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San Jose Immigration Law Blog

Removing conditional status on your marriage-based green card

If you had been married for less than two years when you were granted permanent residence (a green card), your status is conditional. The reason is that you are required to prove your marriage was legitimate and not a so-called "green card marriage" meant to thwart U.S. immigration law.

It is very important to have this condition removed. Your green card is set to expire on your second anniversary. If you do not apply to have the condition removed, you could lose your status and be subject to removal from the U.S.

You and your spouse should petition jointly during the 90 days before your second anniversary by filing Form I-751. An interview is generally required.

Visas for multinational managers and executives of US companies

Recently on this blog, we've been discussing employment-based visas for so-called "priority workers." EB-1 visas are immigrant visas for people meeting specific criteria. People with EB-1 visas can later adjust their immigration status to that of lawful permanent resident (green card holder).

There are three types of EB-1 visas:

EB-1 (a) Extraordinary ability visas

EB-1 (b) Outstanding professors and researchers

EB-1 (c) Multinational managers and executives

If DACA becomes available to new applicants, would you be ready?

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) provides protection from deportation and grants work authorization to qualifying non-immigrants who were brought to the U.S. before age 16. Currently, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is no longer accepting new applications, although it is processing renewals. However, an April court decision, currently on hold, could potentially open the program up to new applicants.

Are you qualified for DACA, or would a criminal issue keep you out of the program? Did you know that an immigration attorney may be able to help you overcome that disqualification?

Outstanding professor or researcher seeking to move to the US?

This week, we're returning to our discussion about employment-based visas for "priority workers," or the EB-1 visa category. These are immigrant visas for people who meet specific criteria, meaning that this type of visa can lead to lawful permanent residency. There are three types of EB-1 visas:

EB-1 (a) Extraordinary ability visas (the type FLOTUS Melania Trump received)

EB-1 (b) Outstanding professors and researchers

EB-1 (c) Multinational managers and executives

Validating a marriage to a citizen? Beware of old deportation orders

While previous administrations focused on deporting only those immigrants who commit serious crimes, the Trump administration has made clear that anyone in the United States without proper authorization is fair game for deportation. Furthermore, immigration agents will arrest unauthorized immigrants wherever it finds them.

One place it is easy to find immigrants is at meetings and interviews with immigration authorities -- including marriage interviews. Unfortunately, arresting immigrants at their marriage interviews is increasingly common.

Businesses notice more scrutiny of H-1B, other work visa programs

Although the Trump administration has stated a preference for employment-based rather than family-based immigration, it appears to be taking steps to limit some employment- and investment-based immigration programs. This includes additional scrutiny of H-1B applications and the virtual elimination of several other programs for skilled immigrants.

Last year, President Trump signed an executive order directing all government agencies to rigorously enforce employment-based immigration programs. The stated goal was to ensure that workers from abroad do not displace U.S. citizen workers. Specifically, the order called for changes to ensure that H-1B visa holders have skills that are unavailable in the U.S.

I'm now a citizen. What happens to the family petition I filed?

You were a lawful permanent resident, but now you are a U.S. citizen. While you were a lawful permanent resident, did you file a petition to bring your spouse or children to the U.S.? If so, you may have been told that your petition was "family second preference." Family preference visas for lawful permanent residents are limited in number. If there are no more visas when the limit is reached, your family members will have to wait.

Now that you're a citizen, if you are at least 21 years old, you can upgrade your spouse and child petitions from a family preference visa to an "immediate relative" visa. These immigrant visas are available to the spouses, unmarried children under 21, adopted orphans and parents of U.S. citizens. They are often more desirable because there is currently no limitation on the number of visas issued each year.

Investment visa opportunity

The EB-5 program, managed by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provides an excellent opportunity for foreign entrepreneurs to invest in a business in America and get a chance at green cards for themselves and their immediate families. Here are some of the basic requirements of the EB-5 and the program’s advantages.

Investment and Management

To speed up results, DOJ sets new quotas for immigration judges

The U.S. immigration courts, which handle civil cases involving immigration law, are technically a part of the Department of Justice. That gives them quite a bit less independence than traditional courts. The U.S. attorney general has the right to set court policy and even to change precedential rulings. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has just set new quotas for immigration judges in an effort to resolve a massive case backlog and, some say, to speed up deportations.

The new quotas were set out in a memo recently sent to the judges. If they would like a "satisfactory" rating on their performance evaluations, the memo says, the judges must clear at least 700 cases each year and have less than 15 percent of them overturned on appeal.

State Dept. wants social media details from all visa applicants

Each year, approximately 15 million people apply for U.S. visas. The State Department has just announced that it will require every one of them to provide their social media user names, past email addresses and previous phone numbers with their application. Previously, the information had only been required from people who had been selected for additional scrutiny.

The new rule would affect the approximately 14 million people who apply for non-immigrant visas each year, including those seeking temporary visas for business, education or tourism. It will also apply to some 710,000 people who apply each year for immigrant visas, which allow the visa holder to live and work in the U.S. indefinitely. The only people exempt from the rule would be people applying for certain types of diplomatic and official visas.

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