Share

Immigration Law Blog

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Deadline to Submit Applications to Add 7 Months to a 17-Month STEM OPT Extension is August 8, 2016


Foreign Nationals with a current 17-month STEM OPT extension are eligible under the new 24-month STEM OPT regulations to apply to add an additional 7 months to their STEM OPT period.  In order to apply for this 7-month extension, eligible Foreign Nationals must properly file a new Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization (including the required fee and signature) on or before August 8, 2016.  USCIS will not accept applications filed after August 8, 2016.

Foreign Nationals are eligible to add 7 months to their 17-month STEM OPT extension if:

  • They are currently participating in the STEM OPT program based on a 17-month extension;
  • They request the additional 7-month period by filing a new Form I-765 between May 10, 2016 and August 8, 2016, and within 60 days of the date their Designated School Official (DSO) enters the recommendation for the 24-month STEM OPT extension into their SEVIS record;
  • They have at least 150 days of valid employment authorization remaining on their 17-month STEM OPT period on the date that they properly file a new Form I-765; and
  • The Foreign National, their DSO, and their employer each meet all of the 24-month STEM OPT extension requirements. 

For additional information, please see


Read more . . .


Friday, July 15, 2016

Immigration Issues in Intercounty Adoption

When a child is adopted from a foreign country, that child must go through the immigration process through the United States Customs and Immigration Service like any other person. The child must be eligible for adoption under the Immigration and Naturalization Act. If a child is adopted from another country and is deemed ineligible, that child will not be permitted to immigrate to the United States. A child under the age of 16 who has resided with his or her adoptive parents for two years may apply for entry under an I-130 petition. This is rarely utilized because of the requirement that the adoptive parent live abroad for two years. Most adoptions are done through one of two processes depending on the country of origin of the child being adopted.

If the child being adopted is from a country that is a party to the Hague Convention, the prospective parents must seek adoption through an approved service provider. They will have to fill out form I-800A to determine whether they are eligible to adopt a child from a foreign country. They will be fingerprinted and undergo a background check and a home study.  The child’s country of origin will then examine your credentials and match you with a child. This process can take months or years. At this point, the prospective parents will meet with the child and decide whether or not to continue the adoption process. The prospective parents must then fill out form I-800 to confirm that the child is eligible to immigrate to the United States, and form DS-260 to request that the child be permitted to immigrate. If everything is in order, the US Consulate will provide a letter confirming the child will be permitted to immigrate to the US. At that time, the adoption process must be completed in the child’s country of origin and prospective parents will receive a copy of the child’s birth certificate, the Hague Adoption Certificate, and an IH-3 visa. If the adoption process will be completed in the United States, the child will be issued an IH-4 visa until the time the adoption process is completed and the parents must also complete form N-600.

In countries which were not parties to the Hague Convention, the process is simpler. The child must be an orphan, or the surviving parent(s) must be unable to care for the child and acknowledge their abandonment of their parental rights in writing. The prospective parents must file form I-600 and apply for an IR-3 or IR-4 visa.


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

What Rights Do Undocumented Citizens Have in the United States?

The Supreme Court of the United States has repeatedly held that the protections of the US constitution are limited to U.S. citizen, but individuals maintain certain rights regardless of their immigration status. Every person has the right to equal protection under the law and to due process.  This means that a person accused of not maintaining legal status in the United States has the right to defend him or herself against removal from the country. Similarly, where there are criminal allegations against an undocumented immigrant, that person has all the same rights as would an American citizen. This includes the right to confront witnesses in a trial, the right to representation, and the right against unreasonable searches and seizures by the police.

Regardless of immigration status, everyone has a right to free speech, freedom of religion, and freedom to peaceably petition the government. Undocumented children in the United States have a right to free public education. Publicly funded hospitals are required to provide medical care to all patients. They are prohibited from discriminating against a person based on immigration status. Undocumented immigrants are permitted to file lawsuits against other people and the government for claims arising out of negligence, just like any other person in the United States.

It is, however, against federal law to hire someone who is undocumented. It is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that every employee hired is legally permitted to work. Nonetheless, once a person is hired, that individual is entitled to some rights in the workplace. He or she must be paid the minimum wage. It is improper for an employer to prohibit anyone from forming a union. If an undocumented immigrant is injured on the job, he or she is entitled worker’s compensation and disability if it is part of the employer’s normal practice. Undocumented workers are protected from workplace discrimination and sexual harassment by federal law as well.

Many undocumented immigrants are victims of crimes and are afraid to come forward to the police for fear of deportation. This goes against public policy, so in 2000, the federal government created a new visa to allow undocumented immigrants to stay in the country legally for up to four years if that person is the victim of a qualifying crime. This visa is called a U visa and is an important tool to protect undocumented people from crime.


