Have you ever wondered whether you can obtain a green card once you have overstayed your visa? In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick, answers precisely this question, along with related topics that might interest you. For instance, what should a person do once they have overstayed? What are the options to cure an overstay to obtain lawful status in the United States?
To understand more about this complicated topic, please keep on watching.
In most cases, a foreign national will come to the United States lawfully, meaning that they arrived on a valid visa type such as a student, visitor, or work visa and were inspected and admitted to the United States. Unfortunately, in some situations individuals fall out of status and overstay their period of authorized stay. Whether it is because they lost their job, failed to attend school, or could not leave the United States in time before the expiration of their I-94 arrival/departure record, there are many situations that can cause an overstay to happen.
By contrast, some individuals enter the United States unlawfully, meaning that they entered the United States without being inspected and without a valid visa. The issue of whether the foreign national entered lawfully or unlawfully is crucial when it comes to the options that may be available once an overstay has occurred.
How do I know if I overstayed my U.S. visa?
First, let’s discuss the threshold question of how one can know whether they have overstayed their visa.
This may seem like a complicated question, but in fact is very easy to resolve. A person overstays their visa if they have remained in the United States past the authorized period of stay stamped in their passport. When a person is admitted to the United States, they receive a stamp issued by a Customs and Border Protection official which provides the exact date when the individual’s period of stay expires, and consequently when they must leave the United States.
In addition to the passport stamp, foreign nationals can retrieve their I-94 arrival/departure record on the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website which includes their most recent date of entry, and the date their period of authorized stay expires. The date of expiration is the date at which the foreign national must depart the United States. Failure to depart by the date indicated means that the applicant has overstayed their period of authorized stay.
In some cases, the I-94 stamp, or I-94 record will include the notation “D/S” most commonly for individuals on student visas. This notation means that the applicant is expected to leave the United States, when their program of study has ended. The end date of the program of study can be found on the Form I-20 Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status. Students should contact their Designated School Official for this information.
Welcome back to Immigration Lawyer Blog! In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick goes over a brand new and unexpected change in policy being followed by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) with respect to Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) for green card applicants.
Want to know more about this important change? Just keep on watching!
This month has brought unexpected news for green card applicants. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced that it will be discontinuing its policy of issuing employment authorization documents (EADs) and advance parole travel authorization as a joint “combo” card. Up until recently, green card applicants could send Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization, and Form I-131 Application for Travel Document, along with their I-485 green card applications to apply for a “combo” work/travel authorization card. This “combo” card enabled green card applicants to work and travel while their applications were in process with USCIS.
The agency has now confirmed that it will be separating the issuance of the employment authorization document (EAD card) and advance parole (AP) document and will no longer be issuing these “combo cards.” USCIS has said that this new policy change has been implemented to reduce EAD processing times. Effective immediately, the agency will now be issuing EAD and AP documents separately.
Applicants with EAD cards that do not have the notation “Serves as I-512 Advance Parole” will only be able to use their EAD card for employment purposes, and not for travel. A separate Advance Parole document must be issued by USCIS in order for the applicant to engage in international travel. Traveling without a valid Advance Parole document will result in the abandonment of the applicant’s green card.
Why the change?
USCIS has been experiencing abnormally high processing times for I-765 Applications for Employment Authorization, causing serious delays during the COVID-19 pandemic. For instance, the Nebraska Service Center is currently reporting processing times of between 11.5 to 13.5 months for an EAD to be issued based on a pending adjustment of status application. While the California Service Center is currently reporting a wait period of between 20 months to 21.5 months.
While USCIS has been doing its best to reduce the EAD backlogs, many applicants have faced employment interruptions during what is already a difficult economic climate.
USCIS has said that it is working through the EAD backlog and is prioritizing EAD adjudication as it seeks to avoid applicants experiencing a lapse or prolonged lapse in employment authorization. At present, there is no additional information available on the scope or duration of this procedural change
Can I Expedite an EAD Card?
The answer is it depends. USCIS has established clear guidelines explaining when an EAD card may be expedited. In general, USCIS considers an expedite request if it meets one or more of the following criteria or circumstances:
Severe financial loss to a company or person, provided that the need for urgent action is not the result of the petitioner’s or applicant’s failure to:
Timely file the benefit request, or
Timely respond to any requests for additional evidence;
Job loss may be sufficient to establish severe financial loss for a person, depending on the individual circumstances. For example, the inability to travel for work that would result in job loss might warrant expedited treatment. The need to obtain employment authorization by itself, without evidence of other compelling factors, does not warrant expedited treatment. In addition, severe financial loss may also be established where failure to expedite would result in a loss of critical public benefits or services.
