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  • Current Family-Based Green Card Priority Date for India for Permanent Residency

    This page provides information on the current green card priority date for India for family-based permanent residency in the F1, F2A, F2B, F3, and F4 categories. If the applicant's priority date on the I-797 notice for the I-130 petition is earlier than the current date mentioned below, then you are eligible to proceed with your immigrant visa application process, like the I-485 or DS-260 application, which is the final step in obtaining a green card. I-485: If the applicant is physically present in the United States and is eligible to adjust status to permanent resident status, they typically file Form I-485 with USCIS. DS-260: If the applicant is residing outside of the United States and is applying for an immigrant visa through consular processing, they generally complete Form DS-260, which is processed by the Department of State. The U.S. Department of State releases a monthly visa bulletin, and the dates presented here reflect the regularly updated 'Date for Filing' and 'Final Action Date' per visa bulletin. Please bookmark ⭐ this page for future reference. Last updated: Based on the May 2024 Visa Bulletin published by the US Department of State. Family-Based Green Card Priority Date for India: Key Points Generally, USCIS uses the 'Dates for Filing' chart if the Department of State's Visa Bulletin allows it for that month. 'Dates for Filing' typically precede the 'Final Action Date' and allow applicants to start certain parts of the application process earlier. The 'Final Action Date' is the cutoff date determining when green cards can be issued based on the priority date of the immigrant petition. FAQs on Family-Based Green Card Priority Date India Who can apply for a family-based green card? You can get a green card If you are an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen. Immediate relatives are not subjected to visa quotas (no cap on the number of green cards that can be issued) and generally have more favorable immigration processing. Even the concept of a priority date does not apply to immediate relatives. Parent of a U.S. citizen (if the citizen is 21+). Spouse of a U.S. citizen. Unmarried child under 21 of a U.S. citizen. The following relatives are eligible based on the "preference immigrant" category: First preference (F1) - Unmarried children (21 years and older) of U.S. citizens. Second preference (F2A) - Spouses and unmarried children (under 21 years old) of lawful permanent residents. Second preference (F2B) - Unmarried children (21 years and older) of lawful permanent residents. Third preference (F3) - Married children of U.S. citizens. Fourth preference (F4) - Siblings of U.S. citizens (if the citizen is 21+). What is the current priority date for parents of U.S. citizens? For parents of U.S. citizens, there isn't a "current priority date" in the same way as other family-sponsored preference categories. Parents of U.S. citizens are considered immediate relatives and are not subject to the priority date system that applies to preference categories like F1, F2A, F2B, etc. Therefore, they do not have to wait for a priority date to become current. What is the processing time for a family-based green card for Indian parents? The processing time for a family-based green card for Indian parents typically ranges from 12 to 16 months, but actual processing times may vary depending on the USCIS backlog and workload. As an immediate relative, you can file Form I-485 concurrently with Form I-130. Next: Green Card vs Citizenship Related Posts ✔ Do Green Card holders need visas for Canada? ✔ How to expedite the USCIS application? Related Topics

  • How to Expedite H4 EAD Application without Premium Processing Request?

    There is no premium processing service available for the H4 EAD, I-765 application. However, you can submit an Expedite Request. There are situations where we may face time-sensitive situations and need to expedite our H4 EAD application. For instance, an immediate job opportunity may require the EAD as soon as possible to start work, or in a situation where one loses their job and, due to a lapse in the grace period, switches to an H4 visa, expecting to obtain the H4 EAD quickly to resume employment. Table of Contents: H4 EAD Expedite Request H4 EAD with H1B Premium Processing H1B to B2 back to H1B H4 EAD Expedite Request Contacting a Congressman FAQs on H4 EAD Expedite Request In these situations, you can speed up your EAD application in a few ways. One of the simplest options is to submit an expedited request with USCIS. If your request is accepted, you can expect faster processing for your H4 EAD application. There is no application fee for expedited requests. In this blog, I will explain the various ways to speed up your H4 EAD application. While you may not fit into all the scenarios mentioned below, you can decide based on your situation. H4 EAD with H1B Premium Processing Suppose you lose your job while on an H1B visa, and your 60-day grace period ends. One option could be switching to an H4 visa if your spouse holds an H1B visa (with an approved I-140) and you intend to obtain an EAD for employment. However, it's important to note that this transition can be a very time-consuming process. In this case, you can expedite your application by applying for an H1B to H4 change of status and H4 EAD concurrently with the primary H1B premium processing. This option is applicable only when you are filing for an H4 Change of Status (COS) and H4 EAD, along with the primary H1B petition (Form I-129). Imagine a situation where the primary H1B holder needs to extend or renew their petition, while the dependent needs to transition to an H4 visa through a change of status and simultaneously apply for an H4 EAD. You can read about this process in detail here. Related: H1B, H4 and H4 EAD concurrent filing If the primary H1B holder doesn't need to extend or renew their visa anytime soon, it may be more efficient to travel back to their home country and apply for an H4 visa using the DS-160 form. This process tends to be much faster. Once you obtain the H4 visa, return to the US and apply for the H4 EAD. You can begin looking for a job at this point. After applying for the H4 EAD, you can request expedited processing once you receive the receipt number. In the upcoming section, we will discuss expedited requests in detail. H1B to B2 back to H1B In this situation, assuming you have an approved I-140 and are waiting for your priority date to become current, and you don't have the flexibility to switch to an H4 visa, individuals often move to a B1/B2 visa if they can't find a job within the 60-day grace period on their H1B while staying in the country. In this case, you don't need an EAD, and the expectation is that once you find a job, you will switch back to an H1B. However, the processing time for a pending B1/B2 application is so long, around 6-9 months, that you might find yourself in a tough situation, wondering whether you should leave the country or wait for the B1/B2 COS result first. Some employers make it mandatory to undergo consular processing, which can sometimes result in 221(g) administrative processing, a process with no definitive timeline for the final result. Due to this uncertainty, employers sometimes avoid hiring candidates facing such circumstances and opt for those with work authorization. Additionally, some employers take advantage of this situation by requiring candidates to pay premium processing fees for H1B applications and lawyer fees, typically offering lower compensation. The good news is that you can file a new H1B petition (change of status) while your B1/B2 application is pending, and it can be processed in premium processing. USCIS states that both the change of status to B1/B2 and the change of status back to H1B will be processed together. You can read about this process in detail in the following blog. Related: Change of Status to B2 H4 EAD Expedite Request While USCIS doesn't typically offer expedited processing for H4 EAD applications, in certain circumstances, such as severe financial loss, emergencies, or humanitarian reasons, you can request expedited processing. Examples include financial loss, new job opportunities, emergencies, and humanitarian reasons. Note that the expedited processing is different from premium processing. When submitting an expedited request for an H4 EAD, having the right documents can make a big difference. Documents like medical bills, house loan papers, auto loan documents, bank statements, and credit card bills can help demonstrate the financial challenges you're facing and why you urgently need to work. For instance, medical bills prove unexpected expenses, while house and auto loans demonstrate financial commitments. Credit card bills show ongoing expenses that need to be met. Providing these documents strengthens your case and increases the chances of getting approval for the H4 EAD expedited request. You can dive into more detailed information on this, starting with practical examples and step-by-step instructions on how to initiate the expedited request by visiting the following blog. Related: Humanitarian reasons to expedite request Contacting a Congressman Another option is to reach out to a senator or congressman. While contacting them doesn't guarantee EAD approval, they can certainly assist in expediting your EAD application. To request their assistance, you can visit their official website and search for sections related to visa and immigration help or federal agency assistance. To support your expedited request, you'll need to provide evidence of financial loss or an emergency. This documentation will serve as the basis for your request and strengthen your case for expedited processing. You can read about this in detail in the following blog. Related: Contacting congressman for expedited request FAQs on H4 EAD Expedite Request Can job loss be considered as financial loss for an H4 EAD expedited request? Yes, job loss can be portrayed as a significant financial setback. By providing documents such as mortgage bills, auto loans, home insurance, and credit card statements, you can demonstrate the immediate financial burdens stemming from unemployment. These records underscore the pressing need for the EAD to avoid substantial financial losses. Additionally, highlighting potential repercussions like the possibility of selling assets such as the house or car, as well as the potential disruption to children's education mid-session, further emphasizes the urgency of expediting the EAD process. Next: Example I-485 expedite request Related Posts ✔ USCIS Premium processing ✔ Options after H1B layoffs ✔ How to apply for B1/B2 visa for parents Related Topics