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

USCIS Now Allowing Employers to Submit Inquiries if their Extension of Status/Change of Employer Petition has been Pending for 210 Days or More

On April 21, 2016, USCIS began allowing petitioners who have filed Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, requesting an extension of status or change of employer to submit an inquiry after their petition has been pending for 210 days or more. The inquiry can be submitted by calling the USCIS National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 (TDD for deaf and hard of hearing: 1-800-767-1822), providing the original receipt number, and specifying that the case has been pending for 210 days or more and is outside of normal processing times.
Read more . . .


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

All Visa-Exempt Foreign Nationals Visas Must Now Apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) for Entry Into Canada


The Canadian government is now mandating that all visa-exempt foreign nationals, including U.S. Legal Permanent Residents, who fly or transit to Canada must apply for and receive an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) prior to their trip. Exceptions include U.S.

Travelers can apply for an eTA online on the Canadian government’s official website. In order to apply, travelers will need: a valid passport from a visa-exempt country (U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents can also apply using a U.S. Refugee Travel Document (Form I-571) or a valid Permit to Reenter the U.S. (Form I-327)); a credit card (a regular or prepaid Visa, MasterCard, or American Express); and a valid email address. Applications cost $7 CAD and most applications are approved within minutes of applying. If a traveler’s application is not approved immediately, they will receive an email within seventy-two (72) hours advising them of next steps.


Read more . . .


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

An Overview of Non-Immigrant Visas

Below is a list of all the various types of non-immigrant visas:

H-1B: Temporary professional workers for a specialty occupation

           with at least a 4 year bachelor’s degree. Maximum stay of 6 years,

           but can lead to permanent residency.

H-2B: Seasonal workers permitted to enter the country for a short time

           to fill a need when American labor is unavailable.

H-4: Spouses and children of H-1B and H-2B immigrants are permitted

        to enter the country under an H-4 visa but are not allowed to work.

K-1: For the fiancé[e] of a U.S. citizen where the marriage will occur within 90 days.

K-3: For the spouse of a U.S. citizen while the application for a green card is pending.

L-1A/B: An international company with an existing presence in the United States

              may transfer a foreign employee to a local office with one of these visas.

             The L-1A is for executives, and the L-1B is for individuals with specialized knowledge.

             Spouse and children of employee may enter the U.S. on an L-2 but may not work.

O-1: Limited to individuals with extraordinary ability in arts, science, education, business,

        or athletics, with a record of great achievement and indisputably at the top of their field.

O-2: Assistants to O-1 visa holders in artistic or athletic events.

O-3: For the spouses and children of an O-1 or O-2 visa holder.

R-1: Religious workers entering the country on a temporary basis

R-2: For spouses and children of those entering the country with an R-1 visa.

TN-1/2: For Canadian (TN-1) and Mexican (TN-2) nationals to work in specific occupations

              These visas have strict educational requirements. The spouses and dependents of these

              individuals must apply for TD visas to enter the country.

A-1/2/3: For diplomats, government officials, their families and attendants.

B-1: For individuals entering the United States who are briefly visiting for business purposes.

B-2: For individuals briefly visiting the United States for pleasure -- also called tourist visas.

C: For travelers passing through the United States who don’t intend to enter the United States.

F-1: For individuals engaged in a full course of study at a U.S. institution -- also called student

        visas. Individuals are not permitted to work when in the country on this visa. Spouses and

        children of F-1 visa recipients must apply for F-2 visas to enter the country.

J-1: For individuals participating in visitor exchange programs. Spouses and children of J-1

       recipients must apply for J-2 visas to enter the country.

Q-1: Participants in international cultural exchange programs apply for this visa.

T: A person who has been a victim of human trafficking who cooperates with law enforcement

    in the investigation and prosecution of human trafficking is eligible for this visa.

U: This visa is for victims of criminal activities who seek police protection from

     a qualifying crime.


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

USCIS Completes Data Entry of Fiscal Year 2017 H-1B Cap-Subject Petitions


On May 2, 2016, USCIS announced that it had completed data entry of all fiscal year 2017 H-1B cap-subject petitions that were selected in its computer-generated random process. USCIS will now commence the process of returning all H-1B cap-subject petitions that were not selected. Due to the high volume of filings, USCIS was unable to provide a definite time frame for returning these petitions and asked that petitioners not inquire about the status of submitted cap-subject petitions until they receive a receipt notice or an unselected petition is returned. USCIS has stated that it will issue an announcement once all the unselected petitions have been returned. For more information, please see Read more . . .


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

New STEM OPT Regulations in Effect as of May 10, 2016

Effective May 10, 2016, new regulations impacting foreign national students studying at U.S. colleges and universities on F-1 visas will come into effect. Under the previous regulations, all F-1 students were eligible for a 12-month period of Optional Practical Training (OPT) following the completion of their degree program which allowed them to gain job experience in an area directly related to their field of study. Students whose degrees were in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math) fields were eligible for an additional 17-month extension of their OPT following their initial 12-month OPT period.

