Which INS forms to use for change of TN status?

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The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) created for the United States, Canada and Mexico a special economic and trade relationship. According to this agreement, for involving themselves in business activities using the TN non-immigrant visa classification, qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens are permitted temporary entry to US. The TN workers are strictly allowed to stay in US only temporarily and they cannot further proceed to become permanent resident unless they change their status in order to be eligible for it but cannot apply for green card as a TN status worker.

TN worker after entering the U.S. may have to change to another non-immigrant visa status for work or study purposes.  A change of status is applicable in case a TN status worker accepts a job not designated as TN occupation or for pursuing US green card change to the category which allows them to apply for permanent resident status.

Procedure to change TN status

Form I-129, Non-im­migrant Visa Petition should be completed, with the appro­priate supplemental form for the requested category if a TN worker is seeking to change status to a non-immigrant worker category (E, H, L, O, P, Q, or R). INS forms I-539 should be used by family members of TN status workers applying to change to a non-immi­grant worker category for a change of status to the appropriate dependent visa status, submitted with Form I-129. Please get online help for more details on these work authorized visa categories and their corresponding dependent categories.

For other non-immigrant categories not listed above TN status workers seeking change should complete and submit Form I-539. In case even if a TN worker has lost job and wants time to wrap up things before leaving U.S. this Form I-539 would be appropriate.

TN worker cannot travel outside U.S. after change of status request has been filed else it will cause the application to become abandoned and will be denied subsequent application from USCIS. Traveling during the time period when the application is being processed before approval is allowed but should be avoided since problems arise when reentering U.S. if the inspecting officer is not clear on the specific situation. For instance when person currently entering in TN visa status to assume H-1B status in 2 months.

A TN worker should not travel out of the U.S. once a request has been filed to change status until after the request has been approved and the new status has taken effect.  Prior to returning to the U.S., at that time, the foreign national will need to apply for a visa stamp in the new non-immigrant category.

Applying for a Green Card

The law strictly only allows the TN visa holder to come for temporary stay in the U.S. Re-entry to the U.S. once the Green Card application has formally been submitted  by  a TN work­er, certain issues may arise.  A pending Green Card application is clearly contrary to the purpose of the TN visa category. Before beginning the Green card application process TN workers are strongly advised to first change to another non-immigrant status that fits their needs and also allows for the pursuit of U.S. permanent residency.

 

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How to Remove Conditions on Residence in USA?

Nearing second wedding anniversary of your successful marriage? Congratulations! It’s time to get your green card in US. Permanent residence status of a person is conditional if it’s based on a marriage that was less than two years old on the day the status was given. Only lawful permanent residents are given the privilege to live and work in the U.S. The spouse of the U.S citizen or green card holder is allowed to enter US with a visa and given the conditional resident status, denoted by CR-1 on passport, for them to prove they didn’t marry to forgo immigration laws of US.

When to file Form I-751?

If you are jointly filing to remove conditions on residence using Form I-751
it should be done within 90 days the conditional status expires.  The conditional permanent resident status which was given to you is valid for two years.  On orders of US government if you spouse and you are outside United Sates during that period, after you return to U.S you must file within 90 days. Application may be sent back if you apply too early also so during the correct time frame application should be filed. On time filing will extend the conditional resident status up to 12 months while the petition is reviewed by USCIS.

Joint filing would be waived in case marriage was terminated due to divorce or your spouse died though you married in good faith. In this case you can file any time after conditional status was granted to you and before it expires.

Delay in filing will result in you being removed out of U.S. unless you have proof and valid reason for delay. Filing to remove conditions on residence can be done even if you are not present in US but you need to during the interview. Only after 3 years as a green card holder you are eligible to apply for US citizenship.

