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My Law,LLC Immigration Law Firm WebSite: E-mail: Phone: 1-(630) 903-9625

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Diversity Green Card Visa (DV) Lottery

The DV Lottery program offers a lottery for up to 50,000 immigrant visas annually, “drawn from random selection among all entries to individuals who are from countries with low rates of immigration” to the U.S., according to U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services.
That random selection, according to the State Department, is through a computer-generated drawing for foreign nationals to apply for permanent residence, or a green card, in the U.S. each year.
President Trump has called for its elimination, and the termination of chain migration, which happens when immigrants can enter the country, simply to be united with a relative already living in the U.S.

U.S. Naturalization Application Fee

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services offers a full fee waiver and a partial fee waiver.
USCIS will waive the full naturalization filing fee of $680 ($595 for applicants age 75 or older) if you are receiving income-based public assistance. Don’t put off becoming a U.S. citizen. Naturalizing is your best protection against restrictive changes in our immigration laws.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

USCIS is challenging an unusually large number of H-1B applications

Starting this summer, employers began noticing that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services was challenging an unusually large number of H-1B applications. Cases that would have sailed through the approval process in earlier years ground to a halt under requests for new paperwork. The number of challenges — officially known as “requests for evidence” or RFEs — are up 44 percent compared to last year, according to statistics from USCIS. The percentage of H-1B applications that have resulted in RFEs this year are at the highest level they’ve been since 2009, and by absolute number are considerably higher than any year for which the agency provided statistics.

In the meantime, the uncertainly alone is taking a toll on those who rely on the visas to work. Some applicants whose cases remained unresolved by Oct. 1, the annual effective date for new visas, have been sent home from their jobs. After the recent terrorist attack in New York, Trump called for the elimination of another visa lottery program – the Diversity Visa Lottery – saying immigration should be merit-based.

Monday, November 6, 2017

More Scrutiny on L-1B Visa Extensions

The Trump administration is escalating scrutiny for extension of L1B applications to the same level as new applications to fit into the larger theme of protecting American workers which cuts to the heart of Trump's appeal and his rise to power in the US. 

The updated guidance makes it clear that extensions will not happen by default. The burden of proof falls entirely on the petitioner. With every additional move, the USCIS is basically sending strong and repeated signals that the difficulty level of coming through the H1B/ L1 route and then staying in the US on the same visa is unlike at any other time in the history of these work visas.

“The updated guidance instructs officers to apply the same level of scrutiny when reviewing nonimmigrant visa extension requests even where the petitioner, beneficiary and underlying facts are unchanged from a previously approved petition. While adjudicators may ultimately reach the same conclusion as in a prior decision, they are not compelled to do so as a default starting point as the burden of proof to establish eligibility for an immigration benefit always lies with the petitioner,” says Lee Francis Cissna, newly appointed director of the USCIS.

My Law, LLC                                           
Immigration & Tax Law Firm
Phone: (630) 903-9625
1700 Park Street, Suite 203
Naperville, IL 60563


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

H-1B visa renewals are getting tougher

Fresh changes in rules notified by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for renewal of non-immigrant visas will severely impact H-1B visa holders. Petitions for renewal of such visas, particularly when the underlying facts that supported the original petition have not changed, are currently considered with a presumption of approval, but that will no longer be the case, USISC said. Consequently, the burden of proof will be on the petitioner to substantiate his application even when nothing has changed since the previous petition.

The new rules are in line with the Donald Trump administration’s 'Buy American, Hire American' policy, the USCIS said. The new changes were announced even as a comprehensive review of the H-1B programme is under way.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

USCIS Is Denying Pending Advance Parole for Abandonment Due to International Travel

USCIS has been denying Advance parole advance parole applications for abandonment in instances where the applicant has traveled abroad during the pendency of the application. The pending Advance parole application is being denied even if the applicant has a separate valid advance parole document or a valid H, K, L, or V visa to return to the United States.

In the denial notification, USCIS points to the Advance parole instructions where it states that "[i]f you depart the United States before the Advance Parole Document is issued, your application for an Advance Parole Document will be considered abandoned."

