New Year’s Resolutions for Immigration Clients
It is still January — so, we can get away with one more “Resoution” post. . . . The start of a new year is always exciting and re-invigorating. It is a great time to look forward and it is also a great time to reflect on the year just passed. Here are some steps immigration clients can take to prepare themselves for a prosperous new year.
- Don’t delay filing your immigration applications and petitions.If you are currently in the United States and you are out of lawful immigration status, or your visa is about to expire, don’t put off finding another legal status to remain in the U.S. Foreign nationals who remain in the country six months to a year without lawful status may be subject to a three-year bar from re-entering the country. If you remain unlawfully in the United States for over one year – you are subject to a ten-year bar. It’s imperative that you always remain in lawful status to avoid any problems in the future. Not delaying your immigration applications and petitions is also a valuable tip for potential immigrants wishing to file their immigration paperwork through the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate in their home country. Processing times have increased dramatically in recent months, and delaying the filing of your paperwork will only add to the time you must wait before you can enter the country.
- Start gathering supporting documentation for H-1B employees.If you are a U.S. employer looking to sponsor a foreign national employee to work temporarily in the United States, begin gathering supporting documentation you will need to provide to your immigration counsel. H-1B season is rapidly approaching and you should have your immigration attorney retained no later than the middle of February. The 2015 H-1B cap opens up on April 1st and your attorney needs sufficient time to properly prepare the petition. Have the potential employee gather copies of their diplomas, degrees and other educational documentation. Anything submitted to USCIS not in English must be accompanied by an English translation.
- Clients interested in the EB-5 Program should begin working on their source of funds.If you think you may be interested in investing in the United States through the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program – start thinking about your source of funds. USCIS requires all EB-5 investors to trace their investment back to a lawful source. What does this mean for clients? You need to submit proof that the money used did not come from illegal activity. For example, if you are funding your investment with proceeds from the sale of property, provide your attorney proof of property ownership, sales contract and bank records reflecting the deposit of funds. The more information you can provide – the less likely your petition is to receive a Request for Evidence (RFE).
- Don’t neglect I-9 compliance.All U.S. employers are required to submit to USCIS form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. Form I-9 ensures that employers are hiring employees that are authorized to legally work in the United States. Employers must retain form I-9 and make it available for inspection by authorized government officers. Should a U.S. employer fail to file the form or knowingly hire an undocumented foreign national, they could face harsh punishment from the government.
- Don’t go at it alone.Far too often immigration attorney are visited by clients who have tried to file their own immigration paperwork, only to receive a Request for Evidence or denial. Just as you would consult a health professional for a medical issue – you should also seek the advice and consultation from a licensed attorney for your immigration matters. It will save you both time and money.
About the Immigration Law Counselor
The Immigration Law Counselor is an e-newsletter providing updates and counsel relevant to issues and laws surrounding immigration from the GCPC Immigration Practice Group.
Every Business Needs a General Counsel — Founded in 2004 by Merritt Green, General Counsel, P.C. represents businesses, not-for-profit organizations, and individuals throughout the DC Metropolitan Area and across the nation and globe. The firm has eight (8) practice areas to fully serve our clients: (1) Corporate/Business Law; (2) Government Contracts; (3) State/Federal Litigation/Dispute Resolution; (4) Employment Law; (5) Immigration; (6) Intellectual Property; (7) Franchising; and (8) Not for Profits.
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