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Updated: 2 hours 16 min ago

Murthy Snapshot: DOS Eases Nonimmigrant Visa Waiver Adjudication for U.S. College Graduates

Thu, 07/18/2024 - 17:58

On July 15, 2024, the U.S. Department of State announced updated guidance in the Foreign Affairs Manual to ease the process of obtaining a nonimmigrant waiver in certain circumstances. More specifically, this guidance applies to a foreign national who has graduated from a U.S. university, and who has a job offer in the U.S., and is now seeking a nonimmigrant waiver in order to be issued a work visa. More details on when a nonimmigrant waiver is needed, and the general process of applying, are available in the MurthyDotCom InfoArticle, Nonimmigrant Visa Waivers – Process and Criteria (05.Jun.2022).

Here are the key points you need to know about the updated guidance:
  • In determining whether to recommend the issuance of a nonimmigrant visa waiver, the DOS guidance instructs consular officers to, in general, favorably consider whether the applicant graduated from an accredited U.S. college, or has earned credentials to engage in skilled labor in the United States, and is seeking to travel to the U.S. to work in a field related to the education that the applicant attained in the U.S.
  • The updated guidance instructs officers to consider this as a factor, but it is not the only factor used in determining whether to recommend the issuance of a nonimmigrant waiver. The officer is still to consider other factors, including, but not limited to, recency and seriousness of the activity or condition that caused the individual to require the nonimmigrant waiver, whether there is a pattern of misconduct, and evidence of reformation or rehabilitation.
  • The guidance further instructs that, if the officer recommends to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Admissibility Review Office (ARO) that the nonimmigrant waiver request be granted to an applicant who graduated from a U.S. university and who is applying for a work visa, the officer also should ask for the waiver request to be expedited.
Your Takeaway:

The new DOS guidance should make it more likely that a nonimmigrant waiver will be granted for foreign nationals who attended university in the U.S. and who are seeking waiver as part of an application for a work visa, such as an H1B or L-1. It also may make the process move more quickly, which is a welcome relief. Still, this does not guarantee that the waiver will be recommended or granted. There are a number of factors that still must be taken into consideration, so, if a nonimmigrant waiver is required, it remains important to prepare a strong waiver application prior to arriving at the consular post. Visa applicants who require assistance with this process are encouraged to schedule a consultation with a Murthy Law Firm attorney.

 

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The post Murthy Snapshot: DOS Eases Nonimmigrant Visa Waiver Adjudication for U.S. College Graduates appeared first on Murthy Law Firm | U.S Immigration Law.

New DOS Visa Guidance for US College Grads

Thu, 07/18/2024 - 15:59

U.S. Department of State (DOS) announces guidance easing adjudication for nonimmigrant visa waiver requests for U.S. college graduates!

The post New DOS Visa Guidance for US College Grads appeared first on Murthy Law Firm | U.S Immigration Law.

NewsFlash! Parole-in-Place Program to Promote Family Unity to Begin 09.Aug.2024

Wed, 07/17/2024 - 23:20

The White House announced today that the parole-in-place program to promote family unity will officially launch on August 19, 2024. Applications filed prior to this date will be rejected. Details about the program should be published in the Foreign Affairs Manual in the very near future. In the meantime, a summary of the information that has been released to the public is available in the MurthyDotCom NewsBrief, Overview of Parole in Place for Undocumented Spouses of U.S. Citizens (08.Jul.2024).

 

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The post NewsFlash! Parole-in-Place Program to Promote Family Unity to Begin 09.Aug.2024 appeared first on Murthy Law Firm | U.S Immigration Law.

Will the domestic visa renewal program be reimplemented soon?

Wed, 07/17/2024 - 14:57
Answer

We still don’t have a return date for the program. But, during the national American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) meeting in June, a representative from the U.S. Department of State (DOS) indicated that the initial program was a big success and they have every intention of bringing the program back. Plus, the DOS stated that the H-4 dependents, and possibly other nonimmigrant applicants, will be eligible to apply for visa renewals when the program is reinitiated. (17.Jul.2024)

Sheela Murthy and other senior attorneys provide guidance that clarifies the law. For information on our FREE online services, click here. Access more FAQs here.

 

 

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The post Will the domestic visa renewal program be reimplemented soon? appeared first on Murthy Law Firm | U.S Immigration Law.

