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U.S. IMMIGRATION SERVICES

1.
Nonimmigrant Visas
B visa for visitors
E visa for traders/investors
F visa for students
J visas for Exchange Program Participants
K visas for FiancÚs
L visas for Transferee Employees
H visas for Professional Employees
TN visas for Canadians and Mexicans
2.
Immigrant Visas ("Green Cards")
Employment-Based Green Cards
Labor Certification
Family-Based Green Cards
3.
Appeals
4.
U.S. Consulate Services


Nonimmigrant Visas


Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for temporary stay or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. Non-immigrant visas, unlike immigrant visas, allow a person to enter the U.S. for a temporary period of time and are restricted to the activity consistent with the visa.


B visa for visitors


The visitor visa is a nonimmigrant visa for persons desiring to enter the United States temporarily for business (B-1) or for pleasure or medical treatment (B-2).

A B-1 visa is available to foreigners visiting the United States to conduct business.
A B-2 visa is available for foreign persons visiting the United States for pleasure.
Citizens of certain countries are exempt for 90 days under the Visa Waiver Program.


E visa for traders/investors


E visas are issued pursuant to bilateral treaties of friendship, commerce, and navigation between the United States and various other countries.

The E-1 classification is authorized for a national of a country with which the United States has a commercial treaty, who is coming to the U.S. solely to engage in trade of a substantial nature principally between the U.S. and the applicant's country of nationality.

The E-2 classification is authorized for a national of a country with which the United States has a commercial treaty, who is coming to the United States solely to direct and develop the operations of an enterprise in which he or she has invested, or is actively involved in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital.


F visa for students


The Immigration and Nationality Act provides two nonimmigrant visa categories for persons wishing to study in the United States. The "F" visa is reserved for nonimmigrants wishing to pursue academic studies and/or language training programs, and the "M" visa is reserved for nonimmigrants wishing to pursue nonacademic or vocational studies.


J visas for Exchange Program Participants


A J-1 visa is issued to applicants who have been accepted to participate in exchange visitor programs designated by the United States Information Agency("USIA"). This may include students, scholars, trainees, teachers, professors, specialists, foreign medical graduates, international visitors, government visitors, camp counselors, au pairs, and participants in summer travel/work programs.


K visas for FiancÚs


FiancÚs wishing to visit or live with their respective partners will need a K-1 visa that enables them to receive the proper authorization to remain in the United States based on their social status. K-1 visas are usually straightforward and simple to obtain provided there is proof of the relationship.


L visas for Transferee Employees


Global multinational corporations are constantly transferring their staff from abroad to their U.S. workplaces. The L category allows the transfer of key employees to the U.S. from affiliated companies abroad for temporary periods. To qualify, the applicant must be working in a capacity as a manager, executive (L-1A) or in a position that requires specialized knowledge (L-1B).


H visas for Professional Employees


The H-1B visa is for workers in specialty occupations. Examples of specialty occupations are professional positions in the fields of Architecture, Computers, Engineering, Mathematics, Physical sciences, Medicine, Education, Business, Accounting, Law, and the Arts.

Generally, the H-1B visa is available for those workers who have a bachelor's degree in a technical field who will be working in a technical position that requires an undergraduate degree. Individuals who do not have an undergraduate degree may utilize their experience (at least 12 years experience in the specialty field) to compensate for any years unfinished in their undergraduate education.


TN visas for Canadians and Mexicans


The TN visas are also temporary work visas. The TN status is for Canadians and Mexican persons engaged in activities at a professional level. This category is similar to the H-1B except there is no statutory limitation on stay such as exists for Hs and Ls, and it generally covers a broader range of occupations. The applicant must fit within a specific group of professional occupations listed in NAFTA (e.g. lawyers, biologists, accountants, interior designers). In almost all cases, a degree or license is required.


Immigrant Visas ("Green Cards")


Immigrant visas (or "Green Cards") enable a person to live and work in the United States indefinitely. A person may obtain a green card by being sponsored by their employers or their relatives.


Employment-Based Green Cards


The U.S. Congress has designated certain groups to which it gives preference for immigrating to the United States based on employment. These groups of individuals are divided into five categories in order of preference.

The first employment-based preference, usually requiring an offer of employment in the United States, includes: managers and executives subject to international transfer to the United States; outstanding professors and researchers with universities or private employers that have established research departments; persons of "extraordinary ability" in the sciences, arts, education, business, and athletics.

