Beginning in May 2019, I-94 numbers will be alphanumeric. Currently, I-94 numbers are 11 digits long and only contain numbers. I-94 numbers will remain at 11 characters but will follow the format of 9 digits, followed by a letter in the 10th position, and a digit in the 11th position.
On May 20, USCIS will begin premium processing for FY 2020 cap-subject H-1B petitioners requesting a change of status on their Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker. So, if you have already received an electronic receipt for your H-1B petition, the 15-day clock will not begin until 5/20/2019.
Employers who did not file Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, concurrently with an FY 2020 cap-subject H-1B petition requesting a change of status must wait until premium processing begins on May 20 to submit Form I-907.
Finding the best immigration lawyer in Fort Worth seems like a big task – but you can use these tips to narrow your search and zero in on the right attorney for your needs.
Tips to Find the Best Immigration Lawyer
Whether you’re trying to get a visa to come to the U.S., you want to help your family immigrate, or you’re ready to sponsor workers from outside the country, you need an immigration lawyer in Fort Worth who can answer all your questions, file the appropriate paperwork with the right agencies, and make the entire process as smooth as possible. Use these tips to find an attorney who can get you the best possible outcome:
- Be objective about what the lawyer promises you
- Look at the attorney’s experience
- Conduct an in-person or phone interview to get a feel for the lawyer’s personality and style
First things first: you need to make sure you’re dealing with an attorney, not someone billing him- or herself as a visa consultant, petition preparer or notario. These people are not attorneys and can’t give you legal advice. Worse, they may not even know what they’re doing.
When you are dealing with an immigration attorney in Fort Worth, he or she can only tell you the truth – and no attorney can ever guarantee you a certain outcome. Your case’s fate is in USCIS’s, Homeland Security’s, or an immigration judge’s hands… not your lawyer’s.
Pro tip: Always watch out for lawyers who tell you to lie on an application or in an interview, or who ask you for money to bribe officials. If you encounter an attorney like this, run. Doing these things can get you into heaps of trouble, and you may even be barred from entering the United States in the future as a result.
Look at Experience
United States law can be complicated (have you seen the Immigration and Nationality Act?), so for most people, it makes sense to work with an experienced Fort Worth immigration attorney. That’s not to say that working with a new lawyer is bad – it’s only to say that lawyers who have filled out hundreds of immigration forms know what to look for, how to help prepare their clients for interviews, and understands what kinds of issues can trip up an application and drag out the process.
Conduct an Interview
One of the most important things you can do when you’re looking for the best immigration lawyer for your needs is to conduct an interview. You can set something up at the attorney’s office or you can conduct an over-the-phone interview – but you definitely have to do it. This way, you can get a good feel for how the lawyer communicates, ask all your questions and see whether you “click.”
Do You Need to Talk to an Immigration Lawyer in Fort Worth?
If you’re considering immigrating to the U.S. or you want to sponsor foreign workers, we may be able to help you. Call 817-529-4509 to schedule a consultation with an experienced, knowledgeable attorney today.
Denials for H-1B skilled worker visas jumped to a 10-year high in the first quarter of 2019. An analysis of the database of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services by the National Foundation for American Policy, a non-partisan think tank, showed 32% of initial H-1B petitions were denied in the first quarter of the 2019 cycle (October-December).
The denial rate was 24% in FY2018, quadrupling from 6% in 2015. It never exceeded 8% from 2010 to 2015, the Obama years.
On April 10, USCIS used a computer-generated random selection process to select enough H-1B petitions to meet the congressionally-mandated regular cap and the U.S. advanced degree exemption for fiscal year (FY) 2020. After completing the random selection process for the regular cap, USCIS also determined that it has received a number of petitions projected as sufficient to meet the 20,000 H-1B visa U.S. advanced degree exemption, also known as the master’s cap.
USCIS received 201,011 H-1B petitions during the filing period, which began April 1, including petitions filed for the advanced degree exemption. USCIS announced on April 5 that it had received enough petitions to reach the congressionally mandated H-1B regular cap of 65,000.
Some non-United States citizens who hold work visas are eligible for green cards – and that means they get to live and work permanently in the U.S. Other than family-based green cards, employment-based green cards are the most common ways for foreign nationals to obtain permanent residency here.
What is an Employment-Based Green Card?
If you’re a foreign national living in the U.S. on an H1B or student visa, or if you’re currently residing outside the U.S., you may be eligible for employment-based green cards if an employer sponsors you. You and your employer must follow a specific process so you can get this type of green card, and your employer must provide proof of a labor certification and several other documents.
Applicants who live in the U.S. on a visa can apply for adjustment of status to obtain an employment-based green card. People who live outside the U.S. can go through consular processing instead.
Categories for Employment-Based Green Cards
Employment-based green cards are available to people who fall into one of five categories. Most workers fall into the first three, but all the categories are:
- EB-1 priority workers
- EB-2 professionals with advanced degrees or persons with exceptional ability
- EB-3 skilled or professional workers
- EB-4 Special immigrants
- EB-5 Investors
EB-1 Priority Workers
EB-1 priority workers are people of extraordinary ability in the arts, sciences, education, business or athletics, as well as outstanding professors and researchers who have received national recognition for achievements in their fields. Priority workers also include multinational managers or executives.
You must meet certain criteria to qualify as an EB-1 priority worker, which your employment-based immigration lawyer can explain to you.
EB-2 Professionals With Advanced Degrees or Persons With Exceptional Ability
EB-2 professionals with advanced degrees and EB-2 persons with exceptional ability must be applying for a job that requires an advanced degree, or must be able to show exceptional ability in the arts, sciences or business. Some EB-2 immigrants can request a waiver to a labor certification because their immigration will be in the U.S.’s interest. These immigrants don’t need an employer to sponsor them and can file directly with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
In order to qualify for this type of green card, you must provide documentation that proves that you have at least 10 years of full-time experience in your occupation and that you’re licensed (if necessary) to perform it. Your attorney can help you determine what other documentation you need.