My H1B visa is valid through 2026, but my Indian passport expires in three months. Can I still use it to enter the U.S., or does the passport have to be valid for at least six months?

Wed, 07/17/2024 - 14:52
Answer

Generally speaking, an Indian passport may be used to request admission to the U.S., through the expiration date of the document. However, the I-94 issued at the U.S. port of entry likely will be issued only through your passport expiration date.  (17.Jul.2024)

Sheela Murthy and other senior attorneys provide guidance that clarifies the law. For information on our FREE online services, click here. Access more FAQs here.

 

 

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The post My H1B visa is valid through 2026, but my Indian passport expires in three months. Can I still use it to enter the U.S., or does the passport have to be valid for at least six months? appeared first on Murthy Law Firm | U.S Immigration Law.

I am a partner at a medium-sized generics pharmaceutical company in India. We also have a small operation in the U.S. Are there any visa categories, other than H1B, that can be used for us to bring workers to the U.S.?

Wed, 07/17/2024 - 14:49
Answer

Yes, the most likely category is L1A for managers and executives and L1B for employees with specialized knowledge. In recent years, the Murthy Law Firm has been working with a growing number of companies involved in generic pharmaceuticals to help them file L-1 petitions. The L-1 category may not be suitable for all employees, but does provide a decent amount of flexibility for bringing key employees to the United States.

Other visa categories also may be appropriate under certain circumstances (e.g., O1A for an individual with extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics). But the H1B and L-1 categories likely will be the most useful nonimmigrant options for citizens of India. (17.Jul.2024)

Sheela Murthy and other senior attorneys provide guidance that clarifies the law. For information on our FREE online services, click here. Access more FAQs here.

 

 

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The post I am a partner at a medium-sized generics pharmaceutical company in India. We also have a small operation in the U.S. Are there any visa categories, other than H1B, that can be used for us to bring workers to the U.S.? appeared first on Murthy Law Firm | U.S Immigration Law.

F2A August ’24 Visa Bulletin Jump!

Mon, 07/15/2024 - 17:59

Spouses and children of lawful permanent residents (F2A) may now be able to file an I-485 with a priority date of 6/14/24 or earlier!

The post F2A August ’24 Visa Bulletin Jump! appeared first on Murthy Law Firm | U.S Immigration Law.

Time may be Running Out to Apply for NIW Under Biden’s Initiative for STEM Applicants

Mon, 07/15/2024 - 17:28

On February 2, 2021, President Joseph Biden issued an executive order on restoring faith in the U.S. legal immigration systems and strengthening integration and inclusion efforts for new Americans. This executive order led the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to announce updated policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual explaining how the special consideration will be given to an individual in a STEM field applying for a national interest waiver (NIW), especially in areas of critical and emerging technologies, or other STEM areas important to U.S. competitiveness or national security. More details on the NIW are available in the MurthyDotCom InfoArticle, Overview of the EB2 National Interest Waiver (08.Jan.2024).

Uncertain Future of Special Consideration for STEM EB2 NIW Petitions

Although this special consideration policy is in force at the time of this writing, it is only an administrative policy, and a new president could quickly end the policy with an executive order, without Congressional action or the regulatory rulemaking process, as explained in the MurthyDotCom NewsBrief, Uncertain Future of Various Immigration Benefits (24.Jun.2024). An individual eligible to benefit from this policy may need to act quickly to do so.

Conclusion

In the United States, presidential administrations can change every four years, and with each new administration, immigration law and policy are likely to be affected. Therefore, it is important to understand which immigration laws or policies are most susceptible to change depending on the presidential administration, and to take advantage of certain policies and adjudication trends when they are in force. The Murthy Law Firm will continue to update and inform the public on immigration policies, as appropriate.

 

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The post Time may be Running Out to Apply for NIW Under Biden’s Initiative for STEM Applicants appeared first on Murthy Law Firm | U.S Immigration Law.

Always Check Your I-94 Upon Admission!

Thu, 07/11/2024 - 15:56

The Customs & Border Protection (CBP) will shorten your I-94 if your passport expires sooner. Don’t assume the end date – check it by logging into the CBP website!

The post Always Check Your I-94 Upon Admission! appeared first on Murthy Law Firm | U.S Immigration Law.

