– By Guest Author E. Adriana Kostencki, Esq.
Licensed to practice law in Venezuela and Florida, U.S.A.
U.S. employers may require the services of a foreign national to work at their company or business. Immigration laws, however, require that an individual whom the U.S. employer plans to employ or continue to employ in the United States is authorized to accept employment in the United States. If the individual is already a permanent resident (green card holder), the U.S. employer may hire that individual, but must comply with the employment verification requirements. If the foreign national is not already a permanent resident, the U.S. employer will need to file a petition so that the individual may obtain the appropriate immigrant or nonimmigrant classification.
One of the most common non-immigrant visa classifications available to foreign professionals is the H-1B visa category, which enables U.S. companies to hire foreign skilled professionals to perform services in a specialty occupation. The law defines “profession” as including, but not limited, to architects, engineers, lawyers, physicians, surgeons, and teachers. The specialty occupation requires the attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree in the specific specialty (or its equivalent through a combination of education, training, and work experience) as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States.
In October 2012, the United States Citizen and Immigration Service (“USCIS”) extended the Temporary Protective Status (“TPS”) period for Haitians to July 22, 2014 as a result of a devastating earthquake that hit the country in 2010. On December 27, 2012 the USCIS announced that it was extending the 60-day period for Haitians to re-register for TPS through January 29, 2013 (the prior deadline was November 30, 2012). The deadline to re-register was extended largely because of the effect that Hurricane Sandy had on many areas with high Haitian populations.
The re-registration deadline applies to people that have already been granted TPS status and is necessary to maintain status. However, even those that have never been granted TPS may be eligible to file a late application. Haitians who have continuously resided in the United States since January 12, 2011 are eligible to apply for TPS status. Even if a person’s residence was not continuous since that time, an immigration attorney will be able to evaluate the case to see if the person falls into an exception.
Are you a U.S. Citizen who wants to help a family member obtain a green card? Here is the basic who, what, when, where and why of the process.
— with guest author E. Adriana Kostencki
Who can I sponsor?
Any citizen of the United States can help certain family members become a “lawful permanent resident” – often referred to as obtaining a “green card” – by applying to the U.S. government. A citizen can apply on behalf of a spouse or children, and citizens 21 years old or older may also apply for their parents or siblings. The citizen, or “sponsor,” must establish a family relationship and that he or she has enough income or assets to support the family member in the United States.
What is a green card?
A “green card” is literally a green card that proves a person is authorized to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis and is registered according to the law. A green card is generally valid for ten years, but may be renewed indefinitely.
When will my family member obtain their green card?
A U.S. citizen’s spouse, unmarried children under 21, and parents will be invited to apply for an immigrant visa or adjustment of status as soon as your application to the government is approved. If your family member is already in the United States after entering legally, he or she can apply to adjust his or her status at the same time you file the petition. Other family members may have to wait several years before they can adjust their status in the United States. You can check processing times on the USCIS’s website.