In the past, USCIS has approved advance parole renewal applications for individuals who travel abroad during the pendency of the application with a valid Advance Parole Document or a valid H, K, L, or V visa.

Now the current policy is that traveling internationally while an application for advance parole is pending will result in the denial of that application notwithstanding prior practice to the contrary.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

My H1B is pending after Oct 1 cap gap – Can I still work?

Cap-gap extension was implemented by USCIS to assist foreign students when an F-1 student graduates, obtains an OPT for 1 year and the OPT ends the following year sometime between April and October.  OPT student finds a job that sponsors him or her.  As a result, the employer files the H-1B  on April 1st.

However, the visa won’t take effect until October 1st. If a student’s OPT expires in between April and October, they are caught in a “cap-gap”. Meaning, if their OPT expires between April and October. USCIS allows the students to work until September 30. In most cases, H1-B is approved by this date. And the student’s status changes to H1-B starting October 1.

However, this year things have taken a drastic turn. The number of requests for evidence have risen in number. Premium processing stands cancelled. It is most likely that USCIS is going to adjudicate cases after October 1. This is the reason everyone is asking : My H1B is pending after Oct 1 cap gap – Can I still work?

The answer to this question is No.

Cap-gap extension ends on September 30th. You are no longer eligible to work.

USCIS denied my H1-B and my OPT expired. Now what?

You have a 60-day grace period from the date of denial to leave the country. During this time you are ineligible to work in the country.  Make arrangements to leave the country, re-enroll in school for a new program, or look into any other visa options that will allow you to stay in United States.

My Law, LLC                                           
Immigration & Tax Law Firm
Phone: (630) 903-9625
1700 Park Street, Suite 203
Naperville, IL 60563

Friday, October 6, 2017

USCIS Outlines Procedures for New Employment Green Card Interviews

On September 28, 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Ombudsman outlined procedures for new USCIS in-person interviews required for employment-based applicants effective October 1, 2017. 
Interviews will be scheduled by field offices for every applicant who has filed an green card application after March 6, 2017 and notices will be sent to both the applicant and the representing attorney. If additional evidence is needed, USCIS will request prior to the interview.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

The REAL ID Act and passports

Your passport is valid for 10 years, and a child’s passport is valid for five. However, many countries require you to have validity through six months after your return date in order to travel. So, check your expiration date this month and mark down when you should renew your passport, especially if you travel overseas frequently. Passports can take anywhere from four to six weeks to renew, or three weeks via expedited service that’ll cost you an extra $60.

The REAL ID Act means that U.S. state IDs must have certain security features and data attached to them in order to be valid, and IDs are typically necessary to get on a plane. Not all states currently have standardized these enhanced security features, yet the REAL ID Act is set to take effect in early 2018 — so all states that are not compliant have been granted an extension. The full list of states with non-complying features can be found on the Department of Homeland Security’s website. If your state is one, you’ll need to make sure you’re flying with a REAL ID-compliant id by October 2020.

Friday, September 15, 2017

B2 Visitor Visa

When you apply for visitors visa extension, it can either be approved or denied. If your visitors visa extension is denied, there are several consequences depending upon various situations.

Prior to I-94 Date
If your visitors visa extension is denied prior to the expiration date of the CURRENT I-94 date, there are no consequences and you should leave normally before it expires.

Past the I-94 Date
As long as you filed the extension application before the expiration date of the current I-94 form, you are in legal status as long as the application is pending or 240 days, whichever comes first. However, if you are still in the U.S. when your extension application is denied, you immediately go out of status. You will have to leave immediately. It is understood that there are practical difficulties in leaving on the same day. It takes time to arrange the air tickets, pack the bags and so on, but legally, there is no grace period. 

Visa is Void
If you are in the U.S. past your I-94 date, and if your visitor visa extension is denied, then the visa is considered automatically cancelled. When the visa is cancelled, they don't have to stamp or strike off the actual visa stamp in the passport. They just make an entry in their computer. That means, if you try to enter the U.S. with that visa stamp again, you will not be allowed.

