K-3 Marriage Visa Overview

  The K-3 visa permits the spouse and unmarried, dependent children of a U.S. citizen to enter the U.S. as nonimmigrants and adjust to permanent resident status later provided they are the beneficiaries of a pending or approved alien relative petition. The application process is very similar to the K-1. Once the petition for alien relative is approved, the beneficiary can apply for immigrant visa processing at the appropriate Consulate abroad or adjustment of status within the U.S. A K-3 visa is issued to the spouse of a U.S. citizen provided that: a) the beneficiary is already married to the U.S. citizen; b) the U.S. citizen spouse has filed a petition for alien relative on behalf of the alien spouse with CIS for the purpose of obtaining an immigrant visa; and c) a petition for alien fiancée must also have been filed and approved by CIS. Once CIS approves the fiancé(e) petition, the appropriate Consulate is notified and a letter is issued to the beneficiary outlining the next set of steps for the visa application. Once the required documents are submitted to the Consulate and the necessary security clearances are conducted, the applicant is interviewed and the K-3 visa will […]
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Immigration Court Scheduling

The first hearing in Immigration Court is called the Master Calendar hearing.  At this hearing the person summoned to court (the respondent) pleads to the government’s allegations.  The respondent, with or without an attorney, also states the forms of relief he or she plans to seek in regards to the allegations.  Examples of relief include: asylum, withholding of removal, voluntary departure and relief under the Torture Convention. The judge usually has a number of appointments scheduled for the same time frame.  Typically, respondents sign in and are called in the order in which they sign in.  Some judges will hear the cases of respondents who are represented by attorneys before hearing the other cases.  The hearing will usually only last a matter of minutes. Once an individual has entered his or her plea, the Immigration Judge will set a date for an Individual Calendar hearing.  This hearing is specific to the case at hand and may last for several hours.  The respondent will have an opportunity to present his or her case, including relavant witnesses and evidence.  The respondent (or his or her attorney) also has the ability to object to the government’s evidence and cross-examine the government’s witnesses. After the respondent and […]
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Removal Proceedings Basic Terms

Apprehension: The arrest of a removable alien by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Each apprehension of the same alien in a fiscal year is counted separately. Cancellation of Removal: A discretionary benefit adjusting an alien’s status from that of deportable alien to one lawfully admitted for permanent residence. Application for cancellation of removal is made during the course of a hearing before an immigration judge. Deportable Alien (INA §237(a)): An alien in and admitted to the United States subject to any grounds of removal specified in the Immigration and Nationality Act. This includes any alien illegally in the United States, regardless of whether the alien entered the country by fraud or misrepresentation or entered legally but subsequently violated the terms of his or her nonimmigrant classification or status. Immigration and Naturalization Act: The Act (INA), which, along with other immigration laws, treaties, and conventions of the United States, relates to the immigration, temporary admission, naturalization, and removal of aliens. Immigration Judge: An attorney appointed by the Attorney General to act as an administrative judge within the Executive Office for Immigration Review. They are qualified to conduct specified classes of proceedings, including removal proceedings. Inadmissible Alien(INA §212(a)): An alien seeking admission at a […]
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Special Recruitment for University Professors Under PERM (Labor Certification)

What is Labor Certification and PERM? The Immigration and Nationality Act §212(a)(5)(A) requires individual labor certification by the U.S. Department of Labor before a foreign national enters the U.S. to perform skilled or unskilled labor.  The labor certification reports to the Attorney General that there are not sufficient U.S. workers available for the proposed employment, and that the foreign national’s employment will not adversely affect wages of similarly-situated U.S. workers. PERM (Program Electronic Review Management) was implemented by the DOL in 2005 and is now the main procedure by which labor certification is done.  Initially, it involves a U.S. employer obtaining a Prevailing Wage Determination from the applicable State Workforce Agency (SWA) and conducting recruitment for the open position. If there are no able, qualified, and willing U.S. workers to apply for the position, the employer will complete and submit (online or by mail) detailed information about the employer and the prospective position.  From this point, the DOL will either certify the employer’s application or select it for auditing. What is Special Recruitment? Under PERM, Special rules apply for teaching faculty at higher-education institutions (college, university, medical school).  Special Recruitment (formerly “Special Handling”) is a method under PERM for foreign […]
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Diversity Lottery Program

Green Card Lottery Each year, the Diversity Lottery (DV) Program makes 50,000 immigrant visas available through a lottery to people who come from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.  Please note that Canadians are NOT eligible to enter this lottery. The law and regulations require that every diversity visa entrant must have at least a high school education or its equivalent or have, within the past five years, two years of work experience in an occupation requiring at least two years’ training or experience. A recipient of a visa through the DV program will be authorized to live and work permanently in the United States. The DV program is administered by the U.S. Department of State.  For a list of participating countries, eligibility information, and application forms, please visit the DOS website.  http://travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/types/types_1322.html Please note: There have been instances of fraudulent websites posing as official U.S. Government sites. Some companies posing as the U.S. Government have sought money in order to “complete” lottery entry forms. There is no charge to download and complete the Electronic Diversity Visa Entry Form. The Department of State notifies successful Diversity Visa applicants by letter, and NOT be electronic mail. To […]
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Employment-Based Immigration

Obtaining permanent residency through employment is a multi-step process.  First, foreign nationals and employers must determine if the foreign national is eligible for lawful permanent residency under one of USCIS’ paths to lawful permanent residency. Second, most employment categories require that the U.S. employer complete a labor certification request (Form ETA 9089) for the applicant, and submit it to the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration. Labor certification is an actual testing of the U.S. job market to determine whether a U.S. citizen is available for the offered position.  The DOL will either grant or deny the certification request. Certain aliens will be relieved from this requirement.  Third, USCIS must approve an immigrant visa petition, Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker, for the person wishing to immigrate to the United States. The employer wishing to bring the applicant to the United States to work permanently files this petition. If a DOL certification is needed,  the petition can only be filed after the certification is granted. The employer acts as the sponsor (or petitioner) for the applicant (or beneficiary) who wants to live and work on a permanent basis in the United States. Fourth, the State Department must give the […]
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Family-Based Immigration

Obtaining permanent residency through a family member is a multi-step process.  First, an immigrant visa petition must be filed.  Form I-130 is a Petition for Alien Relative.  It is filed by the sponsoring relative for the immigrating beneficiary. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will either approve or deny the petition. If the I-130 petition is approved, the beneficiary must then wait for a visa number to become available.  If a visa number is available, the beneficiary can apply to have an immigrant visa number assigned through the process of Adjustment of Status (for individuals already in the U.S.) or at a U.S. Consulate abroad.  In some instances, visa numbers are considered “current.”  That means that the beneficiary can file for AOS at the same time as filing Form I-130.  This is known as concurrent filing. Eligibility In order for a relative to sponsor you to immigrate to the United States, he/she must meet the following criteria: The person must be a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the U.S. and be able to provide documentation providing that status; and He/she must establish financial support of the immigrating relative at 125% above the mandated poverty line, by filling out an Affidavit of Support […]
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