USCIS Increases Validity of Work Permits to Two Years for Asylum Applicants

Effective October 5, 2016, USCIS has increased the validity period for initial or renewal Employment Authorization Documents for asylum applicants from one year to two years. Applicants with pending asylum claims file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, under category (c)(8). This change applies to all (c)(8)-based applications that are pending as of October 5, 2016 and all such applications filed on or after October 5, 2016.

Our law offices are based in Washington D.C, Rockville, Maryland and Fairfax, Virginia. You may contact our law firm for our standard one hour evaluation and consultation of your legal matter, or set up a free 20 minute general consultation with one of our attorneys.

ScottVassell & LeeCC Law Firm

www.vasselllaw.com | info@vasselllaw.com

The Dangerous Intersection of Family Law and U.S. Immigration Consequences

On behalf of ScottVassell & LeeCC Law Firm posted on Tuesday, October 04, 2016.

The intersection of family law and U.S. Immigration law has become more and more common for our non-U.S. citizen clients. Domestic violence and divorce for a non-immigrant visa holder or a U.S. Permanent resident can result in devastating U.S. immigration consequences.Recently, we have seen a string of ‘family-immigration law’ cases.
First example: A U.S. citizen filed a Temporary Protective Order against his wife who was on a conditional green card. He deprived her of her Green card and other basic humanitarian rights as well. We were able to resolve the U.S. Immigration issues for the non-citizen wife by ensuring that her cross Protective Order, against spouse, was converted into a Final Protective order. She was immediately eligible for a I-751 Waiver based on cruelty. The effect of this Waiver released her from all conditions on her Green Card and allowed her to gain U.S. citizenship in three years instead of five.
Second Example: A non-immigrant visa couple in the United States ended up in a domestic dispute. Once again cross temporary protective orders were filed against each other. The husband was on an F-1 visa, while the wife was on an F-2. The F-1 student ended up being removed from the Sevis system, which is monitored by the Department of Homeland Security-ICE. As a result of the protective order he was detained, and then placed in removal proceeding. On the other hand, the F-2 wife filed police charges against the husband and she became eligible for a U visa which confers U.S. Green Card status.
The above two examples have been simplified for clarity. The moral of the story, if you or your family member is a non-U.S. citizen and faced with a family or domestic matter of any magnitude, it is essential to consult with a U.S. Immigration attorney.
We consider these family matters an emergency, and have an emergency text line available at (703) 966.0907. We have offices in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia. You may call to set up a consultation with one of our attorneys by calling our office number(s) conveniently listed at www.vasselllaw.com.

ScottVassell & LeeCC Law Firm
Members of the American Immigration Lawyers’ Association (“AILA”)
www.vasselllaw.com

Pause Please! Have You Considered the J-1? When Work Visas are for a Mutually Beneficial Goal

On behalf of ScottVassell & LeeCC Law Firm posted September 30, 2016.

Pause..Wait! Attention Foreign national professionals and U.S. Employers. Before you give up on Foreign Visa work options, have you considered the J-1 visa?

Many employers and foreign professionals believe that an H-1B visa is the only visa available to temporarily hire foreign professionals to fill a niche or specialty position within a U.S. organization/company. However, where there is an ‘exchange’ and mutual benefit to a foreign national and the foreign national’s country a J-1 visa should be strongly considered as it confers the ability to work in the United States.

The H-1B visa has become very controversial with clients and employers spending thousands of dollars a year for a work visa in the United States which is capped strictly at 65,000 visas per fiscal period. Just this past year over 200,000 applications for H-1B category work visas were filed by hopeful employers and employees with over three quarters off all visas rejected due to the strict Cap being reached in the fiscal year. Despite the need to increase the ‘outdated’ Cap and hot discussions on Capitol Hill amongst advocates, Congress and the President of United States, nonetheless, for years the issue with H-1B visas has only slipped further underserving U.S. organizations and companies.

Based on the status quo, it is time for employers and foreign employees to reevaluate their motive and goals in foreign national hiring. The Department of State (“DOS”) administers a program called a J-1. There are eight kinds of DOS programs through which sponsors may bring exchange visitors to the United States. Those programs include but are not limited the following: business trainees, scholars, foreign medical graduates, teachers and professors.

If you are a U.S. Employer or Foreign National who seeks to explore if the goals of the J-1 visa can be matched to your organization goals, the J-1 may be a viable option.

