On November 18, 2016, the USCIS announced its Final Rule for the proposed rule announced almost a year ago, affecting certain employment-based immigrants and high skilled non-immigrant workers. This Final Rule will become effective on January 17, 2017. For most parts, the new rules are beneficial for those affected. The followings are some of the highlights of the new rules. Continue reading
[Update]: The Final Rule of this proposed rule was announced on November 18, 2016. For details, please see “New Rule for High Skilled Worker“.
On the last day of 2015, the USCIS announced a “Proposed Rule Affecting Certain Employment-Based Immigrant and Nonimmigrant Visa Programs” and asked for public comments. These rules, if become law, will greatly benefit the high skilled non-immigrant workers as well as those applying for green card. The followings are some of the highlights of the proposed rules. Continue reading
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
If you currently hold an L1 visa and want to change your status to H1B visa, or if you are an employer who is planning to hire an L1 visa holder, these are the things you need to be aware of:
1. An L1 visa holder can change his/her status to H1B, but will still be subject to H1B CAP.
“Change of status” only means that the applicant does not need to travel to his/her home country to get a new H1B visa stamp. He/she can change status from L1 to H1B within the United States. But this is a different issue from H1B CAP. If the applicant never had an H1B before, he/she will still be subject to the CAP. So, what usually happens is that one currently works on L1B, on April 1, he/she files an H1B petition. If the petition is approved, the applicant will work on L1B until September 30, and switch to the H1B sponsor company on October 1. If the petition is denied or the applicant was not selected for the lottery, the L1 visa is still valid, provided that the applicant still works for the same employer. Therefore, he/she can try again next year for H1B or seek for alternatives to H1B. Continue reading