of being in LPR status, if all other eligibility requirements are satisfied.


Question #7 – Employment Based Immigration
In the next month, I am hiring a consultant from the U.K. to work for my US company. I understand that, as her potential employer, I need to start the immigration process for her. What forms should I file?

Answer #7
Please contact our office to speak with a qualified Immigration Attorney to better access the potential employee’s situation and have an in-depth discussion concerning the company, its goals and the immigration process.


Question #8 –Naturalization/Citizenship
Can I apply for US citizenship for my 18 year old brother? We are from Iran and I have been a U.S. citizen for 5 years. I have heard the new Immigration law won’t allow me.

Answer #8
There is no new Immigration Law at this point. The Senate has passed the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill, but it still must be passed through the House and then signed by the President before it is concerned LAW. Accordingly, if you wish to file on behalf of your brother, speak with a qualified Immigration Attorney and get started now to reserve your brother’s place in line.


Question #9 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
What is a Labor Condition Application?

Answer #9
Form ETA 9035/9035E is a document that a prospective H-1B employer files with ETA when it seeks to employ nonimmigrant workers at a specific job occupation in an area of intended employment for not more than three years. In this document, the employer attests to standards to which it will adhere. It must be certified by the authorized DOL official pursuant to the provisions of 20 C.F.R. §655.740 before it can be used.


Question #10 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
How many times can you renew an H-1B Visa? My company has sponsored mine three different times. Is it possible to get it a 4th Time?

Answer #10
You may renew an H-1B visa for as long as the individual remains eligible to extend the H-1B visa. Accordingly, if a labor application has been filed on your behalf with the Department of Labor, or an I-140 petition has been approved on your behalf, you may be eligible to get an extension beyond the normal 6 year limit for H-1B nonimmigrants. Please speak with a qualified Immigration Attorney to discuss about the specifics of your case.


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 19, 2013!

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

Happy Fourth of July!

July 4, 2013


“Immigrants signed their names to our Declaration and helped win our independence. Immigrants helped lay the railroads and build our cities, calloused hand by calloused hand. Immigrants took up arms to preserve our union, to defeat fascism, and to win a Cold War. Immigrants and their descendants helped pioneer new industries and fuel our Information Age, from Google to the iPhone. So the story of immigrants in America isn’t a story of "them," it’s a story of "us." It’s who we are. And now, all of you get to write the next chapter.” – President Barack Obama

(Part of Speech given during military naturalization ceremony for active duty service members in the East Room of the White House, July 4, 2012)


No matter what your plans are for this Fourth of July, make it a memorable day by spending time with your family and friends. Have a picnic, go to the fireworks, watch a parade or just celebrate with a quiet moment. Please remember those brave men and women who gave their lives to defend our country and its freedoms.


Happy Birthday, America!



Related Link: USA.gov, Fourth of July is Independence Day

Impact of New Americans: Missouri, Nevada, North Dakota & Ohio

July 3, 2013

Immigration Policy Center Releases Updated State-by-State Fact Sheets!

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) has released ten more states, for a total of thirty updated state-by-state fact sheets with accompanying info graphics. These fact sheets highlight the demographic and economic impact of Immigrants, Asians and Latinos in each state. The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) is the research and policy division of the American Immigration Council (AIC).

As Washington D.C. debates Comprehensive Immigration Reform, we thought that it would be an appropriate time to provide some statistics on the Immigrant population in the United States as provided by this IPC research. Once a week we will be posting a blog with information on four states at a time. This week we will highlight; Missouri, Nevada, North Dakota and Ohio.

The IPC has compiled research which shows that Immigrants, Latinos and Asians are an essential part of each of these states’ economy, labor force and tax base. Immigrants and their children are a growing economic and political force as consumers, taxpayers and entrepreneurs. With the nation working towards economic recovery, immigrants and their children will continue to play a key role in shaping the economic and political future of each of these states.

To view the state-by-state fact sheets click on the links below:

Source of Information:

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC), May 2013, Just the Facts
http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/just-facts

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, July 5, 2013

July 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, July 5, 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.

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano on the Supreme Court Ruling on DOMA

June 28, 2013

On June 26th, Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano released a simple statement on the Supreme Court Ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). She stated, “I applaud today’s Supreme Court decision in United States v. Windsor holding that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. This discriminatory law denied thousands of legally married same-sex couples many important federal benefits, including immigration benefits.” To read the complete Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Press Release follow the link below.


Source of Information:

dhs.gov, (6/26/13), Press Release
Statement by Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano on the Supreme Court Ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act

Impact of New Americans: Alaska, Indiana, Georgia & Maine

June 27, 2013

Immigration Policy Center Releases Updated State-by-State Fact Sheets!

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) has released ten more states, for a total of thirty updated state-by-state fact sheets with accompanying info graphics. These fact sheets highlight the demographic and economic impact of Immigrants, Asians and Latinos in each state. The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) is the research and policy division of the American Immigration Council (AIC).

As Washington D.C. debates Comprehensive Immigration Reform, we thought that it would be an appropriate time to provide some statistics on the Immigrant population in the United States as provided by this IPC research. Once a week we will be posting a blog with information on four states at a time. This week we will highlight; Alaska, Indiana, Georgia and Maine.

The IPC has compiled research which shows that Immigrants, Latinos and Asians are an essential part of each of these states’ economy, labor force and tax base. Immigrants and their children are a growing economic and political force as consumers, taxpayers and entrepreneurs. With the nation working towards economic recovery, immigrants and their children will continue to play a key role in shaping the economic and political future of each of these states.

To view the state-by-state fact sheets click on the links below:

Alaska

Indiana

Georgia

Maine


Source of Information:

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC), May 2013, Just the Facts
http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/just-facts

DACA Statistics - USCIS Update through 5/31/13

June 25, 2013

These USCIS statistics on DACA cases from 8/15/12 to 5/31/13 show a total of 520,157 DACA requests accepted for processing, 507,301 biometric services appointments scheduled, and 365,237 requests approved.

The data also shows the number of accepted and approved requests from the top countries of origin and the top states of residence. Mexico was the top county of origin with 394,133 received to date and 278,044 approved. California was the top state of residence with 147,786 received to date and 106,414 approved.

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

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


Source of Information: “USCIS Performance Data (Posted 6/14/13)”

Updated Service Center Processing Times

June 24, 2013

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on 6/18/13 with processing dates as of 4/30/13.

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, June 21, 2013

June 21, 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 – Employment Based Green Card
Will anyone that has an advanced degree qualify for an EB-2 Immigrant Visa?

Answer #1
No. Qualifying for the EB-2 preference classification ultimately depends upon the employer’s minimum requirements for the proffered position.


Question #2 – Employment Based Green Card
If I have completed my Master’s degree though an on-line US university, can I apply for an EB-2?

Answer #2
It depends. Is the University accredited? Again, qualifying for the EB-2 preference classification ultimately depends upon the employer’s minimum requirements for the proffered position.


Question #3 – Employment Based Green Card
Should I file my I-140 petition through regular processing or premium processing to get my case expedited faster?

Answer #3
If you simply just want the case adjudicated faster, than premium processing will provide you with a decision on the case within 15 calendar days of filing. However, if there is no need to spend an additional $1225.00 USCIS filing fee, then regular processing is sufficient.

You should consider the following when determining whether to file through regular processing or premium processing: Is your priority date current? Is your priority date predicted to be current soon, within the next 2-3 months?


Question #4 – Permanent Residence
If my permanent resident card has expired, do I need a visa? Or is it possible to renew my permanent residence?

Answer #4
A green card is valid for a period of 10 years; you may renew 6 months prior to its expiration. You may renew your green card by filing Form I-90 with the USCIS.


Question #5 – Employment Based Green Card
Should I file my I-485 with my I-140 or wait until my I-140 is approved?

Answer #5
If you are eligible to file forms I-140 and I-485 concurrently, then you should file them concurrently. If you are not eligible to file them concurrently, then you must wait for approval of the I-140 and your priority date must be current before submitting Form I-485 to the USCIS.


Question #6- DACA
Can I still apply for DACA if I am currently in removal proceedings?

Answer #6
This process is open to any individual who can demonstrate he or she meets the guidelines for consideration, including those who have never been in removal proceedings as well as those currently in removal proceedings.


Question #7 – General
Can my children go to a U.S. public elementary school on a dependent visa?

Answer #7
Yes.


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 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
My H-1B is going to expire on October 1? Is it too early to file for an extension of my stay?

Answer #9
No, you may file for an extension of your H-1B up to 6 months in advance of the expiration date.


Question #10 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
Can my small “start- up” company obtain an H-1B visa for a nonimmigrant worker? We have less than 25 employees!

Answer #10
Yes, please contact our office to further discuss.


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 5, 2013!

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

Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) Processing Times

June 19, 2013

Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) Processing Times were released with processing dates as of June 3, 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 current; for an I-140 EB3 Appeal for a Skilled or Professional Worker is 9 months.

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


Source of Information:

AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 13061560 (posted 6/15/13)

USCIS.gov, (6/12/13), AAO Processing Times

Free E-Verify Webinar on Employees Rights

June 18, 2013

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has announced a free E-Verify webinar on Employee Rights. This free online seminar will be held on Wednesday, June 19 at 12:00am EST (noon). You can register with the link listed below; you will need to include your first name, last name and an email address. Experts for both the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) will be going over Form I-9, E-Verify and other related subjects.

Click here to register

E-Verify is a Web-based, free program operated by the DHS that allows businesses to determine the eligibility of their employees to legally work in the United States.


Source of Information:

USCIS.gov, 6/14/13, Email Bulletin
Know Your Rights: Free E-Verify Webinar for Employees

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, June 21, 2013

June 17, 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, June 21, 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.

Impact of New Americans: Tennessee, Texas, Utah & Vermont

June 13, 2013

Immigration Policy Center Releases Updated State-by-State Fact Sheets!

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) has released the first twenty updated state-by-state fact sheets with accompanying info graphics. These fact sheets highlight the demographic and economic impact of Immigrants, Asians and Latinos in each state. The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) is the research and policy division of the American Immigration Council (AIC).

As Washington D.C. debates Comprehensive Immigration Reform, we thought that it would be an appropriate time to provide some statistics on the Immigrant population in the United States as provided by this IPC research. Once a week we will be posting a blog with information on four states at a time. This week we will highlight; Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Vermont.

The IPC has compiled research which shows that Immigrants, Latinos and Asians are an essential part of each of these states’ economy, labor force and tax base. Immigrants and their children are a growing economic and political force as consumers, taxpayers and entrepreneurs. With the nation working towards economic recovery, immigrants and their children will continue to play a key role in shaping the economic and political future of each of these states.

To view the state-by-state fact sheets click on the links below:

Tennessee

Texas

Utah

Vermont


Source of Information:

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC), May 2013, Just the Facts
http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/just-facts

MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, June 7, 2013

June 7, 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 – U.S. Citizenship
I recently received a Green Card. Next year, I am going to marry my US Citizen Fiancé. How long do I wait to apply for Citizenship?

Answer #1
As it appears, you did not obtain your green card through marriage, as you have yet to be married. Accordingly, you must wait five (5) years to apply for Citizenship. In addition to the time period, there are other eligibility requirements.


Question #2 – U.S. Citizenship
How long does it normally take to become a US Citizen?

Answer #2
It depends. If you received your green card through marriage, then the waiting period is 3 years, subject to additional eligibility requirements. If you received your green card through employment, then the waiting period is 5 years, also subject to additional eligibility requirements.


