Ms. Pallavi Ahluwalia reaches out to the community on this forum and answers all your legal questions. We kindly request you to look through the Q & A posted below to see if your question was already answered with someone in similar situation.
Kindly explain your question in 2-3 sentences and allow for brief answers.
If your question is complex or urgent, we request you to call in to our office at Phone number (972) 361-0606 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a consultation appointment.
Review Past Questions
Moving from employer A to employer B – February 8, 2018
Question: My H-1B is with Employer A with I-140 approved for more than 3 years, have new job offer with employer B who is ready to file for my H-1B transfer. If H-1B with employer B gets approved, do I have to start working for employer B or can i still stay with employer A?
Answer: It is advisable to move according to the transfer to avoid confusion with the USCIS and site visits. However, the transfer works as a job offer, which you have an option to take or reject. Once you move to the second employer, you will have to transfer back to the first employer as the underlying case is being assumed as being overtaken.
Change of status from H-4 to F1 – January 29, 2018
Question: I am on H-1B and my wife is on H-4 visa. My wife has started her studies (MS in Business analytics at UNT Denton) from Fall 2017 and she plan to graduate in Dec 2018. She is planning to convert from H4 to F1 now, so I had few questions regarding it:
1) How long does the change of status process takes?
2) What documents will be required to be submitted for change of status to USCIS?
3) My PERM will be filed soon for GC, will that affect her petition?
Answer: The change of status takes about 6-9 months. So most of the course work will finish prior to F1 kicking in and the availability of OPT will be impacted, if that’s the goal. Further, the filing of PERM does not impact the spouse and their status.
Recapture remaining H-1B years – January 29, 2018
Question: My wife got here on H-1B in 2011 quota and she started working on that from April 2012 and remained on H-1B for around 3 years. She is on H-4 EAD now, so I want to know if she gets 3 years extension on H-4 EAD not until 2021. Then will she be able to use her left over H-1B around that time. Her employer is ready to start her existing H-1B but wanted to know if we can delay that a little bit.
Answer: Your wife can still have the ability to use her remaining H-1B period, at this time or a bit later. A straight reading of this allowance terminates six years from being selected in the lottery. However, USCIS on a discretionary basis has the ability to allow a person to use the remaining years up until 6 years from the time they left the H-1B.
H-4 dependent status when seeking divorce – January 29, 2018
Question: What are the options (other than filling for H-1B) for a wife working on H-4 EAD, based on husband’s H-1B, if she is under emotional distress and have to seek divorce. Both are from India.
Answer: What are the options (other than filling for H-1B) for a wife working on H-4 EAD, based on husband’s H-1B, if she is under emotional distress and have to seek divorce. Both are from India.
Travel when N-400 pending – January 29, 2018
Question: I filed N-400, biometrics is done. My parents are sick and I want to visit them. Can I travel before my interview or do I need permission from USCIS. My stay in Pakistan will be for maximum 5-6 months. Is it Ok to go and see my parents, please let me know.
Answer: You can visit abroad but not for the length of time you have proposed in the question below. The attorney would advise you to visit for under 90 days. The Government is being strict currently. Also, it is taking 12-15 months in adjudicating N-400.
Impact of bankruptcy on sponsoring family member – January 24, 2018
Question: My husband has petitioned for his younger brother and family from India. My husband will be filing bankruptcy next month due to Trucking business shutting down. Will this effect his petition for his younger brother in any way?
Answer: The bankruptcy for the business should not impact the sponsorship. However, the personal bankruptcy will create trouble for sponsorship. At the time of Affidavit of Support requirement at the National Visa Center (NVC), a co-sponsor will be needed, if the sponsor does not have any requisite income.
Filing GC when parents in US – January 24, 2018
Question: I am a US citizen and applying for my parents GC. They are currently in US.
1. My mother is a dementia patient and may not be able to answer interview questions due to her cognitive decline . We have doctors letter and medical reports. What are my options if the interview happens? 2. Do they have to be here for 90 days before we can apply for their GC?
Answer: A letter from the doctor will be required at the time of interview as well as at the time of filing the application. Further, you are required to wait for 90 days or more to file the adjustment of status at the USCIS.
Family based Immigration – January 24, 2018
Question: I am filing for my brother. He is a UK resident and wife is a UK citizen. Which will be faster – Brother in US filing or Mother in US filing?
Answer: The F-4 category for siblings is currently taking 14-15 years, and F-3 category for US citizens applying for married child is taking about 13-14 years for adjudication. It will be prudent to apply under both the provisions and see which one comes first. Whether the applicant is a UK citizen or a resident, it will not impact the dates as it goes by the applicant’s country of birth.
Contract term or two weeks notice, what prevails – January 24, 2018
Question: I am currently on H1-B visa working for an Indian IT company and working at client location at Saint Paul Minnesota . I submitted my resignation last Friday and told them I can serve only 2 weeks of notice period but my manager is asking to serve 60 days as per my Indian offer letter. Please let me know if I can stop working after 2 weeks by submitting my laptop and ID and will there be any consequences.
Answer: You will be held responsible to the contractual terms you have signed off on. If the offer/contract from India is asking for 60 day notice period and has provisions to enforce it with damages or injunctions, than you will be held liable to it. A two week notice is not a requirement or guarantee to waive off the contract.
Period of stay in US when on GC – January 17, 2018
Question: I am on green card and my spouse is a U.S citizen and own an apartment. I enter U.S every 4 months. Will my green card be evoked? Will I face problems at the airport?
