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.
Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, we will give you our top 10 tips on how to successfully obtain an F-1 student visa or J-1 Trainee visa.
There are generally two ways to apply for a U.S. Visa. If you are residing lawfully in the United States on a nonimmigrant visa classification (such as a tourist visa) you may apply for a change of status by filing Form I-539 Application to Change Nonimmigrant Status with USCIS. If you are residing abroad however you must apply for your visa at a U.S. Consulate near you.
Regardless of your application method, there are several important tips that can help you successfully obtain your F-1 or J-1 visa.
Proof of Strong Ties to your home country
One of the most important aspects of the application is providing documentary evidence that your stay in the United States will only be of a temporary nature and that you will depart the United States at the end of your student visa or trainee program. To show that you intend to remain in the United States only temporarily, you must provide proof that you have obligations/ties to your home country that require your eventual return.
What types of evidence can be provided to fulfill this requirement?
There are a variety of different types of evidence that can be provided to show strong proof of ties home. The most common types of evidence include proof of residence abroad, proof of employment abroad or a future job offer that will require you to return to your home country, enrollment in an academic program to be attended in the future, military obligations abroad, property ownership abroad, business operations or business ownership abroad, evidence of familial obligations, etc.
All non-immigrant visa applicants must show that they have the financial ability to support their stay during the duration of their student or trainee program. This can be shown by providing your most recent bank account statements to prove that you have sufficient capital to support your stay.
Alternatively, applicants may provide proof of sponsorship. For purposes of sponsorship, the applicant must have a friend or relative who meets the income requirements sign Form I-134 Affidavit of Support. The sponsor must sign a statement that they will be financially responsible for the applicant’s expenses throughout the duration of their stay in the U.S., and the sponsor must also provide supporting financial documentation showing their ability to sponsor the applicant.
Knowledge of the English Language
In order to obtain a F-1 or J-1 visa, you must demonstrate at your consular interview that you have at least a basic command of the English language to be able to effectively participate in your student visa or trainee visa program.
Please note: You will need to be able to speak for yourself at the time of your interview. You will not be allowed to bring a parent, relative, or anyone else to speak for you at your interview.
Explain how your program of study will relate to your future career in your home country
At the time of your interview you must be prepared to explain to the consular officer how your chosen program of study or training relates to your future career in your home country. For example, if you have chosen to study hospitality management in the United States, you may wish to explain to the officer that you plan to work in the hospitality industry in your home country, and your US degree in hospitality management will help you be an attractive candidate for employers in your home country.
This will increase your chances of success at the time of your interview.
Be clear and concise
Remember that you only have a limited amount of time to speak to the consular officer and show that you qualify for the visa. All of your answers to the officer must be clear and concise. Answer exactly what the officer is asking, nothing less nothing more.
Do not bring voluminous documents to your interview. Be organized and bring only documents that are necessary for your interview.
Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, we discuss an important topic relating to family-based immigration: how can I immigrate my parent to the United States?
How do you immigrate a parent to the United States?
You must be a United States citizen (over 21 years of age) to immigrate your parent to the United States. The process of immigrating your parent to the United States depends on where your parent is residing at the time of filing.
Adjustment of Status
The most common scenario is where your parent has entered the United States on a non-immigrant visa for a non-immigrant purpose (such as visiting the United States) and several months later a decision is made to adjust the parent’s status to permanent residence. In this scenario, the appropriate process to immigrate the parent to the United States is through a process known as adjustment of status to permanent residence.
During this process, the United States citizen child will file a petition with USCIS called Form I-130 to immigrate their parent to the United States as well as Form I-864 Affidavit of Support. The United States citizen child must sign Form I-864 Affidavit of Support to prove they have the financial ability to provide for their parent until the parent becomes a US citizen. If the United States citizen child cannot prove financial ability, a joint sponsor will be needed who can prove their financial ability. At the same time, the parent will file Form I-485 with USCIS to change their status to that of permanent residence. In addition, the parent may choose to apply for employment authorization and a travel permit by filing Forms I-765 and I-131, in order to work and travel internationally while the green card application is in process.
Once these petitions are filed with USCIS, the parent can wait in the United States until the green card process is completed. The process is considered complete once the parent is approved following the green card interview.
Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, we have some bad news for H1B visa holders, some very very alarming statistics. If you want to know what they are watch this video.
H1B Visas and Rate of Denials
Based on a recent statistic, between 2015 through 2019 there has been a significant increase in H1B visa denials. H1B visa denials have quadrupled in denial rates.
Similarly, the volume of requests for evidence issued to H1B petitioners have increased by 60 percent.
