Immigration

/Immigration
Immigration2019-08-22T20:46:06+00:00

ASYLUM

The U.S. offers protection to individuals who have suffered persecution or fear that they will suffer persecution due to their:

  • Race

  • Religion
  • Nationality
  • Membership in a particular social group
  • Political opinion

No information indicating that you have applied for asylum will be provided to any government or country from which you claim a fear of persecution.

You must apply for asylum within 1 year of your arrival to the U.S. unless you can show that there are changed country conditions and circumstances that affect your eligibility for asylum or extraordinary circumstances that prevented you from filing within 1 year.

You may include on your application your spouse and unmarried children under 21 who are physically present in the U.S. at the time you file or at any time until a final decision is made on your case.

You may apply for employment authorization if:
• 150 days have passed since you filed your complete asylum application and
• No decision has been made on your application

Once you get employment authorization you may apply and get a Social Security Card.

Within 2 years of being granted asylum, you may petition to bring your spouse and unmarried children under 21 to the U.S.

You may apply for a green card 1 year after being granted asylum. You may apply for U.S. citizenship 5 years after being granted asylum.

If asylum is not granted, you may still be eligible to apply for withholding of removal under the Immigration and Nationality Act or under the Convention Against Torture before the Immigration Court.

More information

FAMILY REUNION

Foreign nationals may apply for a U.S. green card through parents, children, spouse, or siblings. Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens may apply for green card without delay. Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens include parents, spouses, and unmarried children under 21. Other relatives must wait for an immigrant visa number to become available according to the following categories:

1st Preference

Over 21 unmarried children of U.S. citizens.

2nd Preference

Spouses of lawful permanent residents, their unmarried children under 21, and unmarried children of lawful permanent residents.

3rd Preference

Married children of U.S. citizens.

4th Preference

Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens over 21.

MARRIAGE TO THE U.S. CITIZEN

Foreign citizens applying for a “Green Card” through marriage to the U.S. citizen must prove a bona fide marriage, not a sham to get an immigration benefit. You may be called for a fraud interview after filing your initial petition or after applying to remove conditions on your “Green Card.”

To prove a bona fide marriage you may present to the officer the following proof: Joint bank accounts; Letters to families and each other; Phone bills showing your conversations; Photographs; Rental agreements; Tax returns; Utility bills; Wedding invitations and other evidence.

In case immigration officer suspects that your marriage is fraudulent, you may be intensively interviewed in separate rooms. The officer will then compare the results of two interviews.
It is extremely important to provide a well-prepared set of evidence to the officer and have an attorney present with you at the interview.

FIANCE/SPOUSE

K-1

K-1 classification is designed for fiancés of US citizens who seek to enter the U.S. solely to enter into valid marriage with the petitioner within 90 days after arrival. K-1 applicant and US citizen must have met in person within 2 years of filing petition. K-1 classification may apply for a Green Card after marrying the petitioner. Fiancé’s children under 21 years old may accompany them under K-2 classification.

K-3

K-3 classification is designed for a person who has a valid marriage to US citizen, the US citizen has filed a petition for Alien Relative, and K-3 beneficiary seeks to enter the U.S. to await approval. Spouse’s children under 21 may accompany them under K-4. K-3/K-4 beneficiaries are admitted to the U.S. for 2 years but may extend their stay for 2-year intervals if the petition for Alien Relative has not been approved yet.

BUSINESS

Foreign nationals can apply for a US green card if they have a business.

E-1 classification allows a national of a treaty country (a country with which the U.S. maintains a treaty of commerce) to be admitted to the U.S. solely to engage in international trade on their own behalf.
To qualify for E-1 classification, a treaty trader must:
• Be a national of the treaty country
• Carry on substantial and principal trade between the U.S. and the treaty country

To qualify for E-1 classification, an employee of a treaty trader must:

• Be the same nationality as the principal alien employer
• Be engaging in duties of an executive or supervisory character, or if employed in a lesser capacity, have special qualifications

Qualified treaty traders and employees will be allowed a maximum initial stay of 2 years.  Requests for an extension of stay may be granted in increments of up to 2 years each.  There is no maximum limit to the number of extensions an E-1 nonimmigrant may be granted.

Treaty traders and employees may be accompanied by spouses and unmarried children under 21. Spouses of E-1 workers may apply for work authorization.

