Help Fund a Project, and Get a Green Card

With bank financing for new construction in short supply, real-estate developers are turning to a federal program that grants green cards to foreign nationals who invest at least $500,000 in a project.

The new attention has turned a once-obscure alternative source of funds into a viable route toward development. Use of the 20-year-old program nearly doubled last year, to 1,995 investor applicants in the fiscal year ended last September from 1,031 in the prior year.

In 2006, when the economy was still roaring, there were just 486 applicants, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The program is named EB-5 because it represents a fifth category of employment-based immigration.

Read the rest of the story on WSJ

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Important Changes In Widely Used I-485 Adjustment Of Status To Permanent Residence Form And Procedure

The I-485 adjustment of status form is undergoing changes which must be noted because of its widespread use and because failure to adhere to the new procedures could cause filings to be rejected that in some cases could cause applicants to fall out of legal status.

In addition to change of address for certain employment based I-485′s, the I-485 form itself has changed, and the revision dated 12/3/09 is the only edition acceptable for filing. U.S.C.I.S. is allowing a transitional period up to March 29, 2010, during which it will accept prior versions of the form, but after that, any previous versions of the form that are submitted will be rejected.

Read the full story on ILW

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No Deadline for H1B Visa Applicants: USCIS

The US citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have started accepting the H1B Visa applications for the next fiscal year from Wednesday. An overall 65,000 applications are offered excluding 20,000 H1B visas for applicants of US masters’ or higher degree. In 2009, due to the downturn the filed applications were fewer and to meet the limit of 65,000 wanted to wait until December. Due to the reinforcement of outsourcing business, the limit is to be infringed in advance this year.
USCIS has not insisted any deadline for accepting H1B applications in 2010. A release from USCIS remarked: “Cases will be considered accepted on the date that it takes possession of a properly filed petition with the correct fee; not the date that the petition is postmarked.”

Source: Daily News 365

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Greencard for child of a fiancée of a US citizen

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a child of a fiancée of a United States Citizen or K-2 visa holder can adjust his or her status to Greencard holder or Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) even though the child turns twenty-one while the application is pending.

The court’s ruling comes from the matter of Colmenares Carpio v. Holder which concluded that the applicant “must be under twenty-one when he or she seeks to enter the United States, not when his or her subsequent application adjustment of status is finally adjudicated.”

This result contravenes several decisions of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service or USCIS denying applications for adjustment of status based on a K-2 visa because the applicant was twenty-one years of age or older at the time of adjudication of the adjustment of status.

To recap, the K-2 visa holder must be under twenty-one at the time he or she “seeks to enter” the US when applying for adjustment of status.

Read the full story on abs-cbnnews

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ABC’s Jeffrey Kofman on Becoming an American Citizen

n February 25, 2010, Jeffrey Kofman, ABC’s Miami-based Correspondent for Florida, the Caribbean and Latin America, became a U.S. citizen. Kofman was born in Toronto, Canada. He moved to the United States in 1997 and joined ABC News in 2001.

He was asked to deliver the keynote address to the 224 other New Americans who were sworn in at the same ceremony at the Miami headquarters of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Here are his remarks:

We are now Americans.

We ARE Americans.

To all of you – all 224 of you – congratulations!

While today’s ceremony makes it official, the significance of this moment actually hit me about six weeks ago, when I came to this same building  for my citizenship interview.  There I sat in the waiting room, perhaps with some of you along with many others.  I could tell some were anxious and nervous, awaiting what I sensed was the most important test of their lives.

I heard my name called out and I was ushered into my interview to be quizzed by a friendly but no-nonsense immigration officer. She went through the same routine that all of you now know. Had I ever been a member of the Communist Party? No. Had I ever been a War Criminal? No. The questions continued. I answered them honestly and appropriately.

Then I was asked to read a sentence to prove my literacy:  ABRAHAM LINCOLN WAS PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, or something like that.

Then I was asked to write a sentence.  I think it was something about George Washington.

