When Immigration Matters

Karen-Lee Pollak

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Visa Retrogression: Navigating Immigration Delays

Posted by Karen-Lee Pollak on Fri, Sep 01, 2023 @ 8:44 AM

Both immigrant and non-immigrant visas are essential for U.S. immigration, but the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can only process a limited number each year. Visa retrogression arises when the demand for immigrant visas exceeds the supply, which is often a cause for frustration and delays. The backlog created by the tremendous number of visa applications impacts certain visa categories for individuals from specific countries. To understand visa retrogression and how it may impact your visa application, it’s important to explore the contributing factors.

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Opening the Doors to International Opportunities With the L-1 Visa

Posted by Karen-Lee Pollak on Mon, Aug 07, 2023 @ 2:23 PM

In today's interconnected world, global business ventures are flourishing like never before. Companies are expanding their operations across borders, seeking new markets and international collaborations. Among the various options available, the L-1 visa stands out as a gateway to international opportunities for both employers and employees alike.

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Parole Options for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans

Posted by Karen-Lee Pollak on Tue, Jul 11, 2023 @ 11:51 AM

The U.S. Citizenship and Information Services (USCIS) announced a process for nationals of certain countries to apply for advanced travel authorization to the U.S. The process allows beneficiaries who otherwise lack valid U.S. entry documents the ability to apply for legal residence in the U.S. Successful applicants may live in the country for up to two years. During that time, beneficiaries may apply for temporary work authorization.

Who Is Eligible to Become a Beneficiary?

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USCIS Expands Employment Authorization for Laid-Off Nonimmigrant Workers in the USA

Posted by Karen-Lee Pollak on Wed, Jun 21, 2023 @ 3:22 PM

The recent layoffs in the technology industry have left nonimmigrant employees with limited options to continue working in the US if they do not find alternative employment with an employer willing to sponsor them for a nonimmigrant visa.  This is particularly concerning for H-1B visa holders, who are granted only a 60-day grace period to change or extend their nonimmigrant status following termination. Layoffs disproportionately affect Indian-born H-1B workers subject to the long employment-based green card backlogs, where they face decades-long waits for permanent residency due to per-country limits. Retrogression in the employment-based preferences now affects all countries, but Indian and Chinese citizens are most affected.

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Becoming a Student in the U.S.

Posted by Karen-Lee Pollak on Mon, Jun 12, 2023 @ 11:22 AM

Coming to the U.S. to study at an accredited educational institution is an amazing prospect for many international students. It’s an excellent opportunity to practice your language skills, make potential professional connections, and give you a competitive edge when applying to university and graduate programs. If you wish to study in the U.S. you are required to obtain a visa. One of the most common student visas is the F-1 non-immigrant visa. 

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E-2 Non-Immigrant Investor Visa

Posted by Karen-Lee Pollak on Mon, May 01, 2023 @ 3:59 PM

The E-1 and E-2 visas involve a reciprocal agreement between the United States and foreign countries that enables nationals to invest or conduct trade between the two nations. Foreign nationals can obtain an E-1 visa by engaging in trade with the U.S. or an E-2 visa by overseeing investments in the U.S. Both individuals and large multinational corporations can use the E-visa category. This article will provide an overview of the E-2 visa and its requirements.

What is a “Treaty Investor” Visa?

E-2 "Treaty Investor" visas are a type of non-immigrant visa that allows foreign entrepreneurs and investors to enter and work in the United States. A non-immigrant visa does not provide a path to permanent residency or citizenship, and those seeking a green card should do so through a different immigration program. The E-2 visa is only intended for business owners and investors looking to make significant investments in the United States. Once processed, the visa is issued for five years and can be renewed indefinitely as long as the business that has been invested in continues to operate.

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Posted by Karen-Lee Pollak on Tue, Apr 18, 2023 @ 4:44 PM

The Department of State has released the May Visa Bulletin and there are significant delays. These delays will primarily impact workers who have not filed adjustment of status applications. Employers sponsoring foreign nationals should be aware that some cut-off dates for filing immigrant visa applications in certain employment-based (EB) preference categories have recently “retrogressed” or moved backwards in time due to increased demand.

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Key Differences Between the O-1A Visa and the EB-1A Visa for Aliens of Extraordinary Ability

Posted by Karen-Lee Pollak on Tue, Apr 11, 2023 @ 10:19 AM

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offers several visa categories for those with “extraordinary abilities,” great expertise within their field, or individuals of great distinction. The two primary visa categories are the O-1A visa and the EB-1A visa, which have variable categories that depend on the applicant's eligibility. Although they have similarities, the primary difference is that the O-1A visa is for temporary employment within the U.S., and the EB-1A visa is for permanent residence.

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H-1B and L-1 Visa Revalidation is Back within the USA

Posted by Karen-Lee Pollak on Mon, Mar 06, 2023 @ 2:43 PM

Early in February, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Visa Services at the Bureau of Consular Affairs, Julie Stuff told Bloomberg News that  United States Department of State (USDOS) is preparing to introduce a pilot program to restore domestic visa revalidation for H-1B and L-1 non-immigration visa types.  This means that H-1B and L-1 visa holders will not have to travel overseas to get visas placed in their passports at US. Consulates.   Instead they can apply for visa renewal from the United States after receiving their renewal approval notice from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). More details will be announced later in the year.  

This is a huge relief for many nonimmigrant workers and the business that hire them in the United State as they will no longer have to incur costs and delays in travelling overseas to get the visas placed in their passports.  This program is not new. It would bring back the practice that existed but was discontinued back in 2004.  Although this pilot program is limited to H-1B and L-1 visas for now, it may be expanded to other nonimmigrant visa categories such as E, O, and P, later on. 

The COVID pandemic have caused serious backlogs and delays with visa renewal interview appointments at U.S. Embassies and/or Consulates aboard, especially for offices in India where the majority of these visa holders come from. Some workers have claimed to have waited more than a year to get their visa appointments. Many workers and businesses had to risk workers getting stuck in their home country awaiting visa interviews. To address these bottlenecks, many immigration attorneys, advocacy groups, and businesses have pushed State Department to bring back state-side visa renewal as an option. The State Department stated last year that they would look into domestic renewals but challenges such as establishing a brand-new consular services division in Washington D.C. to process all these renewals have delayed this decision and may be the reason for the limited rollout only for H-1B and L-1 visa types. 

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Filing An Immigration Petition For An Immediate Family Member

Posted by Karen-Lee Pollak on Wed, Mar 01, 2023 @ 1:36 PM

Moving away from family and friends and starting a new life in the U.S. is a challenging and emotional process. This is made more difficult if you must leave behind a family member to gain residency before formally bringing them to live with you in the United States. A lawful permanent resident (Green Card Holder) or U.S. Citizens may file a petition on behalf of their spouse, child under the age of 21 as well as unmarried adult children. U.S. Citizens may also sponsor married children, siblings and parents.

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