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Power to Revoke US Citizenship Limited by Supreme Court

In Maslenjak v. United States, the Justices of the Supreme Court unanimously rejected the contention that the government could revoke the naturalization of an individual that made a minor misstatement at their naturalization interview or their  N-400 application.

The lawyer for the government argued that something as minor as failing to disclose a traffic ticket would be adequate grounds for revoking an individual’s naturalization years after it had been granted. Not one of the Justices agreed with the lawyer’s argument. The court held that there must be a connection between an illegal act and the individual’s eligibility to become a naturalized US citizen. Further, the court ruled that the misstatement must have affected the government’s decision had the government had knowledge of the misstated information at the time of the misstatement.

In the case in front of the court, Ms. Maslenjak was admitted to the United States as a refugee after falsifying information about her husband’s service in the Bosnian Serb military. The misstatement was repeated on her N-400 application. The government moved to denaturalize her and the jury was improperly instructed by the Judge that any misrepresentation, no matter how insignificant, was adequate grounds for revoking Ms. Maslenjak’s citizenship. The Supreme Court held that the Judge erred and remanded the case to the lower courts to consider if the US government may try her using the stricter standard.

If you believe that you have a unique situation that may impair your ability to Naturalize, contact our office.  A Naturalization is not a simple process and involves more that filling the form.  We would love to assist you.

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Trump’s Travel Ban: Who is Affected?

US Supreme CourtAfter lower courts repeatedly shot down Donald Trump’s travel ban for unfairly targeting Muslims from certain countries, the Supreme Court allowed a revised version as of Monday, June 26, 2016. The decision all but allows Trump to now boast a victory. The travel ban affects travelers from six countries that are predominantly Muslim.

The Supreme Court’s decision leaves far more questions than answers regarding Trump’s travel ban. Essentially, certain foreign nationals can be banned entry into the United States if they lack a bona fide relationship with a person or an entity in the country. It does not apply to anyone, including refugees, who have existing relationships with American citizens or entities, such as if they have family in America or a relationship with an educational institution.Read More

Tags: #immigration, #immigration law, #immigration law attorney, #immigration law firm, #immigration law lawyer, #Supreme Court, #Supreme Court Holding, #Travel Ban, #Trump's Travel Ban

Federal Spending Bill and Immigration

On May 1st, 2017, it was announced that Congress would again be dodging a “government shutdown” bullet by passing a federal spending bill known as the. Often referred to as an “omnibus bill” or a “stop gap” measure, this approach funds the federal government in full until individual annual agency budgets can be determined. This most recent measure provides the federal government with an impressive one trillion dollars until the end of its current fiscal year on September 30, 2017. In addition to allotting varying amounts of money to different agencies, there are often new or changed regulations as to how these agencies will operate and spend their funds. So now that Washington is funded for the next few months, how will the agencies governing immigration and their policies be affected?Read More

Tags: #2017 Consolidated Appropriations Act, #Consolidated Appropriations Act, #federal spending, #federal spending and immigration, #federal spending bill, #immigration law, #immigration law attorney, #immigration law firm

Get Help Obtaining H-1B Visas-Deadline to file is April 1st 2017

At the Law Office of Sweta Khandelwal, we help individuals in obtaining H-1B Visas, the only work visa available for US companies to hire foreign nationals.  H-1B visas are available for positions that require at least a Bachelor’s Degree in a specific field, and are also referred to as Specialty Occupation visas.  Examples of Specialty Occupations would be Engineers, Doctors, Lawyers, Scientists, etc. Our H-1B Visa attorney, in conjunction with the U.S employer, can help structure an immigration strategy, that will use H-1B and H-1B1 temporary work visas as part of an ongoing process that may eventually lead to permanent legal residency for foreign nationals. Read More

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New Changes Implemented in Visa Bulletin

Every month the Bureau of Consular Affairs publishes a Visa Bulletin that provides important information about filing dates for immigrants seeking Adjustment of Status. Published bulletins list the amount of visas available during the month of publication. The Bulletin also lists priority dates for filing Adjustment of Status.

