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Latest FAQs

Unless the context shows otherwise, all answers here were provided by Rajiv and were compiled and reported by our editorial team from comments and blog on immigration.com.

  • 7 Jan 2014...
    I have a three year Bachelors from India and 16 years of experience in US. Currently I have a pending EB-3 with a PD of 10/2006. I am wondering, if I do MS here (Online or Executive course), will I then qualify for EB-2 or do I need to show progressive experience from the time I get my MS?

    If the Master's degree is accredited, you do not need post-Master's experience for EB-2. There can be some issue about the 3+2 pattern of education, but an accredited Master's should fix it.

  • 2 Jan 2014...
    When is a foreign person considered an employee? If residing overseas, is the foreign person employee considered a broker? Should current authorizations be replaced or amended to be consistent with current guidance? Can multiple employees be covered under one authorization? How is an employee providing marketing services overseas identified in a license application? What if the foreign person’s place of birth is different from the country he/she now resides in and holds citizenship from? What value should be entered on the license application? How should the foreign person employee of a U.S. person be identified in the TAA or MLA? Who should sign the DSP-83 for the transfer of U.S. classified information?

    When is a foreign person considered an employee?
    A foreign person is considered an employee when the foreign person is a full time regular employee, directly paid, insured, hired/fired and/or promoted exclusively by the U.S. person. The employee, however, need not LIVE in the U.S. to be employed by the U.S. person. The U.S. person is liable to ensure all foreign person employees are compliant with U.S. export laws regardless of residence.

    If residing overseas, is the foreign person employee considered a broker?
    If truly employed by the U.S. person, the foreign person is NOT considered a broker when performing the U.S. person’s business (must be within the scope of the employment authorization) since he/she is a company employee.

    Should current authorizations be replaced or amended to be consistent with current guidance?
    Currently approved authorizations are still valid. As expiration dates are reached, industry will be expected to submit the appropriate authorization as delineated in the current guidance.

    Can multiple employees be covered under one authorization?
    Yes. Multiple foreign person employees can be covered under one authorization so long as they are all of the same nationality working on the same program/commodity, i.e., all French nationals working on the same radar program.

    How is an employee providing marketing services overseas identified in a license application?
    If the U.S. person desires for the foreign person employee to market their products to other countries and the product is within the scope of the DSP-5, the U.S. person should obtain a license to market a particular technology to a particular country identifying the foreign person employee as a foreign consignee. Once the marketing license is approved the foreign employee may perform his/her job duties. The case number of the employment DSP-5 should be identified in the marketing license application.

    What if the foreign person’s place of birth is different from the country he/she now resides in and holds citizenship from?
    This would bring into question the issue of dual nationality and whether the individual had ties to his country of birth which would indicate a degree of loyalty and allegiance to that country. The license would be considered on the basis that it could be an export to both countries. Normally, this does not present a problem unless the country of birth is proscribed under 22 CFR 126.1 in which case we have to secure additional information to confirm lack of significant ties to the country of birth.

    Wha value should be entered on the license application?
    DDTC suggests identifying the foreign person employee’s annual salary and/or value of the technical data/defense services transferred/received.

    How should the foreign person employee of a U.S. person be identified in the TAA or MLA?
    The agreement holder must amend the agreement to specifically identify the foreign person employees of all U.S. signatories. The statement should be made in 22 CFR 124.7(4) with other statements regarding transfer territory. If the foreign person employees are not already identified, this statement should be included in the next amendment submitted to DDTC for approval. 

    Who should sign the DSP-83 for the transfer of U.S. classified information?
    The U.S. person and the foreign person employee must execute the DSP-83 when the transfer of U.S. classified information is required. DDTC may require the foreign government to execute the DSP-83 on a case-by-case basis. 

    For more information visit these links: http://www.pmddtc.state.gov/faqs/license_foreignpersons.html#1


  • 2 Jan 2014...
    I am on H-1B & my wife also on H-1B. After three months pregnancy leave my wife is planning not to work and to transfer from H-1B to H-4. She will not have last paychecks copy for three months so will it be an issue during transfer? Will she need to start the job again to get three paychecks copy ?

    Reasonable maternity leave should be considered "in status" period, so pay stubs should not be needed.

  • 30 Dec 2013...
    Is there a direct way for me to get a green card or apply for EB-3 without my employer's support? My employer is unwilling to support me for any working visa and I am already out of the status due to this.

    Three options: Extraordinary Ability Aliens, National Interest Waiver and Investment (EB-5).

  • 30 Dec 2013...
    Does the USCIS make a distinction as to whether a specialist physician works in a Medically Underserved Area vs Health Professional Shortage Area versus Physician Scarcity Area? My job falls in MUA, HPSA but not PSA , is this a problem for a specialist?

    NIW requires "You must serve either in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA), Mental Health Professional Area (MHPSA – for psychiatrists only), a Medically Underserved Area (MUA), or a Veterans Affairs facility, or for specialists in a Physician Scarcity Area (PSA)."

  • 17 Dec 2013...
    How do I get a number and card?

    A Social Security number is important because you need it to get a job, collect Social Security benefits and receive some other government services. Many other businesses, such as banks and credit companies, also ask for your number.If you are a noncitizen living in the United States, you also may need a Social Security number. For more information, see Social Security Numbers For Noncitizens (Publication No. 05-10096<). If you are temporarily in the United States to work, see Foreign Workers and Social Security Numbers (Publication No. 05-10107<).

    How do I get a number and card?

    To apply for a Social Security number and card:

    • Complete an Application For A Social Security Card (Form SS-5); and

    • Show the original documents or copies certified by the issuing agency proving:

    —U.S. citizenship or immigration status [including Department of Homeland Security (DHS) permission to work in the United States];

    —Age; and


    Then, take or mail your completed application and documents to your local Social Security office.

    Citizenship or immigration status: 

    The center accepts only certain documents as proof of U.S. citizenship. These include a U.S. birth certificate, a U.S.passport, Certificate of Naturalization or Certificate of Citizenship. If you are not a U.S. citizen, Social Security will ask to see your current U.S. immigration documents. Acceptable documents include your:

    • Form I-551, Permanent Resident Card (green card, includes machine-readable immigrant visa with your unexpired foreign passport);

    • I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, with your unexpired foreign passport; or

    • I-766, Employment Authorization Card (EAD, work permit).

