ADJUSTMENT OF STATUS (GREEN CARDS) FOR TPS HOLDERS AFTER SUPREME COURT RULING IN SANCHEZ V. MAYORKAS

On June 7, 2021, the Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision in Sanchez v. Mayorkas. In this case, the Supreme Court held a grant of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) was not an admission to the United States. An admission is a lawful entry to the U.S for purposes of adjustment of status. This means that any TPS recipients who entered the U.S without inspection (illegal crossing), can not use the TPS as an entry for Green Card purposes. So, even with a legal entry, an applicant will be barred from adjusting status for working without authorization . Additionally, an applicant will barred for failing to continuously maintain lawful status since the last entry into the U.S. It is important to understand the Supreme Court’s decision does not effect all TPS holders. It only affects TPS holders who did not enter the U.S. lawfully.

The immigration attorneys at Heiferman & Associates are here to assist individuals who qualify with applying for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Our immigration lawyers can also advise clients whether or not this case applies to their situation. Our lawyers also assist clients with applying for most visas, green cards and citizenship. We defend clients in Immigration Court and with appeals. We are available by appointment, Zoom, Teams, Google and more. Please contact us today at (718) 866-4627 to schedule an initial consultation.

U.S. Department of State Extends COVID-Related National Interest Exemptions (NIE) for Travelers Subject to Presidential Proclamations

On June 29, 2021, the U.S. Department of State extended National Interest Exceptions (NIE). This applies to travelers subject to Presidential Proclamations (PPs). These include PPs: 9984, 9992, 10143, 10199, and others related to the spread of COVID-19. Unless otherwise stated, NIEs are valid for 12 months from the date of approval. NIE’s are valid for multiple entries, if used for the intended purpose. This extension applies to travelers subject to these proclamations due to presence in China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, the Schengen area, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and India with currently approved NIEs or NIE’s granted in conjunction with a visa application. Most of these PP’s date back to 2020.

Travelers should contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate before traveling, if they were not previously approved for a NIE and have a valid visa in the appropriate class or have a valid ESTA authorization for travel under the Visa Waiver Program and seek to travel for purposes consistent with ESTA authorization. If approved, they may travel on either a valid visa or ESTA authorization. Each approved NIE is valid for 12 months from the date of approval. The NIE may be used to travel to the United States multiple times for the intended purpose. The 12 month and multiple entry extensions applies retroactively to all existing NIEs approved in the last 12 months. Travelers approved for an NIE may travel to the United States using their existing NIE if it was approved in the last 12 months and if the purpose of travel is the same as the purpose for which it was granted. Travelers who need visas and who believe their travel to be in the United States’ national interest should review the website of the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for instructions. More information may be found on the U.S. Department of States website at: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/News/visas-news/extension-validity-for-nies-for-china-iran-brazil-south-africa-schengen-uk-ireland-india.html

The immigration attorneys at Heiferman & Associates have successfully obtained National Interest Exemptions. Additionally, we applied for them before multiple US Embassies in foreign countries. Our immigration lawyers also assist clients with applying for most visas, green cards and citizenship. We defend clients in Immigration Court and with appeals. We are available by appointment, Zoom, Teams, Google and more. Please contact us today at (718) 888-9545 to schedule an initial consultation.

USCIS Changes Their Voting Policy Regarding Naturalization (Citizenship) Eligibility

Recently, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) updated their voting policy. Only U.S. Citizens are allowed to vote in a federal election. At times, green card holders accidentally registered to vote through the department of motor vehicles or other government agency. Some license forms also have boxes that ask if you want to vote. Not everyone knows that green card holder are not allowed to vote in federal elections. Voting affects an applicant’s good moral character (GMC) determination. At times, green card holders were denied citizenship because they registered to vote or voted in an election. However, many of them, did not know they had even registered. This change will reduce the denials of citizenship, which is great news!

If an immigrant registered to vote or voted in a federal election, we can help. The most important thing to do is deregister ASAP! You also need to get a copy of your voting record. The immigration lawyers at Heiferman & Associates are here to assist with your citizenship needs. Our immigration attorneys guide clients step by step through this process. Our immigration attorneys are able to sue the government for individuals improperly denied citizenship and visas. We also assist individuals denied citizenship with appeals. If your citizenship has been denied, you have to act quickly, otherwise you may have wait another 5 years.