Answer: You have to here for at least 6 months out of a year. If the CBP thinks that you are not showing resident intent, and merely travelling in and out of US, your permanent resident status may be revoked.
Travelling for H-1B extension when citation of misdemeanor pending – January 15, 2018
Question: I have been given a citation in Utah for speeding and reckless driving(misdemeanor). Currently I am working with an attorney from Utah to help me with my case. Now the problem is that I had already made my travel plans to India – for my H-1B visa extension stamping (I opted for drop box since I was eligible for it). Now I am not sure if I should be going or not and will it have any impact on my visa stamping process. Could you help me with it please.
Answer:The consulates make decisions independently. It is possible for them to do an increased scrutiny. So it is advised that you fix the criminal matter before travelling. If it was an alcohol related driving matter, you will be additionally put through medical examination.
Inaccurate date of birth on re-entry permit – January 8, 2018
Question: My mom has a green card and I filed for her re-entry permit so she can stay in India for 2 years. I received the permit, but her date of birth on the permit is not accurate. What can be done about it? My mom is in India right now for past 6+ months.
Answer: You can do a service request to do a change in the date of birth. You are also advised to retain the proof of the service request with you. If the Government is not responsive, than please have your mother bring in the proof the service request along with the re-entry permit when she enters the United States. Please do check your Form I-131 to ensure the mistake was not on your part.
Over promise of salesman in purchase of car – January 8, 2018
Question: I need a legal opinion on an issue with my new car purchase. I recently purchased a new car from Ford and at the time of purchasing of car, I purchased Mechanical Protection Plan (MPP) also. At that time, the finance guy explained to me the plan, saying that everything is covered (Mechanical, Electrical, collision (Scratches, Dents, paint works)) under this plan. Last week someone hit my car in the parking lot and my car got scratches at the back bumper. When i went to the showroom to get it fixed using my MPP, they say that it won’t work for Scratches and Paint works when they clearly mentioned that those scratches and paint works will also be covered. So, I went to the finance guy to talk and I requested them for the conversation (Video and Audio) that was recorded at the time of explaining me the benefits of the plan, but they are saying they don’t have it for more than 30 days and we can’t provide anything and can’t help with the scratches as well. I’m in helpless situation and need some legal opinion to resolve this issue. Can you be able to help me?
Answer: It would not be a verbal promise unless you have a proof of it that can be enforced. It would be the written obligations of the MPP which you bought. It looks like the salesman over promised and you relied on it. By law they can be held to what they have said in writing unless you have the proof to the contrary.
Change of status from H-4 EAD to H-1B – January 3, 2018
Question: I used to work on H-4 EAD based on approved I-140. My current company is planning to file new H-1B for me in April which will start from Oct, if approved. My question is if my H1 is approved while I am working on H-4 EAD, will that affect my H4 status? Can I continue working till September 30th on EAD and then start working on H-1B from Oct 1st? Do I have to travel to India for stamping to reenter on H-1B or Can I apply COS from USA?
Answer: If you have status up until September 30th, you can stay here on H-4 and file for change of status to H-1B. But a word of caution that the Government is taking away the permission to work for H4 and we do not know the fate of existing H-4 EADs. Please stay in touch with us about this update by visiting our website. In principle, your question below allows a change of status till H-1B start date.
Automatic renewal of L2 EAD – January 3, 2018
Question: I am in L2 visa with EAD , both expire by Jan 12th 2018. My husband employer applied for visa extension on December 2017 and I am about to file EAD extension. Can i continue work after January 12, is there 180 days automatic EAD renewal or something?
Answer: L-2 EAD (category a(18)) is not under automatic renewal and hence you can not work unless the underlying status is approved. Please see the link below defining the categories covered under automatic EAD renewal. https://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/automatic-employment-authorization-document-ead-extension
H-1B and L-1B – Additional Income Outside of H-1B Job – December 5, 2017
Question: A group of us friends are planning to put up a music concert. It will be a ticketed event (to recover the cost of the program. Around $5000). The group is a mix of US Citizens and folks on a work visa (L1Bs and H1bs). Our group is not associated with any organization. Neither are we a registered organization. Given the scenario above, we would like to know the following: 1) Could the folks on a work visa collect the revenue generated from ticket sale? 2) Could the folks on a work visa collect the revenue generated from sponsorship? Is there a possibility that either #1 or #2 (or both) could be treated as acts of non-compliance with laws governing work visas in the US (Especially H1B and L1B). Appreciate your insights on this.
Answer: People on H1B and L visas are not allowed any other source of income. Though you can sing as a hobby, you cannot make any money from it.
Wife coming to visit on a Visitor Visa – December 2, 2017
Question: My wife visited USA in the month of July 2017 and left USA on OCTOBER 10 2017. Now she wants to visit USA in the month of Jan 2018 for 5 months. Whether she will be permitted. Her b2 visa is valid up to July 2019
Answer: Your wife should plan on staying out for as long as she was here in the US. However, the Custom Border Protection does have the discretion to permit entry a bit earlier. It is a chance that she will have to take or stay out for a few more months and then reenter the US.
H-1B to L-1A - November 29, 2017
Question: Hello I am on h1b visa specialist role and I the US for past 3.5 years. My employer wants to me to pick up Sr. Manager Role for certain engagements. Before coming to US I have performed similar role in Europe and India. Is it possible for me to transfer from H-1B to L-1A. Is that a risk? Or Can a fresh L1A be filed whilst me being in US.
Answer: If you had played this role for the organization as an executive or manager, within the last 3 years from the time before you entered the United States, you do have an option to file for L1A, either as a change of status or as consular processing.