    International students must present further documentation. For more information, see International Students And Social Security Numbers (Publication No. 05-10181).

    Agee: You need to present your birth certificate. (If one exists, you must submit it.) If a birth certificate does not exist, Social Security may be able to accept your:

    • Religious record made before the age of 5 showing your date of birth;

    • U.S. hospital record of your birth; or

    • Passport.

    Identity: Social Security can accept only certain documents as proof of identity. An acceptable document must be current (not expired) and show your name, identifying information and preferably a recent photograph. Social Security will ask to see a U.S. driver's license, state-issued nondriver identification card or U.S. passport as proof of identity. If you do not have the specific documents asked for, Social Security will ask to see other documents including:

    • Employee ID card;

    • School ID card;

    • Health insurance card (not a Medicare card);

    • U.S. military ID card;

    • Adoption decree;

    • Life insurance policy; or

    • Marriage document (only in name change situations).

    All documents must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. Social Security cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents. Social Security may use one document for two purposes. For example, Social Security may use your U.S. passport as proof of both citizenship and identity. Or, Social Security may use your U.S. birth certificate as proof of age and citizenship. However, you must provide at least two separate documents.

    Social Security will mail your number and card as soon as they have all of your information and have verified your documents with the issuing offices.

    What does it cost?

    There is no charge for a Social Security number and card. If someone contacts you and wants to charge you for getting a number or card, please remember that these Social Security services are free. You can report anyone attempting to charge you by calling our Office of the Inspector General hotline at 1-800-269-0271.

    Are there different types of cards?

    Social Security  issues three types of Social Security cards. All cards show your name and Social Security number.

    • The first type of card shows your name and Social Security number and lets you work without restriction. Social Security issue it to:

    —U.S. citizens; and

    —People lawfully admitted to the 

    United States on a permanent basis.

    • The second type of card shows your name and number and notes, “VALID FOR WORK ONLY WITH DHS AUTHORIZATION.” Social Security issues this type of card to people lawfully admitted to the United States on a temporary basis who have DHS authorization to work.

    • The third type of card shows your name and number and notes, “NOT VALID FOR EMPLOYMENT.” Social Security issues it to people from other countries:

    —Who are lawfully admitted to the United States without work authorization from DHS, but with a valid nonwork reason for needing a Social Security number; or

    —Who need a number because of a federal law requiring a Social Security number to get a benefit or service.

    How do I get my child a Social Security number?

    It is a good idea to get the number when your child is born. You can apply for a Social Security number for your baby when you apply for your baby’s birth certificate. The state agency that issues birth certificates will share your child’s information with us. Social Security will mail the Social Security card to you. Or, you can wait and apply at any Social Security office. If you wait, you must provide evidence of your child’s age, identity and U.S. citizenship status. If you are filing an application on behalf of someone else, you must show us evidence of your relationship to, or responsibility for, the person for whom you are filing. You also must show us proof of your identity. Social Security must verify your child’s birth record, which can add up to 12 weeks to the time it takes to issue a card. To verify a birth record, Social Security will contact the office that issued it.

    Anyone age 12 or older requesting an original Social Security number must appear in person for an interview, even if a parent or guardian will sign the application on the child’s behalf.

    Adoption: Social Security can assign your adopted child a number before the adoption is complete, but you may want to wait. Then, you can apply for the number using your child’s new name. If you want to claim your child for tax purposes while the adoption is still pending, contact the Internal Revenue Service for Form W-7A, Application for Taxpayer Identification Number for Pending U.S Addoptions. For more information, see Social Security Numbers For Children (Publication No. 05-10023).

    What if my name changed?

    If you leegally change your name because of marriage, divorce, court order or any other reason, you need to tell Social Security so that you can get a corrected card. If you are working, also tell your employer. If you do not tell us when your name changes, it may:

    • Delay your tax refund; and

    • Prevent your wages from being posted correctly to your Social Security record, which may lower the amount of your future Social Security benefits.

    If you need to change your name on your Social Security card, you must show us a document that proves your legal name change. Documents Social Security may accept to prove a legal name change include:

    • Marriage document;

    • Divorce decree;

    • Certificate of Naturalization showing a new name; or

    • Court order for a name change.

    If the document you provide as evidence of a legal name change does not give us enough information to identify you in our records or if you changed your name more than two years ago (four years ago if you are younger than age 18), you must show us an identity document in your old name (as shown in our records). Social Security will accept an identity document in your old name that has expired.If you do not have an identity document in your old name, Social Security may accept an unexpired identity document in your new name, as long as Social Security can properly establish your identity in our records.

    Citizenship: Also, if you are a U.S. citizen born outside the United States and our records do not show you are a citizen, you will need to provide proof of your U.S. citizenship. If you are not a U.S. citizen, Social Security will ask to see your current immigration documents.

    Your new card will have the same number as your previous card, but will show your new name.

    How do I make sure my records are accurate?

    Each year your employer sends a copy of your W-2 (Wage and Tax Statement) to Social Security. Social Security compares your name and Social Security number on the W-2 with the information in our files. Social Security add the earnings shown on the W-2 to your Social Security record.It is critical that your name and Social Security number on your Social Security card agree with your employer’s payroll records and W-2 so that Social Security can credit your earnings to your record. It is up to you to make sure that both Social Security’s records and your employer’s 

    records are correct. If your Social Security card is incorrect, contact any Social Security office to make changes. Check your W-2 form to make sure your employer’s record is correct and, if it is not, give your employer the accurate information.

    You also can check your earnings record on your Social Security Statement. The Statement is available online to workers age 18 and older. 

    To review your Statement, go to www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount and create an account.

    What if my immigration status or citizenship chaanged?

    If your immigration status changed or you became a U.S. citizen, you should tell Social Security so Social Security can update your records. To get your immigration status or citizenship corrected, you need to show documents that prove your new status or citizenship. Social Security can accept only certain documents as proof of citizenship for new and replacement cards. These include your U.S. passport, a Certificate of Naturalization or a Certificate of Citizenship. If you are not a U.S. citizen, Social Security will ask to see your current immigration documents.

