When Immigration Matters

Karen Pollak

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Can a Dual Citizen Change Status Using a Different Passport?

Posted by Karen Pollak on Tue, Jun 06, 2023 @ 3:46 PM

Is it possible for a dual citizen to change their immigration status using a passport issued by a country other than the passport they used when they initially arrived and were admitted to the United States?

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Religious Exemptions For Vaccinations

Posted by Karen Pollak on Mon, May 02, 2022 @ 3:15 PM

For non-citizens who wish to become legal permanent residents (green card holders), you will have to have an immigration medical exam. One of its intended purposes is to ensure you don’t have any communicable diseases that could be brought into the country. Examples of these are measles, mumps, and rubella. During your examination, doctors verify whether you have received the appropriate vaccinations. 

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(Great) Changes For L2 Visa Holders

Posted by Karen Pollak on Mon, Apr 04, 2022 @ 5:12 PM

Spouses and dependents of L1 visa holders are issued L2 Visas. L-1A visas are foreign nationals who come to work in the US in a managerial or executive capacity. L-1Bs are similar, but the nature of work pertains to specialized knowledge. These are non-immigrant visas that enable you to live in the United States for a limited amount of time.

L2 Visa holders are allowed to work in the United States. However, up until now they needed to file an application with United States Citizenship and Immigration to obtain work authorization and could not work until they received approval. There are lengthy delays in obtaining approval which in some cases can take 9 months to a year.

Timing & the EAD

As a result of a federal lawsuit, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued a new policy which allows L2 visa holders entering the United States to immediately work without applying for work authorization. The ability to work will be noted on their I-94 issued by Customs and Border Protection and they will not have to apply for work authorization. The I-94 is the Arrival/Departure Record and the annotation will appear as “L2S”. The purpose of one is precisely what it sounds like—to keep track of non-citizens as they enter and exit the United States.

It is important to note that L2 visa holders who have not entered the USA since the change in recent policy still need to apply for work authorization or work authorization extensions unless they leave the USA and reenter on their L2 visa.

Pollak, PLLC

Contact Pollack, PLLC, for a complimentary consultation for more information about employment-based visas. We cannot change the world but we can change yours.

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BREAKING NEWS - The U.S Senate passes the 2022 Federal Spending Bill including the U.S. EB-5 Investor Visa Program Bill

Posted by Karen Pollak on Fri, Mar 11, 2022 @ 6:43 PM

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It is H1-B Season Again. Are You Ready?

Posted by Karen Pollak on Thu, Feb 03, 2022 @ 3:09 PM

Can you believe that H-1B Season is upon us?   Each year, I say it seems like yesterday we filed last year’s H-1B Cap cases.  This year is particularly true as we have only recently filed certain H-1B Cap Cases randomly selected in a third lottery.  USCIS issued the most requests for evidence and denials it has ever issued on H-1B Cap cases.  In fact, USCIS has stated that it issued requests for evidence in 70 percent of the H-1B Cap cases filed.  So, what have we learned?

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Defining & Demonstrating Extraordinary Abilities

Posted by Karen Pollak on Thu, Feb 03, 2022 @ 10:33 AM

For those seeking an employment-based immigration visa, you may have the ability to receive a designation of first preference (EB-1). These visas are specifically for noncitizens who have proven to be leaders in their designated field. Generally, these people are academics, researchers, artists, athletes, and executives. 

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Biden's Path to Citizenship for Undocumented Immigrants

Posted by Karen Pollak on Fri, Aug 06, 2021 @ 2:44 PM

On February 18, 2021, Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Representative Linda T. Sánchez (D-CA) unveiled President Biden’s pathway to citizenship for the eleven million undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States. Referred to as the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, Biden’s plan comprises of an eight-year process during which immigrants live and work in the U.S. After passing background checks and paying taxes, participants of the program are permitted a five-year stay in the United States. Then, upon completing this period, immigrants are able to apply for a green card, granting them permanent citizenship. Lastly, after three additional years, participants of this path have the opportunity to become full citizens.   

While there have been many efforts made to reach bipartisan support regarding immigration reform, Biden’s eight-year path to citizenship seems to only be backed by his Democratic supporters. His plan focuses on making it far easier to enter the U.S. legally by rehabilitating legal points of entry rather than funding border enforcement like his predecessor, which has not pleased Senate Republicans. In fact, after being introduced in February, the bill still remains stalled on the Senate floor, and it is becoming seemingly more unlikely that its status will progress. Hope dwindles as Biden is still short the ten additional votes needed to overcome the filibuster, despite support from all fifty Democrat-controlled seats.  

In the meantime, Senate Democrats and other major players in immigration policymaking recently met with President Biden to discuss the inclusion of immigration reform in his $3.5 trillion federal budget package. Policy change in this form is ideal, as budget bills only require a simple majority, thus enabling Democratic lawmakers to completely bypass Republican opposition. Biden readily reaffirmed his support for immigration reform, assuring the group of Senate Democrats that he would work with them in order to see their long-sought immigration policies signed into law.   

