1 Immigration Seminar: From F-1 To Green Card 绿 卡 快 车 校 园 行 2014
2 KAMELI & ASSOCIATES, P.C. Established in 1996, the Law Offices of Kameli & Associates, P.C. is a full-service law firm with correspondent and satellite offices throughout the Chicagoland area. The firm also handles civil, criminal, and regulatory matters, and advises clients on a vast array of legal matters. Our clients include domestic and international corporations, foreign governments and entities, entrepreneurs, and private individuals. Kameli and Associates, P.C. offers services for international students who are interested in extending or changing their visa status in the United States. Topics to be covered in this presentation: - What are the benefits of being a United States Green Card holder? Types of visas and work-study programs: - H1B - OPT/CPT - EB-1 - EB-2 - EB-3 - EB-5
3 BENEFITS OF A UNITED STATES GREEN CARD The safety, education and freedom that the United States offers is superior to that of any other country in the world The United States is a safe harbor for your family as well as your personal and business investments. Any member of the family with a green card can enter the United States at any time and stay as long as he or she wishes The United States provides many financial, social and educational entitlements, including Public schools, Health and medical attention, Social security Education. The United States has internationally recognized colleges and universities for both basic education and graduate study. As a resident, the investor can benefit from lower tuition costs. After obtaining permanent residency, the Green Card holder has the ability to bring other family members to the United States after proper application. The Green Card holder can also obtain U.S. citizenship after five years
4 CPT VS. OPT F-1 students are permitted a total of 12 months towards practical training, on being certified by the adviser of the usefulness of the work towards goals of the degree, which can be distributed between Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and OPT. CPT - Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is temporary employment authorization for F-1 Visa non-immigrant foreign students in the United States while enrolled in a college-level degree program. CPT is employment that is an integral part of your curriculum and allows you to participate in an internship, practicum or cooperative education program. CPT must be required or, if not required, you must receive course credit. CPT is employer specific and must be done before you graduate. OPT - Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a period during which undergraduate and graduate students with F-1 status who have completed or have been pursuing their degrees for more than nine months. OPT is optional for any student who meets the eligibility requirements and you do not need to earn credit. OPT is not employer specific and may be done before or after you graduate.
5 CPT AND OPT On-Campus employment ok (20hrs/ week) Curricular Practical Training (CPT) - Allows work/ Study, internship, or any other type of internship offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school. Must be a part of an established curriculum. Optional Practical Training (OPT) - Training in major field of study for 1 year - Full-time employment after graduation and only 20 hours per week while still in school - Must wait for EAD card to start working Make Sure your I-20 is endorsed for employment
6 OPT AND OPT EXTENTION What is the maximum duration of post-completion OPT under this interim final rule? Under the new rule, certain students will be eligible to receive a 17-month extension of post-completion OPT. When must a student apply for an OPT extension? Under the prior regulations, F-1 students had to apply for post-completion OPT prior to graduation. This rule allows F-1 students seeking initial post-completion OPT to apply during their 60-day departure preparation periods in the same way that they are allowed to apply for a change to H-1B status during their departure preparation periods. Students may apply for an OPT extension at any time prior to the expiration date of their current OPT period.
7 CONT. What are the eligibility requirements for the 17-month extension of postcompletion OPT? The student must have a bachelor s, master s, or doctorate degree included in the STEM Designated Degree Program List. The student must currently be in an approved post-completion OPT period based on a designated STEM degree. The student s employer must be enrolled in E-Verify. The student must apply on time (i.e., before the current post-completion OPT expires). The STEM Designated Degree Program List includes the following courses of study: o Computer Science Applications o Actuarial Science o Engineering o Engineering Technologies o Science Technologies o Biological and Biomedical Sciences o Mathematics and Statistics o Military Technologies o Physical Sciences o Medical Scientist
8 E-VERIFY What is the E-Verify program? The E-Verify program is an Internet-based system operated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in partnership with the Social Security Administration (SSA). The E-Verify program currently is the best means available for employers to determine employment eligibility of new hires and the validity of their Social Security Numbers. E-Verify electronically compares information contained on the Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 with records contained in SSA and DHS databases to help employers verify identity and employment eligibility of newly-hired employees. Is there a cost associated with employers participating in the E-Verify program? No. E-Verify is a free, easy-to-use web-based system available to employers and in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
9 H-1B VISA U.S. businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields, such as scientists, engineers, or computer programmers The regulations define a "specialty occupation" as requiring theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge in a field of human endeavor including but not limited to biotechnology, chemistry, architecture, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, medicine and health, education, law, accounting, business specialties, theology, and the arts, and requiring the attainment of a bachelor s degree or its equivalent as a minimum The duration of stay is three years, extendable to six years. An exception to maximum length of stay applies in certain circumstances: If a visa holder has submitted an I-140 immigrant petition or a labor certification prior to their fifth year anniversary of having the H-1B visa, they are entitled to renew their H-1B visa in one-year or three-year increments until a decision has been rendered on their application for permanent residence. If the visa holder has an approved I-140 immigrant petition, but is unable to initiate the final step of the green card process due to their priority date not being current, they may be entitled to a three-year extension of their H-1B visa. This exception originated with the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act of 2000.
