Visitor’s Visa – What You Need To Know

If you would like to visit the United States and you are a citizen of a country that requires a visitor’s visa to enter the U.S., there are a few tips you should know for working on your application. The DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application form is what you need to fill out if you are planning to do temporary travel to the United States for tourism. This form can also be used for K visas for fiances as well. This form is submitted electronically to the Department of State, so make sure you print out your confirmation page at the end. After filling out the DS-160 online, you will need to have a personal interview with a Consular Officer. The Consular Officers use information from the DS-160 and the interview to determine your eligibility for a nonimmigrant visa.  It is very important to be prepared with the right information and correct documents for your consular interview. When filling out the DS-160 online, you will need important documents and information such as your: – Passport – Travel Itinerary – Dates of your last 5 visits or trips to the United States – International Travel history for the past 5 years – Resume or Curriculum Vitae – Information about your education and work history – Additional information that the consular officers may ask for Before attending your interview, you should consult with an experienced immigration attorney to make sure you have all of the correct documents and information together to be properly prepared for the interview. An attorney can go over the types of questions that you will encounter at the...

California AB-60 Driver’s License

What is California AB-60? Starting in January of 2015, California residents who cannot establish proof of their legal presence in the United States may apply for a driver’s license as long as they can show eligible proof of identification and residency in the state. This is a great program that insures that our roads are safer with licensed drivers who have passed the vision examinations and the written tests for obtaining a California Driver’s License. By law, no one is allowed to attempt to question the AB 60 driver’s license holder, or discriminate against them, or attempt to question the holder’s citizenship or immigration status. These licenses may not be used for identification purposes, though. To apply for the AB-60 license, you must bring a list of specific documents to your DMV appointment. First you need 1 document of Primary Identification Primary Identification documents must come from a specific list on the DMV form and can include the following documents: A previously issues California driver’s license or ID card (October 2000 or later) A valid foreign document that can be electronically verified  by the DMV with the applicant’s country of origin. This can include a Mexican passport from 2008 or later, a Mexican consular card issues in 2006 or 2014, as well as a Mexican Federal Electoral Card, issued 2013 or later A valid foreign passport (California Department of Motor Vehicles) There are many restrictions on which documents are acceptable for use for the AB-60 license, and certain documents are only acceptable if they were issued in specific years. It is important to work through this form with a lawyer prior...

DACA – Quick Facts You Should Know

Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) What is DACA? It’s a program that helps children of immigrants who came to the United States undocumented, so that these children may be able to get work and eventually a path to legally being in the United States. According to the USCIS website, DACA is defined here: On June 15, 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that certain people who came to the United States as children and meet several guidelines may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal. They are also eligible for work authorization. Deferred action is a use of prosecutorial discretion to defer removal action against an individual for a certain period of time. Deferred action does not provide lawful status. (USCIS)    DACA was created by President Obama to help the large amount of immigrant children we have in the United States who struggle to find work due to not having the proper papers. Who is eligible for DACA relief? There are quite a few factors to consider, so this type of application definitely requires the help of a legal professional. DACA Eligibility: You came to the United States before your 16th Birthday You have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007 until the present time You were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012 You never had lawful immigration status prior to June 15, 2012 You are currently in school, have graduated, obtained your GED, or have been honorably discharged from the United States Armed Forces You have not been convicted of...

What are Bio Metrics?

If you have recently been working on a type of visa application for the United States, you have most likely come across information regarding Bio Metrics.  If you are applying for citizenship, asylum, or a green card, you’ll see that you must schedule a Bio Metrics appointment. So what are Bio Metrics exactly? Bio Metrics is a scientific word for “anatomical or physiological data by which a person can be uniquely identified.” When you go to your Bio Metrics appointment, USCIS will collect your fingerprints, take your photo, and collect your signature electronically. These data collection measures were created to help make the United States safer and help the government to identify people easily. When you submit your application, you usually must pay a fee for the Bio Metrics appointment. After you submit your forms, you will receive an appointment notice in the mail. This appointment letter could take weeks or months to arrive in the mail. Once the letter arrives, the notice will tell you the exact place, date, and time for your Bio Metrics appointment. According to the Department of Homeland Security, the use of Bio Metrics is “helping to make travel simple, easy and convenient for legitimate visitors, but virtually impossible for those who wish to do harm or violate U.S. laws.” (DHS) When you go to your Bio Metrics appointment, don’t forget to bring your photo ID, appointment notice, any receipt notices you may have from your immigration application, and any additional information requested by USCIS. If you have questions about how to prepare your immigration application, give us a call, and we would be happy...

What Happens if I Die without a Will in California?

Worrying about how your assets will be distributed after death is something that can be avoided if you take the time to set up a will and figure out the details of your estate. If you were to pass away without a will, the laws of intestate succession are used to determine who in your family will be inheriting your assets. There are different rules depending on if at time of death you are married or single, if you have children, and if you have grand children or other relatives. If you are married, the first item to figure out is your property, which includes community property, separate property, and can include a combination of both types. Without a will and without any other surviving relatives, the the property will go to your spouse, who may have to file a spousal property petition to establish ownership. If you have surviving children, parents, or siblings, the property will be distributed to family members according to the California laws. If you have no will, depending on what type of property and assets you own, your estate may have to go into probate. Someone in your family would have to file to begin the probate process. Most probates occurring in the state of California are handled using the state’s Independent Administration of Estates Act. This act lets the executor of the state take care of many matters without having to constantly ask permission from the probate court. The executor can usually handle some transactions, like selling estate property or paying taxes, but selling real estate requires approval from the probate court. Even...

