Increased USCIS filing fees as of December 23, 2016

Well unfortunately, the USCIS has increased their filing fees.

IMMIGRATION BENEFIT                                                                             New Fee    Old Fee

G–1041 Genealogy Index Search Request 65 20
G–1041A Genealogy Records Request (Copy from Microfilm) 65 20
G–1041A Genealogy Records Request (Copy from Textual Record) 65 35
I–90 Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card 455 365
I–102 Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival-Departure Document 445 330
I–129/129CW Petition for a Nonimmigrant worker 460 325
I–129F Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) 535 340
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative 535 420
I-131/I-131A Application for Travel Document 575 360
I–140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker 700 580
I-191 Application for Relief Under Former Section 212(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) 930 585
I-192 Application for Advance Permission to Enter as Nonimmigrant 585/9301 585
I-193 Application for Waiver of Passport and/or Visa 585 585
I-212 Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the U.S. After Deportation or Removal 930 585
I–290B Notice of Appeal or Motion 675 630
I–360 Petition for Amerasian Widow(er) or Special Immigrant 435 405
I–485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status 1,140 985
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (certain applicants under the age of 14 years) 750 635
I–526 Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur 3,675 1,500
I–539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status 370 290
I–600/600A Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative/Application for Advance Petition Processing of Orphan Petition 775 720
I-601 Application for Waiver of Ground of Excludability 930 585
I–601A Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver 630 585
I-612 Application for Waiver of the Foreign Residence Requirement (Under Section 212(e) of the INA, as Amended) 930 585
I–687 Application for Status as a Temporary Resident under Section 245A
of the Immigration and Nationality Act
1,130 1,130
I–690 Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility 715 200
I–694 Notice of Appeal of Decision 890 755
I–698 Application to Adjust Status From Temporary to Permanent Resident
(Under Section 245A of the INA)
1,670 1,020
I–751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence 595 505
I–765 Application for Employment Authorization 410 380
I-800/800A Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative/Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country 775 720
I–800A Supp. 3 Request for Action on Approved Form I–800A 385 360
I–817 Application for Family Unity Benefits 600 435
I–824 Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition 465 405
I–829 Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions 3,750 3,750
I–910 Application for Civil Surgeon Designation 785 615
I–924 Application for Regional Center Designation Under the Immigrant
Investor Program
17,795 6,230
I–924A Annual Certification of Regional Center 3,035 0
I–929 Petition for Qualifying Family Member of a U–1 Nonimmigrant 230 215
N–300 Application to File Declaration of Intention 270 250
N–336 Request for Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings 700 650
N–400 Application for Naturalization2 640 595
N–470 Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization Purposes 355 330
N–565 Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document 555 345
N–600/N–600K Application for Certificate of Citizenship 1,170 600/5503
USCIS Immigrant Fee 220 165
Biometric Services Fee 85 85

Don’t forget the DV1 Visa Lottery

Its that time of year again for the DV1 lottery. The state department each year give away 50,000 + visas in an attempt to diversify USA’s immigrant population.  Here is the link to the application, its free!!

www.dvlottery.state.gov/application.aspx

Good Luck!!

 

How does filing for a Green Card effect O-1 visa holders.

Although O-1 visa holders are not in the same “dual intent” category as H or L visa holders, they do have a special provision per 8 C.F.R. 214.2(o)(13).  It in essence states that an applicant cannot be denied O-1 status for merely filing paperwork that would indicate an “immigrant Intent”.  Keep in mind however, those with a pending I-485 would need advance parole in order to keep their Adjustment of Status processing if they need to depart while it is processing.

Here is the code for your review.

 

8 C.F.R. 214.2(o) (13) “Effect of approval of a permanent labor certification or filing of a preference petition on O classification. The approval of a permanent labor certification or the filing of a preference petition for an alien shall not be a basis for denying an O–1 petition, a request to extend such a petition, or the alien’s application for admission, change of status, or extension of stay. The alien may legitimately come to the United States for a temporary period as an O–1 nonimmigrant and depart voluntarily at the end of his or her authorized stay and, at the same time, lawfully seek to become a permanent resident of the United States.”

