MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, February 17, 2012

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Question #1 – Green Card
Can you obtain permanent residence outside of the country in which you intend to be a resident?

Answer #1
Yes, this process is called Consular Processing. After the necessary forms are filed and approved by the USCIS, an individual will be scheduled for and attend a visa interview at a U.S. Consulate abroad where a Consular Officer will decide within their discretion if an applicant is eligible to receive the requested benefit.

Question #2 – Immigrant Investor
Until recently, I had never heard of an investor immigrant. Is that a new type of person who is allowed to immigrate? If so, what qualifies you to be an investor immigrant?

Answer #2
It is not a new type of visa. USCIS administers the Immigrant Investor Program, also known as “EB-5,” created by Congress in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. Under a pilot immigration program first enacted in 1992 and regularly reauthorized since, certain EB-5 visas also are set aside for investors in Regional Centers designated by USCIS based on proposals for promoting economic growth. All EB-5 investors must invest in a new commercial enterprise, create or preserve at least 10 full-time jobs for qualifying U.S. workers within two years, and must make a minimum qualifying investment in the United States of $1 million OR a minimum qualifying investment of $500,000 in the U.S. in a high-unemployment area or rural area.

Question #3 – Green Card
What happens to me if the employer goes bankrupt or withdraws my labor certification or visa petition?

Answer #3
You will need to seek new employment/sponsorship and/or leave the country.

Question #4 – Green Card
What is the “Green Card Lottery”?

Answer #4
The congressionally mandated Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (“Green Card Lottery”) makes available up to 55,000 diversity visas (DVs) annually, drawn from random selection among all entries to persons who meet strict eligibility requirements from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.

Question #5 – Temporary Visas
Will a criminal conviction impair my ability to receive a temporary visa?

Answer #5
It depends upon the type of criminal conviction. Depending upon the seriousness of the criminal conviction, it is possible to be inadmissible and/or deportable for certain criminal convictions – crimes of moral turpitude, crimes involving domestic violence.

Question #6 – Green Card
If I lose my green card, how do I go about replacing it? Is there a fee to replace it?

Answer #6
Yes, there is a standard procedure in place if you lose your Green Card. You will need to apply with the USCIS for a new GC by filing Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card. The fee for replacement is $365.00 plus a biometrics fee of $85.00 made payable to the USCIS.

Question #7 – Green Card
I obtained my green card in 2009, but I know that the USCIS redesigned the green card, so does that mean I need to replace my current green card?

Answer #7
No, you will however, need to renew your GC prior to its expiration. GCs are normally granted for a period of 10 years, unless you received your initial GC through marriage.

Question #8 – Green Card
Are permanent residence cards and green cards the same thing?

Answer #8
Yes

Question #9 – Student Visa
If I am here on an F-1 visa, can I being working even though I’m not on a work based visa?

Answer #9
Generally no, yet it depends. Temporary 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 #10 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
I am working on OPT. If H-1 B processing time goes beyond validity of OPT, what will happen?

Answer #10
If your H-1B CAP case was filed with a beginning work date of October 1, of the present fiscal year, then you are covered under the CAP GAP. Therefore, you are allowed to remain working until your H1B petition is approved by the Service. If the above does not apply to you, then you should, once your OPT expires – stop working – until your H-1B petition is approved by the Service.

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 2, 2012!

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