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Updated: 1 hour 26 min ago

Entrepreneur H1B

Tue, 04/16/2024 - 17:14

An H1B cannot be self-sponsored, but an H1B may be an option for certain entrepreneurs with ownership interest in a U.S. start-up, and who want to come to the U.S. to develop their business ventures. Contact us!

The post Entrepreneur H1B appeared first on Murthy Law Firm | U.S Immigration Law.

Consolidation of B-1/B-2 Interview Waiver Appointments in New Delhi

Mon, 04/15/2024 - 23:27

Starting March 2024, the U.S. Embassy in India has consolidated B-1/B-2 interview waiver appointments in New Delhi, leading to limited appointment availability at U.S. consular posts in India. Applicants, however, still can submit applications at designated centers across India. This move aims to streamline the visa process, although it may inconvenience some applicants.

Highlights of the Announcement
  • Applicants eligible for interview waivers still can apply through any of the five Visa Application Centers (VACs) located in Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, and New Delhi.
  • For a fee of INR 850 per application, applicants have the option of dropping off their documents at designated drop-off centers in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Cochin, Jalandhar, and Pune.
  • Limited availability in cities outside the capital may result in longer processing times and increased travel expenses for interview waiver applicants who then are asked to attend in-person interviews, as those interviews will be held at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi.
Conclusion

While the move to consolidate B-1/B-2 interview waiver appointments in New Delhi may enhance efficiency in some respects, it will present challenges and added costs for some applicants outside the capital region. If any additional important visa announcements are made, the details will be posted on MurthyDotCom.

 

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The post Consolidation of B-1/B-2 Interview Waiver Appointments in New Delhi appeared first on Murthy Law Firm | U.S Immigration Law.

L1B Status

Mon, 04/15/2024 - 13:20

L1B status is for specialized knowledge of an employee knowing a company’s specific processes and procedures at the foreign office to related U.S. office. You can learn more here.

The post L1B Status appeared first on Murthy Law Firm | U.S Immigration Law.

File I-130 Petition to Lock in Priority Date!

Fri, 04/12/2024 - 16:56

Long wait or short wait, the only way in line is by filing the I-130. Can you file an I-130? Should you file? How many to file? Learn more.

The post File I-130 Petition to Lock in Priority Date! appeared first on Murthy Law Firm | U.S Immigration Law.

USCIS Picks Dates for Filing for Families & Final Dates for Workers

Thu, 04/11/2024 - 12:15

The USCIS has announced they are using Filing Dates Chart for family-based I-485 cases & Final Action Dates for employment I-485s in May.

The post USCIS Picks Dates for Filing for Families & Final Dates for Workers appeared first on Murthy Law Firm | U.S Immigration Law.

I am working for a consulting firm on OPT. They told me that my case was not selected in the lottery. Is there any way for me to check online on my own to verify that they actually filed the registration for me?

Thu, 04/11/2024 - 00:16
Answer

No, only the employer and/or the attorney representing the employer can directly check to see if the registration was submitted on your behalf. You could try filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the USCIS to ask for documents related to any H1B registrations submitted for you in this year’s lottery. However, it is not clear whether the USCIS would provide anything to you. And, even if such information would be provided, it could take many months before you heard back from the USCIS. (09.Apr.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 working for a consulting firm on OPT. They told me that my case was not selected in the lottery. Is there any way for me to check online on my own to verify that they actually filed the registration for me? appeared first on Murthy Law Firm | U.S Immigration Law.

I was laid off from my employer and used almost all of my grace period before joining a new employer. If I were to be laid off again, would that mean I would only get the last few days remaining of my grace period?

Thu, 04/11/2024 - 00:14
Answer

After an H1B worker uses any portion of the grace period, that person typically is eligible for another 60-day grace period after receiving a new H1B approval. For example, if an H1B worker gets laid off and then finds a new job during the grace period and has an H1B change of employer approved, that person would then be eligible for a new 60-day grace period based on the new H1B approval. (09.Apr.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 was laid off from my employer and used almost all of my grace period before joining a new employer. If I were to be laid off again, would that mean I would only get the last few days remaining of my grace period? appeared first on Murthy Law Firm | U.S Immigration Law.

I was laid off by my H1B employer, and the company refused to pay for my return trip to India. Do I have any recourse?

Thu, 04/11/2024 - 00:10
Answer

Yes, you may file a complaint with the Wage & Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor. (09.Apr.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 was laid off by my H1B employer, and the company refused to pay for my return trip to India. Do I have any recourse? appeared first on Murthy Law Firm | U.S Immigration Law.

