MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, May 27th, 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
Are there any H1B nonimmigrant visas remaining?

Answer #1
As of May 20th, 2011, there were approximately 52,700 H-1B Regular CAP subject nonimmigrant visas remaining and 11,500 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to reach the statutory limits, taking into account the fact that some of these petitions may be denied, revoked, or withdrawn.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 https://www.h1bvisalawyerblog.com.

Question #2 – Employment Based Immigration – Green Card
My Priority date will be current soon. I am prepared to file my I-485, what are the associated USCIS filing fees? Do I have to pay for EAD and AP?

Answer #2
You will need to make payment in the amount of $1,070.00 or less depending upon your age, which will cover the I-485 processing, the biometrics, the employment authorization document (EAD) processing and the Advance Parole document (AP) processing.

Question #3 – Temporary Work Visa – TN Visa
What is required to obtain a TN visa at the border? What documents do I need to have to get the visa?

Answer #3
You must establish that the position in question requires the employment of a person in a professional capacity, consistent with the NAFTA Chapter 16, Annex 1603, Appendix 1603.d.1. You will need to carry your educational documents (degree/transcripts/license, if applicable) and work experience documents (experience letters, resume, tax documents, etc.) to evidence your qualifications for the position. You will also need to present an offer letter and/or employment agreement from the company which clearly explains the position you are seeking to be employed in.

Question #4 – Family 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 #4
Once you have married and have submitted your paperwork to the USCIS, it is taking approximately 4-6 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 #5 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
One of our employees is going on vacation from 06/25/2011 – 07/28/2011 and we are getting his h1b ext. in June, as he expires in September and he has to go for visa in home country and he is requesting us to premium process his H1 ext. and wondering whether we can do it right now and can get approval before he leaves and he wants to appear for Visa with the new one. Please suggest whether we can do it right now or can we do it after he comes back from the vacation.

Answer #5
The answer to your question depends upon the specifics of your case; whether an end client letter will need to be obtained and if it can be obtained within the time period, whether forms and filing fees can be returned within a reasonable time; whether the LCA will be certified within the time frame given; etc. There are many circumstances that will need to be considered before a final decision is made on whether to prepare and file the extension now or wait until the return of the beneficiary to the U.S. We can file cases with the USCIS within 6 months of the current visa’s expiration. Therefore, if his current H-1B expires on 9/2011, you could prepare and file the extension case once the beneficiary returns and it will still be deemed a timely filing. Knowing the above information, please consider all of the circumstances of the case before you make a decision to proceed forward.

Question #6 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
I went for visa stamping and was issued 221(g) 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 14 days. I am worried, is this a normal thing? What can my employer do to speed things up?

Answer #6
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. Your employer has no control or authority over this process; therefore, there is nothing they can do to assist. 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 #7 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
I have been considering teaching for a while as a way to give back to my community and was wondering being on H1-B, would I be able to hold a part-time teaching position at a university or college, if given the opportunity?

Answer #7
You would be able to hold a part-time teaching position at a university or college; however, the University or College must be willing to sponsor your H-1B visa. The University or College 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 #8 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
What is the grace period on an H1B extension? I reside in California, my current H1 visa expires on 6/25/2011 and I’ve filed for an extension on 4/9/2011. I got receipt already.

Answer #8
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 #9 – Employment Based Immigration – Green Card
My priority date is current as of the June 2011 visa bulletin. I heard through various forum posts that we can call them and provide details of our case so that based on first come first call they would process and issue the GC faster, is this true?

Answer #9
You cannot call the USCIS to speed up the processing/issuance of your Green Card. Priority dates were established for this exact purpose. Each individual has a specific priority date which was issued to them when their Labor application was submitted to the Department of Labor (DOL). Only when the applicant’s priority date becomes current will the USCIS begin to process the applicant’s I-485 paperwork and thereafter may issue the Green Card.

Question #10 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
Is a Nurse Practitioner considered a Specialty Occupation? A doctor’s office has given me a job opportunity (I’m on OPT) and I wanted to make sure before I accept that this is doable?

Answer #10
If you have at least a Bachelor’s degree in a specific field and the position requires at least a Bachelor’s degree in a stated filed, then you may be eligible for the H-1B nonimmigrant visa. In the medical industry, most of these occupations require graduate school. This type of position also requires extensive skill, knowledge and experience.

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

Our next “Immigration Q & A Forum” is scheduled for Friday, June 10, 2011! Please remember to submit your questions/comments on our h1bvisalawyer blog.