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Mexican Birth Certificates Now Available from Inside the U.S.

The Mexican government will now issue birth certificates to Mexican citizens at its consulates in the United States. This new option will ease the burden on immigrants gathering these necessary documents to apply for DACA, DAPA, U.S. work permits, driver’s licenses, etc. Birth certificates from some rural villages where documents are not digitally recorded may not be available, but consulates expect that they will be able to issue birth certificates for most birthplaces in Mexico.

Until now, Mexico had required its citizens to obtain birth certificates from specific government offices in Mexico. Many immigrants living in the U.S. faced hurdles when obtaining these documents from regional offices in Mexico. The consulates’ new procedure will streamline the document-gathering process for such immigrants. This is a significant step forward for Mexicans trying to obtain legal status.

Opportunity for H-1B Work Visas

Attention employers and professionals: H-1B visa numbers will become available again soon!  The H-1B classification is the most popular temporary work status for professional positions.  This news is important for both employers who plan on hiring foreign-national professionals and foreign-nationals who have a U.S. job offer and a Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent work experience).  The application should be submitted April 1, 2015 (the government will reject applications submitted earlier.)  If approved, work authorization will begin October 1, 2015.  It is important to prepare these applications packages thoroughly.  To ensure timely filing of an H-1B application and avoid a rush service fee, we should start by  January 20, 2015.

The government will hold a lottery to determine which applications will be adjudicated for one of the coveted H-1B visa numbers.  In recent years, 30%-50% of applications were rejected after losing this lottery.  As the economy improves and demand for H-1B visas increases, the odds of obtaining an H-1B visa number will decrease.  If your employee is in a temporary work status that will end in the next few years, it may be advisable to apply for an H-1B visa this year.

We recommend that you request premium processing.  For an additional fee, the application is more likely to be adjudicated by a more senior officer, and a decision will be made in approximately 1 month.  (Last year, some H-1B applications were not adjudicated by the October 1 start date.  Many of these applicants ended up requesting premium processing anyway.)   Anecdotal evidence suggests that premium processing results in a higher chance of winning the H-1B visa number lottery—though officially premium processing should not affect the lottery.

Newsletter 22: Presidential Announcement

Today, our country took a big step forward to improve our immigration system. President Obama announced that he will provide immediate relief for many employees and undocumented families, and offered Congress the opportunity to enact the permanent reforms that our country desperately needs. The most significant immigration developments include the following initiatives. See below for additional details. We’d be happy to discuss your circumstances in a consultation.

  • Green Card Applications for 410,000 Employees: Employees with an approved employment-based immigrant petition can submit an application for a green card while they wait for a visa number to become available.
  • Up to 4.4 Million Undocumented: Two initiatives will grant work authorization and a shield against deportation for an estimated 4.4 million undocumented immigrants.

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We have been closely following the winding road toward immigration reform, sharing important updates with you along the way. We have created NEW ways to continue to inform you and maintain a dialogue between friends of the firm—that’s you—and the attorneys and staff at Dayzad Law Offices. We encourage you join our conversations on our redesigned website, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn by clicking on the links on the top right of our website.

. Hope to see you there!!

The President’s newly announced immigration initiatives include the following:

  • Relief for 410,000 Employees Awaiting a Green Card Visa Number: Employees with an approved employment-based immigrant petition can submit an application for a green card while they wait for a visa number to become available. Advantages: They can get Work Authorization Documents (EAD), travel documents (Advance Parole), and have more flexibility if their position with their current employer comes to an end. This will not become effective for many months because regulations must be written.
  • Undocumented: Protection from Deportation and Work Authorization:
    • Deferred Action for Parents (DAP): Parents with U.S. citizen or permanent resident children (of any age) who have been in the U.S. continuously since January 1, 2010 will be eligible to apply for a 3-year shield against deportation (“deferred action”). Applicants must pass background checks and pay taxes. Applications will be accepted in approximately 6 months.
    • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA): Some of the requirements include that the applicant entered the U.S. before age 16, is now over age 15, has been in the U.S. since January 1, 2010, has a high school degree, and has only an insignificant criminal record.
  • More Green Card Visa Numbers: To make sure every available visa number is used, government agencies will develop more precise systems. Hundreds of thousands of visa numbers have gone unused in the last few decades. Some of these unused visa numbers could be recaptured so that applicants can obtain green cards more quickly. Also, visa numbers for employees’ family members might not be counted against the quota, leaving more visa numbers available for other employees (and their families). It will likely take several months to optimize these systems.
  • Work Authorization for Spouses of H-1B Professionals: H-4 nonimmigrant spouses who meet the eligibility requirements can apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Those qualified would include: (1) spouses of an H-1B employee with an approved immigrant visa petition; or (2) spouses of an H-1B employee with a labor certification pending for 1 year. Regulations to implement this change are expected in December or January.
  • Entrepreneurs: Certain entrepreneurs and investors will have a new immigration option. No further details are available yet. This new option will not be available for several months because the government will have to write regulations.
  • Researchers, Entrepreneurs, Inventors, and Founders: National Interest Waiver green card applications will be available for individuals in these categories. Applications will likely be accepted in the next few months because a policy letter (not regulations) will implement the change.
  • Intracompany Transferees: Specialized knowledge employees will more easily be able to obtain L-1B status because the government will clarify a more lenient interpretation of the law than has been used in recent years. This change will be implemented several months from now by regulations.
  • Student Work Authorization: Students studying science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) at U.S. universities may be eligible for more than the usual 29 months of OPT Employment Authorization. Additional expansions of this program may occur. Changes will be implemented several months from now by regulations.
  • Provisional Waivers for Spouses and Children of Green Card Holders: The provisional waiver process benefits individuals who are eligible to apply for a green card, but must also apply for a “waiver” because they have been in the United States unlawfully. Spouses and children of green card holders (not just US citizens) will be able to apply for a provisional waiver from within the U.S. before departing for an interview at a U.S. consulate abroad. This provision will also help many gay and lesbian couples whose marriages are now recognized by U.S. immigration laws and where the foreign-national needs a waiver to apply for a green card.
  • Labor certifications: The most popular way for employees to obtain a green card is through a labor certification showing that there are no qualified U.S. workers for a particular position. The government will make changes to the complex rules to modernize the process.

Tonight, President Obama said of immigrants, “their hopes, dreams, and patriotism are just like ours.” This is a victory for reform and a step in the right direction toward fixing our country’s broken immigration system. However, there is still more work to be done. Anti-reform members of Congress will stop at nothing to thwart the president’s action.

President Obama did not provide a permanent legal status to anyone – only Congress can do that. Many pieces of the President’s executive action are still unclear, and the details of many initiatives may not be known until the government provides more information. Some of the President’s reforms will require regulations (laws) before they are implemented, while others can be launched based on agency memoranda. The details of the initiatives will be unveiled piecemeal in the coming weeks and months. Stay tuned!

Note: This publication serves only as general information and is not a substitute for consultation with an attorney who can assess the specifics of your case and inform you of the constant changes in law and policy. No attorney-client relationship is formed by the transmission of this information until a legal service contract has been signed by both of us.

Newsletter 21: November 2014

This is an exciting time for immigrants!


Obama Announcement Imminent on Immigration Executive Action

We have just learned that President Obama plans to announce executive action on immigration reform as early as next week, opening many windows of opportunity.
A 10-point executive action to fix our immigration system could be announced as early as Friday November 21, or in the following weeks.

This move comes after the House of Representatives failed to pass the immigration bill approved by the Senate. President Obama’s executive order may bring much relief to those seeking stability on their immigration status in the U.S.

The President’s new immigration initiatives could significantly expand options for millions of employees, businesses, and families.

The most significant immigration initiatives may include:

  • Tech Workers: A new immigration option for 500,000 tech professionals and their spouses.
  • 5 Million Undocumented: Work authorization and a shield against deportation for up to five million undocumented immigrants.

The new policies still face challenges, including threats from some in Congress to thwart the president’s immigration plans. Nonetheless, President Obama and his top aides have said that the executive order will not be reversed unless Congress passes a comprehensive immigration reform bill that the president agrees to sign.