List of Qualifying Countries:

Argentina, Australia, Austria
Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Brunei
Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia Denmark
Estonia, Ethiopia
Finland, France
Germany, Greece
Honduras
Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy
Japan, Jordan
Kosovo
Latvia, Liberia, Luxembourg
Macedonia, Mexico, Montenegro
Netherlands, Norway
Oman
Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland
Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland
Taiwan, Thailand, Togo, Turkey
United Kingdom

E-2 classification allows a national of a treaty country (a country with which the U.S. maintains a treaty of commerce) to be admitted to the U.S. when investing a substantial amount of capital in the U.S. business.
To qualify for E-2 classification, a treaty investor must:
• Be a national of a treaty country
• Have invested or be actively in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide enterprise in the U.S.
• Be seeking to enter the U.S. solely to develop and manage the investment enterprise.
To qualify for E-2 classification, an employee of a treaty investor must:
• Be the same nationality as the principal alien employer
• Be engaging in duties of an executive or supervisory character, or if employed in a lesser capacity, have special qualifications.
Qualified treaty investors and employees will be allowed a maximum initial stay of 2 years.  Requests for an extension of stay may be granted in increments of up to 2 years each.  There is no maximum limit to the number of extensions an E-2 nonimmigrant may be granted.
Treaty investors and employees may be accompanied by spouses and unmarried children under 21. Spouses of E-2 workers may apply for work authorization.

List of Qualifying Countries:
Albania, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan
Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria
Cameroon, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic
Denmark
Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia
Finland, France
Germany, Georgia, Grenada
Honduras
Iran, Ireland, Italy
Jamaica, Japan, Jordan
Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan
Latvia, Liberia, Lithuania, Luxembourg
Macedonia, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco
Netherlands, Norway
Oman
Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland
Romania
Serbia, Senegal, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland
Taiwan, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey
Ukraine, United Kingdom

