Monday, December 26, 2016

Asylum or Refugee

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Is it easier to come to the U.S. and apply for asylum rather than applying for refugee status?

Question:

I am considering fleeing my home country, because I’m part of a persecuted group here, and I want to apply for refugee status to come to the United States. A friend told me, however, that the refugee application process is lengthy and difficult. He suggested I instead book a flight with a layover in the U.S. and then request asylum at the airport. Would this route be easier for me?

Answer:

Neither route is easy. Refugee classification is a long process, but you will have access to plenty of support if you are eventually successful. Applying for asylum after you have arrived in the U.S. is somewhat easier, but you must have the financial means to come to the United States and you risk being sent back to your home country if you are denied.

To become an asylee or refugee, you must refuse to return to your country of origin due to a well-founded fear that you will be persecuted based on your race, religion, nationality, social group, or political opinion. In order to request refugee status, you must have left your home country (except in special circumstances such as a disaster or war); while to apply for asylum, you must be at the U.S. border or already present in the United States.

You cannot simply “apply” to become a refugee – you must first get a referral. A referral from the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNCHR) is your best bet for getting into the U.S. Resettlement Program (USRAP), but even then only 1% of cases are referred for resettlement in a third country such as the United States. If you are referred to USRAP, it is still not guaranteed that you will be given refugee status.

Next is the refugee application process, which can also be difficult. The good news is that after you are classified as a refugee, you will be matched with agencies that can give you support. Once you have arrived in the U.S., they will line you up with low-cost housing, employment options, access to English language classes, and a cultural orientation. Asylees do not receive all these benefits.

If you do not want to go through this lengthy refugee referral process, see whether you can obtain a valid tourist visa to enter the United States. That will allow you to wait until after you have passed U.S. Customs and Border Protection and entered the U.S. to apply for asylum, which you will be able to do by mail. You should submit your application within one year of your arrival (or ideally, before your tourist visa expires). In such a case, you must foot the bill for your travel to the U.S. and find your own place to stay, and perhaps pay a lawyer to assist you in preparing a persuasive, complete application. You will not be able to legally work in the U.S. for a long time after submitting your application. If you are approved, you can stay in the U.S., but if you are denied you will be placed into removal proceedings where you will have to present a convincing case in Immigration Court. At this point, the process can be overwhelming and time-consuming and will likely require the assistance of an experienced attorney.

If you cannot get a U.S. visa and you request asylum at an entry port during a layover like your friend suggested, you may be placed into detention. Conditions there are similar to prisons. You will have to wait around a day or two until you are scheduled for a “credible fear” hearing with an asylum officer. If the officer denies your request, you will be sent home immediately. If the officer decides that you indeed fear persecution, you will have less than a week to convince an immigration judge that you are actually eligible for asylum.

If you have any questions regarding Asylum or Refugee Status or any other immigration topic,
Please contact LEGiTiGO, today

Monday, December 19, 2016

Sanctuary Cities

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A Sanctuary City is a city in the United States or Canada that has adopted a policy of protecting undocumented immigrants by not prosecuting them solely for violating federal immigration laws in the country in which they are now living illegally. ... The designation has no precise legal meaning.

When did sanctuary cities begin?
 
United States. Local governments in certain cities in the United States began designating themselves as sanctuary cities during the 1980s. The policy was first initiated in 1979 in Los Angeles, to prevent police from inquiring about the immigration status of arrestees.

What states have sanctuary cities?
 
•States. California, Connecticut, New Mexico, Colorado.
•Cities and Counties.
•Arizona. South Tucson.
•California (in addition to all counties) Alameda County. Berkley. ...
•Colorado (in addition to all counties) Arapahoe County. ...
•Connecticut (in addition to state LEAs) Bridgeport. ...
•Florida. Broward County. ...
•Georgia. Clayton County.

How many sanctuary cities are there in the United States?
 
Incredibly, there are over 200 sanctuary cities in the United States that ignore federal law when it comes to prosecuting illegal immigrants.

What are sanctuary cities in USA?
 
Sanctuary city is a name given to a city in the United States that follows certain procedures that shelters illegal immigrants. These procedures can be by law (de jure) or they can be by action (de facto).
 
If you have any questions regarding sanctuary cities or any other immigration topic,
Please contact LEGiTiGO, today

 

Monday, December 12, 2016

TPS

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As a TPS Beneficiary, How Long Is my Work Permit Good For?

Understanding the circumstances under which TPS status may be extended without the person immediately needing or receiving a new work permit.

As a Temporary Protected Status (TPS) beneficiary, you have the opportunity to receive an employment authorization document, often referred to as a work permit or EAD. The work permit has a set expiration date that is tied to your TPS status.

The expiration date on the EAD card itself can, however, be misleading. In certain circumstances, your TPS status may be extended without you immediately receiving (or needing) a new work permit. This article will explain why, and guide you in understanding how this will impact your ongoing TPS status and right to work.

The Work Permit Is Tied to Your TPS Status

When certain emergencies arise in another country, such as a war, earthquake, or civil disturbance, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) can designate that country’s citizens, if they are already present in the United States, as eligible for TPS. TPS is a temporary designation that allows its beneficiaries to live and work in the U.S. for the duration of the emergency without fear of being placed into removal proceedings for overstaying a visa. With each designation, however, the U.S. government sets an expiration date, based on how much time it thinks will pass before conditions in the country have improved enough to allow its citizens a safe return.
For more basic information visit LEGiTiGO

Depending on whether or not conditions in your native country have improved since the original TPS designation, the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security can, as the expiration date approaches, either remove the TPS designation or extend it.

If conditions remain unsafe in the country, then as a beneficiary of TPS, you may receive an extension of six, 12, or 18 months. Most of the current TPS-designated countries have been extended numerous times.

TPS Status and Your Work Permit May Be Automatically Extended

Notice of an extension of TPS designation for your country is provided in the Federal Register, which is basically a daily newspaper of the U.S. government. When the Register announces an extension of your TPS-designated country, it will also explain all the details required to renew TPS, and how it will impact your right to continue working.

You can expect such an announcement within the few months before your EAD expires. To access the register, go to www.federalregister.gov and enter the search terms “TPS” and the name of your country. You can also check the Temporary Protected Status page of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website for any updated deadlines and dates of a possible re-extension.

