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Changes in Fees for Visa Effective as of April 13 2012

April 13, 2012 Leave a comment

As mentioned in the previous post, changes to visa application fee is effective as of April 13th 2012. Today, the Department of State, DOS, issued clarification as to fees paid prior to the changes to the fees. To summarize:

Fees that will decrease are not refundable 

If you paid a visa fee before April 13, 2012 and that fee decreased, DOS cannot give you a refund.

Fees that will increase (only nonimmigrant fees)

If you paid your visa fee before April 13, 2012 AND, your visa interview is on or before July 12, 2012, you do not have to pay the difference between fee amount.

If your interview is after July 13, 2012, you will be required to pay the difference between the old and new fee amounts – no exceptions.

Fees Change for US Visa – April 13, 2013

April 4, 2012 3 comments

According to press release by US Department of State, there will be changes to the visa application fee starting on April 13, 2013. Some of the changes include:

Non-Immigrant Visa Processing Fees

Type of Visa

Previous Fee

New Fee

Tourist, Business, Transit, Crew Member, Student, Exchange Visitor, and Journalist visas

$140

$160

Petition-Based visas (H, L, O, P, Q, and R)

$150

$190

Treaty Investor and Trader visas (E)

$390

$270

Fiancé(e) visas (K)

$350

$240

Border Crossing Cards (age 15 and older)

$140

$160

Border Crossing Cards (under age 15)

$14

$15

Immigrant Visa Processing Fees

Type of Visa

Previous Fee

New Fee

Immediate Relative and Family Preference Applications

$330

$230

Employment-Based Applications

$720

$405

Other Immigrant Visa Applications

$305

$220

Diversity Visa Program Fee

$440

$330

Determining Returning Resident Status

$380

$275

For more information please visit: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2012/03/187114.htm

 

How to Apply for Driver License or ID Card

September 22, 2011 4 comments

ICE (Immigration Custom and Enforcement) recently released a fact sheet providing information for student visa (F, M, or J) holder on applying for driver license or state issued ID card. I will summarize some of the important and most frequently asked questions below.

1. Can holder of student visa apply for driver license?

Yes. Technically, student visa holder can apply for driver license when their status is active. Practically, student should wait for 10 calender days after entering US before applying for driver license to allow time for the arrival information to be updated into the system.

2. What documents must student present to DMV?

Specific documents vary state by state. However, generally the following documents are required:

1. Valid passport with visa (if applicable)
2. Form I-94, “Arrival/Departure Record”
3. Form I-20 (for an F or M nonimmigrant) or Form DS-2019 (for a J nonimmigrant)
4. Form I-766 “Employment Authorization Document” (EAD), if applicable
5. Form I-797 or Form I-797A “Notice of Action,” in cases of a change of status (e.g., H-1B)
6. SSN or a Social Security Administration (SSA) Form SSA-L676

3. Can dependent of student visa apply for driver license?

Yes. To make the process as smooth as possible, make sure to go to DMV with primary visa holder and bring the following documents:

1. The primary and dependent’s most current Form I-94
2. The primary and dependent’s valid passport with visa (when applicable)
3. Proof of identity
4. Proof of relationship (e.g., marriage certificate)
5. The primary and dependent’s most current Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 (This is critical when the primary F-1 or M-1 is on OPT)

4. Common issues when applying for driver license.

Students in their gap period (between end of undergraduate program and start of graduate program) and student awaiting change of status (F1 to H1B) often face problems when applying for driver license because their information is not reflected in the system. USCIS acknowledge these problems in the fact sheet and is working on resolving this.

For additional information please view the link above which will connect you directly to the fact sheet which has more information about applying for driver license as a student visa holder.

Documents That Shows Extraordinary Ability (EB1/O-visa)

May 30, 2011 Leave a comment

Whether applying for EB1 green card or O-visas, one of the question I am often asked is what documents shows “extraordinary ability.” Below is a list of documents I often suggest clients to look for and consider when judging whether they qualify for visas that requires “extraordinary ability.”

1. Internationally acclaimed award/prizes

2. Membership in prestigious associations

3. Publications in major journal or well recognized mass media

4. Publications about you or your work in major journal or mass media

5. Participation as judge in your field of work

6. Leading role in distinguished organization

7. Commercial success

8. High salary compared to other

9. Reference letter from well recognized clients, colleagues, or business partners

10. Display/Performance of work in prominent space

Diversity Immigration Visa Lottery: Friday the 13th Computer Glitch

May 17, 2011 Leave a comment

On May 13th, 2011 (Friday the 13th), the US Department of State announced that due to computer glitch the result of this years lottery is invalid and voided. The department will select a new group of lottery winner and announce the results by mid-July. About 22,000 applicants were erroneously informed that they were picked in the lottery before the results of this year’s lottery was voided. The lottery is the first step to immigrating to the US without employee or family sponsorship. Lottery winners would go through a series of medical examination and interviews, afterwhich approximately 50% will be granted an immigration visa.

Visa: Authority of Consular Officer to Revocate Visa

April 28, 2011 Leave a comment

A new rule was passed on April 27th 2011, by the Department of State broadening the power of consular officer to revocate or provisionally revocate visa. The changes in the rule extend the power of the consulate to the fully extent allowed by Section 41.122. After the change, consular officer may revoke visa at ANY TIME subsequent to issuance of visa. The revised Section 41.122(a) reads:

(a) Grounds for revocation by consular officers. A consular officer, the Secretary, or a Department official to whom the Secretary has delegated this authority is authorized to revoke a nonimmigrant visa at any time, in his or her discretion.

Futhermore, according Section 41.122(c), notice does not need to be given to alien whom visa was issued, “once the revocation has
been entered into the Department’s Consular Lookout and Support System (CLASS), the visa is no longer to be considered valid for travel to the United States.”

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Visa: Can Employee Stay In US While H1B Extension Is Pending?

April 26, 2011 1 comment

H1B employee may continue to work and stay in US for a period of 240 days while H1B extenstion is pending.

A federal judge in Connecticut ruled that government may not arrest H1B employee who have timely filed extension application and status is pending. The decision in El Badrawi v. United States, by U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall, recognize that “work authorization is part and parcel of their authorization to be in the country, not a separate matter.” This decision clarifies 8 C.F.R. § 274a.12(b)(20) not only provide work authorization but also makes it legal for employee to stay in US for period no longer than 240 days while extension is pending. In their brief in support of Mr. Badrawi, AMERICAN IMMIGRATION COUNCIL (AIC) and THE AMERICAN IMMIGRATION LAWYERS ASSOCIATION (AILA), argued that “a policy that allowed DHS to arrest, detain, and initiate removal proceedings against an H-1B beneficiary during the processing period for a timely filed, pending extension request would have devastating consequences for companies that depend on these employees.”

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