Covid - Coronavirus FAQs

Are you eligible to become a naturalized US citizen?

Authored on: Wed, 01/26/2022 - 04:04

Question

1. My Son was born in February 2020 in the USA, where my wife is on an F1 visa working on OPT. Due to the Covid19 pandemic, I couldn't meet my son for two years. Kindly suggest to me the way forward to meet my son and wife. I also tried to travel on a tourist visa and F1 Visa. Unfortunately, I got both rejections. I'm an Indian taxpayer and an IT employee. 

2. My brother is a US citizen, and he applied for our mother's green card. Everything is clear, all paperwork is done, but due to the pandemic, we are waiting for the interview date from March 2021. Do you have any information on how we get the date or how much time it will take?

3. My daughter is in Dallas, US, and under medical treatment. She is there with an IN40 visa. As a father, I want to be there during her medical urgency. How can I get a visa now to be with her in the US?

4. I am a US citizen currently in India. I am traveling back to the States in mid-February for two months and want to take my Indian-citizen senior citizen mother with me for that duration. Her last US tourist visa expired eight years ago. (She has an active Schengen visa on her passport) Is there a way she can get a short-term two-month visa to the US?

5. I stayed outside of the US for more than two years because of COVID-19. Am I eligible for naturalization? I came to the USA in August 2016.

 

Answer

*Please note that the queries have been put together and edited by the Economic Times to address similar questions at once and that the answers are clear and relevant to the audience.

1. My Son was born in February 2020 in the USA, where my wife is on an F1 visa working on OPT. Due to the Covid19 pandemic, I couldn't meet my son for two years. Kindly suggest to me the way forward to meet my son and wife. I also tried to travel on a tourist visa and F1 Visa. Unfortunately, I got both rejections. I'm an Indian taxpayer and an IT employee. 

You seem to be referring to a visa denial under Immigration and Nationality Act, section 214(b).

This law applies only to nonimmigrant visa categories. If you are refused a visa under section 214(b), it means that you did not overcome the presumption of immigrant intent required by law by sufficiently demonstrating that you have strong ties to your home country. Such ties are seen as a reason you will not be tempted to exceed your allowed stay in the USA.

When your spouse is already in the US, your ties to your home country are difficult to demonstrate. If you feel there is additional information that should be considered related to the visa decision, or there are significant changes in your circumstances since your last application, you may reapply for a visa. Note that visas like H-1, H-4 (if your spouse gets an H-1), and L-1 are immune from this problem. So, when your wife obtains an H-1B status, or you can qualify for an L-1 visa, you should not have the section 214(b) denials impede your visa.

2. My brother is a US citizen, and he applied for our mother's green card. Everything is clear, all paperwork is done, but due to the pandemic, we are waiting for the interview date from March 2021. Do you have any information on how we get the date or how much time it will take?

Because of the resurgence of the pandemic and a huge backlog of cases, it is unlikely we will see an immediate resolution of the delays. But consulates have indicated that give preference to families of immediate relatives, like parents, of US citizens. Also, the US consulates have started waiving some nonimmigrant visa interviews, which should streamline their operations for green cards as well.

3. My daughter is in Dallas, US, and under medical treatment. She is there with an IN40 visa. As a father, I want to be there during her medical urgency. How can I get a visa now to be with her in the US?

I am not sure what type of visa your daughter has, but your choice appears to be the same as for any other foreign national, a B visa. The consulates usually issue a B-1/B-2 visa or a B-1 visa for medical issues and attending family members.

4. I am a US citizen currently in India. I am traveling back to the States in mid-February for two months and want to take my Indian-citizen senior citizen mother with me for that duration. Her last US tourist visa expired eight years ago. (She has an active Schengen visa on her passport) Is there a way she can get a short-term two-month visa to the US?

You will have to apply for her tourist visa again.

5. I stayed outside of the US for more than two years because of COVID-19. Am I eligible for naturalization? I came to the USA in August 2016.

