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U.S. Immigration Seminar For Physicians
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U.S. Immigration Seminar For Physicians

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This seminar outlines work visa options (both immigrant and non-immigrant) for physicians and scientists. The web seminar is presented by Avi Friedman and my colleague, Naveen Rahman Bhora, of the ...

This seminar outlines work visa options (both immigrant and non-immigrant) for physicians and scientists. The web seminar is presented by Avi Friedman and my colleague, Naveen Rahman Bhora, of the Wolfsdorf Immigration Law Group, one of the top immigration law firms in the country. We both have extensive experience assisting IMG physicians, scientists and other professionals explore the full range of working options to plan ahead to achieve their U.S. immigration goals.

This web seminar covers:

- J-1 Waivers

- Non-immigrant Visa Options for Physicians and Scientists (including H-1B, J-1 and O-1 visas)

- Immigrant Visa ("Greencard") Options

- Consular Processing/Visa Issues and Travel Strategies

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U.S. Immigration Seminar For Physicians U.S. Immigration Seminar For Physicians Presentation Transcript

  • Immigration Seminar for Physicians Prepared by Naveen R. Bhora and Avi Friedman © 2010 WOLFSDORF IMMIGRATION LAW GROUP LOS ANGELES – NEW YORK www.wolfsdorf.com [email_address] [email_address] 1-800-VISA-LAW
  • Overview
      • Nonimmigrant Visa Options
      • J-1 Waivers
      • Immigrant Visa Options for Physicians & Scientists
      • Consular Processing
  • Nonimmigrant Visa Options
    • Most Common Visa Options for Physicians:
    • J-1
    • H-1B
    • O-1
    • TN – only for teaching and research
  • J-1 Visas for Graduate Medical Education (Residency)
    • DS-2019 Issued by ECFMG
    • Requires USMLE Step 1 & 2
    • Provide a Statement of Need from the Ministry of Health
    • No Petition/Approval needed from USCIS
    • Spouse can apply for J-2 Visa & Employment Authorization
  • J-1 Visas for Graduate Medical Education (Residency)
    • 212(e) – Home Residency Requirement
    • 214(b) issues
    • Seven years of progressive training. Extensions granted only for “exceptional need”
    • Timing Issues
      • Change of Status
      • Consular Processing
  • J-1 Visas for Research
    • 212(e) – Home Residency Requirement
      • Skills List
      • Government Funding (Fulbright)
    • DS-2019 Issued by University
  • H-1B Visas INTRODUCTION
    • H-1B visa: most common temporary work visas for professionals
    • H-1B visa initially granted for 3 years but can be extended for a total of 6 years. Extensions beyond the sixth year granted under certain circumstances.
    • H-1B can be granted for Graduate Medical Education (Residency)
    • Employment for 3 years in H-1B status is required to obtain permanent residence after getting most IGA waivers
  • H-1B Visas
    • WHEN TO FILE AN H-1B PETITION
    • H-1B visa petition may be filed up to 6 months before anticipated start date. File early!
    • Change of status from J-1 to H-1B can be filed after DOS issues a waiver recommendation letter
  • H-1B Visas
    • H-1B CAP
    • Only 65,000 H-1B visas available each year
    • Exceptions to the cap:
      • All J-1 Physicians with most IGA waivers
      • H-1B workers sponsored by institutions of higher education
      • Non-profits affiliated with an institution of higher education, including teaching hospitals
      • H-1B workers employed by non-profit research organizations or government research organizations
      • H-1B workers who have been counted toward the cap
  • H-1B Visas
    • REQUIREMENTS
    • H-1B petition must be filed by an employer (cannot self-petition)
    • Physician must be paid prevailing wage
    • M.D. diploma or equivalent is required
    • Medical license in the state of intended employment is required.
