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What You Need to Know About Deportation

President-elect Donald Trump has softened his stance on immigration. During his campaign, he vowed to deport all the 11 million undocumented immigrants. In a recent interview however, he said that he would prioritize the removal of the 2 to 3 million with criminal records.

Focusing on undocumented immigrants with criminal records has also been the thrust of outgoing president Barack Obama. In 2015, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson said that the focus of the agency’s limited resources was in combating threats to national security, public safety and border security rather than expending funding on individuals charged with minor crimes like traffic violations.

Back in 2011, the government deported a record-high of 396,906 individuals, 90% of those removed were criminals and repeat immigration law offenders. Fast forward to fiscal year 2015 and total deportations declined to 235,415, according to a report dated December 22, 2015 from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). As of July 2016, ICE has completed 168,781 deportations, a slight decline from the same point in 2015.

While this trend and Trump’s latest pronouncements may ease the worries of some people, it must be noted that those who are without lawful immigration status may still be placed under removal proceedings. It is therefore important for them to know what to do when facing deportation. An increase in sweeps or workplace raids may occur in the coming months.

Contrary to popular belief, unless subject to expedited removal an alien is generally entitled to court proceedings before being removed. Removal proceedings typically start with the service of a notice to appear (NTA) upon the alien.

The NTA specifies, among other things, the alleged immigration violation, the charge against the alien and the specific provision/s of the law alleged to have been violated, and the time and place of the hearing. An NTA may be served in person or by mail. As non-citizens are required to notify the USCIS of any change of address within 10 days of the change, in many cases the ICE may simply mail the NTA to the alien’s last addresses and it would be considered valid service.

If served with an NTA, the alien is strongly advised to consult an immigration lawyer because being placed under removal proceedings is a serious matter. An immigration lawyer can tell him whether proceedings can be terminated because of a problem with the NTA on its face or in the way that it was served. The lawyer can analyze the facts of the case, explain what options may be available, and if the alien would be eligible for a relief from removal. Reliefs include voluntary departure, asylum, adjustment of status and cancellation of removal.

The alien must attend the scheduled master hearing, which is a preliminary hearing where the charges are read and the alien is asked to admit or contest the allegations and whether he intends to seek relief from removal. An individual hearing is scheduled if the case will be heard on the merits.

The alien may be represented by an attorney at the master and individual hearings. However, unless provided pro bono services by a volunteer attorney or by a non-profit organization, any legal representation will be at the alien’s own cost because there is no right to government-appointed counsel in immigration cases.

The alien must keep the immigration court updated of any change of address and must attend his hearings. If he fails to notify the court of an address change, and because he did not receive correspondence he fails to attend a hearing, the proceedings may continue and may result in the alien being ordered removed in absentia.

 

What To Expect from Trump on Immigration

Donald Trump’s election as president has caused fear and anxiety in immigrant communities across the US.

It is no secret that central to his campaign was his hard-line stance on immigration. He vowed to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants, build a wall on the US-Mexico border and make the Mexican government pay for it, triple the number of ICE agents, end sanctuary cities and suspend the issuance of visas to certain countries.

In a post-election television appearance on the CBS program “60 Minutes”, he reiterated the same promises and vowed to turn his campaign slogan into concrete actions and move forward with an aggressive policy to deport immigrants. He softened his tone a little bit by saying that he would go after two to three million undocumented aliens who are “criminals and have criminal records”.

But he did not elaborate on how he would hunt down his deportation targets. Some fear that a deportation force would be created to conduct sweeps or raids in homes and in the workplace.

He has reportedly started to assemble his immigration team and this includes at least two notorious anti immigrant activists, Kris Kobach, architect of anti immigrant laws in Arizona and Alabama and Danielle Cutrona, Senator Jeff Session’s counsel, who is avowedly anti immigrant.

Now more than ever, undocumented immigrants fear deportation and separation from their families. Immigration lawyers are likewise experiencing a surge of panic-stricken families who are anxious about their future. Even Filipino migrant workers are also worried about their jobs especially since Trump has espoused a more protectionist stance and that includes “bringing jobs back to Americans.” Filipino workers fear that their contracts may abruptly end when the new president assumes office in January. Immigrant workers whose petitions are now pending are likewise anxious that they may not be able to make it here due to Trump’s statement last August 4 in his campaign in Portland, Maine tagging nine countries, including the Philippines, as terrorist nations.