Question #3 – DACA
Is there a minimum age requirement for DACA applicants?

Answer #3
Yes. Anyone requesting consideration for deferred action under DACA must have been under 31 years old as of June 15, 2012. The applicant must also be at least 15 years or older to request deferred action, unless the applicant is currently in removal proceedings or have a final removal or voluntary departure order.


Question #4 – DACA
If someone has applied for DACA status, can he/she travel outside the US?

Answer #4
Generally no, they may not travel until a decision is made on the DACA application, unless the travel is related to employment, education or humanitarian purposes and the applicant seeks permission directly from the USCIS prior to departure.
Please see below as taken from the USCIS website:
If you travel outside the United States after August 15, 2012 and before your request for deferred action is adjudicated, you will not be considered for deferred action under this process.
Deferred action will terminate automatically if you travel outside the United States without receiving advance parole from USCIS. If USCIS approves your request for deferred action, you may travel outside the United States only if you receive advance parole from USCIS before traveling.
Application procedures for advance parole for individuals with deferred action are being finalized. USCIS expects to incorporate those requirements into USCIS Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, in the near future and will inform the public when the new form is available. Should you have a compelling need to travel outside the United States before the new instructions are issued for reasons related to your current employment, education or humanitarian purposes, you may submit Form I-131 and request advance parole from USCIS by attaching a copy of your DACA approval Form I-797, and a letter that explains your compelling need to travel to your application


Question #5 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
My 6 year period of H1B Visa will expire in Dec 2013 and my labor application is still pending for approval. Am I eligible to apply for a visa extension?

Answer #5
It depends upon several factors.

• Have you ever left the U.S. since your initial arrival in the U.S.? If so, you may be able to recapture the time you spent outside of the U.S. in a recapture/extension petition.
• When was the Labor application filed on your behalf? If it has been in a pending status for 365 days or more, then you may be eligible to file a one (1) year extension based upon AC21.
• Although you are able to submit an extension up to 6 months prior to the expiration of the visa, you may wish to wait to see if your case is approved within the coming months; however, you would still need to file and obtain approval of the I-140 petition.


Question #6 - Employment Based Immigration
For the last 4 years I have been working as a contractor in the IT sector as an EB3 worker. Last May, I completed my MBA. Is it possible to change my category from EB3 to EB2?

Answer #6
You should speak with one of our experienced Immigration Attorneys to determine your eligibility.


Question #7 – Family Based Immigration
If I live out of the US, and apply for an I-130, do I have to come to the US for my interview appointment?

Answer #7
No. Once the I-130 petition is approved, you will have to appear at the nearest Consulate for the interview appointment, once it is arranged with the Consulate through the National Visa Center. This process is called Consular Processing.


Question #8 – Family Based Immigration
My husband recently filed an I-130. We have included all the documentation that was required. How long will it take for USCIS to respond?

Answer #8
Current processing times indicate a period of 6 months for the adjudication of Form I-130. If further evidence is required, a Request for Additional Evidence will be issued, which will further delay the final adjudication of the petition by a USCIS Officer.


Question #9 – General
On the USCIS website, what does it mean if the status of the application states that it is now changed to “post decision activity?”

Answer #9
This means that the government has reached a decision in your case. For example, if you applied for DACA, the govt. has either approved or denied your petition.


Question #10 – Family Based Immigration
My wife came here from France four years ago with a visa waiver. Now that we are married, we filed an adjustment of status. Will she need to return to France for the immigration interview?

Answer #10
No. She will likely attend the interview at a USCIS local field office.


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

Our next “Immigration Q & A Forum” is scheduled for Friday, June 21, 2013!

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

Impact of New Americans: New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island & South Carolina

June 6, 2013

Immigration Policy Center Releases Updated State-by-State Fact Sheets!

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) has released the first twenty updated state-by-state fact sheets with accompanying info graphics. These fact sheets highlight the demographic and economic impact of Immigrants, Asians and Latinos in each state. The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) is the research and policy division of the American Immigration Council (AIC).

As Washington D.C. debates Comprehensive Immigration Reform, we thought that it would be an appropriate time to provide some statistics on the Immigrant population in the United States as provided by this IPC research. Once a week we will be posting a blog with information on four states at a time. This week we will highlight; New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island and South Carolina.

The IPC has compiled research which shows that Immigrants, Latinos and Asians are an essential part of each of these states’ economy, labor force and tax base. Immigrants and their children are a growing economic and political force as consumers, taxpayers and entrepreneurs. With the nation working towards economic recovery, immigrants and their children will continue to play a key role in shaping the economic and political future of each of these states.

To view the state-by-state fact sheets click on the links below:

New York

North Carolina

Rhode Island

South Carolina


Source of Information:

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC), May 2013, Just the Facts
http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/just-facts

Update - FY 2013 Citizenship and Integration Grant Program extended

June 5, 2013

USCIS is reopening the FY 2013 Citizenship and Integration Grant Program funding opportunity announcement (DHS-13-CIS-010-002). Applications may be filed through Grants.gov from June 3, 2013 through June 5, 2013 at 11:59:59 PM EDT. USCIS learned after the close of the original application period on May 22, 2013 that Grants.gov rejected a significant percentage of applications to this funding opportunity. Given those rejections, USCIS is reopening this opportunity for a brief period to allow potential applicants to resubmit an application. Organizations that successfully submitted an application through Grants.gov before the May 22, 2013 deadline are not required to resubmit.
For more information, please contact the USCIS Office of Citizenship’s Grants Division at citizenshipgrantprogram@uscis.dhs.gov

Source of Information:
USCIS.gov, (6/3/13), Email Bulletin

DACA Statistics - USCIS Update through 4/30/13

June 4, 2013

These USCIS statistics on DACA cases from 8/15/12 to 4/30/13 show a total of 497,960 DACA requests accepted for processing, 483,907 biometric services appointments scheduled, and 291,859 requests approved.

The data also shows the number of accepted and approved requests from the top countries of origin and the top states of residence. Mexico was the top county of origin with 375,568 received to date and 230,821 approved. California was the top state of residence with 141,367 received to date and 87,142 approved.

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

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


Source of Information: “USCIS Performance Data (Posted 5/17/13)”

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, June 7, 2013

June 3, 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, June 7, 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.

Now is the Time - Urge Your Senators to Pass a Workable Immigration Reform Bill!

May 31, 2013

Now that the New Immigration Reform Bill, S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Reform Act, is finally out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and has been sent to the U.S. Senate for a vote, it is time for you to send your opinions on the bill to the Senators that represent your state. The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has setup a web page for you to easily find and then send a message to your specific members of congress supporting the New Immigration Reform Bill. Using your zip code or home address, they can find the name and email address of your Representatives in Congress. They have created five templates, including four issue-specific letters on business, family, due process and legalization that you can use or you can write your own message. Enter your zip code and select a message to send to your Senator.

MVP Law Group would like you at this critical time to urge your Senators to pass a workable Immigration Reform Bill. If passed by the Senate the new Immigration Reform Bill will be sent to the U.S. House of Representatives.


Source of Information:
AILA.org, (5/29/13), web site

Impact of New Americans: Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky & Minnesota

May 30, 2013

Immigration Policy Center Releases Updated State-by-State Fact Sheets!

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) has released the first twenty updated state-by-state fact sheets with accompanying info graphics. These fact sheets highlight the demographic and economic impact of Immigrants, Asians and Latinos in each state. The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) is the research and policy division of the American Immigration Council (AIC).

As Washington D.C. debates Comprehensive Immigration Reform, we thought that it would be an appropriate time to provide some statistics on the Immigrant population in the United States as provided by this IPC research. Once a week we will be posting a blog with information on four states at a time. This week we will highlight; Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky and Minnesota.

The IPC has compiled research which shows that Immigrants, Latinos and Asians are an essential part of each of these states’ economy, labor force and tax base. Immigrants and their children are a growing economic and political force as consumers, taxpayers and entrepreneurs. With the nation working towards economic recovery, immigrants and their children will continue to play a key role in shaping the economic and political future of each of these states.

To view the state-by-state fact sheets click on the links below:

Iowa

Kansas

Kentucky

Minnesota


Source of Information:

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC), May 2013, Just the Facts
http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/just-facts

Updated Service Center Processing Times

May 28, 2013

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on 5/21/13 with processing dates as of 3/31/13.

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.

Memorial Day – Honoring the men and women who gave their lives while serving in the U.S. military

May 27, 2013

“For over two centuries, brave men and women have laid down their lives in defense of our great Nation. These heroes have made the ultimate sacrifice so we may uphold the ideals we all cherish. On this Memorial Day, we honor the generations of Americans who have fought and died to defend our freedom.” -- President Obama


History.com, Video: The history of Memorial Day!

MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, May 24, 2013

May 24, 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
Can I apply for a spousal visa, if I am getting married to a green card holder & am currently in H-1B visa status?

Answer #1
Yes; however, you must first marry your spouse. After marriage, your green card holder (Lawful Permanent Resident) spouse, may then prepare and submit an I-130, Petition for Alien Relative on your behalf to the USCIS for processing.


Question #2
Are employers required to post a notice of filing of LCA at the end-client location? Why can’t we just post at our offices?

Answer #2
Yes. Pursuant to the regulations, notices are to be posted in two conspicuous locations at the actual location where the work is to be performed. Therefore, posting at the employer’s office only is not sufficient.


Question #3
If I have less than six months before my passport will expire, how can I file an H-1B petition?

Answer #3
You can still file an H-1B petition. However, your passport should be current at all times. If visa stamping is needed, then you should have a valid passport for a validity period of longer than six months.

In most cases, to enter the United States, you must have a passport that is valid for at least six months after the date you enter or reenter. Many countries will allow you to renew your passport while in the United States. The other alternative is to renew your passport when you return home for a visit. You may want to delay leaving the United States until you have renewed your passport. You will not be able to reenter the United States without a valid passport.

If your expired passport has a valid visa, you can still use it if you kept the old passport. Present the old passport, along with the new passport when you reenter the country.


Question #4
I have my Green Card and I will be traveling outside of the US this summer. What documents do I need to travel outside the United States?

Answer #4
Your Green Card. However, be certain to not take trips longer than 6 months in duration outside of the U.S., if you intend to apply for Citizenship in a few years, as it will disrupt the continuous residence requirement. Furthermore, please take note not to make any trips outside the U.S. of one year or longer without possessing a valid re-entry document in addition to your Green Card.


Question #5
If I am a Green Card holder and plan to be outside of the US for more than a year to care for my ailing mother, what should I do?

Answer #5
You should apply for a re-entry permit with the USCIS.


Question #6
If I lost my Green Card, how do I replace it? What are the costs?

Answer #6
You must file Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card with the USCIS. The USCIS filing fee is $365.00 plus biometrics $85.00, total of $450.00


Question #7
Once I get my H-1B transfer, is there any time restriction to join my new employer?

Answer #7
Pursuant to AC21, H-1B transferring employees are able to begin working with the new sponsoring employer upon submission of the case to the USCIS; however, the applicant may only begin working with the new employer if the LCA and I-129 cover the beginning date of employment.


Question #8
Is there a limit of how many times someone can transfer an H-1B Visa?

Answer #8
No, there is no limit of how many times someone may transfer their H-1B to a new employer.


Question #9
Can I change my status from an H-4 to an F-1? I am enrolling in college this Fall.

