Since 1981, our office has focused its services solely on the area of immigration and nationality law. While there are many paths to a "green card," our practice is primarily concerned with employment- and family-based immigration. We also assist with issues involving citizenship and naturalization.
U.S. law allows employers and family members to sponsor certain foreign nationals for immigration status. It also allows unusually talented and highly esteemed individuals to self-sponsor.
Immigration and nationality law is known for its complexity, but do not be discouraged; we provide expertise in the following areas. Please feel free to contact us for a consultation.
- Temporary work visas, such as H-1B, temporary worker; L-1, intracompany transferee; O-1, alien of extraordinary ability; E-1/2 treaty trader/investor; and R-1, religious worker.
- Labor Certification/PERM. See below.
- Permanent work visas, such as skilled worker, professional worker, advanced degree professional worker, religious worker, national interest waiver, exceptional ability, outstanding researchers and professors, multinational managers and executives, and aliens of extraordinary ability.
- Family-based immigrant visas, such as those for spouses and children of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents, brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens, and parents of U.S. citizens.
- Green cards/permanent residency, including adjustment of status, immigrant visas, issues of inadmissibility, unlawful presence, waivers, and for certain surviving spouses of U.S. citizens.
- Citizenship & Naturalization, including expedited naturalization for members of the U.S. military, spouses of certain U.S. citizens working abroad, permanent residents who are employed abroad by certain U.S. non-profits, and children of U.S. citizens.
- Temporary Protected Status.
A Note About Employment-Based Permanent Residency, Labor Certification, PERM, and Visa Availability
Under immigration and nationality law, United States employers may sponsor qualifying employees for permanent immigration status. The process to obtain permanent residency often—but not always—involves labor certification, i.e., certification by the U.S. Department of Labor that there are not sufficient U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available and that the employment of the foreign national will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers similarly employed. This is also known as the PERM process. For many foreign nationals, labor certification is the first step to a green card/permanent residency.
Labor Certification is employer-driven and governed by the Department of Labor, not U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. To obtain labor certification, employers must undertake specific recruitment procedures within a limited timeframe, document recruitment efforts, and make attestations regarding the recruitment and position being offered to the foreign national. Our office is fully prepared to facilitate this process.
Once the PERM application is approved, the employer may file an immigrant petition on the employee's behalf. This is the second step to permanent residency.
To complete the third step in the permanent residency process, it is necessary for the employee to apply for an adjustment of status in the U.S. or an immigrant visa at a U.S. Consulate abroad. However, before a foreign national can take the third step, a visa needs to be available. Visa availability is an ongoing concern for some foreign nationals who wait years for a visa to become available.
There is more demand for visas than there is supply. The U.S. government limits employment visas to 140,000 per year. No country can take more than a certain number of visas per year. Some countries, such as India and the People’s Republic of China, have for many years had more qualified visa applicants than there were available visas. As a result, there can be extremely long delays between the second and third steps of the permanent residency process.
Needless to say, if you or your employee is waiting for a visa, it will be necessary to maintain underlying immigration status for the entire time he/she is in the U.S.
We recommend a consultation for specific questions.
Note: This website is not meant to provide legal advice and does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.
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