To what extent will he be able to muster his executive might to be able to fulfill his ideas to “make America great again”?

We can expect that Trump will muster his executive might by way of executive actions. He will undo Pres. Obama’s policy on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).As a result, more than 700,000 young immigrants who came to the US before turning 16 and have stayed here since June 15, 2007 will find themselves in a limbo. It is very unfortunate because they have long ties with the US and have already considered it to be their home and if Trump will push through with scrapping DACA, they will not be able to attend school or find work.

It is also to be expected that Trump will totally scrap Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) which is now on hold following a preliminary injunction placed by the lower Texas court and upheld by the Fifth Circuit Court. This is sad news for those who have no lawful immigration status although they have continuously resided in the US since January 10, 2010 and have a US citizen or LPR son or daughter. Immigrant rights advocates fear that scrapping DACA and DAPA altogether will disrupt family unity and ultimately become economically disadvantageous. This would mean separation of families among affected immigrants. This could also adversely affect businesses and the local economy as certain sectors like agriculture are dependent on the labor force provided by the immigrant population.

3 Visa Authorizations Extended Through Dec. 9

Three visa programs that expired last September 30 were recently extended through Dec. 9, 2016. The visa programs are the Conrad State 30 Program, the non-minister special immigrant religious worker program (SR visa), and the EB-5 Regional Center Immigrant Investor program.

The Conrad 30 program allows state health departments and agencies to recommend the waiver of the 2-year foreign residence requirement for up to 30 foreign medical graduates upon completion of their J-1 exchange visitor program. This waiver allows them to change their status to H-1B or adjust to permanent residence and meet the demand for healthcare in medically underserved areas where doctors are in short supply.

An extension was also granted to the employment-based 4th preference category visa for non-minister religious workers. This visa grants special immigrant status to professionals and non-professionals working within a certain religious vocation other than being ministers. The extension also includes their accompanying spouses and children. To be eligible, an applicant must have been a member of a religious denomination with a bona fide non-profit religious organization in the US and he must have also have been working in a religious vocation or occupation aside from those that are purely administrative in nature.

Lastly, extension was granted to the EB-5 Regional Center Immigrant Investor Program (R51 and I51 visa categories). This comes as a welcome development since organizations of business leaders, trade associations and government officials had recently urged Congress and members of the Judiciary Committee to take a second-look at the program.

The EB-5 regional center program grants a green card to foreign nationals who invest in any of the regional centers all over the country. As of October 3, 2016, the USCIS has approved 863 regional centers across the country.

In its letter to the members of Congress, the EB-5 Investment Coalition highlighted the contribution that the program has done especially in turning the wheels of the American economy. According to the group, the program has created jobs, facilitated growth of vital industries in different parts of the country and essentially, has revitalized communities.

“The program, has facilitated billions of dollars in direct foreign investment into a diverse range of projects throughout the United States and has thereby generated over $15 billion from 2005-2015, creating well over 100,000 new US jobs in that time,” stressed the coalition.

Unlike the regular EB-5 program which requires the investor to create 10 full-time jobs in two years, a regional center investor can use the more relaxed requirement of indirect job creation. Furthermore, for regional centers $500,000 is usually sufficient for investment as opposed to the $1,000,000 required under the regular EB-5 program making it a more welcoming program to anyone who wishes to invest in a targeted employment area.

Disappointing Ruling on DAPA and DACA+

Without any explanation, the US Supreme Court gave Pres. Barack Obama’s immigration initiatives another blow as it denied last Oct. 3 a petition to rehear United States v. Texas, also known as the DAPA and DACA+ case.

Back on June 23, the High Court came to an even 4-4 decision on the preliminary injunction placed by the lower Texas court and upheld by the Fifth Circuit Court upon DAPA and DACA+ essentially putting a stop to these programs in the whole country. The evenly split decision came about because the High Court was missing its ninth member following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia early this year.

On July 18, the Department of Justice filed with the US Supreme Court a petition to rehear the case and argued that although it was exceedingly rare, the Supreme Court had granted a rehearing in the past where the prior decision was issued by an evenly divided court and that it “appeared likely that upon reargument a majority one way or the other might be mustered.”