It is important to keep track of when your TPS status expires, and to check the Register and the USCIS website to make sure you will have an opportunity to renew it and find out when the renewal period will open. Often, the renewal window for TPS is short, and will require you to act quickly to ensure that you can maintain your TPS status and continue legally working.

If TPS Is Automatically Extended, Work Permit Continues to Be Valid

If you have any questions regarding TPS or any other immigration topic,
Please contact LEGiTiGO, today

Monday, December 5, 2016

Provisional Waivers

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Question:

I am excited about the provisional waiver process, because I have been waiting for years to apply for a green card through my U.S. citizen husband. I am pregnant, however, and worried that my visa interview will be scheduled when I’m due to deliver or caring for a newborn. Is there any way to hurry the interview up? I am willing to pay extra.


Answer:

There's no premium processing option, but you may be able to request an expedited decision.

Everyone applying to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for a provisional or stateside waiver on Form I-601A is naturally eager for a quick decision so that the National Visa Center can schedule the visa interview at the consulate abroad. Although USCIS (as of February 2015) has never released its standard processing times for this application, the goal of the USCIS National Benefits Center is to make a decision within 90 days.

Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that you will receive a decision on your waiver application within 90 days, and it is not uncommon for USCIS to take longer than that to make its decision. Moreover, there is no guaranteed way to bring about quicker action by USCIS. Unlike with some immigration applications, no arrangement exists by which you can pay a “premium processing” fee to guarantee speedy handling of your I-601A stateside waiver application.

Your only hope is to make a request to have your waiver request “expedited.” Such requests are not granted very often. They require a very good reason for making the request, such as a medical, humanitarian, or similar emergency, or the possibility of severe financial loss to a business or a person. Pregnancy, particularly if it involves possible complications, is among the issues which U.S. immigration authorities have considered in other expedite cases – but again, nothing is guaranteed. This is a “discretionary” decision, meaning USCIS is free to make its own judgment about who deserves what.

To ask for an expedite, you can either submit a cover letter with your waiver application requesting the expedite, or send it later, via the USCIS National Customer Service Center (NCSC) at 1-800-375-5283.

With your expedite request, you will need to provide documentary proof of any facts that you are claiming. In your situation, for instance, you would need to provide a letter or records from your doctor verifying the pregnancy and detailing any expected complications that could make it difficult for you to travel later. Be aware that if the wait is already long enough, USCIS may figure that your child will be plenty old enough to travel by the time you are scheduled for a visa interview.
And in the meantime, the fact that you are in the U.S. and presumably with your U.S. spouse makes your case less likely to gain approval than that of someone who is separated from close family.

If you have any questions regarding Provisional Waivers or any other immigration topic,
Please contact LEGiTiGO, today

Monday, November 28, 2016

Permanent Resident vs. Citizen

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Permanent Resident vs. Citizen: What's the Difference?

Lawful Permanent Resident:

A lawful permanent resident is someone who has been granted the right to live in the United States indefinitely. Permanent residents are given what’s known as a “green card,” which is a photo ID card
that proves their status. (But it is no longer a green.)

Permanent residence includes the right to work here and to petition for close family members (your spouse and unmarried children) to receive permanent residence and join you. However, your family
members will be considered “preference relatives,” meaning that only a limited number of immigrant visas are available to people in this category per year, and so they are likely to spend five or more years on a waiting list before being allowed to enter or remain in the United States or get a green card.

Permanent residents continue to remain the citizen of another country. So every time you travel outside the United States, you must carry the passport of that country as well as your green card. 
You will use your green card to reenter the United States. There are important limitations on lawful permanent residents’ rights, however. You do not have any rights to vote in U.S. elections. If you leave the United States with the intention of making your home elsewhere, you will be considered to have abandoned your residence and given up your green card.


U.S. Citizen:

People can become U.S. citizens by birth in the United States, through U.S. citizen parents
(depending on the laws in effect at the time of their birth), or through the process known as naturalization.

A U.S. citizen is eligible to receive a U.S. passport, which is issued by the U.S. State department.
Many countries allow visa-free travel for U.S. citizens.

A U.S. citizen can leave and reenter the U.S. at any time without being subject to the grounds
of inadmissibility or requiring a reentry permit. There are no restrictions on the number of days
you can remain outside the United States.

U.S. citizens can vote in U.S. federal and local elections, hold certain government jobs, and serve on juries. Many federal and state government grants, scholarships and benefits are available only to U.S. citizens.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Employer Sponsor

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Can an employer sponsor their employee for immigration and do I need an attorney for this?
 
Submitted by Carlos Borja on Sat, 11/12/2016 - 05:40.
 
Answer:

Yes, a U.S. employer can sponsor an employee for immigration -- either for a temporary work visa (such as an H-1B) or for permanent residence (a green card). The employer would initiate the process, and the employee would submit various applications and likely attend an interview at a U.S. consulate or U.S. immigration office in order to complete it.
 
The process is not likely to be quick or easy, however. It may involve long waits, in categories where limited numbers of visas or green cards are available each year. And you will have to pay the same amount as you would have paid an American worker.
 
U.S. immigration law is notoriously complex. Most of the employment-based categories are for professional-level or skilled workers. Depending on what category of visa or green card your prospective workers applies for, both you and the worker are likely to have to submit extensive proof of things like the job requirements, the applicant's qualifications, and so on.
What's more, if you wish to sponsor the person for a green card, you will in most cases have to conduct a complete recruitment and hiring process first, to make sure that no U.S. workers are capable of and willing to take the job.
 
For more information on eligibility and application procedures for green cards based on work, see "Employment-Based Green Cards."
 
Petitioning for a foreign-born person to receive a nonimmigrant (temporary) visa takes less time and doesn't require the same recruitment efforts, but comes with complications of its own. For example, in the H-1B category, so many people apply that the available visas run out early in the fiscal year.
Submit question "Temporary (Nonimmigrant) Work Visas" at LEGiTiGO for more information.
 
Hiring an immigration attorney to analyze whether you have job openings that might qualify a foreign-born person for a visa and help with the process will save you a great amount of time, and prevent wasted efforts.