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program is designed for those immigrants who have invested, or are in the process of investing, at least $1 million in a new commercial enterprise employing at least 10 full-time U.S. workers. Individuals who invest in a “targeted employment area” (high unemployment or rural area) or qualified and approved Regional Center are only required to invest a minimum of $500,000. As of November 1, 2016, USCIS approved 864 Regional Centers.
EB-5 Flow Chart
Submit initial petition  Obtain approval (up to 16 months)  Submit application and receive conditional permanent resident status for 2 years (up to 6-8 months)  Submit petition to remove the condition after 21 months of conditional residency  Issuance of permanent residency (up to 9 months)
The investor need not commit the entire capital immediately but the investment must be substantially complete prior to the end of the 2-year conditional residency period. Investor’s spouse and unmarried children under 21 may be included on the EB-5 immigration petition. 10,000 visa numbers are allocated annually to EB-5 investors.
Investors must demonstrate that the investment funds were obtained legally. Investments funds could be in form of cash, cash equivalents, equipment, inventory, other tangible property that came from lawful income, gift, inheritance, lottery winnings, sale of business, sale of real estate, sale of stock, loan secured by your assets but cannot be secured by property of the commercial enterprise that you invested in.
Investor must be involved in the daily management of the company in positions such as a corporate officer, board member, etc. unless investment is made into Regional Center.
Besides creating a new commercial enterprise, the investor may restructure or expand an existing business. EB-5 investor must either expand the net worth of an existing business or the number of employees by 40%. Investor may also invest in troubled business – one that has existed for a minimum of 2 years and has incurred a net loss of at least 20% of the troubled business’ net worth for the 12 to 24 month period. Investor must show that the number of existing employees in the troubled business is being or will be maintained at no less than the pre-investment level for a period of at least 2 years; however, this provision does not decrease the statutory 10 full-time jobs requirement.
Multiple EB-5 investors can combine their money to invest in an enterprise. All investors must infuse the required amount into an enterprise and create at least 10 jobs each. All jobs created by a pooling arrangement will be distributed evenly among investors.
The U.S. law also allows obtaining EB-5 Green Card through purchase of qualifying real estate.
L-1 classification enables a U.S. employer to transfer an executive or manager or employee with specialized knowledge from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the U.S.  This classification also enables a foreign company which does not yet have an affiliated U.S. office to send an executive or manager or employee with specialized knowledge to the U.S. with the purpose of establishing one.
L-1A classification is designed for intra-company transferees who have been employed in an executive or managerial capacity for the foreign company at an overseas location continuously for at least 1 year out of the past 3 years. Qualifying employee must be seeking to enter the U.S. to provide service in an executive or managerial capacity for the same employer. L-1A visa is granted initially for 1 year for a new company in the US or 3 years for a US company that existed for more than 1 year, with extensions available in 2-year increments, with a total stay not to exceed 7 years. L-1A recipient may become a permanent resident through EB-1C immigrant petition.
L-1B classification is designed for professional employees with specialized knowledge. L-1B is an employee who possesses special knowledge of the company product and its application in international markets, or has an advanced level of knowledge of processes and procedures of the company. L-1B visa is issued initially for 3 years with one 2-year extension for a maximum of 5 years stay. L-1B recipient may become a permanent resident through Labor Certification process.
In relationship to the foreign company, the U.S. entity may be a:
• Parent company;
• Subsidiary company;
• Branch company; or
• Affiliated company.
Qualifying employer must be doing business as an employer in the U.S. and in at least one other country for the duration of the beneficiary’s stay in the U.S. as an L-1.
For foreign employers seeking to send an employee to the U.S. to establish a new office, the employer must also show that:
• The employer has secured sufficient physical premises to house the new office; and
• The intended U.S. office will support an executive or managerial position within one year of the approval of the petition (business plan).
For new offices the immigration process is carried out in 3 steps:
• Initial L-1A visa is issued for a period of 1 year to set up operations in the U.S.;
• L-1A visa must be renewed based in part on the first-year record of the U.S. company;
• Once renewed for an additional 2 years, L-1A visa holder may apply for permanent residency.
Blanket L-1 visas are available to employers who hire large numbers of intra-company transferees every year and allow a petitioning company to pre-establish its qualifications as sponsor in advance of filing individual L-1 petitions.
Eligibility for blanket L certification may be established if:
• The petitioner and each of the qualifying organizations are engaged in commercial trade or services;
• The petitioner has an office in the U.S. which has been doing business for at least 1 year;
• The petitioner has 3 or more domestic and foreign branches, subsidiaries, and affiliates;
• The petitioner have obtained at least 10 L-1 approvals during the previous 12-month period;
• The petitioner has U.S. subsidiaries or affiliates with combined annual sales of at least $25 million or has a U.S. work force of at least 1,000 employees.
L-1 may be accompanied by spouses and unmarried children under 21 under L-2 classification. Spouses of L-1 workers may apply for work authorization.
Law

EMPLOYMENT

All interested citizens can get an Employment visa. But for this, they must go through a selection procedure. There are regulated quotas for workers.

Employment Visas are granted to the following categories of foreign citizens:

  • Exceptional abilities

  • Skilled workers

  • Creative and sporting achievements

  • Categories of special immigrants

Employment-based visas for permanent residence in the USA for different categories of foreign citizens give the right to apply for a green card.

More information

AVAILABLE VISAS

EB-2 is an employment-based petition for U.S. permanent residence designed for members of the professions holding an advanced degree or its equivalent or a foreign national who has exceptional ability. EB-2 petitions must generally be accompanied by an approved Labor Certification from the Department of Labor.
There are 3 types of EB-2 petitions:
• Advanced Degree: The job you apply for must require and you must possess at least a baccalaureate degree plus 5 years of progressive work experience in the field.
• Exceptional Ability: “Degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business.” You must meet at least 3 of the criteria below.*
• National Interest Waiver: You must meet at least 3 of the criteria below* and demonstrate that it is in the national interest that you work permanently in the U.S. Petitioners do not need an employer to sponsor them and may file their Labor Certification directly with USCIS.

* Criteria
• College diploma related to your area of exceptional ability.
• Minimum 10 years of full-time experience in your occupation.
• License or certification to practice your profession.
• Salary for services that demonstrate your exceptional ability.
• Membership in a professional association(s)
• Recognition for your achievements and significant contributions by your peers, government entities, professional or business organizations.
• Other comparable evidence of eligibility is also acceptable.

Your spouse and children under 21 may be admitted to the U.S. in E-21 and E-22 immigrant status, respectively.

