Skill Level for Immigration has effect on Wait Time

On December 5, 2011, in Immigration, by John A. Weber IV, ESQ.

(Information for the following article was obtained from NY Times, November 30, 2011, Highly Skilled Immigrants May Wait Less for Visas, by Julia Preston)

The House of Representatives last week passed a bill that will make it easier for highly skilled immigrants from India and China to become legal permanent residents.  The bill will reduce visa backlogs which are often seen as a huge impediment for visa petitioners who sometimes had wait times of decades before they would receive their documents.  The bill eliminates limits on the number of green cards based on employment that is available annually to each country.  Currently, 140,000 green cards are available each year for immigrants based on their job skills, with each country limited to 7 percent of those visas.  Under the bill, after a 3 year transition, all employment-based green cards will be issued on a first come first serve basis, with no country limits.

The bill also includes measures that will more than double the green cards available for Mexicans and Filipinos, the two national groups facing the longest backlogs on the family side of the system.  It will raise the country limit for 226,000 family green cards each year to 15 percent from the current 7 percent.

Many of the highly skilled immigrants from India and China will have master’s degrees and doctorates in science and engineering.  The immigrants and their employers have passed labor market tests showing that qualified Americans were not available for the jobs they hold.  This will be a boon to American technology companies who have been anxiously awaiting Congress working with them to offer more green cards for their foreign employees.

As always, for all of your immigration questions and needs, we here at the Law Firm of Vaughn & Weber PLLC can be of assistance.  Please feel free to contact us at (516) 858-2620 or visit our website at www.vaughnweberlaw.com.

 

Visas for Spouses

On August 23, 2011, in Immigration, by John A. Weber IV, ESQ.

American citizens have two means of bringing their foreign husbands or wives to the United States to live.  You may “sponsor” your spouse’s immigrant visa for entry to the United States. If you follow this process, your foreign spouse will complete the visa process completely outside the U.S., and then arrive in the United States and obtain permanent residency status immediately. You will need to submit an immigrant Petition for Alien Relative.  After the USCIS, the National Visa Center and the U.S. Embassy complete all the necessary administrative processing your spouse will be granted an immigrant visa. Your spouse will receive an IR1 or a CR1 visa.  An IR-1 (IR stands for “Immediate Relative”) visa allows your spouse to immigrate to the U.S. A CR1 Visa (CR stands for “Conditional Residency”) will be given to you if your marriage is less than 2 years old. It is conditional for two years.

You can also obtain a non-immigrant K-3 visa.  K3 visas are granted normally within a few months. You should use the K3 visa to start the process outside of the U.S. and then travel to the U.S. to complete the immigration process. Please note that in this case, the application must be made in the country where the marriage took place. If your marriage took place in the U.S., your spouse must apply for a K3 visa through the U.S. Embassy in the country of his/her residence. In addition, the applicant needs to have also filed a Petition for alien fiancé on his/her behalf.  Usually the USCIS requests a Petition for alien fiancé rather than a Petition for alien spouse. After the visa has been issued, the spouse can travel to the US.

To obtain either visa, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must be legally married. Merely living together does not qualify a marriage for immigration.  Unmarried partners are ineligible to sponsor visas to the United States.
  • In most cases you must have a residence in the U.S. to apply.
  • You must be 18 years old before you can sign the Affidavit of Support, which is a form that will be required later in the process.

If you live outside the U.S.:

If you want to bring your foreign spouse to the U.S., but you are currently living outside the U.S., you must submit a visa petition to either your local U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office or directly to the U.S. Embassy where your foreign spouse resides.  Once the visa petition is approved, the foreign-born spouse will receive a packet from the National Visa Center (NVC).  The packet informs your foreign spouse of the various documents which must be presented at the immigrant visa interview abroad (e.g., passport, police clearances, results of medical examinations, etc.). The packet includes certain documents requesting biographic data that must be completed, signed and forwarded to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad. Usually, the foreign-born spouse is interviewed and granted an immigrant visa within three to six months.  If you and your spouse are planning to remain outside the U.S. indefinitely, it is not recommended that you apply for a Green Card. The Green Card could be cancelled at the Port of Entry to the U.S. if you have spent more than six months outside of the US. The Immigration Officer at the Port of Entry will have to determine if the U.S. is your main home, so be prepared for a myriad of questions.