Even though some people have reported that they were allowed entry into the U.S. after such an incident, there are others who have been denied. Some people are not willing to accept the fact and continue to argue and take whatever position is convenient to them. However, the fact remains that your visa is void. You will have to apply all over again at the consulate when you want to visit next time.

My Law, LLC                                           
Immigration & Tax Law Firm
Phone: (630) 903-9625
1700 Park Street, Suite 203
Naperville, IL 60563

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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Trump Ends DACA, No New Applications Accepted

The Justice Department announced on Tuesday it is ending DACA, the Obama-era program that allowed undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children to remain in the country, while also giving Congress a six-month window to possibly save the policy.
For those whose permits are set to expire before March 5, 2018, though, the U.S. government will also allow them to renew their DACA status — provided their applications are received before Oct. 5, 2017. Currently, there are about 201,000 young adults whose authorizations are set to expire this year, officials at the Department of Homeland Security explained Tuesday.

Otherwise, beginning today, the U.S. government isn’t going to consider any new DACA applications, leaving still hundreds of thousands of its beneficiaries, known as Dreamers, in legal limbo.

On one hand, the delay on enforcement gives Congress some time to decide whether to preserve the program by writing a law. Absent that, though, these Dreamers would be at risk for deportation — even as government officials stressed Tuesday they are not going to target these young adults in the future.

My Law, LLC                                           
Immigration & Tax Law Firm
Phone: (630) 903-9625
1700 Park Street, Suite 203
Naperville, IL 60563

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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Trump Likely to End DACA Immigrant Program

Begun in 2012 under the Obama administration, the DACA program allows young people who arrived by 2007 to remain in the country if they were illegally brought by their parents to the U.S. before they were 16, have lived here since then, and have not committed serious crimes. Some also came here legally with their parents but then overstayed their visas.

Those eligible must renew their DACA status every two years. More than 800,000 are now covered by the policy and can legally apply for work permits.

During Trump’s campaign, Trump said he would cancel DACA. But in late April he sent a different message, telling the Associated Press that young people covered by the program could "rest easy" because his priority was deporting criminals. "This is a case of heart," he said.

However, President Trump, as early as last Friday, is expected to announce plans to end the Obama administration program that gave a deportation reprieve to hundreds of thousands of young illegal immigrants

Democrats expressed opposition to the move, referencing the president’s past comments.

My Law, LLC                                           
Immigration & Tax Law Firm
Phone: (630) 903-9625
1700 Park Street, Suite 203
Naperville, IL 60563

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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Employment Green Card Interview

Many individuals applying for employment-based green cards have their interview waived, especially if they have extraordinary abilities and if the employer petitioning on their behalf is the same one that sponsored their initial work visa.

The new policy, which will go into effect on October 1, people applying for green cards based on their employment or for refugee and asylee relatives will be subject to an interview.

The new requirement will apply to anyone moving from an employment-based visa to lawful permanent residency. Visa holders who are family members of refugees or people who receive asylum will also be required to undergo an in-person interview when they apply for provisional status, a stage that precedes receiving a green card, according to USCIS.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

H4 Visa

The spouses of H-1B visa holders are issued the H4 visa, which does not allow the spouses to work. 
But from 26 May 2015, there was a provision that was added - H4 visa EAD - which would let dependent spouses of H-1B visa holders work in the US provided the H-1B spouse:
·         Have an approved I-140, which is the immigration petition for foreign citizens to get Green Card or Permanent Residency in USA.

·         Have H1B visa status extended beyond 6 years under AC21 Act, which allows H1B holders seeking Green Card to work and stay in USA beyond 6 years, if their Green Card or Permanent Residency Application is Pending.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Merit-Based Immigration System

The current U.S. immigration system favors uniting family members with relatives already in the country. It was built on the premise that any person, regardless of how much education or money they have, can come to the United States and create a productive life for themselves.  

However, President Trump is pushing forward with his promise of a harder line on legal immigration, endorsing a proposal to slash the number of immigrants admitted to the United States while favoring those with certain education levels and skills.

