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Public Charge Rule Changes

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, an individual may be denied admission into the U.S. or adjustment to lawful permanent resident status (green card) if (s)he is “likely at any time to become a public charge.” 
The term “public charge” has been interpreted as a person who is or is likely to become “primarily dependent” on “public cash assistance for income maintenance” or “institutionaliz[ed] for long-term care at government expense.” On August 12, 2019, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a final rule that amends DHS regulations how DHS will determine individual’s likelihood of becoming a public charge. The final rule incorporates consideration of more kinds of public benefits received, including cash benefits for income maintenance, Supplemental Security Income, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, most forms of Medicaid, and certain housing programs.

This regulation does not apply to humanitarian-based immigration programs for refugees, asylees, Special Immigrant Juveniles, certain trafficking victims, victims of qualifying criminal activity, or victims of domestic violence . This final rule goes into effect on October 15, 2019.

This change is likely to expand the number of immigrants that ineligible for green cards and admission to the United States .

For more information and to determine how this change may affect your case, call Immigration attorney Juras Law Firm, PLC at 480-425-2009 or contact us via email.

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Marriage Green Card Interview Completed in 25 Minutes

We would you like to congratulate to our client who just received approval of her marriage green card application. She is from the Philippines and was introduced to her American husband through mutual friends. Her husband traveled to the Philippines twice before he proposed. He came to Juras Law Firm seeking representation in the fiancee and marriage green card process. We prepared the petition for fiance documenting thoroughly our clients’ relationship. It took less than 5 months to have the petition approved. After our client entered the US with her fiancee visa, our clients got married and we prepared the marriage green card application. At that time, we already had a note for a doctor that our client is pregnant. We created a plan for our clients what evidence we wanted them to gather while waiting for the marriage green card interview. It took 14 months before we received the notice of the marriage green card interview. We prepared all the documents that the USCIS wanted to see and the marriage green card was approved in 25 minutes. Our clients were happy that the entire process went smoothly. Congratulations to receiving your marriage green card!

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Marriage Green Card Approved in Less Than 10 Minutes

My clients met 3 years ago and got married 23 months later. The husband is a citizen of France and the wife is a U.S. citizen. They came to my office a few months after they got married seeking representation in connection with wife petitioning for her husband’s marriage green card. I explained the process and the importance of documenting bona fides of their marriage and created a plan for evidencing all aspects of bona fides of their marriage.

At the time of filing the petition, the processing time was less than a year. However, recently, the processing time has increased and it took 1.5 years for the interview to be scheduled for them. My clients followed my advice and documented bona fides of their marriage diligently exactly according to my instructions. I prepared my client for the interview and they knew exactly what to expect at the interview.

Once the officer of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) saw that we presented evidence of all aspects of their marriage and once he saw all evidence the USCIS expects to see in a marriage green card case, he approved the husband’s marriage green card in less than 10 minutes. The officer did not even ask how they met!

This marriage green card case really shows the importance of preparation, the importance of working with an experienced immigration attorney who knows exactly what the USCIS expects and wants to see in order to avoid any delays and have the marriage green card case processed smoothly. Congratulations!

If you like your marriage green card case to go smoothly and be processed without delays, call the marriage green card immigration attorney Irena Juras at 480-425-2009 for a consultation or contact us through our website. We look forward to helping you get your marriage green card!

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Irena Juras Gets Dreamer her Green Card

A woman that has been brought to the United States from Mexico when she was 3 years old (let’s call her the “Dreamer”) came to my office with her husband who is a U.S. citizen. They had been married for 2.5 years and have three children born in the United States. We discussed the Dreamer’s options and the Dreamer has decided to request the Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”). She had a high school diploma and met the residency and other requirements for DACA approval. DACA was approved and she received her work authorization. Then, we filed a petition with the Dreamer’s husband as the petitioner. The petition was accompanied by supporting documents sufficient to rebut the presumption of marriage fraud. The petition was approved. Meanwhile, the Dreamer’s mother in Mexico was seriously ill and we applied for advance parole to allow the Dreamer to travel to Mexico to visit her mother. The advance parole was approved and the Dreamer traveled to Mexico, visited and helped her mother and entered the United States legally. Once the Dreamer entered the U.S. legally and met all other requirements for legal permanent residency, we filed her green card application. The application processing time in Phoenix is now more than one year. Finally, we attended an interview with the Dreamer and her husband, the application was approved and her green card has arrived. It was nice to see the happiness in her eyes to finally feel relieved that at age of 31 after living in the United States for 28 years illegally in fear, she does not have to worry that she will be deported and taken from her family. She is very appreciative for my help in guiding her through this process!
If you are facing similar circumstances or know someone else facing similar circumstances, call the immigration attorney Irena Juras at 480-425-2009 or reach us via email to schedule a consultation to discuss how we can help you!