And then history quiz. I knew I had to get six out of ten right. I am journalist. I grew up in Canada, English is my native language. So, the process was less daunting for me than it might have been for others. And it helps that I’ve reported and written on American politics. But I humbly did not want to take to take this important moment for granted. And so, like you, I studied the 100 possible questions in the booklet we were all given. For me, the answers to most of the questions were familiar.

And so when I was asked to name one of the two biggest rivers in the United States, I confidently responded: Mississippi.

When I was asked to name the Speaker of the House of Representatives, no problem. I knew that too:  Nancy Pelosi.

But when I was asked what the first ten amendments to the constitution are called, I was glad I had studied, because I confess I did not know the answer to that question until I did my home work: The Bill of Rights.

I was beginning to have fun. I began to feel like a contestant on a TV game show. And I guess in a certain way that’s what we all were. In this case the prize behind Door #1 is the passport so much of the world can only dream of.

Like all of you, I passed. I got the first six questions right.  But I suddenly found myself wanting to answer more questions to prove my worthiness.  So I was a little disappointed when I didn’t get to answer questions 7, 8, 9 and 10. Clearly, the process only needed correct answers for six questions, so no more were asked.

When the interview was over the immigration officer reached to the far side of her desk and grabbed a bulky rubber stamp. I watched as it hit the paper. When she lifted it, it left behind a big red imprint. In the middle, the single word “APPROVED.” As I looked at my application and at the bright red stamp, it hit me.

I am now an American.

Read the rest of the story on ABC

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The Startup Visa: Create Jobs, Get A Green Card

John Kerry (Bones 1966) faced off against Geor...
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A bill introduced today in the Senate by Democrat John Kerry and Republican Richard Lugar proposes a new type of visa for immigrants who create startups and jobs in the U.S. A similar proposal is part of an immigration reform bill in the House. The Startup Visa Act of 2010 would create a two year visa for immigrant entrepreneurs who are able to raise a minimum of $250,000, with $100,000 coming from a qualified U.S. angel or venture investor. After two years, if the immigrant entrepreneur is able to create five or more jobs (not including their children or spouse), attract an additional $1 million in investment, or produce $1 million in revenues, he or she will become a legal resident.The bill would carve out a new “EB-6″ class of visas from the existing “EB-5″ class of visas which has a higher threshold for becoming a legal resident. So it’s not really that radical. The EB-5 requires immigrants to invest at least $1 million in the U.S. and employ ten people.

Read the full story on the Washington Post

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Many H-1B workers get temporary jobs, study finds

Many employers sponsor H-1B holders to have them fill temporary posts, not to become full-time residents of the U.S., according to a study released last week by the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington-based nonprofit think tank.

The differences in the ways companies use H-1B visas can be stark, according to the study, which was authored by Ron Hira, an associate professor of public policy at the Rochester Institute of Technology and a longtime critic of the H-1B visa program.

The study was called misleading by a spokesman for Compete America, a coalition of vendors, universities and other sponsors of H-1B visa holders. Spokesman Eric Thomas in particular questioned the use of L-1 visa data in the study. The L-1 visa is used by multinational companies for intracompany transfers. “That’s how the system was designed, and that’s how it’s working. Lumping different visa categories into one bucket is a clear attempt to skew the data,” he said.

Hira argues that visa rules put most of the power to control H-1B workers in the hands of employers. Visa workers can “switch jobs in very limited circumstances, and their employer can revoke the visa at any time by terminating their employment, forcing the worker out of status with immigration authorities. If employment is terminated, the worker must leave the country immediately,” the study said.

Eleanor Pelta, first vice president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, was critical of Hira’s assessment of the role that H-1B workers play in the workforce and noted that visa proponents are hoping that Congress reforms the current rules. Such reforms, expected in a comprehensive immigration bill, could make it easier for highly skilled workers to get permanent residency.

Citing the multiyear backlog in green card applications, Pelta said that she doesn’t believe visa holders should come to the US “and then wait 10 to 15 years for a green card; I think that is really bad for the economy.”

Read the full story on Computer World

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Naturalization Update

Never has there been a better time for eligible applicants to Naturalize and become U.S. Citizens. Recent Naturalization cases successfully accomplished by Reeves and Associates show a timeframe of about 3-8 months in most cases.