It appears that the continuity of your stay required for naturalization has been broken by an absence of one year. An absence from the United States for a continuous period of 1 year or more (365 days or more) will automatically break the continuity of residence. It appears you could apply after 4 years and one day after returning, or easier, 4 years and 6 months after returning. The USCIS provides the following example for your situation:

“An applicant for naturalization under INA 316 departs the United States on January 1, 2010, and returns January 2, 2011. The applicant has been outside the United States for exactly 1 year (365 days) and has therefore broken the continuity of his or her residence in the United States. The applicant must wait until at least January 3, 2015, to apply for naturalization, when the 5-year statutory period immediately preceding the application will date back to January 3, 2010. At that time, although the applicant will have been absent from the United States for less than 1 year during the statutory period, the applicant will still have been absent from the United States for more than 6 months (180 days) during the statutory period and may be eligible for naturalization if he or she successfully rebuts the presumption that he or she has broken the continuity of her residence.

If the applicant cannot overcome the presumption of a break in the continuity of his or her residence, the applicant must wait until at least July 6, 2015, to apply for naturalization, when the 5-year statutory period immediately preceding the application will date back to July 6, 2010. During the 5-year period of July 6, 2010 to July 6, 2015, assuming the applicant did not make any additional trips outside the United States that would cause USCIS to presume a break in continuity of residence, the applicant was only absent from the United States between July 6, 2010 and January 2, 2011, a period that is not more than 6 months. Therefore, no presumption of a break in continuous residence applies.”

J-1 exchange visitors and NIE (National Interest Exception)

Authored on: Tue, 09/21/2021 - 06:17

Question

 I am a Slovenian citizen, and I plan to do a 3-month student internship in the USA in December. I have everything arranged with my employer. The only question I have is, can I travel from the Schengen area on my J-1 visa? And if not, how can I come to the USA for my internship?

Answer

J-1 exchange visitors will be able to travel only if the visa is approved and they qualify for a national interest exception (NIE). If you already have a visa, you will need to apply for an NIE or travel to and stay for two weeks in a third country from which travel to the USA is allowed.  The US consulate in Slovenia has indicated they will consider NIE for J-1 holders:

  • Academic professors/researchers (J visa)
  • Au Pairs who are providing specialized care to a child needing particular medical, educational, or sign language care; or an au pair providing care to a child of parents working in the medical field related to Covid care or research.  (J visa)
  • Exchange participant pursuant to a government-to-government agreement (J visa)

Intern or Trainee at a U.S. Government Agency (J visa, with program series G-3)

National Interest Exemption for Visas – For Students

Authored on: Fri, 06/04/2021 - 06:05

Question

Today I got NIE waiver approval from the US consulate. They sent the approval mail with a passport number. I have a valid USA visa. I am planning to travel back to the USA in a week. What doc's required to travel ? or NIE waiver is sufficient?

Answer

You have not told us what type of visa you possess. In addition to the NIE, you must meet all the usual requirements for your visa type.

Note: For the NRI readers, The Economic Times has started an immigration helpdesk. A team of experts which includes Rajiv S. Khanna will address the most pressing issues. Please see the link below.

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/nri/migrate/nri-helpdesk-all-you-need-to-know-about-the-current-situation-for-f-1-and-j-1-visas/articleshow/83171279.cms

Visitor, Tourist, B-2 visa extensions and multiple extensions

Authored on: Mon, 01/11/2021 - 11:57

Question

My Mother-in-law arrived in the USA on Feb 19th, 2020 on visitor visa (B2), her initial plan was to stay till Aug 11th 2020 but due to covid-19 and travel ban we have applied extension for another 6 months - Feb 4th, 2021 on June 19th, 2020. Her case status is still under processing("Case Was Received") even though she is getting close to the end of first extension. Since she is over 62 and belongs to high-risk traveler category(with pre-existing conditions), we would like to extend her stay for another 6 months, mostly till June 2021. Her authorized stay(I-94) expired on 8/18/2020
<br>

1) Can we apply the second extension for another 6 months while her first extension is in processing, if yes, what is the process?<br>

2) Can she stay in the US even after Feb 4th (first application requested end-date) while the application is being processed, will this be considered overstay?<br>

3) What happens if my mother in law leaves before biometrics appointment?<br>

4) if rejected, how soon do we have to leave the US and will the stay from I-94 is considered as overstay?<br>

5) Staying beyond 1 yr has any impact on future visits?

