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US visas: Get to know the rules

April 28, 2006

Want to secure a visit/resident US visa for your spouse?

Or know the student visa rules when it comes to changing universities in the US?

We gave Get Ahead readers a chance to get acquainted with US visa rules.

US attorney Gilbert Ferrer, who was in Mumbai to hold seminars on immigration law at the Indo-American Society, Mumbai, chatted with readers on April 25 and answered their US immigration/ visa-related queries.

Ferrer specialises in immigration law and is currently based in New York and western Massachusetts. He is a member of the New York State Bar, admitted to the US district courts for the southern and eastern districts of New York, The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the United States Supreme Court. He is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, New York State, New York City and American Bar Associations. He has assisted many in getting permanent residency and H-1B, L-1, work visas, etc. He has represented major employers, including Fortune 500 companies, as well as individuals with family petitions and political asylum applicants.

For those of you who missed the chat, here is the transcript:

 Part I: US visas -- attorney Gilbert Ferrer's tips 

 manishmanchanda asked, HI Gilbert, I may be travelling to US on an L-2. I would like to know a) Am I allowed to work full time, b) how much time does it take to get work authorisation?..thanks

Gilbert Ferrer answers, 
Hi Manish, yes you can work on an L-2. But you must apply for the work authorisation card. It takes at least several weeks to receive.

Kalpana asked, can one apply for a work permit if going on an L-1B dependent visa?

Gilbert Ferrer answers, 

Prashanth asked, Hi. I have applied for a H-1 under premium process. How long will this take for the petition approval?

Gilbert Ferrer answers, 
From point of filing 15 days to adjudication (they will either ask for more information, deny or approve in that period).

kalpakgandhi asked, Hi Gilbert, My wife has an H-4 visa. Can she work full time or part in US ?

Gilbert Ferrer answers, 
No, an H-4 cannot work. She can attend school if she wishes.

preetiroongta asked, Dear Gil: Legel offshoring seems to be catching up in india. what do you think are the prospects of offshoring immigration law to India? My husband and I have recently moved to India. We were working for an immigration case management software company and possess considerable knowledge of NIVs. We are contemplating beginning this legal offshoring business. what do you think is the market maturity for this kind of offshoring?

Gilbert Ferrer answers, 
There are many consultants working in the immigration area outside the US. They tend to specialise in consular work. For US immigration you are still limited by the need for a US employer in most cases and filings in the US with CIS. Hope this responds to your question. Good luck!

vinay1 asked, If I did not return to US before expiry of  I-485 advance parole and missed finger printing appointment also, can I go for Counsular Processing for my green card while still in India?

Gilbert Ferrer answers, 
You would be starting a whole new process for an immigrant visa. You are basically starting all over again.

Jagla asked, Is there anyway, in which an H-4 holder can get the work authorisation card?

Gilbert Ferrer answers, 

arunrai asked, My employeer is filling my H-1B, I want to know how much time it will take to get a receipt no against my filling.

Gilbert Ferrer answers, 
Receipts comes in about a week to 14 days if not premium processed.

Rickson asked, Hi, I am going to US on my H-1B this October. Since it is supposed to be a long term assignment, I intend to bring my parents for 2 months so as to visit US while I am there. How soon can I apply for their visitor's visa after I arrive in US and will there be any problem in them getting the visa for a visit or not?

Gilbert Ferrer answers, 
They can apply for a visitor's visa anytime after you have establised yourself as H-1B in the US. They will need to have strong evidence of their intent to return to India for the application to succeed.

ajeshkumar asked, What are the chances of getting a B-I Visa? My both the daughters are staying in US under L-1 and students visa. I am 58 years but still in service

Gilbert Ferrer answers, 
This depends on the purpose for the B-1. You should have supporting evidence from your employer for the business purpose of the trip and proof that you will return home afterwards.

manohar asked, Hi Gilbert, can we apply for a US work visa when we are already a resident in another country (as an immigrant) and if so what are the chances of getting work visas?

