Monthly Archives: August 2014

Do I Need A Job Offer to Get a US Work Visa

Do You Need a Job Offer to Get a US Work Visa?

One question that constantly comes up from people looking to get a work visa in the United States is whether you need a job offer first. The short answer is generally “yes.” The reason is that most work visa categories require the U.S. employer to file a petition for a work visa on behalf of the prospective employee. For example, the H-1B specialty occupation visa requires the U.S. employer to offer a job in a specialty occupation (i.e., a bachelor’s degree or higher is a common minimum entry into the profession) with the USCIS. The prospective employee is the beneficiary of the petition, meaning that the employee would only get a visa if the employer’s petition is approved.

Are there any visas that don’t require a job offer?

The only visas that do not require a job offer are the EB-1 green card for people of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics; or the EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) green card.

What about Employment Authorization?

Technically, Employment Authorization is not a visa. It is a status given to certain non-immigrants which would allow them to work in the United States for a specific period of time. Employment Authorization does not require a job offer or a U.S. sponsor/petitioner. Examples of when Employment Authorization would be issued are:

  • Individuals with pending applications for adjustment of status
  • Spouses of certain non-immigrant visas, such as the L-1 or E-2 visa
  • Recently graduated students in Optional Practical Training (OPT)
  • Undocumented individuals granted status under Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
  • Individuals granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS)

How to get a Green Card Through DACA

opt-1In 2012, the USCIS began granting certain undocumented aliens employment authorization for a period of two-year years under the program Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA for short. Approved DACA applicants may also be eligible for Advance Parole, which allows them to travel outside of the United States and to re-enter, provided that it was for humanitarian, educational or employment purposes.

DACA applicants are undocumented – meaning that they did not enter the country with inspection. Generally, undocumented aliens cannot adjust their status and get a green card even if they are married to a United States citizen. Advance Parole under DACA may provide a loophole.

Example:

Valeria was brought to the United States by her parents without inspection when she was 3 years old. She graduated high school in 2010 and was approved for employment authorization under DACA in 2012. In 2013, her grandmother in Mexico and became terminally ill. She obtained Advance Parole under DACA and was able to visit her grandmother for the last time before she passed. She returned to the United States after a two week stay. In 2014, she married her longtime boyfriend, John, who is a United States citizen. Since Valeria was able to provide proof that she re-entered the United States legally in 2013 under Advance Parole, John can petition her for a green card and she can now adjust her status without a ten-year ban or the need for a provisional waiver. She would not be able to adjust her status if she hadn’t visited her grandmother and re-entered under Advance Parole because her only entry prior to that was without inspection.

If you have been approved under DACA, or if you may be eligible, please contact us so that we can arrange a viable strategy for you.

En Español

En el 2012 la oficina de Servicios de Ciudadanía e Inmigración de Estados Unidos (USCIS) empezó a otorgar permisos de trabajo a ciertas personas indocumentadas por un periodo de dos años bajo el programa de Acción Diferida para los Llegados en la Infancia (DACA). Las personas que fueron aprobadas bajo este programa pueden ser eligibles para un Documento de Permiso Adelantado (Advance Parole), que les permitirá viajar fuera del país y reingresar a los Estados Unidos; siempre y cuando sea un viaje con propósito humanitario, educacional, o de empleo.

Los solicitantes del programa DACA son indocumentados—simplemente quiere decir que ingresaron al país sin inspección. Generalmente, las personas indocumentadas no pueden aplicar para un Ajuste de Estatus y obtener su mica dentro de los Estados Unidos aunque estén casados con un ciudadano Americano. El documento de Permiso Adelantado bajo el programa de DACA, podría ser una solución.

Ejemplo:

Valeria fue traída a los Estados Unidos por sus padres cuando tenia tres años. Se gradúo de la Preparatoria en el 2010. En el 2012 aplico para el programa DACA y fue aprobada. En el 2013 su abuela se enfermo gravemente y estuvo hospitalizada en Mexico. Valeria aplico para su Documento de Permiso Adelantado bajo el programa de DACA, fue aprobada, y así tuvo la oportunidad de visitar a su abuela antes de que falleciera.

Después de dos semanas de viaje, Valeria regreso a los Estados Unidos. En el 2014, se caso con su novio de la preparatoria, John, quien es ciudadano Americano. Como Valeria tenia un comprobante de que ingreso legalmente a los Estados Unidos en el 2013 con su Permiso Adelantado, John la puede pedir y pueden aplicar para un Ajuste de Estatus sin que Valeria sea sujeta a un castigo de 10 años o la necesidad de un perdón provisional. Sin el Documento de Permiso Adelantado, Valeria no podría ir a visitar a su abuela, y mucho menos hacer un Ajuste de Estatus en los Estado Unidos por que su única entrada anterior fue sin inspección.

Si usted ha sido aprobado bajo el program de DACA, o si usted califica para DACA, llamenos para fijar una estrategia viable para su caso.

Options for Green Card Holders Residing Abroad

U.S. permanent resident – commonly known as the green card – allows a citizen of another country to reside in the United States on a permanent basis. The resident is free to work (or not work), attend school, start a business, and/or otherwise do anything he or she wants to do.

Permanent residents are also free to travel outside the United States. However, problems may arise if the resident stays outside the United States for an extended duration.

Residing Outside the United States for 6+ Months

To be eligible for U.S. citizenship, naturalization applicants must demonstrate that they have: 1) continuously resided in the United States for at least five (5) years prior to applying, or 2) continuously resident in the United States for at least three (3) years if the green card was obtained through marriage.

A resident who resides outside the United States for more than six months could break the continuous residence requirement to be eligible to naturalize as a U.S. citizen. This could delay the resident’s first eligible date to naturalize as a U.S. citizen.

Re-Entry Permits

Green card holders who have resided outside the United States for more than one continuous year could be determined to have abandoned U.S. residency – and the United States could require the resident to surrender or relinquish his or her green card. Green card holders who plan to reside outside of the United States for more than a year should first apply for and obtain a Re-Entry Permit (REP) prior to departing. The REP could allow the green card holder to return to the United States even if he or she has been abroad for up to two (2) years.

Returning Resident Visas

If a green card holder has resided outside the United States for more than a year, or beyond the validity of his or her REP, then a Returning Resident Visa (RRV) may be required. However, there are limitations on the eligibility for a RRV. Specifically, a green card holder may only apply for a RRV if circumstances beyond his or her control prevented them from returning to the United States within a year, or within the validity period of the REP.

In determining whether to approve a RRV, the consular officer considers whether the green card holder:

• Had a valid green card at the time of departure from the United States
• Departed with the intention of returning and that he or she did not abandon this intention
• Remained outside the United States for reasons beyond his or her control and for which he or she was not responsible

Conclusion

Think of the green card as a “use it or lose it” privilege.  So long as you demonstrate that you reside in the United States on a permanent and ongoing basis, you get to keep it.  The longer your visits abroad, the greater your chances of losing it.  If you plan to naturalize, keep your trips to less than six months.  If you plan to leave the United States for more than a year, obtain a Re-Entry Permit to protect yourself from having to surrender your green card.  Worse case scenario, if a dire situation prevented you from returning home while abroad, the Returning Resident Visa may be a last ditch option.