MurthyAudio: Trending Issues for L1A/L1B 

Thu, 07/11/2024 - 13:55
Trending issues in L1A/L1B filings are under discussion among Murthy Law Firm attorneys in this Employer Podcast. Topics addressed include L1A functional managers, work location changes, and proving specialized knowledge.

 

The MP3 is available here and can be found in the archive of our teleconferences and podcasts on iTunes.

 

         

The post MurthyAudio: Trending Issues for L1A/L1B  appeared first on Murthy Law Firm | U.S Immigration Law.

My H1B lottery case is pending. I have an emergency and need to fly back to India. Is it true that, if I leave, my status request will be denied?

Thu, 07/11/2024 - 00:27
Answer

Generally speaking, if a person travels while an H1B change of status petition is pending, the change of status request is considered abandoned. This means that, while the H1B petition itself can still be approved, it will only be approved for consular processing (i.e., it will not be approved with an I-94). (10.Jul.2024)

Sheela Murthy and other senior attorneys provide guidance that clarifies the law. For information on our FREE online services, click here. Access more FAQs here.

 

 

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The post My H1B lottery case is pending. I have an emergency and need to fly back to India. Is it true that, if I leave, my status request will be denied? appeared first on Murthy Law Firm | U.S Immigration Law.

I am currently on H1B status. A good friend of mine owns a business, and he has offered to have his business file a PERM case for me. Is this allowed?

Thu, 07/11/2024 - 00:24
Answer

Generally speaking, the fact that you are friends with the owner of a company would not prevent that company from filing a PERM case for you. Assuming the company has a position available for you, and otherwise meets the basic requirements, yes, it typically is allowed to sponsor you. (10.Jul.2024)

Sheela Murthy and other senior attorneys provide guidance that clarifies the law. For information on our FREE online services, click here. Access more FAQs here.

 

 

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The post I am currently on H1B status. A good friend of mine owns a business, and he has offered to have his business file a PERM case for me. Is this allowed? appeared first on Murthy Law Firm | U.S Immigration Law.

I have an H1B visa in my Indian passport. I recently became an Australian citizen. Is it possible to transfer the visa to my Australian passport, or to travel based on the visa that is in my Indian passport?

Thu, 07/11/2024 - 00:10
Answer

Unfortunately, no. There generally is no way to transfer a U.S. visa from one passport to another. In situations where you simply renew a passport issued by the same country, and you have a valid visa in your old passport, it normally is possible to travel with both the expired passport containing the valid visa and your new passport. But this normally is not permitted if the new passport is issued by a different country. (10.Jul.2024)

Sheela Murthy and other senior attorneys provide guidance that clarifies the law. For information on our FREE online services, click here. Access more FAQs here.

 

 

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The post I have an H1B visa in my Indian passport. I recently became an Australian citizen. Is it possible to transfer the visa to my Australian passport, or to travel based on the visa that is in my Indian passport? appeared first on Murthy Law Firm | U.S Immigration Law.

H1B Visa Stamp After Changing Employers

Wed, 07/10/2024 - 01:05

Do you need a new H1B visa stamp in your passport after moving to a new H1B employer? Usually not! Read our recently updated article, Validity of H1B Visa “Stamp” Following a Change of Employer.

The post H1B Visa Stamp After Changing Employers appeared first on Murthy Law Firm | U.S Immigration Law.

August 2024 Visa Bulletin

Tue, 07/09/2024 - 23:44

This afternoon, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) released the August 2024 Visa Bulletin. All cutoff dates listed refer to those in the final action chart (i.e., Chart A), unless otherwise specified.

Visa Bulletin Summary Employment-Based, First Preference (EB1) Category

There is no change in the EB1 category. EB1 India’s cutoff date remains set at February 1, 2022, while EB1 China’s cutoff date holds firm at November 1, 2022. The EB1 category remains current for all other countries of chargeability.

Employment-Based, Second Preference (EB2) Category

In the EB2 category, India’s cutoff date moves ahead to July 15, 2012. China keeps its cutoff date of March 1, 2020. The EB2 cutoff date for all other countries remains set at March 15, 2023.

Employment-Based, Third Preference (EB3) Category

The only movement in the EB3 category is for EB3 India, which advances to October 22, 2012. EB3 China’s cutoff date is still set at September 1, 2020. The EB3 cutoff date for all other countries of chargeability remains stuck at December 1, 2021.

