Q&A’s published on the World Journal Weekly on January 17, 2021 1. My H-1 change of status got approved and I have a L-2 extension in progress. If my L-2 is denied will I maintain my H-1 status? 2. Applied for asylum after being in the U.S. over 1 years and used a fake social security number. 3. Can my husband file a petition for me if he did not file taxes for the last 4 years and he was gainfully employed? 4. Affidavit of Support (I-864 Form) 5. Steps for I-601A?

1. My H-1 change of status got approved and I have a L-2 extension in progress. If my L-2 is denied will I maintain my H-1 status?

My L2 expired on 8/25/2020 and I filed for L2 extension. Meanwhile my employer filed H-1B change of status which got approved on 10/15/2020 and now I have a valid I94. On 10/20/2020, I sent a letter to USCIS to withdraw my L2 petition. On 10/23, I received NOA to appear for biometrics for I-539 ( L2 extension approval). NOA says that if I do not appear for biometrics, my petition will be marked as abandoned. My question is, if I do not go to biometrics and my L2 is denied, will I keep my H1B status? – Does “Last Action Rule” apply in this case?

Mr. Lee answers:
The last action rule generally has to do with approvals and not denials. If you are already approved for a change of status on your H-1B, an L-2 denial should have no effect since you are already holding a valid legal status. 

2. Applied for asylum after being in the U.S. over 1 years and used a fake social security number.

If someone came here with a visa & stays & it’s been expired for over 5yrs. Later applies for asylum and gets approved. Is that legal? Even while using a fake social security number to work in the 5/6 years period.

Mr. Lee answers:
The awarding of political asylum depends upon whether an individual can prove past persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, political opinion, membership in a social group, or nationality. A person applying for asylum who has been here over one year would have to show changed circumstances. Use of the fake Social Security number is generally not a ground to deny an asylum application although it may be considered a discretionary factor. 

3. Can my husband file a petition for me if he did not file taxes for the last 4 years and he was gainfully employed?

My husband has not filed a tax return for the years 2016- 2019. Can he petition for me?

Mr. Lee answers:
If your husband was gainfully employed and did not file taxes for the last four years, he is in violation of the tax laws. Without a record of having worked, it would be difficult for your husband to file for you and for you to pass the public charge ground of inadmissibility. If he really wishes to do so, he should consult an accountant or tax lawyer who can advise as to whether he can file late tax returns and the penalties for doing such. 

4. Affidavit of Support (I-864 Form)

I am trying to apply green card for my fiancé and have difficulties to find the right adjusted gross income. Is the one in first line on W-2 form or 8b 1040 form. 

Mr. Lee answers:
Your guiding light on what figure to put down should be according to the instruction on the I-864 form itself that “For purposes of this affidavit, the line for Total Income on IRS Forms 1040 and 1040A will be considered when determining income. For persons filing IRS Form 1040 EZ, the line for adjusted gross income will be considered.”  

5. Steps for I-601A?

I entered the U.S without documentation when I was 2 years old. I recently married my husband and we’re trying to get my papers. What are the steps?

Mr. Lee answers:
I assume that your husband is either a US citizen or permanent resident. Unless you qualify under section 245(i) having had a labor certification application or immigrant visa petition filed on your behalf by 4/30/01 and having been present in the US on 12/21/00, you would not be allowed to adjust status and must ultimately consular process your paperwork. The first step is your husband filing form I-130 petition for alien relative for you, having it approved and forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC) of the Department of State, and then filing an I-601A application to waive the 10-year bar brought on by your unlawful stay. The standard for passage of an I-601A is proving extreme hardship to your husband (or a parent if your mother or father is a US citizen or permanent resident). Kindly note that this waiver application is only available to those who are inadmissible only because of being in the US in violation of law. Assuming that the waiver application is approved, you would complete the preliminary processing at the NVC, which would then set up an interview for you at the American consulate or embassy in your home country. Assuming that there are no other complications, you would likely return to the US with permanent residence within 30-60 days. 

Q&A’s published on the World Journal Weekly on December 20, 2020 1. What are the steps that I will have to do to become legalized under President-elect Biden’s promise to send a bill to Congress for 11 million undocumented immigrants? 2. I am from Hong Kong – do I belong to the China quota at this time? 3. On H-1B, married to a US citizen in another state, thinking of quitting job – will I be legal? 4. Sneaked into the US six months ago – what will happen if I get caught by Immigration?

