Employment Based Visas

Every fiscal year, approximately 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas are made available to qualified applicants under the provisions of US immigration law. Employment based immigrant visas are divided into five preference categories. These five preference categories include priority workers and persons with extraordinary ability, professionals holding advanced degrees and persons of exceptional ability, skilled workers, professionals, and unskilled workers, certain special immigrants, and immigrant investors.  Certain spouses and children may accompany or follow-to-join employment-based immigrants. Based on your approved petition, your spouse and minor unmarried children, younger than 21, may apply for immigrant visas with you. Like you, they must fill out required application forms, obtain required civil documents, pay the required fees, and undergo medical examinations.  To be considered for an immigrant visa under some of the employment-based categories listed above, the applicant’s prospective employer or agent must first obtain a labor certification approval from the Department of Labor. Once received (and if required), the employer must then file an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, Form I-140, with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for the appropriate employment-based preference category. However, persons with extraordinary abilities category may file their own petitions. Employment based immigrant visa cases take additional time […]
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Travelling While on a Work Visa

If you are currently working in the U.S. on one of many non-immigrant visas, it is important to know whether your category imposes any restrictions on your activities while present here. The general rule of thumb is that you must remain in compliance with the purpose for which your visa was originally issued for the entire length of your stay. For example, if you are in the U.S. on a work visa, you may not use that same visa for any other purpose – for example, to study. One of the most popular non-immigrant work visas is the H-1B for skilled, educated individuals. This is a temporary visa that allows foreign nationals to work for one specific employer. The H1-B applicant is required to continuing working for the sponsoring employer for their entire duration of their stay. If they wish to switch employers, they must submit an H1-B Change of Employer petition to the government. If you hold an H-1B, or another type of temporary work visa like an E, H, L, O or TN, and you would like to take a vacation in the U.S. either after your job ends or before you switch to a different employer, there […]
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What to Expect When Crossing the Border

Holiday travel can be stressful if travelers do not plan ahead of time. With the holiday season in full swing, it is important to be prepared before you depart for your holiday travel destination. Everyone arriving at a port of entry to the US is subject to inspection by Customs and Border Protections officers for compliance with immigration, customs, and agriculture regulations. The more international travelers know about what to expect, the easier and quicker the process becomes.  For example, travelers should prepare for the inspection process before arriving at the inspection booth. Travelers should have their crossing documents available for inspection and should be prepared to declare all items acquired abroad. All travelers arriving at the US-Canada border, including US and Canadian citizens, need to present documentary proof of citizenship. These documents include a Passport, U.S. Passport Card, trusted traveler card (NEXUS, Global Entry, SENTRI or FAST), Permanent Resident Card or an Enhanced Drivers License. Children under the age of 16 can present an original or copy of their birth certificate to border officials. Members of the traveling public should consult the CBP website, apps.cbp.gov/bwt, to monitor border wait times at ports of entry. This information is updated hourly […]
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New EB-5 Rule Nearly Doubles Minimum Investment

USCIS has recently published a final regulation changing the EB-5 Program that awards permanent resident status to certain investors who create at least ten new jobs for U.S. workers. This new EB-5 rule will be effective for I-526 filings arriving at USCIS on or after November 21, 2019. The new EB-5 investments must be at least $900,000...
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USCIS Proposes Filing Fee Increases

On November 14, 2019, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a proposed regulation, which would substantially increase the filing fees for many types of immigration benefits. The agency’s notice of proposed rulemaking, which is published in the Federal Register, explains that the proposed regulation would increase costs for most petitioners and applicants...
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New Ruling on Digital Searches for Travelers

On Tuesday, November 12, 2019, U.S. District Judge Denise Casper in Boston ruled suspicionless searches of traveler’s electronic devices without a warrant is unconstitutional. Judge Casper held U.S. border agents need “reasonable suspicion” to search travelers’ smartphones and laptops at airports and other U.S. ports of entry...
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Modernizing NEXUS AIR Processing at Canadian Airports

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) just recently announced it will be modernizing the way NEXUS members are processed at Canadian airports. The existing NEXUS kiosks that use iris recognition technology will be replaced with new, modernized NEXUS kiosks that use facial verification technology. This new process will first launch in fall 2019 at Vancouver International Airport, with other Canadian airports following in the ensuing months. NEXUS members can enter Canada using the NEXUS self-serve kiosks at designated airports, regardless of where they are coming from. For example, a member returning to Canada from overseas and arriving in Toronto can use a NEXUS kiosk in Toronto. If you are a NEXUS member, you will need your passport the first time you use a new kiosk. You will be prompted to upload your passport photograph during your first passage for storage and identity verification purposes. Members who do not have a passport will be referred to an officer for identity verification. It is important to note that declarations cannot be completed at the new kiosks. If you have something to declare, you will have to do so verbally at a clearly marked area in customs after using the kiosk. This modernization […]
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