Emergencies and urgent humanitarian reasons;
In the context of an expedite request, humanitarian reasons are those related to human welfare. Examples may include, but are not limited to, illness, disability, extreme living conditions, death in the family, or a critical need to travel to obtain medical treatment in a limited amount of time. An emergency may include an urgent need to expedite employment authorization for healthcare workers during a national emergency such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, an expedite request may be considered under this criterion in instances where a vulnerable person’s safety may be compromised due to a breach of confidentiality if there is a delay in processing the benefit application. A benefit requestor’s desire to travel for vacation does not, in general, meet the definition of an emergency.
Nonprofit organization (as designated by the Internal Revenue Service) whose request is in furtherance of the cultural or social interests of the United States;
A nonprofit organization seeking to expedite a beneficiary’s benefit request must demonstrate an urgent need to expedite the case based on the beneficiary’s specific role within the nonprofit in furthering cultural or social interests (as opposed to the organization’s role in furthering social or cultural interests). Examples may include a medical professional urgently needed for medical research related to a specific social U.S. interest (such as the COVID-19 pandemic or other socially impactful research or project) or a university professor urgently needed to participate in a specific and imminent cultural program. Another example is a religious organization that urgently needs a beneficiary’s specific services and skill set to continue a vital social outreach program. In such instances, the religious organization must articulate why the respective beneficiary is specifically needed, as opposed to pointing to a general shortage alone.
U.S. government interests (such cases identified as urgent by federal agencies such as the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Labor, National Labor Relations Board, Equal Opportunity Commission, U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, or other public safety or national security interests); or
U.S. government interests may include, but are not limited to, cases identified as urgent by other government agencies, including labor and employment agencies, and public safety or national security interests.
For expedite requests made by a federal agency, involving other public safety or national security interests, the national interest need must be immediate and substantive. If the need for the action is not immediate, expedited processing is not warranted. A substantive need does not mean that a delay would pose existential or irreversible consequences to the national interests but rather that the case at hand is of a scale or a uniqueness that requires immediate action to prevent real and serious harm to U.S. interests.
Expedite requests from government agencies (federal, state, or local) must be made by a senior-level official of that agency. If the request relates to employment authorization, the request must demonstrate that the need for a person to be employment-authorized is mission-critical and goes beyond a general need to retain a particular worker or person. Examples include, but are not limited to, a noncitizen victim or witness cooperating with a federal, state, or local agency who is in need of employment authorization because the respective agency is seeking back pay or reinstatement in court proceedings.
Clear USCIS error.
Not every circumstance that fits in one of these categories will result in expedited processing.
What You Can Expect Going Forward
It is too early to say how effective this new policy will be at reducing the backlogs. Therefore, it is important for applicants to file their applications well in advance of their anticipated employment and planned travel to avoid facing any dilemmas.
Applicants should continue to monitor their pending EAD applications closely and avoid making any travel plans while the applications are pending. We are hopeful that this new policy change will be a welcome improvement, however no estimates can be made with respect to how long it might take USCIS to issue these stand-alone employment authorization and advance parole documents going forward.
The Law Offices of Jacob Sapochnick will continue to monitor these new developments and will report on any new updates right here on our blog.
Questions? If you would like to schedule a consultation, please text 619-483-4549 or call 619-819-9204.
Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses some very exciting news for first time DACA applicants. Pursuant to a recent court order, a federal judge has ruled that the government must restore the DACA program to its pre-September 2017 status, meaning that USCIS must accept new applications from first time DACA applicants and advance parole requests. Stay tuned for more information on this topic.
On July 17, 2020 a federal judge in the state of Maryland issued a ruling that requires the government to restore the DACA program to its pre-September 2017 status. This means that USCIS must continue the DACA program as it was before it was rescinded by the Trump administration on September 5, 2017, when applications for DACA were being accepted by first time applicants.