    What if my card is lost or stolen?

    You can replace your card or your child’s card for free if it is lost or stolen. However, you are limited to three replacement cards in a year and 10 during your lifetime. Legal name changes and other exceptions do not count toward these limits. For example, changes in noncitizen status that require card updates may not count toward these limits. Also, you may not be affected by these limits if you can prove you need the card to prevent a significant hardship.To get a replacement card, you will need to:

    • Complete an Application For A Social Security Card (Form SS-5);

    • Present an unexpired original document with identifying information and preferrably a recent photograph that proves your identity;

    • Show evidence of your U.S. citizenship if you were born outside the United States and did not show proof of citizenship when you got your card; and

    • Show evidence of your current lawful noncitizen status if you are not a U.S. citizen.

    Your replacement card will have the same name and number as your previous card.

    How can I protect my Social Security number?

    You should treat your Social Security number as confidential information and avoid giving it out unnecessarily. You should keep your Social Security card in a safe place with your other important papers. Do not carry it with you unless you need to show it to an employer or service provider.Social Security do several things to protect your number from misuse. For example, Social Security requires and carefully inspect proof of identity from people who apply to replace lost or stolen Social Security cards, or for corrected cards. One reason Social Security do this is to prevent people from fraudulently obtaining Social Security numbers to establish false identities. Social Security maintains the privacy of Social Security records unless:

    • The law requires us to disclose information to another government agency; or

    • Your information is needed to conduct Social Security or other government health or welfare program business.

    You should be very careful about sharing your number and card to protect against misuse of your number. Giving your number is voluntary even when you are asked for the number directly. If requested, you should ask:

    • Why your number is needed;

    • How your number will be used;

    • What happens if you refuse; and

    • What law requires you to give your number.The answers to these questions can help you decide if you want to give your Social Security number. The decision is yours.

    Contacting Social Security

    For more information and to find copies of our publications, visit our website at www.socialsecurity.gov or call toll-free, 1-800-772-1213 (for the deaf or hard of hearing, call our TTY number, 1-800-325-07788). Social Security treat all calls confidentially. Social Security can answer specific questions from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Generally, you’ll have a shorter wait time if you call during the week after Tuesday. Social Security can provide information by automated phone service 24 hours a day.Social Security also want to make sure you receive accurate and courteous service. That is why Social Security have a second SocialSecurity representative monitor some telephone calls.

  • 10 Dec 2013...
    A couple of questions I have in extension to the I-140 withdrawal by employer are below. If I have I-1485 pending for more than a year via company A and I join company B using my EAD/AC21: a. what will be the impact if Company-A decides to withdraw/cancel/dissolve the I-140? b. Is there a possibility for a NOIR to occur on the I140 which had been approved in 2011? If yes what is the impact in either cases? What are the measures I need to take in either case?

    a. No effect on your AC21 right, but you cannot extend future H-1 (if you need them).

    b. Oh yes.

    You can just make sure the employer vigorously responds to an NOIR, if needed.

  • 3 Dec 2013...
    What is Returning Resident Visas (SB-1)?

    About Returning Resident Visas (SB-1)

    A permanent resident (called lawful permanent resident or LPR) or conditional resident (CR) who has remained outside the U.S. for longer than one year, or beyond the validity period of a Re-entry Permit, will require a new immigrant visa to enter the U.S. and resume permanent residence. A provision exists under U.S. visa law for the issuance of a returning resident special immigrant visa to an LPR who remained outside the U.S. due to circumstances beyond his/her control. This webpage is about Returning Resident Visas. If you are an LPR unable to return to the U.S. within the travel validity period of the green card (1 year) or the validity of the Re-entry Permit (2 years), you may be eligible and can apply at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for a Returning Resident (SB-1) immigrant visa.

    If your application for returning resident status is approved, this eliminates the requirement that an immigrant visa petition be filed on your behalf with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). You will need to be interviewed for both your application for returning resident status, and usually later for the immigrant visa. An SB-1 applicant is required to establish eligibility for an immigrant visa and have a medical examination. Therefore, this involves paying both visa processing fees and medical fees.

    Spouse or Child of a Member of the U.S. Armed Forces or Civilian Employee of the U.S. Government Stationed Abroad - If you are the spouse or child of a member of the U.S. Armed Forces or of a civilian employee of the U.S. Government stationed abroad on official orders, you may use your Permanent Resident Card, Form I-551, to enter the U.S. even if it has expired. Therefore, you would not need a Returning Resident (SB-1) immigrant visa, as long as you:

    Have not abandoned your LPR status; and

    Your spouse or parent is returning to the U.S.

    Step 1 - Qualifying for Returning Resident Status

    Under provisions of immigration law, to qualify for returning resident status, you will need to prove to the Consular Officer that you:

    Had the status of a lawful permanent resident at the time of departure from the U.S.;

    Departed from the U.S. with the intention of returning and have not abandoned this intention; and

    Are returning to the U.S. from a temporary visit abroad and, if the stay abroad was protracted, this was caused by reasons beyond your control and for which you were not responsible.

    Applying for a Returning Resident Visa

    If you wish to apply for a Returning Resident (SB-1) immigrant visa, you should contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate in advance of your intended travel (at least three months in advance, if possible) to permit sufficient time for visa processing. As part of the visa application process, an interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate is required. Review country-specific instructions and information by reviewing the U.S. Embassy or Consulate website< where you will apply. 

    Required Documentation

    When applying for a Returning Resident (SB-1) immigrant visa, you should submit the following forms and documents to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you will apply:

    A completed Application to Determine Returning Resident Status, Form DS-117

    Your Permanent Resident Card, Form I-551

    Your Re-entry Permit, if available

    You must also submit supporting documents that show the following:

    Dates of travel outside of the U.S. (Examples: airline tickets, passport stamps, etc.)

    Proof of your ties to the U.S. and your intention to return (Examples: tax returns, and evidence of economic, family, and social ties to the U.S.)

    Proof that your protracted stay outside of the U.S. was for reasons beyond your control (Examples: medical incapacitation, employment with a U.S. company, etc.)