If you or a family member needs assistance with a denial of citizenship, the experienced immigration team at Heiferman & Associates can help. We assist clients with applying for most visas, green cards, as well as defend clients in Immigration Court. Please contact us today at (718) 888-9545 to schedule an initial consultation with one of our experienced immigration attorneys. Consultations are available by appointment, Zoom, Teams, Google and more.

The Importance of Properly Filed Taxes for Marriage-Based Green Card and Citizenship Applications

At times, the immigration attorneys at Heiferman & Associates see tax returns with errors. These errors can negatively affect marriage-based immigration applications. Tax returns for Green card or citizenship applicants based on marriage, usually should check the box “married filing jointly”. Sometimes individuals incorrectly claim head of household. By claiming head of household, tax filers may get larger tax returns, though, the filer may not qualify for that status. This is why it is so important to have your taxes prepared by a CPA or other licensed tax preparer.

The immigration lawyers at Heiferman & Associates thoroughly review clients’ taxes to spot errors. It may be possible to amend old taxes, if head of household was claimed in error. This may lead to the client owing money to the IRS; other times they may be entitled to a tax refund. If a person is unable to pay the debt, they may be able to do a payment plan with the IRS. If someone else prepares your taxes, they should sign the preparer section of the return. If that person does not sign that section, it may mean they might not be a licensed professional. Our immigration attorneys thoroughly review taxes to spot errors.

Incorrectly claiming head of household could subject you to serious tax fraud accusations. Justin Heiferman is a former accountant, prosecutor of tax crimes and has defended clients accused of serious tax crimes. Our criminal defense attorneys can assist with preventing problems before they happen. Additionally, our New York City immigration law firm regularly assists clients in applying for marriage-based visas, green cards and citizenship. 

If you or a family member needs assistance with applying for a visa or Green Card, the experienced immigration team at Heiferman & Associates is ready to help. Please contact us today at (718) 888-9545 to schedule an initial consultation with one of our experienced immigration attorneys. We are able to do consultations in our office by appointment as well as by Zoom, Google and more. 

Someone filling out a visa application.

Developing a Plan B After Your H-1B Application Is Denied

The window for filing a successful H-1B visa is small. If you do not submit your application for this popular visa on April 1, it is unlikely you are getting an H-1B visa this time around. 

For the fiscal year 2021, the government is capping the number of H-1B visas it issues at 85,000. This includes 65,000 “regular” H-1B visas and 20,000 more for individuals with master’s degrees or higher from a U.S. college or university. Even if you submit on time, so many employers apply that you may not be successful. 

Fortunately, there are several alternatives to the H-1B visa that may still meet your needs, even though they are not quite as popular. Our New York City immigration law firm regularly assists clients in applying for other employment-based visas. The most popular options are the O and L visas, and EB Green Cards.

The O-1 “Extraordinary Ability” Visa

The O-1 nonimmigrant visa is for the individual who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.

Successful applicants include cutting-edge scientists and inventors, expert medical clinicians, distinguished research scholars, top international chefs, award-winning entertainers, and world-class athletes and coaches.

The various subtypes of this visa include: 

  • O-1A: individuals with an extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics (not including the arts, motion pictures or television industry)
  • O-1B: individuals with an extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry
  • O-2: individuals who will accompany an O-1, artist or athlete, to assist in a specific event or performance.  For an O-1A, the O-2’s assistance must be an “integral part” of the O-1A’s activity. For an O-1B, the O-2’s assistance must be “essential” to the completion of the O-1B’s production. The O-2 worker has critical skills and experience with the O-1 that cannot be readily performed by a U.S. worker and which are essential to the successful performance of the O-1
  • O-3: individuals who are the spouse or children of O-1’s and O-2’s

L Visa for Intracompany Transferees

Companies that have branches in other countries may be able to transfer a worker to the United States on an L-1 visa

  • The L-1A visa is for intracompany transferees who work in managerial or executive positions in a company that is located outside the United States.
  • The L-1B visa is for intracompany transferees who work in positions that require specialized knowledge.

L-1 visas work well for employers who need the skill or expertise of an employee in another country at one of the company’s offices in the United States. 

Employment-Based EB Green Cards 

While non-immigrant visas allow immigrants to stay in the United States for a limited period of time, a Green Card recipient is classified as a lawful permanent resident and may stay as long as their status remains in good standing. 