Answer #9
Yes, if you are eligible to change status from H4, dependent status to F1, student status.


Question #10
While we were staying in the US with my H-1 Visa, my wife had a baby boy. Do I need to get a Visa or a US Passport to travel with him out of the country?

Answer #10
If your baby boy was born in the United States, he is automatically a U.S. Citizen. Therefore, yes, you will need to apply for a U.S. Passport for your son in order to travel with him outside of the country.


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

Our next “Immigration Q & A Forum” is scheduled for Friday, June 7, 2013!

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

Impact of New Americans: Delaware, Florida, Hawaii & Illinois

May 23, 2013

Immigration Policy Center Releases Updated State-by-State Fact Sheets!

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) has released the first twenty updated state-by-state fact sheets with accompanying info graphics. These fact sheets highlight the demographic and economic impact of Immigrants, Asians and Latinos in each state. The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) is the research and policy division of the American Immigration Council (AIC).

As Washington D.C. debates Comprehensive Immigration Reform, we thought that it would be an appropriate time to provide some statistics on the Immigrant population in the United States as provided by this IPC research. Once a week we will be posting a blog with information on four states at a time. This week we will highlight; Delaware, Florida, Hawaii and Illinois.

The IPC has compiled research which shows that Immigrants, Latinos and Asians are an essential part of each of these states’ economy, labor force and tax base. Immigrants and their children are a growing economic and political force as consumers, taxpayers and entrepreneurs. With the nation working towards economic recovery, immigrants and their children will continue to play a key role in shaping the economic and political future of each of these states.

To view the state-by-state fact sheets click on the links below:

Delaware: http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/just-facts/new-americans-delaware

Florida: http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/just-facts/new-americans-florida

Hawaii: http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/just-facts/new-americans-hawaii

Illinois: http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/just-facts/new-americans-illinois


Source of Information:

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC), May 2013, Just the Facts
http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/just-facts

Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) Processing Times

May 21, 2013

Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) Processing Times were released with processing dates as of May 2, 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 current; for an I-140 EB3 Appeal for a Skilled or Professional Worker is 9 months.

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

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, May 24, 2013

May 20, 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, May 24, 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.

Impact of New Americans: Alabama, Arizona, California & Connecticut

May 17, 2013

Immigration Policy Center Releases Updated State-by-State Fact Sheets!

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) has released the first twenty updated state-by-state fact sheets with accompanying info graphics. These fact sheets highlight the demographic and economic impact of Immigrants, Asians and Latinos in each state. The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) is the research and policy division of the American Immigration Council (AIC).

As Washington D.C. debates Comprehensive Immigration Reform, we thought that it would be an appropriate time to provide some statistics on the Immigrant population in the United States as provided by this IPC research. Once a week we will be posting a blog with information on four states at a time. This week we will highlight; Alabama, Arizona, California and Connecticut.

The IPC has compiled research which shows that Immigrants, Latinos and Asians are an essential part of each of these states’ economy, labor force and tax base. Immigrants and their children are a growing economic and political force as consumers, taxpayers and entrepreneurs. With the nation working towards economic recovery, immigrants and their children will continue to play a key role in shaping the economic and political future of each of these states.

To view the state-by-state fact sheets click on the links below:

Alabama: http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/just-facts/new-americans-alabama

Arizona: http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/just-facts/new-americans-arizona

California: http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/just-facts/new-americans-california

Connecticut: http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/just-facts/new-americans-connecticut


Source of Information:

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC), May 2013, Just the Facts
http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/just-facts

MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, May 10, 2013

May 10, 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
If I am working in the US with an H-1B Visa, can I obtain a driver’s license right away? What do I need to show them at the Motor Vehicle place?

Answer #1
Yes. You must present necessary supporting documents required to verify legal presence in the United States. Generally, a nonimmigrant should be prepared to present the following: Valid passport with visa (if applicable); Form I-94, “Arrival/Departure Record”; Form I-20 (for an F or M student) or Form DS-2019 (for a J exchange visitor); EAD card (Form I-766 “Employment Authorization Document”), if on post-completion OPT; Form I-797, “Notice of Action,” in cases of a change of status (e.g., from F-1 to H-1B); Social Security number (SSN) on a Social Security card. To determine what is specifically required in your state, you will need to check the DMW website or contact a local DMV office


Question #2
How do I become categorized as STEM worker? I would like to find a job in the US. Right now, I live in Prague and have my Master’s Degree in Computer Science.

Answer #2
In order to become categorized as a STEM worker, an applicant must receive an accredited U.S. degree in one of the STEM fields – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.


Question #3
I work for Toyota as a head mechanical specialist and my company wants to transfer me to a plant in the US. Would I qualify for an L-1 Visa?

Answer #3
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.


Question #4
What date does my company have to start using the new I-9 form?

Answer #4
Beginning May 7, 2013, Employers must ONLY use the newly revised Form I-9 with revision date 3/08/2013 appearing in the lower left hand corner of the Form.


Question #5
What is an EB-5 visa?

Answer #5
In short, The EB-5 visa is for Immigrant Investors. This visa provides a method of obtaining a green card for foreign nationals who invest money in the United States. To obtain the visa, individuals must invest $1,000,000 (or at least $500,000 in a "Targeted Employment Area" - high unemployment or rural area), creating or preserving at least ten (10) jobs for U.S. workers excluding the investor and their immediate family.

For more information on the EB-5 Immigrant Investor visa, please contact our office.


Question #6
My family has vacation plans to travel back to India in August 2013. Can I file my H-1B extension petition prior to my leaving for vacation?

Answer #6
You may file your H-1B extension up to 6 months prior to the expiration of your current H-1B visa. You should file as early as possible, as we do not recommend that you travel outside of the U.S. while your H-1B extension petition is pending with the USCIS.


Question #7
What does it mean when a Priority Date becomes current?

Answer #7
When your Priority Date becomes "Current", it means that there are visa numbers available for your particular nationality, for your situation, for your particular preference category, (i.e. India, Employment Based, Third Preference). When your Priority Date becomes current, you may then proceed to the Adjustment of Status or Consulate Processing phase of the Green Card process.


Question #8
If my Green Card is expiring the end of this year, how soon should I apply to renew it?

Answer #8
You can apply up to six months prior to the expiration date of your card (indicated on the front of the card).


Question #9
I’m a U.S. Citizen and engaged to marry my Irish fiancé. We have known one another for over five years and have been engaged for three months. Can I sponsor my fiancé? What are the requirements?

Answer #9
If you petition for a fiancé(e) visa, you must show that:
• You (the petitioner) are a U.S. citizen.
• You intend to marry within 90 days of your fiancé(e) entering the United States.
• You and your fiancé(e) are both free to marry and any previous marriages must have been legally terminated by divorce, death, or annulment.
• You met each other, in person, at least once within 2 years of filing your petition. There are two exceptions that require a waiver:
1. If the requirement to meet would violate strict and long-established customs of your or your fiancé(e)’s foreign culture or social practice.
2. If you prove that the requirement to meet would result in extreme hardship to you.


Question #10
If I am residing in the US with an H4 Visa, can I apply for a Social Security card?

Answer #10
You cannot apply for a Social Security card, as an H4 dependent under current immigration laws.


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

Our next “Immigration Q & A Forum” is scheduled for Friday, May 24, 2013!

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

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, May 10, 2013

May 6, 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, May 10, 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.

DOS’s Updated Factsheets, Visa Statistics FY2012

May 1, 2013

The U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs has released updated factsheets containing FY2012 selected immigrant and nonimmigrant visa statistics. These factsheets contain vision representations of the data by using graphs and tables, which makes them much easier to read and understand. I have provided the links to the six updated factsheets below for your review.


Immigrant Visas Issued at Foreign Service Posts by Country of Birth/Chargeability (FY 2012)

Immigrant Visa Issuances at Top Posts (FY 2012)

Immigrant Visa Issuances by Applicants' Area of Birth/Chargeability - Regional Breakdown (FY 2012)

Nonimmigrant Visas Issued by Nationality (FY 2012)

Nonimmigrant Visa Issuances at Top Posts (FY 2012)

Nonimmigrant Visa Issuances by Applicants' Nationality - Regional Breakdown (FY 2012)


Note: The source web page for the six updated factsheets also includes ten Multi-Year Graphs (FY2007 to FY2012) on selected visa statistics for you information.


Source of Information:

Travel.State.Gov, Web Site, (4/26/13) Posting:
Visa Statistics, Graphs

DACA Statistics - USCIS Update through 3/31/13

April 30, 2013

These USCIS statistics on DACA cases from 8/15/12 to 3/31/13 show a total of 472,004 DACA requests accepted for processing, 456,843 biometric services appointments scheduled, and 268,361 requests approved.

The data also shows the number of accepted and approved requests from the top countries of origin and the top states of residence. Mexico was the top county of origin with 354,002 received to date and 209,978 approved. California was the top state of residence with 134,167 received to date and 73,104 approved.

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

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


Source of Information: “USCIS Performance Data (Posted 4/12/13)”

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, April 26, 2013

April 22, 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, April 26, 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.

Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) Processing Times

April 19, 2013

Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) Processing Times were released with processing dates as of April 2, 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 current; for an I-140 EB3 Appeal for a Skilled or Professional Worker is 9 months.

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

OFLC’s Updated Factsheets, Second Quarter FY2013

April 17, 2013

The U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) has released updated factsheets containing Second Quarter FY2013 selected program statistics. These factsheets contain vision representations of the data by using graphs and tables, which makes them much easier to read and understand. I have provided the links to the five updated factsheets below for your review.


Permanent Labor Certification Program

Prevailing Wage Determination Program

H-1B Temporary Visa Program

H-2A Temporary Agricultural Visa Program

H-2B Temporary Non-agricultural Visa Program


Source of Information:

OFLC's Web Site, (4/11/13) Announcement:
April 11, 2013. Quarter 2 FY 2013 Selected Statistics by Program

View the links below for more detail on the subject:
OFLC's Performance Data

Hearing on Comprehensive Immigration Reform Legislation – April 17

April 16, 2013

**The hearing date has been re-scheduled for April 19th at 10:00am (EST).

Senator Leahy, the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman has announced that a full committee hearing on comprehensive immigration reform has been scheduled for April 17th. The Senate hearing will be held at Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C. This hearing is a result of the proposed legislation being worked on by the bipartisan “Gang of Eight”. The only witness listed to testify at this initial hearing is Secretary Janet Napolitano, Department of Homeland Security.

MVP Law Group would like our blog readers to email us with your own questions or comments about Comprehensive Immigration Reform. We may include them in future blog posts on the subject! Remember, MVP Law Group always invites Immigration related questions for our bimonthly Immigration Q&A Forum!


View the links below for more detail on the subject:

nbcnews.com (4/10/13) Article:
Leahy: Hearing on comprehensive immigration reform set for April 17

Senate Judiciary Committee (4/10/13) Hearing Schedule:
Hearing on Comprehensive Immigration Reform Legislation

Alternatives to the H-1B Visa for Individuals who did not make the FY2014 H-1B Quota

April 10, 2013

Now that all of the new H-1B visas for the 2014 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:

OPT – STEM Extension
If the company is registered for E-Verify, the database that enables employers to verify the legitimacy of work authorization and identity documents at the time of hire, those who have been granted 12 months of Optional Practical Training after graduation, are eligible for a STEM extension of an additional 17 months of work authorization.