Priority dates indicate how long the immigrant will have to wait before applying fora visa. If the priority date is before the date listed on the Visa Bulletin then theapplicant can apply for a visa. The priority date is usually the date the employer orrelative filed the immigrant’s visa or when the Department of Labor accepts a laborcertification for processing.

The USCIS has recently implemented changes to the Visa
Bulletin publications inorder to streamline the immigration process for those applying for Legal PermanentResidence. As the system stands now those waiting for Adjustment of Status mayface barriers in changing jobs or receiving promotion. Released in July of this year is a full report calledModernizing and Streamlining Our Legal Immigration System for the 21st Centurywhich describes the changes to the Visa Bulletin, first announced byObama’s executive action last year.

Changes to Visa Bulletin

The USCIS has announced it will be implementing two changes to the Visa Bulletin. Two additional charts will be added to the Bulletin, one called “Applicant FinalAction Dates” and one called, “Dates for Filing Applicants.” The “Applicant Final Action Dates” chart will give the date when the visa can beofficially issued. The ”Dates for Filing Applications” Chart is to be used to determinewhen to file an adjustment of status application.

What will the Changes do?

When the priority date is earlier than filing date, applicants will be able to file foradjustment of status earlier than they would have been able to with the old system.This means that applicants will be able to receive employment authorization andtravel documents sooner while waiting for adjustment of status to be officiallyapproved. These applicants will still have to wait for the “final action” date to becurrent before the permanent resident status is approved.

Why is the Bulletin changing?

These changes are aimed more at accurate predictions of overall visa demand. Themore accurate predictions will work to ensure that the maximum number ofimmigrant visas are being issued. This will likely decrease the backlog of applicantswaiting for legal permanent status and decrease employment and travel barrierscurrently faced by applicants waiting for approval of legal permanent residence.

Those seeking to apply for adjustment of status for permanent residence could bereceiving benefits sooner. To discuss these changes to the Visa Bulletin, when tofile for adjustment of status or any other immigration issue, contact the Law Office of Sweta Khandelwal. AttorneyKhandelwal has over 10 years experience with immigration law and is convenientlylocated in the Silicon Valley.

Cited Sources:

When to File Your Adjustment ofStatus Application for Family-Based or Employment-BasedPreference Visas, September 10,2015, USCIS

 

 

Tags: #adjustment of status, #immigration law, #immigration law attorney, #immigration law lawyer, #visa bulletin

Much Longer Wait Times for Green Cards- Department of State Edits Previously Modernized Visa Bulletin

Department of States Alters Recently Modified Visa Bulletin

On September 9th the Department of Homeland Security released new updated changes to the visa bulletin. These changes modernized the visa system and moved up priority dates for those applying for adjustment of status. The revisions to the visa bulletin were part of President Obama’s plans to modernize the US immigration system. Obama’s proposed changes to modernize and streamline the immigration system were detailed in a White House report released back in July.

Green Card this way Blue Red and White highway sign with words Green Card with stormy sky background

Just two weeks after the updated September 9th visa bulletin was released, the visa bulletin changed again on September 25th pushing back priority dates significantly. Those affected will have to wait years longer to file for adjustment of status than previous indicated by the visa bulletin released on September 9th.

Changes to Visa Bulletin Announced September 25, 2015

The Department of State pushed back the priority dates for those waiting to apply for a green card. Those affected will have to wait several years longer in some cases.

Those affected can be summarized as:

  • EB-2 China- Old priority date was May 1, 2014. New priority date January 1, 2013. This is a 1 year, 5 months difference.
  • EB-2 India- Old priority date was July 1, 2011. New priority date July 1, 2009. This is a 2 years difference.
  • EB-3 Philippines- Old priority date was January 1, 2015. New priority date January 1, 2010. This is a 5 years difference.
  • FB-1 Mexico- Old priority date was July 1, 1995. New priority date is April 1, 1995. This is a 3 months difference.
  • FB-3 Mexico- Old priority date was October 1, 1996. New priority date is May 1, 1995. This is a 1 year, 5 months difference.

What Does This Mean?

