Archive for May, 2010

How can I transfer H-1B status?

Posted on May 28, 2010. Filed under: Immigration | Tags: , , |

H1B is an employemt based non-immigrant visa available for temporary workers. H-1B visa allows a foreign national to enter into U.S. and be employed temporarily in a specialty occupation. Specialty occupation is one which requires highly specialized knowledge and atleast a bachelor’s degree in a related field. It includes business specialties, mathematics, accounting, education, law, architecture, engineering, medicine and health, social sciences, theology, and arts. The employer offers a job and files an H1 visa petition on behalf of you (the employee). Once the petition is approved by USCIS, you will be issued a work pemit to work for the employer who filed the petition.

You can change employers without changing your H1B status, provided that the new employer files a new petition on behalf of you before you start working for the new employer. This is called H1B transfer.

H1B transfer happens through the new company. The following supporting documents may be required for your H1B transfer application.

  • Copies of your passport
  • Latest pay stubs
  • Latest Resume
  • Copy of your existing H1B approval
  • Copy of your I-94
  • Copy of your Social security card
  • Copy of your Degree certificates to prove your educational qualification

To qualify for a H1B transfer:

  • You must be in lawful status at the time the petition is being filed on your behalf.
  • You should not have any unauthorized employment since you were last admitted.

Benefits of H1B transfer:

  • There is no limit for the number of H1B transfer. You can apply for as many transfers as you want.
  • The H1B transfer is not related in anyway to the H1B cap. H1B cap is only applicable for new H1B petitions. Hence there is no wait period.
  • You may start working for your new employer as soon as you get the receipt notice, prior to the approval of H1B transfer.
  • You can apply for an H1B transfer for more than one company at the same time.

The new employer needs to file Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Workers to transfer your H1B. The processing time for this petition is usually 3 to 8 weeks. It varies depending on the location of the new employment and the processing office.

Generally H1B visa is granted for three years. It may then be extended, initially for two more years, and eventually for another one year. For further extension, you must remain outside the U.S. for a minimum of one year before becoming eligible for another H-1B visa. If you acquire permanent residency, you need not remain outside the country for one year. Certain foreign nationals working on Defence Department projects are allowed to remain in H-1B status for 10 years.

Please note that if a H1B transfer is not approved you may losse your original H1B visa. So it is recommended that you complete the H1B transfer before entering into your new job. You are not eligible for an H1B transfer, if you had currently filed for an extension or renewal of your H1B visa.

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What is Form I-94?

Posted on May 21, 2010. Filed under: Immigration | Tags: , |

Form I-94 is an Arrival Departure Record that has the information about the date of entry into the United States, class of admission and when the authorized stay expires. Whenever a non-immigrant enters the United States, Form I-94 must be completed at the time of entry into the United States. If entering the U.S. by air or sea, the transport line will give Form I-94 to the non-immigrant and if by land the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials will give a blank I-94 form to the non-immigrant.

The I-94 form has two sections – the arrival record and the departure record. Both the sections must be completed by the non-immigrant. The upper portion of Form I-94 is the arrival record and has the following information:

  • Admission Number
  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Country of Citizenship
  • Gender
  • Passport Number
  • Airline or flight number
  • Country where you live
  • City where you boarded
  • City where the visa was issued
  • Date visa was issued
  • Address while in the United States (Number and Street)
  • City and State

The bottom part of Form I-94 is the departure record and has the following information:

  • Departure Number
  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Country of citizenship

The non-immigrant completes Form I-94 and gives it to the CBP officer along with the passport. During the processing of I-94 form, the CBP officer might ask questions about the purpose of the visit, duration of the visit and residence abroad. If the details that are provided in the I-94 form is accurate and legitimate, the CBP officer stamps the Form I-94 Arrival, Departure Record and the passport and keeps the arrival section of the form for record purposes and gives the passport and departure record to the non-immigrant. Thus the non-immigrant gets an approval to enter the United States in a specific non-immigrant status for an authorized stay.

When the non-immigrant is in the United States, he can apply for change of status or extension of stay by filing Form I-539. If the application for change of status or extension is approved by the USCIS, the non-immigrant will be issued a Approval Notice with a new I-94 card. The I-94 card depicts the new category or the extended status along with the information about when the authorized stay expires.

The admission number and the departure number in the I-94 form will be the same. The departure record must be handed over to the United States CBP officials when the non-immigrant leaves the United States.

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Concurrent Filing

Posted on May 15, 2010. Filed under: Immigration | Tags: , , , , , , |

A U.S. citizen can help his/her relative to become a lawful permanent resident by sponsoring the relative for a Green card. The first step in the process is initiated by the U.S. citizen by filing Form I-130 for the foreign relative. Form I-130 is used to establish the family relationship between the U.S. citizen and the foreign relative.

Concurrent filing refers to filing an immigrant petition and an adjustment of status application at the same time. Adjustment of status is the process by which a foreign national already in the United States can get permanent resident status (a green card) without having to return to his/her home country to complete visa processing. USCIS allows concurrent filing of Form I-130 and Form I-485. Concurrent filing is allowed only in certain instances and not all the time. Concurrent filing requires Form I-130 and Form I-485 to be mailed to USCIS together to the same location.

Concurrent filing of Form I-130 and Form I-485 can be done only when an immigrant visa number is available during the time of filing. Concurrent filing is always available for immediate relatives of a U.S. citizen, since there is no numerical limit for them and an immigrant visa number is always readily available in this category.

Immediate relatives of a U.S. citizen are:

  • Spouse
  • Unmarried child (under the age of 21)
  • Parent (if the U.S. citizen is over the age of 21)

Forms that are involved in concurrent filing are:

  • I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence
  • G-325A, Biographic Information
  • I-130, Petition for Alien Relative
  • I-864, Affidavit of Support

A foreign relative applying for permanent residence is required to demonstrate that he/she would not become a public charge of the United States. Form I-864 is used to establish that the U.S. citizen petitioner has enough income and/or assets to support the foreign relative being sponsored and the household at 125% of the federal poverty guidelines (Form I-864P). By filing an affidavit of support, the U.S. citizen petitioner is creating a contract with the government to support the foreign relative, if it becomes necessary to do so.

  • I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record
  • I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, if you would like to work while your application is processed
  • . This form is optional.
  • I-131, Application for Travel Document, if you need to travel outside the United States while your application is processed. This form is optional.

During concurrent filing of Form I-130 and Form I-485, all initial evidence required for the family-based category and appropriate supporting documentation must be submitted to USCIS. Failure to submit these document might result in delay or denial of the application.

Once the application is filed, USCIS will notify the applicant to appear at ASC (Application support center) to have the biometrics taken. This usually involves the applicant being photographed. Once done the signature of the applicant is captured for security checks. After the application is evaluated by USCIS the applicant is required to appear for an interview at USCIS office regarding the application submitted.

After the application is approved, the applicant will receive his/her green card via mail.

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NDN’s Alicia Menendez and J.D. Hayworth Discuss

Posted on May 5, 2010. Filed under: Immigration | Tags: , , , |

Source: NDN’s Alicia Menendez and J.D. Hayworth Discuss

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