Green Card for Siblings and Sister's Children - November 29, 2017
Question: Basically, I am USC and want to help my Sister’s children to immigrate to US. Please tell all the possible ways. I have listed below few ways which I am aware of. I am aware I can sponsor GC for my parents who fall under immediate relative category and they will get GC in 10-12 months I am aware I can sponsor GC for my siblings who don’t fall under immediate relative category and they will get GC in about 18-20 years for India. Questions: 1. Can my Father (77yrs old) sponsor GC for my sister who is 44yrs old married with 2 kids (22 and 19yrs) and does this fall under immediate relative category. Then can my sister sponsor her kids? How long this process takes? 2. If I sponsor GC to my sister and at the time of I-130 filing Can my sister’s children (22 and 19yrs) who is below 21yrs get the GC same time as my sister, I know 22yrs old cannot be included because of over 21. 3. Any other fast way to sponsor my sister and her kids?
Answer: In general, the best scenario would be to apply for the siblings and when they get a green card, they should apply for their children. Each of them will age out by the time the dates are current. The other suggestions that you have can be had but will not lead to a faster processing. Because of the different nuances involved, we would definitely suggest for you to speak to an attorney for a more in-depth response.
Removal of Conditions - Delay of Processing - November 28, 2017
Question: I had filled for removal of conditions on my Green card on Nov 7th 2016. They extended the green card till December 2017 as they process the case. I have not yet received the unrestricted greencard. What should I do ? Info pass appointment is not available for Dallas field office anytime soon.
Answer: You will have to wait for Info- pass to have the USCIS extend the employment authorization and travel permission by giving you a I 551 stamp on the passport.
Transferring from H-1B to H-4 when on maternity leave - November 15, 2017
Question: My wife is on H-1B visa. She has been on extended maternity leave. Now we want to convert her to H-4 as there is no project. Her Employer is not ready to do that. We want to travel urgently to India in December . I want to ask, can she get H-4 stamped (I am on H-1B) while coming back without any recent pay stubs for her H-1B? Is there any risk?
Answer: A successful stamping will depend on how long your wife has been out of status without pay stubs. Either way, the situation is concerning and she should move to change it as soon as possible.
Change of status from visitor visa (B-1) to student visa (F-1) - November 14, 2017
Question: My friend is here in visitor visa my question is can he apply for the student visa while he is here in USA?
Answer: Yes, change of status can be applied only if it meets the strict criteria laid out by the USCIS. You can not file for any change of status within 90 days from the date of entry and also has to be able to prove intent to return back to the home country by showing emotional and financial ties to the home country.
Re permit visa before leaving U.S - November 14, 2017
Question: I want to apply for Re-Permit visa as I am going for a job to India. I have GC. Please advise.
Answer: Yes, it is possible to apply for re permit visa but has to be done prior to leaving US. However, you have to complete your biometrics before you leave.
Change of status from F-1 to E visa - November 14, 2017
Question: I am on F-1 status. Can I change my status from F-1 to E visa, through my brother’s business If I want to get his business to my name or some other options.
Answer: If you are from a country which allows investment treaties with the US, it is possible to file for E-2 with some conditions. You have to invest in to the business from your personal accounts for the first eligibility.
Validity dates on I-129 - November 4, 2017
Question: My H-1B visa is expiring on 04/27/2017 and my new approval notice has validity start date of 10/27/2018. On I-129, my employer has mentioned extended employment from 10/11/2017 to 04/29/2019 and visa expiry was 04/27/2018 in I-129. My company has requested for typographic error. Is there a reason to worry?
Answer: Although USCIS should have covered the pending period and noted it on the validity from the date of submission, we have recently noticed that it is common to get USCIS to approve it from the time the case is looked into. As long as you have received date, receipt date and I-94, which covers you from the date of filing, you will be okay. Please do make a request to USCIS to correct and please preserve the service request related responses.
Change of employer with approved I-140 - October 30, 2017
Question: I have immigration questions. Could you please help me. I have an approved I-140 in EB2 category (filed by current employer A) in year 2014. Now I am planning to move to employer B (end-client from my current assignment). Questions: 1. If the current employer A withdraws approved I-140 after I transfer H-1B to company B and I don’t have an approved I-140 from employer B, can employer B request for another H-1B extension based on approved I-140 from employer A? Question 2. If the current employer A withdraws the approved I-140 after I move to company B and if I want to later come back again to employer A, is there a possibility for employer A to convert the I-140 application again back to Active status which was previously withdrawn in order to apply for I-485 when dates are current. (or) Employer A has to again start with applying the new PERM and I-140 applications. Thanks for all your help.
Answer: To use I-140 for extensions beyond 6 years, the I-140 must have been approved for at least 180 days. Further, if your previous employer withdraws the I-140, they will have to get another PERM and I-140 approved to enable you to file I-485.
Returning Resident visa - October 24, 2017
Question: Our daughter, her husband and their son received Green Card in December 2016. All of them went to India because son in law was not retired. They were planning to come to US in December 2017 before one year. Unfortunately, son in law is suffering from Colon Cancer and Doctor recommended to have treatment up to March 2018. Is it possible to get extension for up to 4 months on medical ground. They are completing one year in December 2017. Having cancer is a risk to travel and after coming to US being cancer patient is very expensive. Please advise.
Answer: The CBP has a discretion and may sometimes allow people to come in who are right at the end of their one year mark. To maintain a Green Card, the Government expects entry within 6 months of departure. Given the current stance of CBP, the attorneys can not advise of the risk be taken of re-entering after 4 months. However, if they are stuck, they should try the Returning Resident Visa and come that way.