    A Consular Officer will review your application and supporting documents to determine whether you meet the criteria for Returning Resident (SB-1) status. If you do, you must be eligible for the immigrant visa in all other respects in order to be issued a Returning Resident (SB-1) immigrant visa.

    Required Fees

    The following are the required fees:

    Application for Determining Returning Resident Status, Form DS-117. Select Fees for current Department of State fees.

    Additionally, if you are approved for Returning Resident (SB-1) status, the following fees will be required based on the immigrant visa processing explained below:

    Form DS-230 application processing and security surcharge fees

    Medical exam and vaccination fees

    Step 2 – Immigrant Visa Application and Documentation

    The Embassy or Consulate will provide you with specific instructions for the remainder of the processing for your Returning Resident (SB-1) immigrant visa. While exact instructions may vary by Embassy or Consulate, these instructions will include:

    Before your interview:

    Instructions for your medical examination, including a list of required vaccinations

    Instructions for your interview, including the following documentation to bring:

    Form DS-260, Online Immigrant Visa Application

    Original passport;

    Two photographs, meeting Photograph Requirements

    A list of civil documents to bring to your immigrant visa interview, as requested by the Embassy or Consulate

    Review country-specific instructions and further information by reviewing the U.S. Embassy or Consulate website where you will apply.

    If Your Application to Determine Returning Resident Status is Not Approved

    If, after reviewing your Application to Determine Returning Resident Status, Form DS-117, and supporting documents, the Consular Officer determines that you do not meet the criteria for a Returning Resident (SB-1) immigrant visa on the grounds that you have abandoned or relinquished your residence in the U.S., it may or may not be possible to obtain a nonimmigrant visa depending on whether you have established a residence abroad to which you will return. If you cannot submit convincing evidence of compelling ties abroad, you may have to apply for an immigrant visa on the same basis and under the same category by which you immigrated originally.

    About International Travel and Permanent Residents

    As a permanent resident, before you depart the U.S. for temporary travel abroad and then seek to return to the U.S., you should review important information on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) websites. Learn about Travel Documents, including Re-Entry Permits and Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, on the USCIS website. For information for permanent residents returning to the U.S. from travel abroad, review the CBP website.

    Returning Legal Permanent Residents Who Obtained Such Status Based on Asylum Status - Asylum applicants, asylees, and lawful permanent residents who obtained such status based on their asylum status are subject to special rules with regard to traveling outside the U.S. For more information on obtaining proper documentation before you depart the U.S., see Benefits and Responsibilities of Asylees on the USCIS website.

    For Videos on SB-1 please visit these links:



  • 2 Dec 2013...
    I can't locate my I-94 online. What should I do?

    If you tried to retrieve your I-94 from the cbp.gov online system and you receive a response that your I-94 is "Not Found", please read the following questions to help you check for mistakes and try to enter the information again:

    1. Did you enter your first and last name the same way it appears on your passport?  Please do not use dashes or titles.

    2. Did you enter the passport number that appears on the upper right hand side of your passport?

    3. Did you enter your country of citizenship (country that issued the passport, not where you currently live)?

    4. Under Class of Admission, did you enter the visa classification that appears on your U.S. visa OR, if you are traveling under the visa waiver program (VWP) enter WT/WB?

    5. If you entered your first and middle name and it is not found, try one name or the other.  Also try entering your first and middle name in the first name box.

    6. Try entering either your most recent date of entry or your original date of entry into the U.S.

    If you still cannot find your I-94, please contact your nearest* Customs and Border Protection Deferred Inspection Site and a CBP Officer will be able to assist you.

    *When you open the link to the Deferred Inspection Site<, you will find an alphabetical list of locations within the United States. 

    Note:  Asylees and refugees should have received a hand written or stamped I-94 upon entering the U.S. and will not be able to retrieve I-94 information online.

  • 27 Nov 2013...
    I am here on an H-1B and I am looking at quitting my job very soon to leave the country. I am aware there is no grace period for quitting on an H-1B and I don't have a choice but to work till the last day. I do however have a tourist visa that is valid until 2016. Can I quit my job earlier and still stay a week on the account of the tourist visa to pack up and leave; or would the tourist visa have to be activated only be re-entering?

    It has to be "activated." Note that under the circumstances reentry and hence "reactivation" is likely to be difficult.

  • 27 Nov 2013...
    Can we apply for indefinite H-1 extensions( on yearly basis) based on PERM appeal as long as your case is still in appeal?

    As long as PERM appeal is pending (Not, MTR), you can apply for one-year H-1 extensions indefinitely, even beyond 6 years.

  • 26 Nov 2013...
    What is an EAD?

    What is an EAD?  

    Certain aliens who are temporarily in the United States may file a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, to request an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), which authorizes them to work legally in the U.S. during the time the EAD is valid.  

    Why does my new EAD look different than my prior one?  

    USCIS has enhanced the EAD with new security features to reduce fraud. This is part of USCIS’s ongoing efforts to improve the integrity of the 
    immigration process. USCIS will replace EADs already in circulation with the new security enhanced EADs as individuals apply for the renewal or 
    replacement of their current EAD.  

    How do I know if I can get an Employment Authorization Document (EAD)? 

    Whether you can obtain, or even if you need, an EAD depends upon what status you have in the United States or, many times, if you have filed or 
    are filing for certain other benefits. 

     • If you are in, or want to be in, a valid nonimmigrant category, including a NATO category

    • If you are an asylee or refugee

    • If you have, or are filing for, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) 

    • If you are filing a Form I-485, Application for Permanent Resident Status, you can apply for employment authorization at the same time you file your I-485 or at any time while your I-485 is pending. 

    • If you are filing, or have filed for political asylum on Form I-589

    • You may also be able to apply for employment authorization if: 

    o You have been granted deferred action by USCIS or ICE, 

    >o You have been granted voluntary return under the Family Unity program, or 

    o You are under an order of supervision issued after receiving a final order of deportation or removal from an immigration court.  

    How do I apply for an Employment Authorization Document?  

    To apply for an Employment Authorization Document, use USCIS Form I-765. &nbssp;

    When should I file for an extension of my employment authorization?  

    You should not file more than 120 days before the expiration date shown on your current employment authorization document; however, you 
    should file 90 days before the expiration date.   

