H Visa FAQs

USCIS Updated Questions &Answers on the H-1B Employer-Employee Relationship

Authored on: Mon, 04/14/2014 - 06:03

Question

Does this memorandum change any of the requirements to establish eligibility for an H-1B petition?

Answer

No. This memorandum does not change any of the requirements for an H-1B petition. The H-1B regulations currently require that a United States employer establish that it has an employer-employee relationship with respect to the beneficiary, as indicated by the fact that it may hire, pay, fire, supervise or otherwise control the work of any such employee. In addition to demonstrating that a valid employer-employee relationship will exist between the petitioner and the beneficiary, the petitioner must continue to comply with all of the requirements for an H-1B petition including:

  • establishing that the beneficiary is coming to the United States temporarily to work in a specialty occupation;
  • demonstrating that the beneficiary is qualified to perform services in the specialty occupation; and
  • filing of a Labor Condition Application (LCA) specific to each location where the beneficiary will perform services.

See more at: http://www.immigration.com/news/h-1-visa/uscis-updated-questions-answer…



Can H-4/F-2, etc. non-work visa holders volunteer?

Authored on: Fri, 03/28/2014 - 03:42

Question

Answer

This question is raised often and debated much amongst lawyers focusing their practice on employment-based immigration.  I have a call scheduled with a corporate client who is considering the legality of accepting a volunteer in their for-profit IT business.

I intend to inform them that under US immigration laws, if the work is performed for NO remuneration or other benefits, it would not violate the law. This issue has been explored in my blog entry here.

The problem, however, is that the Fair Labor Standards Act (Federal Law) does not permit for-profit employers to hire unpaid "interns" or "volunteers." See this link for FLSA standards according to US Department of Labor. There has been considerable litigation on this issue with employers on the losing side. So, please consult your employment law counsel before deciding on retaining the services of unpaid employees.

Licensing of Foreign Persons Employed by a U.S. Person

Authored on: Thu, 01/02/2014 - 04:34

Question

When is a foreign person considered an employee?
If residing overseas, is the foreign person employee considered a broker?
Should current authorizations be replaced or amended to be consistent with current guidance?
Can multiple employees be covered under one authorization?
How is an employee providing marketing services overseas identified in a license application?
What if the foreign person’s place of birth is different from the country he/she now resides in and holds citizenship from?
What value should be entered on the license application?
How should the foreign person employee of a U.S. person be identified in the TAA or MLA?
Who should sign the DSP-83 for the transfer of U.S. classified information?

Answer

When is a foreign person considered an employee?
A foreign person is considered an employee when the foreign person is a full time regular employee, directly paid, insured, hired/fired and/or promoted exclusively by the U.S. person. The employee, however, need not LIVE in the U.S. to be employed by the U.S. person. The U.S. person is liable to ensure all foreign person employees are compliant with U.S. export laws regardless of residence.

If residing overseas, is the foreign person employee considered a broker?
If truly employed by the U.S. person, the foreign person is NOT considered a broker when performing the U.S. person’s business (must be within the scope of the employment authorization) since he/she is a company employee.

Should current authorizations be replaced or amended to be consistent with current guidance?
Currently approved authorizations are still valid. As expiration dates are reached, industry will be expected to submit the appropriate authorization as delineated in the current guidance.

Can multiple employees be covered under one authorization?
Yes. Multiple foreign person employees can be covered under one authorization so long as they are all of the same nationality working on the same program/commodity, i.e., all French nationals working on the same radar program.

How is an employee providing marketing services overseas identified in a license application?
If the U.S. person desires for the foreign person employee to market their products to other countries and the product is within the scope of the DSP-5, the U.S. person should obtain a license to market a particular technology to a particular country identifying the foreign person employee as a foreign consignee. Once the marketing license is approved the foreign employee may perform his/her job duties. The case number of the employment DSP-5 should be identified in the marketing license application.

What if the foreign person’s place of birth is different from the country he/she now resides in and holds citizenship from?
This would bring into question the issue of dual nationality and whether the individual had ties to his country of birth which would indicate a degree of loyalty and allegiance to that country. The license would be considered on the basis that it could be an export to both countries. Normally, this does not present a problem unless the country of birth is proscribed under 22 CFR 126.1 in which case we have to secure additional information to confirm lack of significant ties to the country of birth.

Wha value should be entered on the license application?
DDTC suggests identifying the foreign person employee’s annual salary and/or value of the technical data/defense services transferred/received.

How should the foreign person employee of a U.S. person be identified in the TAA or MLA?
The agreement holder must amend the agreement to specifically identify the foreign person employees of all U.S. signatories. The statement should be made in 22 CFR 124.7(4) with other statements regarding transfer territory. If the foreign person employees are not already identified, this statement should be included in the next amendment submitted to DDTC for approval. 

