The President’s Immigration Accountability Executive Actions

November 21, 2014

On Thursday, November 20, 2014, President Barak Obama announced his Temporary Plans to fix our broken immigration system.

The President’s Immigration Accountability Executive Actions will help secure the border, hold nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants accountable and ensure that everyone plays by the same rules.

As an Immigration Attorney, I see the results of our broken system every day and in the absence of Congressional action, the President had to act. While a lot of the details are still waiting to be filled in, we know that many of these changes will make a real impact. We are aware that these initiatives are not going to help everyone, as not everyone will be eligible. Therefore, we need to continue to pressure Congress into finishing the job by passing a bipartisan Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill.

The initiatives as announced by the President include:

• Expanding the population eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to young people who came to this country before turning 16 years old and have been present since January 1, 2010, and extending the period of DACA and work authorization from two years to three years

• Allowing parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who have been in the country since January 1, 2010, to request deferred action and employment authorization for three years, in a new Deferred Action for Parental Accountability program, provided they pass required background checks

• Expanding the use of provisional waivers of unlawful presence to include the spouses and sons and daughters of lawful permanent residents and the sons and daughters of U.S. citizens

• Modernizing, improving and clarifying immigrant and nonimmigrant programs to grow our economy and create jobs

• Promoting citizenship education and public awareness for lawful permanent residents and providing an option for naturalization applicants to use credit cards to pay the application fee

PLEASE NOTE - At this time NOTHING mentioned yesterday evening has been implemented. The President’s Address yesterday evening was just an announcement of what is expected to happen within the next few months. The various governmental agencies involved (DHS/DOS/CBP/USCIS/ICE/EOIR) are still working out the details.

PLEASE BE AWARE OF ANYONE WHO IS OFFERING TO HELP YOU AT THIS TIME. DO NOT BECOME A VICTIM. SPEAK WITH AN IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY!

*An Attorney has to have a license from a State Bar Association
*If you Suspect Fraud, REPORT IT

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WHAT YOU CAN DO AT THIS TIME:

Speak with an Immigration Attorney to determine whether you are eligible for temporary relief

Start collecting the documents listed below now because you may need to
provide proof of:

Identity
Birth certificate and a photo identification (ID). Passport, school or military ID, identification document from your country of origin like a Matricula Consular, or any U.S. document with your name and photo, like a Driver’s License or ID.

Entry to the United States Before a Particular Date
Immigration record or documents with your date of entry, passport with admission stamp (Form I-94/I-95/I-94W), or travel records.
• You can also use medical records (including immunization record) or school records.

Presence and Residence in the United States From a Particular Date
Proof of presence with dates and addresses using immigration documents, government records, medical records, military records, employment records, religious or community organizations records, insurance policies, tax records, etc.
• Bank receipts, financial records, credit card receipts, money order receipts, rental agreements, deeds, mortgages, utility bills, club memberships, etc.

Tax Filings
If you do not have copies of your past filings, call the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) at 1-800-908-9946 to order a transcript for free.
• If you have not filed your taxes, ask for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) by calling 1-800-829-1040 and file them.

Employment History & Residence History
Record dates, names, and addresses of the places where you have worked.
• Record dates and address of the places where you have lived.

Criminal Records
For Maryland- Maryland Judiciary Case Search
For Virginia- General District Court Online
For the District of Columbia-Court Case Search

Application Fee and Fines
Start saving money for the application fee and for any fines.
• Also save money in case you need it for an attorney.

Record Keeping
• Record all of this information in a notebook, keep the original documents, and store them in a safe place.

Selective Service
MALES ONLY. Some non-citizens are required to register. Others are not. Non-citizens who are not required to register with Selective Service include men who are in the U.S. on student or visitor visas, and men who are part of a diplomatic or trade mission and their families. Almost all other male non-citizens are required to register, including undocumented immigrants, legal permanent residents, and refugees. The general rule is that if a male non-citizen takes up residency in the U.S. before his 26th birthday, he must register with Selective Service.
Visit the SSS website , print, complete, sign and mail to:
Selective Service System
P.O. Box 94739
Palatine, IL 60094-4739

Stay tuned to our Immigration blog, Facebook page, and Twitter feeds for more information as it becomes available!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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!

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.

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.

Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) Processing Times

December 12, 2012

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

If you filed an appeal, please review the link below to determine the applicable processing time associated with your particular case.

Administrative Appeals Office

The current processing time for an I-129 H-1B Appeal is 8 months; for an I-129 L1 Appeal - current. The current processing time for an I-140 EB2 Appeal for an Advanced Degree Professional is now current; for an I-140 EB3 Appeal for a Skilled or Professional Worker is 21 months.

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

EAD – The Ins and Outs as an Option for Employment

December 10, 2012

Many people seem to be wondering whether they should work based on their employment authorization documents (EADs). This dilemma is likely tied to the large number of individuals who were able to file adjustment of status applications (I-485s) in late 2011 or early 2012. For these individuals, the option of employment using an EAD is a recent development.

Background: Cutoff Date Retrogression and Fluctuation

There was rapid advancement of the EB2 India and China cutoff dates from December 2011 through April 2012. Thereafter, for most such applicants, visa numbers have been unavailable due to a phenomenon known as retrogression. As of this writing, the cutoff date for EB2 India has retrogressed - or moved backwards - to a cutoff date of September 1, 2004, valid during the months of October, November, and December 2012. EB2 China has less extreme retrogression, with a cutoff date of October 22, 2007 during the month of December 2012.

The end result is many I-485 applicants who expect to have to wait for a long time before their cases become eligible for approval, since approval is contingent upon the availability of visa numbers. This same group of I-485 applicants is eligible for the issuance of EADs, based on pending I-485 cases. Most applicants routinely request EADs with I-485 filings. Many have their EADs in hand, therefore, and are wondering about the possibility of using those privileges, rather than extending H1B or L-1 or other nonimmigrant status.

Pros and Cons of Using the EAD for Employment

The EAD provides unrestricted employment authorization. It is a valuable privilege, and foreign workers with EADs often find that their employment options expand once they have the document. The questions generally asked are whether the H1B should be extended if a person has an EAD or whether a person should accept a job using an EAD. Our answer to this is that, if a person allows the H1B or other nonimmigrant status to lapse they are relying solely on the I-485 as their basis for being in the United States.

With the I-485 pending, the foreign national is considered to be in a period of authorized stay in the United States. S/he is eligible to extend the EAD as long as the I-485 remains pending. Travel is also possible, if the applicant also has advance parole (AP). Many people have joint EAD/AP cards, but they require two separate applications and, depending upon timing, some are issued as two separate documents.

Using the EAD and relying upon the I-485, means that there is no underlying nonimmigrant status. Thus, if the I-485 is denied for some reason, the person will be out of status. The options at that point depend upon the reason for the I-485 denial and other factors, including whether there are any options through a spouse. This is a very different situation from an I-485 denial for a person who still has an H1B or other nonimmigrant status. In that situation, after the I-485 denial, the foreign national would still have the nonimmigrant status to fall back on and would usually have more options available to them.

Considerations in Using the EAD

Put simply, generally, it is safer to maintain a nonimmigrant status rather than relying solely on the I-485 and EAD. However, there are valid reasons that many decide to take the calculated risk. For some, there is no choice, as the employer will not extend the H1B status after the person has the EAD. Still others may have faced layoffs and other job issues, and have had to move to a new employer using the EAD.

For many, it is a choice and a balancing of risks. Once the I-485 has been pending for 180 days, applicants often start to consider job changes under the American Competitiveness in the 21st Century Act (AC21). All employers in the United States must accept EAD holders; employers are not required to sponsor H1Bs or other nonimmigrant categories. So, the universe of potential employers increases once one has an EAD. This often leads to choosing between working on the EAD on one side and passing up possible career-advancing opportunities to keep non-immigrant status on the other. For that reason, many people ultimately decide to work on the EAD at some point in their cases.

When weighing the choices, it is a good idea to try to assess whether there are any enhanced risk factors in the applicant's I-485 case. While all cases have potential weaknesses, some cases are more likely to run into problems than others. The attorneys at the MVP Law Group can help to assess case strengths and weaknesses, based on our many years of experience in providing I-485 representation, as well as our knowledge of current trends. Those considering the issues surrounding the use of the EAD discussed in this article may wish to schedule a consultation with one of our knowledgeable attorneys.

~Article contributed by Stacey Bell, Senior Paralegal.

For more related information and other articles on Business Immigration please review the MVP Law Group Blog.

