Immigration And Nationality Law

Practices

Corporations and individuals from virtually every corner of the world including Europe, Canada, India, Asia, South America have turned to Levitt & Needleman for a broad range of immigration matters including employment authorization, family reunification, naturalization and asylum.

From the start of a case through completion, each client is assured the dedicated attention of an attorney who brings all of the resources of our firm to bear. The process begins with an initial consultation which can be held via phone or in person. In this meeting, the client’s issues, needs and goals are determined. Using the information provided to us by the client, the attorney and team analyze the immigration options and assess timetables and fees.

We request that potential clients come to their initial consultation with copies of all their relevant immigration documents, including but not limited to; resume or curriculum vitae, passport, I-94 Arrival/Departure Card, previous submissions to or decisions by the Department of Labor, the Immigration Service or the Immigration Court.

Nonimmigrant (temporary) Visas

If you wish to enter the United States for a temporary period of time, a nonimmigrant visa enables you to travel to the United States for a specific purpose such as tourism, medical treatment, education, training, or employment. The following are brief summaries of the most commonly used nonimmigrant visas:

B-1

The B-1 visa is for foreign nationals who are coming to the United States to engage in business other than gainful employment. If the purpose of the foreign national’s temporary visit is to consult with business associates, attend a scientific, educational, professional or business convention or conference, settle an estate, or negotiate a contract, then a business visitor visa (B-1) may be the appropriate visa.

B-2

The B-2 visa is the most widely used visa and is for foreign nationals who are coming to the United States as visitors for pleasure. If the foreign national’s planned travel is for purposes such as tourism, a social visit with friends or relatives, medical treatment, participation in a convention of a social organization, or participation in an amateur musical, sport, or similar event (with no remuneration) then a visitor visa (B-2) may be the appropriate visa.

E-1

The E-1 visa enables a foreign national to come to the United States temporarily for the purpose of carrying on substantial trade between the individual’s country of nationality and the United States. The individual’s country of nationality must have a treaty with the United States. The E-1 Treaty Trader visa requires that at least 51% of the company’s trade be between the treaty country and the United States.

E-2

The E-2 visa enables a foreign national to come to the United States temporarily to develop and direct an enterprise in which he or she has made a substantial investment. An employee of a treaty trader investor may also qualify as an E visa holder if his or her job duties require special qualifications essential to the business. The foreign national must have the same nationality as the foreign employer and the foreign national’s country of nationality must have a treaty with the United States.

E-3

The E-3 visa is for Australian nationals coming to the United States to work temporarily in a specialty occupation. A specialty occupation is one which requires the individual to hold a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree, or equivalent, for entry into the position.

F-1

The F-1 visa is for foreign nationals coming to the United States to pursue academic studies. F-1 students may remain in the United States until the completion of their intended course of study. They may also engage in a specific period of practical training (OPT) after completion of their studies. Foreign nationals applying for a visa under this category are required to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility issued by the academic institution they plan to attend prior to applying for the visa at the U.S. Embassy.

H-1B

The H-1B visa is for foreign nationals coming to the United States to work temporarily in a specialty occupation. A specialty occupation is one which requires the individual to hold a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree, or equivalent, for entry into the position. In order for a foreign national to work in the United States in H-1B status, a U.S. employer must file an H-1B petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on behalf of the foreign national. The petition must establish that the proffered position requires, and the foreign national possesses, at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent in a field related to the proffered position. An H-1B employer must also attest to paying the salary normally offered to U.S. workers in similar positions in a similar geographic area, and to observing the H-1B program’s specific public notice, recordkeeping and wage requirements.

H-2B

The H-2B visa enables a foreign national to come to the United States temporarily to perform temporary nonagricultural services or labor for a U.S. employer on a one-time, seasonal, peakload or intermittent basis. This visa category requires a temporary labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor as well as the submission of a petition to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The petition must establish that the employer's need for the prospective worker's services or labor is temporary, that there are not sufficient U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available to perform the temporary work, and that the employment of H-2B workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.

H-3

The H-3 visa enables a foreign national to come to the United States temporarily to receive training, other than graduate or medical education training, that is not available in the foreign national's home country, or to participate in a special education exchange visitor training program for children with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities. This visa category requires a U.S. employer to file a petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The petition must establish that the proposed training is not available in the foreign national's home country, confirm that the foreign national will not be placed in a position regularly held by a U.S. worker, and state how the training will benefit the individual in his or her career abroad. A foreign national may hold H-3 trainee status for up to two years.