Who should sign the DSP-83 for the transfer of U.S. classified information?
The U.S. person and the foreign person employee must execute the DSP-83 when the transfer of U.S. classified information is required. DDTC may require the foreign government to execute the DSP-83 on a case-by-case basis. 

For more information visit these links: http://www.pmddtc.state.gov/faqs/license_foreignpersons.html#1

http://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/temporary-workers/frequently-asked-questions-about-part-6-form-i-129-petition-nonimmigrant-worker 
http://www.bis.doc.gov/

Social Security Number And Card

Authored on: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 06:58

Question

How do I get a number and card?

Answer

A Social Security number is important because you need it to get a job, collect Social Security benefits and receive some other government services. Many other businesses, such as banks and credit companies, also ask for your number.If you are a noncitizen living in the United States, you also may need a Social Security number. For more information, see Social Security Numbers For Noncitizens (Publication No. 05-10096). If you are temporarily in the United States to work, see Foreign Workers and Social Security Numbers (Publication No. 05-10107).

How do I get a number and card?

To apply for a Social Security number and card:

Complete an Application For A Social Security Card (Form SS-5); and

Show the original documents or copies certified by the issuing agency proving:

—U.S. citizenship or immigration status [including Department of Homeland Security (DHS) permission to work in the United States];

—Age; and

—Identity.

Then, take or mail your completed application and documents to your local Social Security office.

Citizenship or immigration status: 

The center accepts only certain documents as proof of U.S. citizenship. These include a U.S. birth certificate, a U.S.passport, Certificate of Naturalization or Certificate of Citizenship. If you are not a U.S. citizen, Social Security will ask to see your current U.S. immigration documents. Acceptable documents include your:

Form I-551, Permanent Resident Card (green card, includes machine-readable immigrant visa with your unexpired foreign passport);

I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, with your unexpired foreign passport; or

I-766, Employment Authorization Card (EAD, work permit).

International students must present further documentation. For more information, see International Students And Social Security Numbers (Publication No. 05-10181).

Age: You need to present your birth certificate. (If one exists, you must submit it.) If a birth certificate does not exist, Social Security may be able to accept your:

Religious record made before the age of 5 showing your date of birth;

U.S. hospital record of your birth; or

Passport.

Identity: Social Security can accept only certain documents as proof of identity. An acceptable document must be current (not expired) and show your name, identifying information and preferably a recent photograph. Social Security will ask to see a U.S. driver's license, state-issued nondriver identification card or U.S. passport as proof of identity. If you do not have the specific documents asked for, Social Security will ask to see other documents including:

Employee ID card;

School ID card;

Health insurance card (not a Medicare card);

U.S. military ID card;

Adoption decree;

Life insurance policy; or

Marriage document (only in name change situations).

All documents must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. Social Security cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents. Social Security may use one document for two purposes. For example, Social Security may use your U.S. passport as proof of both citizenship and identity. Or, Social Security may use your U.S. birth certificate as proof of age and citizenship. However, you must provide at least two separate documents.

Social Security will mail your number and card as soon as they have all of your information and have verified your documents with the issuing offices.

What does it cost?

There is no charge for a Social Security number and card. If someone contacts you and wants to charge you for getting a number or card, please remember that these Social Security services are free. You can report anyone attempting to charge you by calling our Office of the Inspector General hotline at 1-800-269-0271.

Are there different types of cards?

Social Security  issues three types of Social Security cards. All cards show your name and Social Security number.

The first type of card shows your name and Social Security number and lets you work without restriction. Social Security issue it to:

—U.S. citizens; and

—People lawfully admitted to the 

United States on a permanent basis.

The second type of card shows your name and number and notes, “VALID FOR WORK ONLY WITH DHS AUTHORIZATION.” Social Security issues this type of card to people lawfully admitted to the United States on a temporary basis who have DHS authorization to work.

The third type of card shows your name and number and notes, “NOT VALID FOR EMPLOYMENT.” Social Security issues it to people from other countries:

—Who are lawfully admitted to the United States without work authorization from DHS, but with a valid nonwork reason for needing a Social Security number; or

—Who need a number because of a federal law requiring a Social Security number to get a benefit or service.

How do I get my child a Social Security number?

It is a good idea to get the number when your child is born. You can apply for a Social Security number for your baby when you apply for your baby’s birth certificate. The state agency that issues birth certificates will share your child’s information with us. Social Security will mail the Social Security card to you. Or, you can wait and apply at any Social Security office. If you wait, you must provide evidence of your child’s age, identity and U.S. citizenship status. If you are filing an application on behalf of someone else, you must show us evidence of your relationship to, or responsibility for, the person for whom you are filing. You also must show us proof of your identity. Social Security must verify your child’s birth record, which can add up to 12 weeks to the time it takes to issue a card. To verify a birth record, Social Security will contact the office that issued it.

