What is the difference between an employment authorization document and a greencard?

What is the difference between an employment authorization document and a greencard?

Immigration attorney answers your questions about work permits and greencards

What is the difference between an employment authorization document and a greencard?

What is the difference between an employment authorization document (EAD or work permit) and a greencard (lawful permanent residence)?

Earlier this week, a client’s question took me completely by surprise. The client said to me, if I have a work permit, why do I need a greencard? Sometimes, as an immigration lawyer, I forget to discuss some of the basic benefits and drawbacks of a client’s current status and the benefits and drawbacks of obtaining a greencard or naturalization. The differences between a work permit and a greencard are very important and certainly worthy of your attention.

A work permit is merely a TEMPORARY card that allows you to work legally in the U.S. temporarily. You cannot obtain a work permit by itself. A work permit is a benefit of some sort of underlying status.

For example, you cannot come to the U.S. and simply apply for a work permit just because you want to work in the U.S., you have to have an underlying right to obtain a work permit, some sort of employment visa or other ground. Accordingly, when the basis for your work permit finishes, your work permit also terminates. For example, if you have an employment visa and your visa expires, your work permit (which was obtained on the basis of that visa) also expires and you are left without the ability to work in the U.S.

By contrast, with a greencard, you are always allowed to work legally in the U.S. Your greencard is valid for ten years but even if the greencard card itself expires you are still considered a lawful permanent resident (“greencard holder”).

While a work permit is temporary, a greencard is considered permanent (note, it is possible to lose your greencard if you abandon the U.S., commit certain crimes, consider yourself a nonresident for tax purposes, or other grounds). A greencard is considered permanent because you will have it indefinitely unless you do something wrong deserving of losing it. This is in contrast to a work permit, which will terminate when the underlying basis expires.

Additionally, a work permit does not give you a basis to apply for naturalization (U.S. Citizenship). You must first be a lawful permanent resident (greencard holder) to apply for naturalization. Only U.S. Citizens can vote and unlike both holders of work permits and greencards, U.S. citizens generally can never be deported from the U.S. Again, only lawful permanent residents have the ability to qualify for naturalization, being the holder of a mere work permit is not enough.

For any questions, call us at (916) 613-3553 so that we can schedule a consultation.

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Published by: The Ranchod Law Group

Ten Mistakes to Avoid When Applying for a Marriage Based Greencard

Ten Mistakes to Avoid When Applying for a Marriage Based Greencard

Immigration attorney answers your questions about marriage-based greencards

Ten Mistakes to Avoid When Applying for a Marriage Based Greencard

Obtaining your greencard after marrying a U.S. Citizen can be a positive and happy experience but common mistakes can make the process needlessly stressful. Here are some common mistakes you should avoid when applying for your marriage based greencard:

1. Failing to file all of the necessary forms with the correct filing fees and requisite paperwork at the correct filing location: Unfortunately, immigration does not make it easy for you to obtain your entitled benefits. You must be certain to file all of the necessary forms: the spousal petition, the adjustment application, the biographic forms, the work authorization application, etc and to pay the immigration fees corresponding to the forms so that your case can be accepted for processing. If you omit a required form or forget to pay a fee your case will be rejected. You must also submit all of the required paperwork corresponding to each form. Also, immigration periodically changes the filing location for its cases so it is important to verify that you are sending your case to the correct address. An immigration attorney will of course correctly take care of all of this for you.

2. Waiting to apply thereby delaying your benefits: You and your spouse should apply for your marriage based greencard immediately after getting married. The longer you wait, the longer you will go without the benefits to which you are entitled and the longer you subsequently have to wait in order to apply for naturalization (U.S. Citizenship). Couples delay the process for many reasons, too burdensome, too costly, but delaying your benefits comes with a price as well. You may contact our office to learn more about the green card process at (916) 613-3553 or info@ranchodlaw.com.

3. Not anticipating how long the process will take for you to obtain your marriage based greencard: In a similar vein to the second most common mistake, many couples fail to account for how long it will take to complete processing of the marriage based greencard. After obtaining the requisite paperwork and filing the forms, you must attend a biometrics appointment and then the couple must attend an interview together. After approval, the greencard usually takes another four weeks to arrive in the mail. Hence, applying as soon after the marriage as possible is wise. In Sacramento San Francisco, and San Jose immigration offices we are noticing processing times that are taking approximately 3-8 months or longer before the interview date. Please note that these government processing times are always changing.