EB-3 is an employment-based petition for U.S. permanent residence designed for skilled workers, professionals, or other qualified workers.
There are 3 types of EB-3 petitions:
• Skilled Workers: Must have minimum of 2 years of job experience or training and must be performing work for which qualified workers are not available in the U.S. Labor Certification and job offer required.
• Professionals: Must have a baccalaureate degree and must be performing work for which qualified workers are not available in the U.S. Labor certification and job offer required. Experience may not be substituted for a baccalaureate degree
• Other Workers (unskilled workers): Must be capable of performing unskilled labor (requiring less than 2 years training or experience) that is not of a temporary or seasonal nature for which qualified workers are not available in the U.S. Labor certification and job offer required.

Your spouse and children under 21 may be admitted to the U.S. in E-34/E-35 and EW-4/EW-5 immigrant status, respectively.

EB-4 is an employment-based petition for U.S. permanent residence designed for the categories of special immigrants which includes:
• Religious Workers
• Broadcasters
• Iraqi/Afghan Translators
• Iraqis Who Have Assisted the U.S.
• International Organization Employees
• Physicians
• Armed Forces Members
• Panama Canal Zone Employees
• Retired NATO-6 employees
• Spouses and Children of Deceased NATO-6 employees

Your spouse and children under 21 may be admitted to the U.S.

H-1B classification is designed to allow U.S. employers to recruit & employ foreign professionals in specialty occupations. Foreign workers must possess at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. If an alien does not meet the educational requirements, experience or training may be substituted, whereby 3 years of professional experience is considered equivalent to 1 year of a college education.
Occupations that qualify for H-1B require highly specialized knowledge in a field of human endeavor including, but not limited to: IT, Architecture, Engineering, Mathematics, Scientific Research, Medicine, Law, and Finance. In addition, foreign nationals entering the U.S. to offer services related to projects administered by the U.S. Department of Defense, professional nurses entering the U.S. to perform complex job duties, or supervise nursing operations, and distinguished fashion models are eligible for H-1B.

Subcategory of H-1B visas is the H-1B3 – classification designated for fashion models. Fashion models don’t need to meet the specialty occupation requirements. Instead, they must show that they are nationally or internationally recognized for their achievements, and will be employed in a position requiring a model of distinguished merit and ability. The models must be renowned, leading, or well known.
Aside from the requirement that the position is a specialty occupation, the employer must first file a Labor Condition Application with the Department of Labor. An employer filed LCA attests that the H1B visa worker is being paid the prevailing wage for the work being performed and that employment of the foreign worker will not adversely affect the working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.

The initial H-1B visa may be issued for up to 3 years. It may then be extended in the first instance for up to 2 years, and later on for 1 year, for a maximum of 6 consecutive years.
The maximum number of visas is capped at 65,000 per fiscal year; counted from October 1 to September 30. An additional 20,000 are available specifically to those individuals who have received a Master’s degree or higher from a U.S. institution of higher education.
H-4 visas are issued to H-1 spouse and children under 21. H-4 holders are permitted to attend school but not permitted to work.
To apply for a Green Card, the sponsoring employer must first file PERM application with the Department of Labor, and once it gets approved, file Petition for Alien Worker.

I classification is designed for reporters, film crews, editors, and similar occupations who:
• Represent a foreign information media outlet (press, radio, film);
• Are coming to the U.S. to engage solely in this profession; and
• Have a home office in a foreign country

Admission as I nonimmigrant is generally authorized for the duration of status, and no application for extension of stay is required to be filed as long as the media representative continues working for the same employer in the same information medium.
I’s spouse and children under 21 may also obtain I nonimmigrant visa. They are not eligible to work but can study.

J-1 classification (exchange visitors) is designed for those who intend to participate in an approved program for the purpose of teaching, instructing, lecturing, studying, conducting research, consulting, demonstrating special skills, receiving training, or to receive graduate medical education or training, etc.
Examples of exchange visitors include, but are not limited to:
• Camp counselors
• Government visitors
• Nannies/Au pairs
• Physicians
• Professors or scholars
• Research assistants
• Specialists
• Students
• Summer work and travel
• Teachers
• Trainees
Terms of stay and employment are authorized for J-1 nonimmigrants only under the terms of the exchange program.