If you both already live in the US:

The U.S. citizen must submit a Petition for Alien Relative to the appropriate U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office to prove that the marriage is genuine.  The petitioner must also include in his package a plethora of biographical information which will determine his or her eligibility.   At the same time, the foreign-born spouse, assuming he or she entered the U.S. lawfully, should submit an application for adjustment of status.

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to call us at (516) 858-2620 to speak to an Immigration attorney! The Law Firm of Vaughn & Weber will be glad to be of assistance in any Immigration matters you may have.

Filing for a K-1 Fiancé Visa

On August 23, 2011, in Immigration, by John A. Weber IV, ESQ.

The Immigration and Nationality Act provides a nonimmigrant visa classification “K-1″ for aliens coming to the United States to marry American citizens and reside here. When filing a K-1 Visa, there are many factors the USCIS takes into account before approval.  However, the approximate processing time is usually between 3 to 6 months from initial filing to a fiancé’s arrival.

To establish a K-1 visa classification for an alien fiancée, an American citizen must file a Petition for Relative or Fiancée, with the United State Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) having jurisdiction over the place of the petitioner’s residence in the United States.  Such petitions may not be adjudicated abroad.  The approved petition will be forwarded by USCIS to the American consular office where the alien fiancée will apply for his or her visa.  A petition is valid for a period of four months from the date of USCIS action, and may be revalidated by the consular officer.

 

In some instances, applicants may be refused a visa for specific reasons.  These include:

 

Applicants who have a communicable disease, or have a dangerous physical or mental disorder; are drug addicts; have committed serious criminal acts, including crimes involving moral turpitude, drug trafficking, and prostitution; are likely to become a public charge; have used fraud or other illegal means to enter the United States; or are ineligible for citizenship

 

If the USCIS approves a petition, upon receipt of said approved petition, the American consular officer will notify the beneficiary and give him or her the necessary forms and instructions to apply for a “K” visa.  Since a fiancée visa applicant is an intending immigrant, he or she must meet most of the same documentary requirements of an immigrant visa applicant.

In addition to the prescribed application forms, the following documents are normally required:

Valid passport

Birth certificate

Divorce or death certificate of any previous spouse

Police certificate from all places lived since age 16

Medical examination

Evidence of support

Evidence of valid relationship with the petitioner

Photographs

 In addition, both petitioner and beneficiary must be legally able and willing to conclude a valid marriage in the United States.  The petitioner and beneficiary must have previously met in person within the past two years unless the Attorney General waives that requirement.   As soon as the processing of a case is completed and the applicant has all necessary documents, a consular officer will interview the fiancée.  If found eligible, a visa will be issued, valid for one entry during a period of six months.

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to call us at (516) 858-2620 to speak to an Immigration attorney!  The Law Firm of Vaughn & Weber will be glad to be of assistance in any Immigration matters you may have.

In addition to the timelines and stress of dealing with the government, many people find that the costliness of filing fees involved with visas and petitions prohibit them from proceeding with their Immigration issues.  The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is funded largely by application and petition fees, however they have instituted a few policies which make it possible for certain individuals to have their Immigration Fees waived.  A person who seeks to have the fees waived must demonstrate an inability to afford to pay the fees associated with certain applications and forms.  The USCIS has created a form I-912 which will waive the fee for benefit services including but not limited to Applications to replace Permanent Resident cards, Applications for Travel Documents and Applications to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.  In the case of the latter, Asylum seekers and/or battered or abused spouses may have their fees waived because of their special circumstances.  The granting of any fee waiver is at the sole discretion of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) however an immigration attorney may help navigate through this difficult process.   As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to call us at (516) 858-2620!

 

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation. This website is Attorney Advertising. It does not form an attorney-client relationship. We are a debt relief agency and a law firm that helps people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code – Title 11. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Proudly assisting residents of Long Island, Nassau county, Suffolk county, New York City, Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, Staten Island, Manhattan