  • Applying for a Change of Status to B1/B2 Tourist Visa from Other Visas like H1B, J1, or F1

    If you're in the US and wish to apply for a change of status from an H1B visa to a B1/B2 visa, possibly after a layoff, or from an F1 visa, or J1 visa, etc., you'll need to complete the I-539, the change of status form. You can complete the I-539 form yourself (no need for a lawyer), and it should be done before your grace period ends. If you are on an H1B visa, you should apply for a change of status within 60 days of the H1B grace period. Related: H1B grace period with severance When filling out the I-539 form, ensure that you clearly state the reason for the change of status and demonstrate why you need it. Make sure you provide sufficient documents to support your financial condition. It's important to note that USCIS allows individuals to search for a new job or interview while in B-1 or B-2 status. Therefore, clearly explain that you need some time to search for a job due to a recent layoff, and that's why you are filing for a change of status to a B1/B2 visa. Can I look for a new job while in B-1 or B-2 status? Yes, searching for employment and interviewing for a position are permissible B-1 or B-2 activities. By statute, however, you may not engage in employment within the domestic labor market (also known as “local labor for hire”) while in B-1 status or engage in any employment while in B-2 status. Before beginning any new employment, a petition and request for a change of status from B-1 or B-2 to an employment-authorized status must be approved, and the new status must take effect. Alternatively, if the change of status request is denied or the petition for new employment requests consular or port of entry notification, the individual must depart the United States and be admitted in an employment-authorized classification before beginning the new employment. Reference: USCIS (look for this question under the change of status section). Table of Contents: Change of Status to B1/B2 Visa Can I Change the Status to B1/B2 Visa? Change of Status to B1/B2 Visa from Other Visas Applying for Change of Status Sample Letter How to Fill Form I-539 Processing Time What should I do if I find a job when my B1/B2 application is pending? Documents Required FAQs on Change of Status to B1/B2 Whether you're on a different visa or already in the country, understanding how to apply for a change of status to a B1/B2 visa is important. This blog will simplify the process for you, outlining the required documents, eligibility criteria, and other essential factors to consider when applying for a change of status to a B1/B2 visa. Can I Change the Status to B1/B2 Visa? The B1/B2 visa is intended for temporary stays, so applicants should have a clear intention of staying temporarily while on this visa. Below are the main categories of people who apply for a change of status to B1/B2. Visa Holders: Individuals holding different types of visas like H1B, F1, etc. can apply for a change of status to a B1/B2 tourist visa. For exceptions, refer to the USCIS website for the latest information. In-Country Applicants: Those already in the US can request a change of status using form I-539 without leaving the country. Change of Status to B1/B2 Visa from Other Visas Various visa holders consider changing their status to a B1/B2 tourist visa for temporary stays in the United States. Common scenarios include: Related: Options after job loss on H1B F-1 Student Visa Holders: Students may switch to a B1/B2 visa for leisure or travel purposes if their authorized stay on an F1 visa is ending soon. H-1B Visa Holders: Professionals with an H-1B work visa typically apply for a change of status to a B1/B2 visa during a job loss or when their visas are expiring to avoid 'unlawful presence'. J-1 Exchange Visitors: If your J1 visa doesn't require the INA 212(e) two-year home residency, you can change your status to B1/B2 visitor status. However, if your J1 visa has the INA 212(e) two-year home residency requirement, changing your status within the US is not possible. L-1 Intracompany Transferees: Employees under the L-1 visa may consider switching to B1/B2 for personal reasons during gaps between assignments (same company). Note that each case is unique, and individuals should thoroughly review eligibility criteria and consult with legal professionals for personalized advice. Applying for Change of Status to B1/B2 Applying for a change of status to a B1/B2 involves the following steps. Eligibility: Ensure you meet the eligibility criteria for changing to a B1/B2 visa. Earlier in this post, we already discussed which visas qualify. Typically, this involves maintaining legal status, having a valid reason for the change, and intending a temporary stay for tourism or personal reasons. Prepare Required Documents: Collect necessary documents, including Form I-539 (Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status), a letter explaining the reason for the change, proof of financial ability to cover your stay, and other supporting documents. File Form I-539: Complete and submit Form I-539 along with the required supporting documents to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Pay the associated filing fee of $370. Wait for USCIS Response: USCIS will review your application. Be patient during the processing period, which can take several months. You may check the status online using the USCIS case status tool. Receive USCIS Decision: Once USCIS reviews your application, you'll receive a decision. If approved, your status will be changed to B1/B2. If not, you have to immediately leave the country. Stick to Visa Rules: After approval, adhere to the conditions of your B1/B2 visa, such as maintaining legal status and leaving the U.S. before the authorized stay expires. Sample Letter for Change of Status to B1/B2 [Date] [Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State, ZIP Code] [Email Address] [Phone Number] U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services [Service Center Address] [City, State, ZIP Code] Subject: Request for Change of Status to B1/B2 Tourist Visa Dear USCIS Officer, I am writing to formally request a change of status from my current H1B visa to a B1/B2 tourist visa for a temporary stay in the United States. I am providing the necessary documents as outlined in the Form I-539 instructions to support my application. These include: Completed Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. A detailed cover letter explaining my reasons for the change, emphasizing my desire for a temporary stay. Copy of my current H1B visa and I-94 arrival/departure record. Passport biographic page and copies of previous U.S. visas. Proof of financial ability to cover my stay, including recent bank statements. Passport-sized photographs adhering to USCIS specifications. Documentation establishing my ties to my home country, such as property ownership, and family relationships. I understand and respect the regulations governing the change of status process and assure you that my stay in the U.S. will comply with all applicable laws. I am committed to returning to my home country upon the conclusion of my temporary stay and will not engage in unauthorized employment during this period. I appreciate your time and consideration of my application. If there is any additional information needed, or if an interview is required, I am more than willing to provide the necessary cooperation. Thank you for your attention to this matter. Sincerely, [Your Signature] [Your Typed Name] How to Fill Form I-539 for Change of Status to B1/B2 Here's a detailed guide on how to fill out Form I-539 for a change of status to B1/B2 visa: Download the Form: Visit the official USCIS website and download the latest version of Form I-539. Read Instructions: Carefully read the accompanying instructions provided by USCIS. These instructions provide essential guidance on completing the change of status form. Part 1: Information About You (Principal Applicant): Fill in your details, including your name, address, date of birth, and other relevant information. Part 2: Application Type: Check Box "3.a. Change of Status" to indicate you are applying for a change of status. Part 3: Processing Information: Provide information regarding your current non-immigrant status, the date you were admitted to the U.S., and details of any previous extensions or changes of status. Part 4: Additional Information About Applicant: Answer questions about your previous immigration history, criminal record (if any), and other relevant details. Part 5: Declaration: Sign and date the form to certify that the information provided is accurate and complete. Part [6,7]: Interpreter Information: Typically you will be filling out the I-539 form yourself, so no interpreter's detail is required. Part 8: Additional Information: If you need additional space to explain your answers, use this section and attach extra sheets. Form I-539A (if applicable): If there are family members included in the application, such as dependents, they should each complete a separate Form I-539A. Supporting Documents: Attach the necessary supporting documents, including the letter explaining the reason for the change, proof of financial ability, and any other required materials. Fee Payment: Include the filing fee of $370 with your application. Check the USCIS website for the current fee amount. Mail the Application: Review your application thoroughly, make copies of all documents, and mail the complete application. You can find the addresses here. B1/B2 Change of Status Processing Time USCIS processing times for a change of status to a B1/B2 visa could range from 3 to 9 months, depending on the service center processing your case. What should I do if I find a job when my B1/B2 application is pending? Many of us wonder what happens if we find a job and need to join. Do we need to wait for the result of the B1/B2 change of status? The answer is no. There is a lot of misinformation in the market, with some suggesting that the new employer may require you to go through consular processing, which could result in receiving a 221(g) notice and facing extensive processing times. Based on the latest USCIS guidelines, if you file for an H1B visa using premium processing while your B1/B2 visa application is still pending, USCIS approves your B1/B2 visa right away within the H1B premium processing timeframe. At the same time, they decide on your change of status from B1/B2 to H1B. This means you won't need to go through consular processing because both the approval of the B1/B2 visa and the decision on the B1/B2 to H1B change of status happen while you're in the US, waiting for a decision. Will my pending I-539 change of status application to B-1 or B-2 be prioritized if I find a new employer who files an I-129 petition with a request for premium processing service? If an employer files a Form I-129 petition on your behalf, along with a request for premium processing service, USCIS will generally process the pending I-539 and the I-129 together during the premium processing timeframe and issue concurrent decisions. This means there should be no delay in adjudication of the I-129 because of the pending I-539. No formal request is required for the pending I-539 to be prioritized. If USCIS approves the I-129 petition, including any requested change of status, then you generally will obtain the nonimmigrant status requested on the I-129 petition (not the I-539), and may begin working. You generally would not need to depart the United States to obtain the requested nonimmigrant status in this scenario. Reference: USCIS (look for this question under the change of status section). Documents Required Following are the documents required to apply for a change of status to B1/B2, these might slightly change for different visa statuses but not a lot. Form I-539: The completed and signed Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. Filing Fee: Mostly, the Form I-539 fee is $370. Check the USCIS website for the current fee amount. Cover Letter: A letter explaining the reason for the change to B1/B2 status. Clearly state your intentions for a temporary stay, such as tourism, medical treatment, or personal reasons. Supporting Letter: Any additional supporting letters, if necessary, to provide more details about your situation. Proof of Financial Ability: Documentation showing that you have the financial means to cover your stay in the U.S. This may include bank statements, pay stubs, or a letter from a sponsor. Passport: A copy of your passport, including the biographic page with your photo and other relevant information. Current Visa: A copy of your current visa and I-94 arrival/departure record. Form I-20 or DS-2019 or I-797 Approval Notices: If you are currently on an F or J visa, include a copy of your Form I-20 (for F visa) or DS-2019 (for J visa). If you are on an H1B or L1 visa, include the I-797 approval notice. Photographs: Provide passport-sized photos as per USCIS specifications. Proof of Ties to Home Country: Documents showing strong ties to your home country, such as property ownership, or family relationships, to demonstrate your intent to return after the temporary stay. I-539A (if applicable): If there are dependents included in the application, each dependent should complete a separate Form I-539A. Other Supporting Documents: Include any additional documents relevant to your specific situation, such as marriage certificates, birth certificates, or educational transcripts. Remember that immigration procedures and requirements may change, so it is crucial to consult the most recent guidelines on the official USCIS website or seek legal advice for personalized assistance. Wishing you a smooth and successful application process. FAQs on Change of Status to B1/B2 Where do I mail my I-539 form? USCIS mailing addresses may vary depending on the state you are in. You can find the latest mailing address and any updates on the USCIS website or contact the USCIS National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 for assistance. How much is the fee for change of status filing? The filing fee for Form I-539, which is used for a change of status to a B1/B2 visa, is $370. However, fees are subject to change, and it's crucial to check the most recent information on the official USCIS website or contact USCIS directly to confirm the current filing fee. Can my change of status petition or application be expedited? Yes, you can request USCIS expedite processing for a pending B1/B2 change of status, one of the reasons could be financial loss based on the job offer. Read more. Next: H1B Grace Period Related Posts ✔ How to expedite H4 EAD? ✔ How to get H4 EAD in 15 days ✔ How to file H1B to J2 change of status Related Topics