The new regulations will increase the OPT extension period available to students with degrees in STEM fields from 17-months to 24-months (the 12-month initial OPT period for all students will remain the same). Students who are interested in taking advantage of this new provision should become familiar with the requirements for doing so prior to May 10, 2016 as many students will need to take immediate action in order to avoid missing important deadlines set by the regulations.


Read more . . .


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Obtaining U.S. Citizenship Through a Grandparent

The Immigration and Naturalization Act provides that children born outside the U.S. are automatically U.S. Citizens if one of their parents is a U.S. citizen.  There are, however, a number of exceptions.  

To transmit citizenship to a child, the parent must not only be a U.S. citizen but must also meet a physical presence requirement.  The parent must have resided in the U.S. or one of its possessions for at least five years, and for two of the five, the parent must have been at least 14 years old.

If a child is not eligible because a U.S. citizen parent failed to meet the physical presence requirement, the child can still receive citizenship through the physical presence of a grandparent.  There are three basic requirements:

1.  The child is the offspring of parent who is a U.S. citizen, whether by naturalization or birth.

2.  The child is under the age of 18 and in the custody of the U.S. citizen parent.

3.  The child's U.S. citizen grandparent was physically present in the U.S. or its possessions for at least five years, for two of which the grandparent was at least 14 years old.

As with the U.S. citizen parent, the calculation of the total time of physical presence can include periods when the grandparent was not a U.S. citizen.

If the grandparent is dead, the provision is still available.  All that is required is that the grandparent was a U.S. citizen and met the physical presence requirements at the time of his or her death.

Parents seeking to use the grandparent provision for a child must file a form N-600K with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services prior to the child's eighteenth birthday and attend an appointment in person with the child.  If the parent has died, the child's grandparent or legal guardian can apply within five years of the parent's death.

If you or your loved one is trying to obtain U.S. citizenship through a grandparent, you should seek the advice of a seasoned immigration attorney to achieve the best possible result.


Thursday, March 10, 2016

DHS Announces Final Rule on STEM OPT Employment Authorization

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced a new rule, effective May 10, 2016, allowing foreign national students with Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM) degrees to apply for an additional 24 months of Optional Practice Training (OPT) work authorization.

This new rule may be of particular value since the new 2017 Fiscal Year H-1B petitions, which are currently being prepared for the April 2016 filing, are expected to once again significantly exceed the number of available petition approvals.

For more information on this new rule, please see https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/sevp-stem-opt.


Monday, February 15, 2016

If My Spouse is in the United States Legally, Can I Enter As Well?

Public policy in the United States is to keep families together, and the rules of immigration are designed to encourage this to a great extent. Generally, the spouse of a person who is in the United States legally may stay in the country for as long as the spouse is permitted to stay. The spouse of a US citizen may apply for a green card upon marriage. Prior to marriage, a citizen’s fiancé may apply for a K-1 visa which is valid for 90 days before the wedding. A K-1 applicant’s children may also stay in the country under the K-2 designation.

Just about every type of non-immigrant visa has a counterpart for the individual’s spouse. An F-2 visa is designated for the spouse and children of an F-1 student visa holder. An H-4 visa is for the family of a person in the United States on an H-1B, H-2B, or H-3 foreign worker visa. Religious workers who enter the country on an R-1 visa can obtain permission for their dependent spouses and children to enter through the R-2 visa. The commonality among all these is that these visas are designed for non-immigrants who expect to stay in the United States for an extended period of time. These spousal visas do not exist for those who are traveling for a short-term stay. Both spouses must apply separately for B-2 tourist visas.

Simply because a spouse or dependent child is permitted into the country prior does not mean that the spouse or child can participate in every activity the spouse partakes of. Many temporary non-immigrant visas, for example, permit an individual to work. An O-1 visa holder is allowed into the country specifically to perform a specialized task for which he or she has extraordinary ability. The O-1 visa holder’s spouse may enter the country under an O-3 visa, but may not seek employment. This places a financial burden on the O-1 visa holder and makes it impractical for his or her spouse and children to come to the United States. Depending on the specific type of visa, other restrictions may exist on an applicant’s ability to travel or engage in a course of study. Only an experienced immigration attorney can confirm the restrictions on each specific visa.


Archived Posts

2019
2018
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2017
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2016
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2015
2014
2013




© 2019 Fuller & Fuller LLP | Attorney Advertising
845 Third Ave., Suite 1700, New York, NY 10022-6601
| Phone: 212. 317.0700

Services Overview | Nonimmigrant Visas | Lawful Permanent Residence | I-9 Compliance | Naturalization (U.S. Citizenship) | Links & Resources | About Us

Law Firm Website Design by
Zola Creative