The second employment-based preference includes: persons of "exceptional ability" in the sciences, arts; business advanced-degree professionals; or national interest waivers. Normally, for second employment-based categories, a labor certification and a job offer is required; however, these requirements are waived if applying for the national interest category. National interest waivers have become an important feature of second preference cases.

The third employment-based preference includes: professionals with bachelor's degrees not qualifying in the second preference; skilled workers (filling positions requiring at least two years of training and experience); and unskilled workers. Both labor certification and an offer of employment are required. Only 10,000 visas of the annual allotment may be assigned to unskilled workers, effectively creating a separate subpreference.

The fourth employment-based preference includes certain special immigrants, including religious workers.

The fifth employment-based preference includes investment-based green cards for individuals seeking to enter the U.S. to engage in a new commercial enterprise. The individual must prove that he/she has invested or is actively in the process of investing at least $1,000,000, or $500,000 in a targeted employment area (a rural area or an area with high unemployment), in a business which will benefit the U.S. economy and create full-time employment for no less than ten U.S. citizen or immigrant workers.


Persons of "Extraordinary Ability"


Please contact us for a detailed review of your case.


Persons with Advanced Degrees or "Exceptional Ability"


Please contact us for a detailed review of your case.


National Interest Waivers


Normally, if an applicant qualifies for the second employment-based category (holding an Advanced Degree and Persons with Exceptional Ability in the Arts, Sciences and Business), the labor certification is required. However, a limited exception exists if the employment is in the "national interest" of the United States.

Please contact us for a detailed review of your case.


Investment-Based Green Cards


Please contact us for a detailed review of your case.


Labor Certification


An employer must file a labor certification as a prerequisite for obtaining a green card for an employee whose eligibility is based on a job offer. Labor Certifications are specific to the employer, job opportunity, and geographic location stated on the original application.

The certifying officer may reduce partially or completely the employer's recruitment efforts through the State employment service by decreasing the number of days that the job advertisement must run. The requirement for posting the job opportunity may also be reduced partially or completely. This provision, Reduction in Recruitment, may be exercised when it is clear to the certifying officer that the labor market has been adequately tested.


Family-Based Green Cards


Another major avenue by which individuals can obtain a green card is through a family member. Certain family member relationships are more advantageous than others in obtaining a green card. An applicant may have more than one green card option available due to multiple familial relationships. Thus, it is important to evaluate all the possible routes to determine the most time-efficient one.


Spouses


A person who marries a U.S. citizen can obtain a green card. If the marriage was entered into within 2 years, the person will receive "conditional permanent residence". This means that the permanent resident status can be terminated if, within two years after the permanent resident status is granted, the marriage is annulled, ends in divorce, or was completely fraudulent. On the other hand, if the marriage is not doing well so that the couple is not together, so long as they are not legally separated, the marriage is still considered "valid" for green card purposes.


Parents


Permanent residency can also be obtained for parents of U.S. citizens. There is a two-step process for a parent to become a legal immigrant. First, the USCIS must approve an immigrant visa petition. Second, if the parent is outside the United States, he/she will be notified to go to the local U.S. consulate to complete the processing for an immigrant visa. If inside the U.S., he or she may apply to adjust his or her status to that of a lawful permanent resident.


Siblings


Permanent residency can also be obtained for siblings of U.S. citizens. There is a three-step process for a brother or sister to become a legal immigrant. First, the USCIS must approve an immigrant visa petition. Second, the State Department visa bulletin must show that a sibling immigrant visa is available to your sibling, based on the date that you filed with the immigrant visa application. Third, if the brother or sister is outside the United States when an immigrant visa number becomes available, he/she will be notified to go to the local U.S. consulate to complete the processing for an immigrant visa.


Appeals


All immigration applications must be accompanied with the appropriate evidence. The failure to provide sufficient evidence will often result in a "Request for Evidence", delay and/or a denial of the visa.

Our firm not only drafts applications, but also works with an applicant to help organize evidence in support of an application. Each application requires different evidence based upon the types of visa. B-2 Visitor for Pleasure Visa


U.S. Consulate Services


We also deliver U.S. visa services where applicable. Our services include assistance with applications to U.S. embassies worldwide and visa application interviews. We strive to deliver timely and complete advice pertaining to consulate matters.




All US works are undertaken by Harris Chawla Solicitors

The above outline is only a brief overview of the Migration & Visa Program. Contact a Migration Matters consultant immediately for a Pre-Migration Application Assessment.



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