U.S. immigration law provides immigrants with a variety of ways to become lawful permanent residents through employment. These employment-based (EB) “preference immigrant” categories include:

  • First preference (EB-1) – priority workers
    • Aliens with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics;
    • Outstanding professors and researchers; or
    • Certain multinational managers and executives. 
  • Second preference (EB-2) – aliens who are members of the professions holding advanced degrees or who have exceptional ability (including requests for national interest waivers). 
  • Third preference (EB-3) – skilled workers, professionals, or other workers.
  • Fourth preference (EB-4) – special immigrants, including religious workers and juveniles
  • Fifth preference (EB-5) – immigrant investors

Our firm has helped many individuals successfully apply for EB Green Cards, including a prominent film director. Because we are located in New York City, the financial capital of the world, and the attorneys at our firm have significant experience in the financial world, we are well equipped to assist with EB-5 visas. 

Time Is On Your Side 

Unlike with the H-1B visa, there is no specific time period applications for O or L visas, or EB Green Cards must be filed. This flexibility makes them excellent alternatives when an H-1B visa application is denied. 

If you or your business needs assistance getting a visa or Green Card for yourself or a valued employee, the experienced immigration team at Heiferman & Associates is ready to help. Please contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with one of our experienced immigration attorneys.

H-1B visa for U.S. immigrant.

Don’t Be A Fool, Get Your H-1B Application Ready To File on April 1

You may know April 1 as April Fool’s Day, but at Heiferman & Associates, our immigration lawyers know it as H-1B day. Each year on April 1, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) begins accepting H-1B petitions for foreign professionals to apply to work in the US. We work to file as many H-1B applications as possible on that day. We are able to assist with H-1B applications in all 50 states. Furthermore, we have successfully obtained other employment-based visas including O, EB, L and more. 

What is an H-1B Visa?

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa. It is designed to allow U.S. employers to recruit & employ foreign professionals for specific jobs within the USA for a specified period of time. For example, a scientist may be hired to come work on a specific research project, a teacher may be hired to teach a foreign language, or a fashion model may be hired to come walk the catwalk during New York Fashion Week. The work is specialized, and the job is temporary. 

You can check out the government’s guidelines for what constitutes an H-1B eligible job on this website, or give our team a call, and we can advise you. 

Why are H-1B’s so Popular?

Despite their somewhat limited scope, H-1B visas are very popular. Visa holders may switch jobs or work for more than one company while they are in the United States, so long as their employers are willing to fill out the appropriate paperwork. While they are working here, visa holders are eligible for the same benefits as other employees — such as paid vacations and sick leave. 

H-1Bs are valid for 3 years initially, but that limit is often extended to 6 years. Many H-1B visa holders end up applying for permanent residence, aka a green card, while they are here. 

The spouse and minor children of a visa holder may accompany them and legally live in the USA on an H-4 visa. Note, if an H-1B visa holder’s spouse or child wants to work, they must seek their own visa. 

Visa holders may buy and sell property, invest in the stock market, and even play the lottery. 

Time Is of the Essence 

H-1B visas are so popular the government has placed a limit on the number of them it issues each year. That cap is often reached shortly after the filing period opens on April 1, which is why our firm files as many applications as possible that day. 

For the fiscal year 2021, the cap is 85,000. This includes 65,000 “regular” H-1B visas and 20,000 more for individuals with master’s degrees or higher from a U.S. college or university.

For prospective H-1B employers and employees alike, this means now is the time to start preparing applications. The application and all supporting paperwork should be ready to go before the filing deadline. 

There is additional pressure to file quickly this year because USCIS has implemented a new electronic registration system for employers that is going to make it easier for people to file. Our team is ready to help employers with this new pre-application filing step. 

To H-1B or Not to Be, That Is the Question

If your company is interested in hiring someone on an H-1B visa, our firm can help you get your application ready to go and make sure it is filed as soon as the filing period opens. We can also discuss other visa options with you so your business needs are met even if the H-1B process does not work in your favor. Please contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with one of our immigration attorneys. 

H-1B Electronic Registration Process for Fiscal Year 2021

USCIS announced they will implement an electronic registration process for H-1B cap-subject petitions for the fiscal year 2021. This electronic registration process begins on March 1, 2020. 