    • Steps 1, 2 (CK & CS), and 3 of USMLE (or equivalent) are required
  • H-1B Visas
    • FEES
    • Basic Fee: $320
    • Fraud Prevention Fee: $500 (mandatory)
    • Training Fee: $1,500 for employers with more than 25 employees or $750 for employers with 25 employees or less (must be paid by the employer; some employers are exempt)
    • Premium Processing Fee: $1,000 for 15 business day expedited service (optional)
  • O-1 Visas for Physicians INTRODUCTION
    • O-1 visas are reserved aliens with extraordinary ability in their field of endeavor
    • Extraordinary ability is demonstrated by “sustained national or international acclaim”
    • Alien must show that he/she belongs to a small percentage of physicians who have risen to the top of the field.
    • O-1 visas are approvable for three years initially
    • O-1 extensions are granted in one year increments
    • O-1 visa is one of the few visas available to J-1 physicians who are “subject” but J-1 physicians cannot change status in the U.S. to O-1 status without a waiver
    • Having an O-1 does not waive J-1 two year home residence requirement (it just postpones it)
    O-1 Visas for Physicians
  • O-1 Visas for Physicians REQUIREMENTS
    • You must show at least 3 of the following:
      • Receipt of nationally or internationally recognized awards;
      • Membership in a professional organization which requires outstanding achievement;
      • Published materials about your work in professional journals or major media;
      • Judging the work of others in your field (e.g. peer review);
      • Original scientific contributions of major significance;
      • Authorship of scholarly work;
      • Employment in a leading capacity at an organization with a distinguished reputation; or
      • High salary or other remuneration.
  • J-1 Physicians
    • HOME RESIDENCE REQUIREMENT
      • What is the 2-year home residence requirement?
      • Am I subject to the 2-year home residence requirement?
      • What should I do if I am “subject”?
  • What is the Two-Year Home Residence Requirement?
      • The law mandates that a J-1 Physician must return home for 2 years before obtaining “H” or “L” visas, or permanent residence in the U.S.
      • A J-1 Physician is ineligible to change status in the U.S. to another non-immigrant status without a J-1 waiver (except to “A” or “G” status)
      • A J-1 Physician may be eligible for other visas, including J-2, O-1, TN, F-1, E-1, E-2, E-3, if he/she applies for them abroad.
  • How do I know if I am “subject”?
    • Most international medical graduates training in the U.S. are in J-1 status (“J-1 Physicians”)
    • J-1 visa holders in clinical training are subject to the 2-year home residence requirement
    • J-1 visa holders pursuing research that is sponsored by U.S. or foreign government agencies (Fulbright, etc.) are “subject”
    • J-1 visa holders obtaining training in the U.S. that is included in the Skills List are “subject”
  • What should I do if I am “subject”?
    • Fulfill the requirement abroad (country of citizenship or last permanent residence)
    • Obtain another non-immigrant status to remain in the U.S. (CAUTION: the two-year requirement will still remain valid)
    • Apply for a waiver of the two-year requirement
  • How to fulfill the two-year residence requirement
    • The 2-year period must be spent in J-1 Physician’s country of nationality or country of last permanent residence
    • If J-1 Physician became a citizen of another country while in J-1 status, he/she must still fulfill requirement in the original country of nationality/last permanent residence
    • J-1 Physician may fulfill the requirement in increments
  • Postponing the two-year home residence requirement:
    • J-1 Physician may depart the U.S. and obtain another nonimmigrant status, if otherwise eligible, including J-2, O-1, TN, F-1, E-1, E-2, E-3
    • This will not eliminate the two-year requirement, but will postpone it while the other nonimmigrant status is valid
  • Waiver Programs Based on Recommendations of Interested Government Agencies (IGA Waivers)
    • Conrad State 30 Waivers
    • Veterans Administration (VA) Waivers
    • Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) Waivers
    • Delta Regional Authority (DRA) Waivers
    • Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Waivers
      • Based on service of medically underserved communities
      • Based on outstanding research
  • Other Waiver Programs
    • Hardship Waivers
    • Persecution Waivers
  • J-1 Waiver Program Requirements
    • Any federal agency or state department of health may serve as an Interested Government Agency (IGA)