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Marriage Green Card

Juras Law Firm receives calls from U.S. citizens all the time sharing with us very exciting news that they have married or are considering marrying a person who is not a U.S. citizen. They want us to represent them in the process of sponsoring their new spouse for a green card (U.S. permanent residence) based on marriage. Since there is lots of fraud in the area of applying for a green card based on marriage, there is a presumption of fraud. We help them rebut that presumption and make sure that the new spouse will not face negative consequences based on misrepresentation. There are two groups of spouses. First, the spouses that are already in the United States. Second, spouses still living in their home country. The spouses already in the Unites States may have another type of visa. Depending on the case, we help them establish that the marriage is bona fide through documentation and representation at the interview. They may be able to get their marriage green card without leaving the United States. Spouses seeking green cards based on a marriage that has entered the U.S. without authorization may need to get a waiver of illegal presence. We help them establish an extreme hardship to the U.S. citizen spouse if they are not allowed to stay in the United States. Once the waiver is approved, the final step is to schedule an interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. The second group of spouses is spouses who are still living in their home country and want to apply for a green card based on marriage to a U.S. citizen. They are going through a two-step process. The first step is to establish that their marriage is bona fide and second is to attend an interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in their home country. If you are considering applying for a green card based on marriage and want to make sure to minimize the time apart and avoid any negative consequences associated with the process, call us today at 480-425-2009 or contact us via our website and schedule a consultation today!

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Attorney Irena Juras Obtains Green Card for Tennis Coach in 11 Days

I love to play tennis, so I was very happy when a foreign-born successful tennis coach and a former Davis Cup reserve team member contacted me and retained me.   He had an O-1 visa and wanted to apply for his legal permanent residence (green card).   We applied under the first preference category (EB-1) and had to submit documentation evidencing that he, a nationally and internationally acclaimed tennis coach, meets at least three of the ten criteria required to establish his extraordinary ability in athletics, specifically tennis coaching.

1) We provided evidence of his original athletic contribution of major significance:

My client has extraordinary skills and abilities as both a tennis champion and a coach.  As a world-class tennis player from a young age, he has deep insight into the on and off court skills to physically and mentally challenge his students and improve their game.  He understands and is able to coach his students through the pressures of the court that come from winning and losing matches, keeping focused, traveling, interviewing, and team dynamics.  Consequently, he has been very successful at training and overseeing several national champions and highly ranked tennis players in various age groups and of both genders.  He developed numerous elite players and help them achieve top national rankings and win tournaments.

2) We provided evidence that my client performs in a leading role for an organization that have a distinguished reputation. The organization is a tennis academy with one of the most successful junior tennis development programs in the United States that were developing world-class athletes for a very long time.  As a world-level athletic development program, this tennis academy required extraordinary coaches who have the expertise to train high-performance players to achieve top national and international rankings.  As the academy high- performance head coach, my client has already contributed greatly to the academy’s program’s success by developing and managing elite players and leading them to impressive results.   My client is an integral part of the academy’s success as evidenced by numerous support letters and academy and his students’ accomplishments.

3) We provided evidence that my client received nationally and internationally recognized prizes and awards, specifically, his ATP and ITA ranking, tournament placements, and awards.

4) We provided evidence of his membership in associations which require outstanding achievement of their members, as judged by recognized national or international experts, specifically that he was a member of National Junior Tennis Team and Davis Cup reserve team member.

5) We also provided evidence of my client’s participation as a judge of the work of others, specifically as a chair umpire.

6) In addition, we provided evidence of published material about my client in professional or major sports publications.

7) Further, we provide evidence of his high salary in relation to others in his field

We had to also show that my client will continue his achievements in the area of tennis coaching and that the approval of the EB-1 petition will substantially benefit the U.S.  The U.S. will certainly benefit from my client’s coaching of U.S. tennis players to improve in their tennis careers, achieve highest rankings, win more Olympic medals for the U.S. and wins for the U.S. Davis Cup team.

