MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, September 30th, 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 priority date is current according to October Visa Bulletin. I want to apply for I-485, regarding my birth certificate – it is not available and as I understand it, I need to have a certified birth certificate in order to apply. Can I submit something else? Any suggestions?

Answer #1
A certified copy of an original Birth Certificate is requested (if you do not have an original BC, please obtain either a non-availability certificate or a re-issued BC), in addition, if your BC is not registered within a year of your birth, please obtain two birth affidavits.

Question #2 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
On F1/OPT, my employer filed an H-1B for me back in July, no decision yet. Am I covered under “cap gap”?

Answer #2
H-1B petitions that are timely filed, on behalf of an eligible F-1 student, that request a change of status to H-1B on October 1 qualify for a cap-gap extension. Once a timely filing has been made, requesting a change of status to H-1B on October 1, the automatic cap-gap extension will begin and will continue until the H-1B petition adjudication process has been completed. Timely filed means filed within the H-1B acceptance period beginning April 1, 2011. The paperwork (LCA and I-129) must also reflect a beginning employment date of October 1, 2011 to be covered under the CAP GAP.

Question #3 – Family Based Immigration – Green Card
What is the age limit on USC sponsoring foreign parent or foreign relative?

Answer #3
For parents of U.S. Citizens – the U.S. Citizen Petition must be at least 21 years of age. (Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens may immigrate to the United States in unlimited numbers. Currently, there is no annual limit or quota that applies to this category.)
For sisters and brothers of U.S. Citizens – the U.S. Citizen Petition must be at least 21 years of age. (Depending on the demand, these individuals will most likely have to wait in line, possibly for many years, prior to being able to obtain a green card.)

Question #4 – 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. Can I file AC21 Portability letter?

Answer #4
You may be eligible to file an AC21 106(c) Portability Request if the new position/duties are the same or substantially similar to the position/duties listed in your Labor application certified by the DOL.

Question #5 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
How many H-1B nonimmigrant visas remain for the H1B CAP?

Answer #5
The USCIS has not provided an updated on the receipt of H-1B CAP subject petitions since September 9, 2011. As of September 9, 2011, there were approximately 32,800 H-1B Regular CAP subject nonimmigrant visas remaining and 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 FY2012 H-1B Cap updates, please refer to our https://www.h1bvisalawyerblog.com.

Question #6 – Employment Based Immigration – Green Card
Has the suspension been lifted for the issuance of Prevailing wage determinations? I am hearing conflicting information on the internet – forums.

Answer #6
As of September 30, 2011 – More AILA members are beginning to receive PERM prevailing wage determinations for requests that were submitted in early July 2011 (OES based). Notice has not yet been provided by the DOL that the suspension has been lifted.

As of September 15, 2011 – DOL Liaison has received reports that AILA members are beginning to receive PERM prevailing wage determinations for requests that were submitted as recently as June 23, 2011.

As of September 9, 2011 – Of the approximately 3,500 H-2B wage redeterminations to be completed by the end of September, DOL has completed approximately 2,700. DOL expects to be current on H-2B redeterminations by the week of Sept 18, 2011. After H-2B redeterminations are current, a few employees will continue to work on “straggler” H-2B cases and all others who were working on redeterminations will be reassigned to work on new H-2B prevailing wage requests. DOL expects H-2B prevailing wage determinations to be current (regulatory 30 days) by mid-October. After H-2Bs are current, DOL will shift resources to focus on PERM prevailing wage requests. DOL commits to have PERM prevailing wage requests current (processed within 60 days of filing) by November 1. DOL commits to have H-1B prevailing wage determinations current by the second week of November. The aforementioned dates were said to be the “worse case scenario,” absent something catastrophic (e,g. hurricane) or other major event/change. DOL agreed that stakeholders would benefit from updates on progress made toward these processing targets, and would consider publishing an update on the status of prevailing wages at the end of September on the OFLC website. DOL repeated that it will not waive any of the regulatory requirements and did not provide any additional guidance on alternative avenues for PERM cases that are ripe for filing but for the lack of a prevailing wage determination.

As of August 25, 2011 – The Department of Labor (DOL) Liaison has received reports from members that PERM prevailing wage determinations are beginning to be received for requests submitted in early June 2011. Additionally, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has been in discussions with other stakeholders on possible courses of action, including individual mandamus actions, if DOL does not resume issuing prevailing wage determinations promptly.