The H-1B season for fiscal year 2021 will bring some important changes. Firstly, USCIS has imposed a new online electronic registration requirement for H1B petitioners to streamline the H1B lottery process.
When we see a quadrupling in the rate of H1B visas denied for strong H1B petitions, it is apparent that the government is trying to send a message, which is that they want to limit the amount of people who can actually file for H1B visas. In the requests for evidence we have received for H1B extensions and transfers, we see a trend in which USCIS is using the most narrow interpretation of what a “specialty occupation,” is which by definition limits the pool of candidates eligible to receive an H1B visa.
We are seeing almost automatic denials for our marketing and business positions because USCIS is being so restrictive in how they interpret and define a “specialty occupation.” USCIS is taking the position that marketing and business positions are not “specialty occupations.”
USCIS has time and time again refused to accept the complexity of these positions, legal arguments in support of a finding that these positions are in fact specialty occupations, and ignored expert opinions supporting such positions as “specialty occupations.”
From what we have seen in our own filings and from conversations we have had with other attorneys and law offices, it is becoming increasingly difficult to get H1B visas approved for positions and occupations are were normally approved without difficulty in the past.
Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, we bring Polish citizens an exciting new update regarding the Visa Waiver Program.
The Department of Homeland Security recently announced the addition of Poland, as a country eligible to participate in the Visa Waiver Program.
What is the Visa Waiver Program?
The Visa Waiver Program allows citizens or nationals of certain countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business purposes without having to apply for a tourist visa at a U.S. Consulate abroad. The period of time that a traveler may remain in the United States under the Visa Waiver Program is 90 days or less.
How does it work?
Citizens of countries participating in the Visa Waiver program may travel to the United States without a visa by using their passports and an approved ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) form that can be completed on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website in a matter of minutes.
Poland Joins Visa Waiver Program
Beginning November 11, 2019, Polish citizens may travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program. This means that as a Polish citizen or national, you will not need to apply for a visa in order to enter the United States as a tourist or for select business purposes.
Welcome back to Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, we talk about the different investment visa options available under current law.
E-2 Non-immigrant Visa: Visa through Investment
The first option is the E-2 visa. This is a non-immigrant visa that allows foreign nationals from eligible treaty nations to invest in a new business in the United States. The required investment amount will vary depending on the type of business.
Not every country participates in the E-2 visa program. You must be a national of a treaty nation in order to qualify. For a complete list of qualifying countries please click here.
The amount of time a foreign national may remain in the United States with an E-2 visa depends on the applicant’s country of nationality. The average processing time to receive an E-2 visa is approximately 3 to 5 months. In order successfully obtain an E-2 visa, the applicant must be able to demonstrate the source of funds of the investment, hire employees to work for the business, and the business must be real and operating.
It is important to note that the E-2 visa does not lead to a green card but can be extended.
EB-5 Immigrant Visa Program: Green Card through Investment
The EB-5 Immigrant Visa Program allows you to invest half a million dollars into a regional center government approved project, or a million dollars direct investment in your own project. To qualify, your investment must create at least 10 jobs and the business must be succeeding and growing.
After November 21, 2019, the minimum investment will increase from half a million to $900,000 for investment in a regional center, and from one million to 1.8 million for direct investments.
Welcome back to Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, we cover a very important topic: can people who overstayed their visa or entered illegally, get a work visa or employee sponsorship?
Recently our office met with a client who was in this very predicament. He had the perfect job opportunity from his dream employer and was now interested in knowing how he could obtain a work visa with his employer’s sponsorship. The problem: he entered the country illegally and since entering had no lawful status in the United States.
Here is where we had to deliver the bad news.
The bottom line
A person who has entered illegally or overstayed the duration of their visa, is not eligible to adjust their status to permanent residence. During the employment sponsorship process, the visa applicant must provide information regarding their entry to the United States. Under current immigration law, a person who has entered without inspection cannot adjust their status in the United States, based on employment sponsorship except under one limited exception called 245(i).
What is 245(i)
245(i) is a provision in the law passed under the Legal Immigration Family Equity (LIFE) Act in the year 2000, enabling certain individuals who are unlawfully present in the United States to apply for adjustment of status, despite their unlawful entry.
Welcome back to Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this post, we discuss the status of the Presidential Proclamation signed by President Trump on October 4, 2019, that sought to suspend the entry of immigrants who would financially burden the United States health care system.
Firstly, let’s discuss what this Presidential Proclamation is about.
Effective November 3rd, the Presidential Proclamation required persons seeking to immigrate to the United States to provide proof, within 30 days of their entry to the United States, of approved health care coverage, or adequate financial resources to pay for reasonably foreseeable medical costs.