4. Not being thorough and honest in your application: Both spouses should be completely thorough and honest in their applications. For example, when the application asks for all places of residence and all employers for the last five years, it is important to list every single residence and every single employer for the entire five year time period. If you are incomplete or dishonest in your application and immigration catches you in a lie, the immigration officer may begin to wonder what else you are lying about. You definitely don’t want the immigration officer to think you are lying about the validity of your marriage.

5. Not gathering paperwork in support of your application: In addition to the basic required paperwork (certificates, passport style photographs, etc.) you will need to gather paperwork to help prove the legitimacy of your marriage. Examples of this latter type of paperwork may include copies of joint bank accounts, bills, proof of a shared home, photographs of shared life experiences, and testimonials from loved ones or other individuals with knowledge of the relationship. Don’t be lazy! Get the documents together so that the immigration officer doesn’t have any doubt as to the validity of the relationship.

6. Missing your appointments: When immigration schedules you for an appointment (biometrics or the interview appointment) it is very important to attend. If you do not attend, your case will be delayed and could even be denied. If immigration schedules you for an appointment at a date or time that you cannot attend, your attorney can reschedule the appointment for you. It is better to reschedule the appointment then to simply not attend.

7. Not preparing for your interview: It is very important to prepare yourself for your immigration interview. Your attorney can advise you as to the typical format of these interviews, some common questions asked, and some of the tactics used by some immigration officers. If you appear nervous at your interview, the officer may think that you are trying to deceive the immigration authorities and, in turn, your interview can become more intensive. It is best to know what to expect so that you can be relaxed and appropriately responsive.

8. Not discussing the basics of your relationship with your spouse: Prior to your interview it is going to be very important for you and your spouse to go over some of the basics of your relationship. For example, when and how did you meet, the details of your engagement, the details of your wedding, recent celebrations, finances, etc. It is fairly common for one spouse to misspeak at the interview in regards to a date and then it makes it seem like the couple is lying. Also, two answers can both be true but different. For example, to the question of how the couple met, one might say “online,” while the other says “in a bar.” Both are true (the couple first learned of each other online but met for the first time in a bar) but if the couple gave these answers at their interview the immigration officer might think that the couple is making up their answers and are not in a true relationship. Your immigration attorney will go over all of the common questions in your preparation interview.

9. Thinking that immigration will give you the benefit of the doubt: Immigration will NOT, I repeat, WILL NOT, give you the benefit of the doubt if you or your spouse misspeaks or accidentally provides incorrect information. For example, if you say that you started dating in 2002 and your spouse says 2001, immigration will not write this off as a faded memory, absolutely not, immigration will question you believing that you’ve made up the details of the relationship for the purpose of obtaining unwarranted immigration benefits. Also, if immigration has any doubt, your case will be denied.

10. The final and most critical mistake couples make is not hiring an immigration attorney. There are so many things that can go wrong if you do not have the proper advice and guidance. Hiring an immigration attorney from the inception is affordable and will make the process as stress free and efficient as possible. We see so many couples who don’t come to us until after immigration issues a request for additional evidence or worse, a denial. Don’t let this happen to you. Contact us today at (916) 613-3553. We have offices conveniently located in Sacramento and the Bay area (San Francisco), California but we help clients throughout the United States.

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Published by: The Ranchod Law Group

Can Justin Bieber be deported?

Can Justin Bieber be deported?

Immigration attorney answers your questions about Justin Bieber deportation

Can Justin Bieber really be deported? YES!

Can Justin Bieber really be deported? YES!

The petition to deport Justin Bieber has reached over 210,000 signatures at the time of this writing, requiring a response from the White House. While we wait for the White House to respond, the question looms, can Justin Bieber really be deported? The answer is yes but unlikely.

Bieber is reportedly a lawful permanent resident (he has his greencard), he is not a U.S. Citizen. Bieber can lose his greencard and be deported from the U.S. for some types of criminal activity. While Bieber has yet to be convicted of any crime, admission of a crime could make Bieber “inadmissible,” which would present a problem when Bieber travels outside of the U.S., as explained below. A conviction can absolutely make Bieber deportable.

