Q: I understand that the Immigration Service has recently raised its filing fees. How much are the new fees?
A: From April 30, USCIS raised its fees by an average of $55 per application. A complete chart of application fees is posted atshusterman.com/pdf/fees43004.pdf
Q: I recently married a U.S. citizen? How long will it take me to obtain a green card? How about a work permit and a travel permit?
A: That all depends on where you live. Check this link for the processing times of all USCIS offices. www.shusterman.com/toc-sc.html
Q: Now that the H-1B cap has been reached, does this mean that no H-1B petitions will be approved until Oct. 1?
A: There are quite a few exceptions to this rule. For example, persons presently in H-1B status and their employers are able to extend their status. Universities and governmental and nonprofit research organizations are exempt from the cap. So are persons who have changed their status from H-1B to another status within the past six years and now want to change it back. See more information athttp://shusterman.com/toc-h1b.html
Q: How about physicians who have received a J waiver? Are they exempt from the H-1B cap?
A: If they obtained their waivers through the sponsorship of a Conrad State 30 program, the answer should be yes, although the Immigration Service has not explicitly said so. If they achieved a waiver on any other basis, they are subject to the cap.
Q: Is it true that persons who applied for late amnesty under either the Catholic Social Services (CSS) or the LULAC programs will be able to apply for green cards even though the LIFE Act is over?
A: Yes. Recently, U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton approved two settlement agreements between the plaintiffs and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in both the CSS and the LULAC cases. The DHS will issue filing instructions before the end on March, and class members will have one year to apply for permanent residence. For more information, see shusterman.com/toc-amnesty.html
Q: I’ve heard that the Program Electronic Review Management (PERM) regulations will become effective later this year. Is this true?
A Probably. In February, the Labor Department forwarded the PERM regulations to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The OMB has 90 days to review them and either return them to the Labor Department for revisions or publish them as regulations. Once they are published, they will become effective in 120 days. Thereafter, no more applications for labor certification will be accepted.
Carl Shusterman is a former INS Trial Attorney and a Certified Specialist in Immigration and Nationality Law. He manages a five-attorney practice based in Los Angeles. (213) 623-4592.www.shusterman.com