Articles Posted in Immigration Applications

If you were granted deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement or are a DACA recipient with an employment authorization document (EAD) that will expire in the next 120 days, you must apply for DACA renewal to avoid any lapse in your employment authorization or accrual of unlawful presence in the United States.

If your previous period of deferred action expires before you receive a renewal of deferred action under DACA, you will accrue unlawful presence and will not be authorized to work for any time between the periods of deferred action.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has recently posted a notice on its website reminding DACA recipients of the above consequences of failing to submit a request for renewal 120 days before the current period of deferred action expires.

New Jersey Immigration LawyerMany employment based immigrants are exploring the possibility of converting their immigrant visa applications from EB-3 (employment based third category) to EB-2 (employment based second category).

This is due to the lengthy waiting time under the EB-3 category as compared to the EB-2 category. It is projected that the waiting time will not change in the near future.

As per the Visa Bulletin, there is currently a five year waiting time for those with approved immigrant petitions under EB-3 to apply for permanent residency. For those born in China and India, the wait times are longer at 7 years and 9 ½ years, respectively. Meanwhile, the Visa Bulletin shows only a two-year waiting time in the EB-2 category for those born in India and China – and no waiting time for those born in any other country.

The United States Congress established a very complicated system for issuing immigrant visas. Each month the Department of State in Washington, DC prints a visa bulletin, which lists the availability of visas for every country for that particular month. Only a limited number of immigrant visas are generally issued each year. This limitation is called the “quota” and is based on an alien’s country of birth.

For example, an individual born in India is eligible for one of the visas allocated to that country. If that same Indian citizen has become a citizen of another country, for example Canada, he or she is still subject to the Indian quota. This is because our quota system is based on the alien’s country of birth, not the country of citizenship.

The country quota under which an applicant must apply for an immigrant visa is commonly referred to as the alien’s “chargeability”. There are four exceptions to chargeability by place of birth. These exceptions are known as “cross-chargeability”.

U.S. non-citizens are frequently targeted by scam artists who want to extract money and compromising information from them.

The offers of scam artists may sound enticing, and in your desire to save money or take a shortcut in an application process, you may believe their assertions. It's crucial to remain vigilant and skeptical, always asking questions and double-checking any claim. Falling prey to a scam can mean that you'll lose money, experience setbacks in your efforts to remain in the U.S., and, in some cases, face criminal charges and deportation.

False websites. One common scam run by criminals is to set up a website that resembles an actual government website. From there, they may try to get you to submit forms with sensitive information and pay various fees. Make certain that you're on a legitimate U.S. government website; always double-check the URL.

Those who are living in United States or outside of their own country may be eligible to apply for asylum. There are specific requirements to ensure eligibility for seeking asylum and they may be challenging to prove.

Fear due to beliefs or lifestyle

Residents of any country who believe they may be persecuted by their government based on their politics, religion or sexual orientation may be eligible to seek asylum in the United States. These conditions can be unbearable and make it difficult or impossible for a person to remain in their own country.

Fear of persecution by the government

People often seek asylum because they fear the actions of their government. The government is defined as any person in a position of authority within a country including the military and the police. Fears may include torture, imprisonment or a deprivation of privacy or other rights. These fears do not always result in asylum being granted as there are different standards depending on the home country.

There are two specific types of family-based immigration Visas that have slightly different requirements. The categories include a family preference category as well as an immediate relative category. The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides specific guidelines for how family petition visas are to be issued and to whom.

  • Immediate Relative Visas – There are no limits on the number of people who can apply for these types of visas. US citizens may apply for family visas for their spouse, unmarried children under 21, an orphan who was or will be adopted from abroad and a parent of any US citizen over the age of 21.
  • Family Preference Visas – These visas have an annual limit and may be requested by US citizens or in some cases, by lawful permanent residents of the United States. Each of these visa types has specific annual limits under US immigration laws. These visas may be obtained by unmarried children of citizens and their minor children (known as an F1 Visa), spouses, minor children and unmarried children over the age of 21 of legal permanent residents (known as an F2 Visa). Married children of US citizens, their spouses and children may apply for an F3 Visa which is known as "family third preference". Finally, an F4 Visa application may be made for siblings of US citizens over the age of 21 as well as their spouses and minor children. It is important to note that sponsors cannot be aunts, in-laws, grandparents or uncles.

