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New H1B Pre-Registration Rule Announced!

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Today the USCIS finally announced a much anticipated rule regarding next year's H1B visa (specialty occupation worker) application process.  At the moment, a computer-aided lottery is required to simply choose which applications may go forward for simple consideration.  This is because the law requires an annual cap on new H1B visas to be issued every year, about 65,000.  Recently, American companies have submitted about 3 to 4 times that number for their potential foreign employees, resulting in some sort of system to pick which applications to even consider.  
H1B applications are complicated, requiring multiple steps to even assemble an application to submit to the government.  Also, the fees are quite high, several thousand dollars for small companies and even more for the larger ones.  For a basic run down on the H1B visa, read my previous run down: H1B Visas Explained.
So then why go through all the rigamarole to interview an employee in January or February, offer them a job…

What’s the Deal with the Mexican Caravan?

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It’s hard to sift through the rhetoric on both sides regarding the Mexican caravan. With good reason, there’s a lot of exaggerations and mistruths on both sides of the immigration issue. I have to admit, the politicization has kept me from commenting on the the caravan till now.

Now that the election hubbub is over, however, I’d like you to read a direct account from my immigration colleague and law school classmate, who recently spent time with caravan members in Mexico. She’s has provided a fairly clinical account of she did and saw.

For big picture consideration, at the end is a link to a recent Time magazine article, tracing back some of the current problem to the Obama administration.

At the end of this post are incredible photos that Charlene took of the caravan. Whatever one’s opinion about what should happen when these folks arrive at the US border, I myself feel an emotional pull to the humanity that can, on an impromptu level, organize such a movement, literally and figurative…

Passport Home

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Today I toured the Minneapolis Passport Agency, along with a group of immigration attorneys from the Minnesota State Bar Association’s Immigration section.

It was a wonderful tour and I did not think I would learn as much as I did about obtaining a U.S. passport. It was interesting to see the internal workings of the passport application, approval, denial, and creation processes, as well as some of the new initiatives being planned. Just to be clear, the passport agency is for U.S. passports only, for U.S. citizens and soon to be citizens.  Passport agencies are divisions of the United States Department of State,  which is America’s primary foreign policy representative and runs U.S. embassies around the world.   There is a U.S. Embassy in every country of the world except North Korea and Iran.

Of course, my very first question was: why can’t you get passport photos at a U.S. Passport Agency?? Well it turns out that our tour guide, the customer service manager and 26 year passport agen…

EB5 Visas (PART 1)

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What Does It Take to Get An EB5 Visa?Why the interest in an "EB5," or (Employment-Based 5) category of green card, or Legal Permanent Resident, in the United States?
The short answer is: Speed.  
The EB5 category is the fastest method of a noncitizen to become a Legal Permanent Resident in the United States.  As with all methods of immigration, however, there's a tradeoff.  The speed of permanent entry is offset by a high standard of eligibility, and more importantly a high expense.  But those that can afford a sizable investment into U.S. business, hiring employees, OR local government projects along with high legal fees may consider this mutually beneficial approach.  But beware, the documentation required rivals an SEC audit.  In short, the EB5 is a "strings attached" process of mutually beneficial immigration to America.
The applicant must invest in a new, expanding, or troubled business.New: created or restructured after November 19, 1990Expanding: existing n…

How Does A Stay of Adjudication Impact Immigration?

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Recently I was asked the following question:I'm considering accepting a "Stay of Adjudication" plea, in a pending criminal sexual conduct case.  I also have a pending asylum application.  I need to know, would accepting this still type of plea make me removable as far as the DHS is concerned? Should I just risk trial then if my worst fear is deportation?
SHORT ANSWER:  
A "stay of adjudication" represents a full conviction for immigration purposes.  So if you plead guilty, with "stay of adjudication," to a criminal charge, you'll have to see if that criminal charge itself impacts immigration.  In your case, you would still be deportable with a Stay of Adjudication to criminal sexual conduct.  If it was a Stay of Adjud to disorderly conduct, then you would probably be fine.  A noncitizen should ALWAYS have an experienced immigration attorney help or represent them in a criminal charge!  There are just too many nuances!
ANSWER:
You pose the proper quest…

Married to US Citizen, Waiting for H1B Renewal

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I Recently Answered the Following Question:
I am currently waiting for my H1B renewal to be approved.  When I get married to my U.S. citizen fiancee, can I file for adjustment of status while my H1B is still pending?
ANSWER:
Yes, you can start the green card process by filing the Immediate Relative petition (I-130), Adjustment of Status application (I-485), Employment Authorization (I-765) and Advance Parole (I-131).  The pending H1B application won't affect the process.
IMPORTANT!  I suggest continuing with your H1B renewal AND status until your green card is in hand--even if you receive an interim EAD.  If, for some reason, your green card is denied you will still be in H1B status and no additional action would be required.  Other attorneys do argue, however, that it is better to change your work status to EAD. This preserves a certain amount of time being deducted from one's H1B clock, in case the green card is denied and you have to go back to H1B.  The drawback is that it wou…

Second, Part-Time H1B Job?

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Recent I was asked the following question:
I work full-time as a software developer in H1b status.  Now a local college has asked me if I can join as an adjunct teacher and teach a computer science class for only 4 hours a week.  It is a government college and is willing to apply H1B.  Can I work/teach part-time in that college?  Is premium processing available?ANSWER: 
Yes, this should work.  You can have what is called a concurrent H1B visa, i.e. more than H-1B at the same time.  You just need to make sure that the second H1B application clearly indicates that it is a concurrent H1B petition and not a change of employer or replacing your current employment in any way.   Also, you must continue to abide by all the terms of your original H1B.  Premium processing for the teaching job is indeed possible, but prevailing wage determination's and LCA's take time.   As such, you may consider using a private service for your prevailing wage determination, or just use Online Wage Librar…