 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Generations

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Question:

I am a naturalized U.S. citizen, and my daughter, who is 17, still lives in
our native country. She has a one-year child out of wedlock. If I sponsor
my daughter for a U.S. green card, can she bring her daughter in as well?

Answer:

Unfortunately, the answer is “no” (but read to the end of this article for
alternative strategies
). This is because of a technical (and often illogical)
aspect of immigration law, to do with which immigrating relatives can bring
their own “derivatives” (spouse and minor children) to the United States with
them on the same application.

In cases of immediate relative relationships (which include the spouse, parents,
and unmarried, minor children of U.S. citizens), derivatives are never allowed.
The U.S. citizen must be able to directly file a visa petition (Form I-130) for every
person that he or she wishes to help immigrate. In order to do that, however,
the citizen’s relationship with the “beneficiary” of the petition must be recognized
as a qualifying one under U.S. immigration law. And the law simply does not recognize
grandchildren of U.S. citizens as having a qualifying relationship for I-130 filing and
green-card eligibility purposes.

As we mentioned above, however, there are strategies that might help your daughter
avoid separation from her child, though it means her path to a green card will take
longer.

The first is for your daughter to wait until she is 21 or over for her to immigrate.
In that case she will not be an “immediate relative,” but instead be classified in the
“family first preference” (F1) visa category. Preference relatives are legally allowed
to bring their derivatives (spouse and ummarried minor children) with them to the
United States. The down side to this strategy is that there is an annual limit on F1 visas,
as a result of which a waiting list has developed, and it will likely take several years
after you file the I-130 for her to be able to move forward with a green card application.
You’d need a lawyer’s help to work out the details of timing this correctly.

Another, similar possibility is to wait until your daughter gets married, in which
case she would be classified under the “family third preference” (F3) visa category.
Because this, too, is not an “immediate relative” category, she would be able to bring
her spouse and child. But the waiting list in this category tends to be even longer than
in F1.

These are complex strategies, so again, your best bet would truly be to consult with
an immigration attorney for a full analysis and help in properly preparing and filing
the paperwork, and working out how best to time the whole process.

If you have any questions regarding topic or any other immigration topic,
Please contact LEGiTiGO, today

Monday, November 7, 2016

Neighbors

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Question:

What happens after someone advises the immigration authorities that an immigrant is undocumented.

I have been living and working in the U.S. for about six years, after entering illegally. I am married to another undocumented person, and we have two daughters, born in the United States. The problem is that our neighbor, who is an angry person, doesn’t like us, mostly because she thinks that our cat digs up her garden. She keeps threatening to call the immigration agents and have us deported. If she does call them, what will happen to us?

Answer:

You are indeed at risk that your neighbor will contact U.S. immigration authorities (specifically,
Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE). However, nothing will happen immediately or
automatically.

First, there is the question of whether ICE will act on this tip. They do not have the resources to
follow up on every tip they get. They might simply ignore it. Or, ICE might take a closer look and choose to exercise what’s called “Prosecutorial Discretion.”

This means that they examine your situation — your history of responsible work and family life in
the U.S., and your family ties to U.S. citizens (namely your daughters) -- and hopefully decide not
to initiate removal (deportation) proceedings against you. The idea is that they are supposed to
direct government resources at people who have committed crimes or are otherwise negative forces
in U.S. society. Even if they’ve already set these court proceedings in motion, they can close them on
the basis of Prosecutorial Discretion.

If ICE does decide to attempt to remove you, ICE agents may arrest you and/or your wife.

This agency’s history of making sure that children are cared for in such a situation is not great, so make sure your children know where to go and who to contact if you are not at home when expected. It might be wise to consult an immigration attorney in advance about your situation, so that you have already lined up someone who can start acting on your behalf and figure out where you are being held.

After an arrest, you will most likely be charged with being deportable, released on bond, and then told to appear in Immigration Court on a certain day. A document called the “Notice to Appear” or NTA will describe the charges against you (that you’re in the U.S. unlawfully, most likely) and give you a date for your first court appearance, called a “Master Calendar” hearing. If you have any defenses to deportation, you can then ask for a full court hearing at a later date (called a “Merits Hearing.”)

If you have any questions regarding this type of concern or any other immigration topic,
Please contact LEGiTiGO, today

Monday, October 31, 2016

New Immigration fees

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Will my immigration fees increase?



IMMIGRATION IMPACT USCIS FEES:

Fees for immigration transactions will increase by an average of 21 percent beginning on December 23, 2016.

Applications or petitions mailed, postmarked, or otherwise filed on or after December 23, 2016 must include the new fees.

While the fees for some petitions will remain the same, others will see significant increases. According to USCIS, the fee increase was necessary because the agency did not receive additional Congressional appropriations to cover the costs associated with the Refugee, Asylum, and International Operations Directorate (RAIO), the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) program (other than what user fees cover), and the Office of Citizenship. USCIS assumed it would continue to receive Congressional appropriations for these programs, but the funding didn’t materialize.

Without the funding from Congress, the agency will have to cover all costs with money generated from increased fees. For many years advocates have argued that user fees cannot be expected to cover USCIS’s entire budget and that Congress needs to appropriate additional funds. But instead we see a 21 percent increase in fees.

A full list of the new fees is available upon request from LEGiTiGO, but here are a few highlights:
Although certain naturalization applicants will receive reduced fees, the cost of various naturalization-related forms will increase significantly. This may present a barrier to naturalization, or to obtaining documents proving citizenship, for some people who cannot afford the new fees.
◾There is a new three-level fee for naturalization applications (Form N-400). The standard fee will increase from $595 to $640 (not including the biometrics fee). A reduced fee of $320 will be charged to naturalization applicants with family income greater than 150 percent but not more than 200 percent of federal poverty guidelines. No fee will be charged to certain applicants with military service or with approved fee waivers.
◾The fee for an Application for Certificate of Citizenship (N-600) will increase from $600 to $1,170. The fee for the Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document (N-565) will increase from $345 to $555.

The fees for immigrant investors will increase significantly. This could make the U.S. less appealing for people looking for investment opportunities.
◾An Application for Regional Center Designation under the Immigrant Investor Program will be increased from $6,230 to $17,795, and a new fee of $3,035 is created to process the annual certification of a Regional Center (Form I-924A).
◾The fee for an Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur (I-526) will increase from $1,500 to $3,675.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Expired Visa


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If my visa has run out but my I-94 hasn’t, when do I need to leave the U.S.?