There are special rules for family visas that apply to members of the US military that vary from the standard visa rules. There are also options to include a finance and children born out of wedlock that may apply to your individual case.

When applying for family preference visas that allow only a specific number annually, it is important to file your application even if the quota has been reached. The reason for doing this is that all immigrant visas are issued based on when the petitions were filed. In some cases, the wait may be several years, but if you are not "in line" your application will have to be placed at the end.

With news that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has already reached the 2014 cap for H-1B visas, a number of people whose employers filed H-1B petitions on their behalf will receive notification that their applications weren't selected in the lottery for further processing and review. If your H-1B petition isn't selected, what other options do you have?

You can re-enroll and continue with your F-1 visa. Depending on your curriculum, you may be entitled to curricular practical training that will allow you to work in the US while in a student status. If you do not intend to continue studying, you may be eligible to extend your employment authorization for 17 months. Students who obtained a degree in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) are entitled to 17 additional months of Optional Practical Training. You should consult your International Student Advisor regarding this extension.

Find another sponsor who is exempt from the H-1B cap. Certain types of employers, such as an institution of higher education and a not-for-profit research group affiliated with a U.S. university, are exempt from the visa cap. These employers can file an H-1B petition for you regardless of the quota situation since they are not covered by the quota.

There are several kinds of work visa's available in the United States but perhaps one of the most popular and misunderstood is the H-1B program. H-1B visas are granted to those people who have at least a Bachelor’s degree and who will work in a professional position. A person can have a Bachelor’s degree equivalency in a specialty using his foreign degree or a combination of education and work experience. An H-1B visa has a maximum duration of six years, It is issued for a period of 3 years per instance. It is possible to obtain extensions beyond the maximum period under specific circumstances.

What you need to know about H1B

With the H-1B visa program, workers must secure employment sponsorship before working in the United States. There may be limitations as to the qualification of employers who may hire workers under H-1B visas.

Sponsorships – Workers must be sponsored by an employer. Should the visa holder lose their job, they must find another sponsor or leave the United States. The H-1B visa allows the employee to work for the H-1B sponsoring employer only. He cannot work for another employer.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on March 15, 2013 that it anticipates that it may receive more than 65,000 cap-subject H-1B petitions and more than 20,000 petitions filed on behalf of individuals with a U.S. Master’s degree or higher between April 1, 2013, and April 5, 2013. This could be the first time since April 2008 that the H-1B cap will require a lottery.

In view of the expected volume and possibility of meeting the cap within the first week of the filing season, USCIS announced that it will temporarily adjusted its current premium processing practice. USCIS provides a premium processing service and guarantees a 15-calendar-day processing time. To facilitate the prioritized data entry, premium processing service will begin on April 15, 2013.

USCIS will continue to accept the premium processing service request and fee filed concurrently with the H-1B petition during the time period that premium processing is unavailable – from April 1 to April 14, 2013. Petitioners may also opt to file under regular processing and upgrade a pending H-1B cap petition to premium processing once a receipt notice is issued. According to USCIS, all requests for premium processing received between April 1, 2013, and April 14, 2013, will be adjudicated when premium processing begins on April 15, 2013.

Asylum is a state of protection a country's government provides to citizens of other countries who are afraid to go home. They may fear retribution for bucking the authorities, threats from racist regimes or political aggressors. The problem may be persecution because of religious beliefs or social affiliations, race, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. No matter the reason, a refugee can ask for political asylum from the country they have absconded to.

Anyone who meets the official definition of a refugee can apply for asylum in the United States. Refugees can apply for asylum within one year of arrival into the United States. They may also apply for their spouses and children to join them. The proper forms must be submitted to the United States Department of Immigration to begin the process. Permission to work cannot be granted until asylum proceedings have been in the works for more than 150 days without a response.

Applying for asylum can be scary and hard to prove. But the prospect of returning home and be subjected to further persecution can be even more frightening. An experienced immigration attorney will be able to present your case and qualify you for asylum.

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