MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, July 22nd, 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
My employer appealed my denied labor to BALCA. My employer just got notice that my appeal has been docketed. When will I get a decision?

Answer #1
According to the United States Department of Labor website, it is approximately taking up to two (2) years for a case to be reviewed by BALCA from the date of filing the appeal.

Question #2 – Temporary Travel as a Non-Immigrant
I have an H1B visa stamped on my passport, which expires in Feb. 2012. I am planning to travel outside of the country in Sept. The agency where I work has applied for Adjustment of Status and filed an I-131 form, but I don’t have the documents to travel. Can I travel? without this documentation and re-enter just with my H1B visa? Thank you!

Answer #2
Yes, you may travel on your H-1B visa, IF and ONLY IF you are presently still working for your H-1B employer. If so, you may use the H-1B visa stamp and re-enter the U.S. as an H-1B nonimmigrant and resume employment with your H-1B employer. However, you should carry with you a copy of your entire approved petition, along with an updated employment verification letter, most recent paystubs, employment agreement, just to be safe. If not, you must wait for the Advance Parole document to be approved before you may exit the country and attempt to re-enter.

Question #3 – Employment Based Immigration – Green Card
I filed for AOS based on employment. I moved six months after filing concurrently, I-140 and I-485 applications. My fingerprint notice was sent to my old address and then I received a notice in the mail that my I-485 had been denied due to abandonment. (An old friend lives at my old address). I subsequently re-filed the I-485. Some of my friends say this re-filing could have been avoided? How?

Answer #3
If you move while a case is pending with the USCIS, under Section 265 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1305), you must submit Form AR-11 within 10 days of your move to a specific address provided by the USCIS. If you fail to update your address with the USCIS, correspondence may continue to be sent to your old address and if you fail to respond within a timely manner, it could result in a denial or seriously affect the processing of your case. You could have avoided this situation by simply updating your mailing address online or by submitting Form AR-11 to the USCIS. As explained to you in the I-485 denial, failure to show at a scheduled fingerprint appointment without prior notice is considered abandonment of the application and may result in a denial. With the facts provided, it seems that by the time you received the fingerprint appointment notice and I-485 notice concerning denial, it was beyond the time required to submit a response in a timely manner. Accordingly, you re-filed your I-485 application. Next time, I would recommend you contact an experienced Immigration Attorney.

Question #4 – 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.” I am worried, is this normal?

Answer #4
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 #5 – Employment Based Immigration – Green Card
Please explain to me what “priority date becoming current” means?

Answer #5
In order for an individual to obtain an immigrant visa, a visa number must be available to you. This is referred to as the priority date being “current.” The priority date is current if there is no backlog in the category, or if the priority date is on or before the date listed as current in the State Department’s monthly Visa Bulletin. This Bulletin is accessible at www.travel.state.gov. If there is a backlog in the preference category in which you were filed in, this means, that you must wait until a visa becomes available, until your priority date becomes current. When your priority date becomes current, you may file the I-485 application, but until then, you must wait.

Question #6 – Employment Based Immigration – Green Card
My husband received his GC and his last name is spelled wrong on the card. How do I fix it?

Answer #6
You will need to file Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card. If you believe this was an administrative error on the part of the USCIS, you will need to check box d in Part 2, number 2 of the application. Along with the Form I-90 and accompanying filing fee please attach the incorrect card and evidence of the correct information (original birth certificate; passport; previous approval notices, etc). You will need to submit the USCIS filing fees (made payable to the “U.S. Department of Homeland Security”) even though you believe it was an administrative error. If you send the form with accompanying documentation without the filing fees, the case will be returned until you provide those fees. If the USCIS agrees that the error was administrative in nature, they will issue a new card and return the filing fees.

Question #7 – Immigration Options for a Nanny
I am looking to hire a Nanny for my twin daughters who are 18 months. What options are available?

Answer #7
The options for hiring foreign-born nannies are very limited, but there are options. Options available: J-1 Visa, H-2B Visa, and Sponsorship of the Foreign Worker as a Skilled Worker under the EB3 Preference Category (Employment Based Immigrant Visa – Green Card). You should consider each option and the possible benefits and drawbacks of each option. Unfortunately, the EB3 preference category for Skilled Workers is oversubscribed, and accordingly, this option will take years and thus may not be the best available option considering your children may be 10 years old by the time an Immigrant Visa number becomes available for the sponsored Nanny.

Question #8 – Visa Bulletin
I always check the visa bulletin and the movement varies. One time, there was a 3 month movement and the next time it was just 22 days, then a month. Why is that so?

Answer #8
Each month, the State Department issues the visa bulletin, usually in the middle of the month. When the bulletin is issued, it will provide information that will take effect on the first day of the following month. Depending on the availability of immigrant visas, the priority dates in each category and for each country can change each month. However, please note that the priority dates can also stay the same. They can move very slowly or progress by several months or years. They can move forward or backward. Therefore, there is no way to anticipate what the priority date will be in a future month or when a category will become current.

Question #9 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
One of our employees is going on vacation from 08/15-09/10 and we are getting his h1b ext. in October 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 #9
The answer to your question depends upon the specifics of your case; whether an end client 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 10/2011, you could prepare and file the extension case now. Knowing the above information, please consider all of the circumstances of the case before you make a decision to proceed forward.

Question #10 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
How many H-1B nonimmigrant visas remain under the CAP?

Answer #10
As of July 15, 2011, there were approximately 44,500 H-1B Regular CAP subject nonimmigrant visas remaining and 7,200 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.

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

Our next “Immigration Q & A Forum” is scheduled for Friday, August 5th, 2011!

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