Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses an important announcement for medical professionals who have an approved U.S. nonimmigrant, immigrant visa petition, or certificate of eligibility, and are seeking to treat or mitigate the effects of COVID-19.
Keep on watching for more information.
The United States government recently announced the urgent need for medical professionals from abroad to combat the rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus. The United States is currently at the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic with a record number of cases and a rising number of deaths that has surpassed those of China and Italy.
As a result, the Department of State is encouraging medical professionals from abroad, working to treat or mitigate the effects of COVID-19 , who have either (1) an approved U.S. nonimmigrant or immigrant visa petition (I-129, I-140, or similar) or (2) certificate of eligibility in an approved exchange visitor program (DS-2019), to request a visa appointment at their nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
Please note that this measure applies only to medical professionals with an approved visa.
Although U.S. Embassies and Consulates worldwide have suspended routine visa services, this is one of the few exceptions that medical professionals need to be taking advantage of.
Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this important video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected U.S. immigration law and what you should expect going forward.
COVID-19 Firm Update
In compliance with government directives, our office remains temporarily closed for any in person meetings with clients and prospective clients. However, our firm continues to be fully functional on a remote basis.
All meetings with current and future clients will take place via phone, Zoom, Facetime, or other remote conferencing medium. At this time, we are not scheduling in-person appointments to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Our focus remains the health and safety of our clients and our employees, while providing the highest quality of service.
If you are a prospective client, you may contact us by phone or schedule a video conference for a free discovery call to determine your immigration needs.
Our Message to Our Current Clients
Our Firm has been hard at work these last few weeks to avoid any disruptions in service as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, while at the same time acting responsibly to do our part to contain the spread of this virus.
To achieve business continuity, our office will be engaging an Alternate Work Schedule Program that will allow us to remain fully functional and continue our business with the use of remote working technology.
Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick answers a frequently asked question: does the public charge rule apply to non-immigrant visas?
One of our subscribers asks: I am applying for a student visa at the US Embassy, does the public charge rule apply to me?
Please bear in mind that the answer to this question applies to all non-immigrant visa types including but not limited to tourist visas, fiancé visas, exchange visitor visas, etc.
In general, all applicants seeking admission to the United States are subject to the public charge ground of inadmissibility under INA § 212(a)(4) unless specifically exempted by law.
As it relates specifically to individuals seeking a non-immigrant visa at a U.S. Embassy abroad the public charge rule will apply.
Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses the new H-1B mandatory electronic registration system and what to expect after the mandatory registration period has closed. Keep watching for more information.
As you know H-1B season FY 2021 is now in full swing. The new mandatory H-1B electronic registration system opened March 1, 2020 and will remain open until noon ET March 20, 2020.
Since the implementation of this new system our clients have been asking whether the system is working, whether there have been any glitches, and whether we have encountered any problems with the registration process.
So, what has happened since the system opened?
Unfortunately, during the first few days the system was open, our office encountered a few problems while registering our clients. The main problem was that the online system was locking us out and preventing us from completing our client’s registrations. Due to this, our office had to set up multiple accounts to prevent the system from locking us out in order to successfully complete the registrations.
Secondly, when registering in the system a code is supposed to be populated that is emailed to the employer for the purpose of verifying the information provided during the registration process. Our office experienced numerous problems retrieving this code, and in other cases the code provided by the system did not work altogether.
Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses the new H-1B online registration system and everything you need to know if you are applying for an H-1B cap petition in fiscal year 2021.
As our blog followers will know, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services has drastically changed the filing procedure for submitting H-1B cap subject petitions.
Beginning March 1, 2020, before a petitioner can file an H-1B cap-subject petition on behalf of an alien worker, including petitions eligible for the advanced degree exemption, the petitioner must first electronically register with USCIS on the USCIS website.
This electronic registration requirement is absolutely mandatory.
Only petitioners with a valid registration selection will be eligible to file an H-1B petition with USCIS.
The initial registration period for H-1B FY 2021 will open on March 1, 2020 and is expected to close on March 20, 2020. The actual end date will be provided by USCIS very soon on its website. Petitioners must pay a $10 H-1B registration fee per submission. Duplicate registrations are prohibited.
Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses an important topic. Recently Iranian Americans with dual citizenship have been questioned by Customs and Border Protection upon re-entering the United States. Our clients have been asking: can the government do this?
Stay tuned to find out more.
As our readers may be aware tensions between the United States and Iran have been at an all-time high following the killing of Qasem Soleimani, an Iranian military commander by a United States airstrike.
Since Soleimani’s killing, the Iranian government and supreme leader have vowed to retaliate against the United States.
The United States Department of State has issued a level four travel advisory notice for Iran, alerting United States Citizens of the dangers they may face in traveling to Iran including kidnapping, arbitrary arrest, and detention. The DOS has also advised United States citizens against traveling because the United States government does not have any diplomatic or consular relations with the government of Iran and cannot provide emergency assistance to U.S. Citizens in Iran.
The DOS has also made clear on its website that Iranians with U.S./Iranian nationality are not immune to these dangers and are advised against traveling.
CBP’s Right to Question
Having said that, generally Customs and Border Protection has the right to question any individual seeking admission to the United States about any matter that they consider relevant in determining an individual’s admissibility to the country.
Given the current circumstances and political climate, it is expected for Customs and Border Protection to question Iranian American dual citizens at the port of entry, about things like their social media, what they were doing in Iran, their feelings about the political situation in Iran, who they know in Iran, and other such questions.
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 discuss whether you can file an application to extend your stay on a tourist visa if you have overstayed.
Disclaimer: We do not recommend overstaying your duration of stay on any visa classification, because serious immigration consequences could result. However, this post discusses the options you may have, if you find yourself in the precarious situation where you have already overstayed, and you have a good faith reason for having overstayed.
Typically a person is given up to a 6-month period to remain in the United States on a tourist visa. At the end of those 6 months, the foreign national must depart the United States. The question is: are there any special circumstances in which a person may be allowed to extend their stay, where they have overstayed their visa?
In this case, the person stayed past the 6-month period of time allowed in the United States, and did not depart the United States. However, the person had a good faith reason for remaining in the United States. Toward the end of their stay, the individual had just given birth in the United States, and unfortunately some medical complications occurred that kept the individual in the United States past the 6-months authorized by their tourist visa. Because of these complications, the individual could not fly outside of the United States.
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.