Happy Lunar New Year!
The U.S. Embassy and Consulates General in China will be closed Feb. 4 to 7.
Chodorow Law Offices will be closed for the official holiday, Feb. 4 to 10.
Happy Lunar New Year!
The U.S. Embassy and Consulates General in China will be closed Feb. 4 to 7.
Chodorow Law Offices will be closed for the official holiday, Feb. 4 to 10.
H (temporary worker) and L (intracompany transferee) visa interviews in China will be consolidated in Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shanghai, the Embassy has announced:Continue reading “H and L Visa Appointments Will No Longer Be Held in Shenyang or Chengdu”
The federal government is now in partial shutdown due to a failure by President Trump and Congress to agree on how to fund the government. How does this impact key immigration agencies?Continue reading “How the Government Shutdown Impacts Immigration Agencies”
This article gives an overview of the requirements and procedures for foreign-related marriages in China. Local requirements and procedures may vary, so contact local authorities to confirm. Continue reading “Getting Married in China: a Guide for U.S. Citizens”
Our law firm has an internship opportunity in the Shenyang office. The intern will assist our lawyers and staff with projects related to U.S. visa, permanent residence, and nationality law.Continue reading “Summer 2019 Internship Opportunity: U.S. Immigration Law (Shenyang)”
The paralegal will work under lawyer supervision to manage all steps of U.S. immigration cases before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the State Department, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. This includes nonimmigrant visas (e.g., B, H, L, O), permanent residence (e.g., through family, investment, or employment), and naturalization. Specialized training provided. Continue reading “Job Opening: Bilingual Paralegal (Shenyang)”
President Trump baldly asserted this week that he can issue an executive order ending birthright citizenship for children born in the U.S. to undocumented parents. My initial reaction was frustration. How can the President claim–with no explanation–the power to act in a way that appears contrary to the plain words of the U.S. Constitution? Is this a serious proposal that just sounds like a flippant remark, or is it merely a cynical political ploy to rally his base before the midterm elections?Continue reading “Trump’s Wrong Assertion That He Can End Birthright Citizenship by Executive Order”
|“We cannot just sit idly by and watch our most vulnerable neighbors become collateral damage, stemming from hard-lined ideologies. Together, we stand against these changes. No one should have to choose between food and family.”|
|— Op-ed opposing the Trump Administration’s proposed rule that would put at risk foreign nationals’ eligibility for green cards if previously, while lawfully residing in the U.S., they lawfully accessed public benefits such as food stamps or Medicaid.
|“We the Indians of the Onandaga Tribe of the Six Nations Confederacy of New York State, after giving due consideration to the [Citizenship Act of 1924] … are not in any way capable of taking up the responsibilities of citizenship such as which the aforementioned [Act] is designed to enforce on the Indians…. [T]he [Act] is a destructive and an injurious weapon [that abrogates] the Treaty between the United States and the Six Nation Indians concluded in March 3, 1792.”|
|— Letter from the Chiefs of the Onandaga Nation to President Calvin Coolidge, Dec. 30, 1924, protesting the Citizenship Act of 1924. The Act declared that all Indians born within the United States are U.S. citizens. Indians had mixed reactions. Some considered the Act a way to secure long-denied political rights. Others, such as the Onandaga chiefs, considered the Act to be a tool for forced assimilation and weakening of their tribe’s rights as a nation.
Over the weekend, the Trump administration took steps to radically transform a little-known provision of immigration law that could have an outsized impact on legal immigration. In proposed regulations posted on Saturday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) indicated that it would redefine the legal term “public charge” to block green cards for low-income immigrants who receive non-cash public benefits such as Medicaid or food stamps. Continue reading “The Proposed Changes to Public Charge: What You Need to Know”
On September 22, 2018, the Trump administration announced the upcoming publication of a proposed rule that if implemented as written, would prevent immigrants from securing lawful permanent residence and remaining with their families in the United States, simply because at any time in the past, they received some type of basic health care support, nutrition assistance, or other vital services. Continue reading “Trump’s Proposed “Public Charge” Rule Intensifies War on Legal Immigrants”
A new Congressional report asserts that Chinese Students and Scholars Associations (CSSAs) at U.S. colleges appear to be directly subordinate to and receive political direction from the Chinese Embassy and consulates. This report raises concerns: could the U.S. government deny green cards to CSSA members?
