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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

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

Tags: #employment based residency, #H-1B visa, #H-1B Visa lawyer, #H-1B Visas, #H-1B Visas attorney, #H-1B Visas lawyer, #immigration law, #immigration law attorney, #immigration law lawyer, #Specialty Occupation visa attorney, #Specialty Occupation visa lawyer, #Specialty Occupation visas attorney, #Specialty Occupation visas lawyer

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

Visa Options for Artists and Entertainers

While the U.S. offers several different types of visas for foreigners coming to the U.S., some of the less discussed visas are those for artists and entertainers. P and O visas are available to artists and entertainers coming to the US to work, teach or learn. The P visa is available to artists and entertainers who coordinate with reciprocal foreign exchange programs or are coming to the U.S. to teach a unique or cultural art form. The O-visa is available to artist and entertainers that can demonstrate an extraordinary ability and level of skill in the field. These visas also have a corresponding visa that is available for dependents.

P-2 Visa

artist-at-work-2-1529089The P-2 visa was created for artist and entertainers coming to the U.S. temporarily to perform. To obtain this visa, there must be a reciprocal exchange program between the U.S. and a foreign organization. There must be a program outside the U.S. that This reciprocal exchange agreement must be government recognized and the skill set of the entertainer must be similar to the performers or artists taking part in the exchange program outside of the U.S.

P-4 Visa for Family Members

Spouses and dependants may obtain a P-4 visa. This allows the entertainers family members to travel to the U.S. along with the P-2 visa holder.

P-3 Visa

A P-3 visa is available to artists or entertainers coming to the U.S. to teach, coach, develop or represent a unique or cultural tradition; such as a dance or musical performance. This visa can only be usedfor education purposes, such as furthering an understanding and development of the art form.

To receive this visa the applicants must have a sponsoring employer or organization. P-4 visa status is also available to family members of P-3 visa holders.

O-Visa

The O- Visa is for applicants that possess an extraordinary skill or ability in the fields of science, art, education, business or athletics. It is also available for those who can demonstrate an extraordinary achievement in film or television and has received national or international recognition in this area.

As part of the application process, the applicant must submit an advisory opinion from someone in the applicant’s peer group or by someone with expertise in the area. This advisory opinion will be considered by the USCIS when making visa approval determinations. This requirement may be waived if the applicant can prove that the appropriate peer group does not exist. This determination will be made after the USCIS has considered appropriate evidence supporting this claim.

O-3 Visa for Dependents

Alike many other visas, the O-visa also has an option for dependents. Family members of an O-visa holder may apply for an O-3 visa and accompany the O-visa holder to the U.S.

Contact Us

Artists and entertainers planning to come over the U.S. may consider several different visa options. To discuss the P or O visas, visas for dependents or any other immigration issue, contact the Law Office of Sweta Khandelwal. Attorney Khandelwal has over 10 years of experience with immigration law and is conveniently located in the Silicon Valley.

Cited Sources:

P-2 Individual Performer or Part of a Group Entering to Perform Under a Reciprocal Exchange Program, July 15, 2015, USCIS

P-3 Artist or Entertainer Coming to Be Part of a Culturally Unique Program, July 17, 2015, USCIS

O-1 Visa: Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement, September 14, 2015, USCIS

 

Tags: #immigration law attorney, #immigration law lawyer, #O-3 visa, #O-visa, #p-2 visa, #p-3 visa, #p-4 visa

Immigration Views of Democratic Presidential Nominee Hopefuls

Immigration always seems to be a popular area of debate centered around presidential elections. The candidates have differing views but all seem to agree that reform is needed. Below is a summary some of the immigration proposals and initiatives the three democratic candidates and Joe Biden, not an official candidate but rumored to consider running.

white-house-1225488-1Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton has been a leader in the democratic race for several months now. Clinton has allegedly stated that she would like to see immigrants have a path to citizenship. It is reported that she thinks undocumented immigrants should pay a fine to make up for illegal entry and be willing to pay any back taxes. She reportedly noted however that undocumented immigrants who committed a crime should not be allowed to stay in the United States.

Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders is a democratic candidate for the 2016 presidential race. On his website Sanders states that he supports “fair and human immigration.” He reportedly pledges that he will sign a comprehensive immigration reform into law in order to help the 11 million undocumented workers come out of the shadows. He also states that he is opposed to building a border fence as a mechanism to prevent undocumented immigrants from coming into the US.

More specifically he would work to reform immigration by expanding DACA, to include parents of citizens, parents of legal permanent residents and parents of DREAMERS. Going along with expanding DACA to DREAMERS, he would sign the DREAM act. Sanders also reportedly pledges on his website that he would authorize and increase funding for representation to guest workers who need legal protection against employers. Additionally, Sanders reportedly intends to increase prevailing wages and rewrite certain Trade Agreements.

Martin O’Malley

Martin O’Malley is a former Governor of Maryland and democratic hopeful for the presidential nomination. O’Malley reportedly intends to expand Obama’s executive action for immigration reform and urge Congress to create a bipartisan deal for comprehensive immigration reform. It is also reported that O’Mally’s immigration position includes providing deportation relief to millions of undocumented immigrants. O’Mally also allegedly has indicated that he supports an end to restrictions limiting health care access for undocumented immigrants. While he was Governor of Maryland he supported immigration reform by signing the DREAM act into law.

Joe Biden

Joe Biden has not announced his intention to seek the democratic nomination but there are rumors that he may be a contender. If Biden were to run it appears that he would be in support of a comprehensive immigration bill. He has indicated that he supports earned citizenship for undocumented immigrants residing in the country and he would support providing the 11 million undocumented US population with a path to citizenship.

Immigration issues can be serious and often speaking to an immigration attorney can be a good strategy. Contact the Law Office of Sweta Khandelwal to discuss any immigration issue affecting your life. Attorney Khandelwal is an immigration attorney with more than 10 years experience in the immigration field.

 

Cited Sources:

A Fair and Human Immigration Policy,Bernie 2016

 

Tags: #immigration, #immigration law, #immigration law attorney, #immigration law lawyer, #presidential elections




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