The DOS cautions that, next month, which will be the final visa bulletin of fiscal year 2024, it likely will be necessary either to retrogress the EB3 category or make it “unavailable.” It appears the DOS is referring to countries of chargeability other than India and China.

EB3 Other Workers

Similarly, in the EB3 other workers category, India’s cutoff date moves ahead to October 22, 2012. For China, the cutoff date is still locked at January 1, 2017. The EB3 other workers cutoff date for Philippines remains unchanged at May 1, 2020. For all other countries of chargeability, the cutoff date is left unchanged at January 1, 2021.

Employment-Based, Fourth Preference (EB4) Category

In the EB4 category, the cutoff date for all countries remains set at January 1, 2021.

Employment-Based, Fifth Preference (EB5) Category

In the EB5 category, China’s unreserved (i.e., EB5 immigrant visa numbers not set aside for rural, high unemployment, and infrastructure projects) cutoff date remains set at December 15, 2015. India’s unreserved cutoff also remains unchanged at December 1, 2020. EB5 remains current for all other EB5 categories and countries of chargeability.

Conclusion

MurthyDotCom will continue to closely monitor and report on movement and predictions related to the monthly visa bulletin. Subscribe to the free MurthyBulletin to have weekly updates delivered to your inbox.

 

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The post August 2024 Visa Bulletin appeared first on Murthy Law Firm | U.S Immigration Law.

Overview of Parole in Place for Undocumented Spouses of U.S. Citizens

Mon, 07/08/2024 - 13:06

As previously discussed on MurthyDotCom, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on June 17, 2024, a proposed program to promote family unity by removing certain roadblocks towards lawful permanent residency (i.e., a “green card”) for qualifying undocumented noncitizen spouses of U.S. citizens. The program will rely on a parole-in-place policy, which will allow an undocumented individual to apply for parole without having to first depart the United States. While we await the publication of further details of the program in the Federal Register, here is what we know so far about the parole-in-place program.

Overview of Parole in Place

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) authorizes the Secretary of Homeland Security to grant parole to an individual under certain circumstances. A person who is paroled into the U.S. is not formally admitted in a particular nonimmigrant status, but instead is issued an I-94 as a parolee. One common example of the use of parole is when an adjustment of status (form I-485) applicant enters the U.S. based on an advance parole document.

Parole is normally an immigration benefit provided to a foreign national outside the U.S. who is asking to be admitted. But, for more than thirty years, various presidential administrations have also granted the benefit known as parole in place – that is, granting parole to a foreign national who is physically present in the U.S. after entering the country without having been lawfully admitted.

Benefit of Parole in Place for Undocumented Spouse of U.S. Citizen

Although a U.S. citizen can file a petition for alien relative (form I-130) for an undocumented spouse, if the spouse last entered the U.S. unlawfully, the spouse cannot concurrently apply for adjustment of status (form I-485). This is because adjustment of status requires the applicant to have been inspected and admitted or paroled into the U.S. This can be a dilemma because, upon departing the U.S., the spouse typically will trigger a three- or (more commonly) ten-year bar to returning to the U.S. due to the total unlawful presence accrued, and would require a waiver to reenter the U.S., as explained in the MurthyDotCom InfoArticle, Inadmissibility and Immigrant / Nonimmigrant Waivers  (03.Jul.2023).

The Biden Administration proposal would grant parole in place to qualifying undocumented immigrants who have been continuously present in the U.S. for at least ten years and legally married to a U.S. citizen since June 17, 2024, along with meeting certain other requirements. By granting parole in place, the lawful entry requirement for adjustment of status is satisfied, meaning that the foreign national spouse should be eligible to file the I-485 application without having to leave the U.S.

Limitations of the Parole-in-Place Program

The parole-in-place policy is only an option for an individual who previously entered the U.S. without inspection or parole. Parole in place cannot be granted to an individual who entered in valid nonimmigrant status or with a visa waiver and overstayed the admission period. Parole in place can be applied for even by an individual who is in removal proceedings, but not if that individual is an enforcement priority. Additionally, parole in place does not remove other bars to admissibility that an undocumented spouse may have (e.g., health, criminal activity, etc.). It only satisfies the lawful entry requirement for adjustment of status.