10 H-1B VISA CAP The United States limits the amount of H1B Visas every year. The current annual cap on the H-1B category is 65,000. Not all H-1B nonimmigrants are subject to this annual cap. For FY2013, USCIS announced on June 12, 2012 that enough petitions were received to reach the year cap on June 11. This suggests that one should submit their application as soon as possible to avoid being rejected by the cap. FY 2014: On April, 2013 USCIS announced that the H-1B cap was reached on April 5, 2013 and a lottery was conducted. FY 2014 H-1B Cap Cap Type Cap Amount H-1B Regular Cap 65,000 H-1B Master's Exemption 20,000
11 PERMANENT RESIDENCY FOR AN IMMEDIATE RELATIVE OF A U.S. CITIZEN To promote family unity, immigration law allows U.S. citizens to petition for certain qualified relatives to come and live permanently in the United States. Eligible immediate relatives include the U.S. citizen s: - Spouse - The average processing time is about months, depending on the case. - Unmarried child under the age of 21 - Parent (if the U.S. citizen is over the age of 21) Immediate relatives have special immigration priority and do not have to wait in line for a visa number to become available for them to immigrate because there are an unlimited number of visas for their particular categories.
12 EMPLOYMENT-BASED PREFERENCE 1 (EB-1) VISA You may be eligible for an employment-based, first-preference visa if you have an extraordinary ability, are an outstanding professor or researcher, or are a multinational executive or manager. Each occupational category has certain requirements that must be met: Categories Description Evidence Extraordinary Ability Outstanding professors and researchers Multinational manager or executive You must be able to demonstrate extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics through sustained national or international acclaim. Your achievements must be recognized in your field through extensive documentation. No offer of employment is required. You must meet 3 of 10 criteria* below, or provide evidence of a one-time achievement (i.e., Pulitzer, Oscar, Olympic Medal) You must demonstrate international recognition You must include documentation of at least two for your outstanding achievements in a particular listed below** and an offer of employment from academic field. You must have at least 3 years the prospective U.S. employer. experience in teaching or research in that academic area. You must be entering the United States in order to pursue tenure or tenure track teaching or comparable research position at a university or other institution of higher education. You must have been employed outside the United States in the 3 years preceding the petition for at least 1 year by a firm or corporation and you must be seeking to enter the United States to continue service to that firm or organization. Your employment must have been outside the United States in a managerial or executive capacity and with the same employer, an affiliate, or a subsidiary of the employer. Your petitioning employer must be a U.S. employer. Your employer must have been doing business for at least 1 year, as an affiliate, a subsidiary, or as the same corporation or other legal entity that employed you abroad.
13 EMPLOYMENT-BASED PREFERENCE 2 (EB-2) VISA You may be eligible for an employment-based, second preference visa if you are a member of the professions holding an advanced degree or its equivalent, or a foreign national who has exceptional ability. Sub-Categories Description Evidence Advanced Degree The job you apply for must require an Documentation, such as an official academic advanced degree and you must possess such record showing that you have a U.S. a degree or its equivalent (a baccalaureate degree plus 5 years progressive work experience in the field). advanced degree or a foreign equivalent degree, or an official academic record showing that you have a U.S. baccalaureate degree or a foreign equivalent degree and letters from current or former employers showing that you have at least 5 years of progressive post-baccalaureate work experience in the specialty. Exceptional Ability You must be able to show exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. Exceptional ability means a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business. You must meet at least three of the criteria below.* * Criteria - Official academic record showing that you have a degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award from a college, university, school, or other institution of learning relating to your area of exceptional ability - Letters documenting at least 10 years of full-time experience in your occupation - A license to practice your profession or certification for your profession or occupation - Evidence that you have commanded a salary or other remuneration for services that demonstrates your exceptional ability - Membership in a professional association(s) - Recognition for your achievements and significant contributions to your industry or field by your peers, government entities, professional or business organizations - Other comparable evidence of eligibility is also acceptable.