It is a disappointing decision for the millions of undocumented immigrants who have been waiting for DAPA and DACA+ to provide them a reprieve from deportation and an authorization to work. Many immigration advocates are also saddened by this news.

However, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) through its President William A Stock remains optimistic. “This case is far from over. Once a more complete record of the merits of Texas’ claims is created, we are confident that when the case is once again back on the Supreme Court docket, the Court will show appropriate deference to the executive branch and not legislate from the bench by enjoining this program permanently,” said Stock.

DAPA would have temporarily deferred deportation for those who have a US citizen or LPR son or daughter as of November 20, 2014 and who have continuously resided in the US since January 1, 2010 but with no lawful immigration status. As long as they had no criminal convictions and have passed a background check, these undocumented immigrants could benefit from DAPA.

DACA+ eliminated the age requirement of DACA and pushed the arrival date to January 1, 2010. It must be recalled that DACA was first introduced by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) back in 2012. Under this program, those under 31 years old on June 15, 2012, have arrived in the US before becoming 16, have continuously resided from June 15, 2007 to the present, are either in school, have graduated or completed high school or a general education development (GED) certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans of the US Coast Guard or US Armed Forces and have not been convicted of a felony could have deferred action or deferred deportation.

With immigration policy being among the salient battleground in this year’s presidential elections—with the two parties clutching the opposite ends of the pole, undocumented immigrants cannot rest easy. While Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton promises to continue Pres. Obama’s immigration initiatives, the denial of the rehearing could also affect any further steps she may take. There is also Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s incessant vow to put a stop to Pres. Obama’s initiatives because of what he deems as a railroading of the country’s immigration laws.

Automatic Acquisition of Citizenship After Birth

Children born outside the US are automatically US citizens provided they meet all the requirements under the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 (CCA).

The statutory requirements are: (1) at least one parent is a U.S. citizen either by birth or by naturalization; (2) the child is under 18 years old; (3) the child is a lawful permanent resident (green card holder); and (4) the child is residing in the US in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent.

The lawful permanent resident requirement is not satisfied if the child was not issued his green card before he turned 18 even though he had applied for it and was assured that he would get it before he turned 18 but it was delayed due to bureaucratic errors committed by the USCIS.

In a recent case, a lawful permanent resident (LPR) was ordered removed by an Immigration Judge due to a previous conviction. He appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals but his appeal was dismissed. He then filed a petition for review with the US Court of Appeals.

He claimed that he was not subject to removal because he became a permanent resident before he turned 18 and therefore automatically became a US citizen under the CCA.

He was born abroad on March 29, 1983. He came to the US with his father who later naturalized and became a US citizen in 1997. He then applied for his lawful permanent resident status. However, although he submitted his application for adjustment of status before he turned 18, it was not until a few years later that his green card was issued.

So, the issue was when he became a lawful permanent resident. If he became a lawful permanent resident before he turned 18 years old, he then automatically became a US citizen under the CCA. If, however, he became a lawful permanent resident after turning 18, he was ineligible for automatic citizenship under the CCA.

The child submitted his application for lawful permanent resident status in 1997, before he turned 18. When he was 17 years old, he was interviewed by a USCIS officer and was given a signed I-89 Form. He was also informed during the said interview that he would receive his green card in three months. Unfortunately, USCIS delayed the issuance of his card for four years and issued it in 2004.

The question raised in the case was: did he really become a US citizen prior to his 18th birthday? The law states that an alien becomes a lawful permanent resident on the date the order of the Attorney General approving the application for adjustment of status is made. In other words, it is as of the date of the order approving the adjustment of status. In this case, it was when they formally gave him his green card in 2004.

He argued that the government should be estopped from placing him in removal proceedings because the USCIS caused the unreasonable delay in the issuance of his green card which cost him the opportunity to obtain US citizenship. Placing one in estoppel means that said party is not allowed to deny or allege certain facts because of said party’s previous conduct, allegation or denial. In this case, because the US government caused the delay in the issuance of the green card, it could not claim that the petitioner did not meet all the requirements for him to be considered as a lawful permanent resident and ultimately, cannot deny him of his automatic US citizenship.

The US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals however said that they cannot estop the government on the facts of the case. It sought guidance from a similar case and said “to state a cause of action for estoppel against the government, a private party must allege more than mere negligence, delay, inaction, or failure to follow an internal agency guideline. Instead, the petitioner must establish, among other things, affirmative misconduct of the government.” In this case, he failed to provide evidence of affirmative misconduct on the part of the government, thus his petition was denied.