Note: Our attorneys have worked successfully with Specialty Occupations, H-1B visas, Waivers for exchange visitor programs; clients in Washington D.C, Maryland, Virginia and internationally with U.S. Consulates around the world. H-3 training visas, H-2 seasonal visas are screened for clients as well. I-539 extension and change of status is not excluded. Work visas are available to Schools, for profit companies / businesses, non-profit organizations and new businesses… Various entities are eligible to apply for work visas not discussed herein.

You may contact our law firm for our standard one hour evaluation and consultation of your legal matter, or set up a free 20 minute general consultation with one of our attorneys.

ScottVassell & LeeCC Law Firm

www.vasselllaw.com | info@vasselllaw.com

Is the New & Old Job an Identical Match? – Tip(s) That Will Make or Break the PERM Labor Certification and I-140 Portability Process

On behalf of ScottVassell & LeeCC Law Firm posted on Friday, September 30, 2016.

This blog tip is being posted to assist U.S. Employers and foreign nationals avoid the harsh consequences of failing to understand the key principle discussed below. The Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) through AC21 allows for foreign national employees who have a PERM Labor Certification and/or I-140 filed on their behalf to change employers without losing their respective priority date with the Department of State (“DOS”). The visa bulletin, issued monthly by DOS, allows foreign national applicants who are being sponsored by a U.S. employer to know when they are eligible to become a U.S. Permanent Resident.

While porting over priority dates for purposes of AC21 is ideal to capture one’s priority date and eliminate additional wait time; it is very important to ensure the two job descriptions match according to specific Federal regulations. We have seen where hiring a U.S. Immigration attorney to complete the porting over of the PERM Labor Certification and I-140 can save a foreign national much heartache when they change jobs midstream in the work sponsorship process. Both jobs must be identical to ensure that the U.S. work based sponsorship can “run the full course” to U.S. Permanent Status being achieved. Triggering U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) to issue a NOID (Notice of Intent to Deny) as the result of filing the I-485 Adjustment of Status Application step can result in a denial of visa.

We provide legal guidance to H-1B visa holders, PERM, E-B1a, E-B1b, E-B1c, E-B2 and National Interest Waivers. We monitor the Federal Regulations, and receive daily updates from the American Immigration Lawyers’ Association (AILA). Laws are continually being updated on non-immigrant visas and permanent visas. Consular Processing through the Department of State and Waivers of inadmissibility are studied and aggressively used to assist clients. Representation by counsel at the National Visa Center (“NVC”) aids efficiency in processing of visas. I-601 A waiver(s) are the basis for many Waivers needed when encountered. Our law offices are based in Washington D.C, Rockville, Maryland and Fairfax, Virginia.

You may contact our law firm for our standard one hour evaluation and consultation of your legal matter, or set up a free 20 minute general consultation with one of our attorneys.

ScottVassell & LeeCC Law Firm

www.vasselllaw.com | info@vasselllaw.com

Members of the American Immigration Lawyers – AILA

Working Together to Reduce U.S. Crime – The U Visa & How it Works

 

This brief blog article is a quick reference to help explain the U visa. Often our clients overlook crimes which qualify for U visa consideration. Both mental and physical harm suffered by a victim of crime is serious, and grounds for U visa eligibility. The goal of the U visa is for victims of crime to assist or cooperate in the investigation or prosecution of crimes in the United States.

If you or someone you know has experienced any of the below crimes while residing in the United States it is important to contact qualified legal authorities through U.S. immigration legal counsel:

Abduction
Abusive Sexual Contact
Blackmail
Domestic Violence
Extortion
False Imprisonment
Female Genital Mutilation
Felonious Assault
Fraud in Foreign Labor Contracting

Hostage
Incest
Involuntary Servitude
Kidnapping
Manslaughter
Murder
Obstruction of Justice
Peonage
Perjury
Prostitution
Rape

Sexual Assault
Sexual Exploitation
Slave Trade
Stalking
Torture
Trafficking
Witness Tampering
Unlawful Criminal Restraint
Other Related Crimes*†
*Includes any similar activity where the elements of the crime are substantially similar.
†Also includes attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of the above and other related crimes.

 

Our attorneys are members of the American Immigration Lawyers’ Association (“AILA”), and have 20 years of experience in U.S. Immigration matters. We are standing by to answer questions on behalf of you and your family. We serve clients through the United States and abroad.

Our offices are located in Washington D.C, Virginia and Maryland. You may email info@vasselllaw.com or visit www.vasselllaw.com. (Phone and Video Consultations Available upon Request).

Emergency Travel Abroad for Non-Permanent Residents Who Entered Illegally Without Inspection

I entered the country without inspection, and I have an emergency back home – Is there any way I can travel?