Updated Service Center Processing Times

December 6, 2012

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on December 5, 2012 with processing dates as of October 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.

Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) Processing Times

November 16, 2012

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

If you filed an appeal, please review the link below to determine the applicable processing time associated with your particular case.

Administrative Appeals Office

The current processing time for an I-129 H-1B Appeal is 9 months; for an I-129 L1 Appeal - 10 months. The current processing time for an I-140 EB2 Appeal for an Advanced Degree Professional is now current; for an I-140 EB3 Appeal for a Skilled or Professional Worker is 24 months.

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

Updated Service Center Processing Times

October 31, 2012

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on October 29, 2012 with processing dates as of September 30, 2012.

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

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

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

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

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

Updated Service Center Processing Times

October 24, 2012

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on October 19, 2012 with processing dates as of August 31, 2012.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) Processing Times

October 17, 2012

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

If you filed an appeal, please review the link below to determine the applicable processing time associated with your particular case.

Administrative Appeals Office

The current processing time for an I-129 H-1B Appeal is 12 months; for an I-129 L1 Appeal - 13 months. The current processing time for an I-140 EB2 Appeal for an Advanced Degree Professional is 7 months; for an I-140 EB3 Appeal for a Skilled or Professional Worker is 29 months.

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

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

October 15, 2012

Canadian TN Nonimmigrants

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

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

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

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

Canadian L-1 Nonimmigrants

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

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

Background: Beyond the Border

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

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

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

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

Updated Service Center Processing Times

October 11, 2012

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on October 4, 2012 with processing dates as of August 31, 2012.

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

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

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

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

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

Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) Processing Times

September 20, 2012

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

If you filed an appeal, please review the link below to determine the applicable processing time associated with your particular case.

Administrative Appeals Office

The current processing time for an I-129 H-1B Appeal is 15 months; for an I-129 L1 Appeal - 17 months. The current processing time for an I-140 EB2 Appeal for an Advanced Degree Professional is 8 months; for an I-140 EB3 Appeal for a Skilled or Professional Worker is 31 months.

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

Updated Service Center Processing Times

September 17, 2012

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on September 13, 2012 with processing dates as of July 31, 2012.

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

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

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

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

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

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, September 14, 2012

September 10, 2012

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

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, 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 14, 2012. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

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

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

August 27, 2012

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

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, DREAMers, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, priority dates, the monthly visa bulletin, adjustment applications, etc., please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, August 31, 2012. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

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

Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) Processing Times

August 10, 2012

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

If you filed an appeal, please review the link below to determine the applicable processing time associated with your particular case.

Administrative Appeals Office

The current processing time for an I-129 H-1B Appeal is 16 months; for an I-129 L1 Appeal - 20 months. The current processing time for an I-140 EB2 Appeal for an Advanced Degree Professional is 12 months; for an I-140EB3 Appeal for a Skilled or Professional Worker is 32 months.

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

Advance Submission of Documents Discontinued at U.S. Consulate Hyderabad

August 7, 2012

As of 8/6/2012, U.S. Consulate Hyderabad will no longer accept advance submission of documents for all Business Executive Program (BEP) and regular H & L petition cases. Instead, all documentation must be delivered to the consulate on the day of the interview.

Anyone with appointments from August 6 onwards are required to carry their documents directly to the consulate on the day of their interview.

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, August 3, 2012

July 30, 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, 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 3, 2012. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

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

Updated Service Center Processing Times

July 23, 2012

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on July 19, 2012 with processing dates as of May 31, 2012.

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 16, 2012

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

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, DREAMers, 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 20, 2012. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

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

Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) Processing Times

July 12, 2012

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

If you filed an appeal, please review the link below to determine the applicable processing time associated with your particular case.

Administrative Appeals Office

The current processing time for an I-129 H-1B Appeal is 17 months; for an I-129 L1 Appeal - 22 months. The current processing time for an I-140 EB2 Appeal for an Advanced Degree Professional is 12 months; for an I-140EB3 Appeal for a Skilled or Professional Worker is 35 months.

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

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

July 6, 2012

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


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

Answer #1
As provided on the Department of State website, The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) enables nationals of 36 participating countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business (visitor [B] visa purposes only) for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa. The program was established to eliminate unnecessary barriers to travel, stimulating the tourism industry, and permitting the Department of State to focus consular resources in other areas. VWP eligible travelers may apply for a visa, if they prefer to do so. Nationals of VWP countries must meet eligibility requirements to travel without a visa on VWP, and therefore, some travelers from VWP countries are not eligible to use the program. VWP travelers are required to have a valid authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) prior to travel, are screened at the port of entry into the United States, and are enrolled in the Department of Homeland Security’s US-VISIT program.


Question #2 – Employment Based: Green Card
Is labor certification required for ALL Employment or just some?

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


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

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


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

Answer #4
Click to review the USCIS filing fees.


Question #5 – Aslyee
What is an Asylee?

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


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

Answer #6
The E-1 visa allows individuals to enter the U.S. temporarily to engage in substantial trade. There are strict requirements as to the nationality of individuals and the level of trade necessary to qualify for the visa. As an advantage to this category, individuals may apply directly at a U.S. Consulate.
The E-2 visa allows foreign entrepreneurs from treaty nations to enter the U.S. temporarily to carry out substantial investment and trade activities. To qualify for this visa, the applicant must be a key employee of their company and a national of a country that has an investor treaty with the U.S.
The E-3 visa is exclusively reserved for Australian nationals. The visa allows Australian Professionals to come to the U.S. to work in a specialty occupation, similar in many aspects to the H-1B nonimmigrant worker visa.
The L-1 visa allows companies operating both in the U.S. and abroad to transfer certain types of employees from its overseas office to the U.S. office for up to seven years. This visa comes in the following categories: L-1A - for executives and managers; and L-1B - for personnel with specialized knowledge.


Question #7 – Refugee
What is a Refugee?

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


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

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


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

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


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

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



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

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

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

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, July 6, 2012

July 3, 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, 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 6th, 2012. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

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

Updated Service Center Processing Times

June 20, 2012

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on June 15, 2012 with processing dates as of April 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.

Updated Service Center Processing Times

May 22, 2012

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on May 16, 2012 with processing dates as of March 31, 2012.

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

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

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

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

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

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, May 11, 2012

May 7, 2012

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

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

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, May 11th, 2012. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

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

Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) Processing Times

May 4, 2012

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

If you filed an appeal, please review the link below to determine the applicable processing time associated with your particular case.

Administrative Appeals Office

The current processing time for an I-129 H-1B Appeal is 18 months; for an I-129 L1 Appeal - 22 months. The current processing time for an I-140 EB2 Appeal for an Advanced Degree Professional is 21 months; for an I-140EB3 Appeal for a Skilled or Professional Worker is 34 months.

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

Updated Service Center Processing Times

April 24, 2012

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on April 23, 2012 with processing dates as of February 29, 2012.

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 10, 2012

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

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

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, April 13th, 2012. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

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

Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) Processing Times

April 4, 2012

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

If you filed an appeal, please review the link below to determine the applicable processing time associated with your particular case.

Administrative Appeals Office

The current processing time for an I-129 H-1B Appeal is 20 months; for an I-129 L1 Appeal - 22 months. The current processing time for an I-140 EB2 Appeal for an Advanced Degree Professional is 23 months; for an I-140EB3 Appeal for a Skilled or Professional Worker is 36 months.

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

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

March 26, 2012

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

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

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, March 30th, 2012. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

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

Updated Service Center Processing Times

March 21, 2012

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on March 20, 2012 with processing dates as of January 31, 2012.

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

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

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

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

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

MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, March 16, 2012

March 16, 2012

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


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

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


Question #2 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
If I did not use all six years on my previous H-1B visa, can I use the remaining years now?

Answer #2
Yes, if you have time remaining on your H-1B nonimmigrant visa status and have applied for the visa within the past six years, you are not subject to the H-1B numerical cap and are able to apply to use those remaining years now if you have an employer willing to sponsor you for your employment in the Specialty Occupation.


Question #3 – Tourist Visa
How do I provide proof of return if I have gone home after being on a tourist visa?

Answer #3
When you exit the United States, you hand over your I-94, Arrival-Departure Document. When you enter your home country, your passport is stamped with the date of your arrival. This passport stamp serves as proof of your return to your home country.


Question #4 – Student Visa (F1)
Should I apply for a student visa before or after I am accepted to an institution in the U.S.? And approximately how much time should be in between when I apply for the visa and when I plan on coming to the States?