In a surprising Press Release announcement dated January 28, 2010, USCIS stated that there are nearly 3.5 million Legal Permanent Residents (Green Card Holders) in the State of California. According to USCIS, 2.5 million of these legal permanent residents are currently eligible to naturalize and become U.S. Citizens.

Source: Rreeves

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Immigration laws quash many dreams

UNDER CURRENT U.S. immigration law, there are three primary ways to gain legal entry into the country other than for a limited stay as a tourist.

• The first is through the annual “green card diversity lottery,” held each year by the Department of Homeland Security, for citizens of countries that have “low rates of immigration” to the United States. Millions of people from specified countries around the world apply to take part in the lottery, but only 50,000 green cards are made available through the process. Each participant in the lottery is issued a number, the government draws about 150,000 numbers, and the people with those numbers then are allowed to apply for one of the 50,000 slots.

• The second way to gain legal entry is to be a spouse, sibling, child or parent of an American citizen or the spouse or minor child of someone who holds a green card and is willing to sponsor your entrance into the United States.

• The third is through an employer, who must complete a lengthy application process that requires proof that the has a unique skill necessary to the business.

THERE ARE other provisions of immigration law that allow people who are seeking asylum to gain legal entry into the country, but being granted asylum is an extraordinarily difficult process.

An additional number of other immigrants are admitted each year under temporary work permits and student visas, however those visas generally do not permit conversion to immigrant status, and they require the holder to leave after a specified length of stay.

And then there is the “S” visa. Essentially a free pass, the visa is awarded only to those who work for law enforcement and must be applied for by law-enforcement officials. The Mayas say immigration officials promised them the “S” visa, but then reneged.

According to immigration officials, only 250 “S” visas are available each year, and fewer than 60 were awarded in 2009.

CONGRESS last year set immigration visa limits at 700,000 for employment and family preferences, excluding refugees and those entering the country on temporary work or student visas.

In 2008, the total number of immigrants admitted to the country (excluding refugees and those on temporary non-tourist visas) tallied just under 750,000.

Source: Daily Free Man

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U.S.-Canadian marriage costly for couple

Newlyweds Matt and Heather Lopresto knew that every marriage has its ups and downs; they didn’t know that living together would be so difficult.

Matt, originally from Corning and now living in Rochester, is a U.S. citizen. Heather, who met her husband in 2005 when both were students at the Elim Bible Institute in Lima, is from Hamilton, Ontario, and a Canadian citizen. They thought that once they were married, it would be simple for Heather to get her “green card” and live and work legally here with Matt until they have enough money to finish their degrees and start the family they both want.
For more than a year, they had traveled back and forth to Canada without incident until June 26 (the day before the wedding at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington) when Matt told the Canadian border guards that marriage was the reason for his visit.

“I was turned away at the border,” Matt says. “I had to prove I had a means of departing and that I would return.” He hurried back to Rochester, got a letter from his boss indicating that he has a job, made a copy of his apartment lease, and purchased a return airplane ticket (even though he planned to drive home). He stayed in Canada as a visitor for several weeks before coming home to Rochester, but that’s when the couple realized living together would not be as simple as they hoped.

The U.S. and Canadian governments want to be certain that a marriage between citizens of their countries is legitimate, that the citizen spouse can support the non-citizen, and that the newcomer will not need public assistance, says Rochester lawyer Margaret Catillaz, an expert in immigration law.

Since Heather and Matt were married, both their passports have been flagged and when they visit, they are always detained for questioning. Even though she’s done nothing wrong, Heather said during a recent visit, she always feels as if she’s in trouble.

Matt and Heather just want to be together.

And money is the only thing standing in their way. It costs up to $2,000 to apply for legal resident status and complete the required procedures. And right now, neither Matt and Heather, nor their families, have the money. Heather is unemployed and Matt washes windows and cleans gutters. Rent, car payments, food — that’s all they can afford.

Read the full story on Democrat and Chronicle

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