Question:

I’m here in the U.S. on an H-1B visa, which I just realized ran out last week. But my I-94 shows that I have three years to stay and work in the United States. Have I done something wrong? Do I need to renew the visa?

Answer:

The date on your I-94 is the one to go by.
No need to panic, you have not done anything wrong. Contrary to widespread misperception, a “visa” is simply a U.S. entry document. The date on it literally shows the last date upon which you could show up at a U.S. airport or border and request entry. It has nothing to do with the date by which you must leave the United States.

As you were probably figuring, the date you must leave the U.S. is that entered by the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer who met you at the U.S. airport or border. He or she would have put the date on your Form I-94 card (Arrival/Departure Record). Before April 2013, all nonimmigrants visiting the U.S. received a paper I-94. After this date, the vast majority of U.S. visitors will not receive a card and can instead access this information online

It is not uncommon for a visa to run out before the I-94 does (except in cases of multiple entry visitor visas, which typically last for several years). You are completely within your rights to stay within the U.S. until the date on your I-94.

If your employer wants to keep you on longer than three years, you should be able to apply to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for a “extension of status.” Upon approval, USCIS will issue a new I-94, with a date even farther into the future. (Be sure to submit this application at least three months before your I-94 will expire, to give USCIS time to process it.)

One thing you should be aware of, however, is that if you leave the U.S. and your visa has expired, you will need to get a new visa for U.S. reentry. The exception is if you’re going to Canada or Mexico on a pleasure trip for a visit of fewer than 30 days, in which case, as an H-1B visa holder, your valid I-94 and passport are enough. This is called “automatic visa revalidation.” It is not available to nationals of Iran, Syria, Sudan, or Cuba.

Renewing a visa requires going to the U.S. consulate, preferably in your home country, to apply. As long as you have maintained your status in the U.S., and received approval from USCIS for any extension , this should not be a problem – but allow some time for this step, just in case. Bring the USCIS Form I-797 notice, a copy of the visa petition filed by your employer, and the usual visa application documents, passport photos, fees, and your passport, valid for at least six months beyond the date you will leave the United States. You will likely need to make an appointment with the consulate.

Consult with an experienced immigration attorney if you have any questions, or need help preparing any application paperwork.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Small Business

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Question:

Is It Illegal for an Undocumented Immigrant to Start a U.S. Business?


I’m in the U.S. with no immigration papers, and have been helping my aunt in her restaurant. Now I’d like to branch out on my own, with a food truck. How much legal trouble will this get me into?

Answer:


Welcome to one of the great unresolved questions of immigration law. You’re asking the same question as thousands of other undocumented business owners probably did. Many of them went ahead and started businesses anyway – and have, for the most part, encountered few barriers from government regulators, banks and institutional lenders, or even the immigration enforcement authorities.

Here’s the deal: U.S. immigration law (which is federal, meaning it’s followed throughout the country), does not say anywhere that an undocumented immigrant is barred from owning a business. The law makes being in the U.S. without permission unlawful by itself, of course; this act is punishable by deportation and various bars on return to the U.S. after removal or other departure.  But there have been cases where an undocumented person was caught in the U.S. and business ownership was actually viewed as a point in their favor when defending against deportation.

The law also makes it illegal for someone to employ an undocumented worker.  This comes from the Immigration Reform and Control Act, or IRCA (found at 8 U.S. Code Section 1324a.) Businesses that hire undocumented workers  may be sanctioned with fines, asset forfeitures, and in instances of repeated violations, criminal arrest. But the enforcement authorities have apparently not tried to use this section of IRCA to argue that a business owner is employing him- or herself. (Still, it could happen.)

The bottom line is that no lawyer can confidently tell you that it is illegal to start a business if you are an undocumented person in the U.S. – and by the same token, no lawyer can advise you to go ahead and do so. (That shouldn’t stop you from consulting a lawyer to find out the latest word on this matter, however, and whether you might have other options to regularize your immigration status.)

Whatever you do, make sure to abide by other U.S. laws governing small businesses, such as those regarding permits, health codes, labor laws, and so forth. Submit your questions for “Small Business” in LEGiTiGO’s website for more information.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Fee Waiver

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Can my family ask USCIS to waive the green-card application fees?

Question:

I’m a U.S. citizen who just got married to a woman from Mexico.  She has three Mexican-born young children from a past husband. They all came to the U.S.  a few years ago, on tourist visas. I want to help my new family get green cards, but I don’t have enough for the adjustment of status application fees – it adds up to hundreds of dollars! Can we get a fee waiver so we don’t have to pay?

Answer:

There are some applications for which it’s possible to ask U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to waive the fees -- but this isn't one of them. USCIS will not even consider a fee waiver request for Form I-485 if it's from an applicant who must prove that he or she is not likely to become a public charge – that is, receive need-based government assistance (including what many people call “welfare”)

The trouble is, every family-based applicant for U.S. lawful permanent residence (a green card) faces the challenge of proving that it’s unlikely he or she will become a “public charge.” Those who fail in this task are considered "inadmissible," or ineligible for a U.S. green card.

In order to prove that an applicant is unlikely to become a public charge, the U.S. citizen petitioner is required to submit an “Affidavit of Support” on USCIS Form I-864, showing the ability and willingness to support the immigrants (and any other dependents) at 125% or more of the U.S. Poverty Guidelines.

It sounds like, from what you’ve described, you would need to show sufficient income to support a family of five. The required amount changes every year, but you can expect to have to show an income of over $30,000 a year.

Are you and your new family stuck? Possibly not, but your best bet is likely to find a friend or family member who is willing to help out financially and sign an additional Form I-864 for your wife and stepchildren. That’s a lot to ask of someone, as described in “What Sponsors Should Know Before Signing Form I-864 Affidavit of Support.”

While you’re at it, you might want to ask that person to lend you money for the application fees.  The good news is that as soon as you have submitted the adjustment of status applications, your wife will be able to receive a U.S. work permit, so perhaps could contribute to the family income. Her income will count toward yours, in this situation.