Under the new policy, employers will need to complete a registration within the period from March 1 through March 20, 2020. Electronic Registration only requires the basic information about the Employer and the H-1B Employee, and $10 H-1B registration fee. Only those with selected registrations will be eligible to file H-1B cap-subject petitions.

Compared to the former policy, Electronic Registration Process reduces unnecessary costs and work for USCIS and petitioners. Petitioners and Beneficiaries will be able to find out the lottery selection results faster. This will avail more time for H-1B applicants to make appropriate plans if they are not selected. At the same time, USCIS can allocate more resources to adjudicate H-1B petitions.

USCIS will post step-by-step instructions informing registrants on how to complete the registration process before the initial registration period. It would be the best for the registrants to contact an experienced immigration attorney in advance and prepare related documents, even though the electronic registration process only needs basic information of employers and employees.

Contact our New York Immigration attorneys today (we also have New Jersey Immigration attorneys) 

At Heiferman and Associates, PLLC, our experienced immigration attorneys handle a wide arrange of immigration matters including green cards (lawful permanent residence), employment (EB visas, H-1B, L visas, etc), family-based, asylum and refugee law, bond hearings, ICE detention and more. Our immigration attorneys provide aggressive legal representation to clients throughout New York City, Queens, Brooklyn, Long Island and New Jersey. Our immigration attorneys are able to practice in all 50 states. We also handle cases in Federal District Courts. Backed by extensive experience and working knowledge of Immigration Law. If you have any questions about the new H1-B policy in fiscal year 2021, please contact us immediately for a consultation.

Heiferman & Associates, PLLC discusses how the USCIS seeks to limit asylum applicants from working while their applications are still pending.

USCIS Seeks to Limit Asylum Applicants’ Ability to Work While Their Applications Are Pending

This week, there was yet another update released by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). reporting that they are proposing a new regulation. This new regulation will restrict asylum seekers’ ability to obtain work authorizations while involved in immigration court proceedings.  Their goal is to “promote greater accountability in the application process for requesting employment authorization and to deter the fraudulent filing of asylum applications for the purpose of obtaining employment authorization documents,” per their notice. 

Immigration agencies have been instructed to block unauthorized immigrants from obtaining employment authorization before being granted relief from deportation and to revoke work permits from immigrants denied asylum or ordered removed. In late April, an executive memo was issued asking USCIS to provide proposals to limit work permits for asylum seekers who crossed the border without authorization.

Typically, asylum applicants may petition for employment authorization documents once 150 days have passed since they filed their application, unless they are responsible for delays in the process.  The wait time to obtain work authorization often leads to financial crisis for many of these asylum applicants. Their living conditions are frequently well below the poverty line; they live in crowded conditions, with limited access to food and medical care. 

Several immigration advocacy groups, including the New York Immigration Coalition and the immigration legal services project Immigrant Justice Corps, voiced their opinions on the negative impact of the work permit delays at USCIS. Asylum seekers who are unable to work face difficulties supporting themselves and their families. As such, numerous immigration legal service coalitions and organizations have filed or threatened to file lawsuits in various Federal District Courts to protect these immigrants. Central to their arguments is that the ability for these people to work, not only is beneficial to the U.S. economy, but also to the lives of these asylum applicants and their families. 

The proposed regulations do not take effect immediately and must still go through a legislative process. Furthermore, people seeking asylum are considered LEGAL immigrants. 

Heiferman & Associates, PLLC provides experienced representation for immigrants in  removal proceedings at immigration courts (EOIR) throughout New York, New Jersey and all over the country.  We also assist new immigrants in applying for asylum with USCIS. (Note: It is crucial an asylum application is filed within an immigrants first year of entry.) Many applicants are unaware of their rights when filing  asylum applications. For this reason we are quick to mount defenses and/or avoid problems associated with the ever-changing immigration policies. Our immigration attorneys are experienced and always on top of the latest immigration conditions in the country. Obtaining experienced and competent legal counsel is crucial to the success rate of these applications. 

Heiferman & Associates operates a full-service Immigration Department that is here to assist clients with a variety of immigration applications and visas including, but not limited to, Asylum, Cancellation of Removal, ICE Detentions, Family-Based (Marriage) Green Cards, Employment Visas and Green Cards (H1-B, EB, TN and O),  Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJ), Victims of Violence (U Visas), Trafficking Visas and many more. Please call (or email) our office for a confidential consultation.