Preparing for a Marriage-Based Immigration Interview

In a marriage- based adjustment interview, the couple must prove that the marriage was valid and in good faith from its inception and that it was not entered into for immigration purposes.

For couples who live together, have a common social life, do not have a huge age gap, have common interests and same cultural/ racial backgrounds, it is easier to get a petition approved. In other words, “conventional” marital situations usually get approved faster.

However, certain factors or situations or “red flags” could make USCIS want to take a close scrutiny at the marriage. Examples of these are multiple applications/ petitions filed by an applicant/ petitioner, short time between entry and marriage, unusual marriage history, children born during marriage to other parent, unusual or large age discrepancy between spouses, unusual cultural differences, low employment/ financial status of petitioner, and previous marriage to foreign nationals.

In one case, a foreign national who entered with a visitor’s visa remained for a period beyond the six-months given to him. After 5 years, he married a US citizen who filed an I-130 petition for her. During the interview, the officer noted that “there were no discrepancies in their answers” but that they had “no joint information”, neither of them worked and they lived with the US citizen’s mother. There were missing information about how they met that gave “red flags” to the officer.

It is best to go to the interview well prepared. The USCIS officer may ask questions about the data entries made on the I-130 petition. He may also inquire about how you go about your day-to-day life together. The officer may also inquire about the documents submitted with the petition so it is good if you will run through them a few times just to refresh your memory of the information you provided in the petition. Oftentimes, marriage-based interviews can make one falter or uncomfortable even if you have nothing to hide.

Practicing possible scenarios or interview questions is recommended. It can seem intimidating to be asked probing questions so it is advisable to prepare well.

It is not uncommon for USCIS officers to ask about personal details such as information about your relatives, your work and your friends. As long as you have nothing to hide and have a good faith marriage, do not be afraid when the immigration officer does that.

Lawyers’ role in the interview is limited to being observers and they will not be able to help you answer the questions. They, however, may ask the USCIS officer to clarify the question asked.

Be careful not to sign any document withdrawing the visa petition without consulting your lawyer. Do not sign any form stating that the marriage is fraudulent. At any point during the interview, you can ask to stop it and consult with your lawyer.

Paying attention to the question and answering that question is crucial. If the question demands a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer, answer it as such, then give an explanation if necessary.

It is of course unavoidable to make mistakes. While it is best to remember important dates like birthdays and anniversaries, oftentimes we find ourselves forgetting a few details. At any point during the interview, you can always go back and change or clarify your answer.

It is also okay to ask for clarification if you do not understand a question. Fully explain what you want to say. Say “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember” if such is the truth instead of making guesses, and don’t say a document exists when it doesn’t. Bear in mind that the officer may ask you to produce the said document later on.

Filipino Loses US Citizenship Due to Prior Conspiracy to Commit Visa Fraud

It seldom happens but the citizenship of a naturalized person may be revoked. The process is known as denaturalization.

The grounds for revocation include concealment of material evidence or willful misrepresentation in the naturalization process, membership in subversive organization, and dishonorable military discharge.

Lack of good moral character in the five years prior to naturalization may also lead to denaturalization. This is what happened to a naturalized Filipino whose citizenship was revoked by a district court after he pled guilty to conspiracy to commit visa fraud in April 2009. The Court of Appeals upheld the revocation on April 18, 2016.

Ceferino Olivar was a native of the Philippines. He was naturalized back in 2002 and started working around the same year in a law firm as a paralegal. The visa fraud he committed did not pertain to him.

He, together with another person, was accused of filing fraudulent applications with the Department of labor and the USCIS. They helped immigrants submit false documents such as diplomas, transcript of records and experience letters to support their applications.

They would charge between $1,000 and $7,500 supposedly to find an employer who would sponsor foreign workers for an immigrant visa. The sponsoring employers never actually intended to hire the immigrant workers, according to the prosecutors.

Based on the facts of the case, the conspiracy began in July 2001 though according to Olivar, he did not commit any overt act to further the conspiracy until after he was naturalized.

