Archive for the ‘ visas ’ Category

Getting An Immigration Work Permit Or Authorization In The United States

Posted on: November 14, 2018 by in immigration, visas
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The United States admits international workers in a variety of job categories, but an international worker must have authorization to be employed in the U.S. Different terms and conditions have been established for each employment category.

The very first thing to understand about employment authorization is that you must not confuse applying for a “work permit” with applying for a “work visa,” which is a far more complicated procedure. If you are an immigrant and you are already in the United States, you may need an experienced Las Vegas employment immigration attorney’s advice regarding your application for employment authorization – that is, for a work permit.


Your employment goals and your residency status in the U.S. determine if you need a work permit and if you qualify for one. For example, if you already have lawful permanent resident status – that is, if you are a “green card” holder – you are already authorized to work in the U.S., and you do not need to apply for an employment authorization document (also known as an “EAD” or “work permit”).

If you don’t know your residency status or if you are not absolutely sure, resolve the matter with help from a skilled immigration attorney, and resolve it before you apply for an employment authorization document. Your immigration attorney should also review or help you complete Form I-765 (“Application for Employment Authorization”) to avoid any mistakes, misunderstandings, or unnecessary delays.

Applicants who are completing Form I-765 must determine their “eligibility category.” The instructions for the form list dozens of categories – ten pages’ worth – and you’ll also need documentation that proves you belong to a particular eligibility category. The instructions indicate which documents you will need to attach. Again – and this cannot be stressed strongly enough – do not hesitate to seek an immigration attorney’s help with Form I-765.


Employment authorization applicants are required to attach a copy of your arrival-departure record, a copy of a federally-issued ID, two passport-style color photos, and the filing fee. Depending on your eligibility category, you must provide a basis for your eligibility for EAD. You may also be asked to submit additional forms and documentation.

As of 2017, the filing fee for Form I-765 is $410. In most cases, you must also pay an $85 biometric services fee, for a total of $495, if you belong to one of several eligibility categories. When your Application for Employment Authorization has been received by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), it typically takes about three months to process the application.

You will be contacted through the mail if your Form I-765 was returned because of any inaccuracies or mistakes, if it has been denied, or if it has been approved. If your employment permit application is returned simply because you failed to include something, you will be allowed to revise and resubmit the application. It the application is denied, discuss your options with an immigration attorney.


EADs are typically granted for a one-year duration. Thereafter, employment authorization document renewals cannot be applied for more than 120 days before the current authorization expires. You may apply for a replacement EAD to replace a stolen, lost, or mutilated EAD or an EAD that was issued with inaccurate information.

If your EAD card includes inaccurate information that is not a USCIS error, you’ll have to complete a new Form I-765, pay another filing fee, and attach the inaccurate employment authorization document to the application. If your EAD card has inaccurate information because of an error that was made by USCIS, a new Form I-765 and a second filing fee will not be required.

The EAD is a standard credit card-sized plastic card with a number of security features. It includes the card holder’s name, date of birth, gender, immigrant category, nation of birth, a photo of the individual, and an 8 or 9-digit registration number. Also printed on the employment authorization document are its terms, conditions, and expiration date. The EAD card should not be confused with a green card.


An immigration lawyer can guide you step-by-step through the entire EAD application process. In fact, immigrants who are seeking work permits and the U.S. employers who hire them can both benefit by taking their legal questions and concerns about immigration and employment to a qualified immigration attorney and getting sound, accurate advice.

The EAD card allows you to seek and accept employment in the United States, but in some cases, if you only work for one U.S.-based employer, you may not be required to obtain an employment authorization document. For example, if you work in a specialty occupation, like engineering or programming, that requires specialized knowledge, you may be sponsored by a U.S.-based employer who has obtained an H-1B visa on your behalf.

One advantage of the H-1B visa program is that the sponsoring employer pays the application and processing fees. However, if the employment terminates, you’ll have to leave the United States, find another H-1B-eligible employer immediately and transfer your H-1B work visa, or apply and be approved for a tourist visa to remain legally in the U.S.


U.S. employers with international employees should understand they may come under some scrutiny. Immigration regulations are aggressively enforced – particularly against employers. Nevertheless, employers have nothing to fear if they work diligently to keep compliant with the law. Immigration attorneys frequently advise employers regarding immigration-related concerns like I-9 forms, E-Verify, and EADs.

Immigration law is always confusing, and it’s always changing, too, so whether you are a U.S.-based employer or an international employee, you must have legal advice that’s accurate and up-to-the-moment. You have too much at stake to count on the unreliable advice offered by the television or the internet.

If you are a U.S.-based employer – or if you want to work for one – you can contact a Las Vegas immigration law firm from anywhere in the world for help obtaining work visas and work permits. And if you have any questions or concerns regarding work authorization in the United States, speaking with an experienced immigration attorney is exactly what you should do.

How Long Is The K1 Visa Process?

Posted on: September 16, 2018 by in visas
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If you are a United States citizen, and if you want your international fiancé or fiancée to join you here in the U.S., an experienced Las Vegas immigration visa attorney can offer the sound legal advice and the reliable legal services you need.

What visa is required for a fiancé or fiancée to enter the U.S.? How long will it take to get a visa application approved and to bring your fiancé or fiancée to the United States? What else will you need to know?

It’s a fact. Helping your fiancé or fiancée enter the U.S. can be a confusing process. The visa that your spouse-to-be will need is the K-1 visa.


It takes patience and time – for most couples, it takes about nine to twelve months to obtain a K-1 visa – so you’ll want to begin the process and seek the legal advice you need as early as possible.

