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Stay Current on Immigration Issues

USCIS is raising fees, effective December 23, 2016

The new fees will apply to all petitions and applications physically received on or after Friday, December 23, 2016.  The following is a partial list of the new fees by form type: I–90  Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card  $455 I–102 Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival-Departure Document. $445 I–129 Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker $460 I–129F Petition for Alien Fiance´(e) $535 I–130 Petition for Alien Relative $535 I–131 Application for Travel Document $575 I–140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker $700 I–290B Notice of Appeal or Motion $675 I–485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status $1,140 I–765  Application for Employment Authorization $410 I–824 Application for Action on an Approved Application...

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Visa posts to revoke nonimmigrant visas for individuals arrested for or convicted of DUI

The Department of State’s Visa Office sent the following guidance to overseas consular posts on September 9, 2016: Guidance Directive 2016-03 – 9 FAM 403.11-3 – VISA REVOCATION “The Department would like to bring to your attention a policy implemented on November 5, 2015, which requires consular officers to prudentially revoke (i.e., without making a determination that the individual is inadmissible) nonimmigrant visas of individuals arrested for, or convicted of, driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated, or similar arrests/convictions, that occurred within the previous five years, as detailed in 9 FAM 403.11-3(A). This requirement does not apply when the arrest/conviction occurred...

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How Immigration Statutes are Implemented

A great deal of confusion concerns what federal agencies may do. Before an agency may do anything, there must be a Congressional statute authorizing the agency to act. Congress might pass a law that provides: “The status of an alien who was inspected and admitted or paroled into the United States or the status of any other alien having an approved petition for classification as a VAWA self-petitioner may be adjusted by the Attorney General, in his discretion and under such regulations as he may prescribe, to that of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence if . . .” [Emphasis...

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DHS Proposes New Rule for Entrepreneurs

WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is proposing a new rule, which would allow certain international entrepreneurs to be considered for parole (temporary permission to be in the United States) so that they may start or scale their businesses here in the United States. Read the advance version of the notice of proposed rulemaking: International Entrepreneur Rule. Once the notice of proposed rulemaking is published in the Federal Register, the public will have 45 days from the date of publication to comment. To submit comments, follow the instructions in the notice. “America’s economy has long benefitted from the contributions of immigrant entrepreneurs,...

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Asylum

Every year, individuals seek protection in the U.S. due to the conditions of their country of citizenship. Asylum is a legal status provided by the U.S government to individuals who have left their country of citizenship, entered the U.S., and are unable or unwilling to return to their country of citizenship due to fear for their safety. However, in order to obtain asylum benefits, there are certain requirements, some of which are difficult to overcome. In order to be eligible for asylum, you must be located in the U.S. (you can file for refugee status if you are outside of the...

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24 month STEM OPT Extension

Students with STEM designated degrees are now eligible to apply for 24-month STEM OPT extensions.  In order to qualify,  the student must have been granted initial OPT and in a current valid period of OPT, earned a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree from an accredited institution, and the student’s proposed STEM OPT job opportunity must be directly related to the student’s STEM degree. As part of the extension process, the F-1 student must provide their Designated School Official (DSO) with a completed and signed Form I-983.  Subsequently, the DSO will issue the student an updated I-20 recommending the student for the...

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Retention & Abandonment Of Lawful Permanent Residency

When a person is admitted to the United States as a lawful permanent resident (“LPR” status), he or she does not receive an absolute grant of residence for the rest of his or her life. Rather, the grant is conditional and depends upon certain conditions remaining unchanged. For example, if an LPR commits a very serious crime, the LPR can be removed from the United States. The more common reason for loss of LPR status, however, is abandonment of LPR status. When a person is given LPR status, they are expected to make their actual home in the United States. If...

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L-1 Visas

Momal S. Iqbal – Senior Associate Attorney [email protected] The L-1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa classification that allows companies to transfer employees to the U.S. from a related company abroad.  There are two categories in the L-1 visa:  the L-1A visa to transfer Executive and Managerial employees, and the L-1B visa to transfer employees with specialized knowledge. To qualify for an L-1B visa an employee must possess “specialized knowledge.” USCIS regulations define specialized knowledge as “special knowledge possessed by an individual of the petitioning organization’s product, service, research, equipment, techniques, management, or other interests and its application in international markets, or an advanced...

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When do I need to amend my H-1b?

James K. Gotcher – Partner [email protected] The regulations state that an H-1B amendment is required to reflect any material changes in the terms and conditions of employment or training or the alien’s eligibility as specified in the original approved petition. An amended or new H-1C, H-1B, H-2A, or H-2B petition must be accompanied by a current or new Department of Labor determination. In the case of an H-1B petition, this requirement includes a new labor condition application. (Amended 6/11/01; 66 FR 31107 )  So what constitutes a material change? Change in Worksite:  About a year ago, the USCIS issued a policy memo that offered guidance...

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