The report, entitled China’s Overseas United Front Work: Background and Implications for the United States (Aug. 24, 2018), was prepared by staff of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, a bipartisan commission made up of 12 congressional members. Continue reading “Congressional Report Raises Concerns: Could Chinese Students and Scholars Association Members Be Denied Green Cards?”
If you were born in Mainland China and are applying for a U.S. green card, you will need to submit a China birth certificate. That’s true regardless of whether you are filing a Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status, with USCIS or are applying for an immigrant visa at a U.S. consulate abroad. Both agencies look at specifications in the State Department’s Reciprocity Schedule for what type of birth certificate is required. The Reciprocity Schedule was updated on Apr. 4, 2016. It now states:
Continue reading “What Type of China Birth Certificate Is Required for U.S. Immigration?”
Here’s a question I’m often asked:
I am married to a U.S. citizen. He has started the process for me to get a green card by filing a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. Once it’s approved by USCIS, I will apply for an immigrant visa at the U.S. Embassy in my home country. Can I visit America while I’m waiting to immigrate? I currently have a valid B1/B2 (visitor for business or pleasure) visa.
One variation on this question is that that the individual doesn’t hold a B1/B2 visa but instead seeks to enter as a visitor under the visa waiver program, also known as Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).
In most cases, visiting the U.S. with a visa or a visa waiver is OK. Still, there is some level of risk of that you will not be admitted. That risk may be very low or significant, depending on your individual circumstances.
To enter the U.S. as a visitor, you must prove to a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at the port of entry that that you (a) are not an intending immigrant, (b) have an unabandoned foreign residence, and (c) are coming to the U.S. temporarily. This set of requirements is often loosely described as “nonimmigrant intent.” Here’s what these requirements mean:
You don’t need to volunteer to the CBP officer that you have a U.S. citizen spouse and a green card in process. But the officer may be able to tell from available databases. If so, the CBP officer’s concern is likely to be that you may be seeking to “jump the line,” i.e., intending to move to the U.S. without waiting the 6-12 months or so it may take to get the immigrant visa. CBP keeps an eye out for people posing as mere visitors who actually intend to move to the U.S. and to file with USCIS a Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status, to get a green card without the need to leave the country. CBP also keeps an eye out for people posing as mere visitors who actually intend to give up their residence abroad and live in the U.S. until their immigrant visa appointment.
There is no magic list of documents you can show the officer to guarantee your entry. There are no magic words you can say either. That’s because the CBP officer will decide whether you qualify to enter based on the totality of the circumstances. Some key factors include:
The main risk of trying to enter as a visitor while your green card is in process is that instead of admitting you, the officer may question you in detail in a room called “secondary inspection.” The officer may then ask you to withdraw your application for entry or may order you deported. The legal basis for that decision would likely be one of the following:
If you are ineligible for admission for one of those reasons, the officer may as a matter of discretion ask you whether you are willing to withdraw your application for admission. Or the officer may deport you. That is called “expedited removal,” a procedure that allows CBP officers to official to summarily remove a noncitizen without a hearing before an immigration judge.
Expedited removal carries a 5-year bar to reentering the U.S. This means that you cannot re-enter the U.S. for a period of 5 years unless you apply for and are granted permission to reapply for admission (Form I-212).
If the basis of the expedited removal is misrepresentation, then a lifetime bar to entry also applies, unless you apply for and are granted a waiver.