1. What are the steps that I will have to do to become legalized under President-elect Biden’s promise to send a bill to Congress for 11 million undocumented immigrants?

I heard President-elect Biden say on TV last week that in his first 100 days, he would send a bill to Congress to put 11 million people like me who are undocumented on the path to citizenship. If he does that, can you tell me when this will start? How soon can I put in an application? Does Immigration already have the forms available?

Mr. Lee answers,
President-elect Biden’s promise to send legislation within the first 100 days in office to Congress for undocumented immigrants does not mean that the legislation will pass. Both houses of Congress must agree on the legislation before it goes up to the president for signature. The Democrats will have both the House of Representatives and the Presidency but may not have the Senate. Such will depend upon what happens in the state of Georgia on January 5, 2021, when two Senate seats will be decided. Democrats need both Senate seats to take control of the Senate. I note, however, that legalization of 11 million undocumented immigrants will be a very hard lift even if the Democrats take the Senate by 50-50 with Kamala Harris being the tie-breaking vote. When George W. Bush was president, he had the backing of many Democrats when he tried to pass a legalization program, but fell short because of opposition within his own party. On your specific questions, there is no timetable at this time; neither are there forms as those would have to be designed after the passage of legislation.

2. I am from Hong Kong – do I belong to the China quota at this time?

My company just filed a labor certification application for me for my green card and I want to know how long it will take for me to immigrate since I am born in Hong Kong. I heard that there was a presidential proclamation that made Hong Kong part of China and that would put me under the China quota which is backed up to 2017 while the Hong Kong quota is open and current with the rest of the world.

Mr. Lee answers,
The presidential executive order has not been placed into effect by the Department of State at this time. At a recent November webinar for EB-5 investors, Charlie Oppenheim, Chief of the Visa Control & Reporting Division at DOS, said that Hong Kong is still treated as a separate foreign state for immigrant visa chargeability going forward. Such reiterates the doubt that the Department of State had in July that the executive order was legal. On an American Immigration Lawyers Association check-in with Charlie Oppenheim on 7/24/20, he said that David Newman, the Director of Legal Affairs in the Visa Office, indicated that the Visa Office was still reviewing the matter of whether Hong Kong born individuals could be chargeable to mainland China – that §103 of IMMACT 90 granted separate chargeability treatment to Hong Kong born individuals and that the proclamation does not alter this. Assuming that everything goes well in your case with the Department of Labor and USCIS, you can expect to receive your permanent residence within two years.

3. On H-1B, married to a US citizen in another state, thinking of quitting job – will I be legal?

My job is in New York and I just got married to my husband in Texas. I am on H-1B working remotely in Texas, but my employer now wants employees to go back in, and I am thinking to quit my job. If I do it, will I be legal or illegal? Or should I go back to New York, and we will have a marriage in which he comes to visit me and I go to visit him until I get the green card? We just filed the I-130 and I-485 applications with Immigration for my green card.

Mr. Lee answers,
Having already filed for an adjustment of status based upon your husband’s petition, you are considered in a state of grace with USCIS under which you can remain in the US. With a marriage case, you are much better off being together with your husband as you will both need to prove the bona fides of the marriage at your immigration interview and that is easier to prove when you are both living together. Assuming that you resign your job, you can work under open-market employment once you apply for and obtain the employment authorization document (EAD) (if you have not already done so). The caveat to doing it this way is that, if your adjustment of status application is denied, you would be considered illegal since you would no longer be holding a valid nonimmigrant status.

4. Sneaked into the US six months ago – what will happen if I get caught by Immigration?

I came to the US six months ago using someone else’s passport and gave it back to the smugglers afterwards. Can you tell me what will happen to me if I am picked up by Immigration now?