Documents required for filing

In order to remove conditions on residence Form I-751 needs to be filled out and support documents include:

  • Photocopy of the Alien Registration card or permanent resident card, both the front and back sides of the card. Copy of cards of your children also should be submitted in case they are included in the petition.
  • Two identical passport style photos of applicant(s).
  • For applicants and dependents between 14 and 79 years of age completed fingerprint cards, Form FD-258 prepared by an US embassy or consulate or USCIS office, are required.
  • Proof for the marriage based on which the conditional status was given should be submitted. Documents should establish the fact that marriage was not to forgo immigration laws. It should be evident in documents like joint bank accounts or joint utility bills papers, joint savings, birth certificate of the children, insurance policies in which the spouse is a beneficiary or joint tax return documents.
  • In case you need a waiver from joint filing you would require a death certificate to prove spouse’s death or a divorce decree to prove marriage termination.
  • Filing fee is $505 for the Form <I-751

    , an additional biometric fee of $85. It can be paid by check or money order payable to US Department of Homeland Security

The form to remove conditions on residence should be filed at the USCIS California Service Center or the Vermont Service Center depending on which serves your area of residence.

Once the application is checked for completeness the beneficiary will be informed in writing about the decision and if it’s accepted you will receive a lawful permanent resident card valid for 10 years.

Get to know more about former US president Abraham Lincoln!

Get to know more about former US president Abraham Lincoln!

Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States. He is a former Congressman from the state of Illinois. Scholars rate him one of the greatest Presidents in United States history. He preserved the Union during the U.S. Civil War and brought about the liberation of slaves. He served from March 4, 1861 to April 15, 1865.The 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, was actually a licensed bartender and was also the co-owner of a saloon called Berry and Lincoln in Springfield, Illinois. He is the first president to be killed by an assassin. on April 14, 1865, by well-known actor and Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth.

Get to know in detail about US Student Visa!

Studying in the US is a dream of all students aspiring to reach great heights. For individuals wishing to study in the US, more than 640,000 international students, two non-immigrants visa categories are available. For students who are seeking academic studies it’s the F1 visa and for those students who wish nonacademic or vocational studies they should opt for M-1 visa. On the F-1 visa student can get language training also if they require. Since students don’t intend to stay in the US permanently they are issued non-immigrant visas.                              

A student on a F-1 visa is allowed to complete the course he/she has opted for and in a way tells the US government that they intend to stay only till course completion. They can’t pursue permanent residence. U.S. Department of State is the US government agency which issues the student visas. By U.S. consulates and embassies around the world State Department policy is carried out. So, overseas student applying for visa should deal with U.S. consulate or embassy in their home country. The agency with authority over individuals who apply to change status to student from inside the U.S. is the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Academic student visa details and types

U.S. embassies and consulates outside the United States issue the F-1 visas. Overseas student applying for F-1 visa should apply at the school they intend to study in and receive the Form I-20 with which they should appear for the interview schedule sent along when they apply for the visa. Once visa is granted information should be given to the respective school. Not more than 30 days before the program start date can the student enter US. The INS forms I-94 issued by the customs and border protection inspector when entering US should be kept safe throughout stay in the U.S. Opportunities for a legal job in US for students on F-1 visa are limited hence the student should be able to support themselves while they stay in US.

F visa are of three types:

1.         For full time student it’s the F-1 visas.

2.         For spouses and children of F-1 visa holders it’s the F-2 visas.

3.         For “border commuters” it’s the F-3 visa. These students stay in their home country but attend school in the United States. This visas holder may study full or part time and are granted to Mexico or Canada citizens only. F-3 visa holders should not work on campus though they may still be authorized for Curricular Practical Training. After graduation only Optional Practical Training may be used.

New green card legislature

Legislation that would grant green cards to holders of degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, or STEM, fields are being backed by several large technology companies. Texas Representative Lamar Smith recently announced that he is working toward bringing the law into action, according to ComputerWorld. Smith said in his statement “[The country] cannot afford to train these foreign graduates in the U.S. and then send them back home to work for our competitors,”

To remain competitive in the global technology market many tech corporations want such students in the United States. Vivek Wadhwa, director of research at the Center for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization at Duke University says that he believes the need is even greater because some of the immigrants are being offered better positions overseas after they complete their studies, according to the American Institute of Biological Sciences. The legislation will only include degrees from select universities and it will include a cap of 55,000 green cards to be distributed to the individuals per year, according to ComputerWorld.

