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Immigration Law Blog

Monday, November 16, 2015

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

For many people who were brought to this country as children, the United States is the only home they know but they are not citizens. Immigrants in this situation who meet certain eligibility requirements can apply for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).  This program began in 2012 and was expanded in 2014 when President Obama took executive actions on immigration.


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Thursday, October 1, 2015

2017 Diversity Visa Lottery Registration Opens October 1, 2015

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 2017 Diversity Visa Program (DV-2017), will begin on Thursday, October 1, 2015 and will conclude on Tuesday, November 3, 2015.


Read more . . .


Monday, September 21, 2015

How do I become a citizen if I have a green card?

The most common path to citizenship for immigrants is to obtain a permanent resident green card.  The receipt of a green card, however, does not guarantee that citizenship will follow.  Before an individual who possesses a green card can become a citizen, a number of criteria must be met. Individuals desirous of U.S. citizenship should be aware that when their green cards have been obtained through marriage to U.S. citizens, these criteria are slightly different.

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Monday, August 17, 2015

Does Submitting Multiple Applications Improve Your Odds of Winning the H1B Lottery?

Over the past few years there has been a greater demand for H1B visas.  In fact, many more people apply for these visas than there are visas available. When this happens, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) conducts a lottery to determine whom the available visas will be awarded to. In order to increase their odds of winning, many visa-seekers have started filing multiple petitions.

USCIS’s H1B lottery does not take into account the visa-seekers’ educational background, career path, country of origin, age, sex, or any other distinguishing characteristic. Instead, the lottery is done with a random number generator. One’s odds of winning depend solely on the number of petitions in the lottery. This means that the only way to increase one’s odds of winning is to submit multiple visa petitions and thus increase one’s ratio of petitions to the overall pool of petitions. 



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Monday, June 15, 2015

Immigration Bonds

Non-citizens believed to be in the country illegally can be taken into custody and held by the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) branch. Just like in the criminal law system, detainees may be given the option to post a bond and be released from detention while they await judgment.

A bond is a monetary promise that the detainee will comply with the government’s demands and show up when required if they are released from custody. A bond is not a fine; it does not put an end to the issue at hand, it merely allows the detainee to live at home rather than in government custody while his or her case is processed.

Whether a bond is available and how much it will be depends on several factors. The minimum amount ICE can set for a bond is $1,500, but it can be set at a much higher rate as well. ICE will take into consideration the length of time the detainee has lived in the United States, whether he or she has family in the United States, the detainee’s employment history and criminal record, and whether the detainee has any past immigration law violations. There is no way to predict exactly what amount ICE will set a bond at, but an experienced attorney can provide a likely range.

If the detainee thinks his or her bond is too high, he or she can appeal ICE’s decision to a judge. Once the bond is finalized, it can only be challenged if the detainee’s circumstances change. For example, if the detainee has a criminal charge pending when bond is set that is later dismissed, the detainee can ask that bond be lowered.

While it is the detainee that might be challenging the bond amount, the detainee is not usually the one paying the bond. Immigration bonds must be paid by someone who is in the country legally. This can be a relative, friend or professional bondsman; it doesn’t matter as long as the person can prove he or she is in the country legally and can provide the government with a cashier’s check in the bond amount.

If all the government’s conditions are met, the bond money is returned to the lender at the close of the case. It does not matter if the detainee wins the case and gets to stay in the United States or loses and is deported; if the detainee always appeared when required by ICE, the bond money is returned.

If you or your loved one is involved in an immigration matter requiring a bond, contact an experienced attorney today.


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

USCIS Temporarily Suspends Premium Processing H-1B Extension Petitions

From May 26, 2015 until July 27, 2015, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will not accept premium processing service requests for H-1B extension petitions.  Accordingly, employers will not be able to file a Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, which requests a 15-day expedited adjudication of the Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, when extending H-1B status for employees currently in valid H-1B nonimmigrant classification.  USCIS will continue to expedite H-1B extension petitions that were submitted using premium processing service before May 26th.


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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Effects of a Lay-Off on Employment-Sponsored Visa

The dragging economy has been tough on immigrants.  An overabundance of citizens looking for work limits the number of some types of visas, and instability in the job market limits the appeal of employment-based visas.  Many workers who have lost their jobs because of the economic slowdown have had to leave the United States in order to avoid violating the law and jeopardizing their ability to return to the U.S. in the future. However, some workers are finding ways to stay in the U.S. legally despite being laid off.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Eligibility for Employment Authorization Granted to Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses of H-1B Nonimmigrant Workers

Effective May 26, 2015, the Department of Homeland Security’s United States Citizenship Immigration Services division will extend employment authorization eligibility to specific H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrant workers seeking employment-based permanent residence in the United States. 
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Friday, February 6, 2015

President Obama's Executive Action 2014

On November 20, 2014, the President announced a series of immigration-related executive actions.  These reforms will be implemented approximately 90 days from the date of the President’s announcement.
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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

2016 Diversity Visa Lottery Registration Opens October 1, 2014


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 2016 Diversity Visa Program (DV-2016), will begin on Wednesday, October 1, 2014 and will conclude on Monday, November 3, 2014.


Read more . . .


Monday, September 15, 2014

The O Visa: Entering the U.S. on the Basis of Extraordinary Ability

The challenges of moving to the U.S. permanently, or even temporarily in order to find work, are well known. There is another type of legal entry into the U.S. however, that is often comparatively easy if you can qualify for the criteria: temporary entrance by individuals with “extraordinary ability” as defined by U.S. immigration laws. 

Read more . . .


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