Immigration thoughts from an Immigration Lawyer.

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New H1B Rule: Amended petition is needed when you change your work location

on July 21, 2015, USCIS published its “Final Guidance on When to File an Amended or New H-1B Petition After Matter of Simeio Solutions, LLC.” Under this new rule, whenever a company wants to relocate its H1B worker(s) to a different metropolitan statistical area (MSA), the company must file not only a new Labor Condition Application (LCA) with the Department of Labor, but also an amended or new H1B petition with the USCIS. This new rule is based on USCIS’ Administrative Appeal Office (AAO)’s recent precedent decision, Matter of Simeio Solutions, LLC on April 9, 2015. Continue reading

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Understanding the Visa Bulletin and When Your Priority Date Becomes Current

The Visa Bulletin is a guidance to how much longer you have to wait before you can get your green card.  However, the Visa Bulletin is a bit tricky to understand for a first-time viewer. The following is to show you how to read the Visa Bulletin and to estimate your waiting time.  Continue reading


New Immigration Status for Entrepreneurs and Startup Founders: “Significant Public Benefit” Parole Program

On 06/25/2015, the USCIS held a public engagement teleconference regarding its new program creating a parole status for inventors, researchers and founders of start-up enterprises. This program is proposed as part of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration announced on November 20, 2014. The rules of the program are not set yet, and the purpose of the teleconference was for the USCIS to receive comments from stakeholders so that they can create the detailed rules for this parole program. Continue reading

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New H1B Rule: Amended petition may be needed when you change your work location

[Update] On July 21, 2015, USCIS published its final guidance regarding this issue. Check the final guidance here.

It had been the rule that whenever a H1B worker changes work location to a different metropolitan statistical area (MSA), the employer had to refile a Labor Condition Application (LCA). Now, the new rule requires that the employer not only refile a LCA with the Department of Labor, but also file an amended H1B petition with the USCIS. This new rule is based on USCIS’ Administrative Appeal Office (AAO)’s recent precedent decision, Matter of Simeio Solutions, LLC on April 9, 2015. Continue reading

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H1B or L1 is not always a must for Green Card application under EB-2 or EB-3

Some people say that if you want to apply for a green card under the EB-2 or EB-3 category, you need to have an H1B visa. This is not true for everyone. Even though H1B is preferable, it is not a prerequisite. Here is why…

Green card applications under EB-2 or EB-3 can mean many years of waiting for many people. The challenge is to keep a valid non-immigrant visa while you are waiting for your green card. The reason why H1B is popular is because it allows “dual intent.” This means you can have the intent to immigrate even though H1B is a non-immigrant visa. Practically, what this means is that you can apply for green card at any time, and can keep using your H1B visa to travel abroad until the very moment you become a permanent resident. Even if your green card application is denied, as long as you have a valid H1B, you can try again. This is the same case for people holding an L1 visa (intracompany transferee). Continue reading

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Pros and Cons of Employment Authorization for H4

On February 24, 2015, USCIS announced that it will grant employment authorization (EAD) to certain H4 holders, whose number is estimated to be as high as 179,600 people in the first year. USCIS will start accepting applications starting May 26, 2015. On February 26, USCIS hosted a teleconference, clarifying some of the rules and procedures of EAD application. Continue reading

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Danger of using ESTA and filing for Adjustment of Status

ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) is a visa waiver program that allows citizens of certain countries to travel to the U.S. for business or pleasure without obtaining a visa stamp first. This system is very useful in many ways, but one of its limitations is that one entered with ESTA cannot change his/her status to another visa category, or adjust his/her status to a permanent resident. However, there is an exception for immediate family members (parent, spouse, or child) of a U.S. citizen. Does this mean you can just enter the U.S. with ESTA and apply for green card if you are an immediate family member of a U.S. citizen? Not quite! Continue reading

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February 2015 Visa Bulletin: Progress in Employment-Based Categories

The February 2015 Visa Bulletin is published. A few categories made big progress as follows:


India: 6.5 months (01SEP05)


All other/Mexico/Philippines: 7 months (01JAN14)

China: 6 months (01SEP11)

Other Workers

All other/Mexico/Philippines: 7 months (01JAN14)

Check your Priority Date, and if it will be current, start preparing for I-485 application or NVC processing!

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Why is it a good idea to file for your immediate family even if you are still an LPR?

It is widely known that a spouse and child (under 21 & unmarried) of a U.S. citizen can get a green card fairly soon. This is because there is no quota on the number of green cards can be issued to those applicants, which means they don’t have so-called “waiting time.” They only have to wait as long as the adjudication process takes (typically half year if applying in the U.S., and 9 months if applying from abroad). Continue reading