Visitor Information for Olympic and Paralympics Games London 2012

Visitor Information for Olympic and Paralympics Games London 2012

Here is another one to bring the users for Expedite Passport Service.

London will host the 2012 Olympic and Paralympics Games this summer. American visitors will join millions of others from around the world, descending on London in a celebration of sport. The 2012 Olympic and Paralympics Games will bring together athletes from 205 countries competing in 26 different sports.

Summer 2012 will be a very busy time in London with not only the Olympic Games (July 27 – August 12) and Paralympics Games (August 29 – September 9). Flights are filling up quickly and fares are likely to increase as the summer approaches. To avoid disappointment, make your flight arrangements as soon as possible.

Use the information and resources below to have a safe and enjoyable Olympics experience.

Before you go…
• Ensure you have a valid U.S. Passport. If it’s due to expire before or during your trip, get it renewed now using INS forms. Also, don’t forget to sign your passport and complete the emergency information page.

• Visit the UK Border Agency’s website for full details on entry and customs requirements for the UK. In most cases, U.S. passport holders going to the UK for less than 6 months for tourism do not need a visa.

• Check your overseas medical insurance coverage – ensuring you’re covered abroad could be one of the best investments you’ll ever make. Further information can be found on our website.

• Enroll with the U.S. Embassy’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). This will enable the Embassy to keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements. It will also help your friends and family get in touch with you in an emergency. You can enroll online easily. Also, iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad users can access STEP and much more by downloading the SMART Traveler app.

• Visit the State Department’s Country Specific Information on travel to the United Kingdom.

• Stay up-to-date on the latest Olympic travel information by bookmarking the Olympic information page maintained by the U.S. Embassy in London.

• Notify your credit card company of your overseas travel prior to your departure from the United States. Check out the helpful information on the U.S. Citizen Services page of the U.S. Embassy’s website for more about using your credit card in the United Kingdom.

Overview on INS forms for TN status maintenance in US

A special economic and trade relationship for the United States, Canada and Mexico was created by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens are permitted temporary entry to US to engage in business activities using the TN non-immigrant visa classification.

For a maximum of three years the workers with TN visa are allowed to stay in U.S. For an indefinite period of time they are also allowed to extend their status in three year increments. There is no maximum time limit on the TN status as long as the U.S. Company and a TN worker can satisfactorily document the intent to remain temporarily in the U.S. In case the TN worker is no longer working in a TN designated occupation or wants to permanently immigrate to the U.S. he or she can change status to a another visa category which allows the preferred type of change.

Extension of Stay 

New application can be made at the port of entry or an application for an extension of status can be field by mail with USCIS in case stay is extended beyond the period mentioned on the I-94 card. In the case of a Canadian citizen procedure is similar to when a new application is made. Prior to entering US the admission package need to be assembled and presented to a Border Patrol agent.

Applying for a new visa with the US consulate again for a Mexican applicant with TN visa may not be easy, depending on the backlog at that consulate; a more convenient option is a mail-in extension application. By presenting a new application at the port of entry or by mailing an extension request with the appropriate USCIS office in the US an extension of TN status can be requested.

The request for extension for a maximum of three additional years should contain details regarding the need for the extension, whether it’s for the original assignment, any change in employers and if any substantial change in the position originally approved. Using INS forms I-129, Petition for a Non-immigrant Worker, with the filing fee of $320, a applicant’s passport copy and I-94 card and documentation supporting the extension also request can for TN visa status extension can be file in case applying at the port of entry is not convenient or possible. Before the expiration date listed on the I-94 card an application for extension should be submitted.