May 2024 Visa Bulletin

Wed, 04/10/2024 - 00:24

This afternoon, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) released the May 2024 Visa Bulletin. The employment-based categories show no forward movement from the previous month. 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

EB1 India’s cutoff date remains set at March 1, 2021, while China’s keeps its September 1, 2022, cutoff date. 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 is stuck at April 15, 2012. China’s EB2 cutoff date holds firm at February 1, 2020. The EB2 cutoff date for all other countries remains unchanged at January 15, 2023.

Employment-Based, Third Preference (EB3) Category

For EB3 India, the cutoff date holds fast at August 15, 2012. For China, the EB3 cutoff date is still set at September 1, 2020. The EB3 cutoff date for all other countries of chargeability remains at November 22, 2022.

EB3 Other Workers

In the EB3 other workers category, India’s cutoff date is still August 15, 2012. For China, the cutoff date remains unchanged at January 1, 2017. The EB3 other workers cutoff date for Philippines is still locked at May 1, 2020. For all other countries of chargeability, the cutoff date is still October 8, 2020.

Employment-Based, Fourth Preference (EB4) Category

In the EB4 category, the cutoff dates for all countries remains set at November 1, 2020. The only change from the April 2024 Visa Bulletin is that the same date now applies to EB4 for certain religious workers, as the program has once again been extended by Congress.

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 receive weekly updates sent directly to your inbox.

 

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

Preserving Continuous Residence for Naturalization while Abroad

Tue, 04/09/2024 - 22:23

Do you have a green card and have to work abroad for one year or more? You may be able to file Form N-470 to preserve continuous residence to qualify for citizenship if your employment meets certain criteria. Contact us to see if this option is right for you.

The post Preserving Continuous Residence for Naturalization while Abroad appeared first on Murthy Law Firm | U.S Immigration Law.

Murthy Snapshot: Self-Employment for F-1 OPT Students

Mon, 04/08/2024 - 16:02

A student in F-1 status with initial optional practical training (OPT) authorization may meet the employment requirements by engaging in self-employment as an alternative option from the standard employment relationship. For a student interested in such an alternative or who is otherwise interested in starting a business, here are the key points to consider:

  • It is possible to be self-employed during the first year of OPT, if the nature of the business directly relates to the student’s degree program and the student is actively engaged in the business. Self-employment is not permitted during a 24-month STEM OPT extension.
  • A self-employed student must work at least 20 hours per week.
  • The student should be able to provide details on the nature and duration of the self-employment and the hours worked for the business if requested by any government agency. It is useful to keep a journal of the business activity throughout the self-employment period as well as save all important business documents (e.g., client contracts, business marketing analysis, internal business product development).
  • Self-employment while on OPT is likely to be reviewed closely by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), depending on any future immigration benefit sought. Therefore, it is important to consider the risks and discuss the possibilities with an immigration attorney.
Your Takeaway

Self-employment can be a viable option for students who have difficulty finding traditional employment during the first year of F-1 OPT. Other alternative employment options for students are explained in the MurthyDotCom NewsBrief F-1 OPT Employment Options and Requirements for Students (07.Jul.2023), and should be discussed with a qualified immigration attorney prior to being pursued.

 

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The post Murthy Snapshot: Self-Employment for F-1 OPT Students appeared first on Murthy Law Firm | U.S Immigration Law.

MurthyAudio: Other Nonimmigrant Options

Fri, 04/05/2024 - 16:19

Many foreign nationals eagerly await results of the annual H1B lottery. Because there normally are many more applicants than available visas, Murthy Law Firm attorneys discuss strategies for filing nonimmigrant visas when H-1 and L-1 are not available options in the April 2024 podcast in our series for employers.

 

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

 

         

The post MurthyAudio: Other Nonimmigrant Options appeared first on Murthy Law Firm | U.S Immigration Law.

Murthy Snapshot: USCIS Increases Automatic Extension for Certain EAD Renewals

Fri, 04/05/2024 - 00:27

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) soon will publish a temporary final rule in the Federal Register that will increase the automatic extension period of certain employment authorization documents (EADs) while the form I-765 renewal application is pending. Here are the key points you need to know:

  • The rule will increase the automatic extension period from 180 days to 540 days for qualifying EAD renewal applications.
  • The 540-day extension will be available to an eligible EAD renewal applicant with a pending I-765 who filed the application on or after October 27, 2023, and on or before October 1, 2025.
  • The rule applies to EAD applicants in certain categories, including applicants with pending I-485 applications, asylees, and those in temporary protected status (TPS).
  • Dependent spouses in H-4 or L2S status are also eligible for an automatic extension of the EAD based on a pending renewal application, provided that the individual’s I-94 remains unexpired.
  • To be eligible for an automatic extension of an expiring EAD, the I-765 renewal application must be timely filed, and to renew an EAD in the same category.
Your Takeaway

While this rule change is beneficial to certain renewal applicants, it does not provide any benefit to those applying for initial EADs, or to applicants not eligible for the 180-day validity extension that previously was in place. We urge the USCIS to continue to address the tremendous problems created by adjudication delays.

