DACA Rescind

By | CIS, Citizenship and Naturalization, DACA, DAPA, Immigration, Immigration Policy, Immigration Reform, Travel, Uncategorized | No Comments

FACTS:
1. If your Work Permit expires March 5, 2018, you can file DACA extension for 2 more years—–but the application has to be received by Citizenship and Immigration Services before October 5, 2017
2. If your application is pending, the Citizenship and Immigration Services will continue to process them. Do your fingerprinting and answer all Request for Evidences
3. Anyone else cannot apply. It is advisable not to travel, even if you have a valid advance parole

Trump has asked the Congress to come up with an Immigration plan within 6 months

MORAL OBLIGATION:
The Republicans are not going to hear “emotional stories” of family unity. The only explanation is a logical one: We educated the children brought in without intention of coming illegally. They can work and pay taxes. They have already proven to be productive. Besides, they have no ties to their home country.
POLITICAL AGRUMENT:

I think both Democrats and Republicans would be open to extending DACA —-although the Obama era name might go. But if Democrats push for Citizenship, ie votes, then the outcome might get harsher. Republicans control the Legislative, Executive and Judiciary, and Democrats need to be prudent

 

For more information visit Banerjee & Associates

Canadian Visitors need to check I-94

By | Canada, Canadians, CIS, Commentary, I-94, Immigration, Immigration Policy, Uncategorized | No Comments

Canadians historically have crossed the border and have not been issued an I-94, nor have their passport been stamped. Snowbirds came to Florida or Arizona, and stay the entire winter, which might stretch more than 6 months. The Customs and Border Patrol (hereinafter CBP) has recently, without any warning whatsoever, started issuing I-94.  Since the I-94 is issued electronically, the Canadian nationals may not even know about it and thereby have illegal stay.

Moreover under 8 CFR §214.2(b)(2), Canadian visitor’s with a B visa has to be given a minimum of 6 months. I-94s might be given for shorter duration.

This procedure, done very quietly by CBP, might put a lot of Canadians in illegal status. Then depending on the length of their illegal stay, they may be barred from entering the United States for 3 to 10 years. This bar means no cross border shopping or even visiting your winter home down south.

Please go here to check your I-94 and get the date by which time you will need to leave USA.

For more information, please contact Banerjee & Associates.

 

USCIS Case followup

By | CIS, Commentary, H1-B, Immigration Policy, Uncategorized | No Comments

The USCIS generally gives processing times in Month. For instance, the Nebraska Service Center is processing H-1Bs that were filed in July 2016. However, they have said that from July 4th, will give a specific date. For instance, Nebraska Service Center is processing H-1Bs filed on July 02, 2016. If the processing time exceeds by 1 month, then you can follow up with CIS> Therefore if the date on your receipt notice is July 01, 2016, and you have not heard from the USCIS by Feb 04, 2017. The processing times are available here.

For more information contact Banerjee and Associates

DUI/DWI and Immigration

By | CIS, Employer/Employee, H1-B, Immigration Policy, Uncategorized, US Consulate, Visa | No Comments

With Thanksgiving approaching, I hope you all stay safe and don’t drink and drive.  But if you are a non immigrant (ie with say a H, E, an L or a TN visa) and you get caught (not convicted, just caught), you may receive a letter in the mail, cancelling your visa.

But, you say, you thought that you were presumed innocent until proven guilty in America.  And you are right.  Yet, the Department of State has the right to suspend your visa.  Because this is not a legal ground of inadmissibility, it’s a medical ground of inadmissibility

If your I-94 (here) is still valid, you can continue to work in the USA.  However, if you go outside the USA, you will be required to revalidate your visa.  The post will send you to a medical doctor, who will evaluate whether you are “medically fit” (read not an addict) to do your job.

So have fun, drink, but don’t drive if you do drink.  Or at least, don’t get caught

 

Please contact Annie Banerjee at Banerjee & Associates for more information

 

How to handle the Department of State

By | CIS, Commentary, Uncategorized, US Consulate, Visa | No Comments

Useful tips

1. Go dressed well for the interview
2. If you get a 221 G –con tact your attorney. Consulate decisions are final, and if you are denied, you will not be able to reenter
3. After you submit your answer for a 221G, please have patience.
4. The posts tell you to wait at least 60 days before inquiring. We actually advise 90 days. The posts are busy, so if you make yourself or your attorney a pest, the post will simply deny the visa.
5. Once you get your visa, you buy your tickets. We advise that you enter during working hours on week days, even if those tickets cost a bit more. This is because on week days and working hours the Customs and Border Patrol personnel are more senior, hass more experience and has seen your type of case before
6. Please note that if you do get into Secondary Inspection, this is not an adversarial encounter. Yes, it is difficult to wait hours after arriving from an International destination. However the visa officer is simply doing her job.
Also please note that Canadians are given I-94s. Please check your I-94 status here. Please do not overstay your visa.