Day application reaches the appropriate USCIS office it’s considered as filed. The law allows for continued period of work authorization for the TN employee for a period of 240 days beyond I-94 expiration date while the petition is pending with the USCIS officer. After filing new application on time and before the new application is approved if the TN worker has to travel outside of the U.S. after the current I-94 has expired a new application will need to be made through the port of entry.

The TN worker will be allowed an additional 240 days of work authorization after the current I-94 expires or until the USCIS makes a final decision on the extension request, whichever occurs first when a request for an extension of TN status has been mailed to the USCIS. A new TN application will need to be made at the port of entry before the foreign national will be allowed to re-enter the U.S. if the TN worker leaves the U.S. after the current I-94 has expired and before the USCIS has processed the extension request.

The TN worker should not remain in the U.S. for longer than the period requested on the extension application in all instances even if the extension was requesting only a short amount of additional time and not the maximum three year period and even if the application continues to be pending beyond that date. Once it gets approved the date on the extension approval will be the control date beyond which the TN worker cannot stay in US.

Filing any extension request as early as possible is advisable but the law provides for continued authorization to remain in the U.S. as long as the application is received by USCIS before the expiration date listed on the I-94 card. This continued authorization is valid for a period of 240 days, until a final decision is made on the extension application filed by the TN visa worker, or until the end of the additional time requested, whichever comes first. By applying for extension as soon as possible TN worker can continue his legal stay in U.S. as long as possible.

 

Aware of the Form I-751 to upgrade to green card holder status?

The Form I-751 is used in order to apply to remove the conditions on his or her residence by a conditional resident who obtained status through marriage. To persons who has entered US with a K-1 visa and obtained green card through marriage conditional permanent resident card which is valid for two years is given. End of the two year period the status automatically expires and the applicant may be deported from US. In order to avoid this applicant must file Form I-751 Petition to remove the conditions of residence 90 days or less before conditional residence expires. Once the application is approved the applicant will receive the new permanent resident card valid for ten years.

Who should apply Form I-751?

Following are points to be remembered while applying:

  • The Form I-751 should be used to petition for the removal of conditions if you were granted conditional resident status through marriage to a green card holder or U.S. citizen.
  • If dependent children of the applicant also entered U.S. 90 days within the time applicant entered and obtained simultaneously conditional status their A-numbers must be mention in the same Form I-751 used by the applicant to remove conditional status.
  • In case the conditional resident parent is deceased the dependent children must separately file Form I-751 to have the conditions removed.
  • The petition should be jointly filed by the applicant and spouse through whom he or she obtained conditional status and still married to him or her.
  • Waiver from joint filing can be applied for if :

i)        Though you entered marriage in good faith but the spouse expired or marriage was terminated due to divorce or annulment.

ii)      You are subjected to extreme cruelty though you remain married to the U.S. citizen or green card holder spouse.

iii)    As a result of status termination you would end up with extreme hardship.

When to file?

  • The petition should be filed jointly along with your spouse 90 days immediately before the date the conditional status expires.
  • If not being filed jointly the petition should be filed with a request for waiver from joint filing any time after conditional status is granted but before it expires and you are removed.
  • The date the conditional status expired if you haven’t filed for removal of conditions the permanent resident status expires. But in case the length of delay is reasonable and beyond your control, late filing is allowed along with a written explanation for the same.

Where to file?

The petitions can be mailed to either the USCIS California Service Center or the Vermont Service Center according to the center which serves your area of residence. After the form is submitted USCIS will notify about the biometric services. The Form I-751 filing fee is $505. An additional fee of $85 will be charged and where and when you need to go for biometrics will be notified to you. So a single check or money order for a total of $590 must be made payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Any change in your address when the petition is pending USCIS should be kept informed about it. You have the option to do it online or mail Form AR-11, Alien’s change of address card. Depending on whether you have established the eligibility for the requested benefit the decision of the Form I-751 will be taken and notified to you in writing.

Teacher pay to be linked to test scores in Ohio

Teacher pay to be linked to test scores in Ohio

In Ohio they’re taking on even broader meaning at a time when test scores are used to determine everything from district funding to whether schools can stay open.

