Austin Immigration Lawyer can help with Visas/Status
K-1 Fiance of U.S. Citizen
B-2 Temporary Visitor
H-1B Specialty (Professional) Occupation
L-1 International Company Transferee
B-1 Temporary Business Visitor
R-1 Religious Worker
Austin Immigration Lawyer at Ghoshal Law PLLC can help you
Improper filing can result in unforeseen difficulties. Ghoshal Law can help prepare and file the petition package, forms for consular processing and handle all USCIS and DOS communications and requests for additional information. If you are outside U.S. and are seeking a change of status or extension, we can provide professional advice and assistance to pursue a positive outcome in a visa application at the U.S. Consulate abroad.
We will guide you by providing information on the supporting documents to be obtained. Our office will ensure that the supporting documents are organized as per the USCIS’s preferred format, that the petition is properly filed with the appropriate USCIS service center, and will keep you informed about the progress of your petition. Contact Ghoshal Law today for a consultation.
K-1 Fiance Visa
An U.S. citizen can apply for a fiance(e) visa (K-1 visa) for his/her foreign national fiance(e). After the recent and historic Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, the immigration laws for married same-sex spouses are the same as for different-sex spouses and a U.S. citizen can petition for a same-sex foreign national fiancé(e)
The foreign national fiance(e) and the U.S. citizen fiance must have physically met within a two year window prior to filing the petition. Unmarried children under 21 of the foreign national fiancé can either accompany or follow to join by applying for a K-2 visa. Once the U.S. consulate issues the K-1 visa, the foreign national fiancé has six months to enter U.S. and 90 days to get married after entering.
After marriage, the foreign national spouse is eligible to file an adjustment of status application to become a conditional permanent resident for two years and must apply to remove the conditions on residence before the expiry date. Upon approval he/she will be issued a regular green card.
Visitor visa B-2
A B-2 visa is appropriate for those desiring to visit for tourism, social visits and certain medical treatments. The B-2 visa is also used for domestic partners (same or opposite sex) not in a marital relationship, to accompany their nonimmigrant visa holder partners (e.g. H-1B or L-1). If applicants are seeking a B-2 visa for medical treatment, they must be able to show documentation of the need for treatment in the United States and the financial ability to pay for the treatment.
The duration for which a person can stay in the U.S. under B status is normally for a period of few weeks up to six months, as specified on Form I-94 issued at the port of entry. Officers at the port of entry can limit the admission period based on the purpose of the visit, applicant’s U.S. travel history and other considerations. Extension for an additional six months is possible with a good reason.
An individual may apply for extension of their visitor visa status for up to six additional months, while in U.S. by mail with the USCIS. Extension of visitor status should be filed at the appropriate time to avoid a risk of denial. Too soon may lead to suspicion of fraudulent entry. It must be done well before the current authorized stay expires. The USCIS determines if the applicant is eligible for an extension, by looking at several factors.
Visa Waiver Program
Nationals of certain countries may be eligible to visit U.S. for 90 days or less, without a visa under the visa waiver program (VWP). If entry is made under VWP, it is not possible to extend visitor visa status in the U.S. with the USCIS. There are currently 38 countries participating in the VWP, most of which are located in Western Europe.
F-1 visa for Students
All international students need a F-1 visa to come to study in the United States. A F-1 visa holder will usually be admitted for the duration of his/her student status, reflected on his/her I-94 issued at the port of entry with the designation D/S.
The spouse and unmarried children up to 21 years of age receive F-2 status to accompany F-1 student visa holders. Parents, fiances, and other relatives of an F-1 student must apply for B-2 visa.
A student may stay as long as he/she is a full time student, even if the F-1 visa in his/her passport expires while he/she is in the U.S. For a student in F-1 status who has completed the course of studies noted on the I-20, and any authorized practical training, if applicable, the student is allowed an additional 60 days to prepare for departure from the U.S or to transfer to another school.
The F-1 student status does not entitle the student to work in the U.S without prior authorization. F-1 students must not work during their first academic year, except for on-campus part-time work not exceeding 20 hours /week.
Optional Practical Training (OPT)
A student may also work in the U.S. under the practical training option (OPT). Practical training is generally used after completion of the academic program. When authorized, OPT is temporary employment that is directly related to the eligible F-1 student’s area of study. Students who are authorized for OPT must have an I-20 endorsed for OPT by the DSO at their school and provide a USCIS issued Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
OPT after completion of the academic program provides a student with the opportunity to find an employer willing to sponsor the student for another visa, such as the H-1B.
Extension for STEM Students (STEM OPT)
On March 11, 2016, the Department of Homeland Security published a final rule allowing certain F-1 students who receive science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degrees, and who meet other specified requirements, to apply for a 24-month extension of their post-completion OPT. The 24-month extension will replace the 17-month STEM OPT extension previously available to STEM students. Eligible students may now apply for a 24-month STEM OPT extension.
