Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘Employment Authorization’

1st March 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) will be changing their procedures in matters pertaining to address changes. To quote directly from the website of the Division of International Services NIH Office of Research Services:

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced new mailing addresses for submitting the Form AR-11. The form must now be mailed to an office in Kentucky, and not to the USCIS Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Forms submitted via the U.S. Postal Service should be sent to:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Change of Address
P.O. Box 7134
London, KY 40742-7134

Forms submitted via commercial overnight or freight services should be sent to:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Change of Address
1084-I South Laurel Road
London, KY 40744

Any forms previously mailed to the USCIS Headquarters will be forwarded to the Kentucky office. A new version of the Form AR-11, which includes the new mailing addresses, has been issued and is now available on the usCIS website (click here to download a copy of the form). Additional information on the change of address is available here on the USCIS website.

The administration of this blog highly recommends that readers click on the above link to read the full announcement.

This issue could be of particular importance for those who have recently filed a petition for immigration benefits and subsequently moved their place of residence. Also, those who enter the United States of America in K-1 visa status (the categorical name for the US fiance visa) should take note of the above announcements as K-1 visa holders are required to submit an application for adjustment of status in order to be granted lawful permanent residence in the USA. In some cases, a bi-national couple may find that they need to change their address while the adjustment of status is pending. Failure to advise the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) of such a change could result in processing delays or a situation in which a couple is not notified of an upcoming adjustment of status interview. This could result in the couple missing said interview and the K-1 fiancee falling out of status due to a deficient adjustment. For these reasons, keeping USCIS abreast of one’s address while a petition is pending is very prudent.

In a recent posting on this blog it was also noted that the USCIS has recently changed their policy regarding employment authorization and advance parole. The service is apparently issuing advance parole on the same document that grants employment authorization prior to adjustment. Advance parole is a benefit that can be granted to those holding K-1 visa status which allows the visa holder to leave the country while an adjustment is pending. Failure to obtain advance parole prior to leaving the USA could result in the K-1 visa beneficiary falling out of status and thereby requiring the process to be restarted all over again.

For related information please: K1 Visa Thailand.

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18th December 2010

The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service (USICE), an agency operating under the authority of the Department of Homeland Security, is tasked with enforcing the Immigration and Customs laws of the United States of America. This blogger recently came across a news release from the USICE which took note of the fact that an ICE investigation resulted in the conviction of a former FBI agent. To quote directly from the ICE.gov website:

DALLAS – A former special agent with the FBI in Dallas was sentenced on Wednesday by Chief U.S. District Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater to two years probation and ordered to pay an $18,000 fine, announced U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the Northern District of Texas.

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Department of Justice’s Office of Inspector General.

Ann Cox, 49, of Rockwall, Texas, pleaded guilty in September to the misdemeanor offense of unlawfully employing aliens.

According to documents filed in the case, from at least August 1997 until December 2008, Cox operated a Schlotzky’s Deli in Rockwall. While operating the deli franchise, she hired and employed individuals knowing that they were not either admitted for permanent residence in the U.S. or authorized to be employed. The documents name a total of six such individuals.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert E. Casey Jr. stated, “When FBI internal security procedures first detected the possibility that former Special Agent Cox may have committed this crime, I immediately referred this matter to our headquarters in Washington, D.C. Pursuant to established procedures within the Department of Justice, an investigation was then conducted by the Department of Justice, Office of Inspector General and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, with the full cooperation of the FBI. While it is disappointing that an FBI special agent chose to break the law, it is important for citizens to understand that the FBI has an unwavering commitment to take appropriate action when transgressions are committed by its employees, the overwhelming majority of whom are above reproach in their professional and personal conduct.”

For those unfamiliar with matters pertaining to United States Immigration law, it should be pointed out the American authorities take immigration matters seriously and it is becoming ever more apparent that law enforcement agencies are stringently enforcing immigration regulations especially in the area of unlawful employment. As can be seen from the above quotation, intentionally employing undocumented immigrants is a serious matter that can lead to harsh legal penalties. For this reason, it is prudent to ascertain the lawful status of those being employed by a business in the United States in order to be certain that those employed in the US are either US Citizens, lawful permanent residents, or have been granted employment authorization by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).

For related information please see: US visa fraud.

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24th July 2009

The K-1 visa is a very popular visa for Thai nationals who have a US Citizen loved one. The US Embassy in Bangkok processes a large number of fiance visa cases each year. Many of those who apply for a United States K-1 visa have questions about their status once they reach the USA. In most cases, the answers are cut and dried, but there are some questions that have more nuanced answers.

Many people who travel to the United States on a K1 visa seem to immediately ask the question: Can I work now that I’m here? The answer to that question would be a qualified “yes.” Under the relevant provisions of 8 CFR 274a.12(a)(6), a K-1 visa holder may be entitled to apply for what is known as work authorization. Work authorization is sometimes referred to as a “work permit.” Similar to a work permit in Thailand, the work authorization document in the United States must be obtained by petitioning the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).

The work permit’s technical name is: Employment Authorization Document (EAD). There are those who are under the mistaken impression that work authorization is a right. In fact, under current United States Immigration laws the K-1 visa holder is not entitled to work authorization as a matter of right, but is simply entitled to submit an application for said status.

A downside of obtaining an Employment Authorization Document while in K-1 status is the fact that the Employment Authorization only lasts as long as the applicant is in K1 status. So it is subject to expiration as soon as the K-1 visa holder’s status changes. This results in employment authorization that lasts for a negligible duration. In most cases, obtaining Work Authorization is often not a net benefit to the prospective applicant except in certain rare circumstances.

That being said, there are other methods of gaining work authorization. A possibly more beneficial option for the prospective work authorization applicant would be to submit an EAD petition in conjunction with an I-485 petition for adjustment of status to lawful permanent residence (green card). This method is advantageous because the fee for the Employment Authorization Document is included in the adjustment fee and the result is a net reduction in expenses. Also, the Employment Authorization Document will be valid for one year.

Further, A Thai spouse of a US Citizen present in the United States on a non-immigrant K-3 visa is eligible for work authorization. In the case of the J-1 visa and F-1 visa, the visa holder may be able to obtain a work permit depending upon the situation. Although, particularly in the case of the US Student Visa, work authorization will be severely restricted.

All of this being said, it should be noted that once the K-1 visa holder successfully adjusts status to permanent residence they will have a green card and be legally allowed to work in the United States of America.

(This post is meant for educational purposes only. No Attorney-Client relationship is formed by reading this content.)

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