You begin the process of bringing your fiancé or fiancée to the United States by submitting Form I-129F, “Petition for Alien Fiancé(e),” to USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services).

Have an immigration lawyer assist you with the I-129F. It’s a difficult, thirteen-page-long application form with fifteen pages of instructions.


You will need to provide proof of your own citizenship (your birth certificate or passport, for example), passport-style photos of yourself and your fiancé or fiancée taken within the last thirty days, and a $535 (as of 2018) application and processing fee.

You will also need to provide background and biographical information about yourself.

Within a few weeks, you should receive a Form I-797 Notice of Action from USCIS acknowledging their receipt of your petition.


The average wait time for approval of an I-129F petition is about seven months (as of mid-2018), but for you, the wait time could be somewhat longer or shorter depending on the current backlog.

USCIS then sends your petition to the National Visa Center, which conducts background checks and requires your fiancé orfiancée to answer some more questions and complete even more paperwork.

When the background checks are complete, and after your fiancéor fiancée has completed the additional forms, the petition goes to a U.S. consulate or embassy in the fiancé’s or fiancée’s home nation.

Even more documents and photos, a medical exam, and a face-to-face interview at the consulate or embassy may is required.

If all of the paperwork is accurate and complete, if the interview goes smoothly, if all other immigration requirements are satisfied, and if there is no suspicion of marriage fraud, the petitioner and the fiancé or fiancée may then receive a K-1 visa.


However, a denial of the I-129F petition might be issued by USCIS for a number of reasons. Many petitioners simply forget to sign the forms or to include all of the required documentation. It’s one reason why you should have your attorney thoroughly prepare your I-129F prior to filing.

But if your I-129F petition is denied for a more serious reason – for example, if your fiancé or fiancée is inadmissible to enter the United States, or if the authorities suspect the possibility of marriage fraud – you must have an experienced immigration attorney’s guidance and advice.

Denials, however, are few. Most denials happen at the consulate level. Yet, almost 90% of all I-129F petitions are approved.


According to regulations, to acquire a K-1 visa, you and your fiancé or fiancée must intend to marry within ninety days of your fiancé or fiancée entering the U.S. with a K-1 visa. The additional requirements that must be met to qualify someone for a K-1 visa are:

1. The U.S.-based petitioner must be a U.S. citizen, not a lawful permanent resident.
2. Both parties must be single and otherwise legally eligible to marry.
3. The parties must have met in person within the last two years.

The impending marriage must be “valid” and not conducted merely to obtain an immigration benefit. At any point in the process, if the immigration authorities suspect marriage fraud, the process will be delayed, and it will become imperative to obtain an immigration attorney’s help.


For some visas, applicants willing to pay an additional fee can obtain expedited processing, but expedited (or “premium”) processing is not available for K-1 visa petitions. A consulate or embassy may need about three months for processing, depending on its own current backlog.

The K-1 visa remains valid for six months, but once the fiancé orfiancée enters the U.S., the marriage ceremony must happen within ninety days.

The K-1 visa allows a fiancé or fiancée ninety days to marry the petitioning U.S. citizen and to file for adjustment of status to legal permanent resident status (green card status) in the immediate relative category. It is important to understand that marrying someone else while in the US on a K-1 visa is a violation of such visa terms and will be considered a problem for obtaining any future US immigration benefits.


If your fiancé or fiancée is the parent of a child who is unmarried and below age 21, the child may qualify to enter the U.S. with a K-2 visa. Include the names of the child or children on the I-129F petition if you and your fiancé or fiancée intend to bring a child or children to the U.S.

Planning to marry a U.S. citizen does not “entitle” anyone to a K-1 visa. If you’ve read this far, you understand how long and complicated the process actually is. Any simple, inadvertent mistake – like forgetting to sign a form – can substantially delay the entire procedure.


An experienced Las Vegas immigration attorney can guide you and your fiancé or fiancée through the K-1 visa process from start to finish and help you avoid the mistakes that the couples who seek K-1 visas most frequently make.

Your attorney will explain how immigration law applies in your own situation, will protect your legal rights, and will ensure that all of your application forms and other immigration documents are accurate and complete.

As mentioned previously, most I-129F petitions and K-1 visa applications are approved, and in most cases, the process can be completed in nine to twelve months. Also as mentioned previously, any misunderstanding or mistake could mean a significant delay. Do not let that happen.

Let an experienced immigration lawyer help you and your fiancé or fiancée acquire a K-1 visa and begin your new lives. Having a good attorney’s help is your right.

The Challenges Of Changing Your Immigration Status During The Trump Era

Posted on: June 21, 2018 by in visas
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If you are in the United States with a non-immigrant visa, and if you need or desire to change your immigration status, keep reading. You’ll learn how to change to another non-immigrant category and how to change from non-immigrant status to legal permanent resident status, and how an employment immigration law firm can help.

You’ll also learn about the difficulties you may face as new regulations regarding changes of status are imposed by the Trump Administration, so keep reading.


Non-immigrant visas may be approved for immigrants planning to be temporarily in the U.S. More than forty categories of non-immigrant visas have been established.

Some non-immigrant visas are issued for temporary employment; others are issued to students, business people, tourists, and diplomats who will be temporarily in the U.S.


Changing your nonimmigrant status to another nonimmigrant visa category can be complicated.

For instance, if you do not have work authorization, but if you’ve decided to seek or accept temporary employment in the U.S., your presumed employer must file a Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker (Form I-129) on your behalf.