    • All waiver requests must be sponsored by an employer
    • Employment must be located:
      • In a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA)
      • In a Medically Underserved Area (MUA)
      • Or a VA Hospital
    • Ten (10) out of Conrad State 30 slots may be issued to non-underserved locations
  • J-1 Waiver Program Requirements
    • Employment must meet the following criteria:
      • Provide primary care or psychiatric medical services (“primary care” includes internal medicine, family practice, OB/GYN, and pediatrics)
      • Provide specialty medical services (NOTE: this is only if the state health agency allows)
      • Commitment to work at least 40 hours per week in the designated underserved area
      • Commitment to work at least 3 years (some states require 4 years)
      • Employment contract cannot have non-compete clause
  • J-1 Waiver Program Requirements
    • Physician may hold part-time employment with concurrent H-1B petition
    • Physician must be an employee and cannot be an independent contractor
    • Three years of employment must be fulfilled at the location on petition
    • No transfers unless:
      • Demonstrate extenuating circumstances
      • H-1B transfer petition is filed
      • Appropriate IGA support is helpful (not required)
  • J-1 Waiver Program Requirements
    • Physician may apply for an immigrant visa petition (I-130 or I-140) or a PERM Labor Certification while fulfilling the 3-year contract
    • 3-year contract must be completed before applying for lawful permanent residence (adjustment of status)
  • J-1 Waiver Program Requirements
    • J-1 Physician may only file one IGA waiver at a time (EXCEPTION: can have a hardship waiver pending simultaneously)
    • Employer must demonstrate recruitment efforts seeking qualified U.S. workers for at least 6 month prior to filing waiver application
    • State Department of Health and community support for placement is important
  • J-1 Waiver Program Requirements: Sub-Specialists
    • All IGAs may sponsor sub-specialists
    • VA program allows sponsorship of sub-specialists
    • Most Conrad 30 programs sponsor sub-specialists
      • Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Washington D.C., Guam and others
  • J-1 Waiver Program Requirements IGA PROCESSING TIMES DRA (few weeks) HHS (4 – 10 weeks for underserved; 6-12 months for research) ARC (3 – 5 months) VA (4 – 6 months) STATE 30 (2 – 12 weeks) DOS (4 – 6 weeks) USCIS (4 – 12 weeks)
  • J-1 Waiver Program Requirements
    • WHICH WAIVER PROGRAM SHOULD YOU CHOSE?
  • Conrad State 30 Program
    • All U.S. States have the program
    • State Health Department serves as IGA
    • State Health Department may issue up to 30 waivers per fiscal year
    • Fiscal year usually runs from October 1 to September 30, but can vary
    • Usually processed on first-come-first-served basis
  • Conrad State 30 Program
    • Most states require that job be located in HPSA or MUA
    • Some states allow up to 10 “flexibility slots” for jobs not locates in HPSA/MUA (NOTE: physician must still serve underserved populations)
    • Job may be located in either rural or urban site
  • Conrad State 30 Program
    • All State Health Departments sponsor primary care physicians
    • Most State Health Departments also sponsor specialists (usually a certain number of slots are allocated to specialists)
  • Conrad State 30 Program
    • Application is submitted directly to State Health Department
    • Guidelines for applications vary from state to state – important to know what your state requires
    • Some states have filing fees (Ohio’s non-refundable filing fee is $3,571)
  • Conrad State 30 Program
    • Basic contract requirements: 3 years, 40 hours per week, no non-compete clause
    • NOTE: some states require longer contracts
    • Specific recruitment requirements vary from state to state
    • Must show that there is a shortage of physicians in the area
  • VA Waiver Program
    • Department of Veterans Affairs acts as the IGA and makes a recommendation to DOS
    • There is no HPSA or MUA requirement
    • Must demonstrate shortage by extensive recruitment
    • Waiver application must originate from the VA employer facility
  • VA Waiver Program
    • There is no primary care requirement and specialists are sponsored without limitations
    • Minimum 3-year contract and 40 hours per week service at the VA
    • For dual VA/University appointments, must work 5/8 at the VA
    • WARNING TO O-1 HOLDERS: VA waivers are not available to O-1 holders unless they work at the VA in O-1 status for 2 years.
