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Spouse visas, family petitions, and H-1B visas

By Humera Subhani Email By Humera Subhani
March 2014
Spouse visas, family petitions, and H-1B visas

• I am a U.S. citizen and I have heard that it now takes over one year to bring over a spouse or minor child. Is there any way to expedite this? Would I be better off filing a fiancée petition?
It is currently taking over one year for these types of petitions, as the first step of the case (I-130) is adjudicated by the USCIS in about six to ten months, and then the second step (the National Visa Center processing), takes another two to five months, before the case is scheduled for an interview at a consulate. Unfortunately, there is no way to expedite this process without a finding of extreme hardship. If you are already married or plan to be married before bringing someone to the U.S., a fiancée visa is not appropriate. Also, the fiancée visa processing takes almost as long as the processing of the spouse visa, so there would not be much of an advantage with the former.

• I am a U.S. citizen and want to sponsor my family for permanent residency. How long is the process and will they get a work permit while the case is pending?
Sponsoring your parents, spouse, and unmarried children under 21 (First Preference), is a different process from sponsoring your siblings (Fourth Preference) or married children (Third Preference), as the third and fourth preference cases have a very long waiting period. For the first preference cases, if the family members are in the U.S. (and even if they have overstayed their legal entries), they can apply for adjustment of status (green card application), and obtain work permits while they wait. However, for all other preferences, they must be maintaining status in the U.S. if they want to file here, and they cannot obtain work permits until the priority date on the filing becomes current. The Visa Bulletin, shown on this page, is updated every month with current priority dates.

• I am on an H-1B visa and want to start a home business. Is that legal?
Unfortunately, having a home business would most likely be considered unlawful employment on an H-1B status. If you generate any income, such as by creating and selling websites, apps, etc., that is considered employment in the U.S. Even if you buy and sell retail items, if you are making a profit, it could be considered a violation of your H-1B.

Also, the fact that you did not incorporate a business or even pay taxes may not be convincing enough to show that you did not work unlawfully. For example, at the Port of Entry into the U.S., the CBP (U.S. Customs and Border Protection) is authorized to search people's belongings, including electronic devices. The contents of laptops, cell phones, and iPads often provide a great deal of information about the day-to-day activities of the user.

However, you can make passive investments (stocks, bonds, etc.) or even have ownership in a corporation, as long as your role is purely passive and not the result of working, other than general planning or research.

**Disclaimer: These questions are answered in a general manner. You should always consult an immigration lawyer to explain the details of your case before making any immigration-related decision.

VISA PREFERENCE NUMBERS FOR March 2014

 

FAMILY

India

Pakistan/Bangladesh

1st

01Feb07

01Feb07

2A

08Sep13

08Sep13

2B

01Sep06

01Sep06

3rd

15Jun03

15Jun03

4th

08Nov01

08Nov01

 

 

EMPLOYMENT

India

Pakistan/Bangladesh

1st

Current

Current

2nd

15Nov04

Current

3rd

15Sep03

01Sep12

Other

15Sep03

01Sep12

4th

Current

Current

5th

Current

Current1B



 


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