Waiting for 2 years for background check - October 19, 2017
Question: N-400 applied on November 2015, still waiting for me and wife and USCIS keep saying background check not done yet, I am from India , Any advice or next steps i need to take, created 4 service request 3 info pass and 2 times approached congress – same reply.
Answer: If the background check is not cleared for the last two years, it is concerning. You do have an option to file writ of mandamus or to sue the USCIS in Federal District Court under section 1447(b).You can have another status inquiry through an attorney but if the back ground check is not getting cleared due to an unknown issue, than this route may not expedite the process for you.
Portability on I-140 - October 18, 2017
Question: I have an approved I-140 in EB2 category (filed by employer B) which was ported from EB3 category (filed by employer A) with priority date June 2011.Now I am planning to move to employer C. Could you please let me know if there will be any issue in case I transfer H1B and port the priority date to employer C? Can employer B withdraw the existing I-140?
Answer: An employer can withdraw your application at the time you leave the employer. If the I-140 with the employer was open for 180 days, you can use the priority date on I-140 and use it to extend your H-1B past the six year mark also. However, you can not use it to file H-4 EAD if it is withdrawn.
Marry on H-1b to an alien on visitor visa - October 18, 2017
Question: My friend has a 10 yr multiple entry visa, can she come and get married in US to a man with H1B visa.
Answer: Your friend can not come here and change status or marry within 90 days of entry. So the better advise is to marry abroad, apply for H-4 visa and then enter the U.S.
Whether a client letter is required - October 16, 2017
Question: I got I-140 last month. My 6 year of H-1B is getting over in November 2018. My current H-1B is expiring in December 2017. Last month my H-1B extension was filed after I-140 was received.My project is ending in next month.I work for a big company . Currently they don’t have enough requirement in projects due to the year end .This H-1B extension was filed on generic client letter. In case of RFE (Request for Evidence), is client required to provide specific letter. Please suggest whether I should update my H-1B extension on premium or not. What are its pros and cons.
Answer: If you have not provided all the information when you initially submitted the case, there will be a request for evidence whether through premium processing or regular processing. Since you are looking for a quick adjudication, premium processing will get you to understand the underlying issues a bit quicker.
Change of status when on visitor visa - October 13, 2017
Question: I wanted to file for Permanent Residency of my Parents who are CURRENTLY IN United States on Visitor Visa. They arrived on Sept 26th 2017. When can I file their application? Please advise.
Answer: You can not apply for change of status within 90 days from the time of entry on the visitor visa status. Please read an update on this from our website: http://www.ahluwalialaw.com/recap-immigrant-intent-daca-sb-4/
Delay in adjudication of H-1B petition - October 13, 2017
Question: My H-1B extension is pending which was filed in August and my visa is expiring on January 2018, can you please tell by when can i get my extension approved.
Answer: IUSCIS is currently running behind in its processing. Unfortunately, their processing is oblivious of your visa and its issues. If you are looking for a faster result, kindly use premium processing service to upgrade your petition. Kindly see the update on premium processing on our website: http://www.ahluwalialaw.com/premium-processing-resumed-for-fy2018-h-1b-cap/
Travelling if Green Card expiring soon - October 11, 2017
Question: My husband got a green card based on marriage with me as I am a US citizen. His green card is expiring April 2018. He got a green card for 2 years. We are planing to travel can we? And when can we renew his green card?
Answer: IYour husband can travel up until the validity of green card. He is eligible to apply for a renewal within 90 days of the expiration of the green card.
Intent to marry when on B visa - October 9, 2017
Question: Please advise about the best time to get married if you travelling to US on B visa and you are attempting green card?
Answer: IAny pre-conceived plan, interfering with the intent of entry, can get such a person in trouble, if discovered. However, a recent update on FAM now puts any action within 90 days of entry revealing an intent, which if contrary to the intent of entry, will get the later filed cases denied.
US citizens can sponsor parents - October 5, 2017
Question: I have a green card, can I apply for a green card for my parents as well under my sponsorship and how? (I used to land every 6 months for 2 years in Chicago then did a reentry permit for 2 years and now I am back to but in Texas, so I’ve had the green card for 4 years) Also, do i need to submit a change of address form?
Answer: IYou have to be a US citizen to sponsor your parents. The attorneys have to assess when you will be eligible for citizenship. Further, you are required to inform the Government about change in your address by filing AR-11.
Update I-94 with passport renewal - October 5, 2017
Question: I just renewed my kids passport and the I-94 which he received is valid till his old passport expiry date which is coming in January 2018 but visa is valid till June 2018. Now I want to make changes to his I-94 as per new passport.
Answer: IYou may want to take the new passport to the CBP and find out if they will stamp for the remaining validity period. However, it is more likely that CBP will not do that and will either require you to leave the country with your child or extend the status by filing another I-539 while in the country.
OPT Extension denied - October 5, 2017
Question: I am a student and have a valid OPT extension for 17 months, till Nov 2017. I applied for an extension of 7 months last year august (2016). It got denied as package went 1 day late, will my F-1 status get effected?
Answer: IThe status will terminate as soon as the OPT period is over. The denial of STEM seven months do not have an impact as you were left with the remaining F-1 based STEM OPT till November 2017.
One Year delay after Biometrics - October 3, 2017
Question: I filed I-751 in Aug 2016 and got my biometrics done in September 2016. I have not heard anything after that. No update from online case status. My 1 year extension is going to expire in one month (Oct 2017). What are my options? Should i schedule info-pass to get I-551 stamp?
