MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, February 28, 2014

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Question #1 – H1B Nonimmigrant Visa
I have some questions about my current H1-B case extension. My employer has applied for my H1-B extension through the Vermont center. The case was sent to USCIS via Federal Express on 01/21/2014. We haven’t yet received the receipt notice and now want to now upgrade to premium processing. How long does it normally take them to send a receipt notice? Is there any way to get the receipt notice by contacting the USCIS?

Answer #1
Receipts normally take anywhere from one-two weeks to arrive in the mail after the case is accepted for processing by the USCIS. The USCIS sends receipt/approval notices through the United States Postal Service (USPS) and does not provide tracking information for receipt/approval notices. Speak with your employer to determine if the USCIS filing fee checks have been cashed, if so, normally the receipt number is listed on the back of the deposited checks. I have heard that the USCIS has changed the process of depositing checks and now utilize an electronic method that does not provide the receipt number on the back of the check. If this is the case, your employer and/or authorized representative (i.e., Attorney) should contact the USCIS via the customer service 800 number or by mail with documentation to show that the package was in fact delivered and the checks that were cashed for a receipt notice to be issued.

Question #2 – H1B Nonimmigrant Visa
If I am a graduate student who is awaiting my Degree in May, can I apply for an H1B under the CAP?

Answer #2
Yes; however, you may have other options that should be discussed and considered. You should contact your designated school official (DSO) at your College/University or Contact our office to speak with an Immigration Attorney.

Question #3 – H1B Nonimmigrant Visa
I am on F-1 visa and my OPT EAD will expire on August 1, 2014. My employer is ready to file my H1B Petition when the H-1B Cap opens. Can I continue to stay in the US and work during the gap period?

Answer #3
Based upon the facts you have provided, it would appear that the answer to your question is yes. H1B CAP GAP is a regulatory provision which extends an eligible F-1 student’s status to bridge the gap between the end of F-1 status and start of H-1B status, thereby allowing the student to remain in the US during the “gap.” It is recommended that F1 students whose F1 status expires after submission of the H-1B petition, NOT leave the country prior to receiving the H-1B nonimmigrant visa status in October.

Question #4 – Family Based Immigration
What is a conditional resident green card?

Answer #4
Conditional resident status only applies to those who received a green card based upon marriage; or those who received a green card as an Entrepreneur. As provided on the USCIS website – A conditional permanent resident receives a green card valid for 2 years. In order to remain a permanent resident, a conditional permanent resident must file a petition to remove the condition during the 90 days before the card expires. The conditional card cannot be renewed. The conditions must be removed or you will lose your permanent resident status.

Question #5 – Green Card
I am a Green Card holder and I am getting married in the Fall. Do I need to report my name change and get another Green Card?

Answer #5
As long as you carry with you evidence of your legal name change in addition to your Green Card, you should be fine until the time comes for you to file to renew your Green Card. Otherwise, if your name changes and you want to get a new Green Card with the new name change, then you will have to complete Form I-90, and pay the USCIS filing fee of $450.00, $365.00 plus $85.00 biometrics.

Question #6 – Employment Based Immigration
I just received a new I-140. My 485 was already filed with another I-140. Is there any way to link this new I-140 to my 485 application?

Answer #6
Yes. Contact our office to speak with an Immigration Attorney.

Question #7- H1B Nonimmigrant Visa
More than a year ago, I filed my I-140 petition based on EB1 and the I-485 is still pending. I will be reaching my 6 years limit on H1B status soon. Can I file the H-1B extension for 7th year?

Answer #7
Based upon the facts you have provided, the answer to your question appears to be YES. The American Competitiveness in the 21st Century Act (AC21), allows an applicant to apply for three-year extensions of H-1B status, if an I-140 has already been filed and approved on behalf of the Applicant, but the Applicant’s priority date is not current, i.e. immigrant visa number is not available.

Question #8 – General
How does “Aging Out” affect an I-485 application? My daughter will be turning 21 next year. Can I get her Green Card expedited so she can receive it sooner?

Answer #8
The Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) was enacted on August 6, 2002. The CSPA allows a beneficiary to retain classification as a child after reaching the age of 21, if certain requirements are met. Contact our office to speak with an Immigration Attorney concerning the specifics of your case.

Question #9 – Green Card
How long can I remain outside the United States with my Permanent Resident Card?

Answer #9
As taken from the USCIS website – You may be found to have abandoned your permanent resident status if you: (i) Remain outside of the United States for more than 1 year without obtaining a reentry permit or returning resident visa. However, in determining whether your status has been abandoned, any length of absence from the United States may be considered, even if less than 1 year; or (ii) Remain outside of the United States for more than 2 years after issuance of a reentry permit without obtaining a returning resident visa. However, in determining whether your status has been abandoned any length of absence from the United States may be considered, even if less than 1 year.

Contact our office to speak with an Immigration Attorney to discuss your specific questions.

Question #10 – General
What is INFOPASS used for?

Answer #10
According to the USCIS website, InfoPass is a free service that lets you schedule an appointment with a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Immigration Officer by using the Internet at any time of day or night. If you have an immigration issue that is best handled by a trained USCIS Immigration Officer, InfoPass will let you schedule your appointment instead of requesting it in person at your local USCIS office.

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 14, 2014!

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