Mr. Lee answers,
The Trump administration announced that it would be using expedited removal proceedings against those who could not prove that they were legal or in the country for at least two years wherever they were located in the United States. It began using its powers to do such in October 2020. Persons who are caught and subject to expedited removal generally have no right to a hearing before an immigration court. However, they are still entitled to request political asylum and will be given a credible fear interview and afterwards can pursue the claim before the immigration judge. If the credible fear interview is negatively decided by a DHS officer, the applicant will have less rights before the immigration court. Expedited removal has been on the books for a long time, but was applied previously only if the person was found within 100 miles of any border of the United States. Expansion to any location in the United States is new and may be one of the items that President-elect Joe Biden invalidates when he becomes president. In addition, it should be noted that the question of expedited removal is back before the DC District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson for her to rule on its merits. She had previously issued a stay against the rule, but the stay had been blocked by the Court of Appeals.

 

Q&A’s published on Lawyers.com and the Epoch Times on December 18, 2020 1. Can I use my green card & go out of the country if it has a small spelling error on my last name? 2. I have a problem with my student visa I had to get a new F1 visa and it’s been more than 2 months embassy still hasn’t replied. 3. Can I marry a U.S. citizen using my 30 days grace period?

1. Can I use my green card & go out of the country if it has a small spelling error on my last name?

I got my green card about a week ago and I just noticed a small mistake, on my last name it’s supposed to be Espinoza but it says Espinosa on the card could this cause issues with me using it or leaving the United States?

Mr. Lee answers,
The difficulty is that, if you use the green card with the wrong spelling, the wrong spelling may migrate over into other identification papers or cause you problems with agencies other than DHS. On using the incorrect card to travel in and out of the US, you may be referred to secondary inspection upon your return while Customs and Border Protection attempts to determine that you are who you say you are. Ultimately you would be admitted, but CBP would probably advise you to file an I-90 application to replace the incorrect green card. You should perhaps do that affirmatively at this time. 

2. I have a problem with my student visa I had to get a new F1 visa and it’s been more than 2 months embassy still hasn’t replied.

I had to get a new F1 visa and embassy still hasn’t replied. They said to check my case status on CEAC and they said its going through administrative processing and it’s been more than 2 months and I missed my semester in college.

Mr. Lee answers,
Unfortunately, this is the risk that F-1 students face when they either want to or have to go overseas to obtain a new visa to reenter the US. In these days of emphasis on security threats, many applications are being held up in administrative processing. Although it may or may not help, you can ask your school to contact the American embassy or approach a congressman or senator’s office, explain the situation of hardship, and attempt to have their offices contact the embassy. 

3. Can I marry a U.S. citizen using my 30 days grace period?

I’m a J1 intern and not subject to 2-year residence. I’m currently using my 30 days grace period. I’m 4 months pregnant to my American boyfriend and about to marry next week. Am I eligible to marry him even if my i94 has already expired?

Mr. Lee answers:
Someone who marries a US citizen is considered an immediate relative under US immigration law, and such individuals are allowed to adjust status even if they have overstayed their visas. In your case, the 30 day grace period is recognized as a period of legal stay. But even if you exceeded it before filing for adjustment of status, you would still be eligible for permanent residence. 

Q&A’s published on Lawyers.com and the Epoch Times on December 4, 2020 1. Naturalization: having home business (sole proprietorship). Form N-400 asks: are you employed? NO, YES. What is the right answer? 2. Under what circumstances should a US Green Card holder consider travel to Cuba? 3. If I get married during 90 day visa, does spouse have to go back to her home country and wait for immigration to make a decision or can she stay here?

1. Naturalization: having home business (sole proprietorship). Form N-400 asks: are you employed? NO, YES. What is the right answer?

My wife and I are currently living in USA, WA State on Green Cards. 5 years are passed and we are applying for citizenship. My wife has a home business (sole proprietorship). In the form N-400 there is a vague question: are you employed? NO, YES, name of employer. What is the correct answer in her case? NO or YES, with the name of her company?

Mr. Lee Answers:
In the eyes of Immigration, you are employed even if you are just self-employed, and your wife should mark  the application “yes”, and just say self-employed, or put down the name of the company at  your home address. 

2. Under what circumstances should a US Green Card holder consider travel to Cuba?

I’m looking to travel to Cuba along with some friends / colleagues who are giving a research presentation, but I am NOT giving any presentations, nor have I been officially invited to the conference. Per the U.S. Embassy in Cuba’s official website, there are 12 approved (non-illegal) categories for travel to Cuba. I’d be looking to travel under the “Professional research and professional meetings” or “Supporting Cuban people” category. However I’m concerned that even though I may meet the legal requirements, there is always a risk of being scrutinized during my Naturalization process. My questions are (1) how significant is the risk of me traveling and (2) are there anything I can do to help minimize jeopardizing my Naturalization process?

