Articles Posted in Self Petitioned

632241_44640241_12182011.jpgA campaign led by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) intends to educate immigrants, both documented and undocumented, regarding common scams purporting to be legitimate immigration services. The Unauthorized Practice of Immigration Law Initiative began in seven U.S. cities including Detroit, and includes advertisements and printed materials in both English and Spanish. Its website has educational materials available in at least fourteen languages. The USCIS has partnered with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) for this campaign. They are also engaging state and local agencies to improve communication and facilitate enforcement of laws prohibiting immigration scams.

USCIS offers a list of common scams targeting immigrants. People using the title “Notario Publico” sometimes rely on a difference in the meaning of that title between the U.S. and Latin American countries in order to lure immigrants from those areas. A “notary public” in the U.S. has basic authority to witness signatures and administer some oaths. In some parts of Latin America, the title refers to someone with lawyer-like credentials and authority, leading some immigrants to incorrectly think they have the authority to render legal services.
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Paper Pile.jpgAs the Democrats and Republicans of congress continue to negotiate a compromise to the federal budget that is set to expire Friday, April 6th, 2011 at midnight, immigration attorneys in Columbus, Ohio have turned their attention to how a government shutdown will affect the normal adjudication of visas. Visa applications, including employment based I-140 and H-1B petitions as well as family based petitions including I-130 and I-485 applications, filed in the United States are usually adjudicated at one of the USCIS service centers throughout the country. These service centers are staffed by immigration officers who adjudicate visa applications. These immigration officers are employees of the federal government and could be furloughed if the federal government shuts down for lack of congressional funding.

Historically, government shutdowns have resulted in delays for visa adjudication. The reason for the potential delay is based upon the wording of the federal Antideficiency Act. This law states that in the event of a governmental shutdown the only governmental employees that will be permitted to continue to carry out their work will be employees who prevent or respond to “emergencies involving the safety of human life or the protection of property.” The law goes on to state that “ongoing, regular functions of government the suspension of which would not imminently threaten the safety of human life or the protection of property” are not to continue their operations during a shutdown. Officers who adjudicate visas at the service centers will most likely not be deemed essential to the protection of safety or property and will be furloughed. With no-one to adjudicate visas, visa applications will be backlogged to some extent. However, other aspects of United States immigration policy will continue to be enforced. Customs and border patrol officials, for example, should remain active.
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_ a a a gold medal.jpgThis article is the second installment following up and providing a conclusion to the first segment which provides the final techniques utilized by the Columbus Immigration Lawyers at The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates regarding the preparation of a Motion to Reopen/Reconsider or Request for Evidence (RFE) responses. Again this article focuses on the RFE response, but its techniques are applicable to any written brief or statement made in response to USCIS.

Critique the Request for Evidence Itself
A major component of drafting the response to an RFE is the need to critique the request itself. The immigration officer may not have developed the facts in a complete and accurate manner. It is your job to comprehensively develop those facts (often by use of affidavits). By showing inconsistencies and other problems with the facts, as developed by the immigration officer, you begin to establish credibility to your case. The Immigration Lawyers at The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates are very experienced at analyzing the facts and respectfully presenting them correctly to the USCIS in an RFE response.
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_ a a a gold medal.jpgUSCIS provides minimal guidance regarding the preparation of a Motion to Reopen/Reconsider or Request for Evidence (RFE) response. Unlike other USCIS procedures, CIS does not require the completion of a form when filing an RFE response. This little guidance provides a wide range of possibile methods to responding to the RFE. This article presents techniques that the Columbus Immigration Lawyers at The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates have implemented for preparing a successful responses to USCIS and focuses on the brief in support of an RFE response.

Prepare a Roadmap: Presentation Matters
While this might sound obvious, the most important element of the RFE response is drafting the response itself. Don’t spend all your time meeting with the client, gathering facts and conducting legal research. Too often, not enough time is spent on planning and presentation. Remember, an RFE has a strict deadline that often poses a tight timetable to prepare the supporting documentation and legal arguments. As the saying goes, “plan the work; work the plan.” This is an axiom the lawyers at The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates live by. You must leave sufficient time to prepare a polished product. Preparing a polished written RFE response does not simply happen. It requires good planning, organization and writing.
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Error.jpgEarlier this week the US Consulate at Mumbai reported that persons filing for Employment Based Permanent Residency in the Second Preference, or the EB-2 preference category, were current. This erroneous report gave false hope many persons from India who hold master’s degrees, have endured the PERM process and are currently waiting for a visa to be made available to them. It is unfortunate that a US Consulate would report such a drastic progression of the priority date only to later disappoint the many thousands of people who have waited so long to adjust to Green Card Status.