Immigrant applicants who failed to provide such evidence would be considered a financial burden on the U.S. healthcare system and would be inadmissible to the United States.
In response to a lawsuit filed by seven U.S. Citizens and a nonprofit organization, on Sunday November 2, 2019, U.S. District Judge Michael Simon issued a temporary restraining order blocking the President’s Proclamation from going into effect as planned on November 3rd. Judge Simon’s order applies nationwide meaning that the government cannot enforce any parts of the proclamation until the court reaches a decision on the merits of the case.
Welcome back to Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, we cover a new policy update handed down by USCIS that affects children of U.S. service members and government employees stationed abroad.
The new policy update states that certain children of U.S. government employees and U.S. armed forces members, employed or stationed outside the United States, will not be considered to be “residing in the United States” for purposes of acquiring citizenship under INA 320 beginning October 29, 2019.
In other words, some children of U.S. government workers and members of the U.S. armed forces stationed abroad will no longer be granted automatic citizenship. Instead, their parents will need to apply for their citizenship by filing Form N-600K Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate Under Section 322 before the child’s 18th birthday.
Who does the Policy affect?
This policy applies to the following categories of children of U.S. government employees and U.S. armed forces members:
children of non-U.S. citizens adopted by U.S. citizen employees or service members;
children of non-U.S. citizen parents who become citizens after the child’s birth; and
children of U.S. citizens who do not meet residency requirements to transmit citizenship to their children at birth.
While these children will no longer obtain citizenship automatically, U.S. citizen parents residing outside the United States, with children who are not U.S. citizens, can still apply for their citizenship, by filing Form N-600K before the child’s 18th birthday.
Who does the Policy not affect?
The policy DOES NOT affect children who are citizens at birth or who have already acquired citizenship prior to October 29, 2019.
This new policy does not take away the citizenship rights of children of U.S. service members and government employees stationed abroad, but rather makes it harder for these children to acquire citizenship by requiring parents to submit Form N-600K with supporting documentation. Previously, children who regularly resided outside the United States could acquire citizenship automatically.
In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick talks about the Diversity Visa Program also known as the “Diversity Visa Lottery.”
What is the Diversity Visa Lottery?
Every fiscal year approximately 50,000 immigrant visas are up for grabs for a special class of immigrants known as “diversity immigrants.” To be eligible to participate in the program as a “diversity immigrant,” you must be from a country with historically low rates of immigration to the United States. If you were not born in an eligible country, you may qualify to participate in the program if your spouse was born in an eligible country or if your parents were born in an eligible country.
In general, the requirements to participate in the diversity visa program are as follows:
Requirement #1: You must be a national of one of the following countries
AFRICA Algeria Angola Benin Botswana Burkina Faso Burundi Cameroon Cabo Verde Central African Republic Chad Comoros Congo Congo, Democratic Republic of the Cote D’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) Djibouti Egypt* Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Ethiopia Gabon Gambia, The Ghana Guinea Guinea-Bissau Kenya Lesotho Liberia Libya Madagascar Malawi Mali Mauritania Mauritius Morocco Mozambique Namibia Niger Rwanda Sao Tome and Principe Senegal Seychelles Sierra Leone Somalia South Africa South Sudan Sudan Swaziland Tanzania Togo Tunisia Uganda Zambia Zimbabwe
ASIA Afghanistan Bahrain Bhutan Brunei Burma Cambodia Hong Kong Special Administrative Region** Indonesia Iran Iraq Israel* Japan*** Jordan* Kuwait Laos Lebanon Malaysia Maldives Mongolia Nepal North Korea Oman Qatar Saudi Arabia Singapore Sri Lanka Syria* Taiwan** Thailand Timor-Leste United Arab Emirates Yemen
EUROPE Albania Andorra Armenia Austria Azerbaijan Belarus Belgium Bosnia and Herzegovina Bulgaria Croatia Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark (including components and dependent areas overseas) Estonia Finland France (including components and dependent areas overseas) Georgia Germany Greece Hungary Iceland Ireland Italy Kazakhstan Kosovo Kyrgyzstan Latvia Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macau Special Administrative Region** Macedonia Malta Moldova Monaco Montenegro Netherlands (including components and dependent areas overseas) Northern Ireland*** Norway (including components and dependent areas overseas) Poland Portugal (including components and dependent areas overseas) Romania Russia**** San Marino Serbia Slovakia Slovenia Spain Sweden Switzerland Tajikistan Turkey Turkmenistan Ukraine Uzbekistan Vatican City