Mr. Lee Answers,
If you meet the legal qualification under one of the 12 categories, you can travel to Cuba, but the trip may certainly be scrutinized as part of a naturalization application. You should keep records of your trip to Cuba relating to what you did when you were in the country in case you are questioned. 

3. If I get married during 90 day visa, does spouse have to go back to her home country and wait for immigration to make a decision or can she stay here?

If she comes here on k-1, we get married, can she stay in United States until immigration makes a decision?

Mr. Lee Answers,
If your fiancée comes to the US on a K-1 visa and you marry within the 90 day period of time that you are supposed to, she can file for adjustment of status to permanent residence without leaving the US and wait for U.S.C.I.S. to make its determination while here. The application is for residence status, whether conditional or permanent, not citizenship.

Q&A’s published on the World Journal Weekly on November 22, 2020 1. Why are our H-1B employees from China and India and their lawyers asking for so much paperwork during the past few weeks? 2. Received LCA in September, but H-1B petition not filed yet – am I in big danger because of new H-1B regulation? 3. My H-1B petition is pending – I am worried about the new regulation that would raise my wage by a lot and what the company will think about it. 4. My final asylum hearing date in the immigration court is coming up – can I postpone it?

1. Why are our H-1B employees from China and India and their lawyers asking for so much paperwork during the past few weeks?

I work in human resources in a medium-sized company that sponsors a number of H-1B petitions, many of them for Indians and Chinese. During the past few weeks, our department has been swamped by requests from our employees and their lawyers for documentation and paperwork so that they can file for their immigration papers. Can anyone tell me what is going on – I don’t get a lot of information from the higher ups.

Mr. Lee answers,
There is a confluence of factors both political and funding related which has moved the filing date for many old cases involving employment-based immigration tremendously forward by the Department of State, and the filing dates have been accepted by USCIS for the month of October. Many Indians and Mainland Chinese started their labor certification cases or other employment-based cases years ago, but have been stuck in a long backlog and unable to move to the adjustment of status step in their immigration because their turn has not yet come up. In the month of October, major changes that the “dates of filing” chart for China born EB-3 cases (those requiring at least a baccalaureate degree or two years of experience) moved up 11 months and the Indian EB-3 category almost 5 years. These are unheard of jumps. USCIS has the authority to accept the “dates of filing” chart, or reject it and only accept the dates from an alternate chart, the “final action dates” chart. For this month, USCIS chose to take the unusual step of accepting the “dates of filing” chart. That means natives of India who filed employment- based cases before January 1, 2015, and China-born who filed before June 1, 2018, can now advance their cases by filing adjustment of status cases by the end of the month. The October situation is quite extraordinary, and those who are benefited by it realize that it is a rare opportunity and are trying to push in their papers as soon as possible. The filing of an adjustment of status benefits them greatly and expands their ability to work, travel, and even at a later stage change employment during the time that they must wait to finalize their cases. It does not, however, accelerate their date for actually finalizing their green cards.

2. Received LCA in September, but H-1B petition not filed yet – am I in big danger because of new H-1B regulation?

Because of various problems between the company and the lawyer, my H-1B petition has not yet been filed although the labor condition application part was finished in September. Now I hear that Immigration just came up with a new rule that will make it much tougher for me to get the H-1B petition approved. My job is business analyst and I have a bachelors degree in economics.

Mr. Lee answers,
You do have one of the occupations that has become more tenuous under the October 8, 2020, DHS rule, ”Strengthening the H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa Classification Program,” which is changing the standard for the degree qualification from what is normal or usual or common to a directly related degree in a specific specialty or its equivalent. The position of a business analyst is usually regarded as one that can be fulfilled by study in a number of fields. Nevertheless, your case should not be affected by the new regulation which will only apply to petitions filed on or after its implementation date of December 7, 2020 – that includes amended petitions, petition extensions, pending petitions, and previously approved petitions, either through reopening or through a notice of intent to revoke. I assume that your company’s lawyer will be able to file your H-1B petition before December 7.

