Shihab Immigration News: November 2013

The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates
Shihab Immigration News: November 2013
Gus M. Shihab
Our purpose is to bring you the latest and most relevant immigration news. Immigration law is in constant flux, and laws are constantly being revised. Congress is about to change immigration in a drastic manner. Check out our Newsletter and Blog page to stay on the cutting edge of current immigration news.

Gus M. Shihab, Esq.
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Brittany S. Stenger, Esq. We are pleased to introduce our newest Associate Attorney, Brittany S. Stenger. Visit our website to learn more about Attorney Stenger.
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Gus M. Shihab, Esq.
Matthew D. Minor, Esq.
Barbara M. Fernandez, Esq.
Brittany S. Stenger, Esq.

Immigration Blog
The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates

Follow the Shihab Immigration Blog for up-to-date analysis and interpretation of the immigration visa law issues and processes.

US Immigration laws are currently in a state of constant flux and change. Visit the Shihab Immigration Blog at least once a week to keep abreast of this complex and ever changing area.

Call our law firm today for a free in depth analysis of your immigration law issue.
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H1B season

It's Go Time for the Upcoming H-1B Cap Season
                             Traffic lights

Last year, the quota for the H-1B visa cap was reached during the first week available for filing. This year is expected to be no different. At the Law Firm of Shihab and Associates, we advise our clients to begin preparing for the 2014 H-1B visa cap before 2013 is through. Establishing who you would like to petition for, what job will the person carry out and where the foreign national will work is a good way to set your company's visa priorities for the upcoming year.



Contributed by Matthew M. Nierman, Esq. 

New! Current Processing Times:

Our Website is Now Your One Stop Shop for Visa Processing Times 



The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates is delighted to announce that we will now be rigorously tracking all processing times for your convenience. Here, you will find Visa Bulletin updates and analyses, PERM and Prevailing Wage Determination processing times, current USCIS Service Center processing times, and the processing time for the AAO. 

Be sure to bookmark the Processing Times Page and check it often for updates.

Request for Evidence (RFE) trends in H-1B and L-1 Cases

Request for Evidence

In recent months, United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has significantly increased its issuance of RFE's on H-1B and L-1 petitions.  Many of these RFE's are issued even though the petitioner has submitted some of the evidence that the RFE requests.  For H-1B petitions, USCIS has been raising concerns regarding:

  • The Educational background of the Beneficiary and how it relates to their Specialty Occupation and U.S. Educational Equivalencies;
  • Analyst and Consulting positions; and
  • Offsite Employment and Control of Employee issues.

For L-1 petitions, USCIS has focused on:

  • How specialized does Specialized Knowledge need to be; and
  • What is an Essential Function of the petitioning company.

When responding to these RFE's, it is important to respond with the best possible evidence to demonstrate what issue the RFE is trying to clarify.  Not providing the best evidence will cause delays in your petition and could even result in denials. 


Contributed by Matthew D. Minor, Esq.  
National Interest Waiver for Physicians

National Interest Waiver for Physicians
The National Interest Waiver is a great way for physicians to obtain their permanent resident status in the United States without the need for the uncertain labor certification application process.

Physicians can become permanent residents and obtain their green cards through the National Interest Waiver process. In order to qualify, the physician must work in a medically underserved area or for the Veterans Administration for five years in the area of primary care or as a specialty physician. A National Interest Waiver may be appealing to some physicians who would like to self-petition, or in other words, begin their own medical practice in a medically underserved area. Additionally, the physician's employer can petition for the foreign national so long as that employer is located in a medically underserved area.

The five years begins whenever the physician starts to practice in an underserved area, as long as he or she is not in J visa status. This means that if a physician has already been practicing in an underserved area and later applies for the National Interest Waiver, the time worked gets credited to the five year requirement once the waiver is approved. Additionally, the five years does not need to be completed in a specific period of time. USCIS will conduct periodic reviews of your case to ensure that you are still qualified for the National Interest Waiver category.

Contributed by Barbara M. Fernandez, Esq. 

Is Temporary Protected Status for the Philippines on the Horizon?


Temporary Protected Status

In the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) that razed the Philippines on November 8, 2012, at least 4,000 casualties have been confirmed, more than 600,000 people have been displaced, and approximately 1.9 million people have been left homeless. With a severe lack of potable water and the destruction of much of the agriculture in the affected areas, concern mounts as to the feasibility of the Philippines to accept Filipino nationals returning from the United States.

Senator Charles Schumer is among the first to call upon the Secretary of Homeland Security to designate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for the Philippines, permitting Filipino nationals lawfully present in the United States to remain there until the Philippines is "back on its feet."  

Read more here.

Contributed by Brittany S. Stenger, Esq.


The new policy for adjudicating I-485 applications (AOS) filed by immediate relatives of U.S. citizens admitted under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP)


Statue of Liberty
Last week, the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) released a Policy Memorandum to address the process of adjudicating adjustment of status applications filed by immediate relatives of U.S. citizens who were last admitted to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).
While it has been generally understood that foreign nationals admitted under the VWP cannot contest a removal action based on a filed adjustment of status application, other issues pertaining to adjustment of status for foreign nationals admitted under the VWP have remained unclear.
The USCIS Policy Memorandum addresses whether the Department of Homeland Security may, in its discretion, withdraw or rescind a removal order. It also addresses whether immediate relatives of U.S. citizens who overstay their VWP duration of status may still file an adjustment of status application with USCIS if they are not subject to removal.
Read more here.
Contributed by: Brittany S. Stenger Esq.    
 Our Mission Statement

It is our law firm's mission to provide competent, transparent, timely, creative, responsive, professional, and affordable legal representation.  We do so by partnering and collaborating with our clients thereby carefully studying their objectives, identifying the legal issues involved, and by proposing alternative legal strategies that would bring forth their desired outcome.  We understand that immigration is not just an end, it is a lifelong commitment.  We make certain that we deliver our service taking into account our clients' investments, hopes and aspirations.