Since the evidence clearly showed my client’s extraordinary ability in tennis coaching and that he has risen to the very top of his field and has sustained national and international acclaim, his petition was approved in just 11 days.

If you would like to discuss if you meet the criteria for an extraordinary ability green card, call the immigration attorney Irena Juras at 480-425-2009 or contact her via website TODAY!  We look forward to talking with you and helping you obtain your green card!

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Green Card for Shaolin Kung Fu Master in 3 months

Shaolin Kung Fu Master contacted my office to help him obtain his legal permanent resident status (green card) in the U.S.   He was in the U.S. on P-3 visa, which is a visa for artists and entertainers coming to the United States to participate in culturally unique events.  After a consultation, I determined that the best way to get his legal permanent resident status was to apply under EB-1 category as an individual with extraordinary ability in martial arts, specifically Kung Fu.  INA 203(b)(1)(A). The advantage of this category is that he can self-petition for his green card and does not need a job offer and a time-consuming labor certification from the Department of Labor (certifying that there are no U.S. workers able, willing, available, and qualified for the job).

This type of petition must be filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (“USCIS”) accompanied by evidence that the applicant has sustained national or international acclaim and that his achievements have been recognized in the field of his expertise.  Such evidence has to include evidence of a one-time achievement (that is, a major, internationally recognized award, e.g., Nobel Prize), or at least three of the following:

(1) receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards of excellence,

(2) membership in an association in the field of extraordinary ability, which requires outstanding achievement of their members, as judged by recognized national or international experts,

(3) published materials in professional or major trade publications or other major media,

(4) participation as a judge of the work of others,

(5) evidence of original scientific, scholastic, artistic, athletic or business-related contribution of major significance,

(6) authorship of scholarly articles in the field;

(7) artistic exhibitions or showcases,

(8) performance in a leading or cultural role for organizations or establishments that have a distinguished reputation,

(9) high salary or remuneration in relation to others in the field, and

(10) commercial success in the performing arts (with focus on volume of sales and box office receipts).

8 CFR § 204.5(h)(3).  If the above standards do not readily apply to the occupation, comparable evidence may be submitted.   In this case, we submitted evidence that my client satisfied categories 1 through 3.

First, we submitted evidence that my client received numerous nationally and internationally recognized prizes and awards, including those received at the Chinese and International Wushu Championships.   Second, we submitted evidence of my client’s membership in the Shaolin Temple, an association which requires outstanding achievement of its members.  The Shaolin Temple in China is recognized as the world cultural heritage and the history of the Shaolin Temple with its fighting monks has been a very long honored tradition.  My client is one of the small numbers of Kung Fu Masters who was selected by the Shaolin Temple.  There are about 30,000 Kung Fu students surrounding the Temple, only about 100 were chosen by the Temple.   Third, we submitted numerous published materials about my client in professional and other major media.

Once the USCIS reviews the threshold evidence in three categories, it must conduct a final merits determination that considers all the evidence to determine whether the individual is at a level of expertise indicating he is one of that small percentage who has risen to the very top of his field and has sustained national or international acclaim.   In our case, the USCIS took only four months to approve the petition even though the average processing time is substantially longer.

The Immigration and Nationality Act requires that the petition is accompanied by clear evidence that the petitioner is coming to the United States to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability and that his entry into the U.S. will substantially benefit prospectively the United States.   INA 203(b)(1)(A).   In this case, we submitted evidence that my client is managing a Kung Fu organization in the United States and plans to expand it.  His mission is to share the Shaolin culture with the American people.  He has personally taught many people Shaolin Kung Fu, meditation and Buddhism in the United States and plans to continue.   He plans to expand existing free Kung Fu training to include more people who love Kung Fu but are not able to afford it.  He plans to continue teaching meditation so that more people will have the chance to benefit from meditation (such as improvement of physical strength, fitness, flexibility, stress reduction, productivity increase,  health benefits resulting from breathing training, improving confidence).   It was a great pleasure to represent this extraordinary man and help him achieve his dream.

If you would like more information or if you want to make sure you qualify for the “extraordinary” ability green card, please call 480-425-2009 or contact me at www.juraslaw.com/contact-us today!