Bieber has been accused of a series of less serious crimes, egging a home and driving under the influence. Bieber’s biggest issue, however, revolves around his drug use. According to TMZ, Bieber had a urine test after his arrest on suspicion of drag racing and driving under the influence on Jan. 23, and the test came back positive for THC (marijuana) and Alprazolam, which is a key ingredient in the prescription anti-anxiety medication Xanax. Bieber also reportedly told police he had been smoking marijuana in his recording studio all night long and said his mom gave him the pills. TMZ also reports, using photo evidence, that Bieber apparently uses codeine, though this was not indicated in the toxicology report. Marijuana, Alprazolam, and codeine are all controlled substances, schedules I, IV, and II, respectively. Law enforcement executed a search warrant recently at Bieber’s home but the warrant was for video equipment so they weren’t looking for drugs.

Section 212(a)(2)(A)(i)(II) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides that “any alien convicted of, or who admits having committed, or who admits committing acts which constitute the essential elements of a violation of (or conspiracy or attempt to violate) any law or regulation of a State, the United States, or a foreign country relating to a controlled substance (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 802)), is inadmissible.” INA § 212(a)(2)(A)(i)(II). Similarly, section 237(a)(2)(B)(i) of the INA provides that “[a]ny alien who at time after admission has been convicted of a violation of (or a conspiracy or attempt to violate) any law or regulation of a State, the United States, or a foreign country relating to a controlled substance (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 802), other than a single offense involving possession for one’s own use of thirty grams or less of marijuana is deportable.” INA § 237(a)(2)(B)(i).

If Bieber really admitted to using marijuana and Alprazolam he could be considered “inadmissible.” This would be of no consequence to Bieber so long as Bieber remains inside of the U.S. (because he has already been “admitted”) but when Bieber travels outside of the U.S. and attempts to return (get “admitted” to the U.S. again) the finding of “inadmissibility” will lead him to be placed in removal (deportation) proceedings.

If Bieber was actually convicted of a controlled substance violation, “other than a single offense involving possession for one’s own use of thirty grams or less of marijuana,” he could be deported.

All in all, it seems Bieber, and his music, are here to stay! Bieber may be able to get naturalized as soon as he is eligible so that he doesn’t have to worry about his indiscretions leading to his deportation.

As always, today’s blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. This blog is for educational purposes only. If you have questions about your own immigration case, remember that each case is unique. Please contact our office at (916) 613-3553 or info@ranchodlaw.com to schedule a consultation.

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Published by: The Ranchod Law Group

Greencard vs. U.S. Citizenship FAQ

Greencard vs. U.S. Citizenship

Green Card FAQ

Greencard vs. U.S. Citizenship FAQ

Ultimately, many of our clients desire to become lawful permanent residents (greencard holders) or U.S. Citizens. Each status carries its own benefits. Here we will address the more common questions we hear in our practice from new greencard holders and naturalized U.S. Citizens.

Do I need a work permit?

Greencard holders and U.S. Citizens do not need a work permit to work legally in the U.S. As a greencard holder or U.S. Citizen you can prove your ability to work lawfully in the U.S. by showing an unrestricted Social Security card and your unexpired permanent resident card, US passport, or naturalization certificate, as applicable.

Do I need a travel permit to travel outside of the U.S.?

Greencard holders and U.S. Citizen do NOT need a travel permit, please see below for further details as applicable:

Greencard holders: In general, to travel to another country you will need to present a passport from your country of citizenship or your refugee travel document, and you will need to present a valid, unexpired greencard to return to the U.S. You must also pay attention to whether the foreign country you are visiting has any additional entry/exit requirements (such as a visa).

Note that as greencard holder you may be found to have abandoned your status as a lawful permanent resident if you spend too long abroad or otherwise indicate that your travel abroad is not of a brief or temporary nature. Please see our prior post on that topic.

U.S. Citizens: As a U.S. Citizen, you can travel abroad with your U.S. Passport. U.S. Citizens can remain abroad without restrictions and without fear of losing their U.S. Citizenship.

Can I vote?

Greencard holders CANNOT vote. Only U.S. Citizens can vote.