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 FY2015
WAIT for the H-1B FY2015 Quota. The H-1B FY2015 Quota will open on April 1, 2014 with employment beginning on October 1, 2014. 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, 2014.

Contact MVP Law Group for more information!

DHS Annual Report - FY2012 Statistics on Naturalizations

April 9, 2013

Naturalization is the process by which U.S. citizenship is granted to foreign citizens or nationals after fulfilling the requirements established by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). After naturalization, foreign-born citizens enjoy nearly all the same benefits, rights and responsibilities that the Constitution gives to native-born U.S. citizens, including the right to vote.

The Office of Immigration Statistics Annual Flow Report presents information on the number and characteristics of foreign nationals aged 18 years and over who were naturalized during FY 2012.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report states that in FY2012 a total of 757,434 persons were naturalized. The leading countries of birth of new naturalized citizens were Mexico (102,181), the Philippines (44,958), India (42,928), the Dominican Republic (33,351), and China (31,868). The largest number of persons naturalized lived in the states of California (158,850), Florida (100,890), and New York (93,584). Read the report linked here for more details, “U.S. Naturalizations: 2012”.


Source of Information:

DHS.gov, web page:
http://www.dhs.gov/publication/us-naturalizations-2012

DHS Office of Immigration Statistics, Annual Flow Report - March 2013:
U.S. Naturalizations: 2012

DHS.gov, Data Tables including supplemental tables (XLS files):
Naturalization (FY2012) Data Tables

FY 2014 H-1B Cap - Lottery Conducted 4/7/2013

April 8, 2013

For the first time since 2008, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has reached the statutory H-1B cap of 65,000 for fiscal year (FY) 2014 within the first week of the filing period. USCIS has also received more than 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of persons exempt from the cap under the advanced degree exemption.

USCIS received approximately 124,000 H-1B petitions during the filing period, including petitions filed for the advanced degree exemption.

On April 7, 2013, USCIS used a computer-generated random selection process (commonly known as a “lottery”) to select a sufficient number of petitions needed to meet the caps of 65,000 for the general category and 20,000 under the advanced degree exemption limit. For cap-subject petitions not randomly selected, USCIS will reject and return the petition with filing fees, unless it is found to be a duplicate filing.

The agency conducted the selection process for advanced degree exemption petitions first. All advanced degree petitions not selected were part of the random selection process for the 65,000 limit.

As announced on March 15, 2013, USCIS has temporarily adjusted its premium processing practice. To facilitate the prioritized data entry of cap-subject petitions requesting premium processing, USCIS will begin premium processing for H-1B cap cases on April 15, 2013. .

USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap. Petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap will not be counted towards the congressionally-mandated FY 2014 H-1B cap. Accordingly, USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions filed to: extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the U.S.; change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers; allow current H-1B workers to change employers; and allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position.

U.S. businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields including, but not limited to: scientists, engineers, or computer programmers.

For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit www.uscis.gov

FY2014 - H1B CAP HAS BEEN REACHED

April 5, 2013

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that it has received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap for fiscal year (FY) 2014. USCIS has also received more than 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of persons exempt from the cap under the advanced degree exemption.

After today, USCIS will not accept H-1B petitions subject to the FY 2014 cap or the advanced degree exemption.

The White House is asking for your Immigration Story

April 5, 2013


“Unless you are one of the first Americans, unless you are a Native American, you came from someplace else. That’s why we’ve always defined ourselves as a nation of immigrants. And we’ve always been better off for it.”
President Obama


President Obama and his staff are looking for stories of why individual Americans are supporting Immigration Reform. The White House web site has added a new web page to collect these stories. They plan to use them in their push for immigration reform, which the President stated is a top priority! Your story could help reform immigration in this country! Use the link below to post your story; you can even include a photo.


Share your immigration story today and be part of this debate:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/immigration/stories

DHS Annual Report - FY2012 Statistics on Legal Permanent Residents

April 4, 2013

A legal permanent resident (LPR) or “green card” recipient is defined by immigration law as a person who has been granted lawful permanent residence in the United States. Permanent resident status confers certain rights and responsibilities. For example, LPRs may live and work permanently anywhere in the United States, own property, and attend public schools, colleges, and universities. They may also join certain branches of the Armed Forces and may apply to become U.S. citizens if they meet certain eligibility requirements.

The Office of Immigration Statistics Annual Flow Report presents information obtained from applications for LPR status on the number and characteristics of persons who became LPRs in the United States during 2012.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report states that in FY2012 a total of 1,031,631 persons became LPRs. The report points out that nearly (66%) of the LPRs granted permanent resident status were based on a family relationship with a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident. The three leading countries of birth for new LPRs were Mexico (14%), China (7.9%) and India (6.4%). Read the report linked here for more details, “U.S. Legal Permanent Residents: 2012”.


Source of Information:

DHS.gov, web page:
http://www.dhs.gov/publication/us-legal-permanent-residents-2012

DHS Office of Immigration Statistics, Annual Flow Report - March 2013:
U.S. Legal Permanent Residents: 2012

DHS.gov, Data Tables including supplemental tables (XLS files):
LPR (FY2012) Data Tables

Revised - Updated Service Center Processing Times

April 3, 2013

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on 4/1/13 with processing dates as of 1/31/13.

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

Revision: The processing date for Form I-360 VAWA classification at the VSC has been changed to 11/6/11.

**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.

USCIS Revises Public Hours of National Customer Service Center

April 2, 2013

The USCIS National Customer Service Center (NCSC) is introducing new public hours of operation for their toll-free number at 800-375-5283. Effective immediately, USCIS will eliminate Saturday hours of operation. Beginning April 1, the NCSC will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, in all four time zones in the contiguous United States. This adjustment will allow USCIS to better serve customers during peak contact hours and respond more quickly to customer needs.

As always, customers can check the status of their case, change their address, or submit an e-request 24 hours a day by visiting www.uscis.gov. In the coming months, USCIS plans to launch a number of additional customer service enhancements to further improve the quality of their customer service.

To summarize, the USCIS NCSC will be reducing their call in hours on their live customer service line, Monday through Friday by two hours and eliminating Saturday hours.


Source of Information:

USCIS.gov (3/22/13) News Alert:
USCIS Revises Public Hours of National Customer Service Center

Updated Service Center Processing Times

April 1, 2013

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on 3/22/13 with processing dates as of 1/31/13.

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, March 29, 2013

March 29, 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 Work Visa
Are applicants with Master Degree’s given preference when filing for an H-1B under the yearly Cap?

Answer #1
The cap (the numerical limitation on H-1B petitions) for FY 2014 is 65,000. In addition, the first 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of individuals with U.S. master’s degree or higher are exempt from the fiscal year cap of 65,000.

*The applicant must have a U.S. Master’s degree or higher.


Question #2 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
I recently read the H-1B cap quota may be filled in the first 5 days. When do my employer & I expect to be notified if my H-1B is accepted?

Answer #2
According to the USCIS FY2014 H1B CAP website:

Based on feedback from a number of stakeholders, USCIS anticipates that it may receive more petitions than the H-1B cap between April 1, 2013 and April 5, 2013. USCIS will monitor the number of petitions received and notify the public of the date on which the numerical limit of the H-1B cap has been met. This date is known as the final receipt date. If USCIS receives more petitions than it can accept, USCIS will use a lottery system to randomly select the number of petitions required to reach the numerical limit. USCIS will reject petitions that are subject to the cap and are not selected, as well as petitions received after it has the necessary number of petitions needed to meet the cap. The lottery for the H-1B cap was last used in April 2008.

H-1B petitioners should follow all statutory and regulatory requirements as they prepare petitions, in order to avoid delays in processing and possible requests for evidence.

Expect to be notified within the month of April 2013.


Question #3 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
If my H-1B is not processed during the quota, what can I do to remain in the US?

Answer #3
Shortly after the quota is reached, our office will post a blog about other options – for instance, L1 nonimmigrant visa, O1 nonimmigrant visa, F1 student visa, etc. For more information about other options, please stay posted to our blog.

If you are interested in learning about other options now, please contact our office for more information.


Question #4 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
What is the normal processing time for an H-1B visa? Does it change during the Cap?

Answer #4
Regular processing takes approximately 3-4 months from the date of receipt of filing. Premium processing takes 15 calendar days from the date of receipt of filing, for an additional USCIS filing fee of $1225.00.


Question #5 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
My employer filed my case using Premium Processing. Will it help my case?

Answer #5
According to the USCIS FY2014 H1B CAP website:
Filing an H-1B petition requesting premium processing will not increase the chances of obtaining an H-1B under the quota. If you request premium processing and the case is accepted for processing, the 15 day premium processing window will start on April 15, 2013, according to the USCIS press release issued 3/15/2013. Please note that one perceived benefit of filing a cap subject H-1B petition with a request for premium processing is that a receipt notice may be issued faster than if filed under regular processing. Therefore, the petitioner and beneficiary may confirm sooner that the petition has been chosen in the lottery.


Question #6 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
What is an LCA? Does my employer file it for me?

Answer #6
An LCA stands for a Labor Condition Application. It is a document that a sponsoring H-1B employer files with the Department of Labor (DOL) – Employment & Training Administration (ETA), when it seeks to employ nonimmigrant workers in a specific job occupation in an area of intended employment for not more than three years.


Question #7 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
How can I check on the status of my H-1B case?

Answer #7
Once you receive a receipt number, you can go online and check the status of your case by going to http://www.uscis.gov and using the receipt number. The case status mechanism is located on the left hand side of the website.


Question #8 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
My current H-1B is going to expire in 4 months. Can my employer file an extension for me to remain on H-1B?

Answer #8
Yes, if you are eligible for an extension. Extensions and transfers are not subject to the Annual CAP. Your employer may submit an extension filing up to 6 months in advance of the current expiration of your visa.


Question #9 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
Right now, I am on a Student Visa and my employer has filed for an H-1B Visa for me. May I leave the country to attend my sister’s wedding?

Answer #9
Our law firm strongly recommends that you do not travel once your H-1B visa petition has been submitted to the USCIS.

For more information, or to discuss your particular situation, we recommend a scheduled consultation with one of our Attorneys.


Question #10 –H-1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
While on an H-1B visa, can I immigrate permanently to the U.S.?

Answer #10
The H-1B nonimmigrant visa is a temporary work visa, only granted in 3 year increments for a period not to exceed 6 years, unless you have initiated the Green Card process prior to your 6th year in H-1B nonimmigrant visa status. The H-1B nonimmigrant visa is the only nonimmigrant visa that allows you to possess ‘dual intent’, to work on a temporary work visa and then eventually seek permanent residence in the U.S.


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

Our next “Immigration Q & A Forum” is scheduled for Friday, April 12, 2013!

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

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, March 29, 2013

March 25, 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, March 29, 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.

DACA Statistics - USCIS Update through 3/14/13

March 21, 2013

These USCIS statistics on DACA cases from 8/15/12 to 3/14/13 show a total of 453,589 DACA requests accepted for processing, 442,041 biometric services appointments scheduled, and 245,493 requests approved.

The data also shows the number of accepted requests from the top ten countries of origin and the top ten states of residence. Mexico was the top county of origin with 338,334 received to date. California was the top state of residence with 128,412 received to date.