As mentioned at the outset, the level of risk is different for each person It may be anywhere from very low to significant, depending on your individual circumstances. You should realistically analyze the risks and benefits to determine whether to make the trip. Our law firm is available to help you decide and to advise you about CBP procedures, what evidence to carry, and how to answer the CBP officers’ questions in a way that is both truthful and helpful to seeking entry.
If you are a U.S. lawful permanent resident (LPR), there are at least three situations where applying for a reentry permit may be beneficial: (a) if you will be abroad for one year or more; (b) if you will be abroad for more than six months for two consecutive years; and (c) if you have been warned by U.S. Customs and Border Inspection (CBP) officer that you are at risk of abandoning your permanent resident status. Continue reading “Guide to Reentry Permits”
Are you considering applying for expeditious naturalization as the spouse of a U.S. citizen employed abroad by a U.S. company, the U.S. government, an international organization, a research institutions, or a religious organizations? Chodorow Law Offices can help:Continue reading “Expeditious Naturalization under Section 319(b) for Spouses of U.S. Citizens Employed Abroad”
There are backlogs in U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) processing of applications and petitions. This leaves businesses and families to wonder what the processing times are. In March 2018, the agency began a pilot program to calculate processing times for some cases in a new way. Continue reading “How USCIS Calculates Processing Times for Petitions and Applications”
I’ve been asked several times today about how the spouse of a U.S. citizen expat can apply for a B1/B2 (visitor for business or pleasure) visa. The question typically goes something like this:
I am a U.S. citizen. I have lived in China for 5 years. My wife has been denied a U.S. tourist visa twice, once before and once after we married. We rent an apartment here, she has her own business, and I am employed as an engineer for Ford. We don’t want to apply for a green card because we plan to continue to live in China for the foreseeable future. We just want to visit the U.S. For the first visa application, I wanted to introduce my then fiancée to my parents. (My father has since passed away). For the second visa application, I wanted to bring my wife to Boston to attend my brother’s wedding. Is there anything you can do to help?
The B-2 (visitor for pleasure) visa is as flexible as a world-class gymnast. The State Department has announced that a B-2 visa may be used by parents to accompany a minor with an F-1 (student) visa to the U.S.
As background, its well known that an F-1 student’s spouse and children (under age 21) can get F-2 visas to accompany the student in the U.S. Children in F-2 status are able to attend public school in the United States. Spouses in F-2 status may not work. Procedurally speaking, F-2 visa applicants will need to obtain a Form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant F-1 Student Status) from the F-1 student’s school but will not need to pay the SEVIS fee.
But what about other family members of the F-1 student besides the spouse and unmarried children? F-2 visas are unavailable to parents, in-laws, or adult sons and daughters of an F-1 student.
The State Department says that the B-2 classification is appropriate for noncitizens who are members of the household of another person with F-1 or other long-term nonimmigrant status. Other examples include cohabitating partners or elderly parents of temporary workers, students, or diplomats posted to the U.S.
Household members may be allowed to stay in the U.S. for the same period as the long-term nonimmigrant relative they are accompanying. For example, if an F-1 student is admitted to a 4-year high school program in the U.S., the parents may be able to stay in the U.S. for the same period. At the port of entry, they may request that the supervisor initially admit them for a period of one year. Extensions in increments of up to six months are available thereafter.
