Category Archives: Working in the U.S.

Immigration Insider articles in this category include information about working in the U.S. and employment-related immigration topics.

How to Respond to a USCIS Request for Evidence (RFE) Correctly

uscis request of evidence letter and envelope

Short of a rejection or outright denial, one of the biggest ways U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) strikes fear into the heart of an applicant is to issue a Request for Evidence. Best known as simply an “RFE,” the USCIS Request for Evidence is a formal request for you to submit more information to support your application. The agency has issued an RFE because they don’t have adequate information to make a favorable decision. Generally, this is because you have failed to include important information on the application or did not support all of the necessary supporting documents.

Take a deep breath. An RFE will generally add a delay to the application processing time and may create some anxiety, but it isn’t an indicator of a pending denial. If you fail to respond, USCIS will likely deny your application. If you respond as directed, you are no more likely to be denied than if you hadn’t gotten the RFE.

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U.S. Taxes and Immigration Consequences

U.S. Taxes and Immigration Consequences

For immigrants arriving to the United States, the American tax system can be a very new and confusing concept. In fact, the U.S. tax system is so complex that most natural-born Americans have difficulty filing each year. As a general rule, U.S. tax law applies to you if you live in the United States or spend a significant amount of time here.

In the United States everyone with income above certain levels is expected to file a tax return. That’s not true in all countries around the world. In many countries, the government withholds taxes from paychecks, and the individual never has to directly file an income tax return. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the U.S. agency responsible for collecting taxes.

Whether you are a lawful permanent resident or an undocumented immigrant, it’s important that you get a basic understanding of your tax filing obligations.

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Trump Administration Pushes for Massive Immigration Fee Increase

uscis immigration fee increase 2019

The next wave of Trump administration policy designed to reduce immigration is here. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has proposed major increases in the immigration fee structure. The USCIS immigration fee increase would nearly double the cost of some applications.

The Trump administration is simultaneously squeezing immigrants with a new public charge rule and changes to the fee waiver rules that make it more difficult for low-income immigrants and their families. To add insult to injury, some of the new fees would go to pay for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

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Expired Green Card Creates 5 Big Problems

CBP officer holds an expired green card

Many people are carrying an expired green card right now. Because you don’t use your card everyday, it’s easy for an expired card to go unnoticed. By law, permanent residents must carry a valid green card at all times. But in practice, this rarely happens and is rarely enforced by the U.S. government.

When a green card expires, it’s natural to procrastinate before renewing it. After all, the USCIS fee to renew or replace a green card is currently $540. That’s a lot of money for anyone. But an expired green card does have consequences that can be even more costly. Continue reading

Immigration Papers: Your Proof of Immigration Status

Immigration Papers

It is becoming increasingly important to have proof of your immigration status in the United States. Having immigration papers, documentation or proof of your legal status is essential if you have contact with law enforcement or immigration officials. In the current environment, even natural-born U.S. citizens can run into problems with identification. What’s more, immigration paperwork can be necessary to gain access to many government benefits, secure housing, obtaining driving privileges, just to name a few. Continue reading

Employment or School Abroad as a Green Card Holder

Working Abroad as a Green Card Holder

As the name suggests, permanent residence implies that the green card holder will live permanently in the United States. But what if a unique opportunity arises to work or study outside the United States? Generally, a permanent resident is free to travel outside the United States, provided that the absence is temporary in nature. But employment and study opportunities abroad can be problematic. Studying or working abroad as a green card holder can lead to immigration problems.

When a permanent resident remains outside the United States for an extended period, it can lead to suspicion that he or she has abandoned residence in the U.S. But time abroad isn’t the only factor to consider. Continue reading

USCIS Receipt Number Explained

USCIS Receipt Number Explanation

After you’ve filed almost any application or petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), they will respond by mailing you a Form I-797C, Notice of Action, within approximately 1-3 weeks. (It may take longer to receive the I-797C for some other forms like Form I-751.) The I-797C, Notice of Action, is commonly known as a receipt letter.

For applicants who have incorrectly filed or included the wrong payment, the receipt letter will indicate that USCIS has rejected your case. You will need to refile. If you’ve prepared the form correctly and followed the USCIS directions carefully, the receipt letter will indicate that USCIS has accepted your case. Once the form has been accepted, USCIS will begin reviewing your case.

The receipt letter contains a unique 13-digit receipt number. Also known as a case number, it’s a very important number to help you track the progress of your case or identify a particular immigration filing.

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Adjusting Status After Unauthorized Employment in the U.S.

Unauthorized employment and filing Form I-485

You may be wondering if you can get a green card if you’ve worked in the United States without permission. Perhaps you learned that you may be eligible to adjust status to permanent resident but also know that unauthorized employment in the United States is generally a bar from adjustment. This means that unauthorized employment can make many people ineligible to apply for a green card. Employment without permission from the U.S. government before filing Form I-485, Application to Adjust of Status, and after applying can have a negative impact.

Generally, unlawful employment is a violation of your nonimmigrant status and can result in a denial of your application. Fortunately, there’s an exception for certain individuals like immediate relatives of U.S. citizens. Continue reading

Overview of the H-1B Green Card Process

H-1B green card process

By itself, the H-1B visa does not provide a direct path to permanent resident status (green card) in the United States. In other words, something else has to happen in order for an H-1B foreign national to become eligible for a green card. While generally we think of the employment-based path for H-1B visa holders, there are various ways through the H-1B green card process.

The H-1B is a nonimmigrant visa. Essentially, that means it’s temporary. A foreign national working in the United States on an H-1B visa may Continue reading

Obtaining a Waiver for the J-1 Home Residency Requirement

J-1 Home Residency Requirement WaiverThe J-1 home residency requirement can be a major obstacle for J visa holders trying to adjust status to permanent resident or change status to another nonimmigrant visa. J visa holders should initially determine if the regulation applies to them. In some cases, a waiver is available.

After satisfying the J-1 home residency requirement or obtaining a waiver, foreign nationals subject to the requirement can generally file Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status, if they are otherwise eligible. Continue reading