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

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


Source of Information: “USCIS Performance Data (Posted 3/15/13)”

Immigration Reform – President meets with Religious Community

March 19, 2013

President Obama and members of his senior staff met last Friday (3/8/13) with a diverse group of religious leaders from across America. I have included the list of participants below. The White House meeting was held to update these leaders on the progress of immigration reform and to give them a chance to voice their concerns. The discussions were off-the-record; however, it was reported the discussions involved “Family-based Immigration”, “Path to Citizenship”, LGBT rights and many others. One participant, Dieter Uchtdorf from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints stated, “We were a very small group, and so everyone had a chance to say their piece”. Uchtdorf also stated, “The President was very warm and friendly, and seemed interested in what we had to say.”

MVP Law Group realizes that humanity is a hard thing to legislate! We feel the President is on the right path by including as many perspectives as possible in the discussion.

Participants in the meeting included:

• Leith Anderson, National Association of Evangelicals
• Stephan Bauman, President and CEO, World Relief
• Bishop Minerva Carcaño, United Methodist Church
• Rev. Luis Cortés, President, Esperanza
• Barrett Duke, Southern Baptist Convention
• Bishop Orlando Findlayter, Senior Pastor, New Hope Christian Fellowship
• Archbishop José Horacio Gomez, Archdiocese of Los Angeles
• Mark Hetfield, President and CEO, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society
• Rev. Kathryn Lohre, National Council of Churches
• Imam Mohamed Magid, President, Islamic Society of North America
• Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
• Rev. Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition
• Dieter Uchtdorf, Second Counselor, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
• Jim Wallis, President and CEO, Sojourners


View the links below for more detail on the subject:

Whitehouse.gov (3/8/13) Press Release:
Readout of the President’s Meeting on Commonsense Immigration Reform

Ncccusa.org (3/9/13) Released Statement:
Obama invites NCC, religious leaders to discussion of immigration reform

Deseretnews.com (3/8/13) Article:
President Uchtdorf, faith leaders counsel President Obama on Immigration

H1B CAP NEWS: USCIS Announcement Regarding Premium Processing for H-1B Cap-Subject Petitions

March 15, 2013

The filing period for H-1B petitions subject to the fiscal year (FY) 2014 numerical cap begins on April 1, 2013. USCIS anticipates that it may receive more than 65,000 cap-subject H-1B petitions and more than 20,000 petitions filed on behalf of individuals with a U.S. master’s degree or higher between April 1, 2013, and April 5, 2013. This could be the first time since April 2008 that the H-1B cap will require a lottery.

USCIS provides premium processing service for certain employment-based petitions and guarantees a 15-calendar-day processing time. Due to the historic premium processing receipt levels, combined with the possibility that the H-1B cap will be met in the first 5 business days of the filing season, USCIS has temporarily adjusted its current premium processing practice. To facilitate the prioritized data entry of cap-subject petitions requesting premium processing, and in accordance with 8 CFR 103.7(e)(3)(ii), USCIS is announcing that premium processing for cap-subject H-1B petitions, including H-1B petitions seeking an exemption from the fiscal year cap for individuals who have earned a U.S. master’s degree or higher, will begin on April 15, 2013.

USCIS will continue to accept Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, with fee, concurrently with the Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, during the time period that premium processing is unavailable - from April 1 to April 14, 2013. Petitioners may also upgrade a pending H-1B cap petition to premium processing once a receipt notice is issued. All requests for premium processing received between April 1, 2013, and April 14, 2013, will be adjudicated when premium processing begins on April 15, 2013.

While the Form I-797 receipt notice may indicate the date that the premium processing fee is received, the 15-day processing period set by 8 CFR 103.7(e)(2) will not begin until April 15, 2013. The 15-day processing period for premium processing service for H-1B petitions that are not subject to the cap, or for any other eligible classification, continues to begin on the date that the request is received.

Source of Information: USCIS.GOV

MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, March 15, 2013

March 15, 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 – General
What jobs are considered STEM occupations?

Answer #1
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers are concentrated in the following fields: Computer and Informational Sciences; Engineering and Engineering Technologies; Biological and Biomedical Sciences; Mathematics and Statistics; Physical Sciences and Technologies.


Question #2 – General
What is an EAD?

Answer #2
An Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is a document issued by the USCIS to authorize an alien to work in the U.S. for a temporary period of time. It is also referred to as a work permit. With a valid EAD, an alien may legally work in the United States for any employer.


Question #3 – Green Card
How long do I have to live and work in the United States before I can apply for my Green Card?

Answer #3
There is no set period of time that you must live and work in the United States before you may apply for a Green Card or have a U.S. employer sponsor your Green Card.


Question #4 – General
I was able to file I-485 applications for myself and my wife in November and since then we have received the combined EAD/AP card. Can my wife apply for a SSN now? My health insurance coverage is requesting that she obtain a SSN.

Answer #4
Yes, your wife can apply for a Social Security Number. She will need to take her valid Employment Authorization Document (EAD), her passport, birth certificate and the completed application to the local Social Security Administration office to apply.


Question #5 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
Right now, I am living in the US with my husband who has an H-1B Visa. I would like to start working myself. Do I need my own H-1B?

Answer #5
Yes. I am assuming that you are presently on H4 status which does not allow you to work. In order to work, you will need to find a sponsoring employer willing to file an H-1B petition on your behalf.


Question #6 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
If I have an H-1B Visa, but I want to work for a different employer, do I change my job and then submit the new H-1B papers?

Answer #6
NO. You will need to have your new employer submit an H-1B transfer/extension petition with the USCIS before you are able to move to the new employer.


Question #7 – General
I am reading in the online forums and read things mentioned as PIMS and CLAIMS. Can you tell me what these mean?

Answer #7
PIMS stands for Petition Information Management System which is an electronic report generated by the Department of State’s (DOS) Kentucky Consular Center (KCC) that collects nonimmigrant visa petition approval information from the USCIS.

CLAIMS stands for Computer Linked Application Information Management System. CLAIMS provides USCIS employees with automated support for adjudicating cases and processing various notices, among other things. CLAIMS capabilities include case tracking, status update, notice reporting, and document production.


Question #8 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
If I’m currently training on an F-1 Visa, when should I file my H-1B petition?

Answer #8
If you mean, you are currently utilizing your OPT, the answer will depend upon when your OPT will expire. If expiring between now and March 31, 2014, you should submit your H-1B petition under the FY2014 CAP opening on April 1, 2013 with H-1B employment beginning on October 1, 2013.


Question #9 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
What is CAP GAP? And Am I subject to the CAP GAP?

Answer #9
As provided on the USCIS website, Current regulations allow certain students with pending or approved H-1B petitions to remain in F-1 status during the period of time when an F-1 student’s status and work authorization would otherwise expire through the start date of their approved H-1B employment period. This is referred to as filling the “cap-gap,” meaning the regulations provide a way of filling the “gap” between the end of F-1 status and the beginning of H-1B status that might otherwise occur if F-1 status is not extended for qualifying students.


Question #10 –H-1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
I am an international student with F1- status and Associate degree that I obtained here in US. Am I qualified to change my status to h1B VISA?

Answer #10
Unfortunately, you are not, unless you possess qualifying work experience. You can combine your education and experience to satisfy the Bachelor’s degree requirement if you have the requisite years of experience. To be eligible to obtain an H-1B visa, you must possess a Bachelor’s degree in a Specialty Occupation field, and the position for which you are being sponsored must require at a minimum the attainment of a Bachelor’s degree in a specific specialty occupation field.


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 29, 2013!

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

Undocumented Immigrants – five details you need to know

March 12, 2013

Various proposals for Immigration Reform have included a “Pathway to Citizenship” for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants already living in this country. There are many misconceptions about this group; we call “undocumented immigrants”!

I recently read an article entitled, “5 need-to-know facts about undocumented immigrants”. I have included the five questions from the article below. Think about how you would answer these questions before you read the article. I think you will be surprised by the answers that the article provides. The questions and answers were based on research conducted by the Pew Research Hispanic Center. Hopefully, we can all learn something from this Q&A.

MVP Law Group would like our blog readers to email us with your own questions or comments about Immigration Reform. We may include them in future blog posts on the subject! Remember, MVP Law Group always invites Immigration related questions for our bimonthly Immigration Q&A Forum!

Here are the five questions answered by the article:

1) Who are the undocumented?

2) Where do undocumented immigrants live?

3) What jobs do undocumented immigrants work?

4) How many undocumented immigrants leave?

5) What does the public want when it comes to immigration reform?


View the links below for more detail on the subject:

Nbclatino.com (1/30/13) Article:
5 need-to-know facts about undocumented immigrants

Businessweek.com (2/12/13) Video:
Immigration: Facts and Figures You Must Know

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, March 15, 2013

March 11, 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, March 15, 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.

Import Our Workers or Import Our Food

March 8, 2013

About 300 farmers gathered on Wednesday (2/27/13) in Raleigh, NC at the North Carolina State Legislative Building. They were there for a press conference and the release of the North Carolina Farm Bureau's (NCFB) “North Carolina Agriculture Workforce Report – February 2013”. The NCFB conducted a farm labor survey of approximately 50,000 farms in North Carolina.

One major problem they found was that 61% of the farmers were having trouble finding workers to pick their crops and work their fields. The NCFB advocates an enhanced Guest Worker Program as part of overall U.S. Immigration Reform. The farmers are worried that the NC Legislature will make E-Verify mandatory for temporary farm workers without a reliable guest worker program in place. As of July 1, 2013 NC employers with 25 or more employees will be required to use E-Verify to check work authorization for all new hires. Seasonal temporary workers are exempt but NC farmers are worried this will soon change.

Doug Patterson, owner of Patterson Farm, Inc. which employees about 300 people stated, “We feel that if nothing is done in the next few years, we will reduce acreage or get out of the fruit and vegetable farming business altogether. North Carolina will have to decide to import our workers or import our food.” Patterson added, “If the state passes and implements a mandatory E-Verify system without a viable, affordable federal guest worker program in place, then many farmers will be forced to quit.”

The U.S. does have a guest worker program for Temporary Agricultural Workers, the H-2A visa. There were 65,345* of these visa granted in FY2012. The problem is that U.S. farms hired an estimated million or more undocumented immigrants to fill needed seasonal (temporary) jobs during this same time period! The farmers complain that the existing H-2A program has too much bureaucratic paperwork and requires them to pay inflated wages and benefits. All these things add up and affect their bottom line and in some cases their actual existence!


View the links below for more detail on the subject:

NCFB.org (2/27/13) Press Release:
NCFB Report Reveals an Unstable Agriculture Workforce and Signs of a Broken System

NCFB.org (2/27/13) Report:
North Carolina Agriculture Workforce Report – February 2013

WRAL.com (2/27/13) Video:
Farmers ask lawmakers to ease up on immigration rules

WRAL.com (2/27/13) Article:
NC farmers want help on immigration solution

Globalpost.com (3/1/13) Article:
North Carolina Farmers Wary of E-Verify Mandate

Washingtonpost.com (2/26/13) Article:
Republicans, Democrats agree on need to rework agricultural worker program


*Worldwide NIV Workload by Visa Category FY 2012 (U.S. Dept. of State)

Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) Processing Times

March 6, 2013

Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) Processing Times were released with processing dates as of March 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 current; for an I-140 EB3 Appeal for a Skilled or Professional Worker is 12 months.

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

Immigration Wars, the book!