A legislation that partially link scores to what teachers are paid has been signed by Gov. John Kasich.

Teachers have habitually been evaluated by observers who’ve determined whether the instructors are satisfactory or unsatisfactory in not only Ohio but rest of the stated too. By the 2013-14 school year the teachers of Ohio public school districts will be graded and half of this will be based on test scores of students. These results will decide if a teacher should be promoted or fired and also about their salaries. The numbers of years of their career would take a back seat and only top teachers would be evaluated each year.

Reasons for the policy change firstly lies in the state budget according to which 50% of teacher’s evaluation will be determined by student academic growth. Secondly reason is the federal government’s Race to the Top program. Ohio is one of several states that have promised to find ways to measure and prove students’ academic growth in order to receive funds from it.

Third reason is that Ohio is one of a majority of states that have gotten an Obama administration waiver from parts of the federal No Child Left Behind law. In order to do that, the state has had to devise more detailed evaluations for teachers and base personnel decisions on them.

Some observers point out that the new Ohio law could still be changed or watered down before it goes into effect.

What is your opinion?

Overview on US DREAM Act for young illegal immigrants

By Dick Durbin and Orrin Hatch on August 1, 2001 in the senate an American legislative proposal was first introduced called the DREAM Act (acronym for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors). To certain illegal persons with good moral character and who graduate from U.S. high schools, having arrived in the United States as minors and lived continuously for minimum 5 years prior to the bill’s endorsement, the bill would provide conditional permanent residency.

On completion of two years in the military or two years at a higher learning four year institution they would obtain temporary residency for a six-year period.  Only if they have acquired a degree from an institution of higher education in the United States or after completing at least 2 years, in good standing, in a program for a bachelor’s degree or higher degree in the United States” or after serving in the armed services for at least 2 years and received an honorable discharge, within the six-year period, they qualify for permanent residency.

Enlisting in the military would mean an eight-year commitment or contract during which there will be minimum 2 years to maximum of 6 years active duty commitments. Under this act if permanent resident status is terminated for any alien they shall return to the immigration status the alien had immediately prior to receiving conditional permanent resident status. Illegal immigrants as old as 35 years of age would be included in this bill.

The act would create amnesty program and produce social and economic benefits say the supporters of the act while critics feel this act would invite fraud, encourage illegal immigration further and help members escape from deportation.

Eligibility criteria for the dream act beneficiaries

The DREAM Act beneficiaries of Senate bill under the 2009 version require the following:

  1. Proof of having arrived in the United States before age 16 is required
  2. Be of good moral character.
  3. From their date of arrival the beneficiaries should have proof of residence for at least five consecutive years of stay in US.
  4. Should have registered with the Selective Service if beneficiary is a male
  5. At the time of bill enactment beneficiary should be between the ages of 12 and 35.
  6. Beneficiaries should have graduated from an American high school, obtained General Educational Development, or must have been admitted to an institution of higher education.

“Conditional” status would be granted to qualifying illegal immigrants during first six years and during this period they should have graduated from a community college after a two year course, completed two years of a four year degree course or should have served in the US military for at least two years. At the end of six years the eligible immigrants can apply for permanent resident status if they have met any one of the conditions. They would be able to apply for student loans and work study during this six year conditional period but they would not be eligible for federal higher education grants such as Pell grants.

They would be granted permanent residency if they have met all of the conditions at the end of the 6-year conditional period and obviously allow them to apply for US citizenship. Those eligible and who would go on to further complete the further requirements are not known. Only 7,000–13,000 college students nationally can fulfill the further obligations according to estimation of one organization. Over 2 million illegal individuals could benefit under the Act according to a different analysis.

President Obama administration has decided to begin a policy to cease the deportation of 800,000 young foreign nationals in the country who are without proper documentation and authorization.  Since these children have grown up as Americans they have also decided that the US will no longer deport children whose parents brought them to America.

Opt to preserve your residence in order to apply for US citizenship!