  • Contacting a Congressman to Submit an Expedited Request for a USCIS Immigration Case

    Many people are unaware that contacting a congressman or senator can help expedite their immigration case with USCIS. You can submit an Expedite Request for EAD applications, I-485 applications, J1 waivers, etc., through a Congressman if: You're experiencing significant delays in response from USCIS and don't have the option for premium processing available. You have a strong, valid, and time-sensitive reason for expediting your case. However, contacting a Congressman or Senator should be your last resort. I previously explained humanitarian reasons and how you can submit an expedited request with USCIS through their virtual chat assistant, Emma, or by calling USCIS. Related: Humanitarian reasons for Expedite Request Table of Contents: Congressman USCIS Expedite Request Reasons for Expedite Request Contacting Congressman/Senator for Expedite Request CONGRESSMAN SENATOR Supporting Documents for Expedite Request to Congressman USCIS Expedite Request Letter Sample Expedite Request Denied What Next FAQs on Congressman USCIS Expedite Request Reasons for Expedite Request Reasons for expedited requests could include financial loss, humanitarian concerns, job opportunities, or any other time-sensitive scenarios. Regardless, you should have sufficient documentation to support your Expedite request. It's important to note that you should not expedite applications for which premium processing services are available. For applications like H4 EAD, J1 waiver, and I-485, where premium processing services are unavailable, you can request expedited processing without any additional fee if you have a compelling reason. Related: I-485 Expedite Request Note that while this process doesn't guarantee approval, the congressional representative will collaborate with federal agencies on your behalf, potentially speeding up your case. This collaboration, however, does not ensure approval, but you can expect faster processing. It's essential to remember that Senators represent the entire state, while Congressmen represent specific districts within each state; these are two separate representatives. It's advisable not to contact both of them simultaneously, as this may create confusion and lead to delays. Typically, individuals contact their Congressmen in their respective districts. Contacting Congressman/Senator for Expedite Request Congressmen and Senators usually have dedicated staff to handle these types of requests. Once you contact them and provide the necessary details, it may take a few days to a week for them to approach USCIS representatives. CONGRESSMAN Locate your specific representative using your address and ZIP code. Check here. You will find details regarding both Democrat and Republican representatives. See the below screenshot. Check their official website (click their names) for contact information and the preferred method of communication. Typically, you will find links like Need help with 'Passport and Immigration', 'Agency Assistance', or 'Federal Agency' on their website. SENATOR Find the contact details for your Senators on their official websites. Check here. Senators often have both Washington, D.C., and local state offices. Contacting the local office will be faster. There will be two senators per state. Understand that Senators may deal with a broader range of issues but may have more resources to handle constituent concerns. Once you know whom to contact, you can reach out to them via email or call them. Typically, individuals reach out to them via email. If you need faster assistance, contact them via phone. Supporting Documents for Expedite Request to Congressman Expedite Request Letter or Email: Clearly outline the reasons for expediting your case, such as financial loss, humanitarian concerns, job opportunities, or any other time-sensitive situations. You can refer to the template in the next section. Documents: Include relevant documents supporting your case, such as medical records, job offer letters, financial statements, financial bills, bank statements, police reports, or any other documentation that validates the urgency of your case. Also, include copies of any letters, emails, or notices you have received from USCIS related to your case. Case Receipt Notice: Don't forget to provide a copy of the receipt notice for your immigration application to help the Congressman's office identify and track your case. Your Contact Information: Make sure your letter includes accurate contact information so that the Congressman's office can reach you easily for further clarification or updates. USCIS Expedite Request Letter Sample Subject: USCIS Expedite Request for [Your Name] - [Case Number] Dear [USCIS Representative's Name], I hope this email finds you well. I am writing to request an expedited review of my immigration case due to [briefly explain the reason for an expedited request, such as urgent medical treatment, impending financial loss, or other time-sensitive circumstances]. My case details are as follows: Applicant Name: [Your Name] Case Number: [Your Case Number] Application Type: [Type of Application, e.g., Adjustment of Status, EAD, Waiver, etc.] Date of Application Submission: [Date of Submission] I have attached supporting documentation that outlines the urgency and necessity of expediting my case. [Describe any attached documents briefly, such as medical records, police reports, job offer letters, etc]. I understand that expediting a case is at the discretion of USCIS, and I assure you that I have provided all necessary evidence to support my request. I kindly request your prompt attention to this matter and would be grateful for any assistance you can provide in expediting the processing of my application. Please let me know if there are any additional steps I need to take or if you require any further information from my end. Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter. Sincerely, [Your Name] [Your Contact Information] [Your Address] Expedite Request Denied What Next If your expedite request is denied, it's not necessarily the end of the road. You have two options: Wait: The denial is specifically for the expedite request and not for your original application. If you feel that your expedite reason wasn't compelling enough or lacked sufficient evidence, you can choose to wait for regular processing. Re-appeal: If you believe you now have sufficient evidence to prove your case, you can consider submitting another expedite request. It's important to note that the final decision on your expedite request rests solely with USCIS, and it may vary depending on the reviewing officer. Therefore, it's essential to carefully assess your situation and provide strong supporting evidence when making an expedite request. It's advisable to hire an attorney if you have a complicated case. I hope you find this blog helpful and that it may potentially speed up your case. If you have any questions, feel free to ask, and I'll do my best to assist you. Please note that I am not a lawyer and do not have any affiliation with legal professionals. I have personally experienced expedited processing a couple of times, and I'm sharing my experiences here. Thank you. FAQs on Congressman USCIS Expedite Request Can non-U.S. citizens contact the congressman to expedite immigration cases? Yes, you can. But usually, it's U.S. citizens, like the immigrant's spouse or family, who talk to their elected representatives called congresspeople. That's because these representatives are chosen by U.S. citizens. Non-U.S. citizens have also succeeded, but sometimes it might be harder to get their attention. Also, getting in touch with a congressperson might not always change things a lot. However, there is no harm in trying. Related: Green Card vs Citizenship What is the typical response time from USCIS for a congressional inquiry regarding immigration matters? The response time from USCIS for a congressional inquiry regarding immigration matters can vary, but generally, you can expect a response within 30 days. How to contact a Congressman or Senator? To contact a Congressman or Senator, find their contact details on their official website or use online tools mentioned earlier in this blog to identify them. Choose the appropriate office (local or D.C.), compose a concise message, and reach out via email, phone, or mail based on your urgency. What's the fee for a USCIS Expedite Request? $0. There are no fees for a USCIS Expedite Request. Next: Humanitarian reasons for an expedited request Related Posts ✔ J1 waiver expedite request ✔ How to request USCIS premium processing? Related Topics

  • Green Card vs Citizenship: Key Differences to Know Before Converting from Permanent Resident to Citizenship