Those eligible to apply for green cards will now have to wait longer than previously projected just 2 weeks ago. Originally the changes to the visa bulletin would have allowed many immigrants to apply for green cards several years earlier. Now in some cases, those eligible will have to wait 5 years longer. Foreign nationals from China and India will face significantly longer waits, 1 years 5 months and 2 years longer respectively.This change will impact thousands of families living in the US, who planned to receive a green card much earlier.

Additionally these actions reflect an unfortunate step backwards for the US immigration system. For several years the visa bulletin needed updating to decrease the backlog of immigrants waiting to file for adjustment of status. Unfortunately when a change finally occurred that would have dramatically decreased the wait time and positively affected many immigrants and their families, the visa bulletin was quickly reverted back to the old system of long wait times.

Contact Us

To navigate the visa bulletin, determine correct filing dates or receive assistance filing for adjustment of status contact the Law Office of Sweta Khandelwal. Attorney Khandelwal can assist with employment-based or family-based visa applications. The Law Office of Sweta Khandelwal is located conveniently in the Silicon Valley.

 

Cited Sources:

DOS Publishes Updated Visa Bulletin for October 2015, September 25, 2015, USCIS

 

 

Tags: #Department of Homeland Security, #Department of State, #immigration law attorney, #immigration law lawyer, #visa bulletin

It’s Not too Early to Begin Preparing for the H-1B CAP

The H-1B CAP will Open on April 1st

It’s that time again for employers to begin preparing for the H-1B CAP. The H-1BCAP refers to the quota system that the USCIS uses to review 85,000 H-1B applications each year. The CAP only applies to those who are petitioning for an H-1B visa for the first time, not those seeking renewals or extensions. Every year theU.S. only allows 85,000 new H-1B applications available for review by the USCIS.65,000 of the visas are open to anyone seeking their first H-1B visa and 20,000 are reserved for those applying for an H-1B who have received a U.S. Master’s degree.Those who are successful and receive an H-1B visa are authorized to begin working in the U.S. under H-1B status on October 1, 2016. The CAP will open again this year on April 1st. It is predicted that there will be high number of applicants this year. A lottery will likely be implemented this year due to the predicted large number of applications. If last year serves as indication, when there were over 233,000 applications received in the first week after the CAP opened, this year could be just as competitive.

Closing the CAP

After the USCIS receives an adequate amount of applications, the CAP will close andthe USCIS will not accept any more applications. This means that any employer whomisses the CAP will not be eligible to apply this year and will have to wait until April2017. Because it is predicted that there will be a high number of applicationsreceived soon after the CAP opens it is essential that employers begin preparingnow to ensure their applications make it in before the CAP closes.

The Lottery

When the USCIS receives a substantial amount of H-1B applications, the USCIS canchoose to institute a lottery in order to decide which applications will be consideredfor review on a neutral basis. The lottery ensures every applicant has an equalopportunity to be chosen as one of the 85,000 applicants that the USCIS will reviewand possibly grant an H-1B visa. To be considered for the lottery, the applicationmust be received by the USCIS before the CAP closes.

Those in the Master’s quota get an advantage with essentially two chances to bechosen in the lottery. When the USCIS receives all the H-1B applications theMaster’s quota applications are separated from the others and 20,000 applicationsare chosen in a separate Master’s quota lottery. Any applications not chosen in theMaster’s quota will be placed with the other applications and have another chanceto be chosen in the regular lottery. This allows those with a Master’s degree to begiven two chances to be chosen in the H-1-B lottery.

Contact Us

It is important to ensure all materials are in order before the CAP opens on April 1st.To discuss filing H-1B’s this season contact the Law Office of Sweta Khandelwal. Attorney Khandelwal is an immigration attorney located in the Silicon Valley whohas considerable experience with H-1B filings.

Cited Sources:

H-1B Fiscal Year 2016 Cap Season, May 4, 2015, USCIS

Tags: #h-1b, #h-1b cap, #H-1B visa, #immigration law attorney, #immigration law lawyer

Changes may be in-store for the Visa Waiver Program

the-tourist-1479443Travelers from certain countries who to come to the U.S. may enter without obtaining a visa. This process is called the Visa Waiver Program because in certain situations when traveling to the U.S. for a short period of time the visa requirement is waived. The Visa Waiver Program applies to citizens and nationals of 38participating countries. However, after the Paris attacks that occurred last monthU.S. legislators are considering tightening up the Visa Waiver Program. The proposed changes could make it more difficult for some to visit the U.S. It is likely that the ease of travel for those currently covered by the Visa Waiver Program will change and now many may be required to undergo stricter security checks before traveling to the U.S.