 

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The post Murthy Snapshot: USCIS Increases Automatic Extension for Certain EAD Renewals appeared first on Murthy Law Firm | U.S Immigration Law.

Medical Exam Report is Valid Indefinitely!

Thu, 04/04/2024 - 22:39

Today, USCIS announced that Form I-693 completed on or after 01.Nov.2023, will never expire! It’s one less thing to worry about for thousands and thousands of green card applicants stuck in a lengthy immigration limbo.

The post Medical Exam Report is Valid Indefinitely! appeared first on Murthy Law Firm | U.S Immigration Law.

Travel on AP

Wed, 04/03/2024 - 14:47

An Advance Parole (AP) document must be approved prior to travel abroad and valid for entire duration of trip, or it will be abandoned and denied. Learn more.

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

Has there been any announcement about expanding the domestic visa renewal program?

Wed, 04/03/2024 - 14:23
Answer

We have not heard any details, as of yet. The only information we have heard is that the initial program was used less than initially expected – we can only assume this was because of how incredibly restrictive the program was!

As soon as any new details for expansion are provided, we will post the information on MurthyDotCom. To stay up to date on this program and other important immigration issues, please subscribe to our free MurthyBulletin. (03.Apr.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.

 

 

Copyright © 2024, MURTHY LAW FIRM. All Rights Reserved

The post Has there been any announcement about expanding the domestic visa renewal program? appeared first on Murthy Law Firm | U.S Immigration Law.

After my I-140 petition was approved, my son aged out before the priority date became current. My I-485 was recently approved, and I now plan to sponsor my son for a green card. Can I use the priority date from my old I-140?

Wed, 04/03/2024 - 14:20
Answer

Unfortunately, no, the priority date from one’s I-140 cannot be transferred to an I-130 petition. (03.Apr.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 After my I-140 petition was approved, my son aged out before the priority date became current. My I-485 was recently approved, and I now plan to sponsor my son for a green card. Can I use the priority date from my old I-140? appeared first on Murthy Law Firm | U.S Immigration Law.

My registration was selected in the lottery. Do we need to include project documents with the H1B petition?

Wed, 04/03/2024 - 14:17
Answer

There is no requirement that project documents be included with the H1B. But if you will be working at a client location, that must be listed on the LCA. Including project documents can be helpful, especially if you will be applying for a visa “stamp” at some point. The U.S. consular posts in India seem especially interested in seeing project documents for H1B cases involving consulting firms. (03.Apr.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 registration was selected in the lottery. Do we need to include project documents with the H1B petition? appeared first on Murthy Law Firm | U.S Immigration Law.

NewsFlash! USCIS Completes Selections for FY25 H1B Lottery

Mon, 04/01/2024 - 23:53

This afternoon, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that that the agency had received enough registrations for unique beneficiaries to meet the regular H1B cap and the advanced degree exemption (i.e., the master’s cap) for fiscal year 2025 (FY25). All employers that submitted online registrations have been notified, and have until the end of June 2024 to submit cap-subject H1B petitions for the selected beneficiaries.

The USCIS also reminds stakeholders that, as of today, April 1, 2024, all H1B petitions must be filed using the 04/01/24 edition of the form I-129 petition. Further, as discussed in the MurthyDotCom NewsBrief, Summary of USCIS Significant Fee Increase, Kicking in Effective 01.Apr.2024 (09.Feb.2024) the new filing fees have now gone into effect.

 

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The post NewsFlash! USCIS Completes Selections for FY25 H1B Lottery appeared first on Murthy Law Firm | U.S Immigration Law.

Options if Not Selected in the H1B Lottery

Mon, 04/01/2024 - 12:20

For those not selected in the H1B cap-subject lottery, some options are discussed in this article, including transferring to another F-1 program of study, finding cap-exempt employment or determining if another nonimmigrant option is viable. There also are options for nationals of certain countries like Chile, Singapore, Australia, Canada, and Mexico.

Background

Generally, approximately 85,000 cap-subject H1B petitions are available each fiscal year, which includes 65,000 regular H1Bs and 20,000 H1Bs for graduates of masters’ programs (or higher-level education) from nonprofit U.S. universities. Due to the large demand for H1Bs, there is an annual H1B lottery for the 85,000 available numbers.

