September 2010 Archives

September 22, 2010

Paris Hilton Barred from Japan for Drug Offense

Hotel.jpegParis Hilton -- heiress, bon-vivant, and media magnet -- was denied entry to Japan today due to her recent conviction for possession of cocaine in Las Vegas, Nevada. The immigration lawyers here at the Law Offices of J Craig Fong in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles often hear from immigrants and visitors who want to come to the USA after having been convicted under, or having admitted to having committed a violation of, any law or regulation relating to a controlled substance.

Although Japan's immigration exclusion for drug offenders is strict, the US has similar restrictions, and any alien who has committed an offense more serious than possession of ≤ 30 grams of marijuana should NOT expect an easy time of getting into the USA. A waiver is available for very, very limited cases. We cannot be very encouraging to ANYone who has a prior drug conviction or admission.

Those who have been "cautioned" for marijuana possession in certain countries such as the UK and Australia should know that such "cautions" typically include the perpetrator's admission of the underlying facts of the incident (e.g., the possession). Therefore, the perpetrator has admitted to having committed the violation, even if there was never a trial, a conviction, or other citation. --jcf

September 16, 2010

September 2010 Update on H-1B Quota

Still not too late to apply for an H-1B. New quota figures as of September 10, 2010:

Out of the 65,000 cases that can be approved for H-1B this year, 37,400 cases have been receipted by USCIS for the regular Bachelor's degree H-1B quota. This is up from 36,600 cases which were received since September 3, 2010.

Approximately 13,700 cases have been receipted by USCIS for the advanced degree H-1B quota, a slight increase of about 300 cases filed since September 3, 2010 when approximately 13,400 cases had been received.

October 1, 2010 is around the corner. People with newly approved H-1Bs will soon be able to begin employment. First time applicants can still continue to submit applications for H-1B status until the entire H-1B quota is exhausted. I'll keep you updated on the cap count, so check back soon. ---ecf

September 9, 2010

Relatives of Permanent Residents Visa Numbers Moving Quickly

177934_bus_queue_v.jpgMajor news for relatives of legal permanent residents who have been patiently waiting for their petitions to become current. The Department of State reported in the September 2010 visa bulletin that applicants who are spouses or children of greencard holders (filed as late as January 1, 2010) can now be processed for greencards. This is true for applicants from all countries except Mexico and the Dominican Republic, whose priority dates aren't far behind either: January 1, 2009.

What is a a "priority date," you ask? A "priority date" is a legal term of art that can be exceedingly hard to explain (especially in a blog), but I'll try. Let's start with basics. There is a quota on how many immigrants can come legally to the country per year. Imagine the quota like it is a long line of people lining up for a greencard. The people at the front of the line are those whose relative petitions were filed earliest, ie those with the earliest "priority date." A priority date is established on the date that your petition is received by the USCIS. Of course, the earlier your priority date, the sooner you can later ask for greencard status. Generally, priority dates always move forward, but these dates can also go backwards, and if applications aren't received by USCIS before this "retrogression" happens, applicants are back to the waiting game.

In the past month, the (F2A) priority date in the the family-based second preference category (ie for spouses and children of greencard holders) advanced from March 2009 to January 2010! This has made an incredible difference to those who have been waiting to be reunited with their spouses and children, rather than expecting a year or more of wait, this category of new immigrants can now start processing their greencard applications. If you would like assistance in making sure that your application can be made as quickly as possible, contact the attorneys at Law Offices of J Craig Fong before those dates start floating backwards again. --ecf