9 September 2015

New Visa Bulletin is Out! Allows for Early Filing of I-485 Applications!


As anticipated, the new Visa Bulletin is out and will be effective as of October 01, 2015. This change will allow for the filing of the I-485 adjustment of status application before priority dates are current under the existing system.

How It Will Work:

As mentioned in my previous post, New Visa Bulletin May Allow Filing of I-485 Before Priority Date is Current! , there will be 2 sets of cut-off dates:

Continue reading

5 September 2015

New Visa Bulletin May Allow Filing of I-485 Before Priority Date is Current!

As part of President Obama’s plan to modernize and streamline the legal immigration system, the Department of State (DOS) is in the process of revamping the Visa Bulletin system, which may allow the filing of an I-485 Petition before priority dates are current under the existing system. Continue reading

17 August 2015

Quick Trip to Mexico or Canada? Have an Expired Visa? Automatic Revalidation May be an Option for You

As a general rule, if a non-immigrant (U.S. foreign national in temporary status) travels outside of the U.S. with an expired visa, he must reapply for and receive a new visa to be re-admitted into the U.S. However that is not always the case. Automatic Revalidation provides an important exception for non-immigrants who are maintaining legal status travelling to countries that are “contiguous” to the U.S.

What is Automatic Revalidation?

Automatic revalidation applies to non-immigrants who travel from the U.S. to Canada or Mexico with an expired visa and re-enter the U.S. without a new visa stamp. For this exception to apply, the non-immigrant must

(1) Travel for no more than 30 days to Mexico or Canada

(2) Have an unexpired admission stamp or paper Form I-94.

Under this rule, the traveler’s expired visa will be automatically revalidated as of the date that he requests re-entry into the U.S. In other words, the expired visa will be considered valid during the short period of time that he seeks to return to the U.S. It should be noted that the visa will only be revalidated for that purpose, and no new visa is actually granted.

Furthermore, this exception may also apply to non-immigrants who have changed visa categories while within the U.S.  If a non-immigrant does not depart the U.S. and applies for a change of status, the visa stamp in his passport will reflect his initial category, even though he has changed status. In this situation, the initial visa stamp that matches his old status (whether expired or unexpired) will be considered as a stamp matching the new status, and the visa will be revalidated to permit his return into the U.S.

If you are in F or J status, automatic revalidation will still apply to you, but you can travel to adjacent islands (other than Cuba) as well.

Understand that you cannot use this benefit to travel outside of Mexico, Canada or the adjacent islands. For example, you cannot travel to Mexico, then travel to India and back to Mexico to enter the U.S. using automatic revalidation.

Exceptions to Automatic Revalidation

While automatic revalidation benefits many non-immigrants, it must be noted that the rule does not apply in some situations.

For example, readmission under this rule is not available to an individual who applies for a new visa at the U.S. Consulate during his travels to Mexico or Canada. Although this may later benefit the individual if he receives a new visa, he will be out of luck if the request for a new visa is denied. This also applies where you apply for a new visa, but it has not yet been issued. Basically, you cannot use automatic revalidation as a back-up plan.

Additionally, certain groups are excluded from the benefits of automatic revalidation.  The rule does not apply to citizens of countries identified as supporting terrorism in the State Department’s annual report to Congress.

Everyone’s situation is different. Before choosing to use this benefit be sure to contact a qualified immigration attorney. You do NOT want to apply this incorrectly and be stuck in another country or have to fly back to your home country unexpectedly.

By Krystal Alanis and Paloma Feghali 

Krystal Alanis

Direct: 713-457-5703

Email: krystal@rnlawgroup.com

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13 August 2015

Court Rules OPT 17-Month STEM Extension Rule is Invalid

Yesterday, D.C. Federal District Court held that the Optional Practical Training (OPT) 17 month STEM extension rule enacted in 2008 was deficient because Department of Homeland Security (DHS) did not go through the proper notice and comment period before the rule went into effect. But, the court found that vacating the rule immediately would cause substantial hardship for F-1 STEM students and would create a major labor disruption for the technology sector. So, the court ordered that the 2008 rule and its subsequent amendments be vacated —but this will not take effect until February 12, 2016, during which time DHS may rectify the situation by submitting the rule for proper notice and comment.

*The STEM extension rule extends the period of post-graduation OPT by 17 months for STEM students on F-1 visas.




10 August 2015

What’s with the PERM Audit?: Recognizing PERM Audit Triggers from the Get-Go

Ever wonder why some PERM applications are audited? Although PERM audits can be issued at random, there are some audit triggers you should watch out for from case initiation. Continue reading

Category: Labor Certification | Comments Off on What’s with the PERM Audit?: Recognizing PERM Audit Triggers from the Get-Go
4 August 2015

Tips to Improve your Chance of I-140 Approval

I want to share some tips to improve your chance of a smooth road to I-140 approval. PERM is a monster, but don’t let the seemingly “easy” I-140 hurdle fool you – the I-140 stage can present its own difficulties. Just remember, every step counts!  Continue reading

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31 July 2015

theimmigrationfiles: It’s Still Me!

Hi Everyone!

I’ve made some updates to my blog format and I just wanted to let everyone know that no one has stolen my identity, it’s still me! 🙂 Also, some people following my blog were lost during the transition and will have to subscribe again to continue receiving updates (very sorry for the inconvenience!)

I will begin posting more immigration updates soon! 🙂 Continue reading

28 July 2015

Minor Mistakes Can Cost You Big: PERM Denial Upheld for Minor Recruitment Report Mistake

The dreaded words no one wants to hear, “PERM is an exacting process.” The “exacting” process is designed to eliminate the back and forth between applicants and the DOL in order to create a more efficient process. Though this phrase should be outlawed at this point :-), it definitely encompasses the painstaking and detail oriented process that is PERM, where the DOL favors efficiency over fairness at times. A good example of this “exacting” process comes from a case decided by the appeals Board earlier this year: Simply Soup Ltd, 2012-PER-00940 (en banc decision, 01/13/2015). Continue reading

24 July 2015

BALCA Applies Symantec, Grants Labor Certification!

Last year, BALCA released an en banc decision in Symantec Corp, 2011-PER-01856 (July 30, 2014), finding that advertisements placed to comply with the PERM additional recruitment steps did not need to comply with the content requirements found for mandatory advertisements (newspaper advertisement). For background information, please visit my previous blog post: BALCA is Fair, Who Knew?! 

In a recent decision, Matter of Computer Sciences Corp., 2012-PER-00642 (July 09, 2015), BALCA applied Symantec Corp. to reverse the Certifying Officer’s denial of the PERM application. In this case, the Employer received an audit notification to which it responded with all required documentation. Continue reading