And if you entered the U.S. in one of the following nonimmigrant categories, you may not apply for a change of nonimmigrant status, and you must exit the U.S. on or before the expiration date printed on your Form I-94: These categories are K1, K2, J1, M1, C, D, S, WT, WB, and Q2.


Your nonimmigrant status can probably be changed if you are not in one of the nonimmigrant categories listed above and if:

1. You lawfully entered the United States.

2. Nothing disqualifies you from any immigration benefits.

3. Nothing requires you to exit the U.S. before changing your status.

4. You apply to change your status prior to the expiration date printed on your Form I-94.

You may apply for a change of non-immigrant status beginning six months prior to your Form I-94 expiration date. Be sure to file your request at least sixty days prior to that expiration date.

Have patience. It will take time to process your change of status request.

Your paperwork must be complete, accurate, and on time, or your change of status could be delayed or even denied.

If you’re eligible, and if you need to request a change of status, an experienced Las Vegas immigration attorney can ensure that no mistakes or misunderstandings hold up the process.


Adjustment of status is the process of changing from a nonimmigrant immigration status to permanent lawful resident status – that is, becoming a green card holder.

A temporary visitor may apply for lawful permanent resident status if the individual lawfully entered the U.S. and meets all other immigration requirements.

If you already have a visa and you’re already in the United States, you can probably have your status adjusted and acquire a green card without being required to return to your home country for consular visa processing.


The first step in the adjustment of status process is to determine if you fall into a green card-eligible immigrant category. If you are in the United States, and if you are eligible for adjustment of status, you must file a Form I-485.

If you apply to become a lawful permanent resident under section 245(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), you must complete both Form I‑485 and Form I-485 Supplement A. Let an experienced immigration lawyer guide you through these complicated forms.

After filing the form or forms, you’ll be scheduled for an appointment at a local Application Support Center to provide your fingerprints, photograph, and signature. Your biometrics are used to verify your identity and to conduct the required background and security checks.

When you seek lawful permanent resident status in the United States, do it from the beginning with help from a good immigration lawyer who can answer your questions, help you compile the required documentation, and check your application forms for completeness and accuracy.


Adjustment of status has become somewhat more difficult under the Trump Administration. In September 2017, the Department of State adopted a harsh new “90-day rule.”

Under this rule, 90 days must pass after admission before anyone in a nonimmigrant status can safely file an adjustment of status application for lawful permanent residency without the government claiming that willful misrepresentation was committed at entry.


A U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident may petition for certain family members to live in the United States and acquire green cards.

A citizen or lawful permanent resident launches the process by filing Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. To obtain a green card based on a family relationship, the immigrant must be in either the immediate relative or family preference category.

Form I-130 establishes a qualifying relationship so that the relative may apply for a green card.


Bringing your fiancée, fiancé, or spouse into the United States is a procedure that can take time, so you need to get started as soon as you can. Spouses, fiancées, and fiancés will require one of these “K” visas:

• K-1 for fiancés and fiancées of U.S. citizens
• K-2 for eligible children of fiancées and fiancés of U.S. citizens
• K-3 for spouses of U.S. citizens
• K-4 for qualified children of the spouses of U.S. citizens

The K visa is a nonimmigrant, temporary visa. The person receiving a K-1 visa has ninety days to marry the U.S. petitioner-citizen and request lawful permanent resident status. If no wedding takes place within ninety days, the K-1 visa holder could be targeted for deportation.


The K-1 visa process begins when a U.S. citizen submits Form I-129F to petition U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to recognize a foreign citizen as the U.S. citizen’s fiancé or fiancée.

Evidence indicating that both parties are free to marry and in fact intend to marry must be included with Form I-129F.

By itself, approval of Form I-129F does not allow a fiancé or fiancée entry into the U.S., and it does not ensure that the State Department will approve a K-1 visa. If the K-1 visa is granted, it is good for one entry into the U.S.

Subsequent to the wedding ceremony, a K-1 visa holder may request lawful permanent resident status by filing Form I-485 with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).


U.S. immigration law is exceedingly complicated, and in the current era, every immigration request an application will be scrutinized thoroughly. You’re going to need legal help and advice that you can absolutely depend on.

To obtain a visa, seek a change or adjustment of status, or bring someone you love to the U.S., start by scheduling a consultation with an experienced Las Vegas immigration attorney who will guide you through every step of the change of status or adjustment of status process.

U.S. Embassy In Russia Stops Issuing Nonimmigrant Visas

Posted on: August 29, 2017 by in visas
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The latest development in the diplomatic maneuvering between the United States and Russia came on August 21st, when the U.S. Embassy in Moscow announced that it will trim down the visa services it provides in Russia.

The announcement was made in response to the Russian government’s recent reduction of the U.S. diplomatic staff in Moscow.

Russia also seized a warehouse and a resort complex in Moscow used by U.S. diplomatic personnel.

Those moves by Russian officials were responses to new U.S. sanctions imposed on Russia – sanctions enacted in response to alleged Russian tampering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Nonimmigrant visas are issued to foreign nationals to enter the United States for temporary stays and include tourist, student, and work visas.

The nonimmigrant work visas that will be affected are primarily L-1A and L-1B visas, H-1B visas, and E visas for intracompany transferees, skilled workers, and investors.

H-1B visas are offered to foreign workers in specialty occupations or jobs requiring “exceptional” skills or talents.

L-1 visas allow U.S.-based employers to transfer executives, managers, or specialists to the U.S. for short-term business visits.