3. My H-1B petition is pending – I am worried about the new regulation that would raise my wage by a lot and what the company will think about it.

My company filed for my H-1B petition in August 2020 since I was selected for the H-1B lottery. We have not heard anything from Immigration except that the company lawyer got the receipt for the filing. I read that there is a new rule by the Department of Labor that raises the wage that I am supposed to be getting by a lot if my case is approved. I have not talked this over with my boss because I’m afraid that he will cancel my case. What am I supposed to do?

Mr. Lee answers,
The Department of Labor came out with a new rule, “Strengthening Wage Protections for the Temporary and Permanent Employment of Certain Aliens in the United States”, which took effect on October 8, 2020, and raises the wages in all cases that use the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) wage survey to obtain the Labor Condition Application (LCA) from DOL. The hike in wages is tremendous, for example moving the level I wage from what the 17th percentile is making to what the 45th percentile is earning. However, please note that this will have no effect on your case as it only applies to cases in which applications for LCA’s were filed on October 8, 2020, or later. Your case will be governed by the old rules.

4. My final asylum hearing date in the immigration court is coming up – can I postpone it?

I came to the US by sneaking across the border in 2017, applied for political asylum, was refused at the asylum office in Lyndhurst, New Jersey, and my case is now with the Immigration Ct. in New York. After two or three hearings, my final hearing is scheduled for November 2, 2020.

Can I get an extension by moving to another state and having my case transferred there? I do not want to have the hearing now for a number of reasons.

Mr. Lee answers,
You actually do not have to do anything at this time to have an extension for your hearing. Because of the Pandemic, unless you are detained (which does not appear to be the case with you), the New York immigration court is not hearing any cases through November 20, 2020. You should be automatically rescheduled to a date in the future.

Q&A’s published on Lawyers.com and the Epoch Times on November 20, 2020 1. I-130 Denied Notice Was Never Received. Will I Get Same Priority Date If I File New I-130? 2. I got married recently with to an U.S. citizen but she refused to fill the form-130 and left while I was about to file for my paperwork. what can I do? 3. Can a traffic violation in which I was fined and I paid the fine. affect my naturalization application. 4. Currently a DACA Applicant (have been for 8 years) married to a US Citizen, am I allowed to broad a cruise ship to the Bahamas?

1. I-130 Denied Notice Was Never Received. Will I Get Same Priority Date If I File New I-130  ?

As US citizen, I applied for my sister in 2007. Case status still says pending on USCIS website however when I called recently, I was told that the case was denied back in 2009 and a notice was sent. I never received the notice and officer suggested to file another I-130. My question is, if I apply for the same beneficiary under same category, will the original priority date be recaptured considering that my sister now has 2 sons. I am devastated to find out after so many years and I could swear that I had called USCIS many times for the same case in the past and each time I got a response that the case was still pending. What are my options?  What can I do to avoid the long delay? it has been 12+ years now and I don’t want to lose anymore time. Besides that my nephews will outgrow the new priority date (if new one given) at the time a visa is issued.

Mr. Lee answers:
A denied I-130 petition does not allow for retention of priority date with a later filing. If you can prove that U.S.C.I.S. sent the notice to an incorrect address or made some other error, you may be able to reopen the I-130 determination. You would have to further communicate with U.S.C.I.S. the way the you are doing it now to gain more information, or arrange for an infopass at a local field office (if that is allowed) or request a copy of the file through the Freedom of Information Act. 

2. I got married recently with to an U.S. citizen but she refused to fill the form-130 and left while I was about to file for my paperwork. what can I do?

Mr. Lee answers:
If your US citizen wife refuses to sponsor you for the green card, that is within her rights. You have no recourse with U.S.C.I.S. to force your wife to sponsor you. It may well be that she suspects that you married her just so that she could sponsor you for permanent residence. I note that some US citizens use the power that they have over the alien at this time like a baseball bat, which does not make for a good marriage. Marriage should be based upon trust. I suggest that you attempt to alleviate her concerns and otherwise discuss with her the reasons for her reluctance to sponsor you. If you do so and she is convinced of your love, she may then consent to sponsor you. 

3. Can a traffic violation in which I was fined and I paid the fine. affect my naturalization application.

I was speeding.  I drove 62 MPH on a 45 MPH limit. I paid my ticket on time and it was dismissed.