  • HHS Waiver Program
    • HHS has two J-1 waiver programs:
    • Waiver program for clinical care in HPSA areas; and
    • Waiver program for research work of national priority
  • HHS Clinical Waiver Program
    • Employer must be located in HPSA with score of 7 or higher
    • Either rural or urban HPSA will qualify
    • Must obtain acknowledgement from State Health Department
    • File waiver application with HHS
  • HHS Clinical Waiver Program
    • Only primary care physicians and psychiatrists will qualify
    • Sub-specialists are not eligible
    • Minimum commitment is 3 years at 40 hours per week
    • Recruitment must be demonstrated
    • SPECIAL REQUIREMENT: primary care residency must be completed within 1 year prior to filing
  • HHS Research Waiver Program
    • No requirement of medical underservice
    • This waiver is for academic researchers (clinicians do not qualify)
    • No contract requirement, but job must be a permanent (tenure/tenure-track)
    • Recruitment required
  • HHS Research Waiver Program
    • Researcher must be engaged in research of national priority and of interest to HHS (NIH funding is very important)
    • Researcher must show essentiality to the program (playing leading/essential role)
    • Employer must show that no replacement can be found
  • Hardship Waiver Program
    • J-1 Physician may qualify for a waiver if can demonstrate exceptional hardship to U.S. citizen (USC) or Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) spouse or child
    • Hardship to the J-1 Physician is not enough
    • Must show that USC/LPR spouse or child will be subjected to exceptional hardships if:
      • USC/LPR spouse or child remain in the U.S. without the J-1; and
      • USC/LPR spouse and child accompany the alien to the home country
  • Hardship Waiver Program
    • Can file waiver at any time during residency
    • If approved, this waiver satisfies the 2-year home requirement, can file for permanent residence immediately
    • There is no waiting period for filing permanent residence
    • If denied, can still apply for IGA J-1 waiver
  • Persecution Waivers
    • J-1 Physician may qualify for a persecution waiver if can demonstrate a fear of persecution in the home country
    • Must present documentary evidence of persecution
  • PERMANENT RESIDENCE
    • PERM LABOR CERTIFICATION
    • VS.
    • NATIONAL INTEREST WAIVER
  • Obtaining a Green Card PERM LABOR CERT vs. NIW
    • PERM
    • Employer must sponsor
    • Must meet prevailing wage
    • Can apply for LPR after 3-year commitment is satisfied
    • NIW
    • No sponsor required
    • No prevailing wage
    • 5-year commitment
    • May apply for LPR immediately
  • Obtaining a Green Card PERM LABOR CERTIFICATION
    • Employment offer is required
    • Employer must prove no qualified U.S. worker qualified and willing to accept the position
      • Can use same ads from the J-1 Waiver for the Labor Cert if still current
    • Employer must offer prevailing wage as determined by Department of Labor
  • Obtaining a Green Card PERM LABOR CERTIFICATION
    • PERM processing is approximately 8-10 months
    • PERM applications are filed on-line with no supporting documentation
    • After filing, an application may be audited
    • If audited, must provide all supporting documentation to DOL
  • Obtaining a Green Card PERM LABOR CERTIFICATION
    • Recruitment Requirements for Physicians
    • Job Order with State Workforce Agency for 30 days
    • Two (2) Sunday ads in local paper of general circulation (one of the ads can be replaced by a journal ad)
    • Internal posting at place of employment for 10 days
    • Three (3) additional methods of recruitment
  • Obtaining a Green Card PERM LABOR CERTIFICATION
    • Additional Methods of Recruitment:
    • Job fairs
    • Employer’s website
    • Job search website other than the employer’s
    • On-campus recruiting
    • Trade or professional organizations
    • Private employment firms
    • Employee referral program with incentives
    • Campus placement offices
    • Local and ethnic newspapers
    • Radio and television advertising
  • Obtaining a Green Card PERM LABOR CERTIFICATION
    • Employer must demonstrate financial ability to pay prevailing wage at time PERM Labor Cert is filed and until permanent residence is granted
    • Prevailing wage need not be paid until LPR is granted
    • Labor Cert may be filed at any time, even before employment commences
