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Immigration Law Blog

Sunday, June 15, 2014

H-1B Visa Program Basics

Each fiscal year, the H-1B provisions authorize approximately 85,000 foreign workers in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) sectors to work in the U.S. on a temporary basis.

The H-1B visa program is intended to assist U.S. employers in securing workers with very specific education, training and experience to fill a company's workforce gaps. Employers who are otherwise unable to find workers with the business skills and abilities required for specific positions within their company can sponsor a foreign worker who fits the qualifications for the position the company is seeking to fill.


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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Immigration Lotteries and Visa Caps in the United States

The United States limits the number of people who may enter the United States – either temporarily or permanently – by imposing limits (or caps) on the number of certain types of visas that will be issued during a given year.  Because the number of temporary and permanent visa petitions is almost always higher than the limit, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) conducts lotteries and random drawings to decide which petitions to process.  Other types of visa petitioners are not subject to random drawings but may have a waiting period before their petitions will be processed.

 


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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

USCIS H1B Petitions for Fiscal Year 2015 To Be Accepted Beginning April 1, 2014 – Yearly Quota Expected To Be Reached Within First Week

Please be advised that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting H-1B petitions subject to the fiscal year (FY) 2015 cap on April 1, 2014. Cases filed with the correct government filing fees will be counted as being accepted on the date of USCIS receipt, not the date of postmark.

The cap set by Congress for H-1B visas for FY 2015 is 65,000. There are an additional 20,000 petitions that will be accepted for processing for those individuals in possession of a U.S. Master’s Degree or higher, thereby making a total of 85,000 petitions that will be accepted for H-1B processing.


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Saturday, March 15, 2014

The R Visa: A Non-Immigrant Visa for Religious Workers

The R visa allows religious workers to enter the United States for up to five years to work in a religious occupation, for example as a minister, monk or nun.  The R visa is a non-immigrant visa, also known as a temporary visa.  An R visa does not mean that the visa holder may remain in the United States as a resident alien.  Nor does it mean that the R visa holder may engage in work other than the religious work authorized by the visa.


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Saturday, February 15, 2014

American Immigration Laws and Humanitarian Parole

A foreign national threatened by a humanitarian crisis in his/her home country may sometimes be allowed entry into the U.S. via a mechanism called humanitarian parole.

Humanitarian parole is defined as a legal status for persons “who do not meet the technical requirements for a visa but who may be permitted to enter the United States for a temporary period of time… on an urgent humanitarian basis.”  A second criterion (in addition to an “urgent humanitarian need”) for approval is for the admitted individual to provide a “significant benefit to the public if admitted to enter the U.S.”


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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Appealing a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Decision

For many foreign nationals wishing to enter or remain in the U.S., a decision made by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can be life changing.  While a denial of an application can be devastating in certain situations, it is not the final word in most immigration processes since, in most cases, the applicant can appeal the USCIS' decision.


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Monday, November 11, 2013

Immigration Process for a Foreign National Residing Abroad When Marrying a U.S. Citizen

Fiancé Visa

When a U.S. citizen is engaged to a foreign national who intends to reside in the United States, the U.S. citizen may apply for a K-1 “Fiancé" Visa.  The Fiancé Visa is a nonimmigrant visa, which allows a foreign national to enter the U.S. with the express purpose of marrying a U.S. citizen.  The visa is issued by a U.S. Consular Post in the country where the fiancé resides.  

To obtain a Fiancé Visa, the U.S. citizen must file a Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on behalf of his or her foreign fiancé, known as the “beneficiary.”  


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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Employment in the U.S.

Each year, thousands of foreign workers who enter the U.S. must obtain legal employment authorization or risk violating status removal.  Employers hiring workers without proper work authorization may also face possible legal consequences.  

There are several visa categories which allow work authorization pursuant to status.  Each category has different requirements, conditions, and periods of time during which the worker may legally stay in the country.


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Friday, September 20, 2013

I-94 Automation

In April 2013, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency transitioned to automated processing and electronic issuance of the Arrival/Departure Record (Form I-94) and is no longer issuing paper Forms I-94 to air and sea travelers arriving to the United States.

We strongly encourage all nonimmigrants arriving in the U.S. by air and sea (paper Forms I-94 are still being issued at land Ports of Entry) to retrieve and print a copy of their new Admission Number/Form I-94 entry record upon each U.S. entry or re-entry, for their personal records.


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Thursday, September 19, 2013

2015 Diversity Visa Lottery Registration Opens October 1, 2013

Each year, the United States Department of State administers a Diversity Visa Program, a random lottery which awards approximately 50,000 immigrant visas ("diversity visas") to foreign nationals who meet the simple but strict eligibility requirements and are immigrating from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States.

Online registration for this year's lottery, the 2015 Diversity Visa Program (DV-2015), will begin on Tuesday, October 1, 2013 and will conclude on Saturday, November 2, 2013.


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Thursday, September 19, 2013

DS-260 – New Online Immigrant Visa Application Process

The Department of State and the National Visa Center (NVC) have recently made significant changes with respect to immigrant visa application process via consular processing.  Beginning September 3, 2013, immigrant visa applicants (with the exception of Diversity Visa Lottery and Cuban Family Reunification Parole applicants) are now required to apply online using a new electronic Form DS-260 (Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration) instead of the previous paper Form DS-230.


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