Mr. Lee answers:
A traffic speeding violation for which the fine was paid would not have any effect upon a naturalization application.  There is no act of bad moral character here.  

4. Currently a DACA Applicant (have been for 8 years) married to a US Citizen, am I allowed to broad a cruise ship to the Bahamas?

I have a “work authorization card”, “Real ID”, and Mexican Passport (Marriage License if needed) and would like to know if it is safe to take a cruise ship to the Bahamas for pleasure.

Mr. Lee answers:
As the Bahamas are not part of the United States, and DACA status does not allow travel, it would not in my opinion be safe for you to take a trip there on a cruise ship.

Q&A’s published on Lawyers.com and the Epoch Times on November 6, 2020 1. What Can Happen During My Change of Status to B2 Period? 2. Consular Processing Parent of U.S. Citizen 3. Can I Renew My Green Card on a 5 Years Deferred Probation?

1. What Can Happen During My Change of Status to B2 Period?

I have a J1 visa. It expires on December 04, 2020 but I’ve just applied to changing of status to B2 and asked to start it November 1, 2020. I live with a host family but I don’t know what to expect from them when I tell that I have to leave before December. I want to tell them now so they have time to find someone before I leave. The question is if I have to leave before November 1st – in case the family asks me to leave. if it happens, will it can cancel my J-1 visa when I leave? Can be that a problem?

Mr. Lee answers:
I assume your J-1 is not subject to a two-year home-country physical presence requirement, otherwise you cannot change your status in the United States. The date that you put down on the I-539 application to extend/change status is only a request. The important part is that you have already put in the paperwork to change status to B-2. Even if the family asks you to leave prior to November 1, that should have no effect upon your pending application to change status. The timing of when to cancel or terminate your J-1 participation in a program is not determined by your host family, but by the program sponsor. An applicant who has filed a timely request to change status is allowed to remain in the U. S. during the time that the application is being considered. (I do note that if the time up to which you request expires in the future and you do not yet have an adjudication, you should either leave the U. S. or file another I-539 application if you intend to stay).

2. Consular Processing Parent of U.S. Citizen

My parent’s I-130 is approved. How do I know if NVC is processing my parent’s immigrant visa?

 Mr. Lee answers:
When the I-130 is approved, it is standard procedure for U.S.C.I.S. to forward the approved petition to the National Visa Center. Upon receipt, the NVC sends a notice to the petitioner that it has received the petition and assigns it a case number. From that point forward, the petitioner or the applicant of further work to be done are to pay the visa fee and submit documents. If the I-130 petition has been approved and you have heard nothing from the NVC, you can contact the NVC by telephone at 603-334-0700 or by email at AskNVC@state.gov

3. Can I Renew My Green Card on a 5 Years Deferred Probation?

I had a felony case in 2015 (aggravated assault with deadly weapon). I took a plea bargain and got deferred probation for 5 years. My green card expires in 2 months, but I’ve been told that I will get denied and deported. Should I apply now or wait till my probation is over in a year and half?

Mr. Lee answers:
The question of probation is likely not determinative as the green card renewal process is not regarded as an application for the green card by a nonresident alien. The question is whether the plea bargain that you took would make you removable from the United States, and whether there are any reliefs that you could seek if the government decided to begin proceedings against you. You may wish to make an appointment with an immigration lawyer who is versed in the effects of criminal offenses on immigration status before applying for a renewal of the green card. 

Q&A’s published on Lawyers.com and the Epoch Times on October 16, 2020 1. Can I do Something on My Deportation? 2. I File I-130s For My Children and They Are Minors.  How Long Will the Process Take? 3. My Fiancé Was Granted Voluntary Departure.  When Can He Re-enter the United States?

1. Can I do Something on My Deportation?

I am from India and I got deported because I worked the last time I was in the USA and I was not supposed to since I was on B1/B2 visa.

Mr. Lee Answers:
Unfortunately, there are not enough facts in your question for a lawyer to give a reasoned opinion. It appears that you are under a 10-year bar from the deportation unless you were stopped and removed from the port of entry, in which case the bar would be 5 years. Other than that, there is nothing in your question to indicate what possible grounds of relief you may have. I suggest that you make an appointment with an immigration lawyer familiar with deportation work so that he or she can go over all your circumstances and make recommendations. 