The annual H1B lottery is an electronic registration process implemented by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to select prospective petitioners seeking to file H1B cap-subject petitions. The USCIS instituted the electronic registration process in 2020 to streamline processing of cap-subject H1B filings. The selection of a registration provides the prospective employer with an opportunity to file an H1B petition on behalf of the foreign national listed, such as an F-1 student working on F-1 optional practical training (OPT). If the USCIS does not select the employer’s registration application, eligible individuals may still have options to continue living and working in the United States.

Transfer to a Different Program of Study

Full-time students not selected in the H1B lottery and who are approaching the end of their F-1 optional practical training (OPT) or the two-year STEM OPT extension for eligible students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields, may consider transferring to another program of study. Sometimes, this option allows an individual to pursue employment authorization based on curricular practical training (CPT). Generally, F-1 students should not engage in employment during their first academic year. However, since the student has completed an academic program in the U.S. in F-1 status prior to transfer, this restriction would not apply. Therefore, an F-1 student in this scenario potentially would be eligible for an immediate grant of CPT provided all other requirements are met – most importantly that CPT is an “integral part of the established curriculum.”

Although technically permissible, the USCIS often determines that a student employed on “day one” CPT during a substantial portion of the course of study, has violated F-1 status by engaging in improperly authorized employment. The basis for such a determination is that the students are not adhering to the purpose of the F-1 visa, which is primarily to study. Based on such a determination, the USCIS may deny a future immigration benefit, such as an extension or change of status (e.g. in connection with a future request for change of status) to another valid status within the U.S.

Employment Opportunity with H1B Cap-Exempt Employer

The annual quota or limit on H1Bs does not apply to some qualifying employers who are not subject to the annual H1B limitation. H1B cap-exempt employers include institutions of higher education or related or affiliated nonprofit entities, nonprofit research organizations, and governmental research organizations. Employment with a cap-exempt employer may provide an alternative option to those foreign nationals not selected in the H1B lottery.

If, after working in H1B status with a cap-exempt employer, a foreign national decides to work with an employer that is subject to the H1B cap, then, generally, the foreign national will have to file in the H1B lottery in the future. There are exceptions, with restrictions, for those who work “at” a cap-exempt employer’s work location or if a person has concurrent H1B employment with a cap-subject and a cap-exempt employer. Those details are beyond the scope of this overview.

Countries with Qualifying Treaties with the U.S.

Some additional nonimmigrant categories may also be available to individuals who are citizens or nationals of certain countries. For example, individuals who are nationals of Chile or Singapore may be eligible for employment in H1B1 status, subject to the annual limitation of 1,400 visas for Chileans and 5,400 for Singaporeans. Unlike the H1B visa, the H1B1 visa does not carry dual intent and periods of stay are two years rather than three years at a time.

Additional categories of employment visas for foreign nationals of certain countries include the E-3 visa for Australian nationals and the TN visa for Canadian and Mexican nationals.

There are also the options of the E-1 treaty trader and the E-2 treaty investor visas for foreign nationals of certain countries with qualifying treaties with the U.S.

Other Nonimmigrant Options

Those who have worked abroad for at least a year with a qualifying organization may be able to enter the U.S. to work in the L1A or L1B status. A person may be eligible based on outstanding ability for the O-1 status, or for J-1 status. It is wise to undertake the research or consult with an immigration lawyer to go through the alphabet soup of nonimmigrant options to determine eligibility under some other nonimmigrant options.

Working Remotely from Abroad

In some cases, if no option is available to continue working from within the United States, a foreign national worker may be able to continue employment with a U.S. employer from abroad. Generally, remote employment may be a viable option for F-1 students who have exhausted their OPT and have not been selected in the H1B lottery. While U.S. immigration law does not come into play for foreign nationals working in their home country of citizenship, interested individuals are advised to consult with an international tax law attorney licensed to practice in the locality of employment, as there may be tax implications to be considered prior to starting remote work. Moreover, certain high-security jobs may require the person to be physically present in the U.S.

Conclusion

Although many foreign nationals rely on the H1B status to temporarily live and work in the United States, there are alternative options to consider if the H1B option is not available. These options may provide foreign nationals with the ability to continue working either in the United States for the U.S. employer or continue that employment while residing abroad. It is important to consider the unique facts and circumstances of each individual’s case when determining viable options for individuals not selected in the H1B lottery. The Murthy Law Firm has significant experience in assisting foreign nationals to evaluate options. We recommend a consultation with one of our knowledgeable attorneys for those wishing to explore if any option applies for you.

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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