EB-3 Skilled or Professional Workers
EB-3 skilled workers and professionals, as well as some unskilled workers, often qualify for green cards based on the needs of U.S. employers. Skilled workers must demonstrate at least 2 years of job experience or training, and professionals have to provide proof that they have a U.S. baccalaureate degree (or a foreign equivalent). Unskilled workers must be capable of performing unskilled labor that’s not temporary or seasonal. In every instance, employers must certify that U.S. workers are not available to perform the job.
EB-4 Special Immigrants
Special immigrants fall into several categories, including:
- Afghani and Iraqi nationals who have provided faith service in support of U.S. operations
- Afghani and Iraqi translators
- G-4 International Organization or NATO-6 employees and family members
- International employees of the U.S. government abroad
- Members of the U.S. Armed Forces
- Panama Canal Zone employees
- Religious workers
- Some physicians
- Special immigrant children and juveniles
If you fall into one of those categories, you could qualify for an EB-4 special immigrant visa. For most people, it makes sense to discuss specifics with a Dallas immigration attorney.
EB-5 investors can apply for a green card if they plan to create or preserve 10 (or more) permanent full-time jobs for qualified U.S. workers and make the necessary investment in a commercial enterprise in the U.S. It must be a new commercial enterprise (one that was established after November 29, 1990 or one that was established prior to that date but has been restructured, reorganized, or expanded).
The commercial enterprise can be a:
- Sole proprietorship
- Holding company
- Joint venture
- Business trust
- Publicly or privately owned entity
If you intend to invest in a U.S. company to gain a green card, it’s a good idea to discuss your options with a U.S.-based immigration attorney. Your lawyer will also explain the requirements you must meet to qualify, which can include a minimum investment of $1 million.
How to Get an Employment-Based Green Card
You can get an employment-based green card if your employer files a labor certification and agrees to sponsor you. (The exception is when you’re applying for an EB-5 investor green card.)
What is a Labor Certification?
A labor certification is required for most U.S. employers that want to sponsor workers for a green card. It’s issued by the Secretary of Labor. The certification assures USCIS that there isn’t a U.S. worker available to fill the position and that hiring a foreign worker will not adversely affect U.S. workers who are similarly employed. Certification is based on circumstances at the time of application and the location of the position the employer wants to fill. That means that if the position is in Dallas, the Department of Labor can certify that there aren’t enough workers who are capable or willing to take the job in Dallas – the conditions in other cities don’t matter.
Can Your Family Get Green Cards Based on Your Employment?
If the U.S. government grants you an employment-based green card, your spouse and children who are under 21 at the time you receive your green card can also get theirs.
Adjustment of Status vs. Consular Processing
People who are currently working for an employer on an H1-B visa may be able to apply for permanent residency using an adjustment of status. However, those who are not already working for an employer or who are located outside the United States must go through consular processing – the process of obtaining residency through a U.S. Department of State consulate abroad.
Do You Need to Talk to a DFW Immigration Attorney About an Employment-Based Green Card?
We may be able to help you. Call us at 817-529-4509 to schedule your consultation with a DFW immigration lawyer today.
Premium processing will be offered in a two-phased approach during the FY 2020 cap season so USCIS can best manage the premium processing requests without fully suspending it as in previous years. The first phase will include FY 2020 cap-subject H-1B petitions requesting a change of status and the second phase will include all other FY 2020 cap-subject petitions.
Starting April 1, FY 2020 cap-subject H-1B petitioners requesting a change of status on their Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, may request premium processing by concurrently filing Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service. However, to prioritize data entry for cap-subject H-1B petitions, USCIS will not begin premium processing for these petitions immediately. USCIS will begin premium processing for these petitions no later than May 20, 2019, and will notify the public before premium processing begins for these petitions. If a petitioner does not file Form I-907 concurrently with an FY 2020 H-1B cap-subject petition requesting a change of status, the petitioner must wait until premium processing begins to submit Form I-907. Until premium processing begins for these petitions, USCIS will reject any Form I-907 that is not filed concurrently with a cap-subject Form I-129. Petitioners must appropriately select response “b” for Item 4 in Part 2 of Form I-129 to be eligible to concurrently file Form I-907.
Premium processing for all other FY 2020 cap-subject H-1B petitions will not begin until at least June 2019. Cap-subject petitioners not requesting a change of status may not submit their premium processing request concurrently with their H-1B petition. These petitioners will be eligible to upgrade to premium processing by filing Form I-907 once premium processing begins for this group. USCIS will notify the public with a confirmed date for premium processing for cap-subject petitioners not requesting a change of status.
USCIS will resume premium processing on Tuesday, March 12, for all H-1B petitions.
The revised Form I-539 includes the following significant changes:
Every co-applicant included on the primary applicant’s Form I-539 must submit and sign a separate Form I-539A, which will be available on the Form I-539 webpage on March 11. Parents or guardians may sign on behalf of children under 14 or any co-applicant who is not mentally competent to sign.
Every applicant and co-applicant must pay an $85 biometric services fee, except certain A, G, and NATO nonimmigrants as noted in the new Form I-539 Instructions to be published on March 11.
Every applicant and co-applicant will receive a biometric services appointment notice, regardless of age, containing their individual receipt number. The biometric services appointments will be scheduled at the Application Support Center (ASC) closest to the primary applicant’s address. Co-applicants who wish to be scheduled at a different ASC location should file a separate Form I-539.