    In the United States, possessing a Green Card vs holding citizenship are two different immigration statuses. The Green Card, also known as a Permanent Resident Card (shown below), permits individuals from other countries to live and work in the U.S. permanently. On the other hand, citizenship is the highest immigration status, granting individuals full rights and privileges. While a Green Card provides a pathway to citizenship (also called naturalization), not everyone with a Green Card becomes a citizen or wants to become a citizen. Table of Contents: Green Card vs Citizenship Citizenship Citizenship for children Right to vote Physical presence Government jobs Deportation risk Citizenship responsibilities Travel flexibility Dual citizenship Green card validity US passport Tax implications Inheritance rules Sponsorship ability Ease of entry and exit FAQs So, it's important to know the key differences between having a Green Card and being a citizen, especially if you're thinking about changing from a Green Card to citizenship. Let's look at the good and not-so-good things about having a Green Card versus being a U.S. citizen. Green Card vs Citizenship The main differences between green card holders (permanent residents) and having citizenship in the United States revolve around rights, privileges, and responsibilities. Here are some key differences: 1. CITIZENSHIP Green card holders are not U.S. citizens, and citizens enjoy additional rights. U.S. citizenship can be acquired in two main ways: by birth (either born in the U.S. or to U.S. citizen parents) or through the process of naturalization (green card to citizenship). 2. CITIZENSHIP FOR CHILDREN Children born to U.S. citizens or green card holders, whether in the U.S. or abroad, automatically receive U.S. citizenship. However, if a child is born abroad to green card-holding parents, citizenship requires additional steps like filing for a CBRA (Consular Report of Birth Abroad). Related: U.S. passport application for minor 3. RIGHT TO VOTE U.S. citizens have the right to vote in federal elections, whereas green card holders cannot participate in federal voting because they are considered non-US citizens. 4. PHYSICAL PRESENCE To obtain a green card, physical presence in the U.S. is not required. You can also apply for a green card from abroad. However, to become a U.S. citizen (through naturalization), one must meet residency requirements, typically residing in the U.S. for five years (or three years if married to a U.S. citizen). 5. GOVERNMENT JOBS Some government jobs and security clearances are reserved for U.S. citizens, making citizens more eligible for certain employment opportunities. 6. DEPORTATION RISK Green card holders may face deportation if they violate certain immigration laws, while citizens cannot be deported for immigration-related reasons. 7. CITIZENSHIP RESPONSIBILITIES Citizens have civic duties, such as serving on juries and registering for selective military service (for males between 18 and 25), which do not apply to green card holders. 8. TRAVEL FLEXIBILITY Citizens, can travel freely and live abroad without risking their citizenship. Green card holders, on the other hand, are generally advised not to stay outside the U.S. for more than six months at a time. However, there is no specific written rule for this. Green card holders can apply for for re-entry permit which allows them to travel abroad for 2 years. 9. DUAL CITIZENSHIP A U.S. citizen can hold dual citizenship with another country. However, other countries might not allow dual citizenship. For example, if you are from India, you must give up Indian citizenship, as India does not permit dual citizenship, even though the U.S. does. 10. GREEN CARD VALIDITY Green card holders can live indefinitely, but their permanent resident cards are typically valid for 10 years, requiring green card renewal. In contrast, citizenship has no expiration; once you become a citizen, you remain a citizen. 11. U.S. PASSPORT U.S. citizens are eligible to apply for and receive a U.S. passport. Green card holders, however, do not have this privilege. One of the main benefits of having a U.S. passport is that you don't need a visa to travel to several other countries, including Canada, Mexico, the UK, European Union countries, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, etc. Related: U.S. passport application for minors 12. TAX IMPLICATIONS U.S. citizens are subject to worldwide income taxation, meaning they must report income earned both within and outside the country. Green card holders may also have tax obligations, but they are generally not taxed on their income abroad if they maintain their permanent resident status. 13. INHERITANCE RULES U.S. citizens have the right to transfer their assets to heirs with fewer tax restrictions compared to green card holders. 14. SPONSORSHIP ABILITY U.S. citizens have broader sponsorship capabilities for family members in the immigration process compared to green card holders. U.S. citizens can sponsor green cards for close relatives, including spouses, children, parents, and siblings (brothers and sisters), through family-based immigration. 15. EASE OF ENTRY AND EXIT U.S. citizens face fewer restrictions when entering or exiting the country, experiencing smoother processes at borders and airports compared to green card holders. U.S. citizens can also seek assistance from U.S. embassies while traveling abroad, whereas green card holders may have limited access to such support. FAQs on Green Card vs Citizenship What is the minimum stay in the U.S. before applying for a green card? There is no strict minimum residency requirement for a green card application, meaning there isn't a specific number of days you must be present in the U.S. to apply for a green card. If you are eligible, you can even apply for a green card from abroad. What is naturalization? Naturalization is the process through which a foreign citizen becomes a citizen of another country. In the context of the United States, naturalization refers to the process by which immigrants become U.S. citizens. It involves meeting certain eligibility requirements, including residency, good moral character, English language proficiency, and knowledge of the U.S. government and history. Once these requirements are met, eligible individuals can apply for naturalization. What are the 5 requirements to become a U.S. citizen? These are the 5 requirements to become a U.S. citizen through naturalization: Residency: Stay in the U.S. continuously to meet time requirements. Green Card Holder: Have a green card for about five years (or three if married to a U.S. citizen). Good Person: Be a good person, following U.S. laws and rules. Speak English: Know and use English well, though there are exceptions for age and residency duration. Civics Test: Pass a test about the U.S. government and history, with possible exemptions based on age and time in the U.S. What's the minimum stay in the U.S. for citizenship after getting a green card? As per USCIS guidelines, individuals must have continuous residence as a Green Card holder in the U.S. for five years before applying for citizenship. However, qualified spouses of U.S. citizens are eligible to apply after three years of continuous residence. Can I apply for U.S. citizenship after 3 years of green card? Yes, you can if you are applying as the spouse of a U.S. citizen. Can a green card holder apply for citizenship before 5 years? No, unless you are the spouse of a U.S. citizen, you must fulfill the 5-year residency requirement on the green card before applying for naturalization. What are the steps to convert from a green card to citizenship? Here are the steps to transition from a green card to citizenship: Determine your eligibility to become a U.S. citizen like residency requirement, etc. Prepare and submit Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. Attend the biometrics appointment if required. Complete the interview with USCIS. Await a decision on your Form N-400 application. Receive a notice to take the Oath of Allegiance. Take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States. Congratulation! You are now a U.S. citizen. How much does it cost to become a U.S. citizen? To file Form N-400 and become a U.S. citizen, the fee is $640. If applicable, add the $85 biometric fee, bringing the total to $725. This is per individual, each dependent will have a separate fee. What happens to a non-U.S. citizen after they request citizenship? USCIS will schedule an interview with you to complete the naturalization process after your N-400 application is processed. Next: Tourist visa for USA from India Related Posts ✔ Do green card holders need visas for Canada? ✔ Indian Passport Renewal in the USA ✔ How to apply for B1/B2 visa for parents? ✔ How to apply for an OCI card in the USA for a minor? Related Topics

