Whirlpool Rapids Bridge Closing Temporarily

On April 1, 2019, the Whirlpool Rapids Bridge, which spans the international border between Canada and the United States in Niagara Falls, will be temporarily closing. The closure is necessitated by the upcoming removal of the 1,700-foot Niagara Scenic Parkway viaduct above the bridge and customs plaza. The removal of the viaduct is part of a larger project for the renovation of the parkway along the Niagara River Gorge. The Niagara Falls Bridge Commission, which is overseeing the redesign project, is hopeful that the project will ultimately expand the waterfront, increase access to the Niagara River Gorge, and add new green space to the area. The bridge is scheduled to be closed for 35 days until May 5, but these dates are tentative. Despite the closure, the Amtrak trains that run on a track on top of the bridge will continue to operate during the demolition. However, the closure of the bridge will certainly affect travel into, and out of, the United States because the NEXUS enrollment center at the bridge will also be closed temporarily. To help alleviate the loss of this entry point, the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge and the Rainbow Bridge will offer extended hours of NEXUS lane availability. […]
Continue Reading

Proposed H-4 EAD Rescission

One advantage of the H-1B visa is that immediate family members of the H-1B visa holder may apply for an H-4 visa, which will allow them to lawfully stay in the United States. What is more, the holder of an H-4 visa, who is seeking employment based on lawful permanent resident status, is eligible to acquire an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and work in the United States. H-4 visa holders have been eligible to work in the United States since 2015. Recently, however, things have begun to change for H-4 visa holders. In October of 2018, the Department of Homeland Security released its Fall 2018 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions and Regulatory Plan, which provides the public with an overview of possible regulations that are in the works. The regulations featured in the Unified Agenda are only aspirational, but they nonetheless communicate a sense of what direction future regulations may be headed. One DHS proposed regulation that appears in the Fall 2018 Unified Agenda is titled “Removing H-4 Dependent Spouses from the Class of Aliens Eligible for Employment Authorization.” This proposed regulation is intended to amend the 2015 rule. The rule would bar H-4 visa holders from eligibility […]
Continue Reading

In an Effort to Promote Efficiency, USCIS Makes More Forms Available for Online Filing

In its continuing efforts to promote more efficiency in its processes, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced that applicants now have the ability to file Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship and Form N-600K, Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate Under Section 322 online.  L. Francis Cissna, director of USCIS, noted that traditional paper filing of petitions often creates a burden on those seeking an immigration benefit and those who are adjudicating petitions. He also noted that “this addition to our online capabilities is yet another positive advancement toward a more efficient and convenient filing experience for everyone involved.” In addition to Forms N-600 and N-600K, USCIS allows for electronic filing of Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card; Form N-336, Request for a Hearing on a decision in Naturalization Proceedings; Form N-400, Application for Naturalization; and Form N-565, Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document.  Applicants can file Form N-600 for themselves or their minor children if they were born abroad and are claiming U.S. citizenship at birth through their parents or automatically became a U.S. citizen after birth, but before they turned 18 years old. Applicants are eligible to file Form N-600K if they regularly […]
Continue Reading

Zach Ahlstrom Joins Berardi Immigration Law as Associate Attorney

Congratulations to Zach Ahlstrom who was officially sworn in as a licensed New York State attorney yesterday and is now an Associate Attorney with Berardi Immigration Law!  Zach started with Berardi Immigration Law as a law clerk during his second year of law school in March 2017. He passed the bar exam in October 2018. He focuses on a wide range of petitions, including everything from employment-based nonimmigrant and immigrant petitions, to marriage-based green cards and naturalization applications. Beginning on his first day with our firm, it was immediately clear that he was destined to be an immigration attorney. He possesses a unique ability to write and has developed a deep understanding of the complexity and nuance that is natural to U.S. immigration law and regulations.  Zach graduated summa cum laude from Mercyhurst University in 2014 with a degree in Political Science. He then went on to pursue a law degree from the University at Buffalo School of Law. While attending law school, Zach was a writing fellow for two years. In his spare time, he enjoys golfing, baseball and riding his bike — anything to get him outdoors. Berardi Immigration Law is proud to have Zach as the newest […]
Continue Reading

E-Verify Expiration: What Employers and Employees Using the System Should Know

Many employers are familiar with the E-Verify system, which allows employers to check the employment eligibility for all of their employees. This system compares information completed on an employee’s Form I-9 with records from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA). E-Verify is administered by DHS, which is one of the agencies that remains without government funding. The E-Verify program has expired as a result of a lapse in funding due to the partial government shutdown in the U.S. The program will be unavailable until necessary funding is received.  There are major implications to the expiration of E-Verify. While the government is shut down, employers will be unable to access the services E-Verify provides. This includes enrolling in the program; accessing E-Verify accounts; creating new cases; viewing or taking action on a case; adding, deleting or editing accounts; changing passwords; editing company information; terminating accounts; or running reports. Importantly, employees will not be able to correct any E-Verify Tentative Non-confirmations (TNCs) while the program is expired.  A TNC occurs when employee information does not match with DHS or SSA records. Nonetheless, employers are still required to complete the steps on their end to verify work […]
Continue Reading

New Bill Could Make E-3 Visas Available to Irish Nationals

Irish nationals interested in relocating and working in the United States might just be in luck. A bill providing Irish nationals with several thousand additional work visas annually is scheduled for a vote in the Senate. Outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan holds ancestral and political ties to Ireland and is responsible for pushing this bill. The bill has already passed the House and according to a Republican aide, the bill has a good chance of passing the Senate.  This bill would provide Irish nationals with access to E-3 visas. Currently, E-3 visas are only available for Australian nationals who have a legitimate offer of employment in the U.S., possess the necessary academic or other qualifying credentials, and will fill a position that qualifies as a specialty occupation. This visa category requires a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent. If this bill passes, in addition to Australian nationals, Irish nationals would also be eligible to apply for an E-3 nonimmigrant visa. The E-3 category would still favor Australian petitions, but Irish nationals would be able to access any of the E-3 program’s 10,500 visas not used by Australians.  This bill would allow for reciprocity, meaning more Americans would be able to be […]
Continue Reading

U.S. Government Shutdown’s Impact on Immigration Services

With the government experiencing a shutdown due to the lapse in annual funding, many are concerned about the consequences in the realm of immigration. Fortunately, the majority of immigration matters are largely unaffected by the current situation. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offices will remain open despite the shutdown. Individuals should attend scheduled appointments with USCIS. Additionally, USCIS will continue to accept most petitions and applications.  A large portion of immigration-related processes are already sufficiently funded or fee-based, which is why they are not affected for the time being. There are several USCIS operations that will be affected by the shutdown, as they are expired, suspended or have not been reauthorized. The following programs are based on appropriated funds, and are therefore nonoperational during the shutdown: EB-5 Immigrant Investor Regional Center Program: While the actual EB-5 immigration category is itself not impacted by the shutdown, the related regional centers are. The EB-5 regional centers are public or private economic units in the U.S. that are involved with promoting economic growth in the country. USCIS designates regional centers for participation in the Immigrant Investor Program. Regardless of the shutdown, however, the EB-5 program will continue to operate.  E-Verify: E-Verify is […]
Continue Reading