Answer #4
You should apply for a student visa after you are accepted into an SEVP certified institution in the United States. The School will assist you in completing the necessary paperwork and obtaining the appropriate papers (Form I-20) for you to obtain your student visa, enter the U.S. and begin your education in the U.S. Students are encouraged to apply for their visa early to provide ample time for visa processing. Students should note that Embassies and Consulates are able to issue your student visa 120 days or less, in advance of the course of study registration date. Students should be advised of the Department of Homeland Security regulation which requires that all initial or beginning students enter the U.S. 30 days or less in advance of the course of study start/report date as shown on the Form I-20.


Question #5 – Tourist Visa
When applying for a tourist visa, do I use a travel agent or a lawyer?

Answer #5
When applying for a tourist visa, we recommend that you utilize the services of an Experienced Immigration Attorney.


Question #6 – Student Visa (F1)
What is the SEVIS system?

Answer #6
According to the Department of State (DOS): The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) is designed to help the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and DOS better monitor school and exchange programs and F, M and J category visitors. Exchange visitor and student information is maintained in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). SEVIS is an Internet-based system that maintains accurate and current information on non-immigrant students (F and M visa), exchange visitors (J visa), and their dependents (F-2, M-2, and J-2). SEVIS enables schools and program sponsors to transmit mandatory information and event notifications via the Internet, to the DHS and DOS throughout a student or exchange visitor's stay in the United States.


Question #7 – Diversity Visa Lottery
What is the Diversity Visa Lottery and who can win it?

Answer #7
Annually, the United States government issues a maximum of 50,000 green cards through a computer-generated random lottery drawing. These green cards are only available to those eligible participants from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.

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, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam.

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 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 On-Line database will be used to determine qualifying work experience.

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


Question #8 – Travel
My visa is still valid but my passport is expired, can I still enter the U.S. with a visa on an expired passport? Can I transfer the visa in my old passport to my new passport?

Answer #8
If you have renewed your passport, you may enter the U.S. with the new passport. You will be required to show the valid but unexpired visa stamp in the expired passport to the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) Officer. (You will need to carry both the expired passport containing the valid visa stamp and the new passport).


Question #9 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
My current H-1B expires on 4/02/12 and I filed for an extension in January 2012 and got a receipt. May I continue to work for my employer without the extension approval?

Answer #9
Yes, 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.


Question #10 – General
Does premium processing apply to visas other than the employment based?

Answer #10
At the present time, the option to premium processing only applies to Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker and Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker.


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 30, 2012!

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

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

March 12, 2012

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

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

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

THANK YOU!

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

Administrative Appeals Office Processing Times

March 6, 2012

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

If you filed an appeal, please review the link below to determine the applicable processing time associated with your particular case.

Administrative Appeals Office

The current processing time for an I-129 H-1B Appeal is 21 months; for an I-129 L1 Appeal - 22 months. The current processing time for an I-140 EB2 Appeal for an Advanced Degree Professional is 24 months; for an I-140EB3 Appeal for a Skilled or Professional Worker is 35 months.

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

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

March 2, 2012

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


Question #1 – Green Card
What is Advance Parole?

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


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

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


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

Answer #3
Temporary/part time work within the school system may be authorized by the designated school official, you should speak with your Counselor in order to determine if you are eligible. Work outside of school is not allowed. OPT status is granted post completion of your F1 student studies.


Question #4 – Green Card
How is “extraordinary ability” determined for the EB-1 green card category?

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


Question #9 – Green Card
I would like to file I-485(EB2) application for my Green Card. My I-140 has been approved since 2008 with a priority date of 27-Jun-2008. I am from India and my priority date is current now. I am applying for me and my dependent wife. Please advise about the filing fees involved.

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


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

Answer #10
An H-1B nonimmigrant visa is valid for a period of 3 years. It may be extended for another three years, resulting in a total of 6 years in H1B nonimmigrant visa status. Under AC21 law, an H-1B nonimmigrant may extend their H-1B visa status further under certain circumstances. Otherwise, at the end of the 6 years, the applicant must return to their country of residence and remain there for a period of one (1) year before they can reapply for a new H-1B visa.


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

Our next “Immigration Q & A Forum” is scheduled for Friday, March 16, 2012!

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

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, March 2, 2012

February 27, 2012

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

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

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, March 2nd, 2012. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

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

Updated Service Center Processing Times

February 22, 2012

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on February 21, 2012 with processing dates as of December 31, 2011.

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

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

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

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

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

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

February 13, 2012

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

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

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

THANK YOU!

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

Administrative Appeals Office Processing Times

February 10, 2012

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

If you filed an appeal, please review the link below to determine the applicable processing time associated with your particular case.

Administrative Appeals Office

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

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

Administrative Appeals Office Processing Times

February 1, 2012

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

If you filed an appeal, please review the link below to determine the applicable processing time associated with your particular case.

Administrative Appeals Office

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

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

Updated Service Center Processing Times

January 31, 2012

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on January 25, 2012 with processing dates as of November 30, 2011.

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

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

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

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

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

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, February 3, 2012

January 30, 2012

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

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

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, February 3rd, 2012. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

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

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

January 16, 2012

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

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

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

THANK YOU!

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

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, January 6, 2012

January 3, 2012

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

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

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, January 6th, 2012. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

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

Administrative Appeals Office Processing Times

December 15, 2011

The Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) Processing Times were released with processing dates as of December 1, 2011.

If you filed an appeal, please review the link below to determine the applicable processing time associated with your particular case.

Administrative Appeals Office

The current processing time for an I-129 H-1B Appeal is 22 months; for an I-129 L1 Appeal - 22 months. The current processing time for an I-140 EB2 Appeal for an Advanced Degree Professional is 32 months; for an I-140EB3 Appeal for a Skilled or Professional Worker is 35 months.

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

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, December 9, 2011

December 5, 2011

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

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

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, December 9th, 2011. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

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

Update on I-797 Approval Notices

December 1, 2011

USCIS Service Center Operations has confirmed that as of November 30, 2011, the California and Vermont Service Centers will once again send all original notices, including I-797 approval notices, to the G-28 attorney or representative of record.

The change will be implemented at the remaining service centers on or before December 5, 2011.

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

November 29, 2011

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

Here are some creative solutions to this problem:

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

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

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

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

Contact MVP Law Group for more information!

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, November 25, 2011

November 21, 2011

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

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

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, November 25th, 2011. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

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

Updated Service Center Processing Times

November 16, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 15, 2011

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


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

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


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

Answer #2
An H-1B is a nonimmigrant Specialty Occupation visa. Specialty Occupations are defined as those that require a theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge, and the attainment of a bachelor's or higher degree in the specific specialty (or its equivalent) as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States. The H-1B visa allows foreign workers to enter the U.S. and work in a variety of fields ranging from architecture and engineering to teaching and medicine. The H-1B visa offers a wide range of employment possibilities and is a logical first step toward permanent immigration. In order to qualify for H-1B classification, the applicant must have at least a U.S. bachelor’s degree or its foreign equivalent AND the job sought must require at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. This is not a self-petitioning category; therefore the applicant must have a sponsoring employer in the U.S. The period of employment is generally for a period up to three years, and may be extended for up to six years. Extensions may be available beyond the sixth year if green card processing has been initiated on behalf of the individual.

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

Our next “Immigration Q & A Forum” is scheduled for Friday, November 25, 2011!

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

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, November 11, 2011

November 7, 2011

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

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

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, November 11th, 2011. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

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

USCIS to return to existing process of sending I-797 Originals to G-28 Attorneys on Record

October 25, 2011

USCIS Director, Alejandro N. Mayorkas has announced that the USCIS will resume the existing process of sending all I-797 original notices to the G-28 Attorney on Record and not the Employer. The Employer will receive only courtesy copies. Director Mayorkas made this decision after receiving valuable feedback from USCIS Stakeholders. Unfortunately, this change will not go into effect for another six weeks due to programming issues.

A year ago, USCIS initiated an internal system change that altered where we send receipt
notices (I-797). Last month, when the change went into effect, we heard from
stakeholders that this change had an unintended negative external impact. We scheduled
a stakeholder meeting, gained an understanding of the impact, and have decided to return
to our previous practice of sending the original notice to the attorney or accredited
representative’s address listed on the Form G-28. A copy will be sent to the address
provided by the applicant or petitioner in the applicable form. This change will take
effect in approximately six weeks due to the need to re-program our system. We
appreciate the feedback you provided.