Anyone age 12 or older requesting an original Social Security number must appear in person for an interview, even if a parent or guardian will sign the application on the child’s behalf.

Adoption: Social Security can assign your adopted child a number before the adoption is complete, but you may want to wait. Then, you can apply for the number using your child’s new name. If you want to claim your child for tax purposes while the adoption is still pending, contact the Internal Revenue Service for Form W-7A, Application for Taxpayer Identification Number for Pending U.S Adoptions. For more information, see Social Security Numbers For Children (Publication No. 05-10023).

What if my name changed?

If you legally change your name because of marriage, divorce, court order or any other reason, you need to tell Social Security so that you can get a corrected card. If you are working, also tell your employer. If you do not tell us when your name changes, it may:

Delay your tax refund; and

Prevent your wages from being posted correctly to your Social Security record, which may lower the amount of your future Social Security benefits.

If you need to change your name on your Social Security card, you must show us a document that proves your legal name change. Documents Social Security may accept to prove a legal name change include:

Marriage document;

Divorce decree;

Certificate of Naturalization showing a new name; or

Court order for a name change.

If the document you provide as evidence of a legal name change does not give us enough information to identify you in our records or if you changed your name more than two years ago (four years ago if you are younger than age 18), you must show us an identity document in your old name (as shown in our records). Social Security will accept an identity document in your old name that has expired.If you do not have an identity document in your old name, Social Security may accept an unexpired identity document in your new name, as long as Social Security can properly establish your identity in our records.

Citizenship: Also, if you are a U.S. citizen born outside the United States and our records do not show you are a citizen, you will need to provide proof of your U.S. citizenship. If you are not a U.S. citizen, Social Security will ask to see your current immigration documents.

Your new card will have the same number as your previous card, but will show your new name.

How do I make sure my records are accurate?

Each year your employer sends a copy of your W-2 (Wage and Tax Statement) to Social Security. Social Security compares your name and Social Security number on the W-2 with the information in our files. Social Security add the earnings shown on the W-2 to your Social Security record.It is critical that your name and Social Security number on your Social Security card agree with your employer’s payroll records and W-2 so that Social Security can credit your earnings to your record. It is up to you to make sure that both Social Security’s records and your employer’s 

records are correct. If your Social Security card is incorrect, contact any Social Security office to make changes. Check your W-2 form to make sure your employer’s record is correct and, if it is not, give your employer the accurate information.

You also can check your earnings record on your Social Security Statement. The Statement is available online to workers age 18 and older. 

To review your Statement, go to www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount and create an account.

What if my immigration status or citizenship changed?

If your immigration status changed or you became a U.S. citizen, you should tell Social Security so Social Security can update your records. To get your immigration status or citizenship corrected, you need to show documents that prove your new status or citizenship. Social Security can accept only certain documents as proof of citizenship for new and replacement cards. These include your U.S. passport, a Certificate of Naturalization or a Certificate of Citizenship. If you are not a U.S. citizen, Social Security will ask to see your current immigration documents.

What if my card is lost or stolen?

You can replace your card or your child’s card for free if it is lost or stolen. However, you are limited to three replacement cards in a year and 10 during your lifetime. Legal name changes and other exceptions do not count toward these limits. For example, changes in noncitizen status that require card updates may not count toward these limits. Also, you may not be affected by these limits if you can prove you need the card to prevent a significant hardship.To get a replacement card, you will need to:

Complete an Application For A Social Security Card (Form SS-5);

Present an unexpired original document with identifying information and preferably a recent photograph that proves your identity;

Show evidence of your U.S. citizenship if you were born outside the United States and did not show proof of citizenship when you got your card; and

Show evidence of your current lawful noncitizen status if you are not a U.S. citizen.

Your replacement card will have the same name and number as your previous card.

How can I protect my Social Security number?

You should treat your Social Security number as confidential information and avoid giving it out unnecessarily. You should keep your Social Security card in a safe place with your other important papers. Do not carry it with you unless you need to show it to an employer or service provider.Social Security do several things to protect your number from misuse. For example, Social Security requires and carefully inspect proof of identity from people who apply to replace lost or stolen Social Security cards, or for corrected cards. One reason Social Security do this is to prevent people from fraudulently obtaining Social Security numbers to establish false identities. Social Security maintains the privacy of Social Security records unless:

The law requires us to disclose information to another government agency; or

Your information is needed to conduct Social Security or other government health or welfare program business.

You should be very careful about sharing your number and card to protect against misuse of your number. Giving your number is voluntary even when you are asked for the number directly. If requested, you should ask:

Why your number is needed;

How your number will be used;

What happens if you refuse; and

What law requires you to give your number.The answers to these questions can help you decide if you want to give your Social Security number. The decision is yours.

