Becoming an Au Pair in the United States

Do you love spending time with children? Becoming an Au Pair is a great way to spend time in the United States while helping a family with raising their children. Many people have heard about great experiences being an au pair, but there are a few things you should know about the proper visas and making sure that all of your paperwork is done correctly. Young people from all over the world can have a fulfilling experience being an au pair in the United States. People from almost any country can apply for this type of job, but people from certain countries that do not hold diplomatic relations with the United States are not able to become employed as an Au Pair in America. The first step to becoming an Au Pair is to find an agency that will act as your sponsor and help to place you with a family. It is important to research the agency first because you want to make sure that the agency you are using is legitimate. The minimum stay as an Au Pair on a J-Visa is 12 months, so becoming an au pair requires a lengthy time commitment. The Au Pair agency will conduct background checks and interviews, and also typically requires personal references and medical certifications that you are physically able to hold this job. All of these steps must take place before you even get to the embassy for your visa interview. As an Au Pair you will enter the United States on a J-1 Visa, with the minimum stay of 12 months, and options to extend your stay...

What is an H Visa?

With political season being in full swing, and candidates voicing their opinions on changes to immigration law, many people may find themselves curious about some of the topics coming up. One area of interest is the H-Visa, which is being hotly debated by politicians across the country. This post will explore a some facts about H-Visas, who qualifies for them, and how they work. The H visa everyone is talking about on the news is the H-1B non-immigrant visa that allows U.S. companies to employ foreign workers with special skills in specialty occupations. There are only 65,000 H-1B visas offered per year, as set by Congress. The kinds of job done on H-1B visas require special theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields, such as: math, science, engineering, architecture, and medicine. Under this type of visa, the U.S. company may employ the worker for 6 years. Individuals cannot apply for an H-1B visa on their own. The U.S. employer must sponsor the potential employee in the visa application. The eligibility for an H-1B visa is somewhat complicated, and will be covered in another blog post. But here are the basics: The H-1B visa is used for specialty occupations, so the job itself must meet one of the criteria below to qualify: Have a minimum entry requirement of a Bachelor’s or higher degree or its equivalent. The degree requirement for the job is common to the industry or the job is so complex or unique that it can be performed only by an individual with a degree. The employer normally requires a degree or its equivalent for the position. The...

The F Visa

The F Visa, known also as a Student Visa, is the most common type of visa used for people who want to study in the United States. On an F Visa, you are able to study in the United States at universities or colleges, high Schools, private elementary schools, seminaries, conservatories, language training programs, as well as some vocational programs. When you obtain your F visa, it is important to know that you can no longer travel on the Visa Waiver Program or on a B visa, also known as a visitor visa. You must enter the United States using your F visa. Before you can actually apply for your F Visa, you must be accepted at a school that is approved by the SEVP, which is the Student and Exchange Visitor Program. Once the school in the United States accepts you, then you will enroll in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, also known as SEVIS. It is very important to make sure that your information stays current and up to date in SEVIS, especially if you change schools or move to a new address. The next step is getting your I-20 document from the school that you will need to present to the consular officers when you attend your interview. If you have family and children who will be traveling with you, each person must obtain their own individual Form I-20. If you have any questions about the Form DS-160, the SEVIS I-901, or any other part of the process, contact this office. We are happy to...

I-360 Green Card Petition for Special Immigrants

The I-360 Petition is for foreign nationals to begin the Green Card application as a “Special Immigrant,” who falls in to a special category. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is very well known in relation to the I-360, because battered and abused spouses can readjust their status and gain permanent residence through this process. There are many people who can use the I-360 to adjust their status, so this process is not solely used for victims of domestic abuse. Some of the other people who may qualify include: workers for recognized religious organizations foreign medical graduates who have lived in the United States for a long time longtime U.S. government employees certain retired officers of employees of international organizations who lived in the U.S. a long time juveniles dependent on U.S. courts people who served honorably, on active U.S. military duty, for 12 years or more after October 15, 1978 Panama Canal Treaty employees NATO civilian employees, and people coming to work in the U.S. as broadcasters for the International Broadcasting Bureau. Afghani or Iraqi nationals who supported the U.S. Armed Forces as a translator Iraqi nationals who worked for or on behalf of the U.S. government in Iraq Afghan nationals who worked for or on behalf of the U.S. government in Afghanistan. Each category has its own specific requirements regarding what the forms require and what documentation you must present. The I-360 petition is different than many other petitions. Most people are familiar with the Violence Against Women Act option to file under this type of petition, but there are many other people who can use the...

Asylum & Refugee Status

Share What’s the difference between Aslyum and Refugee status? Both are special legal protections to people who are fearful of the situation in their home country. The only difference between asylum and refugee status is where you physically are when you apply. If you are still outside of the United States, you must apply for refugee status. If you are already inside of the United States on a work visa, student visa, or if you arrived illegally, you can apply for asylum status. Asylum can be granted to people who live in the United States and are not able to return to their home country because of persecution or a legitimate fear of persecution. Persecution can fall into many categories, including race, religious affiliation, and nationality, or being part of a social group or political party, or based on your personal political opinions. Anyone can apply for asylum, regardless of his or her immigration status. That means that even if you came to the United States illegally, you could potentially qualify for asylum. To apply for asylum, use the USCIS Form I-589 – The Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal form. There are many strict requirements that must be met to achieve refugee or asylum status. Including: You can’t go back to your home country because you were persecuted in the past, or you have a legitimate fear that you will face persecution if you return. The basis for the persecution that you faced or will face in your country has to do with one of these five things: your race, nationality, religion, your political opinion, or...