14 EMPLOYMENT-BASED PREFERENCE 3 (EB-3) VISA You may be eligible for this immigrant visa preference category if you are a skilled worker, professional, or other worker. Sub-categories Evidence Certification Skilled Workers Professionals Unskilled Workers (Other Workers) You must be able to demonstrate at least 2 years of job experience or training You must be performing work for which qualified workers are not available in the United States You must be able to demonstrate that you possess a U.S. baccalaureate degree or foreign degree equivalent, and that a baccalaureate degree is the normal requirement for entry into the occupation You must be performing work for which qualified workers are not available in the United States Education and experience may not be substituted for a baccalaureate degree Labor certification and a permanent, fulltime job offer required. Labor certification and a permanent, fulltime job offer required. You must be capable, at the time the Labor certification and a permanent, fulltime job offer required. petition is filed on your behalf, of performing unskilled labor (requiring less than 2 years training or experience), that is not of a temporary or seasonal nature, for which qualified workers are not available in the United States.
15 PRIORITY DATE Priority date is a United States immigration concept - it is the date of filling for labor certification. This date establishes ones place in the queue for an employment or family based permanent residency permit (also known as a Green Card). A common path to the green card in the United States is to obtain it through a family based or employment based petition, a very complex process that can take many years to complete. When a foreign worker, usually on a temporary work visa such as an H-1B with a U.S. employer, begins the green card process, the first step is to complete labor certification to prove that a qualified American worker could not be found to fill the position the foreign worker is taking. Labor certification is not required if applying in the EB1 category. The United States Department of State publishes a monthly visa bulletin which lists cutoff priority dates for different immigration categories and birth countries. Only those intending immigrants with priority dates before the cutoff date are permitted to file their Adjustment of Status (AOS) applications and obtain their green card. The cutoff dates generally move forward over time as old cases are disposed of.
16 EMPLOYMENT BASED GREEN CARD TIMELINE Employment Category EB1 EB2 EB3 EB4 (Not applicable to students) EB5 Current Processing Time (India and China) Immediate Processing 5 Years 6-9 Years Immediate Processing Immediate Processing
17 EMPLOYMENT-BASED VISA CUTOFF DATE (JAN.2014) Employment- Based All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed China - mainland born India Mexico Phillipines 1 st Current Current Current Current Current 2 nd Current 08DEC08 15NOV04 Current Current 3 rd 01APR12 01APR12 01SEP03 01APR12 15FEB07 Other Workers 01APR12 01APR12 01SEP03 01APR12 15FEB07 4 th Current Current Current Current Current Certain Religious Workers Current Current Current Current Current 5 th : Current Current Current Current Current
18 EB-5: WHAT DOES IT MEAN? EB-5 stands for Employment Based Preference 5 visa. This is an Immigrant Investor program created by the United States Immigration Act of The EB-5 visa provides a method for foreign nationals to obtain a U.S. Green Card through capital investment in the United States. Individuals must invest a minimum of $1,000,000 USD (or $500,000 USD in a targeted employment area) creating or preserving at least 10 jobs for U.S. workers.
19 BENEFITS OF THE EB-5 IMMIGRANT INVESTOR PROGRAM Investor, spouse, and all unmarried children under the age of 21 will be eligible for a U.S. Green Card. Investor and immediate family may become United States citizens after 5 years. Freedom to live, work, and retire anywhere in the United States. Investor and his/her spouse and children may attend college or university at U.S. resident rates. Ability for investor to sponsor Green Cards for family members.
20 WHY INVESTORS INVEST NO REQUIREMENT: for Age, Business Experience, Education, or Language Skills. FAST: Visa approved much faster after the submission of the application. It is by far the quickest way to immigrate to North America. IMPROVED STANDARD AND QUALITY OF LIVING: in the United States. FREE CHOICE OF RESIDNECE: Choose to live in any U.S. State without restriction. FREE EDUCATION: within the American Public School System and the ability to attend undergraduate college or university at resident rates.
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