White House staff have been working closely with Cotton and Perdue for weeks on the legislation, which would restrict how the U.S. admits immigrants and move to what Trump has described as a "merit-based" system similar to that used in Australia and Canada.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Entry-level H-1B programmers

The U.S. government is taking action that will likely increase the visa denial rates of H-1B programmers, a move that could help U.S. nationals, both in terms of wages and jobs.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) wants programmers who offer skills that are specialized or unique. That means firms seeking to hire programmers at entry-level wages may see their H-1B visa requests denied. 
There's a reason the U.S. doesn't want entry-level visa workers. Take for instance, Michigan, a state that President Donald Trump won. The prevailing wage for an entry-level computer programmer in Flint is $38,000, while the mean wage for that occupation in the city is $60,000.

Monday, June 5, 2017

2016 Entry/Exit Overstay Report

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Entry/Exit Overstay Report. The report provides data on departures and overstays, by country, for foreign visitors to the United States who entered as nonimmigrant visitors through an air or sea Port of Entry (POE) and were expected to depart in FY16.
The in-scope population for this report includes temporary workers and families (temporary workers and trainees, intracompany transferees, treaty traders and investors, representatives of foreign information media), students, exchange visitors, temporary visitors for pleasure, temporary visitors for business, and other nonimmigrant classes of admission. This population accounts for 96.02 percent of all nonimmigrant admissions at U.S. air and sea POEs in FY16.
Importantly, the report does not cover all foreign visitors to the United States—such as those who enter the United States through a vehicular or land POE. Nor does the report provide the total estimated in-country overstay population currently in the United States. Rather, it provides data on overstays in a snapshot of time—those foreign visitors who were expected to depart in FY16, and those who did not do so.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Grace Period for H1B Visa

On January 17, 2017, the Department of Homeland Security extends a 60-day grace period to any H-1B holder that finds themselves without a job. This gives people the opportunity to find a new job, transfer to another immigrant or nonimmigrant visa class, or settle any affairs before traveling back to their home country. 

Last year, if an H-1B holder lost his or her job for any reason, they would need to leave the country almost immediately to avoid being considered “out of status”. This could easily result in serious consequences such as finding yourself  barred from re-entry into the U.S.

In addition, at the beginning and the end of your H-1B period of stay, you will be able to take advantage of two ten-day grace periods to settle in before getting to work and to wrap things up before leaving the country.

My Law, LLC                                            
Immigration & Tax Law Firm
Phone: (630) 903-9625
1700 Park Street, Suite 203
Naperville, IL 60563

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Monday, April 17, 2017

USCIS received 199,000 H-1B petitions during the filing period

USCIS announced on April 7, 2017, that it has received enough H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap of 65,000 visas for fiscal year (FY) 2018. USCIS has also received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to meet the U.S. advanced degree exemption, also known as the master’s cap.

USCIS received 199,000 H-1B petitions during the filing period, which began April 3, including petitions filed for the advanced degree exemption. On April 11, USCIS used a computer-generated random selection process, or lottery, to select enough petitions to meet the 65,000 general-category cap and the 20,000 cap under the advanced degree exemption. USCIS will reject and return all unselected petitions with their filing fees, unless the petition is found to be a duplicate filing.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Trump Temporarily Suspending Premium Processing for H-1B

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it would start accepting the H-1B visa applications for the fiscal year 2018 beginning October 1, 2017, from April 3. 

It also announced the temporary suspension of the premium processing of H-1B visas beginning April 3. “This temporary suspension will help us to reduce overall H-1B processing time,” the USCIS said. By temporarily suspending premium processing, the USCIS has said that it will be able to process long-pending petitions, which they have currently been unable to process due to the high volume of incoming petitions and the significant surge in premium processing requests over the past few years.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Trump’s H1B Visa Immigration Reform

President Donald Trump is considering a new way of distributing the H-1B visa to ensure they go to the "best and brightest. This draft executive order might open the door to major reforms of the H-1B and the Optional Practical Training programs.

The draft executive order calls for "an investigation of the extent of any injury to U.S. workers caused by the employment in the United States of foreign workers admitted under the nonimmigrant visa programs," which includes the H-1B program. Specifically, it asks the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which oversees immigration, to "consider ways to make the process for allocating H-1B visas more efficient and ensure that beneficiaries of the program are the best and the brightest.