E visas are granted to foreign citizens who desire to enter the U.S. for purposes linked to investment or trade.


Details of the reduction of visa services to Russian visa applicants were disclosed in an August 21 “fact sheet” released by the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, which states: “As a result of the Russian government’s personnel cap imposed on the U.S. Mission, all nonimmigrant visa (NIV) operations across Russia will be suspended beginning August 23, 2017.

Visa operations will resume on a greatly reduced scale. Beginning September 1, nonimmigrant visa interviews will be conducted only at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.

NIV interviews at the U.S. Consulates in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, and Vladivostok are suspended until further notice.”

The visa interview at an embassy or a consulate is a legal requirement for almost all visa applicants, but exceptions can be made for diplomats, for official government travel, and – at the consular officer’s discretion – for a renewal within the same class of visa within one year of a visa’s expiration.

The consular officer may or may not require an interview for such a visa renewal.

However, the U.S. Embassy in Moscow is continuing to process nonimmigrant visas without interviews for those applicants who qualify.

On its website, the embassy in Moscow reports that, “Capacity for interviews in the future will be greatly reduced because we have had to greatly reduce our staffing levels to comply with the Russian government’s requirement.”

The website adds that, “The U.S. Embassy in Moscow and three consulates will continue to provide emergency and routine services to American citizens….”


How did all of this happen? In July, Congress voted to impose new sanctions on Russia, Iran, and North Korea. President Trump signed off on those new sanctions early in August.

The sanctions target parties that undermine U.S. cybersecurity, that invest substantially in Russia’s energy export pipelines, that conduct significant transactions with Russian defense and intelligence agencies, and that commit or assist in the commission of human rights abuses.

Parties suspected of corruption inside the Russian government are also targeted. The sanctions include freezing assets, revoking visas, and a number of other punitive measures.

In response to the new sanctions, Russian officials have determined that the U.S. diplomatic corps in Russia cannot exceed the size of Russia’s own diplomatic corps – 455 – in the United States. That means the United States is relocating more than 700 diplomats and support personnel.

The U.S. Embassy’s announcement regarding reduced nonimmigrant visa services, which will make beleaguered U.S.-Russia relations even more embittered, means that Russian citizens who want to visit the U.S. as tourists, students, or as temporary workers may no longer apply at U.S. consulates in Russia outside of Moscow, and waiting periods will be lengthy.

According to the U.S. Department of State, the United States approved more than 182,000 nonimmigrant visas to Russian citizens in 2016, but now, with a substantial reduction in the embassy’s capacity to process visa applications, that number may drop dramatically and remain low for quite some time.

“We will operate at reduced capacity for as long as our staffing levels are reduced,” the embassy reports on its website.


While no one can make the U.S. immigration system move faster, if you are applying for a U.S. nonimmigrant visa – from Russia or from any other nation – arrange as quickly as you can to speak with an experienced Las Vegas immigration attorney.

A qualified immigration lawyer in the United States can ensure that you meet all U.S. immigration requirements and will review your visa application to make certain that everything is accurate and complete – so that nothing on your end and no mistakes or misunderstandings unnecessarily delay or derail the processing of your visa application.

Have some patience – every immigration procedure takes some time.

The United States admits international workers in a wide variety of jobs and job categories each year. Every foreign worker must have authorization to be employed in the United States.

Some foreign nationals already have authorization for employment on the basis of their immigration status.

Others may need to apply individually; in most cases, an employer or prospective employer must file a work authorization petition on a prospective employee’s behalf.

Every employment category entails different requirements and conditions, and any violation of a visa’s terms or conditions could result in a worker’s deportation or a denial of re-entry into the U.S.

If you are an employer who depends on nonimmigrant visas to bring foreign employees to the United States, you should be working with a skilled Las Vegas immigration attorney on a regular basis to help you keep up with the changes and stay in compliance with the law.

Whether you are a student in Vladivostok or an employer in Phoenix. Los Angeles, or Las Vegas, when you apply for a nonimmigrant U.S. visa, an experienced immigration lawyer’s advice and insights can be invaluable – and perhaps even more so in 2017, when the immigration rules seem to be changing unexpectedly and almost weekly.

How Social Media Use Can Affect Your Visa Status

Posted on: May 11, 2016 by in visas
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In Southern California on February 3, a 24-year-old named Emad El-Sayed, an Egyptian Muslim, logged onto Facebook and posted what could be considered a death threat against one of the candidates running for President of the United States. El-Sayed added that he would be “doing the world a favor.” The young man was in the United States on a student visa, studying at the Universal Air Academy in Los Angeles.

When authorities at the flight academy saw the Facebook post, they reported El-Sayed to federal immigration officials and revoked his I-20, the document verifying that a school supports a foreign national’s student visa. Without his I-20, El-Sayed’s student visa was null, and he became automatically in violation of his terms of admission to the United States. Although the post certainly didn’t appear to be a legitimate threat, jokes in poor taste and other questionable comments posted online can jeopardize someone’s legal status in the United States.


As recently as five years ago, the internet wasn’t considered very important by immigration authorities, but as it becomes increasingly linked to security threats and terrorism, the internet now comes up in every part of immigration investigations. “Immigration officers are absolutely looking at social media,” one immigration attorney told “We’ve come to realize that, when it comes to immigration issues, the government will definitely use social media to investigate an individual.”


Mostly, immigration authorities are looking online for any evidence of fraud, inconsistencies in someone’s testimony, or illegal activity. Another immigration lawyer told Vice that immigration officers “routinely review social media in making assessments of eligibility for immigration status, or alternatively, if they are planning on charging someone with a violation of immigration law.” Any immigrant with concerns regarding online comments or photos may want to discuss those concerns with an experienced Las Vegas immigration attorney.

