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
Most visa categories and green card categories do not have requirements as to who must pay the fees associated with the application. However, H1B and PERM (EB2 and EB3 categories) are the exceptions. Immigration laws require that the employer (sponsor) pays at least a portion of the fees. This not only increases the burden on employers, but also puts burden on potential employees who are desperately trying to get a job offer. Continue reading
The Visa Bulletin updated every month by the Department of State is an indication of how much longer a Green Card applicant must wait until he can get his green card. Starting from the October 2015 Visa Bulletin, the structure of the Visa Bulletin has changed in a few ways. These changes are great news for those who have a long waiting period, since they can now file I-485 much earlier, which potentially means that they can get their Employment Authorization Document (work permit) and Advance Parole (travel document) much earlier. The new changes will also enable some applicants to continue to stay and work in the U.S., who would have otherwise had to leave the U.S. and wait in their home countries. Continue reading
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
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
On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced his planned executive actions on immigration. The big focus was on the relief for undocumented immigrants who are parents of U.S. citizens. If they meet certain requirements, they can get employment authorization under the DACA program. The less discussed is the business side of immigration, especially the executive actions that will affect the startup community.
In President Obama’s Thursday announcement, he said, “Second, I will make it easier and faster for high-skilled immigrants, graduates, and entrepreneurs to stay and contribute to our economy, as so many business leaders have proposed.” However, this was all he said about this 2nd action in his whole speech. The memorandum released by the Department of Homeland Security gives a little more detail. The memorandum with the subject of “Policies Supporting U.S. High-Skilled Businesses and Workers” lists 5 policy changes, 3 of which have important effect on entrepreneurs who want to start a company. Continue reading