Answer

Watch the Video on this FAQ: Visitor, Tourist, B-2 visa extensions and multiple extensions

Video Transcript:

This FAQ has become such a problem for people. Answering to the question:

1. Yes, you can.

2. Yes, she can.

3. Just keep track of all the paperwork you have filed to make sure you can prove to the government that she was legally in the United States. She can leave before the biometrics.

4. Reasonable time. A few days to three weeks depending upon what is reasonable under the circumstances.

5. If she stays here for six months or one year, let her stay outside for at least a year otherwise the government can refuse her entry saying you have been coming too frequently. FAQ in detail...

 

 

Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the referenced audio/video media delivered as oral communication, and, therefore, may not conform to written grammatical or syntactical form.

Green Card holder stuck outside the US for more than a year

Authored on: Thu, 10/01/2020 - 07:46

Question

I am a US citizen who Sponsored my fathers green card in 2010. His green card is expiring oct 2020. He had to stay in India since Jan 2019 due to health conditions. With the Covid pandemic situation and his age (81) and health conditions, he is not able to travel back to the united States before the green card expiry. My father does not have any family in India to take care of him and will have to come here so that my brother and I can take care of him. What are our options for avoiding the expiry of the green card? Secondly, is there a 60 day extension on the expiry date due to Covid 19?

Answer

Watch the Video on this FAQ:

Green Card holder stuck outside the US for more than a year

Video Transcript

You should try to get in touch with the consulate and send them emails, etc., asking them their guidance and that way you have at least some proof that you are trying to get back into the USA on time, but if it goes past one year it can't be helped, you can always start a new green card if you like, not too many options here. FAQ in detail...

 

Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the referenced audio/video media delivered as oral communication, and, therefore, may not conform to written grammatical or syntactical form.

Covid-19/Coronavirus applying for B-2 status

Authored on: Tue, 07/28/2020 - 03:07

Question

I came to the US on H1b in 2010. My i140 got approved in Dec 2013. I joined a new employer on 21 Feb 2020. My H1B got approved till 20 Feb 2023, But I did not receive any receipt notice for my wife and my elder son H4. My employer told me that he applied for an H4 visa for my dependents.

Unfortunately, I got laid off due to COVID-19 and my employer notified USCIS on 8th June 2020 to revoke my visa. My priority is to find a new job. But in case I do not find any job I would like to move out of the USA, I do not want to accrue unlawful days. But, due to the COVID-19 situation in India, I am scared to travel to India.

My wife called USCIS and was asked to email USCIS on lockboxSupport@uscis.dhs.gov to notify her of the receipt number of my wife and son. But she has not received any response.
I want to stay in the USA until the COVID-19 situation becomes normal. As per the Document COVID Coronavirus Converting to B-1 B-2 status.pdf on your website, I can apply for a change of status to B1/B2?

Answer

Watch the Video on this FAQ:

Covid-19/Coronavirus applying for B-2 status

Video Transcript

Reach out to your lawyers and explain to them what is happening and tell them to make sure you get copies of everything. File for your family's B-2 if your H-1 is not filed within that 60 day I-94 time. If it is filed go ahead and file another H-4 application with them. For applying for EAD under certain circumstances please click here

FAQ in detail...


Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the referenced audio/video media delivered as oral communication, and, therefore, may not conform to written grammatical or syntactical form.

 

 

Covid Coronavirus Converting to B-1 B-2 status

Authored on: Tue, 06/09/2020 - 06:32

Question

My employer has applied for my H1 B extinction and got an RFE ,based on RFE responded but I got denial USCIS site 03-20-2020. But my employer still did not received denial notice. How many days I can stay in the USA after denial. (my I-94 has expired Jan-25-2020)

Answer

 

Watch the Video on this FAQ:
Covid Coronavirus Converting to B-1 B-2 status and 
Covid Coronavirus H-1B denial

Video Transcript


A lot of you who have been laid off can use this information to maintain status. Lets say you got laid off in your H-1B. The way the 60 day grace period works is, you are given either the time remaining on your I-94 or 60 days whichever is less. So if you have only 45 days on your I-94 you have got a 45 day period not a 60 day period. 