March 5, 2013

Jeb Bush, the former Republican Governor of Florida has co-written a new book, “Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution”. This is not a review of the book, which will not be released until Wednesday, March 6th but a reminder for you to watch for all the discussion that the book generates. Jeb Bush and his co-author Clint Bolick, VP for Litigation, Goldwater Institute and a research fellow with the Hoover Institution are touring the country speaking on TV Morning Shows and doing book signings and discussions. The book is billed as a non-partisan solution for comprehensive immigration reform. One major point that is different from the proposals being made by Congress and the President is NO path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants. Gov. Bush does suggest a form of legal residency for any of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants who meet his suggested requirements. Everyone will not agree with his proposals but he brings an interesting perspective to the ongoing immigration reform discussion.


View the links below for more detail on the subject:

Read an excerpt from the book, “Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution” by Jeb Bush and Clint Bolick

NBCNEWS.com (3/4/13): Jeb Bush: No pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants

Video: NBC Today Show, Interview with Jeb Bush and Clint Bolick (3/4/13): http://www.today.com/video/today/51034262#51034262

Sequestration forces ICE to release detainees

March 4, 2013

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have released several hundred detained illegal immigrants from detention centers across the country. The reason given for this large number of early releases was the forced budget cuts caused by the federal budget sequestration, which is set to start March 1st. The exact number of those released has not been published but it is estimated to be around 300. According to the National Immigration Forum, the current cost to detain an undocumented immigrant is approximately $164 per day.

These individuals are being released but the charges against them will not be dropped. ICE has stated that the people released did not commit serious crimes, mostly misdemeanor traffic offenses. ICE will still track these people but with cheaper methods.

Republicans are concerned about the release of criminals and the Democrats are questioning why these people were detained in the first place for such minimal offenses.

MVP Law Group recognizes there will be other sequestration budget cuts which will affect the immigration process and our clients. We will be following this subject closely and we will report it to you, our blog readers.


View the links below for more detail on the subject:

AP.org (2/26/13):
DHS releasing illegal immigrants before sequester

Opposingviews.com (2/26/13):
What Impact Will Sequestration Have on Immigration

Immigrationforum.org (pdf):
The Math of Immigration Detention

MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, March 1, 2013

March 1, 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
Can my spouse apply for an H-1B or does she have to apply for an H-4?

Answer #1
Your spouse may only apply for an H-1B if she has a U.S. employer willing to sponsor her H-1B temporary work visa. Otherwise, if she does not have a bona fide offer of employment from a U.S. employer willing to sponsor her, then, yes in order to accompany you and stay with you in the U.S., she would need to apply for an H4 visa. Individuals in H4 dependent visa status are NOT authorized for employment, they are NOT allowed to work.


Question #2 – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
What is DACA?

Answer #2
It is a policy that will defer action for Children who qualify, who are otherwise unlawfully present in the U.S. through no fault of their own.
As listed on the USCIS website: As the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) continues to focus its enforcement resources on the removal of individuals who pose a danger to national security or a risk to public safety, including individuals convicted of crimes with particular emphasis on violent criminals, felons, and repeat offenders, DHS will exercise prosecutorial discretion as appropriate to ensure that enforcement resources are not expended on low priority cases, such as individuals who came to the United States as children and meet other key guidelines. Individuals who demonstrate that they meet the guidelines may request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and may be eligible for employment authorization.


Question #3 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
How long does my H-1B Visa last? What if it is about to expire? How do I re-apply?

Answer #3
An H-1B visa will last for the validity period as provided on Form I-797 (I-129 Approval Notice). A typical H-1B visa is approved for a period of three years, and may be extended once for an additional three years, totaling 6 years in H-1B nonimmigrant visa status; however, certain circumstances do exists that will make an H-1B applicant eligible for H-1B extensions beyond the six year limit.

If your H-1B visa is about to expire, you need to know how much time you have remaining in H-1B nonimmigrant visa status. If you have time remaining, you will need to file an H-1B extension with the USCIS requesting an additional period of time, not to exceed three years. If you do not have any time remaining, you will have to leave the U.S. for a period of one (1) year, and after one (1) year you will become subject to the H-1B Annual Cap and will need to apply for a new H-1B to return to the U.S.


Question #4 – Temporary Nonimmigrant Work Visas
My company is in the process of setting up a United States office. They would like for me to transfer to the US to oversee their daily operations. I am not sure how long I will be staying. Do I apply for an H-1B or L-1 Visa?

Answer #4
I cannot answer case specific questions in this forum, therefore, I have provided below, basic information concerning the H-1B and L1 visa. We recommend that you speak with an experienced Immigration Attorney to determine which visa will be most suitable for your situation.
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 laws regarding the H-1B visa are in constant flux and applicants seriously considering this category as a means of working in the U.S. on a temporary basis should stay informed and updated as much as possible. Due to the fact that an applicant’s circumstances and the circumstances of his/her dependent family members may require special attention, the following information is not tailored to any one individual but provides general information about this category. 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 spouse and unmarried children below the age of 21 are allowed to accompany or join the H-1B worker as H-4 dependents. However, they cannot work unless they qualify for a work visa. H-4 dependents can enroll and attend schools in the U.S. without obtaining a student 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 L2 status. Spouses may seek employment by filing form I-765. Children may attend school.


Question #5 – General
I am from Jamaica and have always wanted to live and work in the United States. My friend and I thought about applying for work at Disney World. What kind of Visas would we need?

Answer #5
You would need to speak with a Representative at Disney World, as they have several international exchange programs available for international applicants. They have a J1 Cultural Exchange Program that may suit your needs.


Question #6 – Temporary Nonimmigrant Work Visas
Can a Canadian native apply for an H-1B? Or do they only qualify for a TN Visa?

Answer #6
Anyone may apply for an H-1B nonimmigrant work visa so long as they meet the educational requirements. Only Canadians citizens and Mexican citizens may take advantage of the TN visa.


Question #7 – Temporary Nonimmigrant Work Visas
I am a Brazilian Soccer player. A few teams in the United States have contacted me to come & play for them. I am interested in traveling to the US to play. What are the differences between the 0-1 and 0-2 Visas?

Answer #7
The O-1 Visa is reserved for those with Extra-ordinary ability in the Sciences, Arts, Education, Business or Athletics and for those who have demonstrated records of extraordinary achievement in the Motion Picture or Television Industry. To be considered an outstanding individual, an applicant should be highly regarded in their particular field, and may only work in the U.S. in that specific area of expertise. The O-1 Visa is for outstanding individuals. This visa enables individuals with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, athletics, motion picture and television industry to enter the U.S. for temporary periods of time. USCIS loosely defines this category, and the spectrum of eligible individuals also includes chefs, carpenters and lecturers. The O-1 Visa must be petitioned by a US employer, U.S. agent or foreign employer through a U.S. agent. The spouse and/or unmarried children under the age of 21 may join the applicant in the U.S. under O-3 status. While they may not work while in the U.S., immediate family members are allowed to attend school or college. 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:

- Receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in his/her field.
- Membership in an association in the field which requires outstanding achievements of its members, as judged by national or international experts in the field.
- Published material in professional or major trade publications or major media about the person, concerning the person's work in the field.
- Participation on a panel, or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the field.
- Scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field.
- Authorship of scholarly articles in the field in professional journals or other major media.
- Employment in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation.
- High salary or other remuneration commanded by the person for services


The O-2 Visa enables the support personnel of an artist or athlete (O-1 visa holder) to accompany and assist the performer in a specific event or performance. The presence and support of the O-2 personnel must be essential to the successful performance of the O-1 visa holder. O-2 visas are offered to support personnel of O-1 Visa holders in the fields of athletics, entertainment, science, business or education. This status is not applicable to personnel in the motion picture and television industry. The O-2 Visa must be petitioned by a U.S. employer, U.S. agent or foreign employer through a U.S. agent. The spouse and/or unmarried children under the age of 21 are permitted to accompany the applicant to the U.S., under an O-3 status. The dependents of the applicant must be able to prove immediate family relation to the applicant. Dependents are not allowed to work while in the U.S., although they may attend school or college. More than one O-2 application may be included on the same petition, if all parties are helping the same O-1 applicant for the same events or performances, during the same period of time and at the same location.


Question #8 – Family Based Green Card
My fiancé and I have been dating for 2 years and we plan to get married in the next year. He is from Peru and is currently using a Student Visa. Can he apply for a Fiancé Visa now or should he wait until after we are married to get a Spousal Visa?

Answer #8
I cannot answer case specific questions in this forum. We recommend that you speak with an experienced Immigration Attorney to determine which process will be most suitable for your situation.


Question #9 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
I have applied for an H-1B Visa. My wife has applied for a H4 Visa. Do we need to apply for an H4 Visa for all of our children? 2 of our children are under 3. The other one is 6 years old.

Answer #9
If your children are not U.S. citizens, then yes you will need to include them. Your children should have been included in your wife’s H4 application (Form I-539).


Question #10 – Employment Based Green Card
For the past 7 years, I have been attending medical school and working as a resident at some of the local hospitals. I would like to stay in the US and find a permanent position as a doctor. How do I get my Green Card and how long does it take?

Answer #10
In many cases, individuals find a permanent position with a company willing to sponsor their Green Card process. The length of the process depends upon which preference category you fit under and your country of birth.


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 15, 2013!

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

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

February 25, 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, March 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.

USCIS Releases New DACA Statistics through 2/14/13 - UPDATE

February 20, 2013

These USCIS statistics on DACA cases from 8/15/12 to 2/14/13 show a total of 423,634 DACA requests accepted for processing, 411,739 biometric services appointments scheduled, and 199,460 requests approved.

The data also shows the number of accepted requests from the top ten countries of origin and the top ten states of residence. Mexico was the top county of origin with 313,722 received to date. California was the top state of residence with 119,466 received to date.

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

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


Source of Information: “USCIS Performance Data (Posted 2/15/13)”

USCIS Celebrates Presidents' Day all week

February 19, 2013

The USCIS will celebrate Presidents’ Day (2/18/13) by welcoming thousands of new citizens in special naturalization ceremonies across the nation. These special ceremonies take place across the country at different locations. The link below will display all the locations! The ceremonies began on Friday, February 15, 2013 and will end on February 22, 2013.

Please visit the USCIS.gov website for a full list of President's Day Special Naturalization Ceremonies

Source of Information: "USCIS News Release (2/13/2013)"

MVP Law Group would like to congratulate these new citizens! Special ceremonies like these are not only a good way to celebrate a national holiday but a great way to let legal immigrants know how important they are to our society.

MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, February 15, 2013

February 15, 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 Non-Immigrant Visa
Who is included in the H-1B CAP?

Answer #1
The H-1B CAP that opens every year on April 1, only applies to new H-1B recipients – individuals graduating from a U.S. university; those who live abroad and have found work in the U.S.; those changing status from H4 to H1B, L1 to H-1B, TN to H-1B, etc.

Recipients of H1B Extensions, Transfers and Amendments are not subject to the Annual H1B Cap.


Question #2 – Employment Based Immigration
How can I qualify for an H-1B with a company, but not a Green Card with that company?

Answer #2
The H-1B program is entirely different from the Green Card process. With the H-1B program, one is able to combine both education and experience to satisfy the requirement of having the equivalent of a U.S. Bachelor’s degree in a specific field. However, with the Green Card process, education and experience cannot be combined for education equivalency to satisfy the employer’s minimum requirements for the position.


Question #3 – H-1B Non-Immigrant Visa
What is your projection of the H-1B CAP Season?

Answer #3
The Fiscal Year 2014 H-1B season is quickly approaching and has been projected to be the shortest season since the start of the Great Recession. In the past few seasons, as H-1B visa numbers dwindled, the rate of filings of Cap-subject H-1B visa petitions increased. For this reason, we predict the H-1B quota will be reached in the first two to three weeks.