Even something that could not convict a person of a crime – like a single photograph posted on Facebook showing someone allegedly taking illegal drugs in the past – can be a sufficient reason to deny a person’s visa application in the present. “I’ve seen that happen in the past, where the client had pictures of illegal activity,” the attorney said. “The government brought printouts from social media into court.”


As for those individuals who are already in the United States, El-Sayed isn’t the first person to have his immigration status challenged because of a threat allegedly made online. In December 2014, Keshav Mukund Bhide, a 24-year-old student from India, was deported after he posted comments on Google+ about planning a campus shooting at the University of Washington.

And in March of this year, Hanxiang Ni, a 22-year-old Chinese student at the University of Iowa, was deported because of an alleged threat that he posted on Weibo, which, according to the Daily Iowan, promised to “let [his] professors experience the fear of Lu Gang.” Lu Gang, a Chinese graduate student, and the shooter in a 1991 campus shooting at the University of Iowa, killed four of the university’s faculty members.


The problem faced by immigration authorities investigating comments posted on the internet – especially those posted by university students – is determining what’s a genuine threat and what’s simply a joke. In 2012, a pair of Irish tourists were denied entry into the United States after one of them tweeted: “Free this week for a quick gossip/prep before I go and destroy America?”

Emad El-Sayed told reporters that what he wrote on Facebook was just “a stupid post,” without any real threat attached. But immigration attorneys say the line between a joke and a threat is razor thin. “I’ve seen things like this rise to the level where [it is treated as] an alleged terrorist threat,” said one immigration lawyer. “It’s unfortunate in the immigration context, because if an American citizen made a similar comment – and I’m sure many have – those aren’t a problem.”

El-Sayed’s case is complicated by his enrollment in a flight academy. Flight schools, in particular, have been ton “high alert” since the 9/11 hijackers learned to fly planes at American flight schools. Flight schools “were really under the microscope for several years after 9/11, because of who they admitted to their schools,” another immigration attorney told Vice. “I can kind of understand why a flight school might be hypersensitive to those kinds of statements, but I think that it was probably an overreaction,” the attorney said.

If you are an immigrant in the United States or if you are hoping to enter the United States in the future, it’s imperative to understand that anything you post on the internet can be used against you. Immigrants and those seeking entry to the United States shouldn’t do anything illegal that might jeopardize their immigration status. If you put something on the internet, it’s forever, and even if you delete it, there’s still a record of it somewhere.


In March, Emad El-Sayed’s legal team requested a voluntary departure, which would allow him to leave the United States and return to Egypt without having a deportation on his record. That request was granted, and a representative from his attorney’s office confirmed that El-Sayed will soon be boarding an Egypt Air flight back to Egypt. He will return to Cairo where his family lives, his attorney said.


Another reason why immigrants need to be careful online is to protect themselves from criminals and con artists. Immigrants are natural targets for criminals. These scam artists collect information wherever they find it, and they use it to convince their victims of their legitimacy. Just because a person knows your name and where you’re from does not mean that person has any authority as an immigration official or an as immigration lawyer.


Immigrants in the U.S. should trust only a licensed and practicing attorney – someone like an experienced Las Vegas immigration attorney. The right lawyer will give you sound legal advice and can help you to achieve your goals in the United States. And as far as the internet is concerned, the less you say online about your time in the United States or your current immigration status, the better.

What Does The Visa Expiration Date Mean?

Posted on: April 16, 2016 by in visas
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Almost everything about the immigration laws of the United States is complicated – if not downright baffling. For example, understanding the difference between the “visa expiration date” and the actual length of time that a person has permission to remain in the United States can be very confusing. These are quite different terms, and the differences are important to understand.

A U.S. visa only gives a foreign citizen permission to apply to enter the United States. By itself, a validation doesn’t grant entry into the U.S. Rather; it merely shows that a consular officer at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate has determined that the visa holder is eligible to travel to a U.S. port-of-entry – an airport, seaport, or a land border crossing. At the port-of-entry, an immigration officer with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) decides whether to permit the visa holder to enter the U.S. and how long that person can stay for any particular visit. Only a U.S. immigration officer with the CBP has the authority to permit someone to enter the United States.



Two dates are on a visa – the visa issuance date and the visa expiration date. The period of time between the validation issuance date and the validation expiration date is called “visa validity,” which is the length of time a person is permitted to travel to a port-of-entry and seek entrance into the United States. A validation that has been issued for a single entry into the U.S. – as noted on the validation under “Entries” with the number “1” – is valid for traveling one time to a U.S. port-of-entry.

A visa approved for multiple entries – as noted on the validation under “Entries” with a number larger than “1” (or with the letter “M” for multiple entries) – can be used as many times as allowed to travel to a U.S. port-of-entry. These multiple entries are allowed from the date it is issued until the date it expires. It’s imperative to understand that a validation does not guarantee entry into the United States. Someone’s entry and the length of that person’s authorized stay in the U.S. are decided by a CBP officer at the port-of-entry each time a person travels to enter the U.S.

The period of visa validity can be voided or canceled in some circumstances. If a validation holder remains in the United States beyond the end date of his or her authorized stay – the date provided by the CBP officer at the port-of-entry or by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) – the validation is automatically voided. The exception is when the validation holder has filed an application for an extension of stay in the U.S. or a change of immigration status and that application is pending.


