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.
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 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.
In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses some new developments regarding the government’s planned implementation of a final rule that would have made certain individuals inadmissible to the United States on public charge grounds.
The public charge rule was set to be enforced on October 15, 2019. The rule would have expanded the list of public benefits that make a foreign national ineligible to obtain permanent residence and/or an immigrant or nonimmigrant visa to enter the United States.
A person would have been considered a “public charge” under the rule, if they received one or more designated public benefits for more than 12 months in the aggregate, within any 36-month period.
In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses a new rule, effective October 15, 2019, that expands the list of public benefits that make a foreign national ineligible to obtain permanent residence and/or an immigrant or nonimmigrant visa.
Receipt of certain public benefits by a non-citizen may render that individual ineligible to obtain: a visa to the United States, adjustment of status to permanent residence, or ineligible for admission to enter the United States.
The final rule defines a public charge as any alien who receives one or more designated public benefits for more than 12 months in the aggregate within any 36-month period.
Under the final rule, immigration will now be taking into consideration the following benefits to determine whether an individual is or is likely to become a public charge to the U.S. government:
En este video, el abogado Jacob Sapochnick explica el proceso para aplicar para la visa TN a base del Tratado de Libre Comercio de America del Norte, de Mexico, y Canada.
Que es la visa TN?
La clasificación no inmigrantes TN permite que los ciudadanos canadienses y mexicanos soliciten entrada temporal a los Estados Unidos para dedicarse a actividades comerciales a nivel profesional. El Tratado de Libre Comercio de América del Norte (NAFTA, por sus siglas en inglés) hace posible la entrada de estos profesionales.
Quien es elegible?
Entre los profesionales que son elegibles para admisión como No Inmigrantes T están los contables, ingenieros, abogados, farmacéuticos, científicos y maestros. Usted puede ser elegible para obtener el estatus de no inmigrante NT si:
Es ciudadano de Canadá o México
Su profesión califica bajo la reglamentación
El puesto de trabajo en los Estados Unidos requiere un profesional NAFTA
Usted tiene un preacuerdo con un empleador estadounidense para un trabajo a tiempo completo o a tiempo parcial (no puede estar empleado por su cuenta – vea a continuación la documentación requerida), y
Tiene las calificaciones para practicar su profesión.
Cual es el periodo de estadia?
El periodo inicial de estadia es 3 años. Si usted desea permanecer mas tiempo de el período inicial de estadía sin salir del país, usted debe solicitar una extensión de estadía.
Si usted es ciudadano mexicano, debe aplicar para la visa TN directamente en la Embajada o Consulado estadounidense en México.
Una vez se le haya aprobado la visa TN, deberá solicitar admisión en el puerto de entrada estadounidense designado o la estación de registro de pre despacho de aduana/ pre vuelo designada.
In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses New Zealand’s recent addition to the E-2 Investor Visa Program.
With the passage of the Knowledgeable Innovators and Worthy Investors Act (KIWI), New Zealand nationals may now apply for the E-1 and E-2 Investor Visa.
There are two ways to apply for the E Visa.
Applicants Lawfully in the U.S.
Investors who are already lawfully present in the U.S. on a valid nonimmigrant visa may file Form I-129 to change their status to the E-2 visa classification, with the necessary supporting documentation.
Applicants Outside the U.S.
Investors who are outside of the U.S. must apply for the E-2 nonimmigrant visa at a U.S. Consulate near their place of residence. The applicant must submit the DS-160 Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, pay the necessary fees, and schedule their visa interview. Applicants must bring their complete application and necessary documentation to establish eligibility at the time of their interview.
What are the Requirements?
The investment funds and the applicant must come from the same Treaty Country.
The business in which investment is being made must provide job opportunities or make a significant economic impact tin the United States. The business should not be established solely for the purpose of earning a living for the applicant and his or her family.
The investment must come from the investor. The money must be “at risk”. Thus, a loan that is secured by the assets of the business itself will not qualify i.e. if loans have been taken out, they must be secured or guaranteed by the investor personally, and not by the assets of the corporation.