December 2005

From the Editor's Desk

Hello and welcome to the December 2005 Immigration Newsletter!

The highlight of the last festive month was President Bush’s comments on immigration reform. During his visit to Texas and Arizona on November 28, the President emphasized the need of better and tougher border enforcement and a “guest worker” program. In the last edition of the Immigration Monitor we discussed the various immigration reform measures pending before the legislators. It is expected that the negotiations in the Congress during the next few weeks will result in a compromise between ‘enforcement only’ measures and a ‘guest worker program’. We are keeping a close watch on the developments and the outcome is expected to emerge during the legislative process early next year.

With plenty of Christmas shopping round the corner and holiday mood setting in, we at VisaPro wish to thank you for your valuable patronage. The past year has been special, not just because of the variety of immigration activity it has seen, but because we have found new, innovative ways to bring the latest from the immigration front delivered right into your email inbox. A small effort initiated just four months ago, your Immigration Monitor today has over 75,000 subscribers, the number still growing.

Technology and VisaPro, the union between the two has grown stronger this year. We have become one of the very few websites in the immigration world that offer RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feature. RSS is an innovative way of capturing just the information you want, when you want, right on your computer. You can use RSS to receive news updates from our website. You read these feeds in a program called an aggregator, which automatically collects news from various sections of our website and provides it to you in a simple form. Do check out this innovative feature.

Last time we had set-up a special survey inviting your comments to shape the future issues of your Immigration Monitor. Your valuable suggestions have kept pouring in until today, and you will soon see them being implemented in the future issues. Did you miss sending your feedback? Don’t worry! Click here to send in your suggestions.

A lot of our friends have enquired about a forum for discussing immigration issues. I take this opportunity to refer you to VisaPro Message Boards, one of the most popular sections of our website. It is a place for the Immigration Community to share thoughts, suggestions, ideas and concerns on a variety of topics related to US Immigration.

With the holiday season beginning soon, utilize your free time to explore what are the hot topics of discussion and share your thoughts. You can also share your immigration experiences for the benefit of other users of our website.

This month our In Focus article discusses the visa alternatives available to a foreign national to enter the U.S. for setting up a new business entity. As the article explains, nationals from countries with certain treaty with the U.S. have the choice of using E-1, E-2 or L-1 visas.

This month’s Immigration Article is an extension of last month’s article on bringing your fiancée or spouse to the U.S. The present article discusses the procedures involved after your fiancée or spouse enters the U.S.

Did you submit your question for us to answer them in Ask Your Question section of the newsletter? We are trying to cover answers to all your questions, either by directly answering them or by including the relevant information in the articles published in the Immigration Monitor. So keep your questions flowing.

You must have read the news on regarding the computer firm that was ordered to pay $2.65 million as back wages and penalty for various immigration violations. Our Industry Perspective article discusses these violations and how U.S. employers can avoid the penalties by ensuring compliance with law

The Immigration Quiz in last month’s issue attracted a record number of responses. I was impressed by certain well-researched responses. Our team had a tough time selecting the winner. Congratulations to Hank Meyer for winning a FREE online consultation with VisaPro Attorney. Your Opinion attracted votes from over 300 participants. Over 61% voted in favor of a program allowing illegal immigrants to legalize their stay in the U.S. Don’t forget to share your opinion in this month’s poll.

On behalf of the entire VisaPro team, I wish you a very happy New Year. Enjoy your holidays! Don’t forget to view a special greeting card, just for you from all of us at VisaPro. If you liked this month’s newsletter design, thank the entire Graphics Design team at VisaPro for making it more colorful for the holidays.

A lot of things are in the pipe-line at VisaPro for 2006. We look forward to introducing a variety of user-friendly features to provide you with an amazing experience. One of them is an exclusive feature that will help you determine the visa options available to you based upon your education and professional background, allow you to check your eligibility for various visas… and much more! Keep enjoying your journey through

See you in 2006 with the latest activity on the immigration front.

Latest Immigration News

Gear up to file H-2B petitions for second half of FY 2006

With the H-2B numbers for the first half of FY 2006 going very fast, it is time for employers planning to employ foreign workers in the second half of the fiscal year to start preparing for the H-2B petition process.