H-1B is a non-immigrant visa that may be issued to highly skilled foreign born professionals to seek temporary entry in a specialty occupationsuch as an engineer, computer analyst, financial analyst, accountant, scientist or an architect. There are a maximum of 65,000 H-1B visas issued per government fiscal year, which begins on Oct 1. For persons who have completed a U.S. master’s degree, there is an additional cap of 20,000 visas available on top of the 65,000 regular visa cap.
Foreign nationals seeking H-1B may qualify if they have a job offer from a U.S. employer where the minimum entry level requirement for that job is at least a bachelor’s degree and they possess the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s degree, relevant job experience or specialty training. This status/visa requires the employer to pay the prevailing wage rate for the offered position.
If someone has a three year bachelor’s degree, it is not enough. However, the petition can be approved with a combination of college or university course work plus three years of work experience for each year of university education missing.
An U.S. employer (i.e. a U.S. employer is a person, firm, corporation, contractor or other association or organization in the U.S. with an IRS tax ID) can file a petition to hire a non-immigrant professional, in a specialty occupation, for temporary services. A petition may be filed by a job contractor, namely a person or entity that pays its employees for services performed at the work sites of other employers.
A spouse or unmarried child of an H-1B visa holder is entitled to an H-4 visa and the same length of stay as the principal applicant. The spouse and dependent minor children cannot accept employment (please note that certain H-4 visa holders may qualify for work authorization) but can attend school in the U.S.
Work permit for H-4 spouse
The law allowing certain H4 visa holder spouses to be eligible to apply for EAD has been effective since May 26, 2015 onwards. In order for the H4 spouses to be eligible to apply for EAD, H-1B spouse must be on valid H-1 visa status and must fall in one of two categories. There are many advantages of a H 4 visa based EAD holder. They can work full time or part time for any employer in any position or in any field can start their own business of any kind and there is no quota for H4 EAD.
L-1 visa for intracompany transferee
L-1 visa is used by companies to transfer executives, managers and employees with specialized knowledge from their foreign office to their U.S. parent or affiliate or subsidiary. L-1A visa is reserved for managers or executives while L-1B is reserved for people with specialized knowledge.
To be eligible, the L-1 applicant must have worked continuously for the foreign company, as an executive, manager or as a specialized skill worker, for a minimum of 12 months during the three years immediately preceding the filing of the L-1 visa petition.
The spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age of the L-1 visa holder are granted L-2 visas. L-2 dependent visa holders are eligible to apply for employment authorization with the USCIS and be legally employed during their temporary stay in the United States.
L-1 visa is granted for one to three years with extensions available in three-year increments with a total stay not to exceed seven years for executives and managers and five years for persons with specialized knowledge. The L-1 petition requires extensive documentary evidence to establish the existence of the foreign company and the viability of the U.S. company, the relationship between the two entities, the nature of the proposed employment and the employee’s qualification for the offered position.
It is possible to convert the L-1 visa for executive and managers to lawful permanent residence status under the employment-based first preference (EB-1) category.
B-1 business visa
B-1 visa is appropriate for those who want to visit U.S temporarily to engage in business related and professional activities such as attending business meetings, trade shows, conventions, conferences, consultations, negotiating contracts and servicing or repairing imported equipment provided the sales contract so states. Personal and/or domestic attendants of certain non-immigrants and U.S. citizens who hold international jobs may come on a B-1 visa provided they meet specific requirements and obtain separate work authorization documents.
Change status to B1
An individual whose H-1B status is terminated may apply to change status to B1 or B2 status. If filed in a timely manner, a change of status application may enable a person to legally stay in the US and look for employment or engage in activities that are consistent with the maintenance of B1 or B2 status.
Because the law presumes that every visa applicant intends to immigrate, the applicant for a B-1 or B-2 visa has the burden to overcome this presumption. If a consular officer denies the issuance of a visitor visa, the applicant may reapply if there is new evidence to overcome the basis for the refusal. Consular officers are not obliged to re-examine the application in the absence of new evidence.
A visa allows a foreign national to travel to U.S. port of entry but it does not guarantee entry into the United States. The immigration officers at the port of entry retain the power to deny admission to enter the U.S. if the officers feel there is misrepresentation, inadequate documentation or uncertainties about the intent to return after inspecting the applicant’s paperwork and questioning about the purpose of his/her stay, means of support and plans to depart U.S. on time.
B visa status does not allow for the visa holder to take ANY compensation directly or indirectly from a U.S. company. If a U.S. company employs a B visa holder, the company may be committing an I-9 violation and the visa holder may be deportable.
R-1 visa for religious workers
An individual may qualify to enter the United States as a religious worker under R-1 visa. R-1 visas are issued for five years. If the recipient of a R-1 visa wants to enter the U.S. again in R-1 status, he must stay outside of the United States for at least one year before applying.
To be eligible for a R-1 visa, a religious worker must be a minister or a person working in a professional capacity in a religious occupation or vocation, or a person working in a religious occupation or vocation who has been a member of that religious denomination for at least two years immediately preceding the date of the visa application. The religious denomination must qualify as a bona fide nonprofit religious organization in the United States.
Spouses and unmarried children under the age 21 are allowed to accompany R-1 religious workers on R-2 status. Persons in R-2 status may study but not work in U.S.