Original Update: The OFLC National Prevailing Wage Center is experiencing delays in processing prevailing wage determinations as it is currently working to reissue certain determinations to comply with a court order issued June 15, 2011 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was published in the Federal Register on June 28, 2011, and a Final Rule was published on August 1. All Center resources are currently being utilized to comply with this court order. The processing of Prevailing Wage Determinations, redeterminations, and Center Director Reviews has been temporarily suspended. Processing will resume as soon as full compliance with the court order has been completed by OFLC.

Question #7 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
I live in VA and my driver’s license is expiring. What do I need to do? My H1B extension is pending and I need to renew my license soon, like in three weeks! Any suggestions?

Answer #7
Information provided by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles website – If you are authorized to be in the U.S. temporarily and have been issued a limited duration driver’s license, the license cannot be renewed. A subsequent license will be processed as an original license. However, you will not be eligible to receive an original driver’s license if your authorized stay in the U.S. is less than 30 days from the date you apply. Each time you apply for an original driver’s license you must show two proofs of identity (one proof of identity if under age 19), one proof of legal presence and one proof of Virginia residency. Proof of your social security number (if you have been issued one) is required also. If you present a valid legal presence document without an expiration date, you will be issued a limited duration license that is valid for one year. This does not apply to a U.S. birth document since it does not contain an expiration date. Foreign applicants applying should present the following – USCIS form I-797 displaying applicant’s name (Depending on the purpose and nature of the form, the I-797 may not be accepted. The I-797 for an I-765 petition is not accepted); and an unexpired foreign passport with an Unexpired or expired U.S. visa and unexpired or expired I-94. You most certainly can upgrade your filing to Premium Processing.

Question #8 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
One of our consultants is nearing his 6th year on H-1B visa status, but he has an approved I-140 filed by a different company. Is it possible to use that approved I-140 to get a three year extension with our company.

Answer #8
Yes. Pursuant to AC21 law, an H-1B immigrant may extend his or her status beyond the 6 year limitation if a labor certification, I-140, or employment based adjustment of status application has been filed where 365 days or more have elapsed since the filing of the labor certification or I-140. Or, where the H-1B immigrant has an I-140 petition which has been approved under the employment based green card and the AOS/485 is pending due to the unavailability of visa numbers.

Question #9 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
Similar question to #7. I live in MD and my driver’s license is expiring. My H1B extension is pending and I need to renew my license. Any suggestions?

Answer #9
Information provided by the Maryland Department of Transportation, Motor Vehicle Administration website – If you hold a Maryland Driver’s License with the “T” restriction indicating that your license is a Limited Term driver’s license, expiring on the date that your lawful status in the U. S. expires, you will be required to provide new or extended proof of your lawful status. You will be required to provide proof of a social security number (SSN) that can be verified by the Social Security Administration, or proof of ineligibility for an SSN. The name(s) on the actual Social Security Card or other acceptable document used to provide proof of a valid, verifiable SSN or proof of ineligibility MUST match the source document(s) used to provide proof of the applicants’ Age and Identity and licensure if required. If you held a valid Maryland driver’s license, permit or identification card prior to April 19, 2009, you may be eligible for a subsequent license, permit, or identification card without proof of lawful presence or social security number, but it will not be acceptable for official federal purposes. (1) Please check your renewal notice for any errors. (2) Present your renewal notice, expiring license, and fee in person to any one of the MVA locations. (3) Pass a vision screening (4) Present new lawful status documentation if your Maryland license is expiring due to the expiration of your lawful status. You most certainly can contact the MVA itself and ask if that facility would accept your I-129 receipt notice as proof of your pending extension or upgrade your filing to Premium Processing.

Question #10 – Employment Based Immigration – Green Card
We appealed a denial of I-140 Immigrant Petition filed on behalf of one of our employees. How much longer can we expect to wait for a decision to be made?

Answer #10
According to the Administrative Appeals Office, Appeals filed under the EB2 preference category (Professionals with Advanced Degrees) are currently being reviewed within 31 months of filing the appeal. Appeals filed under the EB3 preference category (Skilled and Professional workers) are currently being reviewed within 35 months.

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

Our next “Immigration Q & A Forum” is scheduled for Friday, October 14th, 2011!

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