For more information on this entire process, consult an experienced immigration attorney. (Yes, attorneys cost money too, but they usually charge flat fees in this type of case, so you can plan ahead – and maximize your chances that the cases will be approved.)

Monday, October 3, 2016

Green Card Info

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Can I as a Permanent Residents Vote?
 
 
Answer:
 
One of the most important privileges of democracy in the United States of America is
the right to participate in choosing elected officials through voting. As a Permanent
Resident you can only vote in local and state elections that do not require you to be
a U.S. citizen.
 
It is very important that you do not vote in national, state or local elections that require a voter to be a U.S. citizen when you are not a U.S. citizen. There are criminal penalties for voting when you are not a U.S. citizen and it is a requirement for voting. You can be removed (deported) from the U.S. if you vote in elections limited to U.S. citizens.
 
Becoming a permanent resident of the United States is a wonderful thing, however,
all Legal Permanent Residents should remember that they must maintain their status at
all times. Your status in the United States is not guaranteed and certain actions may
cause you to lose your green card status or be deported from the United States.
 
Do Not Vote Unless You Are a U.S. Citizen
 
When applicants obtain green cards in the U.S., this entitles them to apply for a driver’s license. In  many states, when individuals apply for driver’s licenses, they are asked if they would like to register to vote.
 
Many immigrants understandably assume at this point that they are entitled to vote because voter registration has been offered to them. They register to vote and, in some cases, actually vote in national and local elections.
 
When these individuals apply for citizenship at a later date, they are asked if they have ever registered to vote or voted in an election. Since only citizens are allowed to vote in the U.S., voting or even registering to vote may be grounds for denial of an application for citizenship and revocation of a green card. When a green card is revoked, the individual may be placed in deportation proceedings.
 
If you have any questions regarding permanent residency or any other immigration
topic, please contact LEGiTiGO, today
 

 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Millennial Latino Voters

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How will the Latino Vote effect the elections in 2016


Millennials Make Up Almost Half of Latino Eligible Voters in 2016
Youth, Naturalizations Drive Number of Hispanic Eligible Voters to Record 27.3 Million

Hispanic millennials will account for nearly half (44%) of the record 27.3 million Hispanic eligible voters projected for 2016—a share greater than any other racial or ethnic group of voters, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.

The large footprint of Latino millennial eligible voters reflects the oversized importance of youth in the U.S.-born Latino population and as a source of Latino eligible voter growth. The median age among the nation’s 35 million U.S.-born Latinos is only 19 (Stepler and Brown, 2015), and Latino youth will be the main driver of growth among Latino eligible voters over the next two decades. Between 2012 and 2016, about 3.2 million young U.S.-citizen Latinos will have advanced to adulthood and become eligible to vote, according to Pew Research Center projections. Nearly all of them are U.S. born—on an annual basis, some 803,000 U.S.-born Latinos reached adulthood in recent years.

This is by far the largest source of growth for the Hispanic electorate, but it is not the only one. The second-largest source is adult Hispanic immigrants who are in the U.S. legally and decide to become U.S. citizens (i.e., naturalize). Between 2012 and 2016 some 1.2 million will have done so, according to Pew Research Center projections. Another source is the outmigration from Puerto Rico. Since 2012, some 130,000 more Puerto Ricans have left the island than moved there. Florida has been the biggest recipient of these Puerto Rican adult migrants—all of whom are U.S. citizens and eligible to vote in U.S. elections

Monday, September 19, 2016

J1 to Green Card

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Can I apply for a green card from J-1 status?


Question:

I’m a visiting scholar, in the U.S. on a J-1 visa. I see that many job opportunities exist in my field, and would like to remain in the United States. Is it possible for me to next apply for a U.S. green card?


Answer:


J-1 visas, like all nonimmigrant visas, are meant to be short-term and temporary. They are intended only for people who plan on returning home once they have completed their participation in the U.S. exchange program. And remember that the whole purpose of the exchange program system is to foster mutual understanding, so that when you go back to your home country, you will bring greater knowledge of the U.S. with you.

Nevertheless, possibilities to apply for a green card from J-1 status do exist. For guidance as to categories of green cards and your potential eligibility, visit LEGiTiGO." Should you decide to apply for a green card before your U.S. exchange program is finished, the U.S. government will allow you to keep J-1 status while pursuing a green card, if and only if you are able to convince it that you did not intend to get a green card when you originally applied for the J-1 visa and that you will return home if you are unable to secure a green card before your exchange visitor status expires.

Proving these things can be difficult. If you do not succeed, your J-1 visa may be taken away. What’s more, some program sponsors have been known to withdraw J-1 privileges after an exchange visitor has applied for a U.S. green card.

The most serious problem that may arise if you apply for a green card from J-1 status is that your J-1 visa may, like many, have been granted subject to the two-year home residency requirement. If you choose an exchange visitor program that carries this requirement, it means that you must return to your home country and remain there for at least two years before you are eligible to apply for a green card.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Green Card through Marriage

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Cómo obtener la residencia permanente por matrimonio (green card)
 
El matrimonio es la forma más común de obtener la residencia permanente,
también conocida como green card o tarjeta verde. Es, también, una de las más rápidas.
 
Lee estos puntos para saber quién puede pedir, cómo hacerlo, tiempos de demora,
viajes mientras se espera, requisitos económicos, problemas y causas que hacen
imposible para el pedido obtener la green card.
 
Si por el contrio lo que se desea es, simplemente, visitar a un novio/a en Estados Unidos,
 
1.  Quiénes pueden pedir la residencia para sus esposos
 
 Pueden pedir la residencia para sus esposos:
 
• Los ciudadanos americanos. Y, por supuesto, también los puertorriqueños,
  tanto los que viven en la Isla como los que residen en uno de los 50 estados.
• Los residentes permanentes legales.
 
Las peticiones se pueden hacer en los casos de matrimonios formados por
un hombre y una mujer o entre dos personas del mismo sexo.
 
• Si el residente se convierte en ciudadano después de presentar la petición
   para el cónyuge pero antes de que éste obtenga la tarjeta de residencia debe
   notificar ese cambio mediante una carta.
• Y estos son los delitos que descalifican a ciudadanos y residentes
   para pedir a un familiar.