Please contact Annie Banerjee at Banerjee & Associates for more information.

CIS Fees Increase

By | CIS, Fee increase, H1-B, Immigration Policy, Uncategorized | No Comments

Citizenship and Immigration Service is giving a nice Christmas present to everyone.  From December 23, the fees are going to be increased. Below is a list of fees and the corresponding increase of petitions our law office does often.

 

Petition type Fees on or after Dec 23 Increase
I-129: H-1B, L, TN, E 460 (other fees like fraud fee and ACWIA fees remain the same +135
Dependents: H-4, L-2, TD, etc 370 +80
Adjustment of status: I-485 1225 + 155
I-765 Employment Authorization Document 410 (In most cases add $85 for fingerprinting) +30
Travel Permit I-131 575 (In most cases add $85 for fingerprinting) +215
I-140 700 +120
I-130 For family 535 +115
Fiance I-129 F 535 +215
Extension of Green Card (Permanent Resident Card) I-90 540 +90
Motion to Reopen I-290B 675 +45
Naturalization: N 400 725 +45—Note this form is reduced for poor people and free for really poor people
Kids Certificate for citizenship 1170 +470
N-565-If you lose your Citizenship Certificate 555 +210
I-526 EB-5 3675 +2175
I-601 Waiver 930 +345

For more information contact Banerjee & Associates 

H-1B lottery

By | CIS, Commentary, H1-B, Immigration Policy | No Comments

Every year as winter starts to fade into spring, the Citizenship and Immigration Service receives thousands of petitions for H-1B visas. 236 thousand petitions last year to be precise. H-1B visas are used by US Employers to get highly qualified professionals, mainly in Science and Computer fields, from other countries. The Congress has imposed a quota on new H-1B visas of 65K every year (plus 20 K for US Master’s Degree holders). So every year in mid-April, the Citizenship and Immigration Service does a lottery and only the lucky 65K + 20 K get in.

The chances of getting into the lottery in 2016 is a little more than one in three. As our country grows, its needs grow resulting in more and more petitions and less chances for petitions to be selected. If an attorney prepares the H-1B file, the employer loses the attorney’s fees if they do not get into the lottery. Thus big companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft and other Silicon Valley Billion dollar company can afford to lose money and file thousands of petitions every year. Google for instance filed 9280 petitions last year. That’s like buying 9280 lottery tickets rather than one that the small employer can afford. And although the lottery probably is random, the probability for winning it is higher if you buy more lottery tickets. And yes, we business Immigration attorneys earn a lot of money during that process as well.
The Citizenship and Immigration Service always maintained that the lottery process was fair. However, two companies in Portland Oregon—-Tenrec Inc. and Walker Macy LLC has filed a lawsuit against the Citizenship and Immigration Service to make the lottery process more transparent. A federal judge has ruled that the plaintiffs have standing to sue. What the plaintiffs’ are asking for though, is to not close the accepting of Petitions for the first 5 business days in April, but prolong it year long. That might actually be worse in creating log jams and increasing processing times for H-1B petitions. And American Immigration Lawyer’s Association has also filed a FOIA suit to make the lottery process more transparent.
Although greater transparency is desired from any Governmental organization, mere transparency will not solve the H-1B problem. The market place works on a supply and demand theory. The artificial quota system demands that employers project their need in the beginning of the year, think about the lottery and apply as many petitions as possible. Similarly highly educated tech employees in India and elsewhere seek out employers and in many cases pay them to file their cases. But doing away with the quota requires a Congressional Act, and as we all know, Congress does not act.

For more information call Banerjee& Associates.