When a validation holder arrives at a U.S. port-of-entry, the Customs and Border Protection official will record either an “admitted-until” date or a “D/S” (duration of status) on the validation holder’s admission stamp or paper Form I-94. If a validation holder’s admission stamp or paper Form I-94 has a specific date recorded on it by the CBP officer, then that is the date by which the validation holder must leave the United States.

If a validation holder has “D/S” recorded on his or her admission stamp or paper Form I-94, that validation holder may then remain in the United States as long as the person continues his or her course of studies, participation in an exchange program, or authorized employment. The “admitted-until-date” or D/S notation, as shown on the validation holder’s admission stamp or paper Form I-94, is the official record of that person’s authorized length of stay in the U.S. The “visa expiration date” does not determine or in any way refer to anyone’s length of stay in the United States.



If someone enters the United States on a nonimmigrant validation and wants to extend his or her stay, before that person’s authorized length of stay expires – and in fact, well before the expiration date – he or she must apply to USCIS for an extension of stay or for a change of immigration status. At this time, the visa holder should probably consult with an immigration lawyer. An experienced California or Nevada immigration attorney, for example, can review a change of immigration status application for accuracy and thoroughness and can also provide helpful insights and recommendations.


To extend a stay in the United States, a validation holder must file a Form I-539 (“Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status”) with the USCIS before the period of authorized stay expires. The USCIS recommends applying at least 45 days before the authorized stay expires. Anyone who remains in the U.S. longer than he or she is authorized may face deportation and a permanent denial of re-entry. Visa holders can check the date in the lower right corner of Form I-94, “Arrival-Departure Record,” to determine when their authorized stay expires. A visa holder may apply to extend a stay in the U.S. if that visa holder:

  • lawfully entered the U.S. with a nonimmigrant validation and that status remains valid
  • has not committed any crimes that make someone ineligible for a visa
  • has not violated the conditions of admission
  • has a valid passport that will remain valid for the duration of the stay


Those admitted to the United States for ninety days as part of the Visa Waiver Program may not apply to extend a stay, and neither can those in transit through the United States with a “C” nonimmigrant visa or without a visa. Additionally, crew members in the U.S. on a “D” nonimmigrant validation may not extend a stay in the United States. Finally, fiancés of U.S. citizens (and the dependents of those fiancés) holding “K” nonimmigrant visas and criminal informants holding “S” nonimmigrant visas may not apply to extend a stay in the United States.


Visa holders must diligently consider and understand the dates of their authorized stays and make sure that they are following all immigration procedures and adhering to the terms of the visa. Failure to do so will put a visa holder “out-of-status.” Remaining in the U.S. beyond the authorized period of time is a violation of U.S. immigration laws, and a validation holder in violation will typically have his or her visa voided and will become ineligible for a future visa for return travel to the United States.

It’s worth repeating. Almost everything about the immigration laws of the United States is complicated – if not downright baffling. And anyone needing questions answered about visas will need to have those questions answered by someone who knows the law, someone like a California or Nevada immigration attorney. The important thing is to know and understand what the dates on a visa represent and to adhere to all of the visa’s terms. If someone who is eligible to enter the U.S. needs to enter the U.S., it can usually be done, but validation holders must understand the dates and terms of their visas.

The H-1B Window Opens April 1

Posted on: February 9, 2016 by in blog, visas
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Every year during a brief filing period beginning April 1, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) accepts H-1B visa petitions for the following fiscal year. Employers across the United States are already evaluating their H-1B visa needs for the April filing period and consulting immigration attorneys to handle the visa petitions and to provide sound legal insights and advice. For U.S.-based employers seeking H-1B visas or seeking to learn more about H-1B visas, the first thing to know is that the number of available H-1B visas is capped and that the competition for those particular visas is aggressive. Since 2005, the H-1B cap has been set at 65,000, although an additional 20,000 H-1B visas are also made available for employees holding advanced degrees earned at U.S. institutions.

The qualifications required to obtain H-1B visas are quite strict, and the demand exceeds the supply by about 3-to-1. In 2013, 120,000 H-1B applications were received by April 2, so a lottery system has now been implemented to distribute H-1B visas. The lottery is a random selection process of the H-1B petitions received to determine which will be assigned an H-1B cap number and adjudicated. Last year, USCIS received approximately 233,000 H-1B petitions in the first week the window was open. Employers hiring foreign national employees who need H-1B sponsorship should contact an immigration attorney today in order to ensure their sponsorship petitions are received at USCIS on April 1, 2016. The deadline is approaching swiftly, so you and your immigration attorney need to begin preparing your H-1B petition package immediately


H-1B visas are frankly difficult – but not impossible – to obtain. If you are an employer in the United States, an experienced immigration attorney can help your company meet all of the required deadlines, provide accurate and complete information, and avoid the mistakes and misunderstandings that keep many employers from acquiring the visas they need. A good immigration lawyer, in other words, can put you in the best possible position to obtain H-1B visas and can probably help you if necessary with other appropriate visa options. Employers who need H-1B visas can arrange right now to speak with an experienced Las Vegas immigration attorney.

Many businesses based in the United States use the H-1B visa program to hire international workers in specialty occupations that require the practical or theoretical application of highly specialized knowledge. The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 defines a “specialty occupation” as employment requiring specialized knowledge in a particular field and requiring a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. International workers fill critical hiring needs in the science, technology, engineering, and math fields. Those workers include but are not limited to computer programmers, mathematicians, engineers, and scientists in fields including chemistry, robotics, and biotechnology. The current demand for workers in those industries actually exceeds the supply, so it’s important for employers to be knowledgeable and fully-prepared when applying for H-1B visas and to have the assistance of an experienced immigration attorney.