This will be the shortest H-1B Season since FY 2009, when 165,000 H-1B petitions were filed within the five-day filing period at the beginning of April, 2008 and a lottery was needed to select the petitions that would be awarded a place within the Cap. After the start of the Great Recession, however, the demand for H-1B visas decreased dramatically, resulting in significantly longer H-1B seasons: the FY 2010 H-1B Cap was reached December 21, 2009; the FY 2011 H-1B Cap was reached January 27, 2011; the FY 2012 H-1B Cap was reached November 22, 2012; and the FY 2013 H-1B Cap was reached June 11, 2012. Many see the markedly higher demand for H-1B visa petitions this season as indicative of an improving job market and economy in the U.S.


Question #4 – Marriage Based Immigration
I married a U.S. Citizen after 4 years of dating and an autistic child, received my conditional green card and am now eligible to remove my conditions. My situation is a bit complicated and I may be facing a divorce. Can I, and Can you advise me on what to do?

Answer #4
You may be able to remove the conditions by filing a waiver. The questions and answers in this forum are limited to those of a general nature. We recommend that you contact one of our experienced Immigration Attorneys to further discuss the specifics of your situation.


Question #5 – H-1B Non-Immigrant Visa
Is there any limit to how many times I can apply for an H1B transfer?

Answer #5
No, you can apply as many times as you want.


Question #6 – DACA
Will I be able to get a driver’s license with DACA? What about in-state tuition?

Answer #6
The answer is dependent on the state.


Question #7 – H-1B Non-Immigrant Visa
I applied for an H-1B visa back in 2008, it was approved and I worked for two years and then returned to my home country to deliver my first child. I have found another work opportunity with a new employer in the US and would like to return. Am I subject to the Annual CAP?

Answer #7
If you have a I-797 approval notice indicating that your H-1B was approved within the past six years, and there is time remaining on your 6 year H-1B limit, then YES, you may return to the US upon receipt of a new I-797 approval notice with a new sponsoring employer.


Question #8 – Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR)
Will a new legalization program simply lead to more illegal immigration?

Answer #8
No: not if the new program contains all the appropriate elements and is implemented properly. Please stay tuned to our h1bvisalawyer blog, Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates concerning Comprehensive Immigration Reform.


Question #9 – H-1B Non-Immigrant Visa
My H-1B was approved in September 2011. Went for visa stamping in January 2012 and was denied. Consulate returned my petition to the USCIS in March 2012, still no response. What is going on? What’s going to happen next? I’m stuck in my home country until I receive some news.

Answer #9
Normally, when the Consulate/Department of State (DOS) returns a case to the USCIS, the USCIS has the authority to review the response from the Consulate/DOS and either re-affirm their previous decision or issue a Notice of Intent to Deny. The burden is then on the Petitioner to overcome any allegations presented in the Notice of Intent to Deny. Cases returned to the USCIS from the DOS are not given top priority and are worked on/reviewed as time and resources allow.


Question #10 – DACA
Will DACA let me travel internationally?

Answer #10
You would need to apply for an Advance Parole document in order to travel internationally. Please be advised that the Department of Homeland Security has stated that it will only grant Advance Parole for “humanitarian, education or work purposes.”


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 1, 2013!

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

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, February 15, 2013

February 11, 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 15, 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.

Updated Service Center Processing Times

February 8, 2013

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on February 5, 2013 with processing dates as of December 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.

Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) Processing Times

February 7, 2013

Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) Processing Times were released with processing dates as of February 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 current; for an I-140 EB3 Appeal for a Skilled or Professional Worker is 14 months.

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

MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, February 1, 2013

February 1, 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
I am an employer. When should we begin to prepare our H-1B CAP subject cases? Once prepared, can we submit them prior to April to ensure our petitions are accepted?

Answer #1
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.

The cap filings may be filed as of April 1, 2013, NOT BEFORE. It is vital to file on the first day. Last year, FY13, the H-1B CAP was reached by June 12, 2012.


Question #2 – L1 Nonimmigrant Visa
How long does it take to get an L1?

Answer #2
Current processing times indicate a period of 1 month if the application is filed with the California Service Center or the Vermont Service Center.


Question #3 – Employment Based Immigration – Green Card
I would like to know more about moving my application from EB3 to EB2 status.

Answer #3
Please contact an experienced Immigration Attorney to learn more.


Question #4 – Employment Based Immigration – Green Card
My employer appealed my labor application to BALCA. My employer just received notice that my appeal has been docketed by BALCA. When can I expect a decision?

Answer #4
According to the United States Department of Labor website, it is taking up to two (2) years for a case to be reviewed by BALCA from the date of filing the appeal.


Question #5 – L1 Nonimmigrant Visa
Can spouses and children of L1 visa-holders work in the USA?

Answer #5
Spouses of L-1 workers may apply for work authorization by filing a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. Children may attend school.


Question #6 – Family Based Immigration – Green Card
My father is a U.S. Citizen and agreed that he would sponsor my GC. He currently makes roughly $21k annually. Can he sponsor me for my GC?

Answer #6
To qualify as a sponsor, he must demonstrate that his income is at least 125 percent of the current Federal poverty guideline for his household size. Please refer to the Federal Poverty Guidelines to determine if he could be the primary sponsor for your family based GC application.


Question #7 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
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 work, 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 #7
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 #8 – Dependent H4 Nonimmigrant Visa
Will my spouse automatically be shifted from F2 to H4 once I receive my approved H1B or do I need to process her case separately?

Answer #8
In this situation, your spouse’s status will not automatically be converted to H4 status, she must file a Form I-539 (Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status) requesting a change of status from F2 to H4. Her case can be processed separately or it can be prepared and filed along with your H-1B visa petition. If you have already filed your H-1B petition, you will have to file her I-539 (H4) petition separately.


Question #9 – Employment Based Immigration – Green Card
My husband and daughter have received their Green Cards but I didn’t get mine. I filed for our green cards through my employer. Is there a problem with my case?

Answer #9
Based on the information provided, it seems like there may be an issue with the production/issuance/mailing of your Green Card. Your husband and daughter would not have received their Green Cards if there was a pending issue with your case. From the information you provided, you are the primary applicant and your husband and daughter are your derivatives. Therefore, the USCIS would not approve the I-485 Application to Adjust status for the derivatives without first approving it for the primary applicant. Follow up with the USCIS after 60 days from the date your husband and daughter received their GCs by calling the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283.


Question #10 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
Can an employee pay any of the costs associated with obtaining an H-1B visa? Or can the employee reimburse the employer for these costs?

Answer #10
An Employer is responsible for the legal fees and USCIS filing fees associated with the H-1B nonimmigrant visa. The Employer is responsible for the legal fees and the $325.00 fee associated with Form I-129; the $500.00 one-time fraud fee; the $750.00 or $1500.00 fee associated with the Form I-129DC; as well as the $2000.00 Public Law fee, if applicable. The only USCIS filing fee that may be paid by the employee is the premium processing fee of $1225.00.

The Employee may not pay for the associated costs listed above, except for the premium processing fee of $1225. However, if an H4 petition is filed, the employee may pay the costs associated with the H4 legal fee and H4 USCIS filing fee.


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 15, 2013!

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

Reminder: USCIS Immigrant Fee Takes Effect on Feb. 1

January 31, 2013

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!

Bipartisan Framework for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

January 30, 2013

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.

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

January 28, 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.

USCIS Policy Manual Webinars

January 25, 2013

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

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

January 23, 2013

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)”

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

January 22, 2013

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.

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

January 21, 2013

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

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

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!

USCIS Begins Transition to Online Centralized Policy Manual

January 17, 2013

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.

U.S. Embassy Mexico Expands Expedited Visa Processing

January 16, 2013

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.

USCIS NCSC has adds Saturday Hours

January 15, 2013

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.

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

January 14, 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.

Visa Bulletin - February 2013

January 11, 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.

Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) Processing Times

January 10, 2013

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.

Updated Service Center Processing Times

January 9, 2013

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.

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

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!

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

January 3, 2013

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)"

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

January 2, 2013

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!

Happy New Year!

January 1, 2013
Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. - Albert Einstein

Happy New Year, from our family to yours!

The MVP Law Group

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, January 4, 2013

December 31, 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, January 4, 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.

MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum – Originally posted 6/22/12

December 28, 2012

This blog entry was originally posted on 6/22/12. 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 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
My son is on opt and it is expiring on august. Meanwhile his employer has filed H1B visa on April 9th all his colleagues have received acceptance. My son’s status is still in initial review. Should I panic that there will be a denial. How long should I wait?

Answer #1
The delay in obtaining a decision is most likely based upon whether your son’s H-1B was filed under regular processing or premium processing. It may be that his colleagues’ H-1B cases were filed with premium processing, which provides a decision within 15 calendar days of receipt of the filing. Currently regular processing is taking 3-4 months from the date of receipt.


Question #2 – Employment Based Immigration
When will employment based visas in 2nd preference for India be available again?

Answer #2
According to the Visa Bulletin, numbers will be available for China and India Employment Based Second Preference cases beginning October 1, 2012 under the FY2013 numerical limitations. Every effort will be made to return the China and India EB2 cut-off date to the May 1, 2010 date which had been reached in April 2012. It is impossible to accurately estimate how long that may take, but current indications are that it would definitely not occur before Spring 2013.


Question #3 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
I need to file my H-1b as soon as possible, but I am scheduled to leave the country early next week. If I file and leave, will there be any complications? Please advise.

Answer #3
Pursuant to regulation 8 C.F.R. 214.2(h)(15)(i), a person must be in the U.S. when an extension is filed, but may travel abroad while an extension is pending. If the beneficiary is required to travel while the extension is pending, the approval can be sent via cable (or through the PIMS system) to the appropriate consular post upon the Petitioner’s request. We recommend that if you have a pending extension with the USCIS, you do not travel outside of the U.S. unless it is an emergency.


Question #4 – Employment Based Immigration
Can I obtain EAD and AP immediately upon filing my I-485 with the INS?

Answer #4
No, these ancillary benefits are not granted immediately upon submission of the I-485 petition. Current processing times indicate a processing period of 2-3 months before issuance of the EAD and AP benefits.


Question #5 – General
Under this new DREAMERS legislation, if a person has an illness and has been in the country seeking treatment for that illness, are they eligible to stay and get the work permit?

Answer #5
It seems that you have received incorrect information concerning the announcement made on Friday regarding deferred action for undocumented youth. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will grant deferred action for undocumented youth that meet strict eligibility requirements.

First things first, to be eligible for deferred action the applicant must:
• Have arrived in the U.S. when they were under the age of sixteen
• Have continuously resided in the U.S. for at least five years prior to June 15, 2012 and have been present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012
•Currently be in school, have graduated from high school, have a GED, or be an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard or the U.S. Armed Forces (*Note: Friday's email mistakenly identified those currently serving in the military as eligible, only those honorably discharged are eligible)
• Not have been convicted of a felony offense, a “significant misdemeanor offense,” three or more non-significant misdemeanors, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety
• Have been under thirty-one years old on June 15, 2012
DREAMers should not apply affirmatively for deferred action at this time.


Question #6 – Employment Based Immigration
My AP expires today and since i just came back from the Phillipines, i don’t see any travel need for quite some time now hence i am not applying for extension of AP. Is that OK? Or do we need to always apply for a new one before the current one expires. I think we can always apply only on needs basis and do it at a later stage. Will that be fine?