  • H1B Layoff: What Are the Options If You Get Laid Off on H1B?

    After being laid off on an H1B visa, it's undoubtedly a challenging situation. However, there are options available to navigate through this difficult period. Here are the potential alternatives or steps you can consider if you find yourself in a similar situation on an H1B visa. I was recently laid off while on an H1B visa and approached Dataneb to publish this article, hoping it could be useful for others facing similar circumstances. Table of Contents: H1B Layoff H1B Layoff Trends Options After H1B Layoff Change of Status Finding Job After H1B Layoff Departing US FAQs on H1B Layoffs H1B Layoff Trends Below is the H-1B layoff trend in the last five years. One of the major layoffs occurred when COVID hit, and the second wave of layoffs was post-COVID. Options After H1B Layoff Experiencing an H-1B layoff can be challenging, but there are several options to consider: Payroll Extension Request: Be honest, explain your situation, and request your employer to run payroll for some time to buy yourself additional time. Typically, if you have a good relationship with your employer, they may consider your request, granting you an additional 1-2 months. As long as your payroll is active, you will not be out of status. Find Another Job and Transfer H-1B: Start looking for a new job. Once you secure a job offer, your new employer will need to file an H1B petition. You can commence work as soon as you receive the receipt number. Fortunately, I managed to secure a job within the 60-day H1B grace period. Further Education: Pursuing higher education in the U.S. on an F-1 visa might be an option. This could provide you with additional time to find new opportunities while gaining new skills. Change of Status: Explore alternative visa options to determine if you qualify for a different type of visa that enables you to legally stay in the US. For instance, you might consider changing your status to a B1/B2 tourist visa. Consult an Immigration Attorney: Immigration laws are complex and subject to change. Consulting with an immigration attorney can help you navigate the process, understand your options, and ensure compliance with regulations. Leave the US: If you are unable to find a new employer or qualify for a different visa, departing the US becomes necessary. You will need to leave within the grace period provided by USCIS, typically set at 60 days. Leaving the country is not the end of the world, you can still look for a sponsor from your home country. Change of Status If you are on an H-1B visa and have been laid off, you may be eligible to change your status to a different visa category. Here are some visa categories that you may be able to switch to: F-1 Student Visa: If you are interested in pursuing further education in the United States, you may be able to switch to an F-1 student visa. Your status will change from H-1B to F-1, and your dependents' status will change from H-4 to F-2. B1/B2 Visitor Visa: If you do not have immediate plans to work in the United States but would like to stay for a short period, you and your family can switch to a B1/B2 visitor visa. Read more. H4 Dependent Visa: If your spouse is on an H1B visa, you can switch to an H4 visa. Furthermore, if your spouse has an approved I-140, you can apply for an H4 Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and work in the US. If the primary H1B visa holder has an upcoming extension, you can file an H1B extension, your H4 Change of Status (COS), and H4 EAD together and request premium processing. Read more. J2 or F2 Visa: If your spouse is on a J-1 or F-1 visa, you can switch to a J-2 or F-2 visa temporarily and concurrently continue searching for a job. Read more. Finding Job After H1B Layoff Finding a new job quickly after an H-1B layoff can be challenging. I recognize that being laid off adds an extra layer of difficulty to the process, but there are a few steps you can take to expedite the job search and increase your chances of success. Update Resume: Do not upload the same resume everywhere. Make sure your resume is tailored to match the job details. It's beneficial to add a few lines to your resume based on the specific requirements of the job. Leverage Your Network: This greatly assisted me in scheduling interviews within a short period. Reach out to your professional and personal contacts to explore potential job opportunities that align with your skills. Additionally, consider joining online networking groups and connecting with recruiters on LinkedIn. Online Job Boards: Utilize online job boards like Glassdoor, Indeed, and LinkedIn to search for job opportunities in your field. Customize your search by location, job title, and other relevant criteria to narrow down your options. One of the significant advantages post-COVID is the abundance of remote job opportunities. Work with a Staffing Agency: Consider working with a staffing agency that specializes in your industry. They can help match you with job opportunities quickly that align with your skills and experience. Be Proactive: Follow up on job applications and reach out to potential employers directly to express your interest in their company and inquire about any job openings. Remember to stay organized, track your job search progress, and be patient, as finding a new employer on an H-1B visa may take time. If you are getting a 3 to 5% response for your job application, you are doing well. Ensure that potential employers are aware of the H-1B visa process and are willing to sponsor you before investing significant time and effort into the application process. Departing US If you are on an H-1B visa and have been laid off, you automatically receive a 60-day grace period. It's important to note that any severance notice period is considered separate from the USCIS grace period. The grace period, granted by USCIS, allows H-1B visa holders time to make arrangements to depart the United States or find a new employer to sponsor their visa. Related: H1B grace period with severance If you are unable to find a new employer or qualify for a different visa within the grace period, you will need to depart the United States before the grace period ends. If you fail to depart the United States within the grace period, you may be subject to deportation and future visa ineligibility. FAQs on H1B Layoffs How long can I stay on H1B without a job? H1B visa holders have a 60-day grace period to stay in the US without employment, assuming their I-94 remains valid during this period. Can an H1B visa holder enter the US if laid off while abroad? It's not advisable to enter the US on an H1B visa if you have been laid off while outside the US. Essentially, when entering on an H1B visa, you cannot tell the CBP officer that you are still working for that employer. Doing so would be illegal. If you are serving a notice period and you have a future termination date, in that case, you can travel using your H1B visa. Otherwise, you should consider entering the US on other visas, such as a tourist visa. What are the consequences of H1B out of status? Consequences of being out of status on an H1B visa may include: Unlawful presence Deportation Ineligibility for extensions or change of status Impact on future visa applications Complications for adjustment of status (permanent residency) Next: Change of Status to B2 Related Posts ✔ How to apply for H4 EAD ✔ How to expedite the USCIS application ✔ Premium processing Related Topics