The answer is, it depends. If you are currently in TPS status or have received DACA authorization, emergency travel is possible.

Frequently, emergency travel situations arise for our non-U.S. resident clients who have Temporary Protection Status (“TPS”) or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”). If you or your family member have an emergency back home, it is important to know that travel is indeed possible.

An experienced U.S. Immigration attorney can arrange for emergency travel at the local U.S. Citizenship & Immigration office (“USCIS”). USCIS requires that one’s biometrics be current. Attorneys who are members of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (“AILA”) in your area have the ability to make direct contact with USCIS Officers to speed the process along. A travel permit called ‘advanced parole’ is then issued and approved for travel.

Our attorneys are members of the American Immigration Lawyers’ Association (“AILA”) with 20 years of experience in U.S. Immigration matters. We are standing by to answer questions on behalf of you and your family. We serve clients throughout the United States and abroad.

Our offices are located in Washington D.C., Virginia and Maryland. You may email info@vasselllaw.com or go to www.vasselllaw.com. (Phone and Video Consultations Available upon Request if you or family member is overseas.)

Business and Employment Immigration Corner: Visitor Visas

cropped-immigration-law.jpg  In response to our clients concerns regarding whether a B-2 visitor visa is appropriate to travel for business or employment opportunities, we provide a brief explanation below.

The B-1/B-2 visa category is often confusing.  Foreign nationals falsely believe they automatically have been granted permission to conduct business and employment activities on a B-1/B-2. However, failing to disclose this specific purpose to the U.S. Consulate or U.S. Customs Border & Patrol may disqualify individuals from future immigration benefits.  Despite the category of B-1/B-2 visa being denoted on a visa, the B-1 visa is distinguished from the B-2. A B-1 visa is a business visitor visa which grants U.S. visitors the ability to conduct short term business activities such as setting up a business or seeking employment. In contrast, a B-2visa is limited to vacation and visiting family and friends.

The Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) and the Department of State (“DOS”) screens and questions intent before granting anyone a visa.  Therefore, it is important to use a B-2 visa for its intended purpose only and not for any business or employment purposes.

When a business owner is ready to work fulltime in the United

States, they may apply for a long term work visa such as the L-1 (Intra Company Transfer visa) or an E (Investor visa) without a challenge or denial by U.S. Immigration.

 Our attorneys are members of the American Immigration Lawyers’ Association (“AILA”), and have 20 years of experience in U.S. Immigration matters. We serve clients all of the United States and at U.S. Consulates around the world.  We are based in the Washington D.C. area, Fairfax, Virginia and Rockville Maryland. We are standing by to answer questions on behalf of your business and your family. We serve clients through the United States and abroad.

Our offices are located in Washington D.C, Virginia and Maryland. You may email info@vasselllaw.com or visit www.vasselllaw.com. (Phone and Video Consultations Available upon Request).

ScottVassell & LeeCC Law Firm

Well Deserved! Department of State & Department of Homeland Security Continue to Simplify Family Life for Armed Force Service Members Abroad

 

Our U.S. Armed Force, who serve abroad in active duty, have unique hardships surrounding their home and family life not faced by the general civil population. The good news is that the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”)-USCIS has been trending over the past few years towards simplifying and updating the Federal Regulation laws to eliminate unnecessary hardship for U.S. Military service members and their family.

The latest update now allows the Department of State (“DOS”) to adjudicate I-130 Immediate family petitions at the consulates abroad without a DHS presence. A show of hardship will no longer be required. Essentially, this means no more expensive and inconvenient plane flights back to the United States and delays in processing due to DHS and the National Visa Center (“NVC”) when Service Members are deployed abroad.

In order for Military Service Members to be eligible and qualify for “one step” processing abroad, the following criteria needs to be met:

-The family member’s case would need to be ‘clearly approvable’;

-The Immigrant Visa would need to be processed at designated U.S. Consulate;

– Only an Immediate Relative can benefit (i.e. child, spouse etc.)

-The Military Service Member would need to be deployed on a ‘qualified’ assignment.

If you are retired or active Army, Navy, Marine or Air Force you may contact our law office to schedule a 50% discounted consultation. Our attorneys are members of the American Immigration Lawyers’ Association (“AILA”) with 20 years of experience in U.S. Immigration matters. We are standing by to answer questions on behalf of you and your family. We serve clients throughout the United States and abroad.

Our offices are located in Washington D.C., Virginia and Maryland. You may email info@vasselllaw.com or go to www.vasselllaw.com. And thank you for your service! (Phone and Video Consultations Available upon Request if you or family member is overseas.)