    • Applicant must meet education, training & experience requirements at the time of filing
  • Obtaining a Green Card PERM LABOR CERTIFICATION
    • Once PERM is approved, must file immigrant visa petition within 180 days
    • PERM can be filed by an employer other than waiver/H-1B employer
    • LPR (adjustment) application based on approved PERM may not be filed until three years of service in H-1B status completed
    • Priority Date (PD) = date of filing PERM application or filing of I-140 Immigrant Visa Petition
    • If retrogressed – cannot file I-485 AOS until PD is current
    • Visa Bulletin (www.travel.state.gov)
  • Obtaining a Green Card NATIONAL INTEREST WAIVER
    • Self-petition: no employer is needed
    • Must submit employment contract(s) totaling a minimum of 5 years, dated within 6 months prior to filing the NIW
    • If self-employed, must submit a business plan
    • Must submit public interest attestation from the State Health Department or a federal agency dated within six months prior to filing the I-140
    • May apply for LPR at any time during commitment if based on NIW petition , but cannot be approved before 5-year NIW commitment is completed
  • Obtaining a Green Card NATIONAL INTEREST WAIVER
    • Eliminates requirement for Labor Cert
      • No proof of recruitment of American workers required
      • Salary not determined by the Department of Labor
    • Based on work being performed in a medically underserved area
    • Area must be underserved when NIW approved (early filing is critical – you may be the doctor who eliminates the shortage )
  • Obtaining a Green Card NATIONAL INTEREST WAIVER
    • Five-year total service commitment – time in any status other than J-1 counts (i.e., O-1)
    • Can file NIW & I-485 simultaneously
      • May be filed at any time before, during or after the 3-year J-1 waiver commitment
      • I-485 cannot be approved until 5-year commitment completed
      • Dependents eligible to receive work permits, and travel documents upon filing I-485
  • Consular Processing
  • Consular Processing • Options for Obtaining Visas: • Home Country Processing • Third Country National (TCN) processing at a Border Post in Canada or Mexico • How to Prepare for the Visa Interview • Options for Nationals of the List of 26 & T-4 List of 26 is CLASSIFIED but may include: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq , Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan , Syria , Tunisia, possibly Turkey, UAE, and Yemen.
  • Applying for Visas in the Home Country
    • Plan Far Ahead for Visa Interviews
    • Delays in Appointment Scheduling & Visa Issuance - there can be unexpected delays at any consular post, try to plan NIV applications with at least a few extra days to spare for your return trip, eg, during a vacation.
    • http:/travel.state.gov/visa/temp/wait/tempvisitors wait.php
    • All Applicants between 14-79 require an in-person interview
    • When is the Best Time to Apply?
      • Applicants should consider applying at least 60 days prior to the expiration of their current visa. This may give the applicant a possibility of re-entering the U.S. should he/she suffer a denial or security check.
  • Border Processing
    • Third Country National (TCN) Visa Processing in Canada & Mexico
    • Mexico – Book Online at www. usvisa - mexico .com
        • Tijuana, Nogales, Ciudad Juarez, Nuevo Laredo, Matamoros, Monterrey, Hermosillo, Merida, Guadalajara, Mexico City
          • - Renewals of E, F, H, J, L, M, I,O, P and R visas.
  • Border Processing - Mexico
        • These consulates do not accept:
          • - Changes of status from B-1, B-2, or VWP (visa waiver) to any other nonimmigrant classification
          • Cases which are not “ clearly approvable ”
          • “ List of 26” Applicants – including those subject to National Security Entry/Exit Registration System (NSEERS).
          • No State Sponsors of Terrorism/T-4 (Syria, Iran, Sudan, Cuba) or applicants from N. Korea.
  • Border Processing - Mexico
    • Applicants usually require a Mexican Visa.
    • Visas issued same or next day (if no SAO).
    • Security Concerns
  • Border Processing - Canada
    • Canada – Book Online at www.nvars.com
      • Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal, Quebec, Ottawa, & Halifax
      • All Canadian posts now require the new DS-160 application form, which is available at https:// ceac .state. gov / genniv / .  
