Michael Phulwani is a prominent attorney admitted to practice law in New York, New Jersey and India. He practices immigration and nationality laws and visa matters in the USA and abroad. He is a frequent lecturer on immigration laws and co-hosts several TV and radio programs on immigration. In this column, Phulwani will discuss frequent problems relating to immigration legislation and answer questions from our readers. All questions should be forwarded to Michael Phulwani, 888 Maywood Avenue, Maywood, NJ 07607.
By Michael Phulwani
On January 5, 2011, some civics test answers will change due to the recent federal elections.
If you take the test on or after January 5, 2011:
Answer civics test questions 20, 23, and 47 using the answers below.
Question 20: Who is one of your state’s US Senators now?
Answers will vary. Give the name of one of your state’s US Senators who will serve in the 112th Congress beginning January 5, 2011.
Question 23: Name your US Representative.
Answers will vary. Give the name of your US Representa-tive who will serve in the 112th Congress beginning January 5, 2011.
Question 47: What is the name of the Speaker of the House of Representatives now?
For a list of current members of the US Senate, please visit www.senate.gov.
For a list of current members of the US House of Representatives, please visit www.house.gov.
Erroneously rejected naturalization applications
USCIS has advised the American Immigration Law-yers Association (AILA) liaison that some naturalization applications have recently been rejected in error by the lockbox due to confusion over changes in filing fees. While there was no increase in the naturalization application filing fee, there was an increase in the biometrics fee, which led to some confusion. If you have had a naturalization application rejected for incorrect fees, though the correct application fee ($595) and biometrics fee ($85) were submitted, USCIS Lockbox Operations advises to simply re-submit the application and with the correct fees.
H-1B fiscal year (FY 2011) cap season
US businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields, such as scientists, engineers, or computer programmers.
How USCIS determines if an H-1B petition is subject to the FY 2011 cap.
We use the information provided in Part C of the H-1B Data Collection and Filing Fee Exemption Supplement (Form I-129, pages 14 through 15) to determine whether a petition is subject to the 65,000 H-1B numerical limitation (the “cap”). Some petitions are exempt from the cap under the advanced degree exemption provided to the first 20,000 petitions filed for a beneficiary who has obtained a US Master’s degree or higher.
FY 2011 H-1B cap count
Cap eligible petitions: This is the number of petitions that USCIS has accepted for this particular type of cap. It includes cases that have been approved or are still pending. It does not include petitions that have been denied.
Cap amounts: The current annual cap on the H-1B category is 65,000. Not all H-1B nonimmigrants are subject to this annual cap. Please note that up to 6,800 visas may be set aside from the cap of 65,000 during each fiscal year for the H-1B1 program under the terms of the legislation implementing the US-Chile and US-Singapore Free Trade Agreements. Unused numbers in this pool are made available for H-1B use for the next fiscal year.
Organizing your H-1B package
Clearly label all H-1B cap cases, preferably in red ink, on the top margin of Form I-129. Use the following codes.
l Regular Cap (65,000 regular cap cases, not including Chile/Singapore cap cases)
l C/S Cap (Chile/Singapore H-1B1s)
l US Master’s (20,000 ex-emption for beneficiaries with US Master’s or higher degrees)
A separate check for each applicable filing fee (Form I-129, Premium Processing, Fraud Fee, and/or ACWIA fee) is preferred. Applicable fees should be stapled to the bottom right corner of the top document.
Preferred order of documents at time of submission
l Form I-907 (if filing for Premium Processing Service)
l Form G-28 (if represented by an attorney or accredited representative)
l Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker
l H Classification Supple-ment to Form I-129
l H-1B Data Collection and Filing Fee Exemption Supplement
l All supporting documentation to establish eligibility
l Provide a Table of Con-tents for supporting documentation
lTab items as listed in Table of Contents
l Arrival-Departure Record (Form I-94) if the beneficiary is in the US
lSEVIS Form I-20 if the beneficiary is a current or former F-1 student or F-2 dependent
lSEVIS Form DS-2019 if the beneficiary is a current or former J-1 or J-2
l Form I-566 if the beneficiary is a current A or G nonimmigrant
l DOL certified LCA, Form ETA 9035
l Employer/attorney/representative letter(s)
l Other supporting documentation.
l Duplicate copy of the petition, if necessary. Clearly identify the duplicate copy of the petition as “Copy”, so that it is not mistaken for a duplicate filing.