When Natural Disasters happen

By | CIS, Commentary, Immigration Policy | No Comments

The Government works with deadlines. Unlike State Court where lawyers can argue that they are not ready and reset the date of their hearing, we attorneys working with federal agencies have to such leverage. We are given an audit notice by the Department of Labor, and we have to answer in 20 days. No matter if your mother dies, or you have a tragedy. Unlike State court lawyers, we also cannot take holidays, unless some other lawyer covers us.
So what happens when there is an act of nature? I had to file a request for evidence for a case when Hurricane Rita caused Houston to shut down and flee town. I took my fedex envelops with me on a 10 hour journey to Austin, and mailed them from there. However, recently, with major hurricanes, floodings, etc, the Citizenship and Immigration Services issues guidelines. With the advent of websites to contact the Government is relatively easy. However, one will still need the receipt number to communicate with the Government.
When forces of nature happen, the Government offices are immediately closed and appointments are rescheduled. However, the lawyer and the clients are still left with the burden of answering and filing.
With the heavy rains paralyzing Baton Rouge, these are the guidelines from Citizenship and Immigration Services.
USCIS offers immigration relief measures that may help people affected by unforeseen circumstances, such as disasters like the recent severe storms and flooding in Louisiana.
These measures may be available upon request:
• Change of nonimmigrant status or extension of nonimmigrant stay for an individual currently in the United States, even if the request is filed after the authorized period of admission has expired;
• Re-parole of individuals previously granted parole by USCIS;
• Expedited processing of advance parole requests;
• Expedited adjudication of requests for off-campus employment authorization for F-1 students experiencing severe economic hardship;
• Expedited adjudication of employment authorization applications, where appropriate;
• Consideration of fee waivers due to an inability to pay;
• Assistance for those who received a Request for Evidence or a Notice of Intent to Deny but were unable to appear for an interview, submit evidence or respond in a timely manner;
• Replacement of lost or damaged immigration or travel documents issued by USCIS, such as a Permanent Resident Card (Green Card);
• Rescheduling of a biometrics appointment.
Note: When making a request, please explain how the severe storms or flooding created a need for the requested relief.
However, to contact the Citizenship and Immigration Services, you will still need the receipt number. If any lawyer’s office is flooded, I hope the Government will understand. Global warming will cause more and more natural disasters every year. A humane Government agency will be appreciated. On the other hand, a lawyer should save important documents in the cloud for easier access.

For more information please contact Immigration Lawyer, Annie Banerjee in Houston

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Degree Equivalency for I-140

By | CIS, Houston Immigration, Immigration Policy | No Comments

Everyone knows that the CIS is in a denying mode and will deny every Employment based petition that it possibly can. Add that to the equation that for India and China the Employment based Third Preference petitions for India is currently being processed for people who filed in July of 2001. A lot of client want to get onto the second preference category. But the requirements for EB-2 are very strict. The minimum qualification for an EB-2 job is at least a Master’s Degree or a Bachelor’s Degree plus 5 years of experience. The Experience has to be obtained after the degree is obtained and before starting the job with the sponsor. (The rationale being that if the sponsor provided the beneficiary with the experience, it can provide an Us Citizen with the same experience opportunity).

However, the CIS is extremely harsh with Indian degrees.

A three year Bachelors Degree from India is not equivalent to a Bachelor’s degree here.

A three year Bachelors degree in a general field and a one (or sometimes two year) Masters degree in a particular field from India is not equivalent to a Bachelors degree in the US

A Bachelors degree in some field and a Masters in another specific field is not equivalent to a Masters even if the time frame for both studies is 6 years.

A Four year Bachelor’s Degree and 1 year Masters is not equivalent to a Masters

The waters are more muddied by the fact that all these cases are decided on a “case by case basis.” There is no consistency between cases even in the same service center.

I realize that there are some institutions in India that are not good, but so are many institutions in the US. India has 1 billion people and the competition to get into Universities is far higher than in the US. Yet, the US looks favorably to a degree from say England, than it does to a degree from India. As they say in India, if you cannot get into IIT, apply to MIT or Harvard.

And for the record, Obama did not get into Columbia as an undergraduate in the freshman year. He transferred from Occidental College. And Bush could not have gotten into any college based on merit. Saint John’s School in Houston refused him admission as a kid.

Contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, Annie Banerjee for more details

H-1B and the CIS

By | CIS, H1-B | 171 Comments

In a letter to Senator Grassley, the CIS defended their H-1B adjudication practices and their everything under the kitchen sink Request for Evidences.

The CIS is looking into revising the form I-129 to have Petitioner and beneficiary both attest that:

The beneficiary has been advised of the offsite placement and accepts the terms of the H-IB employment, including the job location and possible relocation;

Really? Does anyone working for the software industry not know that they have to work off site. These people are always traveling, the beneficiary KNOWS they have to work off site. Same with Oil Company Engineers. Its the nature of their work. Does CIS seriously think the beneficiary does not know?

2. Placement of the beneficiary offsite during the period of employment will be in compliance with the statutory and regulatory requirements of the H-IB nonimmigrant classification;

3. The beneficiary will be paid the prevailing rate of pay at any offsite
location; and,

This is in line with the question on the I-94 application on the plane, “Are you a terrorist.” Has anyone ever answered yes to that question? Similarly, will anyone filing an H-1B petition ever say they will not comply with the law?

4. The work itinerary is attached.

The H-1B is given for 3 years. It is difficult to predict the itinerary for all those 3 years. If the work itinerary is for less than 3 years, then the employer has to file the whole H-1B again, with the high fees. And even if they have the work itinerary, the job may be canceled, etc. So what is the point of private employers filing job itineraries with the Government?

All of this simply penalizes the small employers who form the backbone of the American economy.

Contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, Annie Banerjee for more details