Answer #6
You do not need to apply for the AP prior to the expiration of the current AP. You can always apply at a later date.


Question #7 –H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
My date of birth and country of citizenship was incorrectly listed on the I-797 received by USCIS. My I-129 form had it correct. So my I-797 is not right, what do I need to do now?

Answer #7
Contact the USCIS National Customer Service number (1-800-375-5283) and speak with an Agent to request that the mistakes be corrected, so that your I-129 Approval notice (Form I-797) will provide the correct date of birth and country of citizenship.


Question #8 – Employment Based Immigration
I have an approved I-140 filed by my previous company and they also submitted my I-485 back in 2007 when priority dates were current. I have since moved onto employment with another company on my EAD. Can I file AC21 Portability letter?

Answer #8
You may be eligible to file an AC21 106(c) Portability Request if the new position/duties are the same or substantially similar to the position/duties listed in your Labor application certified by the DOL.


Question #9 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
Are there any H1Bs left under either CAP?

Answer #9
As of June 11, 2012, USCIS received a sufficient number of petitions to reach the statutory cap for FY 2013. As of June 7, 2012, USCIS also received more than 20,000 H-1B petitions on behalf of persons exempt from the cap under the advanced degree exemption. USCIS will continue to reject petitions subject to the cap for H-1B specialty occupation workers seeking an employment start date in FY 2013 that are received after June 11, 2012.


Question #10 –H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
Used first three years of H-1B, filed extension. Will I have to stop working while I wait for my H-1B extension approval? I think I waited too long to apply for the extension. My current H-1B expires at end of July. What is going to happen if I do not receive the approval prior to expiration of my current H-1B?

Answer #10
Under regulation 8 C.F.R. §274a.12(b)(20), a person lawfully employed under A-3, E-1,E-2,E-3,G-5,H-1B, H-2A/B, H-3, I, J-1, L-1, O-1/O-2, P-1/P-2/P-3, R or TN status who timely files an application for extension consistent with 8 C.F.R. §214.1, is automatically given 240 days from date of expiration. This extension does not apply to persons seeking a change of status. During 240 days, there is no INA 245(c) bar to adjustment of status.


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

MVP LAW GROUP –Immigration Q&A Forum – Originally posted 6/22/12

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

MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum – Originally posted 5/25/12

December 27, 2012

This blog entry was originally posted on 5/25/12. 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 – Employment Based Green Card
Does an approved labor certification allow me the legal right to work within the U.S.?

Answer #1
No. An approved labor certification only allows your employer to file an EB-2 or EB-3 category immigration petition on your behalf.


Question #2 – Permanent Residence
Can I work in India while holding US green card and not jeopardize my naturalization process in US?

Answer #2
There are various eligibility requirements to qualify for Naturalization - Be 18 or older; Be a green card holder for at least 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing the Form N-400, Application for Naturalization; Have lived within the state, or USCIS district with jurisdiction over the applicant’s place of residence, for at least 3 months prior to the date of filing the application; Have continuous residence in the United States as a green card holder for at least 5 years immediately preceding the date of the filing the application; Be physically present in the United States for at least 30 months out of the 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing the application; Reside continuously within the United States from the date of application for naturalization up to the time of naturalization; Be able to read, write, and speak English and have knowledge and an understanding of U.S. history and government (civics); Be a person of good moral character, attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States, and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the United States during all relevant periods under the law.

Additionally, if you remain outside of the U.S. for a period of one year or longer, Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) does have the authority to question you and may take your Green Card, as they consider trips of 1 year or longer without a re-entry permit, abandonment of Lawful Permanent Residence in the United States.


Question #3 – Employment Based Green Card
What is the difference between a labor certification and a work permit?

Answer #3
A work permit or Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is a document that the USCIS issues to aliens stating that they are eligible to work on a temporary basis within the U.S. In contrast, a labor certification DOES NOT give the alien authorization to work within the U.S. Rather, it deals with future employment. Instead, a labor certification is the first step that allows the employer to file an immigration petition on the alien’s behalf.


Question #4 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
Any H1Bs left?

Answer #4
As of May 18, 2012, there were approximately 42,000 H-1B Regular CAP subject nonimmigrant visas filed and 16,000 H-1B Masters Exemption nonimmigrant visas filed. 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.


Question #5 – Employment Based Green Card
Does an approved PERM labor certification provide me legal status within the U. S.?

Answer #5
No. It will, however, often provide the foundation for a later filing that can afford you legal status in the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident (green card holder).


Question #6 – General
How can I check the status of my application with Immigration Services?

Answer #6
There are two ways in which to check the status of your application with the USCIS. You may contact the USCIS National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 and speak with a Customer Service Representative. Or, you may go to www.uscis.gov and enter your receipt number into the case status box on the left hand side of the website.


Question #7 – Family Based Green Card
If my child is a U.S citizen can I obtain legal status in the U.S?

Answer #7
You cannot obtain legal status in the U.S. from your child until your child reaches the age of 21.


Question #8 – Employment Based Green Card
I have a part-time job and my employer agrees to file a PERM labor certification application on my behalf. Does a part-time position qualify for PERM labor certification?

Answer #8
No. The job offer must be for a permanent and full-time position. Part-time positions do not qualify. Please note, however, that the permanent and full-time requirements are for the future position when permanent residency is granted. You are not required to work full time at the time the labor certification petition is filed.


Question #9 – Employment Based Green Card
How much is the DOL filing fee for a PERM labor certification application?

Answer #9
No DOL filing fee is required for a PERM labor certification application.


Question #10 – General
Do I have to notify Immigration if I change my address?

Answer #10
Most non-U.S. citizens must report a change of address with the USCIS within 10 days of moving within the United States or its territories. Exceptions include: Diplomats (visa status A), Official government representatives to an international organization (visa status G), and Certain nonimmigrants who do not possess a visa and who are in the U.S. for fewer than 30 days. You may report a change of address by filing Form AR-11 either electronically or by mail with the USCIS.

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

MVP LAW GROUP –Immigration Q&A Forum – Originally posted 5/25/12

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

MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum – Originally posted 4/13/12

December 26, 2012

This blog entry was originally posted on 4/13/12. 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 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
I am an international student with F1- status and Associate degree that I obtained here in US. Am I qualified to change my status to h1B VISA?

Answer #1
Unfortunately, you are not, unless you possess qualifying work experience. To be eligible to obtain an H-1B visa, you must have a Bachelor’s degree in a Specialty Occupation field, and the position for which you are being sponsored must require at a minimum the attainment of a Bachelor’s degree in a specific specialty occupation field.


Question #2 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
Is H-1B CAP moving faster or slower than this time last year? How many have been filed at this point?

Answer #2
Faster. According to the USCIS, H-1B petitions being filed subject to the CAP have doubled since this time last year. As of April 9, 2012, there were approximately 17,400 H-1B Regular CAP subject nonimmigrant visas filed and 8,200 H-1B Masters Exemption nonimmigrant visas filed. 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 FY2012 H-1B Cap updates, please refer to our www.h1bvisalawyerblog.com.


Question #3 – Family Based Immigration
Who is responsible for scheduling the Interview, my fiancé or the Consulate itself?

Answer #3
The Consulate is responsible for scheduling the Interview and will send you notice of the date and time of the scheduled interview.


Question #4 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
I filed I-485, am waiting for EAD, my H-1B expires in May 20, can I wait until first week of May to prepare and file the H-1B, in hopes of receiving my EAD in the meantime? I do not want to get any unlawful presence/status. Please advise.

Answer #4
As long as you timely file your H-1B extension, under regulation 8 C.F.R. §274a.12(b)(20), a person lawfully employed under A-3, E-1,E-2,E-3,G-5, H-1B, H-2A/B, H-3, I, J-1, L-1, O-1/O-2, P-1/P-2/P-3, R or TN status who timely files an application for extension consistent with 8 C.F.R. §214.1, is automatically given 240 days from the date of expiration. During 240 days, there is no INA 245(c) bar to adjustment of status. We recommend that you maintain H-1B status while your I-485 is pending as a safety net in case any problems arise in the adjudication of your I-485 petition.


Question #5 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
How long does it take for the USCIS to review an H1B case that has been returned by the Department of State? When can we contact USCIS to check on the status?

Answer #5
The USCIS has indicated that when cases are returned to them from the Department of State (DOS), those cases are reviewed and processed when time and resources allow. Accordingly, they are low priority in the eyes of the USCIS. Pursuant to the USCIS National Customer Service Center (1-800-375-5283), you may initiate a Service Request after waiting 180 days from the date your case is returned to the USCIS.


Question #6 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
Is a Nurse Practitioner considered a Specialty Occupation? A doctor’s office has given me a job opportunity (I’m on OPT) and I wanted to make sure before I accept that this is doable?

Answer #6
If you have at least a Bachelor’s degree in a specific field and the position requires at least a Bachelor’s degree in a stated filed, then you may be eligible for the H-1B nonimmigrant visa. In the medical industry, most of these occupations require graduate school. This type of position also requires extensive skill, knowledge and experience.


Question #7 – Employment Based Immigration – Green Card
The May visa bulletin shows that priority dates went back to 2007 for my category, EB2, I’m from India. My priority date was August 2010. Please explain to me what “priority date becoming current” means?

Answer #7
In order for an individual to obtain an immigrant visa, a visa number must be available to you. This is referred to as the priority date being "current." 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. This Bulletin is accessible at www.travel.state.gov. If there is a backlog in the preference category in which you were filed in, this means, that you must wait until a visa becomes available, until your priority date becomes current. When your priority date becomes current, you may file the I-485 application, but until then, you must wait. If your priority date was after May 2, 2010, then you will have to wait.


Question #8 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
I have a student on OPT currently working for my company. I need to apply for her H-1B under this CAP. Her OPT expires in August of 2012. Will she have to return home or will she be covered under the “CAP GAP”? I am not sure of eligibility requirements for H1B CAP GAP. Please assist.

Answer #8
H-1B petitions that are timely filed, on behalf of an eligible F-1 student, that request a change of status to H-1B on October 1 qualify for a cap-gap extension. Once a timely filing has been made, requesting a change of status to H-1B on October 1, the automatic cap-gap extension will begin and will continue until the H-1B petition adjudication process has been completed. Timely filed means filed within the H-1B acceptance period beginning April 1, 2012. The paperwork (LCA and I-129) must also reflect a beginning employment date of October 1, 2012 to be covered under the CAP GAP.


Question #9 – Employment Based Immigration – Green Card
We appealed a denial of an I-140 Immigrant Petition filed on behalf of one of our employees. How much longer can we expect to wait for a decision to be made?

Answer #9
According to the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO), Appeals filed under the EB2 preference category (Professionals with Advanced Degrees) are currently being reviewed within 23 months of filing the appeal. Appeals filed under the EB3 preference category (Skilled and Professional workers) are currently being reviewed within 36 months.


Question #10 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
Can an H-1B applicant change employers during the visa process?

Answer #10
Yes, an H-1B applicant is free to change employers during the visa process, changing H-1B employers is considered an H-1B transfer, and that petition would not be counted against the CAP, unless they are changing from a CAP EXEMPT employer to an employer who is not CAP EXEMPT.


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

MVP LAW GROUP –Immigration Q&A Forum – Originally posted 4/13/12

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

Happy Holidays!

December 25, 2012