      • Posts are now restrictive toward applicants who initially entered on a B-1/B-2 visa
  • Border Processing - Canada
        • Canadian Posts allow nationals of “List of 26” & “T-4” to apply for a nonimmigrant visas
        • Must have Complied with NSEERS & Departure Registration
        • Applicants subject to an SAO can not re-enter the U.S. while the clearance is pending unless :
          • they have an advance parole or
          • a valid, multiple entry visa
          • if so, they may possibly re-enter the U.S. while the security check is being processed
          • subject to the discretion of the consular officer & CBP officer
          • The visa applicant must have a Canadian visa that allows him or her to stay in Canada during the full period it takes to complete the security check.
  • Border Processing - Canada
    • Visas usually issued 2 days after the visa interview (if no SAO).
    • TCN Appointments now limited to Mondays & Tuesdays at some Canadian posts.
  • Border Processing
    • ISSUES
      • Can NOT apply at a border consulate if you are subject to INA § 222(g)-generally this means persons who have expired date certain I-94 cards, been found to be in violation of status in U.S., or denied COS/EOS.
      • Regardless of whether a TCN applicant is subject to the 3 or 10-year bar, just one day of being out of status results in ineligibility
      • Exercise extreme caution if you have violated status, especially if you have engaged in unauthorized employment, even if there is no unlawful presence (e.g., D/S).
      • Exceptions to INA § 222(g):
        • Doctors with waivers for MUA’s
        • Extraordinary circumstances
      • Obtaining an entry visa to Canada can be difficult if out of status.
  • Border Processing
    • Issues – Automatic Revalidation:
    • The Department of State changed the automatic visa revalidation provision, found at 22 CFR Section 42.112(d)
    • Auto Reval is no longer available to:
      • Persons who apply for a new visa at a border post and are denied or subject to a security clearance
      • Nationals of countries that are state sponsors of terrorism (“Terrible Four/T-4”), regardless of whether such nationals apply for a new visa while outside the United States or not, i.e. Syria, Iran, Sudan, Cuba.
    • Still Applicable for trips to Canada or Mexico (and adjacent islands for F’s & J’s) of 30 days or less with original I-94 and prior expired visa (not T-4 and no visa application)
    • Do the CBP Officers know this rule?
  • Avoiding Delays based on Documents – What to Bring to the Visa Interview?
    • Forms DS-156, 157, 158; DS-160 “Smart Form”
    • Complete Copy of Application submitted to CIS
    • Passport Valid for at least 6 months
    • 2 Color Passport Photos
    • Always check DOS website, individual consular webpage, and with a knowledgeable immigration attorney for more specifics, idiosyncrasies.
  • DS-160
    • DS-160 Smart Form - electronic application form combines the current DS-156, DS-157 and DS-158 forms with an “E-signature”
    • Visa applications completed online at https:// ceac .state. gov / genniv /
    • Allows post to begin processing the application before the visa interview date.
    • Now being piloted in Mexican, Canadian, Australian, Chinese, Indian, and Russian posts as well as posts in, Dublin, Hamilton, Cairo, Tripoli, Algiers, Podgorica, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, Paris, Istanbul, and Hong Kong.
  • DS-160
    • At the posts in Ciudad Juarez, Nuevo Laredo and Monterrey, applicants must also make a separate appointment at an off-site “Applicant Service Center” to submit biometrics prior to the visa interview.
    • DOS plans to expand the DS-160 to all consular posts by April 30, 2010 .
  • Impact of Biometric Identifiers
    • Each visa applicant must submit biometric identifiers (fingerprints and a digital photograph) in order to obtain a visa. These biometric identifiers can only be obtained when the applicant appears in person.
    • cleared against IDENT database (can take up to three days) in place at most border posts. This data is integrated into US-VISIT system.
    • facial recognition biometric process (comparing the applicant’s photo to others in the database).