Gilbert Ferrer answers, 
The answer is yes. It just depends on getting qualified emplyment in the US.

visu asked, I have a question regarding F-1 student visa, if some gets an F- visa on particular I-20 and later decides to go for another school after entering into US. Can it be done

Gilbert Ferrer answers, 
Yes, you can. The new school has to issue you a new SEVIS I-20.

hello_world asked, Sir, what is the period for H-1B visa. How long can it be extended ?

Gilbert Ferrer answers, 
Normally six years if an immigrant petition or a labour certification with you as beneficiary has been on file for more that 365 days, it is possible to extend the H-1B beyond the six year limit on a year by year basis until you get a green card.

Dipak asked, Hi Gilbert! If I am on a B-1 Visa in the US through my company, can I get an H-1 if I apply while I am in USA only. If yes then how much time does it take?

Gilbert Ferrer answers, 
Yes, it is possible. With premium processing a change of status could be done in 15 days or so. However, the H-1B will not take effect till October 1 as things stand now. asked, Hi, I am going to US on my H-1B this October. Since it is supposed to be a longterm assignment, I intend to take my wife there. How soon can I apply for her dependent visa after I arrive in US and will there be any problem in her getting the visa?

Gilbert Ferrer answers, 
You need to apply for a dependent visa before you leave your home country. You apply for her directly at the consulate with proof of marriage and of your H-1B status. She will enter the country on H-4 status.

Mike asked, Hi, can multiple applications for H-1B be filed during the same year's quota (from different employers)

Gilbert Ferrer answers, 

adi asked, Hi Gilbert. My father's elder brother is a citizen of US. Can he help me in sponsoring a visa or citizenship there? Thanks

Gilbert Ferrer answers, 
No. Aunts and uncles cannot sponsor visas.

jyo asked, how long does it take to convert a H-4 into F-1

Gilbert Ferrer answers, 
It just takes filing a change of status with proof of registration at a school ie an I-20.

saroj asked, I have an H-1, holding by current employer that has been transfered from my previous employer. But my issue is that while my current employer were trasnfering and got stamped, I got another offer employer. from another comp, which has also transfered my H-1 but not stamped. Now I want to join this employer and get the H-1 stamped. What sort of problem I may face?

Gilbert Ferrer answers, 
As long as you have maintained status by working at an authorised employer there should be no issue joining the new employer after the H-1B has been approved. There should not be a problem.

gdgsdgtdxg asked, Hi Mr. Gilbert, my fiancee is going to apply for a K-1 visa for me next month. I would like to know if my visitor's visa has been rejected twice in 2000, will this have any effect on my getting the K-1 visa now.

Gilbert Ferrer answers, 
The K-1 visa is essentially an immigrant-based status and totally different from the visitor's visa so long as the K-1 is adequately supported by evidence of your relationship, there should be no problem. The past rejections should be no problem.

Gilbert Ferrer says, Our time is up. Thanks everybody for participating.

Part I: US visas -- attorney Gilbert Ferrer's tips 



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Read what others have to say:

Number of User Comments: 8

Sub: Hi Dr....

HI sir, Can u pls let me know what are the document required for US Tourist Visa as wel as Business Visa.... Thank you sir. ...

Posted by RAJU

Sub: B1B2

Heloo Sir I have 10 year multiple B1-B2 visa and I am visiting United States since 1997 almost 3 times a year for Business Purposes. ...

Posted by Kannadi Valloli

Sub: visa

i am holding a b1-b2 visas, and i belong to non technical deptt, is there any way possible for me to fetch job. thanks and ...

Posted by Anup Gupta

Sub: Take wife while visiting with B1

Can i take my wife while i will come to US in B1 visa. Company can pay for the Visa for my wife - who ...

Posted by Amit

Sub: Dependent Visa

hi, i am 18 and my parents are gonna get their visa this year(may be next),can i go with them in dependents case....reply soon...plzzz



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