Articles Posted in Trump administration

In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses the current processing time for the I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Permanent Residence.

If you were granted conditional residence (2-year green card) based on your marriage to a U.S. citizen (USC) or legal permanent resident (LPR), you must file USCIS Form I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence proving that you entered your marriage in good faith, and not to gain an immigration benefit. Filing the I-751 petition allows you to receive your 10-year permanent resident card

The most common question we receive regarding the I-751 application is how long the application takes to process.

The processing time depends on various different factors such as when you filed your petition, where you reside, the service center processing your application, and the volume of applications currently in the pipeline.

You can view the current processing times based on the service center handling your petition, by visiting the USCIS website.

The current processing times for each service center are as follows:

  • The California Service Center is currently taking between 14.5 to 19 months to process these petitions.
  • The Nebraska Service Center is currently taking between 15.5 to 23 months to process these petitions.
  • The Texas Service Center is currently taking between 16 and 19 months to process these petitions
  • The Vermont Service Center is currently taking between 15 and 19 months to process these petitions.

If you have received a request for evidence, then you may experience delays if you wait a long time to respond. If you have changed your address please ensure that you file a change of address on the USCIS website as soon as possible.

Please remember to follow us on FacebookYoutubeTwitter, and Instagram.

Capture

In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses what happens at an employment-based green card interview. Employment-based green card interviews became mandatory pursuant to USCIS policy in March of 2017.

It was not until the President issued an executive order on March 6, 2017 that USCIS began to require in person interviews for employment-based green card applicants.

The President’s executive order broke the agency’s long-standing policy of waiving in-person interviews for employment-based green card applicants, who were previously considered low risk applicants.

In keeping with the executive order, all applicants who have filed for adjustment of status, on or after March 6, 2017, on the basis of employment, must attend an in-person interview with USCIS. Derivative family members must also be present at the interview.

Employment-based adjustment of status is where an individual qualifies to apply for permanent residence based on an underlying employment visa category such as EB-2 or where the foreign national has an approved National Interest Waiver.

What happens during these interviews?

At the interview, the immigration officer will review the foreign national’s job description as it appears on the original Form I-140, to determine whether the applicant is still doing the same work or whether there has been a significant change in employment.

If the applicant is no longer working in the same or a similar position, the applicant must explain why.

Immigration officers are also closely scrutinizing federal income tax returns filed by applicants to determine whether the foreign national has engaged in unauthorized employment. Engaging in unauthorized employment will likely result in a denial of the adjustment of status application.

National Interest Waiver

In the case of adjustment of status based on an approved national interest waiver, the immigration officer will want to know whether the applicant has done what they promised to do in keeping with the original Form I-140 to ensure that the applicant has not engaged in fraud to obtain immigration benefits.

Please contact us at jacob@h1b.biz if you have any questions.

Please remember to follow us on FacebookYoutubeTwitter, and Instagram.

Capture

Recently the President of the United States controversially announced that he could end birthright citizenship by executive order.

What is birthright citizenship? The 14th amendment of the U.S. Constitution grants citizenship to all persons born in the United States. This right to citizenship is referred to as “birthright citizenship.” Such a right is granted to an individual born in the United States, irrespective of their parent’s immigration status in the United States.

Unsurprisingly, the President made the suggestion that he could do away with birthright citizenship, ahead of the midterm elections in the United States. The timing of the President’s statement shows that the message was politically motivated.

Does the President have the power to end birthright citizenship? The President cannot end birthright citizenship by executive order. The President’s message was made simply to incite fear in the non-citizen population, and to solidify the President’s support from his conservative base, who believe that “anchor babies,” a derogatory term used to refer to children born in the United States to non-citizen parents, should not be entitled to United States citizenship.

The President is likely aware that he, of course, does not have the power to end birthright citizenship by executive order, and made such a statement to deliberately deceive his base, and create confusion.

This is very troubling, given the state of our current political climate. If the President ever signed such an executive order, it would undoubtedly be met with fierce opposition in court.

Please remember to follow us on FacebookYoutubeTwitter, and Instagram.

Capture

In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses the future of the EB-5 Visa Program.