    • End of Same Day Issuance at Most Consular Posts (may need to spend at least one night in Mexico/Canada)
    • Same or Next Day Issuance Sometimes Available for Emergencies
    • Consular post now capture 10 prints for all applicants
  • Inter-Agency Data Sharing
    • CBP has access to the DS-160, Consular Notes in CCD, and the biometric data
    • Also Accessible through the MRV
    • CBP able to review Consul’s Findings
    • Assists in Quicker POE processing
  • Security Checks
    • Security Advisory Opinions (SAOs)
      • Generally reflect concerns about:
        • Terrorism
        • Counter Intelligence
        • Proliferation of Weapons
  • Security Checks
    • Visas Condor
      • Factors are classified but appeared to be based on:
        • Information disclosed on Form DS-157
        • Country of Birth, Citizenship, or Residence and persons born in "T-4" or "List of 26" countries
      • Average Processing Time of 15 business days
  • Security Checks
    • Visas Mantis
    • 1. “ sensitive technology" clearance - based on whether an applicant is involved in any of the 15 categories found on the Critical Fields List (CFL) of DOS' Technology Alert List (TAL)
    • 2. "dual-use" applications of seemingly benign technologies that may have potential military applications
  • Security Checks
    • Donkey - name “hit” based on non-criminal issues -- problematic as may take 12 weeks or sometimes much longer (1-2 years) to process
    • NCIC Checks - National Crime Information Center “Hit”
    • 1. contains information on terrorists and foreign warrants
    • 2. Includes U.S. criminal convictions or arrests for even relatively minor offenses
    • 3. Usually Cleared Same Day
  • Security Checks
    • E. How to Follow-Up on an overdue SAO
    • 1. If pending for > 90 days, call the Visa Office Public Inquiries line at (202) 663-1225
  • Recent Consular News/Issues
    • DS-160
    • Remote payment of visa fees, usually at bank (Scotiabank-Canada; Banamex-Mexico).
    • Electronic fingerprinting, resulting in faster turnaround for some security checks.
    • CBP Link for Info on Deferred Inspection (Fixing Incorrect I-94’s): http://cbp.gov/xp/cgov/toolbox/contacts/deferred_inspection/
    • PIMS ( Petition Information Management Service) Delays
  • PIMS
    • PIMS – Petition Information Management Service
    • DOS requires posts to access the details of approved nonimmigrant visa petitions.
    • This applies to all nonimmigrant petition-based visa categories (H, L, O, P, and Q).
    • Resulted in up-to four-day delays at many posts from interview to visa issuance.
    • Many posts now undertake the PIMS clearance procedure prior to the visa interview, thereby limiting the time applicants have to wait until the passport is returned.
    • No longer need for original I-797 for appointment scheduling or visa interview (but CBP may require for admissions).
  • Issues
    • What is the procedure to follow if you are denied a nonimmigrant visa?
      • Review Denial Letter from the Visa Officer
      • Write down the Q & A, Officer’s Name/Window Number
      • 221(g) vs. 214(b)
      • Request for Reconsideration
    • If refused, can you re-enter on a B Visa or Visa Waiver or other unexpired visa? Timing the Visa Application.
    • Is it possible to expedite a security check? YES, but very difficult; the Consular Officer can request expedited processing when there is a significant U.S. government or humanitarian concern.
    • Should you simply avoid discretionary travel if your visa is expired?
  • Persons at Risk for Travel
    • Immigration Issues:
      • Prior immigration or status violations
      • Prior visa delays or denials
      • Prior delays with CIS
      • Prior POE problems
      • Country of birth/nationality (Condor)
      • Travel patterns
      • Criminal violations (NCIC)
      • TAL issues (Mantis)
      • Common name (Donkey)
      • Pending COS/EOS or COS in U.S.
      • New DS-2019, old visa
      • SEVIS termination, even if “innocent” (ex. J-1 to H-1B)
  • What is the Role of an Immigration Attorney?
    • Assist with CIS Petition
    • Prepare the visa application forms.
    • Prepare a legal brief for the Consul.
    • Guide the applicant through the visa process.
    • Prepare for the visa interview (strategy, procedure, review of questions).
    • Representation at the visa interview (depending on post).
    • Advise on latest visa policies/procedures.
    • Help with overcoming denials
    • Following up on overdue security checks
  • Need help with immigration matters?
    • Interested in immigration counseling?
    • http://www.wolfsdorf.com/questionnaire.php
    • To sign up for a free monthly immigration newsletter:
    • http://www.wolfsdorf.com
    • Wolfsdorf Immigration Law Group
    • 1416 2 nd Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401
    • 641 Lexington Ave., 15 th FL, New York, NY 10022
    • Call: (800) VISA-LAW
    • Email: visalaw@wolfsdorf.com