The United States welcomes highest number of travelers in history

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Robert C. Bonner recently announced that the CBP cleared 86 million arriving air passengers from abroad in the U.S. for FY 2005, which is the largest number of air passengers traveling to the U.S. in history, and also marks the first year that the number of air passengers surpassed pre-9/11 levels.

House passes its version of Budget Reconciliation Bill

The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday passed its version of the Budget Reconciliation Bill. This version does not include the provisions related to the recapture of unused H-1B and Immigrant visa numbers from the previous years passed by the Senate, but imposes a $1500 fee increase on L visas.

Revised procedures for Battered Spouse or Child self-petitions

USCIS memorandum provides guidance on change in the self-petitioning eligibility requirements regarding the effect of an abuser’s loss of immigration status prior to the filing of and following the approval of a self petition.

December's Featured Articles

Setting up a new business: Choosing between L-1 or E visa

Generally L-1 visas are used to set-up a new entity in the U.S. when it is a subsidiary, parent, branch, or affiliate of an overseas company. However, foreign nationals from countries with certain treaty with the U.S. have the choice of using E-1, E-2 or L-1 visa for establishing a new entity in the U.S.

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DOL penalizes computer firm for H-1B violations: How to develop an effective Compliance Strategy

In a settlement reached with the Department of Labor recently, a Southfield, Mich. Firm has agreed to pay $2,250,000 in back wages to 232 computer professionals and a $400,000 fine to settle immigration law violations. The company is also prohibited from participation in the H-1B visa program for 18 months.

Green Card through Marriage to U.S. Citizen: The Procedures

Securing permanent residence through Marriage to a U.S. Citizen is a multi-step process. Some of these steps are required to be completed before your fiancé or spouse enters the US and some after entering the US. In the article U.S. citizen marrying a foreign national: Issues involved which was published in last month’s Immigration Monitor, our monthly newsletter, we covered the requirements, benefits, and application process of the K-1, fiancé visa, and K-3, spouse visa. In this article we shall cover the steps involved in getting permanent residency after entering the U.S.

Questions and Answers


Can an expired H-4 (30 days) be renewed without leaving the country?


Generally, a person has to be in legal status in order to be able to file and obtain an extension of status from the USCIS. But the regulations allow the USCIS to approve a request for an extension if the person was out of status through no fault of their own and they have not otherwise violated their status. If the USCIS does not extend the I-94, the H-4 dependant has to return to their home country and reapply for a valid visa. We at VisaPro have successfully helped numerous clients in a similar situation and have received extension approvals from the USCIS.


If an F-1 nonimmigrant marries a US permanent resident, what happens to his/her status?


Marriage to a US permanent resident does not automatically terminate your student status and your OPT. It only affects your ability to travel outside the US and return. Once your permanent resident fiance becomes a citizen, and you marry, you will be an immediate relative and will be able to file for adjustment of status. This also allows you to get work authorization and travel authorization (Advance Parole).

If you marry before your fiance becomes a citizen you would be a family-based second preference (spouse of a permanent resident) which has a 4-5 year backlog. Your fiance can file the relative petition (Form I-130) for you but can’t file for the green card until your priority date is current. Meanwhile, you need to maintain valid student or other nonimmigrant status while the green card petition is pending.


What do I need to do to marry in the Philippines to a non-US citizen?


There are basically 2 options available to bring your foreign national spouse into the US after you get married in the Philippines. Once you are married your spouse qualifies as an immediate relative. This means that there is a visa “immediately” available. However, that does not mean that your spouse will be able to travel back with you as soon as you get married. You will have to file an immediate relative petition and wait for the processing.

Option 1 is to file the I-130 at the US Consulate in Philippines and have them complete the processing.

Option 2 is to file for a K-3 visa for your spouse after you have filed the I-130. The K-3 visa will allow your spouse to come to the US and stay and work while the USCIS is working on the I-130. K-3 processing is generally quicker than waiting for the I-130 to be approved and completing the immigrant visa processing at the consulate (again this will depend on whether the consulate with jurisdiction over your spouse’s residence in Philippines will process the I-130 there).

You may also want to consider the K-1 fiance visa option where your fiance enters the US and you get married within 90 days. This is often the quickest option for foreign nationals wanting to get married to US citizens. Also, read the article U.S. citizen marrying a foreign national: Issues involved to learn more about the various options.

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