    How do I get the Form I-765 "Application for Employment Authorization” (EAD)?  

    The Form I-765 can be obtained by downloading it from the USCIS website at www.uscis.gov 
     Note: E- filing may also be available on certain categories on the I-765. 

    Under the “I am applying for” area of the form, there are three different blocks. Which one should I check?  

    • Initial EAD (this is your first application under a specific category), 

    • A Renewal EAD (an extension of previously granted employment authorization), or 

    • A Replacement EAD (to replace a lost, mutilated, or destroyed EAD, or to update information, such as a name change on the EAD),  

    Initial EAD  

    An application for an initial EAD is one in which the applicant is filing for an EAD under a specific category for the first time. For example, if the 
    applicant previously had an EAD under the Form I-765(c)(8) category and is now filing under the (a)(5) category, the application is considered an initial application because it is the first one filed under the new category (a)(5), even though they had been issued a previous card under a different category. Each applicant who is required to have an EAD must have it in their possession before they can begin working.  

    Renewal EAD  

    An application for a renewal EAD is one in which the applicant is filing for an extension of his/her EAD under the same category as he or she 
    previously had. Except for applicants in refugee or asylee status, each person must have a valid card in their possession to be eligible to continue working. Therefore, it is important to stress that renewal EADs should be filed at least 90 days before the expiration of the old EAD in order to avoid lapses in employment. 

     Replacement EAD  

    An application for a replacement EAD is filed if a card has been lost, stolen, or mutilated, or when the previously issued card contains 
    erroneous information, such as a misspelled name or name change. If an application for a replacement EAD is approved, the replacement  EAD will have the same dates and category as the EAD that was lost, stolen, etc.  

    Persons applying for replacement documents can present the receipt for the I-765 as evidence of employment eligibility but must produce a
    valid card within 90 days of showing the receipt.  

    For question 16, how do I know for which category I should apply?  

    • If you are filing for Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, file under category (c)(33) 

    • If you are an asylee, file under category (a)(5) 

    • If you are a refugee, file under category (a)(3) 

    • If you were paroled as a refugee, file under category (a)(4) 

    • If you were paroled in the public interest, file under category (c)(11). 

    • If you are filing for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), file under category (c)(19) 

    • If you have been granted TPS, file under category (a)(12). 

    • If you are filing a Form I-485, Application for Permanent Resident Status, file your I-765 under category (c)(9). 

    • If you are filing, or have filed for political asylum on Form I-589, please refer to Volume, Special Programs and Services before 

    filing. If it appears you can file for employment authorization, file under category (c)(8). 

    • You may also be able to apply for employment authorization if: 

    o You have been granted deferred action by USCIS or ICE, file under category (c)(14) 

    o You have been granted voluntary return under the LIFE Act Family Unity program, file under category (a)(14) 

    o You are under an order of supervision issued after receiving a final order of deportation or removal from an immigration court, file 

    under category (c)(18) 

    o You have been granted withholding of deportation by an Immigration Court, file under category (a)(10)  

    For other categories, please follow the instructions to Form I-765.  

    Note: E- filing may also be available on certain categories on the I-765. 

    Do I have to submit photos with the Form I-765?  

    Yes, you must submit two standard passport-style photos. The photos must have been taken no earlier than 30 days prior to the date you file the
    I-765. Please see the Form I-765 for the required specifications for the photos.  

    Do I need to submit a “signature card,” I-765A, with my I-765 application?  

    No, the signature card is no longer required as part of the filing process. 

    How long does USCIS have to make a decision on my Application for Employment Authorization?  

    The required times in which USCIS must make a decision on an I-765 are:  

    • Ninety (90) days of receipt of applications filed under categories other than asylum-based, or  

    • Thirty (30) days if filing based upon a pending asylum case and filing for an initial EAD,  

    One exception to this rule is if USCIS requires additional evidence. The processing time limit is extended by the amount of time it takes for you to receive the request for evidence and respond to it. Also, the processing time is extended when a request for evidence is issued for any Form filed concurrently with the I-765.  

    If USCIS has to send out a Request for Evidence, the processing “clock” stops. The maximum allowed time to submit evidence is 12-weeks. Once USCIS receives your response, the processing “clock” starts up again.  

    When am I eligible for an Interim EAD? 

    If USCIS does not make a decision on your I-765 within 90 days, (30 days for Asylum applicants), you may request an Interim EAD. The interim EAD can be granted for a period up to 240 days.  

    Note: If the time frame for a decision on the I-765 has expired, please call our toll-free number at 1-800-375-5283.  

    My I-765 was approved, but I have not received my EAD. Can I get temporary evidence of employment authorization?  

    Customers who have an approved (or denied) I-765 are not eligible for an interim EAD.  

    Note: If your I-765 was approved at a Service Center, but you have not received the EAD 30 days or more from the date of approval, you may be eligible for a Non-Delivery of Employment Authorization Document service request referral to the Service Center. Please call our toll-free number at 1-800-375-5283 for further assistance with this issue. 

     Can I get a Social Security card after I get my EAD?  

    In most cases, you can apply for a Social Security card after you receive an employment authorization document. You will need another type of officially issued photo identification, a passport, I-94 bearing a stamp of refugee or asylee status and/ or driver’s license.  

    For more information about how to apply for a Social Security card, please call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213.  

    What if my EAD has incorrect information on it when I receive it?  

    For help with this question, please call our toll-free number: 1-800-375-5283.  

    Who is eligible for an EAD that is valid for two years?  

    The two-year EAD is only available to pending adjustment applicants who are currently unable to adjust status because an immigrant visa numberis not currently available. In order to be eligible for an EAD with a two year validity period, an applicant’s I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, must be approved. 

     When will applicants expect to receive the new two-year EAD?  

    Applicants filing Form I-765 began receiving their two-year EAD after June 30, 2008. 

    Will applicants get a two-year EAD when they file an I-765 with their I-485 adjustment of status application?  

    Generally, no. Initial EAD filings will generally receive an EAD that is valid for one year because they are usually submitted with the Form I-485 which can only be filed when there is an immigrant visa number immediately available to the individual. Applicants are only eligible for a two-year EAD if their immigrant visa availability date retrogresses (i.e., when actual demand for visa numbers exceeds forecasted supply) after the Form I-485 is filed. If an immigrant visa number is available, USCIS will grant the one-year EAD.  