I look forward to continued collaboration with you on matters of importance to our
nation’s economic prosperity and those whom we serve.

Alejandro N. Mayorkas
Director
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Department of Homeland Security

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, October 28th, 2011

October 24, 2011

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

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

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, October 28th, 2011. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

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

Updated Service Center Processing Times

October 20, 2011

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on October 18th, 2011 with processing dates as of August 31, 2011.

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

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

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

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

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

Administrative Appeals Office Processing Times

October 7, 2011

The Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) Processing Times were released with processing dates as of October 1, 2011.

If you filed an appeal, please review the link below to determine the applicable processing time associated with your particular case.

Administrative Appeals Office

The current processing time for an I-129 H-1B Appeal is 22 months; for an I-129 L1 Appeal - 23 months. The current processing time for an I-140 EB2 Appeal for an Advanced Degree Professional is 29 months; for an I-140EB3 Appeal for a Skilled or Professional Worker is 34 months.

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

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, September 30th, 2011

September 26, 2011

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

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

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, September 30th, 2011. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

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

Updated Service Center Processing Times

September 20, 2011

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on September 16th, 2011 with processing dates as of July 31, 2011.

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

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

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

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

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

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, September 2nd, 2011

August 29, 2011

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

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

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, September 2nd, 2011. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

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

Updated Service Center Processing Times

August 18, 2011

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on August 17th, 2011 with processing dates as of June 30, 2011.

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

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

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

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

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

Updated Service Center Processing Times

July 21, 2011

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on July 20th, 2011 with processing dates as of May 31, 2011.

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

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

**Please be aware that the data given 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, July 22nd, 2011

July 18, 2011

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

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

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

THANK YOU!

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

Administrative Appeals Office Processing Times

July 14, 2011

The Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) Processing Times were released with processing dates as of July 1, 2011.

If you filed an appeal, please review the link below to determine the applicable processing time associated with your particular case.

Administrative Appeals Office

The current processing time for an I-129 H-1B Appeal is 20 months; for an I-129 L1 Appeal - 23 months. The current processing time for an I-140 EB2 Appeal for an Advanced Degree Professional is 32 months; for an I-140EB3 Appeal for a Skilled or Professional Worker is 34 months.

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

August 2011 Visa Bulletin

July 12, 2011

The Department of State has released its latest Visa Bulletin.

Click here to view the August 2011 Visa Bulletin.

The August 2011 Visa Bulletin still shows employment based third preference (EB-3) visas as oversubscribed while the employment based second preference (EB-2) is current for all areas of chargeability except for China and India.

**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.

Questions, contact MVP Law Group online or toll free at 1-800-447-0796.

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

July 5, 2011

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

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

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

THANK YOU!

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

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

June 20, 2011

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

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

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

THANK YOU!

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

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

June 6, 2011

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

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

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

THANK YOU!

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

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

May 23, 2011

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

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

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

THANK YOU!

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

Updated Service Center Processing Times

May 19, 2011

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on May 17, 2011 with processing dates as of March 31, 2011.

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

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

**Please be aware that the data given 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, May 13th, 2011

May 9, 2011

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

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

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, May 13th, 2011. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

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

MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, April 29, 2011

April 29, 2011

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


Question #1 – Employment Based Immigration – Green Card
How long is the processing of I-140? Will there still be chances of getting I-140 denied even if the worker is labor certified? If yes, what are the grounds?

Answer #1
The processing time for the I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker is approximately 4 – 6 months or longer depending upon the preference category. The processing times are published monthly by the USCIS. For all EB2 and EB3 filings, a certified labor application is required prior to submitting the I-140 Immigrant Petition. Therefore, the grounds for denial or receiving an RFE from the USCIS would be due to the beneficiary’s eligibility – experience and/or education; and/or the petitioner’s ability to pay – company financials.


Question #2 – Employment Based Immigration – Green Card
How long is the processing of I-485?

Answer #2
The processing time for the I-485, Application to Adjust Status to Permanent Resident is approximately 4-6 months or longer, depending upon the type of I-485 – Employment/ Family Based, etc. However, one must factor in that there are other individuals also waiting for the adjudication of their I-485 application who have earlier priority dates. The processing times are published monthly by the USCIS.


Question #3 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
Are there any H1B nonimmigrant visas remaining?

Answer #3
As of April 22, 2011, there were approximately 57,000 H-1B Regular CAP subject nonimmigrant visas remaining and 14,100 H-1B Masters Exemption nonimmigrant visas remaining. USCIS will continue to accept both cap-subject petitions and advanced degree petitions until a sufficient number of H-1B petitions have been received to reach the statutory limits, taking into account the fact that some of these petitions may be denied, revoked, or withdrawn. For continuous FY2012 H-1B Cap updates, please refer to our www.h1bvisalawyerblog.com.


Question #4 – Family Based Immigration – Green Card
I have a U.S. citizen son. At what age can my son petition me for permanent residency? It used to be at age 18. Now it is 20. Is that true?

Answer #4
If the U.S. citizen child is 21 years of age or above, he/she can sponsor his/ her parents for immigration.


Question #5 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
Our district lawyer planned to convert my H-1B exempt to H-1B cap because it can guarantee me a slot and less RFE. My own lawyer said it is not necessary and I can still retain the H-1B exempt status. Which is more advantageous?

Answer #5
I really do not have enough information to provide you with a sufficient answer. When seeking Immigration benefits with the USCIS, nothing is guaranteed. Therefore, speaking of a less chance of obtaining an RFE is not guaranteed. The USCIS may issue an RFE regardless of whether the petition is CAP exempt or to be considered under the CAP. If the USCIS determines that they cannot make a decision based upon the initial evidence presented in the petition, they will request an RFE regardless. If I were you I would speak with your lawyer about this possible conversion, as it seems as though he knows your case and would know what is best given your current situation.


Question #6 – Student – F1 Visa Status
I have been working for a company on my OPT and now they wish to file for my H-1B. I also just recently got married to a U.S. Citizen. My OPT expires next month and I want to be able to continue to work. Which should I proceed forward with? The H-1B or the family based case?

Answer #6
If you do not file a petition prior to the expiration of your OPT, you will begin to accrue unlawful status and will need to leave the country. Therefore, if you have a valid job offer, you should file an H-1B petition under the FY2012 CAP, which will allow you to remain working after the expiration of your OPT up until the starting date of your H-1B, October 1, 2011.

Given the current time frames for processing of family based immigrant petitions, I do not believe that you would have sufficient time to file and then obtain an EAD to continue working. You may initiate the family based petition at any time.


Question #7 – Temporary Work Visa – L1A Intra-Company Transferee Visa
I am on valid L1A until end of next month. What do I need to show to get grant of approval for extension of L1A status?

Answer #7
You will need to fully document the following: (1) The U.S. company and the foreign company continue to be qualifying organizations; (2) The foreign company employed the applicant in an executive/managerial capacity for at least one year prior to the transfer to the U.S. Company; and (3) the U.S. Company will continue to employ the applicant in the executive/managerial capacity.


Question #8 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
I am in the process of transferring employers and I don’t know if I can get a hold of an ‘end client letter,’ as the project is being run exclusively through the vendor. Can we submit my petition without the end client letter?

Answer #8
You may submit the case without the end client letter; however, you most likely will receive a request for additional evidence (RFE) asking for an end client letter, which will further delay the approval. The most important thing the USCIS wants to see when filing an H-1B petition for third party placement is the contractual placement of the beneficiary and the establishment of a bona fide employer-employee relationship. They want to make sure that the duties the employee will be engaged in at the third party client site are ‘specialty occupation’ duties, and the end client letter attests to that exact information. This was not always the case; however, now a days, there are a lot of companies that take advantage of the H-1B program and place applicants at third party sites and do not retain any employment relationship with them, so much so that the USCIS released a memo back in January of 2010 indicating the acceptable documents to establish the legitimacy of the third party placement. Therefore, in order to obtain an approval, you have to document the above information – ‘contractual placement’ of the applicant and the ‘bona fide employer-employee relationship.’ In the past we have done so without the end client letter, by submitting a vendor verification letter, timesheets and progress sheets from the end client and so forth; however, the strongest most sound evidence is the ‘end client letter.’


Question #9 – Family Based Immigration – Green Card
I am a permanent resident, short of the five years needed for Citizenship. I would like to sponsor my parents for a Green Card; can you please let me know the process?

Answer #9
As a permanent resident, you are currently not able to sponsor your Parent’s Green Cards at this time. Once you apply and are granted Citizenship, then you may apply through the USCIS on behalf of your parents.