A permanent resident alien who wants to travel outside US for employment purposes and at the same time preserve his/her immigrant status in order to pursue naturalization can make use of the Form N-470. The person can preserve residency though he or she may be outside US for more than a year and it gets counted towards the residency requirement.

Who should file Form N-470?

Persons employed in specific US government jobs, private sectors and religious organizations mostly would require this form and must be filed before departing from the United States. For religious workers who travel abroad for religious duties the regulations differ. They may apply before or after departure or after returning to the US. Prior to filing Form N-470 they are not required to live in the US for any specific time period.

Permanent resident is not relieved from getting reentry permit in advance for trips more than a year outside US nor relieves the applicant from the physical presence requirement for naturalization once they file the application to preserve residence for naturalization purposes.

The spouse and dependent children of the applicant who are all members of the same household and have lived with the primary applicant while abroad also benefit from this residency preservation. The aliens in US armed forces are also given exception to residency requirement while abroad.

When to file the form?

Applicants can apply for naturalization only if they meet the 5 years residency requirement in US immediately before filing or its 3 years for citizen and spouse exemption. In addition continuous physical presence of 30 months is eligibility criteria for green card holders to apply for US citizenship through naturalization and in case of citizen and spouse exemption its 18 months. But unless they are beneficiaries of an approved Form N-470, the applicant who has stayed outside US for more than a year will interrupt their residency requirement of naturalization.

Hence for employment purposes and in order to preserve residence to qualify for Applying for US citizenship, the naturalization purpose a lawful permanent resident can file the Form N-470 when they will be staying outside US for more than a year. Only if you have been physically present in the US for an uninterrupted period of one year as a green card holder you qualify to file INS forms N-470.

How to file the form?

The application to preserve residence for naturalization purposes, Form N-470 should be submitted to the USCIS before applicant leaves US for a continuous period of one year or more. In case the absence from US is as part of any religious denomination organization and as brother, nun, clergyman or clergywoman or sister the application can be filed after or before the 1 year or more of absence.

The applicant can include the qualifying spouse and dependent unmarried children in the application provided they are also green card holders and will reside as members of same household as that of the applicant abroad.

Listed below are the steps to be followed to complete the application:

  • Form N-470 filing reason: Possible reasons are for which the applicant can file are:
  1. 1.      Behalf of US government: As employee or under contract with US government which includes armed services members.
  2. For pursuing research: As employee of any qualifying American research institution.
  3. Development of foreign trade and commerce purpose: As employee of any qualifying firm or corporation.
  4. 4.      Property rights protection of the American firm outside US used for trade and commerce purposes: As employee who perform such services.
  5. 5.      Public international organization of which US are a member: As employee of qualifying organizations.
  6. 6.      Religious purposes: Persons with religious denomination or interfaith mission organization as clergyman or clergywoman, nun, sister or brother having genuine organization in the US.
  •  Filling out the application: Information should be filled in capital letters using black ink and ‘N/A’ or ‘NONE’ should be used wherever appropriate. Personal information of the applicant like the Family name, A-number which can be found on Form I-551 permanent resident card and US social security number should be filled. Also home address which is the physical street address with street number and name or a rural route number should be filled. Post office box number shouldn’t be entered. If mailing address if different from your home address it also should be entered. A day time phone number with area code, date of birth, country of birth and country of citizenship should also be filled.
  • Submitting the application: After filling the required details Form N-470 must be dated and signed and submitted to the USCIS office having jurisdiction on place of your residence in US. The filing fee if $330 and can be paid as check or money order payable to Department of Homeland security. Along with the application copy of the permanent resident card Form I-551 and eligibility evidence should be submitted. It could be an official communication or affidavit from the appropriate officer, department or agency of the US government, research institution, firm or corporation public international organization or interfaith mission or religious denomination organization. Approval with a new application is required for any changes in the employment. Once the application is checked for completeness and approved decision will be sent to applicant in writing. Applicant must remember that a valid reentry document is mandatory when applicant reenters the US.