    How will USCIS decide whether to issue an EAD valid for one or two years?  

    USCIS will decide whether to renew an EAD for either a one or two-year validity period based on the most recent Department of State Visa Bulletin. If an applicant’s visa number has retrogressed and is unavailable, USCIS may issue a renewal EAD valid for two years. USCIS will continue to issue the EAD in one-year increments when the Department of State Visa Bulletin shows an employment-based preference category is current as a whole or the applicant’s priority date is current.  

    If I am filing for a replacement EAD, how long is the EAD valid?  

    If an individual requests to replace an EAD that has not expired, USCIS will issue a replacement EAD that is valid through the same date as the previously issued EAD. However, if the previous EAD has expired, USCIS will process the request for a renewal EAD and determine the appropriate validity period based on the Department of State Visa Bulletin and the applicant’s priority date.  

    Why is USCIS changing the validity period for some EADs?  

    USCIS views this change as a way to better serve its customer base, and in particular, persons who are waiting to become lawful permanent residents and are impacted by the lack of immigrant visa numbers. 

     When I file Form I-765, how long will it take to receive a decision?  

    You should receive a decision within 90 days (30 days for Asylum applicants) from the receipt date on your Form I-765. In some cases, an EOIR- granted asylee will receive an EAD card valid for 2 years by mail within 7 to 10 days from the day the biometrics information is received. 

    Note: If you have not received a decision and over 75 days (25 days for Asylum applicants) has passed, please call our toll-free number at 1-800-375-5283 for further assistance with this issue.  

    Will the new EAD affect my current valid EAD card?  

    No, it does not affect your current valid EAD card and you do need to file for a new card before your current card expires.  

    Why USCIS redesigned the Employment card?  

    The new features of the EAD will better equip workers, employers and law enforcement officials to recognize the card as definitive proof of authorization to work in the United States.  

    For more information about  EAD please visit our Blog and Podcasts and Video sections. 

  • 25 Nov 2013...
    What is consular processing?

    The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) offers an individual two primary paths to permanent resident status (a green card). An individual who is the beneficiary of an approved immigrant petition and has an immigrant visa number immediately available may apply at a U.S. Department of State consulate abroad for an immigrant visa in order to come to the United States and be admitted as a permanent resident. This pathway is referred to as “consular processing.” 

    Adjustment of status is an alternate process by which an eligible person, who is already in the United States, can apply for permanent resident status without having to return to his/her home country to complete processing. For more information, see our Adjustment of Status& page .

    Steps for Consular Processing

    1. Determine Your Basis to Immigrate

    The first step in consular processing is to determine if you fit into a specific immigrant category. Most immigrants become eligible for a green card (permanent residence) through a petition filed on your behalf by a family member or employer.  Others become permanent residents through first obtaining refugee or asylum status, or through a number of other special provisions.  To see the many different ways to get a green card, see the links to the left. 

    2. File the Immigrant Petition

    When you know what category you believe best fits your situation, in most cases, you will need to have an immigrant petition filed on your behalf.

    • Family Based

    Family based categories require that a U.S. citizen or permanent resident relative file a Form I-130,, Petition for Alien Relative, for you. For more information, see our Family& page.

    • Employment Based

    Employment based categories most often require the intending U.S. employer to file a Form I-140,& Petition for Alien Worker, for you.  Entrepreneurs who intend to invest significant amounts of capital into a business venture in the United States may file Form I-526,, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur” on their own behalf. For more information, see Working in the U.S.&nbbsp;page.

    • Special Classes of Immigrants

    In some cases, certain immigrants may file a Form I-360, PPetition for Amerasian, Widow(er), and Special Immigrant, or have one filed on their behalf.

    • Humanitarian Programs

    Most humanitarian programs do not require an underlying petition, although individuals may need to meet additional requirements before they can adjust status. For more information, see Humanitarian&nbbsp;page.

    Although immigrant petitions are filed with USCIS, In some cases, an I-130 petition may be filed for an immediate relative (spouse, child, or parent of a U.S. citizen) with a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. Situations where this may be applicable include:</p>

    • If the U.S. citizen has been authorized to be continuously residing within the jurisdiction of the consular office for at least the previous 6 months
    • Members of the military
    • Emergency situations
    • Situations involving the health or safety of the petitioner
    • When in the national interests of the United States

    Please check with the consulate before submitting a petition.  For more information, see the U.S. Department of State&nbbsp;website.  

    3. Wait for a Decision on Your Petition

    USCIS notifies the petitioner of a decision.  If the petition is denied, the notice will include the reasons for denying the petition and any rights to appeal the decision.  If the petition is approved and if you are the beneficiary of the petition and living outside the United States or living in the United States, but choose to apply for your immigrant visa abroad, USCIS will then send the approved petition to the Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC), where it will remain until an immigrant visa number is available. See Visa Availability & Priority Dates p;pages for more information. 

    4. Wait for Notification from the National Visa Center

    The National Visa Center, which is responsible for the collection of visa application fees and supporting documentation, will notify the petitioner and beneficiary when the visa petition is received and again when an immigrant visa number is about to become available. They will also notify the petitioner and beneficiary of when they must submit immigrant visa processing fees (commonly referred to as “fee bills”) and when supporting documentation must be submitted. 

    5. Go to Your Appointment

    Once a visa is available or a beneficiary’s priority date is current (earlier than the cut-off date listed in the monthly Visa Bulletin),the consular office will schedule the applicant for an interview. The consular office will complete processing of the applicant’s case and decide if the beneficiary is eligible for an immigrant visa.

    6. Notify the National Visa Center of Any Changes

    You do not need to contact the National Visa Center about your petition, they will contact you for the information they need.  You should, however, contact the NVC if there is a change in your personal situation or if you change your address. For NVC contact information, see the “NVC Contact Information” link to the right. It is important to notify the NVC if you reach the age of 21 for a child or have a change in your marital status, as this may affect your eligibility or visa availability.