Answer: IYes, you should go to info pass and take your passport to enable them to stamp the passport and extend your employment authorization.
Status while H-1B Cap adjudication pending - October 3, 2017
Question: My current cap gap extension will expire soon. What will be my status after expiry as I am still waiting to hear on my case for H-1B.
Answer: It sounds like you are wondering what your status will be as of October 1st since your H-1B Cap Petition has not yet been adjudicated. You are allowed to continue to remain in the country while your petition is pending, even after October 1st, but unfortunately your cap gap will expire September 30th and you will therefore lose work authorization. USCIS did recently announce that premium processing has resumed for all 2018 cap cases, though, so you might consider discussing with your employer whether an upgrade to premium processing would be a good idea.
New employer to file PERM and I-140
Question: My current I-140 with Employer A is valid for more than 2 yrs now. I’m being offered a full time with Employer B who is ready to file for my GC after a year per company’s policy. My current H1B is valid till Sep 2019. 1) How soon or how late should Employer B file for my GC to retain my H1B status beyond Sep 2019 ? 2) Employer B expects me to travel globally based on the project requirement. Is it safe to travel outside of US at this point and for the next 2 years at least ?
Answer: The new employer can do the PERM and I-140 any time before you file I-485. Further, as long as you have a valid H-1B which if questioned shows bonafide employment, you will not have trouble in travelling.
Travelling when H4/EAD is pending
Question: I have a query regarding my dependency H4 Visa, my H1B along with my spouse and son H4 extension (as current visa expiring in September 2017) is filed with USCIS last week but my spouse and son need to travel to home country due to some family reason. So I would like to know if they both (Not me) travel to home country when our case is still pending with USCIS and current I-94 is expired, what option do we have so that they can get back to USA without any issues ? What will happen to their H4 extension case which is pending on their travel outside USA (I will still be in USA)? Will there be any issues for their return back ?
Answer: The extension will be abandoned when they leave the country. They can enter the country with a valid visa up until the current validity of September 2017. They will not be able to travel back after this date and will have to wait for the H1B approval. They will have to visit the consulate for visa stamping with your H1B approval and then enter the country.
Presently on L2, expiring soon, pending H1B, what are the options
Question: I am currently working on an L2 EAD valid till 24th Aug 2017 (The L2 Visa expires on 24th Aug 2017) My employer has filed an H1 B Petition on my behalf in the last week of April 2017 (my H1 B is not subject to the annual cap). Also, my spouse’s L1 B Visa is valid till April 2019. Given that premium processing for H1B has been suspended, there is a risk that my H1 B approval may not come through before expiry of my L2 Visa in August 2017. Given this scenario, would it be prudent to travel to India and get my L2 renewed? Would that have any impact on processing of my current H1 B petition?
Answer: We can not predict if the H-1B will be processed by the expiration of your L2 visa. But going for stamping is an option if the L1 has been extended till 2019. To work on L2, you will however enter the country on the L2 and then file an EAD which will allow you to work.
Visitor visa for parents
Question: I am us Citizen and trying to apply for my parents B2 visa, what/how can i do it?
Answer: The application for the visitor visa is based on the qualifications of your parents and do not pertain to your status. They need to establish to the satisfaction of the consular officer that they have emotional ties and financial strength in their country of origin and also provide reason for their visit to the US (hint: it should be visitor related). If they can convince the officer that they will return back to their country after the visit to the US, they will be fine.
English language test at time of citizenship interview
Question: My in-laws applied for citizenship. But they do not speak English nor do they meet the qualification for exemptions. Can we accompany them for interview? If possible, then what additional form is required.
Answer: For the citizenship test, parents have to speak and clear the English language written test. If you are accompanying them, it will not resolve what is expected from them at the time of interview.
Passport expiring while visa transfer in progress
Question: I have my old passport expiring on 12/31/17.Current visa expires on 7/17 on the old passport (I-94 expires on 12/17). I will be transferring my Visa to a new company in the month of 5/17. What will happen if my visa transfer is in progress (as I cannot do premium now) and my passport expires. I have already applied a new passport and have received it.
Answer: If the passport is not renewed at the time of the H-1B with the new employer, it can be updated when going for visa stamping. It is fine as long as you can retain both the new and the old passports.
Green Card expiring and citizenship applied
Question: My 10 yr Green Card will expire in July 2017. I applied for citizenship in Feb 2017. Since it is not possible to complete citizenship process before the expiry of Green Card, what happens to my status once Green Card expires? Should I also apply to renew Green Card?
Answer: Yes, you may want to apply for the renewal of the permanent resident card, while your naturalization is pending. With the enforcement of current memos and orders, you do not want to be without a valid proof of your current immigration status. A receipt of the application is a good proof along with the proof of receipt of naturalization application.
Amendment of location for L-1A
Question: I came here in July 2014 on L1-A. However, my I-129 proposed employment location as Denver with Client A, whereas I landed in July 2014 in Dallas and since then I am working for Client B in Dallas (client office and/or my sponsoring company’s office).
So, in this case, being on L1-A, is it really mandatory for me to file location change amendment to reflect “Proposed Employment” location as precise location where I am working from? Kindly Suggest.
Answer: There is no formal guidance available that mandates an amendment of location for L1A beneficiaries. However, US Citizenship and Immigration Services’s (USCIS) Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate has recently began implementing L-1 site inspection in response to an August 2013 report released by the US Department of Homeland Security’s office of Inspector General (OIG), titled “Implementation of L-1 visa program”. The report is available at http://www.oig.dhs.gov/assets/Mgmt/2013/OIG_13-107_Aug13.pdf
. The L-1 site visit is funded by the $500 Fraud Fee required for the initial filing of all L-1 petitions. Based on the site visit program, we would advise an update with the USCIS about your changed location.