Conclusion

This new parole-in-place program is expected to be officially launched by the end of the summer. Once it is put in place, it is likely that the program will be challenged in federal court. It remains to be seen how the federal courts will view this program, and this use of executive authority. But, if it is successful, it could provide significant relief to a large number of foreign nationals who have been living in the U.S. for more than a decade.

 

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The post Overview of Parole in Place for Undocumented Spouses of U.S. Citizens appeared first on Murthy Law Firm | U.S Immigration Law.

Immigration Terms

Fri, 07/05/2024 - 19:24

Did your immigration attorney use an unfamiliar immigration term? Look it up in our immigration term glossary!

The post Immigration Terms appeared first on Murthy Law Firm | U.S Immigration Law.

Validity of H1B Visa “Stamp” Following a Change of Employer

Thu, 07/04/2024 - 14:48

In order to enter the United States in H1B status, a foreign national typically must first obtain an H1B visa foil (commonly referred to as a visa “stamp”) from a U.S. consulate or embassy. This visa stamp generally will be annotated with the name of the petitioning U.S. employer listed on the approved I-797 notice that was used to apply for the visa. This naturally leads many H1B workers to conclude that a new visa is required following a change of employer. In reality, however, as long as the H1B visa stamp is facially valid (i.e., not yet expired), it ordinarily may continue to be used following a move to a new H1B employer.

Visa Stamp Remains Valid After a Change of Employer

An H1B visa stamp in one’s passport generally remains valid through the expiration date listed on the document. Although the stamp includes the name of the employer, it is not employer-specific and the stamp may be used for any H1B travel during its period of validity. However, the H1B worker will need to affirmatively present his/her original I-797 approval notice from the new employer at the port of entry when s/he reenters the United States. This ensures that the I-94 Arrival and Departure Record will properly reflect the end date of the new employer’s H1B petition. Similarly, the validity of a dependent’s H-4 visa stamp is not impacted by a change of employer by the H1B principal worker, but the dependent should present the new H1B approval notice to ensure that he/she is admitted for the proper length of time.

Rule Does Not Apply if Visa Otherwise Revoked

The continued validity of one’s visa, of course, does not apply if the visa was otherwise revoked. While the visa cannot be revoked by an employer or former employer, there are certain situations – unrelated to a change of employer – in which a visa may be revoked, either proactively by a government official, or as a matter of law. For instance, as explained in the MurthyDotCom NewsBrief, Nonimmigrant Visa Revocation Update for Those with DUI (24.Oct.2016), a foreign national who has been arrested in the United States for drunk driving may be quickly notified that his/her visa has been revoked by the consulate. And, the NewsBrief Differences Between: Lawful Status, Period of Authorized Stay, & Unlawful Presence (19.Apr.2022) explains one way in which a visa stamp may be revoked automatically as a matter of law.

Conclusion

The need to obtain a new visa stamp from a U.S. consular post abroad in order to travel can be a real inconvenience. It therefore is helpful to recognize situations in which such an application is not necessary to help busy professionals travel and reenter the United States in H1B status.

While some aspects of immigration have changed in significant ways in the years since MurthyDotCom began publishing articles in 1994, there is much that is still the same. From time to time, clients of the Murthy Law Firm are referred to articles, like this one, which remains relevant and has been updated for our readers.

 

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USCIS Medical Exam Texts

Wed, 07/03/2024 - 20:13

If you are a green card applicant and have received a text message from the USCIS requesting that you send your medical Form I-693 ASAP, you’re not alone. Read our response to this common question.

The post USCIS Medical Exam Texts appeared first on Murthy Law Firm | U.S Immigration Law.

When might we hear word of whether there is going to be a second round of lottery selections for this year’s H1B cap?

Wed, 07/03/2024 - 19:58
Answer

We will probably know within the next month or so. Last year, the USCIS announced near the end of July that a second round of selections would be coming, and then completed those selections by August 1st. (02.Jul.2024)

Sheela Murthy and other senior attorneys provide guidance that clarifies the law. For information on our FREE online services, click here. Access more FAQs here.

 

 

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The post When might we hear word of whether there is going to be a second round of lottery selections for this year’s H1B cap? appeared first on Murthy Law Firm | U.S Immigration Law.

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