    7. After Your Visa is Granted

    If you are granted an immigrant visa, the consular officer will give you a packet of information.  This packet is known as a “Visa Packet.”  You should not open this packet. 

    Upon your arrival to the United States, you should give your Visa Packet to the Customs and Border Protection officer at the port of entry. You will be inspected by a Customs and Border Protection officer and if found admissible, will be admitted as a permanent resident of the United States, which gives you the authority to live and work in the United States permanently. 

    8. Receive Your Green Card

    You will be mailed your green card.  If you do not receive your green card within 30 days of your arrival, please call the USCIS National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 or visit your local office by making an InfoPass appointment.  Make an appointment by visiting the Infopass page.

  • 21 Nov 2013...
    What is Administrative Processing?

    Some visa applications require further administrative processing, which takes additional time after the visa applicant's interview by a Consular Officer. Applicants are advised of this requirement when they apply. Most administrative processing is resolved within 60 days of the visa interview. Learn more<.

  • 13 Nov 2013...
    1. Does the FBI accept personal checks, business checks, or cash? 2. Do you have procedures for expeditious handling? 3. Where can I get my fingerprints taken? 4. What if my fingerprints are continuously rejected? 5. Can I use the fingerprint card I download from this site? 6. Will my fingerprint card be returned? 7. How do I notify the FBI if my address has changed since I submitted my request for my Criminal History Summary or if I want to verify my correct address was submitted? 8. Does the FBI provide apostilles*? 9. How do I challenge my FBI record? 10. How can law enforcement entities request certified copies of fingerprints and/or Criminal History Summary information?

    1. No. Do not send personal checks, business checks, or cash, as they are not an acceptable form of payment for Departmental Order (DO) requests. Personal or business checks submitted with a DO request will not be returned. The CJIS Division will destroy the monetary instrument and will provide the customer a letter explaining why the monetary instrument could not be used.

    2. No. The CJIS Division does not expedite requests; however, an expedited response may be provided by an FBI-approved Channeler<.

    3. Your local, county, or state law enforcement agencies may take your fingerprints for a fee. Also, someprinting companies offer this service; check the yellow pages in your telephone book or search online. If using the Channeler option, please contact the FBI-approved Channeler< for additional information.

    4. Have multiple sets of fingerprints taken, preferably by a fingerprinting technician. (This service may be available at a law enforcement agency). Mail all fingerprint forms to the CJIS Division with your request. For more information on taking legible fingerprints, refer to the Recording Legible Fingerprints brochure<. Have multiple sets of fingerprints taken, preferably by a fingerprinting technician. (This service may be available at a law enforcement agency). Mail all fingerprint forms to the CJIS Division with your request. For more information on taking legible fingerprints, refer to the Recording Legible Fingerprints brochure<.

    5. Yes, but if you go to a law enforcement agency or private fingerprinting agency to be fingerprinted, they may prefer to use a fingerprint card on standard card stock. You may use the fingerprint card provided by the printing agency.

    6. No. Due to concerns related to the protection of personally identifiable information, fingerprint cards are no longer being returned either for a “no summary” response or with a Criminal History Summary.

    7. Please complete and sign the Address Change Request Form& and fax it to (304) 625-9792, or scan the form and e-mail it to liaisonatleo.gov.

    Note: Changes will not be made unless a signature is present on the form.

    8. (*An apostille is a certification that a document has been “legalized” or “authenticated” by the issuing agency through a process in which various seals are placed on the document.)

    The CJIS Division will authenticate all U.S. Department of Justice Order 556-73 fingerprint search results by placing the FBI seal and the signature of a division official on the results at the time of submission.Note: The FBI seal is no longer a raised seal. Documents authenticated by the FBI may then be sent to the U.S. Department of State by the requestor to obtain an apostille if necessary. Requests to authenticate previously processed results will not be accepted. Note: If a Channeler will be used and an authentication (apostille) is needed, please contact the Channeler to determine if this service is provided.


    9. Review the Challenge of a Criminal History Summary to obtain information regarding your FBI Criminal History Summary.


    10. Visit the Certified Copies of Fingerprint and/or Criminal History Summaries page to obtain information on requesting certified copies of fingerprints and/or Criminal History Summary information by law enforcement entities.

    Note: An individual cannot request a certified copy of fingerprints and/or Criminal History Summary information.


    For more information please visit this link http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/criminal-history-summary-checks

  • 6 Nov 2013...
    1. What is the Foreign Labor Certification Process? 2. How long will the employment-based visa process take? 3. Are there any employment-based immigration fees? 4. How do I find out the status of my permanent case?

    1. The actual process for the Foreign Labor Certification varies depending upon the program being used. This http://www.foreignlaborcert.doleta.gov< website contains information regarding the process for filing for each of the programs under the Department of Labor's (DOL) jurisdiction. The filing of applications is the responsibility of the employer, not the employee. However, the employee can benefit from understanding the program being utilized in his/her behalf. In general the Department of Labor works to ensure that the admission of foreign workers to work in the U.S. will not adversely affect the job opportunities, wages and working conditions of U.S. workers. Once a Foreign Labor Certification application has been approved by the DOL, the employer will need to seek the immigration authorization from USCIS.

    2. Depending upon the nature of the program the process for filing could vary between months and years. To be of assistance, we have provided on our Web site the current processing times< in the DOL regions and states. Currently, the process to obtain an employment based temporary labor certification (H-2A, H-2B) usually may take months through the state agency and the DOL regional office. However, H-1B processing usually only takes seven working days. The process to obtain an employment based permanent labor certification can sometimes take up to several months after completing the necessary recruitment steps and filing the application with the National Processing Center. The PERM Processing Times are updated monthly and available for view at http://icert.doleta.gov<.

    For the employment-based permanent visa, the USCIS may take up to an additional 9 months to process the request. USCIS will provide"premium processing"< for some visa categories with an additional fee.


    3. Most programs administered by the DOL do not charge fees for a foreign labor certification. Every program does, however, require fees be paid to the USCIS upon filing an application for a visa or greencard. See the individual program (H-2A<) for details regarding DOL fees. See the USCIS <site for details regarding USCIS fees.