Coming for the first time to US on Green card via Dubai
Question: My Mom got her green card visa approved from the Mumbai consulate in India. She wants to see my brother in Dubai UAE before she comes here. Can she board a flight from Dubai or she has to come directly from India? Will there be any problem for her at the port of entry in the US or even boarding a flight out from Dubai as she has her unopened visa packet that she will have to give to the border security agent at the US port of entry?
Answer: There are no restrictions on stopping anywhere en route but please be aware that there is a heightened scrutiny related concerns and checks on all passengers coming either from or through Middle East. Your mother should be prepared to answer more questions about her visit to Dubai as well as have her personal gadgets checked when she enters to US.
Naturalization or Certificate of Citizenship
Question: I am a US citizen since 2005. My son, 28 years of age now remained Alien card holder which expired in 2003. His passport also expired in 2006. He applied N-400 to be US citizen. It completed process with the decision that he is already US citizen. However he is not Naturalized. He is trying to get his US passport. He is having trouble furnishing proof of his basis of citizenship. We are getting his DOB from Birth Registrations office. We have Affidavits for our marriage proof. They are asking for proof of relationship and dependency at the time. Please advice.
Answer: It will require an analysis to see if your son acquired citizenship through you in year 2005 and if he was a minor, that is under the age of 18 years. If he was a minor, than you do not have to file for his naturalization but will apply for a certificate of citizenship.
Require stamping to travel in and outside the country
Question: My question is regarding E2 visa. Once in USA on a visit visa either B1 / B2, we request for status change to E2 and once its approved, can we travel outside USA to any country on a visitor visa and allowed to re-enter USA. More specifically, I want to know if the dependents i.e. spouse of principal applicant and children if they travel outside USA, while principal applicant stay in USA, will they be allowed to re-enter USA or they will be required to stamp visa in the USA Embassy of the country of travel? Please clarify.
Answer: For any one to travel once they have changed to another visa, they have to obtain a stamp on the passport to travel in or out of the country.
H-1B visa transfer
Question: I have question about the H1B Visa transfer. If I transfer my H1B visa to another employer then: 1. Is there any way my existing employer will come to know that I have transferred my visa? 2. Even if my visa get transferred to another employer and later on I decide to continue with my existing employer and not to join the new employer, can I do that without any legal impact? Thanks in advance.
Answer: Your current employer can not find out the transfer plans or any filing petitions unless you share it with them. And yes, you can stay with the present employer even if you transfer to another employer without any legal impact.
L visa extension denied, impact on current visa
Question: I am based out of Dallas and heard about your firm through a lot of channels. I have a situation and hoping you will be able to advice. I have a L1-B (Blanket) valid till 01-Jul-2017( I-94- 30-Apr-2017) . My company (with same petitioner) applied for reclassification application of L1-A in late Feb’17 which got denied in the interview at Chennai Consulate and then after 15 days applied for my L1-B extension and it got denied again in interview on 15-Mar-2017. The consulate officer did not mention anything around cancellation of my existing visa on both instances. My question is – Can I re-enter US with my existing stamped VISA without issues?
Answer: You can enter the country and stay till the expiration of the current visa, if it is still valid. Only the extension of the visa is denied, not the existing one.
Options to get legal status for parents
Question: My parents had green card for three years in late 1990s. They went back and never returned. And never maintained their green card status. They came to USA on visitor visa on July 2 2015. Presently they do not have legal status. They want to go back. What are consequences at the port on departure? What options do I have to make them legal. I am US citizen for past 25 years. Thank you.
Answer: If your parents are here without status for this long, their return back to US will be very tough. They will be subject to bar to their entry for 10 years. As a US citizen, you can sponsor them and they will be allowed to adjust their status here.
H1B extension filed without H4 extension
Question: I joined an employer in Jan-2016. My H1B and dependents H4 extension petition is approved till Dec-2018. On Sept-2016 I joined another employer and only my H1B was transferred and approved. H4 extension was not filled. 1. What will happen to my dependents status when my older employer revokes my H1B and dependent H4 petition. The Visa on passport already expired last year as it was from my previous to previous employer. 2. My current employer immigration team is saying that H4 petition can’t be revoked. Do I need to file H4 extension for dependents with new employer..?
Answer: There is no need to file an extension for dependents as long as they have a validity to stay on H-1B. An employer’s withdrawal has no impact on the H-4 dependents.
Including professional degree in LCA/PERM
Question: I am currently with Employer A on H-1B extension and an approved I-140 for last 3 years. Also, I am currently pursuing FT-MBA and graduating in June 2017. Currently, I have multiple offers and going through interview process. If, I accept offer from Employer B and join before my graduation. Can my MBA degree be used as a qualification in my LCA/PERM process, when Employer B files for it?
Answer: To utilize MBA and to state in the petition for any reason (exempt from recruitment for the purposes of LCA), you have to be graduated. Or to be exempt, you should be paid at least $60,000.
Adding family after I-130 is approved
Question: I am a US citizen and I have filed for my sister’s I-130 back in year 2008. Now my sister’s marital status has changed. She is married and has 2 kids. Do I need to add these updates in her application? Do I need to file a different form for her husband and her kids?
Answer: You have to add the spouse and the children to the application on an approved case on Form I-824 – Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition.