2.  El matrimonio no puede ser falso (de conveniencia)
 
El Servicio de Inmigración y Ciudadanía (USCIS, por sus siglas en inglés),
sabe que hay matrimonios por conveniencia y tiene personal entrenado para
detectarlos. Si te agarran, tiene consecuencias.
 
• Si el matrimonio se celebra fuera de Estados Unidos, estas son las reglas
• En los casos de los matrimonios homosexuales, estos son los estados donde
   se pueden casar. También se incluyen tribus nativas y países latinos.
•¿Víctima de un matrimonio de conveniencia? Así se denuncia
 
3.  Ingresos económicos suficientes para patrocinar 
 
No es suficiente ser ciudadano americano o residente permanente para ser exitoso
en la obtención de la tarjeta de residencia para el cónyuge. Hay que tener recursos
económicos que el USCIS considera que son suficientes. Ya que tienen que firmar
un affidavit of support (declaración de sostenimiento económico).
 
Este problema surge principalmente en dos situaciones:

• Solicitantes jóvenes que todavía estudian o tienen un salario bajo.
• Solicitantes ciudadanos que han pasado muchos años o toda su vida
   en el extranjero y ahora regresan a USA y no pueden probar recursos suficientes.
 
 
Para informacion mas en detalle contactar a LEGiTiGO
 
 


Monday, September 5, 2016

TPS

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COMO PUEDEN REINSCIBIRSE AL TPS

Cada caso migratorio es distinto. Por favor consulten con un abogado de inmigración
para recibir asesoría legal personalizada antes de comenzar cualquier trámite.

El Departamento de Seguridad Nacional de Estados Unidos (DHS, por sus siglas en inglés)
la semana pasada anunció la extensión del programa de Estatus de Protección Temporal
(TPS, siglas en inglés) para El Salvador.

Se estima que hay aproximadamente 195.000 salvadoreños actualmente protegidos bajo el TPS
que podrían ser elegibles para la reinscripción del TPS.

El período de reinscripción para salvadoreños comienza el viernes, 8 de julio del 2016 y terminará
el martes, 6 de septiembre del 2016.

Si están actualmente en el TPS, deben reinscribirse durante este periodo, sino pueden perder el TPS.
La reinscripción les permitirá permanecer legalmente en los Estados Unidos otros 18 meses desde
el 10 de septiembre del 2016 hasta el 9 de marzo del 2018.

Además, la validez de los permisos de trabajo bajo el TPS que expiran el 9 de septiembre del 2016
serán automáticamente extendidos hasta el 9 de marzo del 2017.

Proceso y costos del TPS

Aún no hay señales de cuando puede llegar a darse una reforma migratoria.
Por eso, es importante que toda persona elegible para el TPS se reinscriba para
mantener su estatus legal mientras esperamos un cambio en las leyes de inmigración
que ofrezcan un camino definitivo a la residencia permanente.

Para reinscribirse, salvadoreños deben someter los Formularios I-821 e I-765  y enviar
los honorarios correspondientes al Servicio de Ciudadanía e Inmigración de Estados Unidos
(USCIS, por sus siglas en inglés).

Actualmente, el costo total es de $465 dólares. De ese monto, $85 son para las huellas dactilares
y $380 para el permiso de trabajo.

Pedir el permiso de trabajo es opcional. Sin embargo, siempre hay que enviar ambos formularios
para reinscribirse al TPS. Si llega a necesitar el permiso más adelante, puede solicitarlo enviando
los $380 dólares para que se lo procesen.

Si no tiene suficiente dinero para hacer el trámite porque está desempleado, gana menos del nivel
de pobreza o recibe beneficios públicos como Medi-Cal, Medicaid o estampillas de comida,
podría ser elegible para solicitar una exención de pago usando el Formulario I-912.

Si necesita renovar su permiso de trabajo, envíe su solicitud de renovación inmediatamente
para que el USCIS le de un nuevo permiso de trabajo antes del 9 de septiembre del 2016,
cuando vence el permiso actual.

Para evitar problemas con su empleador, impriman una copia de la notificación oficial de
la extensión del TPS para mostrarle que su permiso de trabajo ha sido automáticamente extendido.

Monday, August 29, 2016

DV

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AS A NONCITIZEN WOMAM WHO'S A VICTIM OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE,
WHAT HELP CAN I GET?
 

Question:
 
I overstayed my visa and have been living in the U.S. without authorization.
My partner has recently been charged with domestic violence-related offenses
against me. I recently heard that there might be a way for me to get my green
card or a visa to stay in the U.S. legally. How do I go about applying for legal status?
 
Answer:
There are many great organizations out there that provide free or low-cost advice
and services to victims of domestic violence. Generally, these organizations do
NOT require proof of citizenship or legal immigration status and may be able to
help you with a number of helpful resources. Check the Internet, Yellow Pages,
reference librarians, or with local social services workers to find nonprofits or
charities that serve women or immigrants.
 
In addition, you may be eligible to apply for a green card under the
Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) or for a U visa as a victim of a serious crime
in order to obtain legal status in the United States.
 
If you were legally married to your U.S. citizen or permanent resident partner and
you were abused during the marriage, your best bet will be to apply for
permanent residence (or a “green card”) under VAWA. VAWA will allow you to apply
for permanent residence without the cooperation of your spouse. You do NOT have to
be a woman to benefit from VAWA; men who were abused by their wives may also
benefit from this law.
 
Unfortunately, if you were not married to your partner at some point
(or if it is or was a same-sex marriage) or your partner is (or was) not a U.S. citizen
or permanent resident, you are not eligible to apply for a green card under VAWA.
You may be able to apply for a U visa, however, if you can show that you have suffered
serious mental or physical injury and are helping law enforcement to prosecute
the crimes against you. U visas are valid for up to four years and may be extended if
circumstances warrant it.
 
For a more detailed discussion of whether it is best to apply for a green card under
VAWA or a U visa.... Contact LEGiTiGO

Monday, August 22, 2016

K-1 Visa single entry

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Can a fiance on a K-1 visa make a quick trip to Canada or Mexico?          

 
    
I’m in the U.S. on a K-1 fiance visa, which I’ve read is good for only one entry into the United States. But to get ready for the wedding, a friend of mine wants to take me shopping in Toronto, Canada. Someone told me that that’s okay, that I can come back again based on my fiance visa. Is that true?