J-1 Exchange Visitors may be accompanied by spouses and unmarried children under 21 under J-2 classification. Spouse and children of J-1 visa holder may apply for work authorization.

P-1A classification is designed for individuals temporarily coming to the U.S. to perform at an athletic internationally recognized competition as an athlete, individually or as part of a group or team.
Individual Athlete will be allowed an initial stay for the time needed to complete a competition or performance but not exceeding 5 years. In order to complete the competition or performance stay may be extended for up to an additional 5 years.

Athletic Group will be allowed an initial stay for the time needed to complete a competition or performance but not exceeding 1 year. Increments of up to 1 year in order to complete the competition or performance may be allowed.
Essential Support Personnel will be allowed an initial stay for the time to complete an event, activity, or performance but not exceeding 1 year. In order to complete the competition or performance stay may be extended for up to an additional 5 years.
P-1B classification is designed for individuals coming to the U.S. temporarily to perform as a member of an entertainment group that has been recognized internationally as outstanding for a substantial period of time.

At least 75% of the group members must have had a substantial and sustained relationship with the group for at least 1 year.
The entertainment group must be internationally recognized, having a high level of achievement evidenced by recognition substantially above the ordinarily encountered. The reputation of the group, not the individual achievements of its members, is essential.
Qualified applicants will be allowed to the U.S. for the time needed to complete the event or performance but not exceeding 1 year. Increments of up to 1 year in order to complete the competition or performance may be allowed.
P-1A’s and P-1B’s spouse and unmarried children under 21 may obtain P-4 status. They may not engage in employment but may attend school or college.

P-2 classification is designed for individuals coming temporarily as an artist or entertainer, individually or as part of a group, who will perform under a government recognized reciprocal exchange program between an organization in the U.S. and an organization in another country.

Qualified applicants will be allowed to the U.S. for the time needed to complete the event or performance but not exceeding 1 year. Increments of up to 1 year in order to complete the competition or performance may be allowed.
P-2’s spouse and unmarried children under 21 may obtain P-4 status. They may not engage in employment but may attend school or college.

P-3 classification is designed for individual artists or entertainment groups coming temporarily for the purpose of developing, representing or teaching a unique or traditional ethnic, folk, cultural, musical, theatrical, or artistic performance.

Qualified applicants will be allowed to the U.S. for the time needed to complete the event or performance but not exceeding 1 year. Increments of up to 1 year in order to complete the competition or performance may be allowed.
P-3’s spouse and unmarried children under 21 may obtain P-4 status. They may not engage in employment but may attend school or college.

Extraordinary

Ability

EB-1

FIRST PREFERENCE IMMIGRATION

EB-1 is an employment-based petition for U.S. permanent residence designed for those who are among the most accomplished in their respective fields. To establish the eligibility for EB-1, the petitioner must demonstrate sustained national or international acclaim, and that petitioner’s achievements have been recognized in the field.

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O-1/O-2/O-3

INDIVIDUALS WITH EXTRAORDINARY ABILITY

For an individual who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.

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MISCELLANEOUS

B-1/B-2

TEMPORARY BUSINESS VISITOR OR VISITOR FOR PLEASURE

B-1 classification is mostly designed for participants in the following business activities of a commercial or professional nature in the U.S

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DEPORTATION DEFENSE

RIGHT TO PROTECTION

Depending on particular circumstances of your case, you may be eligible for the following defenses to deportation

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F and M

STUDENT VISAS

F-1 or M-1 classification is designed for students provided they meet the following criteria

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NATURALIZATION

COMPLIANCE WITH THE REQUIREMENTS

You must meet the following requirements in order to apply for naturalization:

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Q

CULTURAL EXCHANGE

Q classification is designed for international cultural exchange programs designated by US Citizenship and Immigration Services

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R-1

TEMPORARY NONIMMIGRANT RELIGIOUS WORKERS

R-1 classification is designed for a foreign national who has been a member of a religious organization

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RELEASE FROM DETENTION

IMMIGRATION CUSTODY
here are several ways that a person can be released from immigration detention

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U

CRIME VICTIMS

U classification is designed for victims of certain crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse

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WAIVERS

OF INADMISSIBILITY

There are numerous ways a foreign citizen may be inadmissible to the U.S. It may preclude them from obtaining an immigration benefit.

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