Error on receipt notice - 1B1
Question: I have an organization who had filed for ‘H1B’ (Counselor Processing) for me but the approval notice which came from USCIS had the visa class mentioned as ‘1B1’ in place of ‘H1B’, due to the ongoing mistype error from USCIS (Receipt notice had it correct as ‘H1B’). I am reaching out to you seeking your advice whether I should submit my passport here in India for stamping with that error on the approval notice OR should I wait for the corrected approval notice?
Answer: Please wait for the corrected approval notice as the USCIS recognizes that those notices were issued in error.
Consequences if University loses its accreditation
Question: I was a student at NPU which was under ACICS accreditation. I graduated on April 24th, 2016 and I am now with Initial OPT. But As ACICS lost accreditation on December 12th, 2016 I was not longer eligible to apply for STEM OPT after December 12th, 2016. But I would like to know that, “Am I eligible for H-1B in masters quota , as I graduated before the ACICS accreditation lost?” This may not be my question only, but thousands of students have same questions. Could you please clarify on this. We are eligible for H-1B in General quota but if we are eligible in master’s quota, the chances are more than general.
Answer: Most SEVP certified schools are not required to obtain accreditation and can provide evidence in lieu of accreditation. However, there are two instances when SEVP – certified schools must be accredited: English as a Second Language (ESL) programs are required to be accredited under the Accreditation of English Language Training Programs Act and F-1 students applying for a 24 month science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) optional practical training (OPT) extension must use a degree from an accredited, SEVP certified school, as the basis of their STEM OPT extension. The school must be accredited at the time the student applies. A loss of the accrediting agency credentials should not impact your degree, in the attorney’s opinion and should be eligible to file under the US Master CAP as you have a Master’s degree. However, this answer is different if the University has lost its accreditation.
E3 visa to H-1B, whether CAP exempt
Question: I am on E-3 visa and applied H-1B visa with employer A and it was picked in lottery 2015, but the same time I joined employer B, on E-3 visa, so my H-1B visa was abandoned in 2015. My question is If I want to apply H-1B visa this year, do I go back to my previous Employer (A) and apply for a new H-1B visa or I am exempt from the lottery this year? Please advice.
Answer: You are exempt from the CAP if you were approved in 2015 and the H-1B was not withdrawn prior to October 1st of the same year. You do not have to go through the CAP or go back to the first employer.
Applying for Asylum
Question: I want to know if some one here is illegal, can he or she submit asylum?
Answer: Yes, even if some one is illegally staying he or has become illegal, the asylum claim can be submitted. There are two ways of obtaining asylum in the United States – affirmative process and defensive process.
To obtain asylum through the affirmative process, one must be physically present in the country. The individual may apply for asylum status regardless of how he/she arrived in the United States or through their current immigration status. It must be applied within one year of the date of the last arrival in the United States, unless the individual can establish:
- Changed circumstances that materially affect the eligibility for asylum or extra ordinary circumstances relating to the delay in filing.
- The individual filed within a reasonable time given those circumstances.
A defensive application for asylum occurs when you request asylum as a defense against removal from the US. For asylum process to be defensive, you must be in removal proceedings in the Immigration court with the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR).
Driver's license based on Asylum
Question: My family is on ASYLUM. Every year our EAD gets renewed. We applied for renewal , got I797 C receipt notice that USCIS received the application and our case is transferred to another USCIS office because of the more pending cases. It clearly stated on the receipt notice that I can work for 180 days more if I have the receipt until I get my EAD. But, my problem is my Driver license expires today as per old EAD. As per Trump new policy, is it safe for me to drive and work ? Please suggest. Thanks in advance.
Answer: If DPS (Texas Department of Public Safety) does not give you a driver’s license without an approved EAD, we would not advise you to drive without a license. Please be careful and you are right – being pulled up by an officer will exacerbate your situation.
English Language test for citizenship
Question: I had a question for my Father. He is living with us & has a Green card. He does not know English and so can not take the English test for citizenship. He born in Pakistan. Will it be a problem for him to stay here?
Answer: No, there is no problem for a Green card holder to stay in the United States at this time. Further, he is exempt from English language test if he has been a Permanent Resident for the at least 15 years and is over the age of 55 years.
Exemption from English Language test for Naturalization
Question: I have a question for my father. He has a green card & is born in Pakistan. He is living here with us. He does not know English and so can not give English test for the Naturalization. Can you suggest me something for him.
Answer: To get an exemption from the English Language test for Naturalization, one must be a resident for the last 20 years and over the age of 50 years or be a resident for 15 years and be over the age of 55 years. If your father qualifies for one of the exceptions stated above, he will be exempt from the English language test.
Relief for Surviving Relatives - Section 204 (I)
Question: I filed for my bother’s petition in 2004 but he passed away in 2013. So does his family (wife and kids) still can come to USA or the file is stopped?
Answer: Unfortunately, the file gets extinguished if the main beneficiary passes away as the derivative beneficiaries would derive their benefit from them. However, an exception to this clause exists if they are in the country in another status. They can pursue eligibility under section 204 (I) – Relief for surviving relatives.
Follow to join requirements
Question: I received my green card in Dec 2016 through the EB1 category. I am married since 2009 (well before I applied for the GC) and my husband is still abroad. Due to personal reasons we could not concurrently file I 485. We would like to proceed with his green card/visa application now. Can we avail the ‘follow-to-join’ or should I go through the normal?
Answer: The follow to join benefits are available to the preference categories if the people were married prior to the spouse approval of the immigrant visa/ permanent residence. By the information provided, you are qualified to apply for the following to join category. It requires petition of I-824 to USCIS followed by the immigrant visa processing at the consulate if the person being sponsored is abroad.