What is the Visa Waiver Program?

The Visa Waiver Program allows visitors who are citizens or nationals of 38 participating countries to come visit the U.S. for up to 90 days for tourism or business. The 38 participating countries include Australia, Belgium, France,Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom amongst others. Those who come to the U.S. on the Visa Waiver Program are generally also permitted to travel to Canada, Mexico or nearby islands and be readmitted to theU.S. Although the program attracts tourists because of the ease traveling without acquiring additional documentation, there is a strict 90 day stay and visitors may not overstay the 90 days.

What are the proposed changes?

Congressmen have suggested some reforms to the Visa Waiver Program and theseproposals could be incorporated into a bill that may be voted on in Congress. Oneproposal is increased information sharing between the U.S. and countriesparticipating in the Visa Waiver Program. Visitors may be required to submitfingerprints and photographs before traveling to the U.S. Those coming from Syriaor Iraq could face even stricter requirements, which may include anyone whotraveled to either of those countries in the past 5 years. Electronic passports mayalso be part of the changes. To pay for the increased security measures, the price ofthe visa waiver could be increased from the current price of $14.

These restrictions have been suggested after the Paris attacks because the allegedperpetrators were French and Belgium nationals. French and Belgium are two ofthe 38 countries that are eligible for a visa waiver. Those driving the visa waiverchanges argue that as the visa waiver program currently stands, the attacks couldhave easily happened in the U.S. if the attackers chose to come to the U.S. and easilyentered on a visa waiver. While the Visa Waiver Program has increased tourism andutilized by many for easy travel to the U.S., the recent attacks at home and abroadcould impose additional barriers for those who use the Visa Waiver Program totravel to the U.S.

Contact Us

To discuss the visa waiver program, other visa options or any other immigrationissue contact the Law Office of Sweta Khandelwal. Attorney Khandelwal has over 10years experience in immigration law. The Law Firm of Sweta Khandelwal can assistwith business and family immigration matters.

Cited Sources:
Visa Waiver Program, U.S. Department of State

Tags: #immigration law, #immigration law attorney, #immigration law lawyer, #visa waiver, #visa waiver program

State Governors’ Opposition towards Syrian Refugees Fleeing to U.S.

Due to conflict and civil war there are reportedly 12 million Syrians fleeing Syria and seeking refuge in other countries. President Obama announced that the U.S. will expand the amount of Syrian refugees admitted and would admit 10,000 refugees to the U.S. over the next 12 months. However, after the terrorist attacks in Paris last week, some have taken steps to make it more difficult for Syrian refugees to come to the U.S. Republicans in Congress voted to make it more difficult for Syrian and Iraqi refugees to enter to the U.S and U.S. governors have begun to openly state that they will not welcome Syrian refugees. CNN reported that Syrian refugees are not welcome in 31 U.S. states.

Many state governors do not wish to have Syrian refugees entertheir states

In the aftermath of the attacks on Paris, there was a report that one of the suspects was a Syrian refugee. In response, several U.S. governors announced they would not support any reform by Congress to admit more Syrian refugees and other governors have flat out announced they would not allow Syrian refugees in their state. Over 31state governors have taken to twitter or other media outlets to voice their opposition to allowing Syrian refugees to enter the U.S. However, legally speaking, it may not be possible for States to directly prohibit the refugees from seeking Asylum in the U.S., nor is it possible to prevent the entry of refugees in their respective states.They can, however, make it tough for refugees to settle in and assimilate with the local population by not providing them with the necessary facilities/incentives.

California appears open to admitting Syrian refugees

California has taken a neutral status and has not made a statement that it will not allow Syrian refugees to come to California. Attorney General Kamala Harris has reportedly stated that keeping immigrants out is a scary trend. She also noted that at the same time we must be vigilant. California is a state made up of many immigrants and minority groups. Of all the Syrian refugees who migrated to the U.S.since 2012, about 11% of them have settled in California.