J-1

A J-1 visa is for foreign nationals coming to the United States to pursue a temporary educational or cultural objective, including but not limited to medical residency or fellowship training, teaching, and conducting research. A J-1 is also for foreign nationals coming to the U.S. as a student, physician, camp counselor, au pair, or summer student in a travel or work program. Certain foreign nationals who enter the United States pursuant to a J-1 visa are required to return to their home country or country of last permanent residence for a period of two years after completion of the J-1 program before they may be eligible for an alternative non-immigrant status, or lawful permanent resident status. However, circumstances exist where the foreign residence requirement may be waived.

K-1

A K-1 visa is for a foreign national who is a fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen. The purpose of the K-1 visa is to allow the fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen to travel to the United States for marriage. Once the K-1 visa holder marries the U.S. citizen within the authorized time period (90 days), he or she may apply to adjust his or her status to a lawful permanent resident.

L-1

The L-1 visa enables a multinational company to transfer managers, executives, and employees with “specialized knowledge” from an office abroad to a U.S. entity. The transferred employee may work at a parent, subsidiary, branch or affiliate entity in the United States. The foreign national must meet the definition of an executive, manager or specialized knowledge individual, as provided by the law, and must have been employed abroad by the parent, subsidiary, branch or affiliate entity for at least one year during the preceding three years.

O-1

The O-1 visa enables foreign nationals of extraordinary ability to come to the United States to be employed temporarily. Extraordinary ability in science, education, business or athletics is defined as a level of expertise indicating that the foreign national is one of the small percentage who has risen to the very top of the field of endeavor. Extraordinary ability in the arts is defined as distinction. A petition for an alien of extraordinary ability must be accompanied by evidence that the foreign national has sustained national or international acclaim and that his or her achievements have been recognized in the field of expertise. The foreign national must have a sponsoring employer or agent.

P-1

The P-1 visa is for foreign national athletes (and some coaches) and entertainers with significant international recognition. The P-1A is for an athlete individually or as part of a group that is internationally recognized. The P-1B is for a person who performs with, or is an integral part of, an entertainment group that has been internationally recognized as being outstanding outstanding for a sustained period of time.

R-1

The R-1 visa is for foreign national religious workers coming to the United States temporarily in order to be employed in a religious occupation and perform services for their sponsoring religious organization. The religious organization must already be established in the United States. Religious occupations include certain activities that relate to religious functions including, for example, ministers, pastors, nuns, cantors, and religious broadcasters. The foreign national must have been a member of the religious denomination for a minimum of two years before filing the application and the denomination must have a bona fide nonprofit religious status in the United States.

TN

The TN visa is for foreign nationals of Canada and Mexico who are coming to the United States to temporarily engage in specific business activities at a professional level. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) provides a list of 63 eligible professions for the TN visa, most of which require either a bachelor's degree or a license.

VWP

The Visa Waiver Program enables foreign nationals to travel to the United States for business or pleasure for 90 days or less without having to apply for visas. This option is available to the following countries: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Korea, San Marino, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

Levitt & Needleman, P.C. offers a full range of services to individual and corporate clients in obtaining a nonimmigrant visa, and we would be pleased to discuss your options with you.

PERMANENT RESIDENCE (GREEN CARD)

If you wish to remain in the United States indefinitely, an immigrant visa enables you to reside permanently in the United States. The following is a general outline of the various paths to permanent residence.