Do I have to file taxes?

Yes! Filing taxes as required is mandatory for both greencard holders and U.S. Citizens. Others in temporary status who work in the U.S. are also required to file taxes.

Can I ever be deported?

Greencard holders can lose their greencard status and face deportation. A common reason a greencard holder can be deported is for certain criminal convictions. U.S. citizens, provided there was no fraud in obtaining the U.S. citizenship, do not need to fear deportation.

Can I be a dual citizen?

Generally, you can keep your home country’s citizenship even if you become a U.S. Citizen. Some countries however, do not allow dual citizenship. Please contact us at (916) 613-3553 to schedule a consultation so that we can advise you as to your specific situation.

If you are interested in becoming a lawful permanent resident (getting your greencard) or becoming a U.S. Citizen we encourage you to contact us at (916) 613-3553 to discuss your options. We can schedule a meeting at our offices in Sacramento or San Francisco or we can meet telephonically or via Skype if you are not in the area. We are available for all of your immigration needs.

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Published by: The Ranchod Law Group

Hardship Waiver Cases, How to File

Hardship Waiver Cases

How to file a case

<Hardship Waivers and Similar Cases

We often meet with clients who believe they need a hardship waiver and they tend to ask “what do I need to bring you in order to file my case?” The answer is that it depends on the reason you need a waiver and on your particular circumstances. There are generally two categories of people who can file for a waiver: (1) Individuals who are outside of the U.S. who have been found inadmissible at their visa interview and (2) Individuals who are inside the U.S. and are applying for adjustment of status (to get their greencard) and have an issue in their past which makes them inadmissible.

Here we are going to review, discuss and understand whether you will require a waiver and on the types of papers you need to produce in order to strengthen your case. Here is a brief summary of some of the more common cases we see in our offices:

Health related grounds: Some individuals require a waiver because of a health issue, for example, if you have gonorrhea, some cases of tuberculosis, and some cases of syphilis, all require a hardship waiver. If you have a physical or mental disorder with associated harmful behavior (your behavior is a threat to the property, safety, or welfare of yourself or others) you will require a waiver. Also, if you’d like a waiver of one of the U.S.’s vaccination requirements you will require a waiver based on sincere religious beliefs or moral convictions, not hardship. We have the sensitivity to handle your personal medical information professionally and confidentially.

Criminal convictions: We have successfully obtained waivers for many clients with past criminal issues. Some of the more common criminal issues for which we seek waivers include possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana, two or more convictions for which the aggregate sentences to confinement were five years or more, prostitution (for a successful waiver based on prostitution you only need to show rehabilitation and that your admission to the U.S. will not be contrary to the national welfare, safety, or security of the U.S.), and crimes involving moral turpitude (includes most common offenses including many different types of theft offenses and simple assault/battery convictions). If more than 15 years have passed since the conviction you are seeking a waiver for then you only need to prove that you have been rehabilitated and that your admission to the U.S. will not be contrary to the national welfare, safety, or security of the U.S. If less than 15 years have passed, then you need to prove extreme hardship to your U.S citizen or lawful permanent resident (greencard holder) spouse, child, or parent if your case were denied. Note that if your conviction was particularly violent or dangerous, your waiver may still be denied even if you prove extreme hardship (denials can be appealed). On the flip side, there is an exception in the law for some truly petty crimes. This latter category of convictions does not require a waiver.

You will need a waiver for a crime both if you admit you committed the crime (even if you weren’t convicted) or if you were convicted (even if wrongfully convicted). For immigration purposes, pleading guilty is considered a conviction and so is a “withhold of adjudication.” If your crime falls into the category that requires a waiver, you will need a waiver even if you pleaded “nolo contendere” or “no contest.” You do not need a waiver if you do not admit to the crime and the case was dropped or you were found not guilty.

Membership in a totalitarian party: This reason for requiring a waiver is fairly common with immigrants from Cuba who are often required to join a communist group as part of their school, community, or job. To obtain a waiver you only have to be a parent, spouse, child, or sibling of a U.S. Citizen, or a spouse or child of a lawful permanent resident, or the fiancé(e) or a U.S. citizen. The waiver is granted for humanitarian purposes, to assure family unity, or when otherwise in the public interest. No showing of hardship required.