Before this decision, on June 18th the Supreme Court of the United States issued a ruling on DACA finding that, although the government’s rescission of DACA violated the Administrative Procedure Act, the government could lawfully rescind DACA so long as the government follows the procedures required by the APA. In effect, the Supreme Court’s decision left open the possibility for DACA to be rescinded by the Trump administration. The Supreme Court emphasized that it would not decide whether DACA or its rescission are “sound policies.”
After its ruling, the Supreme Court sent the case back to the lower courts, where the Maryland judge ultimately decided in favor of reinstating the DACA program.
Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, we discuss a frequently asked question: can you travel with a pending I-485 Adjustment of Status application?
Generally, anytime a person has a pending application with USCIS like a visa extension or change of status petition, that person cannot depart the United States until that petition is approved.
In this video however we will focus specifically on applicants who have a pending I-485 adjustment of status application based on family or employment sponsorship.
With regard to employment-based adjustment of status applicants, this category of applicants is typically present in the United states on a valid non-immigrant visa classification such as H1B, L1, etc. and are simply waiting for their I-485 green card petition to be adjudicated.
With respect to H1B and L1 visa holders ONLY, these individuals can depart the United States on their H1B or L1 visa classification and return, despite having a pending I-485 application.
In this episode, attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick Esq. answers one of our most frequently asked questions: can you leave the country while your application is pending with CIS? Keep watching to learn more.
This is one of the most common and most important questions asked by our clients. Once you have filed an application with USCIS and the application is pending with USCIS (meaning that you have not received a decision on your application) you CANNOT leave the United States, UNLESS you have received special permission from USCIS to travel outside the country (an advance parole document). If you do not have an advance parole document you do not have permission to travel outside of the United States while your application is pending with USCIS. Doing so will ultimately result in the abandonment of your application with USCIS. The applicant will have to reapply to receive any immigration benefit from USCIS.
This is a very serious matter that should not be taken lightly. If you plan to travel outside of the country you must apply for an advance parole document at least 4 months in advance of your international travel.
Always seek counsel from an attorney before partaking in any international travel.
To schedule a first time consultation with our office, please click here.
In this segment Attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick Esq. discusses a new proposed rule referred to as the International Entrepreneur Rule. This new rule is expected to make it easier for certain foreign entrepreneurs to receive temporary permission to enter the United States, also known as ‘parole,’ for the purpose of starting or scaling their start-up business enterprise in the United States. For more information please keep watching.
Under this new rule, DHS would have discretionary authority to grant parole to eligible entrepreneurs of start-up companies who can demonstrate the following:
At least a 15 percent ownership interest in the startup enterprise in question;
That they take on an active and central role in the startup enterprise’s operations;
That the startup enterprise has been formed in the United States within the past three years; and
That the startup enterprise has proven to yield a substantial and demonstrated potential for rapid business growth and job creation as evidenced by:
Having received a significant investment of capital of at least $345,000 from certain qualified U.S. investors that have a proven track record of success i.e. showing established records of successful investments;
Having received significant awards or grants of at least $100,000 from federal, state, or local government entities; or
By partially satisfying one or both of the above criteria, in addition to presenting other reliable and compelling evidence to show the startup entity’s substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation in the United States.
In this segment, attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick discusses the marriage based green card process for persons who entered the United States legally. To learn more about adjustment of status within the United States please click here. For information about employment-based green cards click here.
The process discussed is only for persons who entered the United States legally (those who were legally inspected through a United States port of entry);
If you did not enter the United States legally but are married to a United States citizen, you may qualify for a waiver if you have acquired only unlawful presence in the United States;
The US Citizen spouse and the intending immigrant must be legally free to marry. Pending dissolution proceedings in a foreign country will present a problem;
Both parties must reside in the United States in order to file for adjustment of status;
Once the civil marriage takes place, the USC spouse and intending immigrant must file several forms with CIS along with supporting documents (I-130, I-485, I-864, G-325A, etc.);
The intending immigrant will NOT be able to travel internationally until they are issued an advance parole by filing form I-131 with CIS. It takes approximately 90 days for an advance parole document to be issued from the receipt date of the I-131;
The intending immigrant will receive conditional permanent residence status if the marriage was less than 2 years old on the day they were given permanent residence;
If you have received conditional permanent residence status, you must remove the conditions within the 90 day window immediately before your permanent resident status expires;
For more information about the removal of conditions process please click here. For a consultation please contact us.