On November 5, 2015 the U.S. Department of State (DOS) implemented a policy which required consular officers to revoke the nonimmigrant visas of foreign nationals convicted of, or merely arrested for, driving under the influence, driving while intoxicated, or any similar crimes that occurred within the last five years as stated in 9 FAM 403.11-3(A). Once the DOS is aware of the alcohol-related incident, the consulate is suppose to contact the foreign national and provide notification of the revocation. The revocation occurs regardless of whether the foreign national can be reached for notification. In cases where the foreign national cannot be reached for notification, they may only become aware of the revocation when they depart the U.S. and try to re-enter with the same visa.
In September of 2016 DOS issued updated guidance on how to implement the new policy, which … Read More »
Generally, a foreign national applying for a nonimmigrant visa to come to the U.S. must demonstrate that they have “nonimmigrant intent,” meaning the intent to return to their home country at the end of their authorized stay. The burden is on the applicant to demonstrate to the interviewing officer at the consulate or port of entry that they have sufficient ties to their home country that they do not intend to abandon and that will compel them to leave the U.S. at the conclusion of their authorized stay.
The interviewing officer has a great deal of discretion in deciding whether the foreign national has offered sufficient proof of their nonimmigrant intent. It is beneficial for the applicant to have supporting documentation of ongoing ties to their home country, which may include: proof of continuing employment, property ownership, financial assets and family ties. … Read More »
If you are an international student enrolled in a full-time degree or academic program at a U.S. educational institution, then you are an F-1 student. As an F-1 student, you are admitted to the U.S. for “duration of status.” This means you are allowed to stay in the U.S. as long as you maintain your status by satisfying the requirements and regulations instituted by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE). The following is a guide to maintaining your F-1 student status or applying for reinstatement if you have fallen out of status:
Maintaining F-1 Status
You can maintain your F-1 student status by following these rules:
Maintain a full-time course load. What constitutes a full-time course load might differ depending on the type of program in which you have enrolled. You should check your program to ensure … Read More »
On Election Day 2016, I served, with joy, as an Elections Officer in Fairfax County. Working at a poll in a heavily immigrant community, a large number of the voters I saw were undoubtedly naturalized U.S. citizens. Though some debate the effect of a single vote, the passion with which these individuals voted was unmistakable. While some wore traditional garb, many specifically chose to sport red, white, and blue attire to celebrate their adopted country.
For many in the immigrant community, the results of this election were disappointing. Xenophobia and rhetoric regarding walls and mass deportation have appeared to overpower more constructive conversations regarding unimaginable visa backlogs, the retention of highly-skilled foreign workers, and balancing the just with the humane aspects of being an immigrant nation.
Although specifics have not yet emerged, the newly-elected President has signaled his intention to severely restrict legal migration to the … Read More »
Immigration law remains a hotbed of legal and political activity in the United States. As we enter Spring 2016, here are several important immigration law updates:
Update on President Obama’s Executive Action, DAPA
In what will surely be one of the most anticipated decisions in 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari to United States v. Texas, which is the case involving President Obama’s executive action known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA). As detailed on this blog, DAPA is the closest thing to a form of immigration amnesty in the U.S. since the LIFE Act [245(i)] ended in April 2001. After President Obama announced DAPA, twenty-six states formally challenged the executive action, and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an injunction to block DAPA implementation. Oral arguments in United States v. Texas are expected to be held in April 2016 with … Read More »
In November 2014, President Obama outlined several executive actions designed to modernize and streamline the U.S. immigration system. At the time, much of the attention surrounding the President’s announcement focused on the Deferred Action for Parents (DAPA) program, which is now on hold. However, the President introduced other changes to current programs and policies, which should provide much-needed relief for intending immigrants.
In accordance with the President’s executive actions, the Department of State (DOS) recently announced a new procedure which will provide relief to scores of individuals stuck in lengthy visa backlogs. Each month, DOS publishes a Visa Bulletin which indicates the dates for which visas are being issued in family and employment-based categories. As of the newly-published Visa Bulletin for October 2015, DOS will now post two different charts for both family-preference visas and employment-based visas in the Visa Bulletin. The charts are: (1) Application … Read More »
Recently, the immigration team at Livesay & Myers, P.C. attended the AILA Annual Conference in National Harbor, Maryland. AILA (the American Immigration Lawyers Association) is the largest professional organization for immigration attorneys worldwide. The four-day conference was filled with educational seminars and the latest updates in immigration law. Here are some noteworthy highlights from the conference:
The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) confirmed that 18 new judges were hired in June to fill an urgent need in immigration courts nationwide. Unfortunately, no new judges will be placed in our local courts in Arlington, Virginia or Baltimore, Maryland. In Arlington, hearings for new, non-detained immigrants continue to be scheduled for 2019.
After a several-week technological outage for many embassies and consulates worldwide, the Department of State reported that all visa-issuing posts are back online. To help clear a backlog, some 410,000 nonimmigrant … Read More »
Are you a citizen of the United States? This may seem like a basic question, but for some the answer may be complicated. Many people may be U.S. citizens without even knowing it, particularly where their citizenship is derived through the naturalization of their parents. The distinction can be significant, particularly where that person finds themselves facing criminal charges. Below I outline the ways in which a person might have become a U.S. citizen as a child through no action of their own.
U.S. Citizen at Time of Birth
Birth in the United States or certain U.S. territories. This is how most of us derived our citizenship and while this route is quite well known, some confusion persists. For example, Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor, whose parents moved to New York from Puerto Rico before she was born, is often incorrectly labeled as … Read More »
Immigration law continues to be a hotbed of legal and political activity in the United States. As we enter May 2015, here are updates on three important areas of immigration law:
Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA)
In November 2014, President Obama announced a new plan for executive action on immigration, which included Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA). As explained in my earlier blog post, DAPA permits immigrants who have sons or daughters who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents to not only remain in the U.S. but receive work permits as well. The President’s executive action immediately came under scrutiny. On February 16, 2015, a judge in Texas issued a nationwide injunction to stop implementation of DAPA. On April 17, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit … Read More »
Going through a divorce can be stressful enough without the added element of marriage-based immigration issues. While all your time and energy may be focused on terminating your marriage, you cannot neglect how this change in your relationship may or may not affect your ability to remain in the United States after your divorce. Here are answers to ten questions which commonly arise when divorce and immigration intersect:
Will separation from my spouse affect my immigration benefits? Generally, no. Physical or legal (court-ordered) separation from your spouse does not constitute a termination of your marriage and will not affect your immigration status. In some states, an extended legal separation may convert into a divorce after a period of time. In these instances, your immigration status would be terminated if it is dependent upon your marriage.
Will my divorce affect my non-immigrant status? If your … Read More »