Filing for B1/B2 extension and Adjustment of status for parents
Question: I am a Lawful permanent Resident and have submitted application for my naturalization.I am hoping to get citizenship within 4 month. My parents are here on B1/B2 visa and their stay is valid till June 2017 . I want to file their petition for green card right after I get my citizenship. So do I need to apply for extention of their stay while their petition in in process or Notice of action of petition will be valid to stay without stamping? Please advise.
Answer: Even though you have a plan to file for your parents later, we can not advice you letting them fall out of status on B2. They can get into deportation proceedings, if they are discovered to be here, past the expiration of their I-94. It is advisable to look at the reasons for extensions of the B2 carefully, prior to enable an approval. They may remain here while the extension of B2 is pending. The time you file their adjustment of status has to be examined and should not fall within 60 days of the request for extension of B2.
Question: I would like to apply for a “live-in” maid from Pakistan on a Need Employment Visa. How can I do it?
Answer: Unfortunately there is no specific category set out for “live-in” maids in the employment category. The temporary visas under H2B was previously used but its extremely difficult to get an approval now. The USCIS and DOL does not consider that this kind of workers are not available within this country. You could try for this person under “Skilled Worker EB-3 category” with a permanent job offer and for Pakistan, this may enable the person to come within few years. Please be aware that this is a lengthy, expensive and unpredictable process.
No update on my status after a successful interview
Question: I have an approved H1B visa and I went to India in December 19th, 2016 for stamping. I gave my interview on 23rd and was approved. They said my passport will come in 10 days. After a week when I tracked my passport it showed it is under administrative process and it has been on same status since then. When I tracked my visa it shows no status by consulate. Now I am stuck in India, even missed my flight back since I haven’t got my passport yet. Nobody knows anything about my case and they didn’t give me any white or pink slip at embassy during interview. The officer had said it was approved. What do I need to do now?
Answer: Kindly email the Consulate but our report indicates that the direct question to them are largely unattended to. An inquiry could be raised through the US Travel Docs, where you are tracking your passport to see if this is going through a normal administrative processing for obtaining a visa stamp or it has been subject to a 221G based review and process. The email address to them is email@example.com. More information is available at http://www.ustraveldocs.com/in/in-main-contactus.asp.
Amendment to end client location
Question: I have an approved H1b petition. In January, my client changed and had to move to a different location. My amendment has been filed and it is in pending status. I have to go to India in February for my marriage. I also need to go for stamping as this is the first time I will be travelling after H1B approval. Can I go for stamping with H1b in pending status?
Answer: An upgrade to the premium processing should be able to resolve the pending status of the amendment filed with USCIS. But before presenting yourself to the Consulate, having the correct end client location approved is a requirement.
PERM filed by company B, working for company A
Question: I am on H1-B visa and my question is, can employer B file my PERM in spite of not being on their payrolls while I still work for employer A. Also what is the processing timings for PERM
Answer: PERM is a permanent offer of employment based on Pallavi Ahluwalia reachesa bona-fide job opportunity, an employer has an option of filing it for a current employee or someone that they intend to hire on a permanent basis in the future. It takes about 4-6 months for the PERM approval.
EAD new rule effective January 17, 2017
Question: I am on EAD/Advance Parole. My actual underlying category is EB2 India. I am on EAD from 2012. I had EAD three times before. I gave for EAD renewal exactly 120 days in advance at the Dallas Service center. Previously I received my EAD within 90 days. I am on 105th day and still didn’t receive my EAD. Contacted USCIS on 95th day and did the service request but they told they are working on it. Also contacted congressman for it last Friday. Do you know how long will it take for me and my wife to get the EAD? Also is there anything I can do about it?
Answer: Under the new EB Modernization Rule effective from January 17th, 2017, a person with timely filed EAD request, receipt of Form I-765 can be used to continue work and USCIS has now pushed the processing times of such EADs to 180 days. The I-9 form, November 14, 2016 version has been updated to reflect this. However, the USCIS in one of their teleconferences stated that this would apply to filings after January 17th, 2017. The dates of your filing leave you unprotected to take advantage of the new rule, so at this time, you will just have to await the processing of your pending EAD.
Children born in Canada, pursuing studies in USA
Question: I am Canadian citizen. I have two boys 16 and 11. I want my children to stay in US and pursue their studies. I talked to public schools in Dallas and enrolled my children in the school. But on the border, I was asked if my children could take student visa. How can I get student visa for them. Please suggest the easiest way out.
Answer: To understand the kind of schools, allowing students to obtain student visa, there is a difference between private school and a public school. The SEVP certified private school can issue student visas. However, a public school cannot issue I-20s for a student visa up until high school.
Multiple amendments and an Extension
Question: I joined new Client in March 2016 and an amendment was filed under regular processing. In August, my company filed an extension and an amendment under premium processing. In my case nothing changed in between two amendments. I am working for the same client at the same location. The extension filed in August is approved but Amendment filed in March is still pending . My questions are: 1) If I go to India for stamping while Amendment filed in March is pending, will that cause any issue in stamping? 2) Both Amendment filed in March and Sep are for same client and location .Will the Amendment filed in March have any effect in case it is denied or RFE is caused?
Answer: You should be okay to go out for stamping on the approved case. Even after you enter and the case gets an RFE, it must be approved or it is possible for USCIS to come by and re open the approved case. An option is to get the previously filed case approved before you step out to avoid any issues with the consulate. In the attorney’s opinion, you should be okay, even if the amendment case is pending.