Just to clarify, the Mumbai consulate’s report of current visa availability for persons in the EB-2 preference category was in error. Foreign nationals from India who are waiting for a visa to be made current under the EB-2 preference category must have a priority date of May 8, 2006 in order to file for adjustment of status to Lawful Permanent Resident or Green Card status pursuant to the February 2011 Visa Bulletin.

The Department of Justice announced that it has awarded $720,321 in grants to 13 organizations throughout the country to conduct public education programs for workers and employers about federal protections against immigration-related job discrimination. The grants range from $43,664 to $88,000, and are awarded by the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices. Recipients will assist discrimination victims; conduct seminars for workers, employers and immigration service providers; and place advertisements in local communities through mainstream and ethnic media to educate workers and employers about their rights.

Innovation and start up businesses are going to be the driving force in the Columbus, Ohio economy over the next 20 years. Our firm provides immigration solutions in a variety of forms to businesses of all sizes and varieties, including H-1B visas and E-2 visas. Below, we have listed some of the most popular and useful visas for business owners, managers and human resources professionals to use in order to attract and retain the world’s top talent. Our firm will help you grow your business along with the dynamic city of Columbus, Ohio as new business as well as social and economic diversity lead this city to the forefront of United States business centers in the 21st Century.

E-2 Visa Solutions for Small Business Investors

The E-2 investor visa is one of the most popular and useful of all visas for start up and small businesses. In fact, the basic purpose of this visa is to promote foreign investment into the United States. The variety and type of business that is eligible to use the E-2 visa is almost limitless. Some of the most useful advantages of this visa include the relatively low investment threshold of $100,000 that needs to be made by the foreign national into the business. The E-2 visa is also renewable for an unlimited amount of time so long as the business and foreign nationals continue to qualify for the visa. Additionally, the E-2 visa allows for the foreign national to bring their family’s over to live and work in the United States.
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i-94.jpgThis question has been raised by a few of our clients. If you have not turned in your I-94 upon departure, the US will have no record of your departure. This means, according to the US, you are still in the country because your departure was not recorded properly. This article offers assistance to correct this problem.

Ooops, I did not return my I-94 upon Departure
If you leave the country and the CBP (Customs and Border Patrol) officer forgets to collect your I-94, you will be ok if you left by airplane or a cruise ship. Your departure will be automatically verified. So, you do not need to contact the U.S. officials regarding your exit. To be safe, hold on to your outbound boarding pass. This will help CBP officials next time you enter the U.S. andit will expedite the re-entry process so you do not have to explain the error.
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Postage Stamps from Countries.jpgRegistration for the 2010 Diversity Visa Program opened again on October 5, 2010 and will remain open until November 3, 2010. This means that right now there is a great opportunity for forging nationals of qualifying countries to file and plan ahead for the prospect of receiving a Green Card from this fantastic program. This fiscal year, 50,000 diversity visas have been made available for persons who come from underrepresented regions of the world and from countries that send less than 50,000 immigrants to the United States per year. However, to qualify for this program, the applicant must follow some simple yet strict eligibility requirements. Below, we have provided some general guidance for interested immigrants to study as they consider this fantastic opportunity.

Foreign National Must Be From a Country of Eligibility
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198267_olimpic_game_medal_athens.jpgThe United States Citizenship and Immigration Service has recently announced the manner in which it intends to re-write the standards by which it adjudicates Employment Based Green Card Petitions filed under the EB-1 preference category for Aliens of Extraordinary Ability, Outstanding Professors and Researchers as well as alien’s of Exceptional Ability (usually executives). Filing for a Green Card under the EB-1 preference category allows foreign nationals who wish to become permanent residents, the chance to completely bypass the PERM process and file the I-140, Petition for an Immigrant Worker directly to the USCIS. After years of adding extraneous requirements to the federal regulations coving the topic of EB-1, the Federal Circuit Courts began to overturn USCIS policy decisions in the field of EB-1 because of the USCIS’s imposition of evidentiary requirements beyond the requirements written into the law by Congress. As a result, the USCIS has issued new guidance to its officers in the field, which the agency hopes will bring its determinations of EB-1 petitions into closer compliance with the holdings of the Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal.

What types of EB-1 petitions will be affected by these changes?
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