H-1B work authorization is restricted to employment provided by a sponsoring employer. If all other conditions are met, H-1B work authorization is good for three years and may be extended to six years. However, H-1B visa regulations do not require the visa holder to remain with the sponsoring employer for a specific length of time, provided that a new employer sponsors the employee for another H-1B visa.

Las Vegas immigration attorney


It’s also important to know – despite what you may have read or heard – that H-1B visas are not issued exclusively to companies like Microsoft, Google, and Facebook. Employers in all regions of the country petition for and acquire H-1B visas. A number of companies in a number of major cities request 250 or more H-1B visas every year. H-1B visa holders contribute to their local communities and to the national economy, and they help employers create even more new jobs and new opportunities for economic growth.

Employees approved and selected for H-1B visas this April will receive those visas in October at the start of FY2017. Employers now should identify those candidates who need sponsorship. Some of those candidates may already be employed and working in the U.S. with temporary work authorizations. Employees and candidates who may need H–1B sponsorship may include:

  • Candidates currently in H-1B status with an H-1B cap-exempt employer (a college or university or an affiliated non-profit, a nonprofit research organization, or a governmental research organization) who are seeking work with a cap-subject employer
  • Students and recent graduates currently working in Optional Practical Training (OPT) or Curriculum Practical Training (CPT) who will need H-1B sponsorship when their OPT or CPT expires
  • Candidates currently holding another nonimmigrant work visa (such as a TN, H-3, H-2, O-1, or J–1 visa) who need to change their status to H–1B


When the H-1B employment period has concluded, the employer must contact USCIS to have the H-1B petition revoked. As long as the H-1B petition remains in effect, the employer must pay the worker’s wages. If the employer terminates the H-1B worker, the employer must offer to pay for return transportation to the worker’s last place of residence abroad. The return transportation requirement does not apply if the H-1B worker resigns from the position or leaves voluntarily. Employers, however, are not responsible for return transportation costs for the H-1B worker’s dependent family members.

Employers must also avoid any allegations of discrimination based on citizenship status or national origin, so the questions they ask of candidates must be worded carefully. An experienced immigration attorney can help employers draft appropriate interview questions and avoid any charges of discrimination. Employers in the U.S. face potential legal liability if they favor American citizens over authorized foreign guest workers in layoffs, pay decisions, and other such actions. The Immigration and Nationality Act bars discrimination in employment based on citizenship or immigration status by employers with more than four employees, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 also prohibits employment discrimination based on national origin by employers with fifteen or more employees.


An H-1B visa may be denied if the sponsoring employer does not appear to be a real, established, operating U.S. company with the capacity to hire and pay an H-1B worker. Employers petitioning for H-1B visas must provide documentation such as a tax identification number, tax returns, or financial statements. Insufficient documentation will lead to the automatic rejection of an H-1B visa application.

An H-1B visa petition may also be rejected if the job that iss offered does not qualify as a “specialty occupation.” If the H-1B petition states that the employee will work offsite at a client location, this may raise questions about whether the employee will genuinely be working for the sponsoring employer. The employer may be asked for evidence such as a contract agreement and a clear statement that only that employer will have employer control over the employee who will be working at the client location. Failure to include any of this evidence in the initial visa petition may result in a denial. A good immigration attorney will know precisely what is required.


Dependent family members (spouses and children under age 21) are eligible for H-4 visas to accompany an H-1B worker to the United States. In 2015, the Department of Homeland Security extended eligibility for work authorization to certain H-4 dependent spouses of those H-1B visa holders who are seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident (LPR) status. DHS will now allow these H-4 visa holders to accept employment in the United States. Qualifying H-4 spouses must file Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization) with supporting documentation and the required fee in order to obtain a Form I-766, the Employment Authorization Document (EAD). When USCIS approves the Form I-765 and the H-4 dependent spouse receives an EAD, he or she may begin working in the United States.

U.S.-based employers who hire international workers should know from the beginning that they must adhere to a number of immigration laws and immigration-related employment regulations. Federal agencies may inspect your employment records and your overall operations to ensure your compliance. Compliance investigations are routinely conducted by several U.S. government agencies and departments: the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL); U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS); U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); and the U.S. State Department.

Las Vegas immigration attorney


A good immigration attorney can verify that your company’s policies are in compliance or can show you what changes need to be made. If you are cited for non-compliance by any enforcement agency, have an experienced immigration lawyer suggest the appropriate remedial legal action and the changes needed to prevent a recurrence. If you are investigated for possible violations of immigration or employment laws, or if you are an employer who is currently appealing a finding or a ruling from a government agency, you very much need to be represented by an experienced immigration attorney.

Immigration law in the United States is baffling, confusing, and exceedingly complicated. If you are a U.S.-based employer hiring international employees to work for your business, the laws you deal with will be numerous and complex. You can obtain help right away from an experienced immigration Las Vegas attorney if you have any immigration-related questions or concerns or if you are dealing with any specific, legal immigration issue. Employers, hiring managers, and international workers are all urged to contact an experienced immigration attorney by phone or by e-mail to have your visa questions answered or to begin the H-1B visa petition process. The April 1 deadline is rapidly approaching, so employers should make the call and get started as quickly as possible.