Question #10 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
Just need some advice. I have a concept for a truly authentic Indian restaurant and wish to sponsor a Chef under the H-1B visa program. Is this possible? What is required? I would be looking to sponsor him under the quota for next year, 2013, as I need this year in order to fully develop, carry out and incorporate my restaurant.

Answer #10
It is possible, if you have the requisite documentation and the concept of the restaurant is dependent upon the qualifications and expertise of the skilled Chef. We have filed numerous Executive Chef petitions through our firm and did not have trouble if the Chef is one who is highly noted for his work, has documentation to prove this, and the concept of the restaurant is focused on the Chef’s work.


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 13, 2011! Please remember to submit your questions/comments on our h1bvisalawyer blog.

Updated Service Center Processing Times

April 20, 2011

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on April 18, 2011 with processing dates as of February 28, 2011.

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

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

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

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

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

Updated Service Center Processing Times

March 17, 2011

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on March 14, 2011 with processing dates as of January 31, 2011.

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

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

**Please be aware that the data given 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.

REMINDER - Submit Your Questions

March 14, 2011

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

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

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

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

THANK YOU!

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

MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, March 4, 2011

March 4, 2011

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


Question #1 - H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
I am an H1-B Employee. My PERM and I-140 have been approved. Our company recently moved to a new office within the same Metro area (MSA), same county and just about 10 minutes from earlier office. Is a new LCA required?

Answer #1
Based on the information you have provided, as long as the position title and duties have not changed, you do not need to obtain a new LCA. However, the employer should notify the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) of the change in company address.


Question #2 – Employment Based Immigration - GC
Same facts as above. Is my PERM and I-140 still valid or do I need a new PERM and I-140?

Answer #2
The H-1B nonimmigrant visa program and employment based green card process are two entirely distinct processes so the paperwork used to obtain your H-1B (Form I-129, LCA, etc..) has no bearing on your PERM and approved I-140. However, the employer should notify the USCIS of the change in company address.


Question #3 – Employment Based Immigration - GC
I’ve been working at my current company for nearly 5 years and have a bachelor’s degree in EE. Can I change jobs within the company after the five year mark and be able to use the experience for my current job towards my labor certification and moving to an EB-2 category?

Answer #3
No, you cannot use the experience obtained in your current job to apply for another position within the same company. The experience needed for EB-2 classification must be prior experience.


Question #4 – Green Card
My fiancé is on an H1-B visa and is further along the path to getting a green card. I have my own H1-B visa but if he does get his green card before I get mine, should I be applying to be his spouse through the INS somehow in order to avoid the 3-5 year F2 priority date wait?

Answer #4
If you are only his fiancé, then you cannot be added to his I-140 Petition nor his I-485 Application, unless and until you get married, you cannot be added as a derivative. Once you are his spouse and he has obtained his green card, then yes, you will need to petition by filing Form I-130, Immigrant Petition for Alien Relative and obtain your green card through family-marriage based immigration (F2 classification).


Question #5 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
If my 6 years of H1-B run out, can I transfer immediately to a TN visa (I’m Canadian), and avoid the 1 year waiting period in Canada before reapplying for another H1-B?

Answer #5
You can transfer to TN from H1-B but you are still going to have to wait one full year outside of the United States before being eligible to obtain a new H-1B nonimmigrant visa.


Question #6 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
Can I file an H-1B petition if I am currently under optional practical training on an F-1 visa?

Answer #6
Yes, beginning on April 1, 2011 you are able to file an H-1B petition for the FY2012 with H-1B employment beginning October 1, 2011 through September 30, 2014.


Question #7 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
If I was recently fired while in the country on an H-1B visa, can I stay in the country legally by obtaining a new job or filing for a change of status to a different category?

Answer #7
Yes, you could change jobs if the new employer agrees to sponsor your H1-B for a specialty occupation, this would be called an H-1B transfer. If you wanted to file for change of status there are three visas you could switch to: F-1 if you meet all eligibility requirements, L-2 if you are the spouse of an L-1 nonimmigrant visa holder or H-4 if you are the spouse of an H-1B nonimmigrant visa holder.

Question #8 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
What sort of factors are used to determine the prevailing wage for a beneficiary on H1-B status?

Answer #8
Many factors are used to determine the prevailing wage for a beneficiary on H1-B status. The Department of Labor considers the average wage paid to those in the specialty occupation for the jurisdiction of employment, the level of skill/experience of the applicant, and other industry factors.


Question #9 – Marriage Based Immigration - GC
I am planning to marry my fiancé soon after entering the United Stated on a K-1 visa and I was wondering whether there were any restrictions or limitations on a K-1 visa that I should be aware of?

Answer #9
The main restriction on a K-1 visa is that you and your fiancé must be married with 90 days of him/her entering the country. Additionally, your fiancé would only be issued a two year conditional green card and would have to apply to remove the conditions on his/her permanent residency by proving the legitimacy of the marriage through Form I-751.


Question #10 – Employment Based Immigration - GC
How soon after I begin the employment green card process can my spouse begin working?

Answer #10
It depends upon several factors – where you are in the process, your country of citizenship/chargeability, your priority date and the processing times associated with the I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.


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

Our next “Immigration Q & A Forum” is scheduled for Friday, March 18th, 2011! Please remember to submit your questions/comments on our h1bvisalawyer blog.

Updated Service Center Processing Times

February 17, 2011

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on February 14, 2011 with processing dates as of December 31, 2010.

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 given 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.

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

January 31, 2011

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

Here are some creative solutions to this problem:

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

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

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

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

Contact MVP Law Group for more information!

MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, January 21st, 2011

January 21, 2011

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


Question #1 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
Is the H-1B FY2011 CAP still open?

Answer #1
YES! As of January 14th, 2011 60,700 H-1B Regular CAP subject nonimmigrant visa petitions had been filed with the USCIS toward the 65,000 annual CAP. USCIS will continue to accept cap-subject petitions until a sufficient number of H-1B petitions have been received to reach the statutory limits, taking into account the fact that some of these petitions may be denied, revoked, or withdrawn.


Question #2 – Marriage Based Immigration –Green Card
I am marrying a United States citizen in a few weeks, do you know when I can expect to have my interview and eventually get my green card?

Answer #2
Once you have married and have submitted your paperwork to the USCIS, it is taking approximately 3-4 months nationwide to obtain an interview appointment. This is an estimate as all cases are not the same and the circumstances in one case may be different than in another. If there are any prior marriages, criminal charges, or other circumstances that could affect the case, processing may take even longer.


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

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


Question #4 – Temporary Work Visa – L1 Intra-company Transferee
What is the grace period on an L1A extension? I reside in California, my current L1A visa expires on 3/25/2011 and I’ve filed for an extension on 12/17/2010. I got a receipt for it.

Answer #4
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.


Question #5 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant 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 #5
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 #6 – Employment Based Immigration – Green Card
Regarding a change of job, is there a recommended wait time after the green card that I can change my employer. On the EAD there was a 6mth after which I could do this, but was wondering after the GC if there is any such thing. Appreciate your answer.

Answer #6
Although the regulations are silent on this issue, we recommend that you wait at least six (6) months before changing your employer to avoid issues if you intend on applying for citizenship when you become eligible.


Question #7 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
The Processing Time Table indicates it takes about 2 months, as on 31/10/2010 update. So I wasn't sure what that 2 months meant, and above all it was last updated on 31/10/2010. Can you tell me why it is taking so long?

Answer #7
Although the USCIS processing times may state 2 months, you have to factor in that when it is posted, that data is already 45 days old. Also, due to the FY2011 H-1B CAP still being available, the USCIS is busy with attempting to adjudicate change of status petitions, extensions and transfers all within the same processing times. Although this explanation is not an excuse, I just want you to be aware of the background with the processing times for the H-1B nonimmigrant visa.


Question #8 – 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 #8
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.


Question #9 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
I've been working on this product that i want to launch, if all goes well, sometime this year. This will be an E-Commerce business. With regards to me being on H1-B, would I be able to start up my own small company?

Answer #9
As a temporary H-1B nonimmigrant worker, you are NOT ALLOWED to start up your own small company. There are other types of visas available if you are seriously interested in starting your own company, but you are not allowed to start up your own small company on your H-1B visa status. If you are interested in other possible options, please contact our office to speak with one of our experienced Immigration Attorneys.


Question #10 – Marriage Based Immigration –Green Card
What is a “Stokes” interview?