Refugees and Asylum in the U.S.

Refugees who come to the U.S. make seek refugee status or an asylum. Refugee and asylum status is granted to those who demonstrate that they have been persecuted or have a credible fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality,membership in a particular social group or political option. These immigrants maybe able to gain refugee status or be granted an asylum. Granting the refugee status must also be of humanitarian concern of the U.S.

Asylums are granted to those who meet the definition of refugee, are in the U.S. and are seeking entry. Those who are granted asylum are permitted to remain in theU.S. and may also include a spouse and children on the application for asylum as well. Once granted an asylum, the applicant may work in the U.S. This process can be detailed can complicated. Consulting an attorney is a good idea to ensure the application is correctly and promptly field.

Contact Us

To discuss any immigrant issue contact the Law Office of Sweta Khandewal to speakto an experienced immigration attorney. Attorney Khandewal is an experiencedimmigration attorney and has practiced immigration law for over 10 years.

Cited Sources

More than half of the nation’s governors say Syrian refugees not welcome,November 19, 2015, Ashley Fantz and Ben Brumfield

Refugees & Asylum, November 12, 2015, USCIS

 

Tags: #immigration law, #immigration law attorney, #immigration law lawyer, #Refugees & Asylum, #syrian refugees

Visa Options for Trainees

Training is often an important part of advancing in a career or being skilled at a job. There are two visa options that visa applicants may utilize to receive practical training in the U.S. for a particular job or occupational field. These two visas, H-3 and J-1, have several requirements but can be very useful to obtain when to receive beneficial training in the U.S.

What is a “trainee?”

art-student-15-1537721A trainee is a person who is receiving training in the U.S. The training is usually for a job. Trainees on these visas are intended to receive training for a job that the trainee may later obtain.

H-3 Visa

To apply for the H-3 visa a detailed account of the type of training the trainee will receive must be submitted to the USCIS. The applicant must also identify a U.S. employer or organization that will provide the training. If the petition is approved the trainee may be allowed to stay in the U.S. for up to 2 years.

What kind of training does the trainee under an H-3 visa receive?

An H-3 visa is available to trainees who come to the U.S. to receive training in a particular field. The training is intended to be for a job located outside of the U.S. The USCIS states on its webpage that training in any field will qualify; some of the listed fields are agriculture, commerce, communications, finance, government and transportation. While this visa covers any field, it cannot be used for medical education or training.

H-4 Visa for Dependents

There is also an H-4 visa available for family members of the trainees. If the H-3 visa is approved, the applicant may be able to take family members to the U.S. while trainee is completed.

J-1 Visa for Exchange

Another option for trainees is the J-1 Visa. This visa is intended for those coming to the U.S. to teach, learn, receive training, research and observe. This visa could be a good option for those coming to the U.S. for an internship or to receive occupational training. Medical students seeking training in the U.S. may use this visa.

This visa is designed as an exchange program. The exchange program must be approved by the government in order for the applicant to participate in the training program. The programs will generally train the individual in a specific business field. There are three requirements that the trainee must meet in order to be able to apply for a J-1 visa.

These requirements are:

  1. The applicant must possess a degree from a foreign post-secondary academic institution.
  2. The applicant must have at least one year of work experience in the applicant’s specific academic field and training must have been received outside of the U.S.
  3. The applicant must have had five years of work experience outside of the U.S. The work experience must be in the same field that the applicant is seeking training for in the U.S.

Contact us

Contact the Law Office of Sweta Khandelwal to discuss the H-3 visa, J-1 visa or other options for trainees. Attorney Khandewal has over 10 years of experience working on immigration cases. The Law Office of Sweta Khandelwal is conveniently located in the Silicon Valley.

Cited Sources:

Exchange Visitors, July 17, 2015, USCIS

H-3 Nonimmigrant Trainee or Special Education Exchange Visitor, July 20, 2015, USCIS

 

Tags: #h-3, #h-4, #immigration law, #immigration law attorney, #immigration law lawyer, #j-1, #visa options




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