DHS to Provide H2B Relief for Eligible Businesses

USCIS issued the following press release regarding H2B relief for qualifying businesses:

U.S. businesses in danger of suffering irreparable harm due to a lack of available temporary nonagricultural workers will be able to hire up to 15,000 additional temporary nonagricultural workers under the H-2B program under a final rule that the Departments of Homeland Security and Labor submitted to the Federal Register today. To qualify for the additional visas, petitioners must attest, under penalty of perjury, that their business is likely to suffer irreparable harm if it cannot employ H-2B nonimmigrant workers during fiscal year (FY) 2017.

Eligible petitioners for H-2B visas can file Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker and must submit a supplemental attestation on Form ETA 9142-B-CAA (PDF) with their petition.

When to Hire an Immigration Lawyer

You are in immigration court

Most practitioners would agree that aliens in immigration court require the services of an attorney to assist in their potential removal relief. There are various players in court, including the immigration judge and DHS attorney and without proper representation, an alien would likely suffer a disadvantage.

You are inadmissible to the US

There are various grounds of inadmissibility that make an alien ineligible for immigrant petitions without curing that ground of inadmissibility or filing a waiver. Such processes are incredibly complex and demand the knowledge and expertise of an attorney.

You are experiencing significant delays

Immigration cases can take many months and even years in some cases to complete. In some instances the case processing times fall outside of normal processing. In such instances it is advisable to retain counsel to assist with getting your case back on track.

You are overwhelmed with the paperwork

Immigration cases require significant preparation and paperwork. There are countless applications and supporting documents for each petition. Immigration attorneys are experts in the field and specialize in the collection of evidence and preparation of the applications and can certainly assist best.

You are unfamiliar with the process

Immigration cases are generally complex and require a variety or government forms and supporting documents. Without the requisite training, aliens are often ill-equipped to file alone and can make significant mistakes that cause delays and further problems. An immigration attorney can ensure that simple mistakes and delays will not happen.

U.S. Passport Update

Per the U.S. Department of State, beginning November 1st, 2016, customers applying for their U.S. passport or U.S visa or renewing their U.S. passport must remove glasses for their photo.

Last year, more than 200,000 U.S. passport customers submitted poor quality photos which couldn’t be accepted due to issues with glasses. Many U.S. visa applications have been delayed due to the same problem. If you must wear eye glasses for medical reasons, you’ll need to obtain and submit a signed statement with your U.S. passport or U.S. visa application from a medical professional or health practitioner.

For more information on photos, check out passport photo requirements here or contact ALO at 978-905-9992.

Revised I-9 Form

USCIS released a revised version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. Instructions for how to download Form I-9 are available on the Form I-9 page. Employers can use this revised version or continue using Form I-9 with a revision date of 11/14/16 N through Sept. 17. On Sept. 18, employers must use the revised form with a revision date of 07/17/17 N. Employers must continue following existing storage and retention rules for any previously completed Form I-9.

Self-Petitioning I-360, General Eligibility

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) allows spouses and children of United States citizens or lawful permanent residents to self-petition for permanent resident status, without the abuser’s help or knowledge.
To self-petition for permanent residency under VAWA, an individual must:
Show that s/he lived with a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse;

Show that s/he was battered or subjected to extreme cruelty during the marriage;

Show that s/he entered the marriage in good faith;

Show s/he is otherwise qualified for admission; and

Show that s/he has good moral character.

For more information about these services, please schedule a consultation at 978-905- 9992.

Abandoning Permanent Residency – Some Remedies

As a brief overview, a lawful permanent resident who has remained outside the United States for longer than one year will require a new immigrant visa to enter the United States and resume permanent residence. A provision exists under U.S. visa law for the issuance of a returning resident special immigrant visa to an LPR who remained outside the United States due to circumstances beyond his/her control. Under provisions of immigration law, to qualify for returning resident status, the following must be established:

• The LPR had the status of a lawful permanent resident at the time of departure from the United States;
• The LPR departed from the United States with the intention of returning and have not abandoned this intention; and
• The LPR is returning to the United States from a temporary visit abroad and, if the stay abroad was protracted, this was caused by reasons beyond your control and for which you were not responsible.

Further, the Applicant must provide their local Embassy or Consulate with the following evidence:
• A completed Application to Determine Returning Resident Status, Form DS-117
• A copy of the Applicant’s Permanent Resident Card, Form I-551
• Dates of travel outside of the United States
• Proof of ties to the United States and intention to return through family, social, and economic ties to the United States
• Proof that the protracted stay outside of the United States was for reasons beyond the Applicant’s control.

If you or your family member is in need of such services, contact us today at 978-905-9992.

Immigration Forms Completion – Helpful Hints

The U.S. immigration system can be overwhelming to navigate and understand due to the sheer complexity of the field.  To assist with this, Agarwal Law Offices has compiled a list of important tips to keep in mind when completing immigration forms.