The proposed immigration reform is an exercise of executive powers by President Obama. If a different president is elected and takes office in 2017, s/he could end this policy. Thus, the window of opportunity to apply could be limited.

We are closely monitoring the President’s actions on this important reform and will keep you updated as new developments come to light.


CBP Designates Ports of Entry for First-Time Canadian TN and L-1 Applicants

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has designated 14 ports of entry for optimized processing of first-time Canadian TN and L-1 applications. Canadian professionals, managers, and executives can take advantage of more efficient processing at certain ports in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Quebec, New York, Vermont, Michigan, Washington, and Montana. First-time applicants are not required to use the designated ports, which boast a more streamlined application process and shorter processing times. Choosing the right port of entry is a crucial part of any immigration strategy. The experienced immigration attorneys at Dayzad Law Offices can help applicants select the best ports of entry for smooth and successful applications.


LGBT Applicants May Seek “Safe” Third Country Venue for Immigrant and Fiancé/e Visa Processing

The National Visa Center (NVC) has agreed to facilitate communication between consular posts and LGBT applicants seeking venues for immigrant and K-1 fiancé/e visa processing. In response to requests from the American Immigration Lawyers Association, NVC agreed that when an applicant fears disclosing his or her sexual orientation in the home country, it is appropriate for the applicant to request processing at a U.S. consulate in a “safe” third country. NVC warns that there is no guarantee that a particular post will accept a case for processing. Nonetheless, NVC’s willingness to help LGBT applicants is a positive step toward safe immigrant and fiancé/e visa processing for LGBT families.


Visa Predictions: Some Preference Categories to Stall, While Others May Expect Forward Movement

We all watch the Visa Bulletin closely to see when a visa number becomes available to apply for a green card. The dates in the Visa Bulletin are driven by supply and demand for visa numbers and are based on a number of variables. Predictions from the Department of State’s Visa Control and Reporting Division suggest no movement in the India EB-2 category for the foreseeable future. A one or two week movement per month is expected for EB-3 India. Visas are currently available for all EB-5 applicants from China, but the Department of State predicts that it will have to establish a cut-off date in the coming months. Meanwhile, the predictions suggest that we will see a cut-off for EB-2 China earlier than EB-3 China for a few months, until the increased demand for EB-3 China will trigger an adjustment to the cut-off date. EB-2 China is expected to progress by three to five weeks per month. Cut-off dates for EB-3 Mexico and EB-3 Philippines are expected to remain the same. Finally, modest forward movement in the family-based preference categories of a few weeks to two months per month is possible. We monitor closely when visa numbers become available for our clients so they can apply for green cards during their window of


Immigration News in Brief

  • Increased PERM Filings Affect Processing Times: The Department of Labor has released some new statistics regarding its labor certification (PERM) program. The labor certification is the first step of the employment-based green card process. Competing for top talent, employers have increased labor certification applications 3.5% since last year. Currently, the average processing time is 6 months for non-audited applications and 18 months for audited applications.
  • Improved Visa Validity for Chinese Nationals. Effective immediately, Chinese visitors, students, and cultural exchange participants have the benefit of 5 or 10 year visas, instead of a one year, single entry visa.
  • Dayzad Law Offices Celebrates Halloween. Dayzad Law Offices was full of tricks AND treats this Halloween as we held our first annual costume contest — and had a lot of laughs.

Note: This publication serves only as general information and is not a substitute for consultation with an attorney who can assess the specifics of your case and inform you of the constant changes in law and policy. No attorney-client relationship is formed by the transmission of this information until a legal service contract has been signed by both of us.

Newsletter 20: October 2014

We hope you all are settling in well as “Back-to-School” activities are in full-swing. Here at Dayzad Law Offices we are working hard to keep you informed on all the latest immigration news and changes in store for this fall and the upcoming year.