2. I File I-130s For My Children and They Are Minors.  How Long Will the Process Take?

I am a permanent resident. I file for my son and daughter from my country and they are 14 and 12 years old. How long will the process take for an approval?

Mr. Lee Answers,
The question is – where are the kids? If they are here and legally residing in the States under some type of nonimmigrant status, you may be able to adjust them immediately to permanent residence since the visa chart for July 2019 shows open visa availability for the F-2A category (LPR filing for spouse or unmarried child under the age of 21). If your children are not in the U. S., you will have to wait until U.S.C.I.S. approves the I-130 petition for alien relative, the petitions must then go through consular processing, and the kids can only be interviewed after that if the priority date (date of filing I-130 petition) is current. A rough guess for the time process would be approximately 2 years if that was the case. 

3. My Fiancé Was Granted Voluntary Departure.  When Can He Re-enter the United States?

My fiancé was granted Voluntary Departure about a month ago. He is now in Mexico. He was put into removal proceedings after they realized he had overstayed his Tourist Visa.

Mr. Lee Answers,
As your fiancé left the U. S. on voluntary departure, he is not barred from returning to the U. S. That being said, he needs at the very least another visa to return to the U. S. (if he did not overstay by 180 days) since his overstay automatically invalidated his tourist visa. He would have to explain his circumstances to the American consulate or embassy officer, and it would be up to him or her as to whether to give another tourist visa. A major question at such interviews is whether the applicant has nonimmigrant intent, and the fact that he is engaged to someone in the U. S. is an unfavorable factor in the adjudication. If he overstayed by 180 days, he is barred from returning for 3 years, and if the overstay was a year or more, the bar would be 10 years.  He could request a nonimmigrant waiver of the bar(s) after refusal at the consulate or embassy, and it would be up to the consular officer whether to recommend him for a waiver to USCIS.  If you are a U. S. citizen, you can file a K-1 fiancée visa petition on his behalf and he would be interviewed in his home country in approximately 9 months. If you are a lawful permanent resident, you can marry him and file an I-130 Petition for alien relative for him to immigrate. Such process would take approximately 2 years if all goes well. Finally if he overstayed for long enough to incur the bar(s), those timelines do not apply and he would need a waiver of inadmissibility based on extreme hardship to a US citizen or LPR spouse or parent if he wanted to immgrate prior the 3 or 10 years.  

Q&A’s published on Lawyers.com and the Epoch Times on September 18, 2020 1. Overstay. 2. Mother Applies Married Daughter. 3. My Overseas Girlfriend is Pregnant but I have No Insurance.

1. Overstay

I was on L-1 visa and my last working day was on May 2, 2015. I stayed until 31 may as I was doing exams and selling my furniture and car etc. I-94 expiry was July 2016. Did I accrue unlawful presence from 3 may to 31 may? Do I need to report it if I am applying for immigration visa?

Mr. Lee answers:
The period of time that you are talking about is only 28-29 days according to your fact situation. Since the I-94 expiration date was July 2016, over a year later, you did not accrue unlawful presence. Even if you had, it would take 180 days of unlawful presence to bar you from the United States for three years. When applying for an immigrant visa, you can put down that you were unlawfully present for the 28 or 29 days, and it would make no difference in a consular interview for an immigrant visa. If you were adjusting status in the US, it might make a difference, but that would depend upon the category under which you were seeking immigration.

2. Mother Applies Married Daughter

My mother is a resident. She petitioned 2 of her daughters back in 2004. One of her daughters is now married. If mother was to become a citizen would that help the married daughter?

Mr. Lee answers:
If your mother becomes a citizen at this time, she can petition for her married daughter again under the F-3 category for married sons and daughters of US citizens. However, this would be a new petition with a new priority date, and the F-3 category is backed up about 13 years. If there is another way for the daughter to immigrate, perhaps she should choose that instead. If not, the mother should file the petition as soon as possible

3. My Overseas Girlfriend is Pregnant but I have No Insurance.

My girlfriend and I have been dating 8 mo. 50% her time in U.S. & China on her Biz visa. She’s pregnant. My baby. What visa now? How to we marry for the baby?