Answer #10
A “Stokes” interview is the last opportunity the USCIS provides for you and your spouse to prove the bona fides of your marriage. If the USCIS does not think that your marriage is legitimate, they will schedule a “Stokes” interview. The husband and wife are separately questioned by a USCIS Officer regarding their relationship history, daily interactions, relationship in general, presence on social networking websites, etc. The interview/questioning is recorded and an attorney is permitted to attend.


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

Our next “Immigration Q & A Forum” is scheduled for Friday, February 4th, 2011! Please remember to submit your questions/comments on our h1bvisalawyerblog.

The New Export Control Attestation Requirement on the New Form I-129

December 23, 2010

Please note that USCIS now requires employers filing Form I-129 for H, L, and O visa status on behalf of foreign nationals to certify that they have (1) reviewed the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), and (2) have made a determination as to whether or not an export control license is required to release any controlled technology or technical data to the foreign national. If an export license is required to be obtained before such release, the employer must attest that the worker will not be exposed to covered technologies without first obtaining an export license covering the foreign worker.

UPDATED INFORMATION: December 22, 2010, According to USCIS, petitioners will not be required to complete Part 6 of Form I-129 containing the export controls/ITAR questions until February 20, 2011. USCIS received a number of inquiries from stakeholders, including AILA, requesting a delay in order to give petitioners time to establish the necessary internal processes to properly satisfy the attestation requirements.

We wish to make sure that you do not make a misrepresentation on Form I-129 in this regard, which in itself would be a violation of federal law. Read all of the forms and know that you are signing under penalty of perjury.

Part 6 of the new version of Form I-129 states:

With respect to the technology or technical data the petitioner will release or otherwise provide access to the beneficiary, the petitioner certifies that it has reviewed the Export Administration
Regulations (EAR) and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and has determined that:

􀀀 A license is not required from either the U.S. Department of Commerce or the U.S. Department of State to release such technology or technical data to the foreign person;

OR

􀀀 A license is required from the U.S. Department of Commerce and/or the U.S. Department of State to release such technology or technical data to the beneficiary and the petitioner will prevent access to the controlled technology or technical data to the beneficiary until and unless the petitioner has received the required license or other authorization to release it to the beneficiary.

The petitioner must check one of the above boxes on the form.

“Technology” and “technical data” that are controlled for release to foreign persons are identified on the Export Administration Regulations(EAR) Commerce Control List (CCL) and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations(ITAR) U.S. Munitions List (USML). The Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) administers the EAR. The Department of State Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) administers the ITAR.

Information about the EAR and how to apply for a deemed export license from BIS can be found at www.bis.doc.gov. Information about EAR’s requirements pertaining to the release of controlled technology to foreign persons is at www.bis.doc.gov/deemedexports. Information about the ITAR and how to apply for an export license from DDTC can be found at www.pmddtc.state.gov. Information about the ITAR’s requirements pertaining to the release of controlled technical data can be found at http://www.pmddtc.state.gov/faqs/license_foreignpersons.html.

If you are unsure as to whether your company requires an export license or would like more information, please contact MVP Law Group or the BIS directly.

Release of Revised Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker

November 23, 2010

The Form I-129 has been revised by the United States Immigration and Citizenship Service (USICIS) which allows employers to petition for temporary workers under a variety of nonimmigrant visa classifications. Publication of the revisions by USCIS will be available on November 23, 2010.

For 30 days after the publication of the new version or until December 21, 2010, USCIS will accept previous versions of the Form I-129.

Beginning December 22, 2010, USCIS will only be accepting the revised Form I-129 and will decline any request filed with previous versions of the form.

MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, November 5th, 2010

November 5, 2010

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


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

Answer #1
As of October 29, there were approximately 19,400 H-1B Regular CAP subject nonimmigrant visas remaining and approximately 3,300 H-1B Masters Exemption nonimmigrant visas remaining. USCIS will continue to accept both cap-subject petitions and advanced degree petitions until a sufficient number of H-1B petitions have been received to reach the statutory limits, taking into account the fact that some of these petitions may be denied, revoked, or withdrawn. For continuous FY2011 H-1B Cap updates, please refer to www.mvplg.com.


Question #2 – Temporary Work Visas – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
Do non-profits come under the same category as far as H1B is concerned?

Answer #2
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 non-profit status, 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 #3 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
One yr ago I employed someone on HIB 3yr visa. I found out he has applied for job in Australia. What recourse do I have?

Answer #3
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. If you are terminating the H-1B employee, you are responsible for paying for the nonimmigrant’s travel back to his/her home country.


Question #4 – Employment Based Immigration – Green Card
I just received my Green Card, what do I do now?

Answer #4
USCIS maintains a useful web page on the topic “Now That You Are A Permanent Resident.” It can be found at http://uscis.gov this is the USCIS home page, click on After a Green Card is Granted under the Green Card (Permanent Residence) heading. Then look to the right side and under More Information you will find valuable information on, among other topics, how not to lose your status as a permanent resident. Additionally, if you look to the left side under After a Green Card is Granted you will find numerous resources on different topics relating to your status as a Permanent Resident.


Question #5 – Diversity Lottery (DV)
Can I apply for DV now?

Answer #5
No, applications for the DV 2012 random lottery were accepted from Tuesday, October 5, 2010 through Wednesday, November 3, 2010.


Question #6 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
Hello, I have a question about a H1B visa application. My situation is as follows: A H1B application was submitted by employer-with assurances that it would go through, however the legal representation was being provided pro-bono and as a result (in my opinion) not enough attention was paid to it…thus, this week the petition was denied: in retrospect, the application was weak. What should I do next? Should I appeal? I believe the process may be lengthy and perhaps unfavorably viewed on the back of a weak initial submission. Is it legitimate to start over and submit a new petition with clearer job description and more accurate information? Many thanks in advance.

Answer #6
You will need to have your employer contact our experienced Immigration Attorneys to discuss the details of the denial and determine your options moving forward, whether it would be better to just re-file or file an appeal. I cannot provide you with advice moving forward without fully reviewing your case and the evidence that was initially submitted.


Question #7 – Marriage Based Immigration – Conditional Permanent Resident
I would like to know the procedure for “removing conditions.” When can I file? I’m married to a U.S. Citizen and my conditional green card is set to expire in May of 2011.

Answer #7
You can file to remove the conditions 90 days prior to the expiration of your second anniversary as a conditional resident. It is very important that you file Form I-751 (Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence) within the 90 day window of time. If you file too early, the USCIS will send your application back. You may file at any time during the 90 day window, but it is suggested that you file fairly early in the window. If you fail to properly file Form I-751 within the 90 day period, your conditional resident status will automatically be terminated and the USCIS will order removal proceedings against you and a hearing will be conducted where you will be given the opportunity to rebut the government’s allegations against you.

The items involved in filing the application to “remove conditions” include: (1) a completed Form I-751; (2) USCIS filing fee of $545.00; (3) certified copy of front and back of permanent resident card; (4) evidence of a bona fide relationship; and a (5) detailed cover sheet indicating the contents of the package.


Question #8 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
I have a valid H1B through Aug2011. But I would like to move to L2 visa. Is it possible to cancel my h1B visa? If so then how long will it take and what is the process?

Answer #8
Notify your employer that you wish to cancel your H-1B visa. They will write a letter to the USCIS requesting that the USCIS withdraw your H-1B visa. You will have to apply for the L2 status with the USCIS and wait for the approval or obtain the L2 visa at a consulate with proof of your eligibility. *You will want to apply for the L2 visa status prior to your employer writing the letter to cancel your H-1B visa so that you can maintain an authorized valid presence in the United States.


Question #9 – Temporary Work Visas – H-1B & L1A/L1B Nonimmigrant Visas
I am the President of a small business in Texas. I have read different articles about the new public law and its applicability to nonimmigrant visas, but I am somewhat confused based on what I have read. Does the new public law fee apply to me and my company?

Answer #9
Under Public law 111-230, Employers with 50 or more employees in the U.S., for which more than 50% of their workforce utilize H and L visas are subject to the new fee. Employers to which the Public law applies will have to pay an additional fee of $2,000.00 for each H-1B filed, in addition to normal USCIS filing fees associated with the H-1B visa. Additionally, Employers are required to pay an additional fee of $2,250.00 for each L1 petition filed in addition to the USCIS filing fees already required. If your company employs less than 50 employees, you are not subject to the new fee. If you are a larger company and have 50 or more employees and have less than 50% of those employees on H1B/L1 visas, then you are not subject to the new fee.


