MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, January 23, 2015

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Question #1 – Conditional Permanent Residence
How do I remove my conditions on my Conditional Green Card?

Answer #1
File Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence with the USCIS, within 90 days of the expiration of the conditional permanent resident card. You should file the petition jointly with your spouse through whom you obtained conditional status. However, certain exceptions do exist that may allow you to apply for a waiver of the joint filing requirement.

Question #2 – Family Based Immigration
Do I need to change my I-130 petition if I filed for my relative as a LPR, but now I have become a US Citizen?

Answer #2
Yes, you should contact the USCIS Office that is reviewing your application and inform them that you have become a U.S. Citizen by submitting a copy of your Naturalization Certificate.

Question #3 – Employment Authorization/Advance Parole
How long are EAD and Advance Parole valid?

Answer #3
There are multiple eligibility categories for the Form I-765, Employment Authorization Document. In most cases, EADs are granted for a one (1) year period, and may be subject to renewal. For 2012 DACA cases, EADs are valid for a period of two (2) years, subject to renewal. Under the Extended DACA program under President Obama’s Executive Action, EADs will be valid for a period of three (3) years, subject to renewal. You cannot file for a renewal EAD more than 120 days before your original EAD expires.

As for Advance Parole (I-131, Application for Travel Document), in most cases, Advance Parole is granted for a one (1) year period, and may be subject to renewal.

Question # 4 – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
Are there educational requirements to be eligible for DACA?

Answer #4
Yes, there are educational requirements. In order to qualify for DACA, among other eligibility requirements, you must be:

Currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States.

Question #5 – Naturalization/Citizenship
If I want to apply for Citizenship, do I need to be present in the US to start the process?

Answer #5
Yes, you must have lived in the state or district where you are filing your application for at least three (3) months.

Question #6 – H1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
Will a Master’s Degree better my chances for my H-1B application to be accepted during the Cap?

Answer #6
No. 65,000 H1B visas are available under the regular CAP each year; whereas, only 20,000 are reserved for those with U.S. Master’s Degrees. Each year the USCIS receives over 100,000 H1B petitions for only 85,000 available H-1B visas.

Question #7 – Green Card
Using my priority date, how can I tell my place in line for a Green Card?

Answer #7
If you received your priority date through an employment based filing, you should look at the latest Visa Bulletin and find your country of chargeability (listed horizontally), and then find your preference category (listed vertically) and the date that is listed in the column under your country of chargeability, and preference category would be the date that the Department of State is currently processing. If ‘C’ is listed, then that means your priority date is current.
For instance, an individual from India with an advanced degree has a Priority Date of September 17, 2009; the DOS is currently servicing cases with Priority Dates of September 5, 2005.

If you received your priority date through a family based filing, you should look at the latest Visa Bulletin and find your country of chargeability (listed horizontally), and then find your preference category (listed vertically) and the date that is listed in the column under your country of chargeability and preference category would be the date that the Department of State is currently processing. If ‘C’ is listed, then that means your priority date is current.
For instance, an individual who is a USC sponsored his sister in Bolivia, and she has a priority date of March 2, 2008, the DOS is currently servicing cases with Priority Dates of April 15, 2002.

Question #8 – Employment Based Immigration
How many years does the usual PERM Process take to complete? What are the filing fees?

Answer #8
The PERM process involves the Labor Certification Application and the test of the U.S. Labor Market. The PERM process does not normally take more than a year unless a Labor Application is audited, appealed or selected for Supervised Recruitment. The delay in Employment Based Immigration occurs at the I-485 stage because there are only so many Immigrant Visas that can be allocated annually. USCIS filing fees are applicable only at the I-140 and I-485 stages; no filing fees are required during the PERM process.

Question #9 – H1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
Can I get my H-1B Visa Reinstated without counting against the upcoming Cap? I worked for the company for only a year and a half before I had to return home to my country.

Answer #9
It depends upon some other factors; however, yes, you should be able to have your H-1B reinstated without being counted against the CAP if you meet one of the following:

You have already been counted against the CAP AND: (1) was previously granted status as an H-1B nonimmigrant in the past 6 years; (2) is applying from abroad to reclaim the remaining portion of the 6 years, or (3) is seeking an extension beyond the 6th year limitation based upon sections 104(c) or 106(a) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act (AC21).

Question #10 – General – INFO PASS APPOINTMENT
Why would someone need an Info Pass appointment with their Local Immigration office? Does it help speed up the case processing time?

Answer #10
Various reasons – question that cannot be addressed by calling the I-800-375-5283 Customer Service Number; applicant has not received their Green Card; Applicant needs emergency Advance Parole; applicant needs proof of Lawful permanent resident status for travel purposes; etc. It depends upon what is being asked at the InfoPass Appointment, sometimes it does speed up processing (i.e., emergency Advance Parole), other times it does not, again it depends.

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

Our next “Immigration Q & A Forum” is scheduled for Friday, February 6, 2015!

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