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Monthly Archives: April 2011

April is Naturalization Month

In 2011, April seems to have been the month for agencies offering services to people who want to file for naturalization. Both the Florida Coastal Immigrant Rights Clinic and American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) offered a day in the month of April where free services were offered to immigrants wanting to file for naturalization.

In order to help, I joined Florida Coastal on April 16th, 2011 in assisting individuals to complete their Form N-400. I enjoyed helping a lovely Vietnamese couple to complete the wife’s naturalization application, as well as a Haitian applicant applying for naturalization. I look forward to participating next year as well.

Extensions for H-1B Visas Beyond the 6 years

As most applicants that have H-1B work visas know, there is a 6 year limit on getting extensions. There is an exception to the six years limit that applicants can use to get 7th year extensions and additional extensions in one year increments. Basically, the applicant must have an Application for Alien Labor Certification or the PERM application filed on his or her behalf at least one year in advance of the 6th year deadline.

What this means is that if the 6 year ends on March 31, 2011, then the PERM must have been filed with a priority date of March 30, 2010 or before. If this is the case and the PERM has been certified or is pending, then USCIS will extend in one year increments.
However, is there any way to get an extension for beyond the 6 years where the extension is for more than one year at a time? Yes, there is and our law firm recently received a THREE (3) year H-1B extension for a client that has been on an H-1B for 7 years.

Under AC 21 section 104 (c ), there is a provision that states that if the form I-140 is approved, then “per country” limitations USCIS can approve the H-1B visa extension for 3 years at a time. This is a great bonus, since most extensions for H-1B’s are for one year at a time, and given this environment of strict enforcement by USCIS, many clients feel uncertain if they must receive extensions for only 1 year at a time.

Recently, our office is happy to announce that while USCIS may consider the “per country” limitation to apply only to certain countries like India, Mexico and Philippines, our office was able to obtain a 3 year H-1B visa extension for a client that has had the H-1B for over 7 years already. This client is not from the list of countries of Mexico, India, China or Philippines. He now has received a 3 year extension under AC 21 Section 104 (c ).

This is important news, because even when I prepared the case before filing, I checked with several other experienced immigration attorneys, and there is no clear explanation by USCIS of whether the 3 year provision under AC 21 section 104 (c ) applies to only certain countries where the backlogs are greatest or all the countries that are affected by the backlogs in general. In the above case, our law firm was able to get the extension for a country that is not listed on the specific list.