What is the EB-5 Visa Program?

The EB-5 Visa Program is an Immigration Investor Program that was created by Congress in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. In 1992, Congress created the Immigrant Investor Program, also known as the Regional Center Program. This sets aside EB-5 visas for participants who invest in commercial enterprises associated with regional centers approved by USCIS based on proposals for promoting economic growth.

EB-5 Investors can obtain conditional residence if they:

  • Make the necessary investment in a commercial enterprise in the United States; and
  • Plan to create or preserve 10 permanent full-time jobs for qualified U.S. workers.
  • In general, the minimum qualifying investment in the United States is $1 million.
  • Regional Centers: Targeted Employment Area (High Unemployment or Rural Area). The minimum qualifying investment must be either within a high-unemployment area or rural area in the United States is $500,000.

As of September 28, 2018, Congress has extended the EB-5 visa program until December 7, 2018. This means that the program will continue to be active and investors may utilize the program just as before, at least until the end of the year. It is not yet known whether any changes will be made to the program in the future, or if the program will continue at all into the new year.

For more information about the EB-5 program please visit our website.

Please remember to follow us on FacebookYoutubeTwitter, and Instagram.

Capture

In this video we cover a new USCIS policy that can have devastating consequences on students who overstay their duration of stay in the United States, or otherwise violate their status. This new policy will change the way F-1, J-1, and M students, accrue unlawful presence in the United States, for visa holders have violated the terms of their visa by not attending school or engaging in unauthorized employment.

Background

In the year 1996 Congress passed legislation that previously governed how an individual on a non-immigrant visa type such as an F-1 visa, could accrue unlawful presence. Pursuant to this legislation, visa holders who overstayed for more than 180 days, could be subject to a 3-year bar, while visa holders who overstayed for more than one year, could be subject to a 10-year bar.

Typically, individuals who travel to the United States on a non-immigrant visa type receive an I-94 arrival/departure record and a stamp in their passport indicating the length of their authorized stay in the United States. Failure to abide by the duration of stay results in an immigration violation of the terms and conditions of a non-immigrant visa type.

F, J, and M students are unique in that these individuals do not receive a definitive length of stay within the United States, and instead are issued an I-20 (for F students) or DS-2019 (for J students) that denotes their authorized stay as “D/S” or “Duration of Stay,” meaning that the individual’s stay within the United States is not confined by any particular date, but instead depends upon the conclusion of that individual’s program of study or authorized employment.

While students on an F-1 visa type could violate their status by failing to go to school, they could not accrue unlawful presence within the United States because of the D/S designation. This class of individuals could only accrue unlawful status at the time of being apprehension by an immigration official or by court judgment.

Continue reading

In this video, attorneys Jacob Sapochnick and Marie Puertollano join a live session on Facebook and Youtube to cover the latest in immigration, E-2 visa changes, TN visa updates, as well as tips, tricks, and advice on how to protect yourself amid this changing immigration climate.

Overview: 

Revised NTA Policy and Delayed implementation:

USCIS has revised its NTA policy expanding the class of individuals who may be referred to ICE and issued a Notice to Appear. Under the revised policy, USCIS may now refer cases “with articulated suspicions of fraud to ICE prior to adjudication.” The implementation of this policy has been placed on hold until operational guidance is implemented by immigration.

What will the new policy do?

The new policy prioritizes the removal of aliens who are removable based on criminal or security grounds, fraud or misrepresentation, and aliens subject to expedited removal.

Prioritizes the removal of individuals who:

  • (a) Have been convicted of any criminal offense;
  • (b) Have been charged with any criminal offense that has not been resolved;
  • (c) Have committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense;
  • (d) Have engaged in fraud or willful misrepresentation in connection with any official matter or application before a governmental agency;
  • (e) Have abused any program related to receipt of public benefits;
  • (f) Are subject to a final order of removal, but have not departed; or
  • (g) In the judgment of an immigration officer, otherwise pose a risk to public safety or national security

Continue reading

In this post, we answer one of your most frequently asked questions: how can you find the right immigration lawyer for you?