EB-5 Investor Visa

I have seen an increase in requests regarding EB-5’s and there is some real confusion out there. Lets start with the most frequently asked questions.

1) Can I buy 500,000 of stock in a company and qualify… No
2) My uncle is going to loan me the money to invest, will that work?.. No
3) I want to buy rental houses.. No

One thing to keep in mind is that the USCIS want to see that the investment is not “static”. This means that it is an active invest with no less than 10 staff and growing. A good example of this is a hotel, assisted living center or a restaurant.

The EB-5’s are much more difficult than they look and take plenty of planning, and involve risking a lot of money on an investment. But a great option for those with substantial funds that want to set up a business in the USA!!

The O-1 Visa

The O-1 Visa is a great option for people who work in the Arts (Music, Acting, Painting, Motivational Speakers etc) or University Professors/researchers.

In essence, when filing an O-1, we need to prove that you are at the top of your field. But its not always as hard as you may think. If you read through the categories of the O-1 Petition, in a lot of cases, if you are a somewhat accomplished musician, model etc, you should be able to prove some of those categories with just a little work. For example, look at the first category of the O-1B category (• Performed and will perform services as a lead or starring participant in productions or events which have a distinguished reputation as evidenced by critical reviews, advertisements, publicity releases, publications, contracts or endorsements). This may look a little daunting, but its not too hard if you have played shows, or acted in a stage show. For example, for Christian Australian bands, most have played at either EasterFest or one of the other festivals. A letter from the festival and a copy of some festival literature helps you get a long way to filling this category.

The O-1 is a complicated process, but it certainly is possible for a lot of people with just a little work preparing documents. I hope this helps.  Check out this link at the USCIS for some more technical information:  https://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/temporary-workers/o-1-visa-individuals-extraordinary-ability-or-achievement

Marriage to US Citizen

So, you fall in love, but uh oh, your new love is “not from here”. Whatever can you do. Try to not think of the movies “The Proposal” or “Greencard”, as in many cases it is not that complicated, and of all the green card options out there, this is typically the easiest and fastest provided that you are actually married and living together etc. There are certainly some hoops to jump through and LOTS of paperwork, but quite straight forward for an experience immigration attorney.

You have several options once you are married. If your foreign spouse is already in the USA you can file an Adjustment of Status. If your fiance’ is outside of the USA and you wish to marry in the USA, a K-1 fiance’ visa would likely be the way to go. If you wish to marry abroad, you will need to file for permanent residency through consular processing. Note: Adjustment of Status is in my opinion the most straight forward, cheapest and least stressful way to go if you have it as an option.

A couple of misconceptions I often hear.

1) “When we get married, he automatically becomes a citizen” – FALSE Once you get married, in most cases your spouse will be entitled to Permanent Residency (Green Card).

2) “It doesn’t matter how I came to America, if I marry a US citizen, I can get a Greencard” – FALSE If you didn’t enter the country lawfully (undocumented), you are going to have some difficulty adjusting status.

3) If you enter on a Visa Waiver, you can get married and get a green card no problem. DEPENDS. This is a complicated question, as it brings in a concept of “Dual Intent”. In essence, you can’t enter the USA as a “Non-Immigrant” with the intent to become an “Immigrant”. As it is an intent issue, it can often be overcome quite easily, but you need to be ready to prove that when you entered the country on a Visa Waiver or tourist visa that you did not intend to stay. As you may imagine, this could be tricky to prove if you got married one week after you entered the country on a visitors visa.

You can read more about this at www.uscis.gov

Employment Authorization for certain H-4

Some great news for H-4 (family members of H-1B).

Eligible individuals include certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants who:

Are the principal beneficiaries of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker; or
Have been granted H-1B status under sections 106(a) and (b) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000 as amended by the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act. The Act permits H-1B nonimmigrants seeking lawful permanent residence to work and remain in the United States beyond the six-year limit on their H-1B status.

If you have nay questions, please don’t hesitate to call or email our office.

USCIS Press Release

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The above information is general in nature and is not intended to be considered or relied upon as legal advice. You should always consult an attorney before acting upon any of this information.

Entertainment Related Visas, What are your options?