FAMILY-BASED IMMIGRATION
Individuals who have certain close relatives residing in the United States as citizens or permanent residents may obtain permanent residence through their relationship with that spouse, sibling, child or parent. A quota system applies in most cases and backlogs are common.
EMPLOYMENT-BASED IMMIGRATION
Certain foreign workers can obtain permanent residence based on their particular occupation and skills. The employment-based categories consist of the following five preference categories, each of which are subject to visa waiting lists similar to those discussed in the context of family immigration.
  • Priority Workers
  • Aliens of Extraordinary Ability—individuals who have extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics.
  • Outstanding Professors and Researchers—Researchers or professors who are internationally recognized as “outstanding” in a specific academic area.
  • Multinational Executives and Managers—Executives or managers, who have been employed abroad by a multinational company, may transfer permanently to assume executive or managerial positions in the U.S. subsidiary, parent, affiliate or branch office.
  • Professionals Holding Advanced Degrees and Persons of Exceptional Ability
  • Advanced Degree Holders—Foreign national must hold a Master’s degree or its equivalent and have a qualifying job offer from a U.S. employer. This category requires an approved Labor Certification Application from the U.S. Department of Labor certifying that there are no qualified, able and available U.S. workers to fill the position offered to the foreign national.
  • Exceptional Ability—Foreign national must have a degree of expertise in the sciences, arts or business that is significantly above that ordinarily encountered.
  • National Interest Waiver—Foreign national is seeking a waiver of the Labor Certification Application process because it is in the interest of the United States. Although not defined by statute, this category generally applies to those who have exceptional ability and whose employment in the United States would greatly benefit the country.
  • Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Unskilled Workers (Other Workers)
  • Professionals/Skilled Workers – Foreign national must have a baccalaureate degree or be a member of a skilled profession (those requiring at least two years experience) and have a qualifying job offer from a U.S. employer.
  • This category requires an approved Labor Certification Application from the U.S. Department of Labor certifying that there are no qualified, able and available U.S. workers to fill the position offered to the foreign national.
  • Certain Special Immigrants
  • This category applies to foreign nationals who are religious workers, employees of certain Panama Canal companies, physicians, international organization employees and family members, Juvenile Court dependents, Armed Forces members, Afghanistan/Iraq nationals who supported the U.S. Armed Forces as a translator, and Iraqi nationals who worked for or on behalf of the U.S. Government in Iraq.
  • Immigrant Investors
  • This category provides a method of obtaining a green card for foreign nationals who invest money in the United States through a regional center or independently. To obtain the visa, individuals must invest a specific amount of capital ($1,000,000 or $500,000) and create full time employment for no fewer than 10 qualified employees. If the petition is approved and residence is granted, it is conditional for 2 years. Prior to the 2 year expiration date, the foreign national must submit an application requesting removal of the conditions, which if approved, will result in the grant of permanent residence.
DIVERSITY IMMIGRATION LOTTERY

Foreign nationals from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States may apply each fiscal year for the Diversity Visa (DV) lottery, which makes 55,000 immigrant visas available annually. A list of countries whose nationals are eligible for the DV lottery is released each year. In order to qualify, the foreign national must have either a high school education (or its equivalent) or two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation requiring at least two years of training or experience to perform.

Levitt & Needleman, P.C. offers a full range of immigrant visa services to individual and corporate clients, and we would be pleased to discuss your options with you.

NATURALIZATION/CITIZENSHIP

Naturalization is the act of voluntarily becoming a U.S. citizen. Some benefits of naturalization include the rights and privileges of voting, petitioning for foreign relatives to allow them to immigrate to the United States, traveling abroad with a U.S. passport, qualifying for Federal employment and becoming an elected official. Responsibilities of naturalization include swearing allegiance to the United States, supporting and defending its laws and Constitution and serving the country when required.

Eligibility for naturalization may vary depending on several factors, but generally involves requirements such as certain qualifying timeframes of lawful permanent residence, continuous and physical presence in the United States, good moral character, knowledge of basic U.S. civics and the English language, and an attachment to the Constitution.

Our office handles the entire naturalization process, from determining eligibility, to preparing/filing applications with supporting evidence and, upon request, attending USCIS naturalization interviews with our clients.

REMOVAL PROCEEDINGS AND HUMANITARIAN OPTIONS

The violation of a visa or expiration of immigration status, misrepresentation in an immigration application or the commission of a crime may result in the placement of an individual in removal proceedings before the immigration court. It is critical to seek immediate counsel and assistance to determine all legal relief available should this occur, as there are a number of defenses, waivers and appeals that may be made before the immigration court and various appellate bodies following court proceedings.

Our office handles removal cases from the determination of eligibility for certain forms of relief to representation before the Immigration Court and Board of Immigration Appeals.

Additionally, we represent victims of domestic violence, persecution, torture and political/social unrest, through applications based on Asylum, the Violence Against Women Act and other humanitarian immigration options.

Site created by Di Vision Creative Group and [email protected]