Olivar contended that when he was sworn in as a US citizen, he was not a criminal and he had not done any criminal act. The “overt act”, which he argued was an important element of conspiracy, only happened after he was already naturalized. “When I agreed to commit the act, that did not mean that I committed it,” he insisted. “That is the very basic principle of conspiracy.”

The court disagreed with his contention. “So somebody could decide to engage in four or five illegal conspiracies to smuggle drugs, smuggle aliens, do a whole bunch of stuff, and say ‘but hold off, I’m going to become a citizen next week and then we’ll start buying the guns?’ Circuit Judge Susan P. Graber asked. “And that’s okay?”

Olivar clearly thought that as a US citizen, he was not at risk of being deported. Yes, you can be penalized and can be imprisoned, but you will not be susceptible to being deported for the commission of crimes. At least, that is what Olivar thought.

However, the court clarified that one of the requirements for naturalization is having good moral character in the five years prior to naturalization. The court held that even if no overt act was done until after he was naturalized, the conspiracy itself began at the time the defendant agreed to commit the crime. Thus, during the five year period prior to his naturalization or what is known as the ‘good moral character period’, he already failed to comply with that requirement.

Philippines 3rd Leading Country of Origin of New Citizens

The Office of Immigration Statistics recently released information on the foreign nationals aged 18 years and older who naturalized in 2014.

The number of naturalizations decreased to 653,416 from 779,929 in 2013 and 757,434 in 2012. The Philippines remained as the third leading country of birth of the new citizens (34,591). Mexico with 94,889 was first followed by India with 37,854 and People’s Republic of China was 4th with 30,284.

Asia was the top regional origin (35.7%) followed by North America (34.1%) and Europe (10.9%). Asia has been the top region in most recent years since 1976.

74% of all persons naturalizing resided in the following states: California, Florida, New York, Texas, New Jersey, Illinois, Massachusetts, Virginia, Georgia and Pennsylvania. California had 140,234 followed by Florida (79,637) and New York (77,717).

Naturalization is the process of becoming a US citizen after fulfilling the requirements set forth in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). A naturalized US citizen may vote, get a position in federal government, participate in federal programs, and obtain a US passport and bring family members to immigrate to the United States.

To be eligible for naturalization, one must be at least 18 years old, be a lawful permanent resident (green card holder), maintain continuous residence in the United States for at least five years, and be physically present in the US for at least 30 months before filing a Form N-400 Application for Naturalization.

Trips of one year or longer break the continuous residence requirement and the applicant must complete a new period of residence after coming back to the US. On the other hand, trips of more than six months to less than one year are presumed to break the continuity of residence, but this presumption can be rebutted with evidence that the applicant did not abandon permanent residence in the US. This evidence may include the filing of US tax returns, presence of family ties in the US and maintaining a home in the US.

The applicant must also present proof of residence for at least three months in the state where the application for naturalization is filed.

Additional requirements include the ability to speak, read and write in English; knowledge of US government and; and possession of good moral character. This is measured by “standard of the community” and evaluations are made on a case-to-case basis. Certain activities may disqualify a person from complying with this requirement such as involvement in crimes of moral turpitude (like gambling, habitual drunkenness or prostitution) violation of drug laws, willful failure to support dependents and crimes involving fraud, harm to persons or damage to property. Crimes involving murder or other aggravated felonies will ultimately disqualify one from being naturalized.

Special provisions in the INA exempt certain applicants from some of these general requirements. For instance, spouses and children of US citizen only require three years of continuous residence instead of five. If you have any physical impairment, you can also be exempted from the civics and English exams. Likewise, you can be exempted from the English test if you are at least 50 years old and have resided in the US as a permanent resident for a period totaling at least 20 years or if you are 55 years old and have resided for at least 15 years.

Problematic Relative Petitions

A US citizen or a lawful permanent resident (LPR) petitioner may encounter a number of issues when filing for his/her spouse. Commonly encountered are issues relating to the petitioner’s previously filed petitions, huge gap in the age of petitioner and beneficiary, their cultural differences, language barriers and other USCIS-identified marriage fraud indicators.

The USCIS looks into previously-filed petitions when adjudicating a petition currently pending before it. There is no prohibition on filing multiple petitions; however, an LPR who obtained his residence through prior marriage cannot file a petition for a spouse within 5 years of the date when he became an LPR. To overcome this prohibition, the LPR must establish by clear and convincing evidence that the prior marriage was entered into in good faith or it ended through death.