Immigration fraud or misrepresentation: Typically we see clients who entered with a fake passport/fake visas or someone else’s passport or visa. Also we see clients who lied on some prior immigration form. To obtain a waiver of immigration fraud or misrepresentation you must prove extreme hardship to your spouse or parent, extreme hardship to your child only counts insofar as it affects your spouse or parent. Again, note that the spouse or parent used for the waiver must be a U.S. Citizen or lawful permanent resident. This waiver is generally not available if you falsely claimed to be a U.S. citizen. For example, if you used a fake U.S. passport or someone else’s U.S. passport to enter the U.S. you cannot apply for a waiver.

Smugglers: Generally, is you were involved in smuggling your spouse, parent, or child illegally into the U.S. you can obtain a waiver for humanitarian purposes, to assure family unity, or when otherwise in the public interest. Again, no showing of hardship required.

3 or 10 year bar due to previous unlawful presence in the U.S.: If you were unlawfully present in the U.S. in excess of 180 days you face a three year bar prior to being able to return to the U.S. If you were unlawfully present in the U.S. in excess of 1 year you face a ten year bar prior to being able to return to the U.S. You can seek a waiver of the 3 or 10 year bar based on hardship to your U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (greencard holder) spouse or parent. Like with immigration fraud/misrepresentation, extreme hardship to your child only counts insofar as it affects your spouse or parent.

The above constitute some of the more common reasons for seeking a waiver and summarizes the type of waivers available for each reason. The papers you need to prove your case depends on the type of case and the particular facts in your case. For example, if you are inadmissible for a criminal conviction, you will want to include police report/s, court records, evidence of rehabilitation (paying of fines as ordered, successful completion of probation or a court ordered program, clearance showing no further crimes), and affidavits from you and witnesses (if applicable) describing the circumstances resulting in your conviction and your regrets.

If your waiver case is based on hardship you will want to include doctors’ notes, copies of medical records, and even prescriptions if there is an element of health hardship. If you are claiming financial hardship you will want to include proof of income (pay stubs, income tax returns) and expenses (bills, statements).

Generally, it is always a good idea to include proof of your good moral character. Achievements in education or work can be documented with certificates and diplomas or proof of promotions. Proof of your involvement in community service or involvement in a religious community can also be beneficial to your case. Along these lines, if possible, it is good to show evidence of additional family ties in the U.S.

In law, there are always little nuances and exceptions which may or may not apply to your case. You should contact us at (916) 613-3553 to discuss whether your case meets the general rule or whether there is an exception that applies to you. Additionally, note that the above laws are generally slightly different for those benefiting from VAWA (the Violence Against Women Act), T nonimmigrant status, or TPS (Temporary Protected Status).

We have experience handling the most sensitive and personal issues and your waiver case will be completely confidential, meaning we won’t tell anyone about it besides the immigration authorities. It is important that you are honest and open with us because the approval of your waiver is only for the crimes, incidents, events, or conditions we list in your application. So, for example, if we seek a waiver based on a criminal conviction the approval of that waiver is only for that criminal conviction, not for a lie you may have told on a previous visa application, for example. You would need a separate waiver if you didn’t disclose everything on your first waiver, causing additional delay and money.

If you’ve already filed your waiver and it was denied with another attorney, please contact us at (916) 613-3553 to discuss your options. We have extensive appellate experience, meaning that we can guide you through the appeal or a motion on your denial. We can also re-file the case for you.

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Published by: The Ranchod Law Group

Hiring foreign medical graduates and Physicians in the United States

Foreign Medical Graduates

Solution to Physician Shortages

With the New Year here, and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in place, our offices are buzzing with calls from medical facilities, hospitals, and clinics who need to hire foreign medical graduates to fill their shortage of physicians. The shortage of physicians is not a new problem, the shortage is merely being exacerbated by the previously uninsured individuals who are now able to seek medical care.

On February 9, 2013, the LA Times reported that only 16 of California’s 58 counties have the federal government’s recommended supply of primary care physicians. Moreover, nearly 30% of California’s doctors are nearing retirement age, the highest percentage in the nation.

