USCIS Announces Plans to Improve the Naturalization Test

USCIS has announced that it will begin implementing an updated naturalization test beginning December 2020 or early 2021. In order to naturalize, candidates must demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of U.S. civics and the English language by passing a naturalization test.   In December 2018, USCIS formed a naturalization test revision working group with members from across the agency. The working group has been reviewing and updating the naturalization test questions, as well as assessing potential changes to the speaking portion of the test. USCIS is receiving the input of experts in the field to ensure that this process is fair and transparent.  USCIS has the power, granted by Congress, to develop, administer and occasionally revise the naturalization civics test to ensure accuracy and timeliness of content.  It has been 10 years since revisions were last made to the naturalization test. On May 3, 2019, USCIS signed the Revision of the Naturalization Civics Test Memorandum.  As explained in the memorandum, “the purpose of these revisions is to create a meaningful, comprehensive, uniform, and efficient test that will assess applicants’ knowledge and understanding of U.S. history, government, principles, and values.”  Presently, the civics portion of the naturalization test consists of 10 questions out […]
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What is a Function Manager?

Both the L-1A and the EB-1C are designated for multinational executive or managerial employees. The L-1A is a nonimmigrant work visa that permits a company to transfer a qualifying foreign employee to the U.S. to work temporarily in a managerial or executive capacity, while the EB-1C is an immigrant visa that permits a foreign company to do the same but on a permanent basis. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), there are two types of managers that qualify in both categories: (1) personnel managers, and (2) function managers. The difference between the two is quite simple. Personnel managers primarily supervise and control the work of personnel, whereas function managers primarily manage an organizational function. Qualifying as a “Function Manager” To establish that the beneficiary (employee) will be employed in a managerial capacity as a “function manager,” a petitioner (employer) must demonstrate that: (1) the function is a clearly defined activity; (2) the function is “essential,” i.e., core to the organization; (3) the beneficiary will primarily manage, as opposed to perform, the function; (4) the beneficiary will act at a senior level within the organizational hierarchy or with respect to the function managed; and (5) the beneficiary will exercise discretion […]
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In-Depth Analysis: The RAISE Act

A few weeks ago, President Trump endorsed the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment Act (RAISE Act). The new bill, which was introduced by Senators Tom Cotton (Ark.) and David Perdue (Ga.), outlines a 10-year plan to cut current immigration levels by 50 percent. The following is a breakdown of the Act’s major components: Elimination of the Diversity Visa Program. The RAISE Act will completely remove INA §203(c). It will eliminate up to 50,000 immigrant visas available annually through the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program. The annual admission of refugees will be capped at 50,000. The RAISE Act will strike INA §§ 207(a) and 207(b), and it will add a new §207(b), which will outline the new regulation. Major changes to the family-based immigration system. The RAISE Act will: Change the definition of “child” at INA §101(b)(1) from unmarried person “under age 21” to an unmarried person “under age 18”; Change the definition of “immediate relative” at INA §201(b)(2)(A)(i) to include only children and spouses of U.S. citizens (removes parents of adult U.S. citizens); Create INA §201(c), which caps family-based admissions at 88,000 per year; Amend INA §203(a) to recognize only spouse and minor children of LPRs as eligible for family-based […]
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Travel Update: Foreign Visitors No Longer Need to Complete Paper Form I-94/I-94W

If arriving by air or sea, foreign nationals traveling to the U.S. no longer need to complete paper Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record or Form I-94W Nonimmigrant Visa Waiver Arrival/Departure Record. Upon arrival, a CBP officer will stamp the travel document of each arriving non-immigrant with the admission date, the class of admission, the record number and the date he or she is admitted until. A new feature on the I-94 website also gives travelers an option to check their last possible departure date from the U.S. Individuals can visit the I-94 website, click on the “view travel history” tab and enter their travel information, including name, birthdate, passport number and passport country of issuance. An admitted until date will then be provided. Frequently Asked Questions: Why do I need an I-94? The Form I-94 is necessary to verify alien registration, immigration status and employment. It provides non-immigrant visitors with evidence that they have been lawfully admitted to the U.S. Whether visiting or working, the I-94 is a necessary component of the immigration process for individual’s seeking entry into the U.S. For more information about entering the U.S., please visit our page. What about land border […]
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Consequences of Withdrawing Marriage-based Green Card Applications

One of the underlying rationales driving immigration policy in the United States is family unity. The law allows U.S. citizens to petition for certain qualified relatives. If approved, this petition would permit a spouse, unmarried child under the age of 21 or a parent to come and live permanently in the U.S. These immediate relatives have special immigration priority and do not have to wait in line for a visa number. There are an unlimited number of visas available to them. Two pathways exist for the spouse of a U.S. citizen in obtaining status as a legal permanent resident. The first is through adjustment of status. This can only be done if the nonimmigrant spouse is inside the United States. It involves filing a Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status), Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative), submitting an affidavit of support and attending a green card interview. The second pathway is through consular processing, and this is done when the spouse of a U.S. citizen is living outside the country. The two marriage-based green card pathways are fairly similar. In both cases, the U.S. citizen spouse must file Form I-130, and that form is processed by […]
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Converting an E-2 Visa into a Green Card

E-2 Visa Background The E-2 visa category is reserved for foreign investors. It enables a national of a treaty country to be admitted to the U.S. when investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business. To qualify, the treaty investor must meet a few basic requirements: The investor must be a national of a treaty country (i.e., NAFTA); The investment must be substantial, which means it must be sufficient to ensure the successful operation of the enterprise; The investment must be in a real operating commercial enterprise; The investment may not be marginal, which means it must have the capacity to generate significantly more income than necessary to provide a living to the investor and family; The investor must have control of the funds, and the investment must be at risk; and The investor must be coming to the U.S. solely to develop and direct the enterprise. This is established by showing at least 50 percent ownership or possession of operational control through an executive, supervisory or highly specialized position. 5 Ways to Convert an E-2 into a Green Card Individuals who have been admitted to the U.S. in E-2 status are required to maintain an intent to […]
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Trump Administration’s FY18 Budget Focused on Immigration Enforcement

The Trump administration’s fiscal year 2018 budget has requested a massive increase in funding for immigration enforcement and border security. If approved, the overall Department of Homeland Security (DHS) budget would increase by $1.7 billion over FY17. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) budget would increase by $7.57 billion, an 18 percent increase, and the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) budget would increase by $13.93 billion, a 17 percent increase. ICE Budget The proposed ICE budget has four major components: (1) high levels of funding for detention facilities; (2) lower detention facility standards; (3) an increase in the total number of ICE agents; and (4) forcing compliance with immigration detainers. First, the budget requests an increase of $900 million to maintain an average daily detained population of 51,379. This is a 66 percent increase from FY17, which provided for 34,000 detention beds. A massive expansion such as this raises a few eyebrows, especially considering southwest border apprehensions are down roughly 75 percent since 2016. The extra beds are likely in anticipation of increased interior enforcement efforts. Detaining such a large number of people per day means the administration will need to target long-time residents and families living in the country […]
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