Estate Planning Basics

Estate planning is a process that involves many things and many people – including your family, important individuals, your assets, and your preferred charitable organizations. Estate planning can sound scary, but having a plan is the best way to be prepared for the unexpected. Estate planning will help you to figure out what your assets are actually worth – and get all that information down on paper. The estate plan is to help with choosing who will inherit your assets, who will take care of important matters in your life, who will care for your children, as well as who is responsible for making decisions on your behalf. Everyone needs estate planning, no matter if your estate is large, medium, or small. Every person should have a plan in writing so that if a situation arises that makes you unable to care for yourself or make decisions on your behalf with your input. If you don’t have a plan, a judge will be assigned to distribute your assets, and the judge will do this by following the laws of the state, also known as intestate succession. There are different types of documents that go into estate planning, including both wills and trusts. There are also living trusts, that are different than traditional wills. If there is no will, your assets will be heading into probate, which is a court-supervised process for transferring your assets to your beneficiaries. If your estate goes through the probate process, the entire estate plan, including the value of your assets, will become public record. If you want to make sure you have a plan on paper...

Visiting the United States as a Tourist

Many people ask us, “What kind of visa do I need to visit the United States?” Depending on the reason of your visit, there are a variety of different visas offered for different types of visits. If you are visiting the United States as a tourist, the B visa is the right one for this type of trip. The tourism/visitor  B-2 visa is for the following purposes: tourism vacation (holiday) visit with friends or relatives medical treatment participation in social events hosted by fraternal, social, or service organizations participation by amateurs in musical, sports, or similar events or contests, if not being paid for participating enrollment in a short recreational course of study, not for credit toward a degree (for example, a two-day cooking class while on vacation) (U.S. Department of State) There are a few steps required to apply for this visa. First you must fill out an online application and schedule your interview at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your home country. The wait times for an interview are different for every location, so make sure you start your visa application early so that you have enough time for each of the steps. Form DS-160 is the where you will begin your application process. Make sure you have your current Passport ready and a photo of yourself that matches the government requirements. Your passport must be valid for 6 months longer than your intended stay in the United States. After this step, additional documents may be requested to prove the purpose of your trip, the duration of your trip, proof of roundtrip airfare, and evidence of...

Where to find H1-B Jobs?

Are you thinking about finding an employer in the U.S. that will sponsor you on an H1-B visa? Well finding the job is one of the first steps of the process. There are a variety of websites that will advertise positions that are open to H1-B sponsorship. Don’t forget, there are many special criteria you must meet to be eligible for the H1-B visa, including: Your job must qualify as a specialty occupation by meeting one of the following criteria: A bachelor’s degree or higher degree or its equivalent is normally the minimum requirement for the particular position; The degree requirement is common for this position in the industry, or the job is so complex or unique that it can only be performed by someone with at least a bachelor’s degree in a field related to the position; The employer normally requires a degree or its equivalent for the position; or The nature of the specific duties is so specialized and complex that the knowledge required to perform the duties is usually associated with the attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree. (USCIS)  Here are some great website resources to check out. Good luck with your job hunt! http://www.h1visajobs.com/ http://www.visasquare.com/ Careerbuilder, Indeed, Monster, LinkedIn When searching for jobs in these type of search engines, make sure to write “H1-B” in the description to pull up jobs that have sponsorship available. Once you have an employer who is interested in hiring you, get in touch with us, and we will help you with your...

H-2A Visa for Temporary Agricultural Workers

As we discussed in earlier posts, the H visa has many different sub-types for different types of workers. H-visas allow individuals to legally work in the United States under various conditions. The H-2A visa is specifically for temporary agricultural workers. This program allows agricultural employers like farms who anticipate a shortage of domestic workers to bring people from other countries to the United States to do agricultural labor on a temporary or seasonal basis. Employment is seasonal, meaning it is tied to a certain part of the year, such as during certain growing cycles that might require more labor.  Since positions tend to be temporary, the positions usually do not last longer than 1 year. In order to qualify for this type of visa, the agricultural employer must show that there are not “sufficient, able, willing, and qualified U.S. workers available”(USDOL) to do the agricultural work. The employer must also prove that the H-2A workers they are requesting to bring will not adversely affect the pay and working conditions of U.S. workers. In order to apply for this visa, a job offer using ETA Form 790 must be filed with the State Workforce Agency in the region where the employment will be. The employer must file this form 60-75 days before they need the workers to start. There is also a second application that includes ETA Form 9142A as well as the accepted Job Order or ETA Form 790. This packet includes evidence and attachments with supporting documentation from the agricultural employer. If you believe that you need help putting together this packet, don’t hesitate to contact our office...

The L Visa for IntraCompany Transfers

Do you work for a large company with locations worldwide and within the United States? If so, you may be eligible for an L visa. An L visa allows large companies to send their workers to locations within the United States for specific work opportunities. Not everyone qualifies for an L Visa though, so you need to go through the requirements first before talking to your employer about this type of visa. Are you a manager, executive, or a worker with specialized knowledge or specialized skills? This is the first question you must answer before you can start to think seriously about the L visa. The L-1A nonimmigrant visa allows U.S. employers to transfer executives or managers from one of the foreign offices to one of its offices located in the United States. This type of visa also enables foreign companies that do not currently have a U.S. office to send an executive or manger to the U.S.A. to help establish an American office or location. The employer must file the form I-129 “Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker” to start the process for sponsoring an employee on the L visa. If you have a family and you want them to accompany you to the United States during your stay, luckily there is an L-2 visa that allows for this! The L-2 Visa will allow you to bring your spouse and your  children under the age of 21 to live with you while you are working for your company and doing business in the United States. The L visa process is lengthy and requires a great deal of documentation. You...