Q: My wife and I got our green cards and moved to California in 2002. Now we want to return to India to sell property and tie up loose ends. How long can we stay outside the U.S. and not jeopardize our permanent residency status?

A: You can stay outside of the U.S. for up to six months. If you plan on remaining outside the U.S. longer, I suggest first filing for an Advance Parole. This will assure your re-entry into the U.S. after your extended stay abroad.

Q: My 89-year-old mother needs home nurs-ing care. As a U.S. citizen can I hire a nurse from India and sponsor her for H-1B to work at my home?

A: Generally, in order to employ a foreign national in H-1B capacity, the occupation that you are hiring for must have a minimum entry level requirement of a bachelor’s degree or higher. However, bachelor’s degrees are usually not required for nursing jobs. Thus, most nursing positions are not considered H-1B qualified occupations.

Q: How long does it take Department of Labor (DOL) to approve a Reduction in Recruitment (RIR) Labor Certification (LC) application?

A: The time it takes to adjudicate LC application varies depending on which State Workforce Agency (SWA) and DOL office is processing your application.  Currently, in California, adjudication of RIR LCs is taking approximately two years. To get up-to-date SWA and DOL case time processing reports visit: www.workforcesecurity.doleta.gov/foreign/times.asp

Q: How long does it take to get a travel document (Advance Parole) and work authorization after my Labor Certification (LC) is approved?

A: In California, this process takes as little as 3-4 months.

Q: I am an Indian national. I received my U.S. green card in 2000. Now, I am planning to marry an Indian girl. How I can bring my wife to the U.S. once we are married?

A: You can file an immediate relative petition for your spouse as a permanent resident. Then, once you become a U.S. citizen, upgrade your petition to a “non-preference” category. You can also wait, and file the same petition once you become a U.S. citizen. In addition, your fiancée may independently qualify for one of many non-immigrant visa categories.

Q: My fiancée filed for a K-1 visa in February 2003. If we marry and change the status to K-3 will it reduce the processing time?

A: The processing time for both categories is about the same. However, once you are married, your spouse will no longer be eligible for a K-1 visa. You will need to reapply for her under K-3 visa category.

James E. Root, Esq., has an exclusive immigration practice with offices in L.A. and Orange counties. (888)ROOT-LAW. www.RootLaw.com