I have a job but no insurance. Should I have her come out to the U.S. on a tourist visa right away? Can she stay with me in the U.S. somehow so we can have the baby here? Should we get married right after the baby is born since we have no insurance and she is not a citizen? Would it be better for her and the baby if we get married in the U.S. right away? But then how do we manage the pre-natal, and delivery of a baby $$$$ costs without insurance?

Mr. Lee answers:
You appear to be very concerned about the money that will be involved with the baby being born in the US without insurance. That being the case, and unless you are dead set on having the baby born here, perhaps it is better that the baby be born in China. I assume that you can marry at any time, perhaps even now, and then begin the I-130 petition process with the idea of a final interview at the American consulate in Guangzhou.  Such would probably take about a year. That would likely give enough time for your wife to give birth and recover so that she would be able to gather the documentation and appear for an immigrant visa interview overseas. The timing should also give you time to prepare for a life with your wife and the child.

Q&A’s published on Lawyers.com and the Epoch Times on September 4, 2020 1. How Can I Expedite Process to Obtain Green Card as a Spouse of U.S. Citizen? 2. Can I Change B-1 Visa into H-1B or Permanent Residency in USA? 3. If I Have a Green Card for 2 Years, Can I Divorce Before This Times Expire Without Losing it?

1. How Can I Expedite Process to Obtain Green Card as a Spouse of U.S. Citizen?

My husband is a US citizen, I am Swiss, married in 1995. I have applied in Phoenix I am told it takes 20 months! We have recently moved to Scottsdale as a permanent residence. Currently I have a B-2 visa. I need to have a social security number asap for a number of formalities here and in Switzerland and I understand I cannot get it without a resident status.

Mr. Lee answers:
The processing times of U.S.C.I.S. are an approximation, and many cases are called to interview before the end of the stated processing periods. That being said, even if the true processing time in your case is 20 months, U.S.C.I.S. would not expedite your case unless it was emergent. Obtaining a Social Security number can be done without having an approved case. If you file for employment authorization on form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization at the same time that you file the I-485 Adjustment of Status Application To Permanent Residence, the agency will normally process a work authorization within 3-6 months. With a work authorization card, you can apply for and obtain a Social Security card within a month. 

2. Can I Change B-1 Visa into H-1B or Permanent Residency in USA?

I travel to USA every two years because my brother family is in New York so my whole family is on B-1 Visa. Actually, I applied 2 times for H-1B visa but unfortunately my name was not been selected due to random selection process. Last time for H-1B I applied on 2016. My brother has own company is New York and few other companies from family. They want to hire as IT Professional in their office but due to random selection process in H-1B I am unsuccessful. Is there any way to get employed over there on my brother’s company without going to random selection process OR if I am been in USA , can I change my status from B-1 to H-1B directly.

Mr. Lee answers:
Unknown factors in your question make it difficult to give good advice. Where were you born? What is the nature of your brother’s company? What is the setup of his company? Is it profitable? What other options might you have? I suggest that you make an appointment with an immigration lawyer who can go over all of your circumstances. Insofar as your question of whether you can change status from B-1 to H-1B directly, you would likely not be able to do so with your brother’s company because of timing issues, but might be able to do it with a cap exempt organization such as an institution of higher education, an organization affiliated with an institution of higher education, a government research Institute, or a nonprofit research institute. Companies like your brother’s are subject to the annual cap on H-1B visas, and can only file H-1B visa petitions during the first five business days of each April. 

3. If I Have a Green Card for 2 Years, Can I Divorce Before This Times Expire Without Losing it?

I applied for a green card but my situation with my wife is not good anymore. I am thinking about getting divorce but don’t know if I will lose all my process and my green card.

Mr. Lee answers:
I assume that you are a conditional resident through your wife and then you will have to file an I-751 application to remove the conditional basis on resident status within the 90 day period before the second anniversary of the conditional resident grant. If you are divorced or have a legal separation, you are prohibited from filing a joint petition with your wife to remove the conditional basis. However, with a divorce, you can file a petition by yourself on the basis that the marriage was bona fide at the beginning and attach all evidence showing such in the I-751 petition. You can also remove the condition by showing that you are a battered spouse or that you would suffer extreme hardship if you return to the home country, such hardship having occurred during the period of conditional residence.