As long as you file a B-1/B-2 application with the government within those 60 days or 45 days depending upon your situation I think you are going to be quite OK. But here is what you need to understand. When you file B-1/B-2 you will use the form I-539. You will prepare a cover letter to the government telling them the truth that you have been laid off unexpectedly in the times of coronavirus. You cannot travel outside the USA, finding another job is getting difficult, you have enough money to support yourself, you will not work illegally and you are asking for a six month stay on a B-1/B-2 status and that as soon as you are back on H-1B you will not start working until the H-1B is approved. So make these points with the government.

You can file the application online. While this application is pending you are not accruing unlawful presence. You are in an authorized period of stay. But here is one big point to remember. If you ask for six months your application is probably not going to be decided till about nine months. The last three months you would be accruing unlawful presence. So what you need to do is before the requested six month period is over if you have not found a job, apply for another extension even though the first one is still pending. Keep applying for further extensions until you need them no more.

But B-1/B-2 is a great way to maintain your status. Nobody can travel during this time, so obviously you have something pending with the government even if you are out of status. These are extraordinary circumstances the government should forgive you for being out of status and at some point either at the point of the fist B-1/B-2 or at the point of the second B-1/B-2 approve your B-1/B-2 therefore take away all your unlawful presence issues and if they don't that’s what the good lord made the courts for. Apply for a B-1/B-2. It is a very important way to do things.

FAQ in detail...

 

 

 

Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the referenced audio/video media delivered as oral communication, and, therefore, may not conform to written grammatical or syntactical form.

Covid Coronavirus loss of job while in AOS I-485 period

Authored on: Tue, 05/05/2020 - 01:39

Question

What happens if somebody on H1B loses job while in AOS ( interview done)? Can he/she be without job for an extended period of time? Does the status change to AOS automatically? Have you seen a rejection in I-485J that’s filed after change of employment under a SOC code that’s not same as earlier SOC code but Job Description is similar? What happens if I-485J is denied? Does USCIS allow a new I-485J to be filed?

Answer

Watch the Video on this FAQ: 

Covid Coronavirus loss of job while in AOS I-485 period

Video Transcript

 

All you have to do is file a Supplement J with a new job offer. In the meantime, if you are not working and staying at home that’s fine because adjustment of status 180 days brings you to a point where you don't have to have a job you only have to have the offer of a same or similar job. If the supplement J is denied I guess you can file another Supplement J. I would probably file a motion to reopen if the I-485 is being denied with another Supplement J. FAQ in detail...     

 
Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the referenced audio/video media delivered as oral communication, and, therefore, may not conform to written grammatical or syntactical form.

Covid Coronavirus changing H-1B home office location

Authored on: Thu, 04/30/2020 - 01:39

Question

I recently got approval for Work From Home, from my client. So my work location will be my home. My H1B Amendment is filed. Because of situation, I have to change my home i.e work location, within same MSA. Also, if we can change the house, just updating AR-11 will suffice?

Answer

 

Watch the Video on this FAQ:

 

Covid Coronavirus changing H-1B home office location


Video Transcript

Changing location of work within the same geographical area is not a problem. Do remember to file your AR-11. FAQ in detail...



Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the referenced audio/video media delivered as oral communication, and, therefore, may not conform to written grammatical or syntactical form.


Covid Coronavirus Question from Employers about Payroll for H-1B and others L-1, E, etc. employees

Authored on: Thu, 04/30/2020 - 01:39

Question

We are looking at various measures of safety and expense control. First and foremost everyone is working from home for their on safety and wellness. For expense control one idea that we were discussing was a potential pay rate reduction for a short period of time.

Answer

Watch the Video on this FAQ: Covid Coronavirus Question from

 Employers about Payroll for H-1B and others L-1, E, etc. employees


Video Transcript

If you look at the Department of Labor regulations they say that the employer cannot stop paying a salary or the right amount of salary for anything that the employer does. So if you don’t have a project that's your problem. If by law or by local order you cannot open offices and you cannot work, would you as an employer be allowed to pay a lesser salary and that might be something to look at because rather than laying off all the people that your concerned about I would have you to think about other alternatives. FAQ in detail...


Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the referenced audio/video media delivered as oral communication, and, therefore, may not conform to written grammatical or syntactical form.