    4. An employer should pro-actively and regularly, advisably once a month or less, monitor the status of an electronically filed labor certification application via the Permanent Case Management System, and compare its filing date, i.e., the date the application was submitted for processing, to the PERM processing times posted on the iCERT Visa Portal System (http://icert.doleta.gov/<). If there is more than a 30-day difference between the employer's filing date and the PERM processing time, the employer may contact the National Processing Center (NPC) for a status update.

    An employer who filed a labor certification application via mail may contact the National Processing Center's Help Desk at 404-893-0101 for a status update.

  • 31 Oct 2013...
    An experience from our community reader: I did not have to go through the grueling J-1 HRR process from India. A matter of fact for your reference, a lot of students coming from India to US on J-1 for internship or completing their last semester are put on J-1 HRR directly without any inquiry into their application at the visa window. This causes a lot of stress to individuals under J-1 HRR and very few know that J-1 HRR Advisory opinion exists. I had been reading a lot of articles and on the USIEF website when I came to know about this and applied to see after 2 months that the J-1 HRR was never applicable to me.

    Rajiv's Response:

    Thanks for sharing. People, note, it is a good idea to confirm whether or not you are in fact subject to the HRR. We have been doing that for years in cases where there is a likelihood that you are not subject to HRR. Two typical situations where you may NOT be:

    1. No US federal government funding (reinforced by suffix "P" instead of "G" in your program number) and

    2. Your specialization is not on the country skills list.

  • 29 Oct 2013...
    1. I am currently on an L-1 visa but I am thinking of resigning my job. I have an Australian passport, so if I do so could I just change my status to the Visa Waiver Program or would I need to physically exit and re-enter the country? 2. If I subsequently wish to stay longer than 90 days under the visa waiver program, am I able to simply exit and re-enter the country to restart the 90 day period?

    1. You will have to exit and reenter OR apply for a change of status to USCIS.

    2. This is not guaranteed to work. CBP can decline second entry if they wish.

  • 28 Oct 2013...
    1. Are children required to have chest x-rays or blood tests? 2. What if the applicant is mentally retarded or has a learning disability? 3. What is the legal basis for requesting medical information for visa applicants? 4. What should the applicant expect at the medical examination?

    1. Chest X-ray and blood tests are not usually required for children under the age of fifteen.

    2. Applicants with mental retardation or learning disabilities must present a report of their condition and any special educational or supervision requirements.

    3. Medical eligibility is a requirement of INA Sections 212(a) and 221(d). Failure to provide required information may cause delay or denial of immigrant visas. If an immigrant visa is not issued, all medical eligibility forms will be treated as confidential under INA Section 222(f).

    4. The applicant must show his/her passport (or other photo identification) and appointment letter to the doctor during the medical examination.

    The medical examination will include a medical history review, physical examination, chest X-ray and blood tests for syphilis.

    The physical examination will at least include examination of the eyes, ears, nose and throat, extremities, heart, lungs, abdomen, lymph nodes, skin and external genitalia.

    In some countries, the panel physician will send the results to the U.S. Embassy/Consulate directly. In other countries, the panel physician will give the applicant his/her medical exam results in a sealed envelope and an x-ray which the applicant must bring to the interview.

    Note: The medical examination is not a complete physical examination. Its purpose is to screen for certain medical conditions relevant to U.S. immigration law. The panel physician is not required to examine you for any conditions except those the U.S. Public Health Service specifies for U.S. immigration purposes, nor is the physician required to provide you with diagnosis or treatment even though other matters related to your health might be discovered. This examination is not a substitute for a full physical examination, consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by your primary health care provider.

    For more FAQ's on Medical Examination please visit this link


  • 24 Oct 2013...
    How do I schedule a conference call?

    Rajiv hosts a free community conference call for immigration related questions every other Thursday. You can post questions for the call if you are a member of the forums. Membership is immediate and free for life. (Click here to register< ). Even if you are not a member, you can dial into the call and also ask questions if there is time left after Rajiv has answered the questions posted for the call by members.

    Click here for Conference Call Schedule<

    The time and dial-in details are as follows:

    Topic: General Immigration Related Questions
    Start Time: 12:30 PM, EST
    End Time: 1:30 PM, EST

    Conference Dial-in: 202-800-8394

    NOTE: This call does not mean that we have agreed to represent you or that there is an attorney-client relationship between us. This is merely a community service. You should discuss the specifics of your case with the attorney representing you.

    1. Link to the Conference Call forum, http://forums.immigration.com/forumdisplay.php?246-Free-Community-Conference-Call-For-Immigration-Related-Questions<
    2. A new thread will be opened in the forum as soon as the previous call recording is uploaded. This thread will be closed when we receive 20 questions. If the thread is closed, you can always call in to the conference call and if there is time available, Rajiv will take your question. Else, please post your question for the next call.
    3. You are requested to post your questions in the thread. Please be brief and to the point and present questions in a clear manner that should require short answers so that we can cover maximum possible ground. If you have not posted your question in the forum, there might not be any time during the conference call to assist you. We can try but there is no guarantee that we will be able to answer all questions.
    Our recommendation is: 
    a) Post your questions in the forum ahead of time.
    b) Be present at the conference. If you are unable to do so for some reason, you can listen to the recordings< that will be made available after the conference is over. 
    c) Wait for the next conference if you were unable to post your question this time. 
    d) If a question similar to the one you are asking has already been posted, you do not need to post it again. Then, you can just join the conference to hear the answer or listen to the recording later. 
    4. The questions will be answered in the order in which they have been posted.
    6. We do not guarantee that an answer will be provided to every question posted.

    On the conference day
    1. Note that this is an open call and will be recorded. You might want to preserve your confidential information like your name and other personal details. Also, note that your voice shall be recorded.
    2. Call in the conference number and follow the prompts. We suggest that you call in 8 min. earlier than the start time so as to not lose a spot. 
    3. The conference will be started in presentation mode. This means that you will only be able to listen. 
    4. If you have posted your question earlier in the thread, call in early or you may miss your answer. If so, you can listen to the recording later.
    5. Everyone who participates in the conference call will be dialing a regular number (not toll-free/1-800) and depending on your long-distance plan or phone service, you may be charged long distance fees by your own service provider.
    6. After the conference call is over, a link will be posted on the forums to listen to the recording.

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