Contacting Social Security

For more information and to find copies of our publications, visit our website at www.socialsecurity.gov or call toll-free, 1-800-772-1213 (for the deaf or hard of hearing, call our TTY number, 1-800-325-0778). Social Security treat all calls confidentially. Social Security can answer specific questions from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Generally, you’ll have a shorter wait time if you call during the week after Tuesday. Social Security can provide information by automated phone service 24 hours a day.Social Security also want to make sure you receive accurate and courteous service. That is why Social Security have a second SocialSecurity representative monitor some telephone calls.

Indefinite H-1 Extensions( on yearly basis) Based On PERM Appeal

Authored on: Wed, 11/27/2013 - 22:25

Question

Can we apply for indefinite H-1 extensions( on yearly basis) based on PERM appeal as long as your case is still in appeal?

Answer

As long as PERM appeal is pending (Not, MTR), you can apply for one-year H-1 extensions indefinitely, even beyond 6 years.

Foreign Labor Certification Questions and Answers

Authored on: Wed, 11/06/2013 - 07:50

Question

1. What is the Foreign Labor Certification Process?

2. How long will the employment-based visa process take?

3. Are there any employment-based immigration fees?

4. How do I find out the status of my permanent case?

Answer

1. The actual process for the Foreign Labor Certification varies depending upon the program being used. This http://www.foreignlaborcert.doleta.gov website contains information regarding the process for filing for each of the programs under the Department of Labor's (DOL) jurisdiction. The filing of applications is the responsibility of the employer, not the employee. However, the employee can benefit from understanding the program being utilized in his/her behalf. In general the Department of Labor works to ensure that the admission of foreign workers to work in the U.S. will not adversely affect the job opportunities, wages and working conditions of U.S. workers. Once a Foreign Labor Certification application has been approved by the DOL, the employer will need to seek the immigration authorization from USCIS.

2. Depending upon the nature of the program the process for filing could vary between months and years. To be of assistance, we have provided on our Web site the current processing times in the DOL regions and states. Currently, the process to obtain an employment based temporary labor certification (H-2A, H-2B) usually may take months through the state agency and the DOL regional office. However, H-1B processing usually only takes seven working days. The process to obtain an employment based permanent labor certification can sometimes take up to several months after completing the necessary recruitment steps and filing the application with the National Processing Center. The PERM Processing Times are updated monthly and available for view at http://icert.doleta.gov.

For the employment-based permanent visa, the USCIS may take up to an additional 9 months to process the request. USCIS will provide"premium processing" for some visa categories with an additional fee.

 

3. Most programs administered by the DOL do not charge fees for a foreign labor certification. Every program does, however, require fees be paid to the USCIS upon filing an application for a visa or greencard. See the individual program (H-2A) for details regarding DOL fees. See the USCIS site for details regarding USCIS fees.

 

4. An employer should pro-actively and regularly, advisably once a month or less, monitor the status of an electronically filed labor certification application via the Permanent Case Management System, and compare its filing date, i.e., the date the application was submitted for processing, to the PERM processing times posted on the iCERT Visa Portal System (http://icert.doleta.gov/). If there is more than a 30-day difference between the employer's filing date and the PERM processing time, the employer may contact the National Processing Center (NPC) for a status update.

An employer who filed a labor certification application via mail may contact the National Processing Center's Help Desk at 404-893-0101 for a status update.

Information on Printing I-94

Authored on: Tue, 10/01/2013 - 07:46

Question

I do not have an I-94 from my last entry to the US in June, but I need it for my H-1B renewal. What should I do?

Answer

Please refer to the following link for information on printing your I-94: http://www.immigration.com/news/general-nonimmigrant-visa/i-94-web-appl…

H-1B Petition for Extension

Authored on: Tue, 10/01/2013 - 07:39

Question

When should my H-1B petition for an extension be filed?

Answer

An H-1B petition for extension may be submitted to USCIS no more than 6 months prior to the expiration of the current H-1B status.

Status of H-4 Dependents When H-1B is Denied

Authored on: Mon, 07/22/2013 - 07:18

Question

If my H-1B petition is denied by USCIS, or withdrawn by my employer, what happens to my H-4 dependents?

Answer

If you are no longer in valid H-1B status, your dependents’ H-4 petitions will no longer be valid either.

H-1B Filed Under the Quota for the Year 2014

Authored on: Mon, 07/22/2013 - 07:14

Question

My H-1B was filed under the quota for the year 2014 and recently approved. Am I now in H-1B status?

Answer

A petition filed under the 2014 quota cannot have an effective date before October 1, 2013.  You cannot be in H-1B status prior to that date.