  • H1B Visa Stamping in USA for Indian Citizens Pilot Program

    The pilot program for H1B visa stamping in the USA will accept applications from January 29, 2024, to April 1, 2024, for visas issued in India and Canada, with an MRV fee of $205. If you meet the eligibility criteria, you can apply for H1B visa stamping within the USA using the DS-160 form. Table of Contents: H1B Visa Stamping in the USA H1B Visa Stamping in USA Slots H1B Visa Stamping in the USA Eligibility Documents Required for H1B Visa Stamping in the USA FAQs on H1B Visa Stamping H1B Visa Stamping in USA Slots There will be a maximum of 20,000 slots available. Specifically, 2,000 slots per week will be open for applicants whose last H1B visa was issued from India, and the same number of slots will be available for applicants with visas issued from Canada. Application slots will be released on the following dates: January 29, 2024 February 5, 2024 February 12, 2024 February 19, 2024 February 26, 2024 H1B Visa Stamping in the USA Eligibility This pilot program is exclusively for renewing H-1B nonimmigrant visas; other visa categories, including H-4 visas for dependent spouses and children, won't be processed under this initiative. The prior H-1B visa being renewed must have been issued by U.S. Mission Canada between January 1, 2020, and April 1, 2023, U.S. Mission India between February 1, 2021, and September 30, 2021. The applicant was most recently admitted to the United States in H-1B status. Currently maintaining H-1B status in the United States. Must possess an approved and unexpired H-1B petition. The period of authorized admission in H-1B status has not expired. Intending to reenter the United States in H-1B status after a temporary period abroad. Applicants should not be subject to a nonimmigrant visa issuance fee (commonly known as a "reciprocity fee"). Eligible for a waiver of the in-person interview requirement. Must have submitted ten fingerprints to the Department in connection with a previous visa application. The prior visa should not have a "clearance received" annotation. Do not have a visa ineligibility that would require a waiver before visa issuance. You can check your eligibility here: USCIS website Documents Required for H1B Visa Stamping in the USA According to USCIS guidelines, these are the documents required for H1B visa stamping in the USA: Completed DS-160 form with barcode: Start here. Passport valid for at least six months beyond the visa application date, with two blank pages. Recommended: Passport with the most recently issued H-1B visa $205.00 non-refundable application fee paid online after completing DS-160 One passport-sized photograph Copy of H1B approval notice (Form I-797) Copy of Form I-94 Visit the USCIS website for more details. FAQs on H1B Visa Stamping in the USA For the domestic visa renewal pilot program, which location should I choose when filling out the DS-160 form? You need to select 'US-DOMESTIC' while filling out the DS-160 form for the H1B visa renewal pilot program. To fill DS-160 form visit the CEAC website. How to pay the MRV fee for H1B stamping in the USA? You can make the payment of $205 on the USTravelDocs website after completing the DS-160 application. How do H1B dependents get stamping done under this program? Under this program, H1B dependents, specifically H4 visa holders, are currently not eligible for visa stamping in the USA. They need to renew overseas at a US embassy. Next: H1B to B2 Related Posts ✔ How to apply for an OCI card ✔ How to get H4 EAD in 15 days ✔ Current green card priority date Related Topics

  • Lost Indian Passport in the USA: Reissue, Processing Time, Fees, and Emergency Certificate