I represent a lot of foreign performers in securing them either P or O visas. I have represented Grammy Award Winners and I have represented bands still awaiting their big break and have been successful gaining US working visas for both.

Lets start with the visa options and the difference between an O visa and P visa. O visas are typically for Individual performers, athletes, actors, professors etc. They are classified as “Individuals with Extraordinary Ability”. O-1A is for applicants who excel in the sciences, education, business or Athletics. O-1B are for Performers in the Arts (Acting, Music, Painting etc).

The P-1 visa is typically for bands.

How do you Qualify?

The easiest way to qualify for an O-1 Visa is to receive a Major, Internationally recognized award such as a Nobel Prize, Olympic Medal, Grammy Award, or something of that nature. For the Majority of clients, this is not an options, so we prove three of the seven secondary categories.

For O-1B filings (people involved in the Arts) they are:

  • Performed and will perform services as a lead or starring participant in productions or events which have a distinguished reputation as evidenced by critical reviews, advertisements, publicity releases, publications, contracts or endorsements
  • Achieved national or international recognition for achievements, as shown by critical reviews or other published materials by or about the beneficiary in major newspapers, trade journals, magazines, or other publications
  • Performed and will perform in a lead, starring, or critical role for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation as evidenced by articles in newspapers, trade journals, publications, or testimonials.
  • A record of major commercial or critically acclaimed successes, as shown by such indicators as title, rating or standing in the field, box office receipts, motion picture or television ratings and other occupational achievements reported in trade journals, major newspapers or other publications
  • Received significant recognition for achievements from organizations, critics, government agencies or other recognized experts in the field in which the beneficiary is engaged, with the testimonials clearly indicating the author’s authority, expertise and knowledge of the beneficiary’s achievements
  • A high salary or other substantial remuneration for services in relation to others in the field, as shown by contracts or other reliable evidence

In future blogs, I will break down these categories further for you.  But, if you think in terms of the categories listed above, it will help you greatly when you start gathering your preliminary information/proof.

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The above information is general in nature and is not intended to be considered or relied upon as legal advice. You should always consult an attorney to determine if you are eligible to apply for adjustment of status or whether the potential reward of consular processing is worth any risk created by leaving the U.S.

What Are the Consequences of overstaying your visa?

Back in 1996 the Illegal Immigration Reform and Responsibility Act (IIRAIRA) created three year, ten year, and permanent bars on admission to the U.S. for a variety of immigration status violations.

These bars apply widely and affect immigrants who have family in the U.S., have worked and paid taxes in the U.S., and in many cases are otherwise eligible for permanent resident status.

The three year bar to re-entry into the U.S.: The three year bar applies to individuals who have been unlawfully present in the United States for a continuous period of more than 180 days, but less than one year, and who voluntarily depart the U.S.

The ten year bar to re-entry into the U.S.: The ten year bar applies to individuals unlawfully present in the U.S. for an aggregate period of one year or more who depart voluntarily. Unlawful presence begins to accrue when the period of authorized stay expires or after an entry to the U.S. without inspection.

If you have overstayed your visa for the amounts of time listed above, and you leave the country, the bar automatically applies.

 

What you need to be careful of?

 

Most people confuse their visa (the sticker that is placed in their passport) expiration date and their I-94 (the amount of time granted by the officer when you enter the country) expiration date. The only date really matters for the purpose of this subject is the I-94 expiration date. To find your I-94 date, you should go to this site: https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/request.html . Coincidentally, this is also a helpful link if you are applying for Citizenship and need a reminder on some of your recent entries into the USA.

 

The key is to always pay attention to the expiration date on your I-94. Pay particular attention to this if you are granted a B-1/B-2 visa for 10 years, although the visa grants you the right to enter the USA during the next 10 years, it typically does not allow you to STAY in the USA without leaving for 10 years.

 

If you have found yourself in a situation where you have overstayed your allowed time, you need to find an Immigration Attorney to discuss your options BEFORE you depart. The automatic bars are hard to overcome, but we do have some options.

 

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The above information is general in nature and is not intended to be considered or relied upon as legal advice. You should always consult an attorney to determine if you are eligible to apply for adjustment of status or whether the potential reward of consular processing is worth any risk created by leaving the U.S.