Question #10 – Temporary Work Visas – H-1B & L1A/L1B Nonimmigrant Visas
Does the new public law apply to transfer and extension petitions?

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; or (2) to obtain authorization for an alien having such status to change employers. 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. We hope the information provided is helpful.

Our next “Immigration Q & A Forum” is scheduled for Friday, November 19th, 2010! Please remember to submit your questions/comments on our h1bvisalawyerblog.

REMINDER - Submit your questions

November 1, 2010

MVP "Q & A Forum" - This Friday, November 5th, 2010

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

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

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, November 5th, 2010. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

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

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2010

October 27, 2010

Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced The Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2010 into the Senate on September 29. This bill is the first comprehensive immigration bill that has been introduce in the Senate since 2007. It also combines key Democratic and Republic viewpoints and elements. Menendez and Leahy’s legislation proposes enhanced border security, mandatory employee verification, revisions to visa systems, a legalization plan for undocumented individuals in the US, and harsher penalties for illegal immigration.

To improve the security at our borders it specifically calls for improved training and more accountability for border/immigration officers, further cooperation with Canada and Mexico to improve border security, and reiterates that immigration power solely resides with the federal government. If passed, visa waiver privileges would be denied to certain countries, the waiting period would stop for refugees/asylees trying to obtain a green card, as well as increased penalties for immigration and visa fraud. Social Security cards would become “tamper-resistant” under the new bill to prevent fraud and the Social Security Administration (SSA) would be required to design a new more secure way of verifying social security numbers. Labor protections would also be expanded under H-2A, H-2B, H-1B, and L-1 visas in addition to preventing the expiration of green cards due to processing delays and establishment of certain exemptions from the quotas. A Lawful Prospective Immigrant (LPI) status for undocumented immigrants with no criminal background would be put into effect and it entails submission of data, security checks, and a $500 application fee for the LPI status of four years. Additionally, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2010 would include the DREAM Act and institute programs to help immigrants learn English and US civics. Click here to read the full text of the bill or to find out more information.

REMINDER - Submit your questions

October 11, 2010

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

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

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

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

THANK YOU!

Ending Birthright Citizenship Would Not Stop Illegal Immigration

September 21, 2010

The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution guarantees the right that any person born in the United States is a citizen no matter the status of their parents. Over the years the Supreme Court has upheld birthright citizenship in cases like Plyler v. Doe and Unites States v. Wong Kim Ark. Recently, this right has been questioned by the anti-immigrant groups who have been introducing bills in Congress that would end the right to birthright citizenship.

The elimination of birthright citizenship would only make the growing problem of illegal immigrants worse and also make it harder for Americans to prove their citizenship. If the new laws proposed were passed, the children born in the United States to illegal immigrants would not have U.S. citizenship nor the citizenship of their parent’s country creating even more problems. This issue would not only affect illegal immigrants but also temporary workers in the United States on H-1B, F1, E1, E2, L1, L2, and many other temporary visa status’, not to mention those awaiting a Green Card on another status such as AOS/EAD.

Comprehensive immigration reform that solves the root causes of undocumented immigration is necessary to resolve our immigration problems, not amending the U.S. Constitution.

MVP LAW GROUP – Q&A Forum, September 3, 2010

September 3, 2010

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

Answer #1
Under Public law 111-230, Employers with 50 or more employees in the U.S., for which more than 50% of their workforce utilize H and L visas are subject to the new fee. Employers to which the Public law is applies will have to pay an additional fee of $2,000.00 for each H-1B filed, in addition to normal USCIS filing fees associated with the H-1B visa. Additionally, Employers are required to pay an additional fee of $2,250.00 for each L1 petition filed in addition to the USCIS filing fees already required. If your company employs less than 50 employees, you are not subject to the new fee. If you are a larger company and have 50 or more employees and have less than 50% of those employees on H1B/L1 visas, then you are not subject to the new fee.


Question #2 – Temporary Work Visas – OPT/F1 to H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
I am currently on OPT and my 12 months of OPT expired yesterday and I essentially wanted to apply for my H1B before that. When I spoke earlier to my hr manager, she stated that once my labor certification for H1B petition was cleared, I would not have to worry about the dates or me going out of status.

Answer #2
Most importantly, if you have not filed for your H-1B petition at this point, you must STOP working, as you do not have authorization from the USCIS to work. You have a grace period after your OPT expires to either leave the country or file a petition to change status. If your employer is interested in filing for your H-1B nonimmigrant visa, I would recommend that they do so immediately as H-1B visas are still available under the FY2011 Cap. Regardless of whether or not you have a labor certification cleared, you cannot continue working and must immediately make plans to either depart the U.S. or file for a change of status.


Question #3 – Student Visa – F1
I am a Chinese citizen and I would like for my nephew to obtain a college education in the United States. Please let me know what I need to do? Thank you.

Answer #3
Please visit the following website as it will provide the steps for how your nephew can get his 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 his first step, your nephew must first apply for enrollment at a college of his choice which is listed on the SEVP certified list. Once he has been accepted by that SEVP certified school, he will then need to apply for his 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
.


Question #4 – Temporary Work Visas – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
Do non-profits come under the same category as far as H1B is concerned?

Answer #4
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 non-profit status, 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 #5 – Family Based Immigration – Green Card – Marriage Based (K1)
What happens if my wife and I do not file to remove the conditions on her permanent residency?

Answer #5
If you do not apply to remove the conditions near the expiration of her two-year conditional period then the permanent residency automatically expires and she is subject to deportation and removal. To avoid this, within 90 days of the expiration of the conditional period, she must file Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence.


Question #6 –Temporary Work Visas – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
I have vacation plans to go to Indonesia in the first week of October 2010. Can I file my H-1B extension petition prior to my departure from the U.S.?

Answer #6
You may file your H-1B extension prior to your departure; however, unless you upgrade your case to Premium Processing, your vacation plans will need to be delayed. When you have a case pending with the USCIS, you CANNOT leave the United States, as they will interpret it as abandonment of your pending case.


Question #7 – Naturalization/Citizenship
I’d like to become a U.S. Citizen, I have been a Green Card holder for the past 7 years, have no criminal background, but am worried about what is to be expected out of me during the citizenship test and interview. Can you provide me with some resources for help to ease my concerns?

Answer #7
As part of the Naturalization Test and Citizenship Awareness, Education, and Outreach Initiative, USCIS will host a Naturalization Information Session at George Washington, Law School - Lerner Hall, 2000 H Street NW, Rooms LL101-LL102 in Washington, DC, 20052 on September 10, 2010 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm to provide accurate information on eligibility requirements and steps to become a U.S. citizen. This event is part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to demystify the naturalization process for immigrants and is just one out of several USCIS hosted information sessions throughout the country. The sessions provide an overview of the naturalization process and detail the contents of the naturalization test, and raise awareness of free USCIS educational resources available for immigrants interested in pursuing U.S. citizenship.


Question #8 – Temporary Work Visas – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
What triggers H-1B employer site visits?

Answer #8
There are three ways in which H-1B employer site visits are triggered: (1) site visits conducted as part of a fraud inquiry; (2) site visits conducted as part of a Benefit Fraud Compliance Assessment; and (3) site visits conducted as part of an ASVVP Compliance Review.


Question #9 – Employment Based Immigration – Green Card (AC-21)
I have an approved I-140 filed by my previous company and they also submitted my I-485 back in 2007. I have since moved onto employment with another company on my EAD and do not wish to go back to work for my former employer. What happens if my former employer cancels my approved I-140? Can I file an AC-21 Portability letter?

Answer #9
To answer your first question, if your former employer cancels your approved I-140, then you will have to start the Employment based green card process over from the beginning, unless you have another employment based preference category immigrant petition pending/approved or you filed an AC-21 portability request prior to the cancellation of the approved I-140.

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 and your former employer hasn’t canceled your approved I-140.


Question #10 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
Can I still file for an H-1B nonimmigrant visa, to begin work in the U.S. on October 1, 2010?

Answer #10
As of August 27, 2010, there were 30,100 H-1B Regular CAP subject nonimmigrant visas remaining and 7,000 H-1B Masters Exemption nonimmigrant visas remaining. USCIS will continue to accept both cap-subject petitions and advanced degree petitions until a sufficient number of H-1B petitions have been received to reach the statutory limits, taking into account the fact that some of these petitions may be denied, revoked, or withdrawn. For continuous FY2011 H-1B Cap updates, please refer to our website.