In New York, State Health Commissioner Dr. Nirav Shah went on record to say that the state is short 1,100 primary-care doctors and when the Affordable Care Act kicks in he expects a million more New Yorkers to obtain insurance cards.

There is also a shortage of doctors in much of Florida. According to the Department of Health, 16 mostly small and rural counties have fewer than seven active physicians per 10,000 residents. As reported by CBS on June 22, 2013, Florida estimates that it would take at least 753 primary care physicians to eliminate those shortages.

Again, if your medical facility, like our medical facility clients, is feeling a shortage of physicians now, it is about to get a lot worse. As reported by Forbes on September 11, 2013, an estimated 7 million previously uninsured Americans will have coverage January 1, 2014, and that number will jump to 20 million by 2016. When combined with the millions of Baby Boomers that will be reaching Medicare age, the nation is facing a Perfect Storm of physician shortages. Forbes further reports that an estimated 75,000-150,000 new physicians will be needed over the next decade.

Your medical facility depends on having sufficient competent physicians on staff. So what is a medical facility to do?? You may want to consider hiring a foreign medical graduate physician (FMG Physician) to address the physician shortage your facility is, or could be facing.

Typically, a FMG Physician participates in U.S. residency programs under a J1 visa or an H1B.

FMG Physicians who complete residency in J-1 status are typically subject to the two year home country residency requirement under section 212(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), and thus are required to return to their home country upon the completion of the J-1 program for two years. This requirement can be waived. There are four bases set forth in U.S. immigration law to waive the requirement of the FMG Physician to return to his or her home country:

• Waiver may be requested by an interested U.S. federal government agency;
• Waiver may be obtained via participation in the Conrad State 30 Program: Mandates, among other requirements, that the FMG Physician work full time for three years in a Medically Underserved Area (“MUA”) or in a Health Professional Shortage Area designated by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS);
• Waiver based on hardship: Available for FMG Physicians who can demonstrate that their departure for two years would cause “exceptional hardship” to their United States citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or child; or
• Waiver may be requested based on FMG Physician’s fear of persecution based on race, religion, or political opinion if obligated to return to home country.

Please see our previous posts on the topic of J-1 waivers. In addition to needing a J-1 waiver, a FMG Physician who completed residency in the U.S. on a J-1 visa also needs an H-1B visa or another employment related visa to work lawfully in the U.S. after approval of the J-1 waiver. The J-1 waiver merely waives the requirement to return to the home country for two years, the J-1 waiver does not give the FMG Physician status to live or work in the U.S. In order to obtain an H1B for the FMG Physician the medical facility must, among other requirements, file a labor condition application (LCA) with the Department of Labor (DOL). The LCA is supposed to ensure that the admission of the FMG Physician to work in the U.S. will not adversely affect the job opportunities, wages and working conditions of U.S. workers. Also note that only 65,000 H1B visas are available each fiscal year (which begins on October 1 of each calendar year). USCIS begin accepting applications on April 1st of each year and it is therefore wise to apply on or as soon after April 1st as possible. Thankfully, if the FMG Physician works for a non-profit or public institution (or a VA facility), s/he is not subject the 65,000 cap.

If a FMG Physician is completing residency in the U.S. in H-1B status instead of J-1 status, s/he would not need a waiver. Nevertheless, the FMG Physician would need to request a change of employer.

Also, because the FMG Physician can only be in H1B status for six years (in certain situations the H1B can be extended beyond the six year period) and because the FMG Physician likely used most of the allotted six year period to complete residency, it would be wise for the medical facility and the FMG Physician to develop an early strategy for taking the necessary steps leading to lawful permanent residence (a greencard) for the FMG Physician. Otherwise, the FMG Physician might be forced to return to their home country and the medical facility would once again be short a physician.

As you can see, sponsoring a foreign medical graduate can be a win-win situation for both your medical facility and the physician. If your medical facility is experiencing a shortage of physicians, it is definitely going to get worse this year and in coming years. A foreign medical graduate of your choice can help provide you with the physician services your facility depends on. Also, for the foreign medical graduate, the opportunity to work and stay in the U.S. is often more desirable then having to return to their home country.