Answer:

 
For once, the rumors are true: Although the K-1 visa is single entry, its holder can take advantage of a concept called “automatic revalidation.” That means that you can take a short trip – of up to 30 days -- to either Canada or Mexico, without having to give up your I-94 when you leave.
But you’ll definitely need to take a copy of your Form I-94, as well as your passport. (For extra safety, make copies of both and leave them with a friend in the U.S.) So long as you are within the time limit on the I-94 when you ask to come back, and haven’t become inadmissible to the U.S., you should be allowed reentry for the balance of the time remaining on your I-94.

This possibility comes from the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations.
Any time you leave the U.S., however, you are taking a risk. A U.S. border official could be unfamiliar with this provision of the law, or not believe that you’re still planning to get married, or could decide that you have become inadmissible. Consult an experienced immigration attorney for a personal analysis. Also, you didn’t mention which country you are from, but if it’s among those that the U.S. considers to be “state sponsors of terrorism,” you will be ineligible for automatic visa revalidation. As of early 2015, that list included Iran, Syria, and Sudan.
For more information visit LEGiTiGO.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Passport




I just got asylum, but don't have a passport -- how do I travel?

Question:

A judge granted me asylum because I received death threats while working
as a journalist in my country. Now I want to continue work as a journalist
internationally, but my country's embassy refuses to renew my passport.
Is there still a way I can travel outside the United States?

Answer:

Yes, you can apply for what's called a "refugee travel document," allowing you to return to the United States after temporary travel abroad. Instructions for submitting the application can be found in LEGiTiGO's site.

You did not mention what country you are from, but that's the one country to which you should not travel. If you do, the U. S. government may decide that you no longer fear persecution there after all. If that happens, it may take away your asylum status.

If you want to travel abroad, you will need a passport. A refugee travel document is basically the equivalent of a passport for asylees and refugees who need to travel outside the U.S. temporarily. If you are a U.S. asylee or refugee, and you want to preserve your right to stay in the U.S. after traveling temporarily abroad, you must apply for a refugee travel document before you leave the United States. You can also obtain a refugee travel document if you are a lawful permanent resident (LPR) (you have a green card) as a result of having been an asylee or a refugee.

Monday, August 8, 2016

P-1, P-2, or P-3 Visa

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P-1, P-2, or P-3 Visa to the U.S.: Who Qualifies?

A short-term U.S. work visa known as the P visa is available to outstanding athletes, athletic teams, and entertainment companies (including circuses) with a job offer from a U.S. employer.



Key Features of the P Visa

Some of the advantages and disadvantages of the P visa include:
  • The P visa holder can work legally in the U.S. for the P visa sponsor. If, however, the person wants to change jobs, getting a new visa will be necessary.
  • P visas can be issued relatively quickly.
  • P visas will be granted for the length of time needed to complete a particular event, tour, or season, up to a maximum of one year. However, P-1 athletes may be admitted for a period of up to five years with one extension of up to five years. P visa holders may also be allowed some extra time for vacation, as well as for promotional appearances and stopovers incidental and/or related to the event.
  • A P visa holder may travel in and out of the U.S. or stay continuously for as long as the P visa stamp and status are valid.
  • A spouse and unmarried children under age 21 may receive P-4 visas to accompany the main P visa holder, but they may not accept employment in the United States.

Qualification Criteria for a P-1 Visa

P-1 visas are available to athletes or athletic teams that have been internationally recognized as outstanding for a long and continuous period of time. Entertainment companies that have been nationally recognized as outstanding for a long time also qualify. P-1 visas can be issued based on the expertise of a group.
In the case of an entertainment company, each performer who wishes to qualify for a P-1 visa must have been an integral part of the group for at least one year, although up to 25% of them can be excused from this one-year requirement, if need be. This requirement may also be waived in exceptional situations, where due to illness or other unanticipated circumstances, a critical performer is unable to travel.
The one-year requirement is for performers only. It does not apply to support personnel. It also does not apply to anyone at all who works for a circus, including performers.

Definition of an “Athlete”

To qualify as a P-1 athlete, the person or team must have an internationally recognized reputation in the sport. Applicants will need to demonstrate this to the immigration authorities by showing a contract with a major U.S. sports league, team, or international sporting event, and at least two of the following:
  • proof of the applicant's or team’s previous significant participation with a major U.S. sports league
  • proof of participation in an international competition with a national team
  • proof of previous significant participation with a U.S. college in intercollegiate competition
  • a written statement from an official of a major U.S. sports league or the governing body of the sport, explaining exactly how the person or team is internationally recognized
  • a written statement from the sports media or a recognized expert regarding the person's or team's international recognition
  • evidence that the person or team is internationally ranked, or
  • proof that the person or team has received a significant honor or award in the sport.

Definition of an “Entertainer”

P-1 visas are not available to individual entertainers, but only to members of groups that have an international reputation. The group must have been performing regularly for at least one year, and 75% of its members must have been performing with that group for at least a year.
When the U.S. employer files a petition on the applicant's behalf with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the employer will have to supply proof of the group’s sustained international recognition, as shown by either its nomination for, or receipt of, significant international awards or prizes, or at least three of the following:
  • proof that the group has or will star or take a leading role in productions or events with distinguished reputations
  • reviews or other published material showing that the group has achieved international recognition and acclaim for outstanding achievement in the field
  • proof that the group has and will star or take a leading role in productions or events for organizations with distinguished reputations
  • proof of large box office receipts or ratings showing the group has a record of major commercial or critically acclaimed successes
  • proof that the group has received significant recognition for achievements from organizations, critics, government agencies, or other recognized experts, or
  • proof that the group commands a high salary or other substantial remuneration.

Circuses

Circus performers and essential personnel need not have been part of the organization for one year to get a P-1 visa, provided the particular circus has a nationally recognized, outstanding reputation.

Waiver for Nationally Known Entertainment Groups

USCIS may waive the international recognition requirement for groups that have only outstanding national reputations, if special circumstances would make it difficult for the group to prove its international reputation. Such circumstances could include the group having only limited access to news media or problems based on geographical location.