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

Our next “Immigration Q & A Forum” is scheduled for Friday, September 17, 2010! Please remember to submit your questions/comments on our h1bvisalawyerblog.

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

USCIS Issues Information Collection for Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker

February 23, 2010

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued information collection for Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker until April 9, 2010.

During this period, USCIS will be evaluating whether to revise Form I-129.

The purpose of this form is for employers to petition for an alien to come to the United States temporarily to perform services or labor, or to receive training, as an H-1B, H-1C, H-2A, H-2B, H-3, L-1, O-1, O-2, P-1, P-1S, P-2, P-2S, P-3, P-3S, Q-1 or R-1 nonimmigrant worker. Employers may also use this form to request an extension of stay or change of status for an alien as an E-1, E-2, or TN nonimmigrant.

Members of the public are encouraged to submit comments and/or suggestions to USCIS, especially comments regarding the estimated public burden and associated response time.

Written comments and suggestions from the public and affected agencies should address one or more of the following four points:

(1) Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility;

(2) Evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;

(3) Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

(4) Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses.

Comments may be submitted to:
Department of Homeland Security (DHS), USCIS,
Chief, Regulatory Products Division, Clearance Office,
111 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Suite 3008
Washington, DC 20529-2210.

Comments may also be submitted to DHS via facsimile to 202-272-8352 or via e-mail at rfs.regs@dhs.gov.

**When submitting comments by e-mail, please make sure to add OMB Control No. 1615-0009 in the subject box.

H-1B Admissions at Newark, NJ Airport

February 11, 2010

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Liaison Committee received reports from AILA members that CBP inspectors at the Newark, New Jersey airport port of entry were apparently assisting in an investigation involving certain H-1B nonimmigrants from India and certain H-1B petitioner companies.

The CBP inspector’s questions focused on (1) who the individuals worked for, (2) how their pay was computed, (3) who paid their salary, (4) their job duties, and (5) what they were paid. According to the reports, some individuals were subjected to expedited removal and visa cancellation.

After inquiring with CBP headquarters about these alleged incidents, the CBP Liaison Committee was advised that many of the cases involved in the allegations involved companies currently under investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and/or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for ongoing fraud. The CBP provided that upon an inadmissibility finding, the determination to either allow the applicant to withdraw his or her application for admission or to subject the applicant to expedited removal was based on “the totality of the circumstances” and was reviewed on a “case-by-case” basis. The CBP also confirmed that they screen ALL employment-based visa holders to determine admissibility and ensure compliance with entry requirements.

AILA was provided with additional news regarding a new policy instituted at Newark Airport dealing with random checks of returning H-1B, L-1 and other employment-based visa holders. Based upon the initial check, if the person’s admissibility is questionable, then he or she will be sent to secondary inspection for further review, and if questions still surround the person’s admissibility they may possibly be asked to withdraw his/her application for admission to the U.S. or be subject to expedited removal.

The Newark Airport port of entry has another policy regarding Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs). The Airport has a mandatory detention policy for returning LPRs who have a post-1998 conviction. There are several exceptions to detainment for humanitarian reasons, and if the CBP cannot get a copy of the conviction record within 24 hours, the person may be released.


Moving Forward:
Employment Based Immigration applicants - If you must travel outside of the U.S., you should thoroughly prepare for your return trip to the U.S. by reviewing all pertinent documents, as well as carrying certain evidence to support assertions made in the petition. Certain evidence may include but is not limited to the following: pay stubs, employment verification letter, income tax returns, W-2 Forms, Employment offer letter, Employment Agreement.

Petitioning Employers – You must be prepared for inquiries from CBP officers to confirm the assertions made in any nonimmigrant petition. Additionally, you should keep and maintain adequate employee personnel and inspection files, and keep public information as accurate and current as possible.


Additionally, please note that the USCIS has revised I-797 Approval notices to include the following fraud related language:

NOTICE – Although this application/petition has been approved, DHS reserves the right to verify the information submitted in this application, petition, and/or supporting documentation to ensure conformity with applicable laws, rules, regulations, and other authorities. Methods used for verifying information may include, but are not limited to, the review of public information and records, contact by correspondence, the Internet, or telephone, and site inspections of businesses and residences. Information obtained during the course of verification will be used to determine whether revocation, rescission, and/or removal proceedings are appropriate. Applicants, petitioners and representatives of record will be provided an opportunity to address derogatory information before any formal proceeding is initiated.

Source: AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 10020237 (Posted 2/2/2010)

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

December 24, 2009

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

Here are some creative solutions to this problem:

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

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

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

Contact MVP Law Group for more information!

Legislation to Reform the H-1B Visa Program Introduced by Senators Durbin (D-IL) and Grassley (R-IA)

April 28, 2009

On Thursday, April 23, 2009, Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin and Senator Chuck Grassley introduced the H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform Act. This bipartisan legislation would reform the current H-1B and L-1 guest worker programs to prevent abuse and fraud, and to protect American workers.

This legislation calls for a “good faith attempt” to solicit qualified American workers before hiring an H-1B guest worker. Accordingly, Employers would be prohibited from using H-1B visa holders to displace qualified American workers. Additionally, the bill calls for a prohibition against the blatantly discriminatory practice of “H-1B only” ads and would prohibit Employers from hiring additional guest workers if more than 50% of their workforce consisted of H-1B and L-1 visa holders.

To address the issues of fraud and abuse, the bill would allow the Department of Labor (DOL) to initiate investigations without a complaint and without the personal authorization of the DOL Secretary. In addition, the bill would allow the DOL to conduct random audits of companies that utilize the H-1B nonimmigrant visa program. Specifically, the bill calls for annual audits by the DOL for employers who employ a large number of guest-workers.

Senators Durbin and Grassley introduced similar legislation last Congress.

L-1B Visa Requirements and Recent related AAO decision

August 20, 2008

The L-1B intra company business visa allows specialized knowledge employees to transfer from a foreign company to a U.S. parent, affiliated, or subsidiary branch to perform temporary jobs. For a foreign applicant to attain L-1B visa status, three requirements must be met. First and foremost, the petitioning U.S. company must be affiliated with the company abroad, as a branch, subsidiary, or affiliate. This relationship shall be demonstrated either by one entity having control over the other, or by both entities being controlled by the same person or entity. Additionally, the L-1B visa applicant must be employed at the company abroad for at least one of the previous three years before the L-1B visa application is filed with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Finally, the employee must be coming to work at the U.S. company to utilize specialized knowledge. An employee with “specialized knowledge” has either a special knowledge of the company product and its application in international markets or has an advanced level of knowledge of processes and procedures of the company; or demonstrates an advanced level of professional or technical expertise, and proprietary knowledge of the organization’s services, products, technology, strategies, or any other corporate function that is essential to the U.S. company’s successful operation.

The Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) recently reviewed a decision certified by the Director of the California Service Center (CSC). The particular case involved the submission of an I-129 petition on behalf of a foreign professional for L-1B nonimmigrant visa classification. The director originally denied the petition after concluding that the petitioner failed to establish that it had been doing business or that the beneficiary would be employed in a capacity requiring specialized knowledge. Subsequently, the petitioner submitted a motion to reopen, and the director entered a new decision denying the petition on the same two grounds. The certified decision was thereafter sent to the AAO for review.

The purpose of review by the AAO is to determine from the documentation produced by the petitioner whether the petitioner had been doing business and whether the beneficiary would be employed in a capacity requiring specialized knowledge. After a thorough review and analysis of the evidence produced by the petitioner, the AAO found that the petitioner had been doing business. Accordingly, the decision of the director as to the first issue dealing with the petitioner’s business had been withdrawn. The AAO then reviewed the evidence in light of the second issue, whether the beneficiary would be working in a specialized knowledge capacity. According to the AAO, the record did not distinguish the beneficiary’s knowledge as more advanced than the knowledge possessed by other people employed by the petitioning organization or by workers employed elsewhere. Based on the evidence presented, the AAO concluded that the beneficiary will not be employed in the United States, and was not employed abroad, in a capacity involving specialized knowledge.

The legislative history of the term “specialized knowledge” provides ample support for a narrow interpretation of the term. In the aforementioned case, the petitioner had not demonstrated that the beneficiary should be considered a member of the “narrowly drawn” class of individuals possessing specialized knowledge. In this proceeding, the burden of proving eligibility for the benefit sought remained entirely with the petitioner and the petitioner failed to meet that burden. Accordingly, the decision of the director was affirmed in part and withdrawn in part. As a result, the petition was denied.