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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B Visa: What is it? What can you do with it?

In general, when a citizen of a foreign country wishes to enter the United States, the foreign national must first obtain a visa. The visa allows a foreign national to travel to a U.S. port of entry and request permission of a U.S. immigration official to enter the United States. While Canadian Citizens are required to present a valid passport at the port of entry, they typically do not need a visa to enter the United States directly from Canada for the purposes of visiting or studying...
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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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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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The NEW H-1B Cap Registration Process

The H-1B classification provides temporary permission for employers to hire qualified foreign nationals in specialty occupations. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) typically accepts a limited number of H-1B cases during each of the federal government’s fiscal years due to the annual cap. There are 65,000 H-1B cap slots, with 20,000 additional H-1B slots that may be allocated...
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Temporary Block on Immigrant Health Insurance Requirement

President Trump’s October 4th Proclamation has been temporarily blocked by a federal judge.  If allowed, it would require those seeking U.S. visas to obtain approved health insurance within 30 days of entry if they are not able to cover their own healthcare expenses. Judge Michael Simon, a Federal District Judge in Portland, Oregon, issued a nationwide temporary restraining order on Saturday, November 2, the day before the Proclamation was set to go into effect.  This order will prohibit the government from implementing the Proclamation for 28 days. During this time, the plaintiffs (seven U.S. citizens and a nonprofit group, Latino Network) and the defendants (various governmental agencies and officials)  will argue on whether the court should issue a preliminary injunction, which would block the Proclamation from becoming effective until the lawsuit has been completely resolved. In this suit, the plaintiffs are challenging the legality of the Proclamation, and if the judge issues a preliminary injunction, the Proclamation will be suspended until the judge makes the ultimate decision on whether the Proclamation is legal or illegal. This temporary restraining order comes weeks after a series of Federal Court decisions to temporarily block the Department of Homeland Security’s amended public charge rule from becoming effective. […]
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