You need an immigration lawyer, but how do you find the right one? Watch this video to learn all about what you need to know before hiring an immigration lawyer.

In this video we offer several guidelines that can help you decide on the right immigration lawyer for you.

Referrals

First of all, you may want to begin by asking for a referral from your close network of friends or family members who may have already worked closely with an immigration lawyer. Social media is a great resource to ask for recommendations from your network and look up reviews of immigration attorneys in your area. You should make a list of the attorneys you would like to work with and contact their offices to set up a consultation. Most attorneys offer free first-time consultations. Free consultations are a great opportunity for the client to meet one-on-one with the attorney and see if you have a connection with the attorney and would ultimately like to retain the attorney to work on your particular case.

Flat Fee Considerations

Secondly, it is important for you to find out during your consultation whether the attorney charges a flat rate for his services or whether the immigration attorney bills the client an hourly rate. Most immigration attorneys charge flat rates for their services, but this may not always be the case depending on the type of immigration service you are seeking (for example asylum and removal defense cases may require additional costs). Flat rates are more desirable for clients because you will know up front how much it will cost you to pay for the legal fees associated with your case. This may be a good way to determine whether an attorney is the right one for you.

Come Prepared

Come to the consultation with the attorney prepared. Research the immigration service you are seeking and become informed about the process beforehand so that you can ask the attorney your burning questions and any concerns you may have before starting the filing process. You will want to discuss with your attorney the steps involved in the process, the general plan to achieving success on your application, the hurdles that you may run into during the process, and fallback options if your application is unsuccessful. An attorney who can provide you with the full picture of the legal process will allow you to have greater confidence and peace of mind.

Continue reading

In this video, we touch on a very common question: what are the possibilities of changing your status after a visa overstay?

If a person comes to the United States on a visa, whether it is a tourist visa or a student visa, there is a duration of stay that is attached to the visa. To determine the amount of time you are allowed to remain in the United States you must obtain your I-94 arrival/departure record from the CBP website.

If you entered the United States on a tourist visa you can typically stay for up to six months, and you can extend your stay for another six months. During your initial authorized stay, you may change your status to another category such as a student or investor visa. Once you have overstayed and essentially lost your legal status, it is very difficult to change to another legal status.

Continue reading

What’s happening with DACA today?

In this post, attorney Jacob Sapochnick talks all about the state of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and what you should know as a recipient of DACA.

In September of 2017 the Trump administration announced that it would be ending the DACA program, which allows undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children to live and work in the United States without fear of deportation.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke on behalf of the administration and said that USCIS would not accept new requests for DACA but would allow DACA recipients with work permits expiring between September 2017 and March 5, 2018 to apply for a final 2-year renewal of their status including employment authorization.

This announcement put considerable pressure on Congress to pass legislation before March 5, 2018 to protect Dreamers from deportation.

Continue reading

Overview:

What is the I-601 Waiver?

The I-601 waiver is an application that is filed by individuals who are ineligible to gain admission to the United States as an immigrant, or who cannot adjust their status in the United States to become a permanent resident, because they are barred from the United States. The I-601 waiver is essentially a form that is filed to gain permission to apply for permanent residence in the United States or gain admission through an immigrant visa. This form will allow individuals to obtain relief from the following grounds:

  1. Health-related grounds of inadmissibility (INA section 212(a)(1))
  2. Certain criminal grounds of inadmissibility (INA section 212(a)(2))
  3. Immigration fraud and misrepresentation (INA section 212(a)(6)(c))
  4. Immigrant membership in totalitarian party (INA section 212(a)(3))
  5. Alien smuggler (INA section 212(a)(6)(E))
  6. Being subject to civil penalty (INA section 212(a)(6)(F))
  7. The 3-year or 10-year bar due to previous unlawful presence in the United States (INA section 212(a)(9)(B))

Who is Eligible?

Not everyone is eligible. To qualify, you must have what is called a “qualifying” relative who will be the focus of the petition. A qualifying relative includes a U.S. Citizen or legal permanent resident spouse or parent. In cases where a waiver is filed for certain criminal grounds of inadmissibility a qualifying relative may also include a child who is a U.S. citizen.

Continue reading