Proposed Employment Authorization for Spouses of H-1B Professionals

A new law is in the works to provide employment authorization to certain spouses of H-1B professionals in H-4 nonimmigrant status. Those qualified would include: (1) spouses of an H-1B employee with an approved immigrant visa petition (Form I-140); or (2) spouses of an H-1B employee with a labor certification pending for 1 year. H-4 nonimmigrant spouses who meet the eligibility requirements would apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). However, it will be a while for the government to analyze the comments received and issue a final rule.


New Immigration Laws Likely: Obama Set to Issue Executive Immigration Reform

It seems like the time for a bit of immigration reform is finally imminent. We know you have been hearing this for the past year and longer. Despite the delays, comments in Washington suggest that an Executive Order for Immigration Reform is in the making and likely to be announced after the November elections.

The following is a list of possible provisions the President may be considering. We caution that there are no definitive new laws yet. We are monitoring these developments closely and will keep clients informed.

  • An expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to provide protection for parents of U.S. citizens, parents of DACA-eligible individuals, and individuals who have resided in the U.S. for three years or more. Hundreds of thousands of individuals would have the opportunity to receive temporary legal status and work authorization.
  • Reduced wait times for an immigrant visa number for those applying for a green card through an employer or family member. Specifically, a new method for determining overall visa quotas would not count derivative spouse and children toward the quotas. Instead, the principal immigrant and the family members would be treated as a single family unit for purposes of the worldwide cap, which would reduce the current immigrant visa backlogs in both the employment and family-based preference categories.
  • An expansion of Parole-in-Place to allow a foreign-national with a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse, child, or parent to remain in the United States while s/he applies for a green card.
  • Permission for individuals who are eligible for adjustment of status to “pre-register” when an immigrant visa petition is approved—even before a visa number is available. Pre-registration would allow an individual to receive interim work authorization and travel documents while waiting for a visa number to become available.
  • Making it easier for persons with certain technical immigration violations to become eligible to apply for a green card. Specifically, it increases the chance of succeeding in a waiver application by broadening the interpretation of “extreme hardship” or presuming extreme hardship for certain groups or individuals.
  • New pathways for entrepreneurs to seek non-immigrant visas. It would include relaxing the interpretation of “employer-employee relationship” for H-1B purposes, and formally recognizing entrepreneurship as a valid basis for O-1 “extraordinary ability” temporary status and EB-1 extraordinary ability permanent residence.

Dayzad Law Offices remains actively involved on this important reform. We will continue to keep you updated via our Newsflash. Also follow us on Twitter @DayzadLaw. We will continuously tweet the latest news with links to White House Briefs and much more.


Our New Webpages Give You Easy Access to Smart Immigration Tips & the Latest News

New pages of our website provide you tips for some of the most frequently asked questions, as well as the latest news on immigration. Whether you are wondering what steps to take when you change your address or are looking to see if any new immigration changes will affect you, we hope to be your one-stop shop for all your immigration inquiries

Don’t forget to visit our website at www.dayzadlaw.com and check out our Immigration Tips with topics including: Top Immigration Pointers to Remember, International Travel Tips, Your Immigration Portal, Overview of Obtaining a Green Card through a Labor Certification, Green Card Tips, Taxes & Driver’s Licenses, and Change of Address. You can also find under our News tab all our latest News Flashes to stay-up-to-date with immigration developments.

Check back frequently to find out just what is happening with immigration today! Soon we will also be unveiling our completely re-designed website to make it mobile-optimized and easier to navigate.


Green Card Lottery is Open

The U.S. government is once again accepting entries for the annual Diversity Visa Lottery. Lottery winners can then apply for a green card or immigrant visa if they meet certain other criteria.

Many people are eligible to enter this lottery. However, people born in the following countries which are already well-represented in the U.S. are not eligible for the lottery: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam. Even if the individual is born in one of these countries, s/he may still be eligible to apply based on his/her spouse’s country of birth. In some circumstances, s/he can also apply based on his/her parents’ country of birth.

Unless the individual is in the U.S. and undocumented, I generally recommend entering the lottery which is inexpensive (no filing fee!). Be very careful in reading all the directions and following the rigid guidelines — each year thousands of applicants are disqualified for failure to follow the exact directions. To enter the lottery, visit www.dvlottery.state.gov. Entries are accepted until noon (EST) November 3, 2014.