At Ranchod Law, we represent both medical facilities and foreign medical graduates. Some of our clients are medical facilities (hospital and clinics of all sizes) who have already found or are looking into hiring a foreign medical graduate in their practice. We make the process smooth and easy for medical facilities, taking care of all the necessary filings and paperwork. We also represent foreign medical graduates who consult with us to discuss their options for staying in the U.S. Please contact us at (916) 613-3553. We have offices conveniently located in Sacramento and San Francisco and we serve clients remotely all over the U.S.

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Published by: The Ranchod Law Group

3 Year H1B Extension Process [[VIDEO]]

How does a person on an H1B visa get a 3-year extension? Let’s watch a short video about 3-year H1B extensions:

Remember that you should consult with a qualified immigration attorney before attempting any change in your legal status. Call The Ranchod Law Group today at (916) 613-3553. Our offices are located in Sacramento, Santa Clara and San Francisco, and we meet with new clients daily. We also assist callers from anywhere in the world!

Published by: Ranchod Law Group

Conrad 30 vs. J1 Hardship Waiver for Doctors [[VIDEO]]

Here’s a video for foreign physicians that eplains the difference between two options that doctors have when seeking to avoid the tow-year home residency requirement of immigrating to the U.S. on a J1 waiver:

The Ranchod Law Group answers all of your immigration questions. Just call (916) 613-3553 and we will do our best to help you through this stressful process. With offices in Sacramento, Santa Clara and San Francisco, we are ready to take your call, and we even assist people in different time zones around the globe remotely!

Published by: Ranchod Law Group

Immigration Process for Doctors [[VIDEO]]

How do doctors immigrate to the United States? Immigration attorney Kaushik Ranchod provides an overview:

Remember that you should consult with a qualified immigration attorney before attempting any change in your legal status. Call us today at (916) 613-3553. Our offices are conveniently located in Sacramento, Santa Clara and San Francisco and we remotely assist clients all over the world.

Published by: Ranchod Law Group

Can You Stay in the U.S. on a Cap Gap while H1B is Pending?

What if my OPT is set to expire before my H1B takes effect?? Cap gap to the rescue!

If you studied in the U.S. in F status, you are probably familiar with OPT (Optional Practical Training), which temporarily allows you to work in the U.S. in your major area of study. Now what happens if your OPT is set to expire before your pending or approved H1B is set to take effect? This is where cap gap, the automatic extension of your F status until your H1B status takes effect, comes to the rescue! Take the hypothetical of Luisa:

Luisa studies in the U.S. and obtains one year of OPT from April 15, 2013 until April 15, 2014. Luisa, who otherwise qualifies for a H1B, has found an employer to sponsor her for the H1B. The earliest Luisa’s employer can file for the H1B is April 1, 2014 and the H1B won’t be effective until October 1, 2014. So what is Luisa supposed to do from April 15, 2014 (the date her OPT expires) until October 1, 2014 (the date her H1B becomes effective)? Thankfully, immigration regulations allow individuals like Luisa with pending or approved H-1B petitions to remain in F status.

The period of time when an F student’s status and work authorization expire through the start date of their H1B is known as the “cap-gap”. The automatic extension of F status until the start of the H1B is referred to as “filling the cap-gap.” Again, the extension of the F status until the start of the H1B is automatic. In the hypothetical above, Luisa can continue living and working in the U.S. from April 15, 2014 (the date her OPT would have expired if not for the cap gap) until October 1, 2014 (the date her H1B becomes effective).

Now, what happens if USCIS (U.S. Immigration) denies, rejects, or revokes an H1B petition filed on behalf of an individual in F status covered by the automatic cap-gap extension? In that unfortunate scenario, the individual will have the standard 60-day grace period (from the date of the notification of the denial, rejection, or revocation of the petition) before s/he is required to depart the United States. Note that the 60 day grace period does not apply in cases of status violations, misrepresentation, or fraud.

A final common question concerns travel during the cap gap. If you travel outside of the U.S. during your cap-gap extension you will NOT be able to return in F status. Instead, you will need to apply for your H1B visa at a consular post abroad prior to returning.

If you have questions or need help with your H1B or other immigration matters please contact us at (916) 453-3553. If you are in the Sacramento or the Bay Area you can arrange to meet us in one of our offices or, if elsewhere in the U.S., we’d be happy to consult with you over the phone or Skype.

Published by: Ranchod Law Group