    If your Indian passport is damaged, lost, or stolen in the USA, the first step is to immediately report the incident to the local police station where you live or where you think you lost your passport and obtain a police complaint report. A copy of the police report will be useful when you apply for a fresh passport. The next step is to inform the Indian consulate and then apply for the re-issue of the passport on the VFS website. If you have to travel back to India in an emergency then apply for an Emergency Certificate. Table of Contents: Lost Indian Passport in the USA What happens to the Visa Stamp? How to Apply for Lost Indian Passport in the USA Lost Indian Passport in the USA - Processing Time Police verification for Indian passport Lost Indian Passport in the USA - Fees FAQs on Lost Indian Passport in the USA What happens to the Visa Stamp? If an Indian passport is lost in the USA with F1, J1, H1B, or B1/B2 visa stamps, and you plan to return to the US, you will need to get new stamping done separately once you obtain a fresh passport. Unfortunately, you cannot get it within the US; you have to travel back to India to complete the stamping process. If you are currently in the United States and happen to lose your visa, you can stay in the US for the authorized period mentioned on your I-94 'admit until' date. However, if your authorized stay is over, you will need to fly back regardless. Make sure to have the following documents with you if you plan to travel to India with a new passport and without a visa: Police report for the lost passport New Passport Old passport copy (if available) Old visa copy (if available) Latest I-94 copy DS-2019 for J1 visa, I-797 for H1B or L1 and I-20 for F1 (if applicable) Emergency certificate (if applicable) Any other Indian IDs like DL, Aadhar Card, etc. To leave the United States and enter India, you must have a valid passport. That's why getting a new passport is necessary. How to Apply for Lost Indian Passport in the USA Visit the local police station and report your passport is lost or stolen with details of the incident. Report lost/stolen passports to your embassy, preferably via email for your records. You can find the Indian embassy's physical address and other contact information here. Note that the embassy won't assist you with the passport application; VFS Global will handle the process. Apply for re-issue of passport on VFS website under lost category: Start here to apply for a passport. The process is similar to passport renewal steps. Print the online passport application form. Post the application along with the required documents to VFS Global. Get a fresh passport in 3 to 5 weeks (without visa stamps). If you have to travel early, apply for an Emergency Certificate. This link is for CGI-SF. Lost Indian Passport in the USA - Processing Time The normal processing time for a lost or stolen passport in the USA is 3 to 4 weeks. There is no Tatkal service for a lost/stolen passport. The passport is issued after checking the applicant's Police Verification Records (PVR) in the consulate system. Police verification for Indian passport renewal in USA (VFS) If the Indian embassy can't find your PVR records, then they will send your case to authorities in India, and it might take longer to process. If the Indian embassy is waiting for the Police Verification Report (PVR), it could take around 30 days or more (not counting VFS's processing time). To avoid additional delay, make sure you mention the correct address where you live in India so that your police verification goes smoothly. Be specific and include your police station, district, and PIN code. Lost Indian Passport in the USA - Fees The minimum fee for the re-issue of a passport in case of lost or stolen is $167.90. This could vary depending on the passport booklet pages. FAQs on Lost Indian Passport in the USA Do I need to report a stolen Indian passport? Yes, it is important to report the loss of the passport to the nearest police station and obtain the police complaint report. Additionally, you should also report to the Indian embassy. You can find the contact details of the Indian embassy in the US here. How to report a lost or stolen Indian passport? You need to visit the nearest police station in your area and report the incident. Keep a copy of the lost passport/visa if available. Try searching your email, phone images, and laptop; typically, you will find a copy. Can a US Visa be replaced in the USA? No, you can not apply for a new visa with a new passport within the US. Can I apply for an H1B visa extension using a new passport within the US? Yes, you can apply for an extension using a new passport. If you have to travel outside the US and re-enter then you will need a visa stamp. I lost my passport and I am flying tomorrow, what to do? You need to visit the CGI in person after applying online for an Emergency Certificate (EC). Bring the necessary documents and your EC application to the counter on the appointment day. Note that only a few people get appointments each day, between 9 AM and 12 PM. It works on a first-come, first-served basis. What is an Emergency Certificate? An emergency certificate is issued for one-way travel to India after verifying your Indian nationality. It's issued only in case of an emergency. What's the processing time for the Indian Emergency Certificate? The processing time for an Emergency Certificate can vary from a few days to a week, depending on the urgency. Nevertheless, the Emergency Certificate (EC) is issued only after confirming Indian nationality and passport details. What's the fee for an Emergency Certificate? The fee for an Emergency Certificate is $17. Fees need to be paid through two separate money orders or cashier's cheques of $15 and $2. Personal cheques, credit, and debit cards are not accepted. What is the fastest way to replace a lost passport? There is no Tatkal or expedited service for replacing a lost passport. In case of emergency travel, apply for an emergency certificate, which you can obtain relatively faster depending upon the urgency. How much does it cost to replace a lost passport? The fee is $167.90 for 36 pages booklet. How long to replace a lost passport? It can take up to 3 to 5 weeks. Does your passport number change when you renew it? The fresh passport will be assigned a new passport number, without any visa stamps, and will be valid for 10 years. Can I travel within the country to apply for a passport without having a passport? Typically, for domestic flights, you are not required to have a passport. However, you'll need to provide a valid form of government-issued identification, such as a driver's license or state ID. If you've lost your passport and are in the process of applying for a new one, it's wise to check with the airline and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for their specific identification requirements, as they may have updated policies or special considerations. Can I use my lost passport if I find it? If you report to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate that you lost your visa, and then you find it later, your visa won't work for future trips to the United States. You need to apply for a new visa at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in that case. Next: Indian Passport Renewal Related Posts ✔ B1/B2 visa interview questions ✔ B1/B2 visa length of stay ✔ Tourist visa for USA Related Topics

  • Which is Better for a Green Card: L1 Visa or H1B Visa?

    There isn't a definitive answer as the choice between L1 and H1B visas depends on individual circumstances and employer sponsorship. However, for individuals from India who are eligible for a green card under the EB2 category, opting for an H1B visa is a better choice, in comparison to an L1B visa. This is because H1B visa holders with an approved I-140 petition can extend their H1B visa for 3 years and can continue doing so until they receive their green card, even after reaching the maximum allowed stay of six years. In contrast, L1 visa holders are required to return to their home country after completing their authorized stay. This is because L1 visa holders can not extend their visas based on an approved I-140, unlike H1B. L1 visa holders can apply for an adjustment of status (I-485) when their priority date is current. However, L1 visa holders can participate in the H1B lottery each year during their authorized stay. If fortunate enough to be selected, they can then transition to the H1B visa. If you qualify for the EB1 green card category, it doesn't matter whether you're an L1 or H1B visa holder. You can submit an adjustment of status (I-485) within your maximum stay period and obtain your green card. For individuals from other countries (other than India and China), green card processing is typically faster, so visa type does not have a significant impact. Table of Contents: L1 or H1B Which is Better for a Green Card Introduction H1B vs L1 Visa What is an H1B Visa? What is an L1 Visa? Difference Between H1B and L1 Visa FAQs on H1B vs L1 Visa Most individuals end up in the EB2 category, which has a backlog of several years, especially for countries like India there is a backlog of 10-15 years. So, if you are an L1 visa holder then you have to go back to your home country and wait. It's worth noting that your I-140 remains valid, maintaining its priority date. Related: Priority date for India Both L1 and H1B visa holders require an employer to file their green card. Self-petitioning is not an option for individuals with L1 or H1B visas; the employer must sponsor and initiate the green card process. H1B vs L1 Visa In addition to the green card benefits, H1B has other advantages, such as job flexibility, allowing you to change employers. On an L1 visa, this flexibility is restricted, as L1 visa holders can only undertake intra-company transfers within the same employer. Furthermore, dependents of L1 visa holders (with L2 status) enjoy certain advantages over H1B dependents, as they can work without needing an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). What is an H1B Visa? An H1B visa is a type of non-immigrant visa that allows foreign workers to come to the United States and work in specialty occupations. These jobs usually require a higher level of education, like a bachelor's degree or equivalent experience. H1B visas are often used by professionals in fields such as technology, science, engineering, and medicine. The visa is usually sponsored by an employer in the U.S., and it allows the holder to work for that specific employer for a certain period, typically up to six years. During this period foreign workers can switch their jobs if they find another sponsoring party with better employment opportunities. What is an L1 Visa? An L1 visa is also a type of non-immigrant visa that allows multinational companies to transfer employees from their foreign offices to their offices in the United States. There are two subcategories of L1 visas: L1A for managers and executives, and L1B for employees with specialized knowledge. The visa is typically used for intra-company transfers, enabling employees to work in the U.S. for a specific period, often up to five or seven years. The employee must have been working for the company abroad for a certain duration, and the transfer is usually temporary, allowing the employee to gain experience and contribute to the U.S. branch of the company. Difference Between H1B and L1 Visa Below are some key differences between an H1B visa and an L1 visa: FAQs on L1 or H1B Which is Better Is H1B better than L1? H1B visa offers more flexibility as compared to an L1 visa who wish to work in the US for a longer period. Can an L1 visa holder apply for the H1B lottery? Yes, your employer can apply for the H1B lottery each year until you are selected. It's common for individuals to switch from L1B to H1B status if they initially come to the U.S. on L1B and later secure an H1B visa through the lottery. How long does it take to process the L1 I-485 application? 8 to 10 months depending upon the current processing time of USCIS. How long does it take to process the L1 I-140 application? The processing time for I-140 for L1 visa holders can vary from a few days (within 15 days if applied in premium) to several months (6 to 9 months for normal processing). Which is better L1A or L1B for the green card? L1A is a better option as you might be eligible to file a green card under the EB1 category which is faster as compared to the rest of employment-based green cards. Next: Green card priority date India Related Posts ✔ How to request USCIS premium processing ✔ How to apply for H4 EAD ✔ Change of status to B2 Related Topics

