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  • Why is my case at USCIS taking so long to be approved?
    USCIS has many factors that may impact the speedy review of submitted petitions such as the number of applications currently in their cue, the weather, staffing issues, requests for evidence, policy and procedure updates, political issues, and more! You can check USCIS' case processing website to get an estimate regarding when your case will be approved. Your attorney can also give an estimate based on their experience with similar cases. If your case is outside of USCIS' processing times then you or your attorney is able to submit a service request to motivate action on your pending petition.
  • What is premium processing?
    Premium processing allows petitioners or beneficiaries to get an expedited decision (within 15 days for most cases) on certain types of petitions filed at USCIS for a fee.
  • How long does the employment based Green Card process take?
    For most employees, the employment based Green Card process is going to start with the PERM Labor Certification process. The PERM process can be broken down into three stages: 1) obtaining a wage determination from the Department of Labor; 2) testing the labor market through advertising for the position; 3) filing the PERM application (ETA 9089) with the Department of Labor. Depending on current processing times, this process has recently taken between one and two years for most employees (without receiving an audit). Once the PERM process is complete, an I-140 can be filed for the employee offering them the permanent position. As long as the employee is not currently subject to an immigrant visa backlog based on their country of birth, they can also file an I-485 Adjustment of Status application when they file their I-140. In total, employers and employees should plan on this process taking somewhere between two and three years.
  • When can I begin my green card application?
    This question depends on your situation. You should work with your employer, spouse, attorney, etc. to determine when the right time to file based on company policy, wedding date, etc. would be. If you are seriously considering remaining in the United States on a permanent basis then you should contact your attorney and develop the best strategy for your situation.
  • If I change my address, should my employer file an amendment for my case?
    It is possible that an amendment should be filed. For certain visa types such as H-1B, H-1B1, or E-3 employees, the Labor Condition Application (LCA) and petition filed on your behalf contain a specific location where you are authorized to work and are more likely to require an amendment. For TN, O-1, E-2, or L-1 petitions there is no LCA so there is more flexibility when considering an amendment. Whenever you are considering a change of address, you should reach out to your employer and attorney to determine if an amendment should be filed.
  • If I change positions or have a promotion, should my employer file an amendment for my nonimmigrant status?
    It is possible that an amendment should be filed. A lot of the time, an amendment is not necessary as long as you remain at the same location and are paid at the same or a higher rate than prior to the change. Our normal advice to employers is to consider if there is a substantial difference in job duties. If the duties of the new position are 50+% different than the old position then an amendment should be filed. You should reach out to your attorney and employer if you experience a significant change in your job duties.
  • What is my priority date?
    Your priority date is the place in line for a green card to become available for you based on the demand and supply of immigrant visas, the number of visas allocated to your preference category (EB-1, EB-2, EB-3, etc.), and per-country visa limitations for your country of birth. Many green card applicants receive their priority date based on the day an employer files a PERM Labor Certification (ETA 9089) to offer full time employment to them. This date is located on your I-797, Notice of Action. To see if your priority date is current and you are eligible to file for a green card, your priority date should be compared to the dates listed on the visa bulletin published by the United States Department of State.
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