Read the Instructions

Every USCIS form has a corresponding instruction manual. Be sure to read this entire manual before beginning the application process as it will give you a general overview of what to expect.

Use the Correct Form

Depending on the benefit you are attempting to acquire, it is most important to use the appropriate form and all supplemental forms. Be sure that these are the most updated versions of the forms as USCIS releases new forms often.

Complete All Sections

Do not leave any part of the application blank. If the answer doesn’t apply to you, simply indicate N/A or “Not Applicable.” This will ensure that USCIS does not return your application for failure to complete the application properly.

Do Not Forget to Sign

It appears like an obvious item, but too often people forget to sign their forms where indicated. Be sure to use black ink and sign and date all forms where requested.

Send the Appropriate Fee

Check the appropriate fees as these often change. Further, if applicable to your case, ensure that the base fee and any biometric fee are properly added. Make sure the check is written out to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security.”

Make a Copy

Do not send your application without a copy for your records — whether by scan or physical copy. This will ensure that you are aware of what you submitted when it comes time for review and interview of your case.

Contact USCIS or Schedule an Infopass Appointment

If you have any questions, USCIS customer service is available to assist or you can schedule an Infopass appointment at your local USCIS service center to speak with an officer in person.

For more information, contact ALO at 978-905-9992.

Political Asylum Overview

Asylum may be granted to people who are already in the United States and are unable or unwilling to return their home country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.

Affirmative Asylum

To obtain asylum through the affirmative asylum process you must be physically present in the United States.

You must apply for asylum within one year of the date of their last arrival in the United States, unless you can show:

Changed circumstances that materially affect your eligibility for asylum or extraordinary circumstances relating to the delay in filing
You filed within a reasonable amount of time given those circumstances.

Defensive Asylum

For asylum processing to be defensive, you must be in removal proceedings in immigration court with the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR).

Individuals are generally placed into defensive asylum processing in one of two ways:

They are referred to an Immigration Judge by USCIS after they have been determined to be ineligible for asylum at the end of the affirmative asylum process, or
Were apprehended (or caught) in the United States or at a U.S. port of entry without proper legal documents or in violation of their immigration status.

The Immigration Judge then decides whether the individual is eligible for asylum. If found eligible, the Immigration Judge will order asylum to be granted. If found ineligible for asylum, the Immigration Judge will determine whether the individual is eligible for any other forms of relief from removal. If found ineligible for other forms of relief, the Immigration Judge will order the individual to be removed from the United States. The Immigration Judge’s decision can be appealed by either party.

DHS Exit/Entry Report

U. S. Department of Homeland Security has released the Fiscal Year 2016 Entry/Exit Overstay Report. The report provides data on departures and overstays, by country, for foreign visitors to the United States who entered legally as nonimmigrant visitors and were expected to depart in FY16.To read the full report, refer to DHS webpage here: https://www.dhs.gov/news/2017/05/22/dhs-releases-fiscal-year-2016-entryexit-overstay-report

The report specifies that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) processed 50,437,278 in-scope nonimmigrant admissions at U.S. air and sea POEs who were expected to depart in FY16—of which 739,478 overstayed their admission, resulting in a total overstay rate of 1.47 percent. Of the more than 739,000 overstays, DHS determined 628,799 were suspected “in-country” overstays, resulting in a suspected in-country overstay rate of 1.25 percent.

Eligibility for Adjustment of Status

Adjustment of status is an application filed by an alien who is physically in the U.S. to acquire permanent resident status after his or her immigration petition has been approved without having to go abroad and apply for a visa. When an immigration petition has been filed on your behalf, the visa becomes available and you are physically in the U.S., you can submit an application to adjust status. You are also able to adjust status simultaneously with the I-130 petition when you are the spouse of a U.S. citizen, despite a visa overstay.

Application Content
Assembling the I-130 Package: (follow these assembly instructions. All supporting documents must be in English or be translated as noted here): a. Cover Letter including description of what petitioning b. Complete Form I-130 (with applicable fees) c. Complete Form I-485 (with applicable fees) d. Complete Form G-325A for both parties, signed, and dated e. Complete I-864 Affidavit of Support f. Complete I-765 Employment Authorization (if applicable and with fees) g. Complete I-131 Application for Travel Document (if applicable and with fees)

Filing Process
After submitting this package, you will be required to have your biometrics taken as part of the I-485 processing (fingerprints and photos). The beneficiary will be sent a notice in the mail to schedule an appointment at the nearest USCIS biometrics office to have their fingerprints and photos taken.

After completing your biometrics, you will be instructed to appear for an interview. You will be instructed to bring certain items, including “evidence of the relationship” which proves that your marriage is true and faithful.