Q: Is it true that new H-1B visas are running out for 2005 fiscal year?

A: As of Aug. 18, 2004, USCIS had received 45,900 cap-subject H-1B filings. U.S. Congress allocated only 65,000 H-1Bs for 2005 fiscal year. Time is quickly running out to file new cap-subject H-1B petitions.

Q: I was told that H-1B extensions beyond six years can be done for applicants whose labor certifications are pending for more than a year or approved. Is that true?

A: Yes, the seventh year and subsequent H-1B extensions are renewable in one-year increments if filed at least 365 days after the date that the labor certification was filed.

Q: How can I check on nonimmigrant visa processing times at U.S. consular posts in India?

A: The State Department now provides infor-mation on waiting times for interview appointments and visa processing for nonimmigrant visas at individual posts at travel.state.gov/visa/tempvisitors_wait.php

Q: I am a U.S. citizen who recently wed in New Delhi. I tried to file a marriage petition for my spouse right after we were married. My petition was denied due to some new 60-day presence requirement. Please clarify this policy.

A: The petitioner must be present in India for at least 60 days before he or she can file a marriage petition (I-130) in New Delhi. The 60 days must be immediately preceding the filing of the petition, with no departures from the country within that 60-day period.

Q: I am a U.S. citizen married to a visitor. I have applied for my wife?s change of status based on marriage. She has a grown-up child in Bangladesh. Can I petition for my stepchild to immigrate to the United States?

A: Yes, you can petition for your stepchild (without delay), so long as your marriage took place before the child reached the age of 18.

Q: I am a green-card holder. I want to go back to India for a visit. How long can I stay away from the United States and not jeopardize my permanent-resident status?

A: You can leave the United States for up to six months without any problems. If your travel outside of the United Stated is beyond six months, I recommend first filing for a Re-entry Permit.

Q: I obtained my green card on Oct. 10, 1999. When can I apply for my U.S. citizenship? Can I file the application myself or is it better to consult an attorney?

A: You are eligible to apply for naturalization 4 years and 9 months subsequent to becoming a permanent resident. It is always advisable to consult with an experienced immigration attorney prior to filing your case, as there may be legal issues in your case that are not familiar to you.

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

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