Additionally, the pressure on the Biden administration to achieve success regarding immigration policy reform has been further fueled by a recent Texas ruling that outlawed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, one of the few remnants of immigration policy from Biden’s vice presidency during the Obama era. However, with the inclusion of immigration policy in his Reconciliation federal budget package, Biden and many Democratic lawmakers are working to create a path to citizenship for Dreamers, undocumented essential workers, and those with Temporary Protected Status. Although Biden has yet to disclose the specific details of each pathway as they are spelled out in the budget package, it is his intention, that with full support from Congress Democrats, the 11 million undocumented immigrants will come out of the shadows, stop living in fear of deportation and separation from their families and be granted a path to full citizenship in the near future.   

We would like to thank our Summer Intern Hallie Sternblitz for doing the research and writing this Blog Post. 

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EB-5 Announcement:  Short Window Opens to Invest $500K

Posted by Karen Pollak on Fri, Jun 25, 2021 @ 1:30 PM

A very short window has opened for potential EB-5 investors to invest at the $500,000 level once again after various events affecting the EB-5 industry occurred this past week; On Tuesday, a Federal Judge invalidated the Final EB-5 rules that increased the minimum investment amount from $500,000 to $900,000 in 2019, effectively reverting the investment threshold back to its previous level.  On Thursday, however, efforts to re-authorize the EB-5 program, which is currently set to expire on the 30th of June 2021, stalled on the Senate floor and will only continue once Congress returns from its 4th of July recess. This leaves potential investors with the opportunity to invest at the $500,000 level only until the 30th of June.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley gave hope to the EB-5 industry, which has been struggling under the twofold setback of increased investment amounts and investor uncertainty following the Covid-19 pandemic.  Her ruling concluded that the Department of Homeland Security officials who were responsible for enacting the initial price increase and various other changes to the program through the Modernization Rule of 2019 had not been legally appointed according to the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 and therefore had no legal authority to promulgate the changes.  Brought before the court by Behring Co., a real estate developer and the operator of Behring Regional Center, the judge’s decision effectively nullified the Modernization Rule enacted since November 2019.  In addition to the increasing the investment threshold, the Modernization Rule also made changes to the Regional Center Program’s Targeted Employment Area (TEA) designation process, which removed States’ ability to determine their own TEA eligibility and drastically decreased the number of investments projects that qualified to raise capital through the EB-5 program.

The victory was short-lived, however, after efforts to reauthorize the EB-5 program stalled in the Senate’s last session before breaking for recess until after the 4th of July.  Senators Grassley, Leahy and Cornyn brought the bipartisan EB-5 Reform and Integrity Bill before the Senate floor to request unanimous consent to pass the bill before the June 30thdeadline.  The motion was, however, unsuccessful after South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham registered an objection to the unanimous consent motion.  A short- term extension was unfortunately not brought forward to re-authorize the program while effort to conclude any legislation action continues.  This leaves the regional center to sunset until Congress gets back to work following the 4th of July holiday.

Industry experts believe that efforts to pass legislative reform and re-authorize the program will continue once Congress reconvenes.  However, any legislative action taken will likely re-establish the $900,000 threshold and any action taken by Congress will supersede the ruling of the Behring case.  Those who are considering making use of the small window of opportunity are encouraged to act before 30 June if they wish to partake in the program at the $500,000 level.  It is possible the Government will appeal the decision and the ruling stayed meaning people who do invest $500,000 may have to now invest an additional $400,000 or depending on the terms of the regional center agreement have their $500,000 returned to them.  It is important to review the specific regional center agreement to see what will happen to the $500,000 investment if the decision is appealed before June 30, 2021 and the investor has invested at the $500,000 level. 

The EB-5 program provides its investors with legal permanent residents for the applicant, their spouse and any children aged under twenty-one years of age.

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US Green Card: What You Need to Know About Permanent Residency

Posted by Karen Pollak on Wed, Jul 08, 2015 @ 9:30 AM

Applying for a Green Card or Immigrant visa is the first step in becoming a United States Permanent Resident.  As a Green Card holder, you and your immediate family can live and work in the United States permanently. Most people obtain Green Cards by being sponsored by their employers or their relatives. Others obtain permanent residence through the Green Card lottery, asylum and through various other means. The main ways of applying for a Green Card are through marriage, employment, family, the lottery and through investment.

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What Immigrants Need to Obtain a Texas Drivers License | Immigration

Posted by Karen Pollak on Mon, Oct 17, 2011 @ 7:17 AM

Attached is a useful chart for obtaining a Texas Drivers License for Immigrant and Non Immigrants residing in Texas.  In this chart the Texas DPS lists acceptable documents to evidence proof of lawful status when registering or renewing a drivers license. 

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