Here’s the rule:
9 FAM 402.2-4(B)(5) Cohabitating Partners, Extended Family Members, and Other Household Members not Eligible for Derivative Status
(Previous Location: 9 FAM 41.31 N14.4; CT:VISA-2195; 10-14-2014)
The B-2 classification is appropriate for aliens who are members of the household of another alien in long-term nonimmigrant status, but who are not eligible for derivative status under that alien’s visa classification. This is also an appropriate classification for aliens who are members of the household of a U.S. citizen who normally lives and works overseas, but is returning to the United States for a temporary time period. Such aliens include, but are not limited to the following: cohabitating partners or elderly parents of temporary workers, students, diplomats posted to the United States, and accompanying parent(s) of minor F-1 child-student. B-2 classification may also be accorded to a spouse or child who qualifies for derivative status (other than derivative A or G status) but for whom it may be inconvenient or impossible to apply for the proper H-4, L-2, F-2, or other derivative visa, provided that the derivative individual intends to maintain a residence outside the United States and otherwise meets the B visa eligibility requirements. If such individuals plan to stay in the United States for more than six months, they should be advised to ask the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for a one-year stay at the time they apply for admission. If needed, they may thereafter apply for extensions of stay, in increments of up to six months, for the duration of the principal alien’s nonimmigrant status in the United States. You should consider annotating to indicate the purpose and length of stay in such cases.
While the B-2 visa is flexible, there are important limitations. Most importantly, like F-1 visa applicants, B-2 visa applicants must prove they meet the “nonimmigrant intent” requirement. This means they must have an unabandoned residence abroad to which they intend to return after a temporary stay in the U.S. Generally speaking, a “residence” refers to one’s main home where they sleep most nights and to which they will return after temporary absences. In deciding whether a B-2 applicant meets this requirement, the officer will consider whether they have such strong family, economic, cultural, and other ties to their home country that the consular officer is persuaded the applicant will return home upon completion of the stated purpose of the visit. For details, see Proving Nonimmigrant Intent for a U.S. Visa.
The U.S. Embassy in Beijing posts this FAQ:
Q.6 My child is studying in the United States. Can I go live with him?
While you can use your own B-1/B-2 visa (or travel under the Visa Waiver Program, if eligible) to visit your child, you may not live with your child unless you have your own immigrant, work, or student visa.
That FAQ is a fair interpretation of the law to the extent that a B-2 visa is only for persons who “reside” (live) abroad and are coming to the U.S. just temporarily. For a parent who wishes to accompany an F-1 student to the U.S. for multiple years, it can be hard to draw a distinction between prohibited intent to abandon their foreign residence (living in the U.S.) and permissible temporary stay in the U.S. Yet that’s what the B-2 applicant needs to prove to the consular officer.
Where the B-2 visa applicant seeks to accompany an F-1 student, you can anticipate that a consular officer will also scrutinize the student’s lawful status and nonimmigrant intent. If the student has violated status or lacks nonimmigrant intent, the B-2 visa application will likely be denied.
Another challenge is that B-2 visitors in the U.S. are not authorized to work. So a parent applying for a B-2 visa will need to prove sufficient savings to cover living expenses and the child’s tuition for the entire contemplated period in the U.S.
An example of a strong B-2 visa application may be where there are compelling reasons for the child to study in the U.S., such as in a special education program or a gifted program that is not available in the home country. In such compelling situations, a U.S. consular officer may understand that a parent may be willing to take a prolonged (but still temporary) leave from a job in his or her home country just so the child can take advantage of the unique educational opportunity.
There may be other ways to achieve the same result. For example, the parent may apply for a U.S. work visa, such as an H-1B, J-1, L-1, or O-1, and the child may be able to apply for either the F-1 student visa or the dependent visa corresponding to the parent’s work visa (H-4, J-2, L-2, or O-3).
Feel free to schedule a consultation with our firm to discuss this in further detail.
Today, the Supreme Court upheld the third, reengineered version of President Trump’s travel ban by a vote of 5 to 4. Anastasia Tonello, President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) issued the following statement: Continue reading “Supreme Court Upholds Travel Ban 3.0”
A State Department official has spoken on background to the Associated Press, saying that more Chinese applying for F-1 visas as graduate students in fields related to science and technology will need “special clearance from multiple U.S. agencies” and that such clearances are “expected to take months for each visa application.” Other nonimmigrant visa applicants seeking to visit or work in the U.S. who have backgrounds in science or technology may be subject to the same security checks. Continue reading “More Chinese Student Visa Applicants Will Be Subject to Security-Related Delays”