Dear Clients and Colleagues,
We hope this newsletter finds you well. In this edition, we bring you important updates on various immigration matters. Please take a moment to review the following key highlights:
Visa Revalidation Process Set for Spring 2024
The Department of State is diligently working to reintroduce the visa revalidation process by Spring 2024. This is an important procedure for non-immigrants in the United States, allowing for the renewal of visas without the need to return to one's home country.
Important Points about Visa Revalidation:
Eligibility: Not all visa categories are eligible for revalidation, and specific rules vary. We expect both H-1b and L visa holders and their families could revalidate their respective visas within the United States.
Convenience: This process significantly aids those with expired non-immigrant visas, allowing them to renew while remaining in the U.S.
Current Status: While the Department of State is targeting Spring 2024 for reintroduction, it's crucial to stay updated as policies may evolve.
Application Procedure: The Department of State will soon release detailed guidelines on the application process for revalidation under this new policy.
Industry and Community Reactions: Business communities and immigration advocates have largely welcomed this update, highlighting its potential to streamline the process and reduce uncertainties for foreign workers in the U.S. Legal experts advise visa holders to seek guidance on their eligibility and prepare for the application process, which may involve gathering necessary documentation and understanding the updated guidelines thoroughly.
This expected policy change comes as a relief to many in the expatriate community, particularly those whose H-1B and L-1 visas have expired or are nearing expiration. The ability to renew visas domestically removes the logistical and financial burdens associated with international travel for visa purposes.
ICE Announces Online Portal for Enhanced Communication with Noncitizens
In another major development, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has launched a significant initiative to streamline communications between noncitizens and the federal government. This new platform, known as the ICE Portal, is a public-facing website designed to centralize and simplify various interactions.
Key Features of the ICE Portal:
Appointment Scheduling: Noncitizens can now easily schedule necessary appointments through this portal.
Address Updates: Keeping your contact information current with ICE is now more straightforward with online updates.
Immigration Court Information: Access your immigration court hearing details in one consolidated location.
This portal represents a significant step towards modernizing and making immigration processes more accessible and transparent.
Proving derivative citizenship in the United States typically involves providing evidence that you meet the legal requirements for acquiring citizenship through a parent or parents. The exact documentation required can vary depending on your individual circumstances, such as your age, whether your parents were citizens by birth or naturalization, and whether your parents were married. Here are general steps and types of documents that might be needed:
Understand the Legal Requirements:
You'll need to determine whether you derived citizenship from your parents and, if so, under which specific provisions of U.S. immigration law. This can depend on factors like the date of your birth, the citizenship status of your parents at the time of your birth, and whether your parents were married.
Collect Necessary Documents:
Your Birth Certificate: Showing your birth date and the names of your parents.
Parent's Citizenship Information: If your parents were naturalized, you would need their naturalization certificates. If they were U.S. citizens by birth, their birth certificates or passports can be used.
Proof of Relationship to Your Parent's: Such as your birth certificate or an adoption decree.
Proof of Residence or Physical Presence in the U.S.: If required by the law under which you are claiming derivative citizenship, documents like school records, medical records, or employment records can prove you lived in the U.S.
Parent's Marriage Certificate: If applicable, to establish legitimacy, especially if the law under which you are claiming citizenship requires that your parents were married.
Parent's Divorce Decree: If your parents divorced while you were under 18, this might be necessary.
Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship:
This form is used to apply for a Certificate of Citizenship, which is the document that officially recognizes your derivative citizenship.
Complete and submit Form N-600 to the USCIS along with the required filing fee and supporting documents.
Consult with an Immigration Attorney:
Derivative citizenship cases can be complex, and the laws have changed over time. Consulting with an immigration attorney who specializes in citizenship matters can help ensure you are taking the correct steps and submitting the right documentation.
Interview or Biometrics Appointment:
USCIS may require an interview or biometrics appointment as part of processing your Form N-600.
Remember, the exact requirements and documents needed can vary depending on your specific circumstances. It's important to review the current laws and possibly consult with an expert to ensure you're taking the right steps for your situation.
What is an H-2B Visa?
An H-2B visa is a type of non-immigrant visa that allows U.S. employers to temporarily hire foreign workers for non-agricultural jobs when there is a shortage of qualified U.S. workers. The H-2B program is designed to address the seasonal or peak-load needs of businesses, such as those in hospitality, landscaping, construction, and other industries.
Here are the general steps to obtain an H-2B visa:
Employer's Responsibility: The first step in obtaining an H-2B visa is for the U.S. employer to determine that there are not enough qualified U.S. workers available to fill the job positions. This typically involves advertising the job locally and proving the need for foreign labor.
Obtain a Prevailing Wage Determination (PWD): The employer must request a Prevailing Wage Determination (PWD) from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The PWD determines the minimum wage that must be paid to H-2B workers for the specific job positions and location.
File a Labor Certification (LC): After receiving the PWD, the employer must file a Temporary Labor Certification (TLC) application with the DOL. The TLC demonstrates that there are no willing and able U.S. workers available to take the job. The employer must also advertise the job according to specific DOL requirements.
Submit Form I-129 to USCIS: Once the TLC is approved by the DOL, the employer can submit Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This form requests permission to hire foreign workers on H-2B visas.
H-2B Visa Application by Workers: After USCIS approves the I-129 petition, foreign workers can apply for H-2B visas at a U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country. They will typically need to attend an in-person visa interview and provide required documents, including the approved I-129 petition.
Consular Interview and Visa Issuance: During the consular interview, applicants will be asked about their qualifications and the purpose of their visit to the U.S. If approved, they will receive an H-2B visa stamp in their passport, which allows them to enter the U.S. for the specific job and employer.
Arrival and Employment in the U.S.: Once in the U.S., H-2B workers can begin their employment with the sponsoring employer. The visa is typically valid for the duration of the job as specified in the TLC, which is usually for a fixed period, and workers are expected to return to their home countries upon completion of their work.
Proposed Regulation: USCIS has proposed a regulation to add more H-2B visas, with a significant portion reserved for citizens of specific countries and the rest for returning H-2B workers. The regulation also enforces a 3-month departure requirement for those who have held H-2B visas for a total of 3 years.
Complex Process: The H-2B program involves a complex and detailed process. Employers must obtain a Prevailing Wage Determination (PWD) from the Department of Labor (DOL), file for labor certification, and wait in line for visa allocation based on their certification group.
Challenges for Employers: The limited availability of visas and the grouping system can make it challenging for employers to secure H-2B visas, especially if they are placed in Group B or C, as visas may be exhausted by that point.
Workforce Challenges: Low unemployment rates can lead to recruitment and retention difficulties for businesses, lower productivity, and potential economic repercussions. Some businesses turn to the H-2B program due to labor shortages.
An H-2B visa program can be complex, and the laws have changed over time. Consulting with an immigration attorney who specializes in H-2B visa matters can help ensure you are taking the correct steps and not wasting thousands of dollars.
We hope you find this information valuable. If you have any questions or require legal assistance related to any of these updates, please don't hesitate to contact us. We are here to help.
Keshab Raj Seadie, Esq.
Law Offices of Keshab Raj Seadie, P.C.
Disclaimer: This newsletter is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Always consult an attorney for personalized advice.