Marriage entered into solely for immigration benefits is considered fraudulent and are not recognized for immigration purposes. The USCIS looks at a number of factors indicating sham marriage or where the couple lacks the intent of establishing a life together at the time of the marriage.

The following factors could be interpreted as indicating sham marriage: huge gap in the age of petitioner and beneficiary, their inability to speak each other’s language, vast difference in cultural and ethnic background, family and/or friends are unaware of the marriage, the marriage is arranged by a third party, discrepancies in the statements on questions for which a husband and wife should have common knowledge, no cohabitation since marriage, and petitioner has previously filed petitions on behalf of prior alien spouses.

Where there is a large disparity of age between the petitioner and the intending immigrant, the USCIS will scrutinize the relationship more thoroughly to determine whether they married in good faith. It is easier for couples who have been married for many years to provide documentation proving that they have a bona fide marriage.

Evidence of good faith marriage include proof of combined financial resources, shared residence, proof that beneficiary is listed as petitioner’s spouse in insurance policies, tax forms, bank accounts and other evidence such as photographs.

The petitioner must prove by a preponderance of evidence that the marriage is bona fide. For recently married couples who cannot provide proof of shared residence as the beneficiary is still living abroad, it is best that they document their correspondence and collect as many documentary evidence of the time spent together.

Another fraud indicator is where the petitioner and intending immigrant speak different languages. In this case, the USCIS will investigate as to how the spouses are communicating with each other and whether they are trying to learn each other’s language. As to vast difference in religious and cultural beliefs, the USCIS will most likely look into how the couple will celebrate the holidays and how they will practice their religious beliefs.

Where fraud indicators are present, the USCIS will review and examine the relationship with more scrutiny, and may conduct investigations and field examinations.

USCIS Issues H-1B Filing Instructions

H-1B petitions for fiscal year 2017 that starts October 1, 2016 will be accepted beginning April 1, the USCIS announced last March 16.

More petitions than the H-1B cap of 65,000 are expected to be filed during the first five business days. So all the petitions received during that period will be subject to a computer-generated lottery system to randomly select the petitions required to meet the cap.

Last fiscal year, the USCIS received approximately 233,000 during the first five business days in April. The USCIS will notify the public when the H-1B cap has been met. Those not selected will be returned.

The first 20,000 H-1B petitions for individuals holding a US master’s degree or higher are exempted from the cap. Once this limit is reached, the petitions will be subjected to the regular cap.

Processing of H-1B petitions may be expedited through premium processing request on Form I-907. This may be filed concurrently with the H-1B petition. For a fee of $1,225, premium processing guarantees a fifteen calendar day processing of filed petitions from receipt of the request. This year the USCIS will start premium processing of H-1B petitions subject to cap no later than May 16.

Before the filing of an H-1B petition on Form I-129, the petitioner must file with the U.S. Department of Labor, a Labor Condition Application (LCA). The certified LCA must be filed with the Form I-129 petition.

To be classified as a specialty occupation for H-1B purposes, the occupation requires at least a bachelor’s degree or higher in the specific specialty or its equivalent. In order to be eligible for a specialty occupation, the beneficiary must have at least one of the following: (1) US bachelor or higher degree, (2) foreign degree equivalent to a US bachelor degree or higher, (3) an unrestricted license or certification to practice profession or (4) experience equivalent to completion of degree.

The H-1B petition must be accompanied by proof that the beneficiary is eligible for H-1B classification. Documentary evidence includes diploma, transcript of records, credentials evaluation and license to practice the profession, if required, among others.

The USCIS allows for the submission of other evidence if the degree has not been awarded yet but requirements for the degree have been met. The final transcript as well as a letter from the Registrar confirming that all degree requirements have been met may suffice.

A U.S. employer cannot file multiple H-1B petitions for the same beneficiary. Multiple H-1B petitions by a single employer for the same beneficiary will be rejected. However, related employers such as a principal and subsidiary may file for the same worker for different positions subject to other requirements. The H-1B beneficiary may work for more than one employer provided that each employer files a separate petition with the required labor condition application.

There is a base fee of $325 for an H-1B petition, an ACWIA fee of $750 or $1,500 depending on the number of employees of the employer and an anti-fraud fee of $500.

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