OPT – Optional Practical Training

Are you an undergraduate or graduate student studying in United States on an F-1 Visa? Would you like to get hands-on experience in your field in the real world? Did you know that there is a program called “OPT” that is designed to do exactly that? OPT stands for Optional Practical Training. It allows someone on a student visa to work for up to a year in the United States, either during school or after graduation. If you don’t have a job lined up after graduation, that’s okay, because you don’t need to have a job offer ready when you apply for OPT. There are some tricky dates and timelines you do need to keep in mind when applying, though. For example, you must start your OPT work within 1 to 60 days after completing your degree. There are also restrictions on international travel during the period from graduation until you receive your Employment Authorization Card. Processing time for OPT can be 3-4 months, and applications won’t be accepted if you submit them more than 90 days before degree completion, so you need to start your application early and also be careful with timing. There is an unemployment period of up to 90-days permitted for OPT candidates, so you do have some flexibility with beginning your training. The duration of OPT is 12-months, but if you majored in certain science, technology, math, or engineering areas, you may be eligible for a 17-month extension to gain more experience in your field by working in the United States. OPT is a great way for international students to spend time in the...

Consular Processing

  Consular Processing is the process under U.S. immigration law that allows a person to apply to immigrate to the United States. The person is required to apply for residency through the U.S. Embassy or consulate in his or her home country. One thing to keep in mind about Consular Processing is that the entire process is done outside of the United States. The process itself includes submitting forms and documents to the consulate, as well as attending an interview there. Consular Processing is the most frequently used method for applying for a Green Card while living over seas. If an immigrant has already been living in the United States, they have the option of applying for legal residency through the Adjustment of Status process. (More on this process in a later post.) For immigrants who have stayed unlawfully in the United States for more than 6 months, Consular Processing is not the way to go when it comes to applying for a Green Card. If you have overstayed and you leave the U.S., you will be banned from re-entering the United States depending on the length of time that you overstayed your visa. The ban will apply if you otherwise qualify for getting a Green Card. If you happen to find yourself in this situation, you should definitely get in touch with us. We will review your specific situation and let you know of the options available to you.   Steps for Consular Processing: Determine Your Immigration Category: There are many ways to become eligible for a Green Card, such as through a family member, an employer, a...

Allergies & Vaccines

  If you are currently working on applying for an immigrant visa for the United States, or an adjustment of status to a permanent resident, you will be required to receive vaccinations for polio, measles, mumps, tetanus, along with quite a few other vaccines. If you are working on Form I-693 and you are missing any vaccinations due to health related, allergy, religious, or moral situations, you may actually have the option to refuse to receive one or all of the required vaccines using a waiver. The waiver is done using form I-601 Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility. An example of an option for waiving the vaccine requirements falls into the belief-based category. This waiver is only available if: 1. You are opposed to vaccinations in all forms. You can’t get a waiver based on an objection to just one of the vaccines. 2. Your objection must be based on religious beliefs or moral convictions. 3. Those beliefs must be sincere. If you have a medical condition that would prevent you from receiving one of the required vaccines, you will need proof from a doctor explaining why this vaccine is contraindicated. A vaccine falls into the category of “not medically appropriate,” in the following situations: 1. The vaccine is not recommended for your age group. 2. There is a medical reason, such as allergies to eggs or yeast, pregnancy, hypersensitivity to prior vaccines, or other documented medical reasons.   If you find that you fall into any of these categories and are looking to seek a waiver for the vaccine requirements, get in touch with us, and...

Know Before You Go:

Green Card Holders: Did you know that you could risk losing your Green Card by staying out of the country for an extended period of time? Permanent Residents who stay abroad for over 6 months could risk abandonment of their legal status. There are many complicated rules when it comes to immigration law, and it is important to be aware of these rules so that you don’t risk losing your green card by making a simple travel mistake. There are many legitimate reasons for traveling abroad, such as visiting your family, or just taking a vacation, but if you know that you will be planning an extended absence from the United States, there are special precautions you must take so that you don’t lose your legal status. First, before leaving the U.S. for an extended stay, make sure that you have ties to the United States that show that you have a life over here, and are not temporarily here on vacation. Any stays over 6 months are likely to catch the attention of the Customs and Border Protection Agents. CBP officers at any border crossing point have the authority to question Green Card Holders about their travels to see if they have abandoned their status. Officers may ask questions like: “How long have you been out of the country?” – “What was the purpose of your trip abroad?” — “What countries did you visit?” – “What ties did you leave in the United States?” – “Why are you coming back to the U.S. now?”   These officers have access to your departure and arrival history, meaning they can...