Waiver of One-Year Group Membership

USCIS may waive the one-year group membership requirement for an applicant who will be replacing an ill or otherwise unexpectedly absent but essential member of a P-1 entertainment group. This requirement may also be waived if the applicant will be performing in any critical role of the group’s operation.

P-2 Visas: Participants in Reciprocal Exchange Programs

P-2 visas are available to artists or entertainers, either individually or as part of a group, who come to the U.S. to perform under a reciprocal exchange program between the U.S. and one or more other countries. All essential support personnel are included. The applicant will need to prove the legitimacy of the program by presenting a formal, written exchange agreement. In addition, a labor union in the U.S. must have either been involved in the negotiation of the exchange or have agreed to it.
The U.S. individual or group being exchanged must have skills and terms of employment comparable to the person or group coming to the United States.

P-3 Visas: Culturally Unique Groups

P-3 visas are available to artists or entertainers who come to the U.S., either individually or as part of a group, to develop, interpret, represent, teach, or coach in a program that is considered culturally unique. The program may be of either a commercial or noncommercial nature.
The P-3 applicant must be coming to the U.S. to participate in a cultural event or events that will further the understanding or development of an art form. In addition, the employer will have to submit on the applicant's behalf:
  • statements from recognized experts showing the authenticity of the person or group’s skills in performing, presenting, coaching, or teaching the unique or traditional art form and showing the basis of knowledge of the person or group’s skill, or
  • evidence that the person or group’s art form is culturally unique, as shown by reviews in newspapers, journals, or other published materials, and that the performance will be culturally unique.
Essential support personnel of P‑3 aliens should also request classification under the P-3 category. The documentation for P-3 support personnel should include:
  • a consultation from a labor organization with expertise in the area of the applicant’s skill
  • a statement describing why the support person has been essential in the past, critical skills, and experience with the principal applicant, and
  • a copy of the written contract or a summary of the terms of the oral agreement between the applicant and the employer.

Support Personnel for P-1, P-2, and P-3 Visa Holders

Highly skilled, essential persons who are an integral part of the performance of a P-1, P-2, or P-3 visa holder may also be granted P visas (with the same visa designation as the primary visa holder). These persons must perform support services that cannot be readily performed by a U.S. worker and that are essential to the successful performance of services by the P-1, P-2, or P-3 visa holder.
The support person must have appropriate qualifications to perform the services, critical knowledge of the specific services to be performed, and experience in providing such support to the P-1, P-2, or P-3 visa holder.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Green Card Holder

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Can my wife stay in the U.S. while she awaits her green card?

 

Question:

I've been a green card holder for two years. I just married my girlfriend from Romania. She was in the U.S. on a visitor's visa, which expired after we got married. I sent an I-130 visa petition to the immigration service for her, but got a letter saying it will take 180 to 760 days for them to process it. Is her stay in the U.S. legal while she waits for this?

Answer:

We've got some bad news, and then more bad news on top of that. That 180- to 760-day time estimate isn't the length of time it will take for your wife to get a green card -- it's the length of time that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services or USCIS (formerly called INS) Service Center will take to approve the visa petition. That visa petition serves only to put your wife on a green card waiting list in category "2A" -- and the average wait for a green card as a 2A is usually about five years.

It's nothing personal, the government is simply swamped with applications. These delays are a normal but horrible part of the immigration process.

In the meantime, your wife's entire stay in the U.S. is illegal now that her visa has run out. Now, she might be thinking, "Okay, I'm willing to take a chance and stay illegally during the long wait," but here's the problem.

Unless you become a U.S. citizen at some point before (or soon after) her wait is over (when it's time for her to put in her portion of the application for her green card), she won't be allowed to stay in the U.S. for the rest of the green card application process -- she'll have to go to a U.S. consulate overseas. But once she's outside the U.S., a particularly harsh law kicks in -- this law says that once the consulate discovers that she has lived in the U.S. for more than a year illegally, she'll be barred from returning to the U.S. for another ten years. (And believe us, they'll make her prove exactly where she was for the last several years.) There's a waiver she can apply for (based on showing hardship to you), but it's extremely unlikely to be approved.

As you can see, this is highly complicated stuff. It will get much easier if you become a U.S. citizen, so be sure to see LEGiTiGO's articles on how to become one

Still, there's much more to know about than we can tell you here, including the risks of being accused of fraud if you use a tourist visa to enter the U.S. and then get married. For much more detailed information, submit your questions at LEGiTiGO.

Monday, July 25, 2016

UNITED STATES WORK VISA OFFER

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Can my computer programming skills get me an H-1B visa?
 
 
 
UNITED STATES WORK VISA OFFER:  IF YOU HAVE ONE OF THESE PROFESSIONS
 
The government says that the entry will express what the Foreign Worker Program
to the United States offers Visa and work if you have one of these professions.
 
The ' Entry express' could be offered to qualified immigrants who have applied
through the federal program for skilled workers ( FSWP ) , the federal program
for skilled operations (PTSA ), the experience EU ( CEC) , and part the provincial nominee program.
 
 
0111 CFOs .
0112 Human resources managers
0113 Purchasing managers
0121 Insurance, real estate and financial brokerage managers .
0311 Managers of health services.
0711 Construction managers .
0712 Managers homebuilding and renovation.
0811 Managers in natural resources production and fishing.
0911 Managers of manufacturing.
1111 auditors and financial accountants .
1112 Financial and Investment Analysts.
1113 securities agents , investment brokers .
1114 Other financial agents.
1123 Professional occupations in advertising, marketing and public relations.
1212 Supervisors, workers in finance and insurance .
1224 Property managers .
2113 Geoscientists and oceanographers .
2131 Civil Engineers .
2132 Mechanical Engineers .
2133 Electrical engineers and electricians.
2145 Petroleum Engineers .
2171 Analysts and consultants in Information Systems .
2172 databases and data managers .
2173 Software engineers and designers.
2174 Computer programmers and interactive media developers .
2232 Technologists and technicians in mechanical engineering.
 
Temporary not apply : It will ensure that skilled immigrants are able to settle in E.U
permanently to help meet the needs of labor the country 's Immigration Minister
Chris Alexander explained that this program 'express residence ' is in force since January 1, 2015
and remains active for new skilled immigrants.