Final countdown for H-1B professional work visas
The USCIS has released the latest update on the 2012 H-1B work visa count, which shows that 55,800 of the 65,000 regular H-1B work visas have already been given out to date this year since the visas became available on April 1.
This is the last week to apply. The USCIS may however announce at any moment that the visa limit has been exceeded and that no further H-1B work visa applications will be accepted. Professionals who wish to obtain H-1B work visas through employers and F-1 students on OPT are advised to file their applications this week since new H-1B visas will not be available until April 1, 2013.
You can learn more about H-1B work visas by visiting our website at www.ImmigrateToday.com or calling our office at (954) 382-5378.
Public commentary period closed for 601 waiver rule
The USCIS will now start reviewing comments for the 601 waiver rule proposal. The proposed rule outlines a new filing process for certain immediate relatives of U.S. citizens (i.e. spouses, children, and parents) who seek a waiver called the "Provisional Unlawful Presence Waivers of Inadmissibility for Certain Immediate Relatives." This provisional waiver process would allow applicants to remain in the U. S. with their U.S. citizen spouse, child or parent while USCIS processes their waiver request, rather than having to travel abroad to file the waiver at a U.S. Consulate outside the U.S. Once the review process is complete, the USCIS will formally publish a final ruling in the coming months. During the reviewing process, any applications made will be denied.
You can learn more about the 601 provisional waivers by visiting our website at www.ImmigrateToday.com and clicking on the Weekly Newsletter link.
Question: I have a question about my wife's green card case. We filed her papers and then the officer gave us lots of trouble at her interview about our documents and was asking us why she didn't take my last name. That made me kind of mad because we did want her to have my last name but didn't know how to file the paperwork that way. So can immigration deny us on that? We brought two notarized affidavits from friends that stated we are married.
Answer: USCIS regulations do not require that a woman take her husband's last name in marriage-based immigration cases. A married woman may keep her own name, adopt her husband's last name or choose to hyphenate her name along with his. The main issue in marriage-based immigration cases is establishing that the marriage is real, by providing extensive documentation and photos. USCIS officers have a lot of discretion to decide whether a marriage is real or not, based upon the totality of all the evidence presented by the couple, including documents, pictures and testimony. The issue of your wife taking your last name was likely used as an intimidation factor, as are many such techniques to make a couple nervous, to sort out fake marriage cases. Her case could not be denied based upon the name issue, but could be if you failed to present adequate marital evidence. Affidavits from friends and relatives are of little value in marriage cases and are not given much weight by officers. In my experience, couples in marriage cases simply do not take the proof of marriage issue seriously enough until they run into problems, which could easily be avoided. My job is to educate and train couples through the entire marriage immigration process, from USCIS expectations to the evidence needed to demonstrate that the marriage is real.
You can find out more about marriage immigration cases by calling our office at (954) 382-5378.
** Contributions to this column are made by attorney Caroly Pedersen, Esq. of the American Immigration Law Center. Call 954-382-5378