Learn About The Treaty Investor Visa

Posted on: October 19, 2015 by in blog, investment, visas
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Las Vegas immigration lawyerIf you’re an international investor but you don’t want or need to reside permanently in the United States, the E-2 treaty investor visa may be right for you. If you are from one of the many nations that has a commercial treaty with the United States, and if you can make a “substantial” contribution in a U.S.-based business, discuss the E-2 visa promptly with an experienced Las Vegas immigration lawyer. The E-2 visa should not be confused with the EB-5 visa, which requires a minimum investment amount of $500,000 and provides the investor with lawful permanent residence in the United States. An E-2 visa requires no minimum investment amount provided that the investment is “substantial.” A potential E-2 investor must satisfy these requirements:

  • The investment must be substantial, with contribution funds or assets committed and irrevocable. It must be sufficient to ensure the successful operation of the enterprise.
  • The investment must be a real operating enterprise, that is, an active commercial or entrepreneurial undertaking. A paper organization, speculative, or idle contribution does not qualify.
  • The contribution must generate significant income beyond your living expenses or it must have a significant economic impact in the United States.
  • You must have control of the funds, and the contribution must be at risk in the commercial sense.
  • You must be coming to the United States to develop and direct the enterprise. If you are not the principal investor, you must be considered an essential employee who works in a supervisory, executive, or highly-specialized capacity.

If you are an international investor with a desire to invest in the United States, promptly seek the counsel and expertise of our experienced Las Vegas E-1 E-2 investor lawyers. Both immigration law and American business are complicated and frequently confusing, but a good immigration attorney will be able to answer your questions, address your concerns, and help you with the documents and paperwork. Don’t procrastinate when it comes to your hopes and dreams. Instead, contact an experienced Las Vegas E-1 E-2 investor lawyer today.

Eb-5 Visas And Targeted Employment Areas

Posted on: October 9, 2015 by in blog, EB-5, visas
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Las Vegas immigration attorneyFor international investors participating in the EB-5 investor visa program, having an EB-5 investment project designated as a “targeted employment area” (TEA) reduces the required minimum investment from $1 million to $500,000. To receive a TEA designation, an EB-5 project must be set in a rural area or in a location with high unemployment. For help with obtaining an EB-5 visa and with all aspects of the EB-5 investor visa program, you should have – from the beginning – the legal counsel of an experienced Las Vegas employment immigration lawyer.

To qualify as a TEA “rural area” project, an investment project cannot be located in what the U.S. Office of Management and Budget designates as a “metropolitan statistical area.” A rural area project cannot be on the outskirts of a town or city with a population of 20,000 or higher. To qualify as a TEA “high unemployment area,” the location must have an unemployment rate of at least 150 percent of the U.S. national average. A high unemployment area must be located in a county or a metropolitan statistical area with a population of 20,000 or more.

To obtain the TEA designation, an EB-5 investor applicant must provide evidence that the project is located within a rural area or a high unemployment area. Several forms of evidence can be used, and an experienced Las Vegas immigration attorney can help you gather that evidence and provide additional advice. Nineteen states provide a certified list of targeted employment areas that have already been identified, but certifications are still issued on an individual basis.

Acquiring an EB-5 visa and locating an appropriate investment opportunity can be complicated and time-consuming, but thousands of international investors have found that the benefits are well worth their efforts and patience. An experienced Las Vegas immigration attorney can usually help you obtain an EB-5 visa, locate an appropriate investment project, and address any of your additional concerns and questions. Investment opportunities are waiting, so you shouldn’t. Instead, make the call to an experienced Las Vegas employment immigration attorney as quickly as possible.

Abandoning Your Green Card?

Posted on: August 19, 2015 by in blog, visas
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experienced Las Vegas immigration attorneyThousands of immigrants work diligently to obtain a green card. They’ve obeyed all the laws, hoped and sometimes prayed, and waited months and sometimes years. That’s why turning in your green card and abandoning your lawful permanent resident (LPR) status is an important decision that should not be made in haste. Before you take that step – which is permanent – discuss your other options and alternatives with an experienced Las Vegas immigration attorney.

For most green card holders, the bigger concern is involuntarily or accidentally losing LPR status. That can happen if you have been outside the United States for more than a year. An immigration officer at a port of entry may confiscate your green card and leave it to an immigration judge to make a final determination. Even prolonged, continuous visits outside the U.S. for less than a year per visit can put you at risk of losing LPR status if you do not maintain a proper residence and domicile in the United States.

By contrast, voluntary abandonment – usually for tax or travel reasons – requires a green card holder to complete Immigration Form I-407, “Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Resident Status,” and present it at an embassy or consulate abroad. By surrendering the green card, it may be possible in some cases to terminate U.S. tax obligations. Some people are confused about the meaning of a green card and acquire one without grasping its significance. A green card is for someone who makes the U.S. his or her permanent residence, not for someone who simply wants to visit the U.S. occasionally. If a person’s primary, permanent residence is elsewhere, then a visitor visa, not a green card, is the proper document for entering the United States.

Form I-407 is not downloadable at the USCIS website; it is provided by the embassy or consulate, and each embassy, consulate, or USCIS field office abroad has its own procedure. The Mexico City Field Office posts this caveat on its website:

“The relinquishment of lawful permanent resident status is irrevocable. An individual who relinquishes lawful permanent resident status and who later wants to reclaim such status must again qualify for immigrant status and go through the entire immigration process. Therefore, one should give careful thought to relinquishing lawful permanent resident status.”

If you want or need to abandon your LPR status, or if you need or desire to obtain a green card, discuss your situation with a good immigration lawyer. Get the advice and help you need by contacting an experienced Las Vegas immigration attorney as quickly as possible.