What you need to know about the E-2 Visa


One way to live and work in the United States is to apply for the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa. This type of visa allows a national of a treaty country to be admitted to the U.S. by investing a substantial amount of capital in a new business or in an existing business in the U.S., and willing to enter the U.S. to develop and direct this business.

In case you have dual citizenship, if one of your citizenships is from one of the countries with which the U.S. maintains a treaty of commerce, you can apply for the E-2 visa. The list of countries that maintain a treaty of commerce with the U.S. can be found here: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/visa-information-resources/fees/treaty.html. Read More

PATH TO CITIZENSHIP


Your lawful permanent residence is a path to U.S. Citizenship. Generally, you may be able to apply for naturalization after 5 years of permanent residence, or after 3 years, if you are married to and living with a U.S. Citizen. Besides that, there are some general requirements for naturalization: continuous residence and physical presence in the U.S.; live for at least 3 months in the state or USCIS district where you will apply for naturalization; be a person of good moral character; demonstrate a knowledge of the English language, U.S. history and government, and attachment to the U.S. Constitution. Read More

MAINTAINING PERMANENT RESIDENCE


Now that you have the privilege to be a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR), you also have new rights, such as live permanently and work in the U.S., attend public school, apply to become a U.S. citizen once you are eligible, leave and return to the U.S. under some conditions, etc. On the other hand, you have some responsibilities, such as obey all laws, federal, state and local; pay federal, state, and local income taxes; register with the Selective Service System (SSS) if you are a male, between the ages of 18 and 26; carry proof of your immigration status; and report address changes to USCIS. Read More

How Will the New Public Charge Rules affect My Green Card Application?


On October, 10, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a policy change related to the public charge issue under INA §212(a)(4). This new policy is now in its public comments period. After the 60 days commenting period, it will go into effect.

What is public charge?

Someone who is likely to become “dependent on the government” for their living expenses could be determined to be a “public charge.” The immigration officers will look if you have received public cash assistance (like SSI or TANF) or receiving government money for long-term care. Read More

L Visa and EB-1 for Intra-Company Managers and Executives


You might qualify for the L Visa if you are a manager or executive for a company in another country and worked for the company within the last three years for at least one year, and you are coming here to the US to work as a manager or executive for a parent, subsidiary, affiliate, or branch of the company that is in China or another foreign country. Read More

FAQ: Can I petition for myself for the O visa?


It is absolutely possible to petition for yourself, especially if you are working in a profession that is traditionally occupied by independent contractors. Some examples of these professions are hair dressers, make-up artists, painters, musicians, to name a few.

What do I need to do before getting started on my petition?

You should find one of your “clients” to act as an Agent for you, to represent all the clients that you will have here in the U.S. This particular client will have to sign a short agent-principal agreement, which our law firm will draft for you, as well as create an itinerary for your time here on the O Visa. He/she will also provide the signature as the “petitioner” on the application. Read More

Delay for Parole for International Entrepreneurs Rule Vacated, Applications Can Be Submitted!


On December 1, 2017, the US District Court in DC ruled in favor of the entrepreneurs and venture capitals and vacated the rule (“Delay Rule”) delaying the effective date of the Parole for International Entrepreneurs Rule (PIER) until March 14, 2018. In the Delay Rule, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) also stated that the PIER was “highly likely to be revoked.” This ruling represents a great step forward towards a fully operational “startup visa” in the US and is a win for entrepreneurs all over the world that are seeking to grow their companies in the US market. Read More

What You Need to Know About Employment-Based Green Card Interviews


Effective October 1, 2017 nationwide, USCIS will begin contacting those who filed their employment-based petitions after March 6th for interviews when they have also applied for Adjustment of Status to Permanent Residence.  The USCIS Ombudsman provided an informative Q and A session last Thursday. Here is what applicants need to know:

  • Derivatives:
    • Under 14 years old may be waived from the interview requirement – there is a waiver that applicants must complete.
    • Will receive a separate notice, but family groups should be scheduled for the interview at the same time. However, they make no promises that it will be at the same time.
    • Family members could be expected to prove relationship to the primary beneficiary – bring copies and originals of certificates. Officer may also require showing that the marriage was bona fide.
    The I-140’s will not be “re-adjudicated” at these interviews. However, in addition to considering the Adjustment of Status application, the interviewing officer will “re-assess” the validity and accuracy of the documents that were submitted in support of the I-140 petition. Needless to say, this point is troubling – “re-assessing” the validity and accuracy seems to be crossing the thin line into “re-adjudicating”.
    • USCIS does not want applicants to send in unsolicited documents after the initial application is submitted. Because of the multiple steps involved, if USCIS needs new evidence, they will request them and applicants should follow the address and the instructions on the RFE so that the documents do not get lost.
    • Questions that will be asked include those that are on the I-485 and the applicant’s eligibility for Adjustment, and admissibility issues. Also, officers may ask into what the beneficiary/self-petitioner will do, their experience, and their educational background. The main purpose of pursuing these interviews is fraud detection and national security, so referrals to ICE is possible if interviewing officer detects credible threats.
    • Processing times:  USCIS does not believe that these interviews will affect the processing times for the Employment-Based Adjustment applications, however, we may see some slow-down on family-based adjustments and naturalization interviews because of this.
    • Denials: 
      • If the defects in the I-140 were a basis for the denial, then the field office will return the I-485 and the I-140 together to the service center and recommend that it be revoked. If the service center determines that the I-140 should not be revoked, then the service center will approve the application.
      • On the other hand, if the I-140 is okay, but there are defects in the I-485, then the field office will refer the case to the consulate to be re-adjudicated in accordance with consular processing.
      • Medical Exams: Without further advice from USCIS at this moment, we would also recommend waiting until you are contacted through the Request for Evidence or at the interview to submit the medical examination. Because the medical exams are only valid for one year and it could take a year or more for the Adjustment application, it could be a waste of money and resources to submit the medical exams with the I-485 packet.

      Our office is ready to help Employment-Based adjustment applicants prepare for these interviews, collect the required documents, and go with them, if necessary. Please contact us if you wish to have some assistance in these uncertain times. Read More

VisaScreen Certificates for Healthcare Professionals


When applying for temporary visas to work in the U.S., USCIS requires many foreign national healthcare professionals to get VisaScreen certificates to certify that their degrees fits the requirements of the visa that they are seeking. The temporary visas that require this certificate are the E-3 Australian Specialty Occupation Professionals, H-1Bs, O-1s, and TNs. The certificate is also required for the employment-based immigrant visas (EB-1, EB-2, EB-3). The healthcare workers to which this requirement applies are Registered Nurses, Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Speech Language Pathologists and Audiologists, Medical Technologists, Medical Technicians (general), and Physicians Assistants. The reason for this requirement is because, for many of these professions, other countries could require less than the U.S. degree requirements in order to practice in the field. Therefore, VisaScreen Certificates, like the degree equivalency certificates, certifies that the professional is qualified to practice in the U.S. under that specific profession because their coursework is the same as that of a higher degree in the U.S.  However, note that even if a foreign national obtained the healthcare degree in the U.S., in order to apply for any work visa, he/she would still have to obtain the VisaScreen Certificate. Read More