  • Things to Know About American Culture Before Traveling to America for the First Time

    If you are traveling to America on a tourist visa for the first time, it's good to know a bit about American culture. Americans like doing their own thing, being on time and having some space to themselves. When you eat at a restaurant, it's normal to leave a 15-20% tip to say thanks. People there often chat a bit and might ask, "How are you?" to be friendly. The US is diverse, so it's important to respect different ways of thinking. Learn about local traditions, like holding doors for others. Just be open-minded, friendly, and smiling, and stay chill about the differences you might find. Table of Contents: Traveling to America for the First Time Greeting Culture US Customs Jet Lag Tipping Culture Measurements Emergency Services Driving in the US Public Transportation Things to Know About USA Greeting Culture In the US, saying hello is pretty common. So when you reach the US, you will notice that people often greet each other with a simple "Hi" or "Hello". It's normal to use phrases like "How are you?" as a friendly way to start a conversation, even if it's just a quick chat. The expectation is not that you have to answer every time, even a smile in response is perfectly fine. Handshakes are common in more formal situations. Americans are cool with personal space, so keeping a comfortable distance during greetings is a good idea. Just be yourself, keep it friendly, and you'll fit right in! US Customs When traveling from India to the US, there are some things you should avoid bringing to avoid customs issues. It's a good idea not to carry fresh fruits, vegetables, or any kind of meat. Also, steer clear of plants, seeds, and some dairy products. Items like gold and silver beyond a certain limit might need to be declared. Be cautious with medicines as well; it's advisable to carry prescriptions for them. And, of course, any illegal substances are a big no-no. You can find the complete list of prohibited and restricted items on the CBP website. Jet Lag Traveling from India to the US might bring a thing called jet lag. Jet lag happens because your body needs time to adjust to the new time zone. The US has six time zones and it depends on which part of the US, you are traveling to. There is roughly a 12-hour difference between India and the US time zone. Jet lag can mess up your sleep and eating times. To help, adjust to the local time when you arrive, get sunlight, drink water, and try to sleep at US times. It takes a bit, but your body will catch up, and soon you'll be ready to enjoy your time in the US. Tipping Culture When you're in the US, tipping is a common thing. In restaurants, it's good to leave a tip, usually around 15-20% of the bill. This is like a way of saying thanks to the waitstaff. Sometimes, taxicab drivers, hotel staff, hairdressers, and other service people also get tips. It's just a nice thing to do to show appreciation for good service. Here is the rule of thumb for tipping: 0-15% Tip - Poor service 15-20% Tip - Good service 20-25% Tip - Excellent service Measurements In the US, they measure things a bit differently than you do in India. For example, when they talk about temperature, it's in Fahrenheit, not Celsius. So, if someone says it's 68°F (which is 20°C), it means it's not too hot or too cold, just a pleasant temperature. To convert Fahrenheit to Celsius, formula is: °C = (°F − 32) × 5/9, for example 0°C is 32°F 25°C is 77°F 37.7°C is 100°F ​ For speed, they use miles per hour (mph) instead of kilometers per hour (km/h). If you see speed limit signs, they'll be in mph. To convert miles per hour (mph) to kilometers per hour (kph), you can use this formula: kph = mph × 1.61 And when it comes to weight, like in grocery stores or talking about body weight, they use pounds (lbs) instead of kilograms (kg). If someone says they weigh 150 lbs, that's their weight in pounds. To convert pounds (lbs) to kilograms (kg), you can use the conversion factor: kg = lbs × 0.45 For measuring length, the most commonly used unit is feet in the US. Emergency Services In case of emergencies, the primary contact number is 911 for immediate assistance. You need to dial 911 from your phone (anywhere in the US). It's beneficial to be aware of the locations of nearby hospitals and clinics, ensuring that you're well-informed about where to seek help in unexpected situations. If you have specific medical conditions, it's advisable to purchase medical insurance before traveling, as healthcare services in the US can be costly. However, the decision to buy health insurance is not mandatory and depends on individual preferences. Driving in the US In the US, driving happens on the right side of the road, and cars are left-hand drive. This means the steering wheel is on the left side of the car, and you'll be driving on the right side of the road. It might feel a bit different if you're used to driving on the left, but you'll get used to it. Also, driving in the lane is important. Do not blow a horn unless someone has made a mistake. Give preference to pedestrians and bike riders. In addition to driving on the right side of the road with a left-hand drive, there are a couple of other things to keep in mind while driving in the US. First, most gas stations are self-service, so you'll need to pump your gas. In the US, gas means petrol. Second, be aware of toll roads, especially on highways. Some roads require toll payments, and you might encounter toll booths or electronic toll collection systems. You can also avoid them by adding filters to your Google Maps. But in case you use toll roads, try to make the payment within 5 days otherwise you will be fined. And the fine is a lot, for example, for a 2$ toll, the fine will be 50$. For the first-time mistake usually, tolls waive the fine if you request them (call them) but why wait for that situation? Keep some cash or a card handy for toll payments, or pay them online by searching your vehicle number plate. Here are some commonly used terms which you will encounter: Freeways: High-speed, divided highways for long-distance travel. Ramp/Exits: An inclined entrance or exit, used to get on and off freeways. Avenue/Boulevard/Street: Different terms for roadways, with avenues often running north-south and boulevards east-west, while streets are general terms. Ct (Court): A short road typically ending in a cul-de-sac or loop. Bike Lane: Designated lanes for cyclists on the road, promoting bicycle safety and commuting. Gas station: Means petrol pump. Public Transportation If you prefer not to drive, public transportation options like buses, trains, and subways are also available, but sometimes they will be very limited. You will notice most of the people in the US rely on private transport like cars. However, if you have to travel by public transport, tickets can be purchased at stations or online, and it's essential to familiarize yourself with popular routes and bus schedules (you can find them on Google Maps). Different cities may have unique payment methods, so understanding the local public transport system will make your travel more convenient and efficient. Things to Know About USA No First Floor Concept: In the US, buildings often skip the "first floor". What might be called the first floor in India is labeled as the ground floor in the US. So, when you see a building with floors, remember, the first floor there is what you'd call the second floor in India. It's a little different! Ice in Drinks Everywhere: Americans often enjoy their drinks with a generous amount of ice, something you might find surprising if you're used to drinks without much or any ice in India. J-walking is a Thing: Jaywalking means crossing the street in the middle instead of using a crosswalk. If you decide to jaywalk, you could be breaking a rule. In India, it is quite common to do so. Drive-Through Everything: Americans love the convenience of drive-throughs. You can get fast food and coffee, and even do your banking without leaving your car. Flags Everywhere: The American flag is all around - on houses, cars, and clothes. You'll notice it more frequently compared to how flags are commonly seen in India. Saying Sorry a Lot: Americans apologize a bunch, even for little things. It's just part of being polite, and you might hear 'sorry' even when it's not necessary. Barbecues Any Day: Americans don't save barbecues for weekends. They'll grill up burgers and hot dogs even on a regular weekday. It's a year-round thing. Next: US Tourist Visa Related Posts ✔ B1/B2 visa interview questions ✔ B2 visa extension in the US ✔ Tourist visa rejection reasons Related Topics

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