Please be aware that even if an individual does win the lottery, s/he may still not be eligible for a green card. It is most cost-effective to apply for the lottery and then if s/he is a lucky winner, retain legal counsel to help navigate the complex process to apply for a green card. Nevertheless, we are available if anyone would like to schedule a consultation regarding the lottery application process; our office consultation fee applies. Good luck to you or your employees!


Visa Predictions

  • How the Visa Bulletin WorksWe all watch the Visa Bulletin closely to see when a visa number becomes available to apply for a green card. The dates in the Visa Bulletin are driven by supply and demand for visa numbers and are based on a number of variables such as historical demand patterns, expected future demand patterns, expected return rates of unused numbers, information received from USCIS on expected processing, and National Visa Center petition processing trends.
  • EB-2 India Visa Numbers Will Retrogress in Fall Of 2014Current USCIS filings based on forward movement of the India EB-2 cut-off may not result in a significant increase in requests for visa numbers until Fall of 2014. When that occurs, we can expect to see retrogression of the priority date based on the need to hold visa number use within the annual limit. Visa availability for EB-2 Indians advanced rapidly towards the end of last fall and is expected to do the same this year, with continuing advancement expected. The increase demand for visa numbers by Indians is partly attributable to Indians upgrading petitions from EB-3 to EB-2 and higher EB-2 usage by other countries, resulting in fewer “otherwise unused” numbers available for EB-2 Indians. Given current demand, the priority date may retrogress, possibly to a date in early 2005. The current priority date for EB-2 India is May 1, 2009. We monitor closely when visa numbers become available for our clients so they can apply for green cards during their window of opportunity.
  • Philippines Demand Continues To Fall, Pushing Visa Priority Dates ForwardDemand for both employment-based and family-based visas for the Philippines continues to decrease, which accounts for the advancing priority dates in these categories. The cut-off date for the EB-3 and “Other Worker” categories for the Philippines is the same as it is worldwide, October 1, 2011. The National Visa Center has been sending reminders to applicants eligible to receive upcoming available visas in an effort to spur demand. Despite this notification, demand remains low. Though demand is low and dates will remain favorable for the foreseeable future, this availability may change if many more applicants come forward to claim immigrant visas.

Renewal of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) grants temporary relief from deportation and work authorization to certain individuals who entered the United States as children and meet specific eligibility requirements. DACA approval is issued in two year increments. If you were previously approved for DACA, we can help you renew your deferred action for an additional two years. Do not delay renewal to ensure continued work authorization and (in some states) driver’s licenses.


Attention All Army Families: You May Qualify for a Green Card

Are you are an undocumented spouse, child or parent of an active duty member of the U.S. Armed Forces, an individual in the selected reserve of the ready reserve, or an individual who previously served in the U.S. Armed Forces or the selected reserve of the ready reserve? If so, you may be eligible to apply for a green card. If you would like further analysis of your eligibility, contact us to schedule a consultation.


Immigration News in Brief

  • Looking for an Executive Suite? We have a beautiful windowed office and secretarial bay for lease. Ask us for details or see the ad on Craigslist.
  • Customs Declaration Now LGBT Friendly Each time you enter the U.S., you must complete a customs declaration—one per family. Now, a more inclusive definition states that family members are “members of a family residing in the same household who are related by blood, marriage, domestic relationship, or adoption.” Thus, many more people are considered part of a family unit and do not need to needlessly complete custom declarations individually.
  • Internet Security a Priority: As many are aware, Dayzad Law Offices uses state of the art software to provide a modern and effective way of managing your cases. With the recent string of internet security flaws affecting more than 420,000 websites, we are happy to report our database remains protected and unharmed by these security breaches.

I hope you find the immigration law update helpful to you. If you know someone who would like to receive our Immigration News Flash, simply reply with a request and we will happily add them to the distribution list.

Note: This publication serves only as general information and is not a substitute for consultation with an attorney who can assess the specifics of your case and inform you of the constant changes in law and policy. No attorney-client relationship is formed by the transmission of this information until a legal service contract has been signed by both of us.