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H-1B filing season approaches

It is now time for employers to start planning the H-1B petition filings for foreign national employees.  The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service will begin accepting H-1B petitions subject to the FY 2017 cap on April 1, 2016.  Beneficiaries of approved H-1B petitions will be eligible to start working on October 1, 2016, the beginning of the FY 2017.  While April 1 may appear to be away, it will be here sooner than you expect.

The H-1B visa category provides for the temporary employment of foreign nationals in “specialty occupations” for which at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent is required (for example, accountants, pharmacists, computer programmers, engineers, lawyers, teachers, and many other professions).

There is a cap of 65,000 visas per year plus 20,000 visas for workers who possess U.S.-earned masters or higher degrees.  It is expected, as in the previous years, that petitions received from April 1 to April 7 (the first five business days of April) will be considered in the H-1B “lottery” (computer-generated random selection process).  The lottery will select H-1B petitions, which will be accepted for adjudication.

As the economy improved and a large number of H-1B candidates is expected to apply this year, we advise employers to be proactive and move quickly to ensure their H-1B petitions are prepared and ready to be filed prior to April 1, 2016.  Keep in mind that prior to the filing of the H-1B petition, a labor condition application has to be certified by the Department of Labor and must be submitted with the H-1B petition.  For more information and help with your H-1B petitions, call us today at 480-425-2009 or contact us through our website!

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President Obama Executive Order

President Barack Obama has announced the most sweeping overhaul of the immigration system in decades to shield five million undocumented immigrants and prioritizing the deportation of “felons, not families.” The undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents who have lived in the U.S. for five years or longer will receive work authorization for three years, as long as they pass background checks and pay back taxes. Deferred action is not a pathway to citizenship. It is not legal status. The undocumented parents will just not be a law enforcement priority.

Obama will also remove the upper age limit of 30 years old from a program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or Dreamers that allows those brought illegally to the country as children to stay, offering relief to thousands of people.

If you have any questions regarding Obama’s Executive Order or think you may be eligible, please complete the contact form or call the Juras Law Firm, PLC at 480-425-2009 to speak with an experienced immigration attorney. An experienced Arizona immigration attorney is here to answer your questions and guide you through the process.

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What is “substantial” amount of capital for E-2 investor visa?

The E-2 investor visa provides an excellent opportunity for foreign nationals from countries that have treaties of commerce and navigation with the U.S. to come to the U.S. to develop and manage operations of a business. A frequent question of foreign investors considering applying for an E-2 investor visa is: ‘What is considered a “substantial” investment?” Unlike the minimum investment requirement for EB-5 investor visa (“green card”), which is $1 million or $500,000 in targeted employment areas, there is no set dollar amount that has to be invested in order to be considered “substantial” investment for E-2 visa purposes. A substantial amount of capital for E-2 purposes constitutes an amount that is substantial in proportionality sense.

The proportionality test compares the total amount invested in the enterprise with the cost of either purchasing an established enterprise or creating a viable new enterprise. The lower the cost of the business, the higher the percentage of investment is required. On the other hand, a highly expensive business would require a lower percentage of qualifying investment. Thus, investments of 100 percent or a higher percentage would normally automatically qualify for a small business of $100,000 or less. On the other hand, an investment of $10 million in a $100 million business would likely qualify, based on the sheer magnitude of the investment itself.

The “substantial” investment has to be large enough to lead to the successful operation of the E-2 enterprise and must be more than marginal (must have the capacity to generate more than enough income to provide a minimal living for the investor and his family). What constitutes a substantial investment is different for different industries. If an investor wants to start a manufacturing business or any other capital-intense business, $100,000 will not constitute a substantial investment. However, $100,000 or a lower amount may be sufficient for service businesses. We have helped numerous foreign investors to get E-2 investor visas for a $100,000 investment in service businesses. We recently obtained an E-2 visa for a Canadian investor who purchased an existing service business in Arizona for $70,000. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service has approved E-2 visa even for smaller investments. Our most recent case was an E-2 visa for a Canadian investor who purchased an Arizona retail business for $250,000.

If you are looking to invest in a business or enterprise in Arizona or anywhere throughout the United States, call the Juras Law Firm, PLC to speak with an experienced E-2 visa attorney. Call our office at (480) 425-2009 or complete the contact form on this page for a consultation. We understand that the visa application process is complex; an experienced Arizona E-2 visa attorney is here to answer your questions.