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Protecting Expedited Naturalization Under INA 319(b)

INA 319(b) provides a faster naturalization option for Lawful Permanent Resident spouses who are married to U.S. citizens who work abroad. The physical and continuous residence requirements are waived, allowing applicants who meet the criteria to apply from abroad and without residing in the U.S. before filing the N-400.  If INA 319(b) did not apply, the N-400 physical presence requirements require at least ½ of 5 years (or ½ of 3 years if N-400 applicant is the spouse of a U.S. citizen).  The INA 319(b) benefit applies to lawful permanent residents in the following limited circumstances: their U.S. citizen spouse works abroad for the U.S. government, a public international organization if the U.S. participates by treaty or statute, an American research organization recognized by DHS, a religious organization doing missionary work, or an American firm developing foreign trade and U.S. commerce.  The INA 319(b) remains a very helpful benefit for eligible lawful permanent residents who are otherwise eligible to naturalize but would do not meet either the physical presence or continuous physical presence requirements, or both.

Recent USCIS changes to processing of INA 319(b) cases are making it more challenging to obtain timely expedited naturalization 319(b) approvals . The recent developments are (1) USCIS is phasing out Infopass appointments at local offices and (2) there are currently exceptionally long processing times for N-400 cases. The phase out of Infopass appointments limits the ability to communicate with USCIS about the case which may keep applicants and their attorneys from confirming that USCIS received an interfiled 319(b). When seeking to expedite a 319(b) case, the N-400 with 319(b) should be filed concurrently rather than as an interfiling.  If the 319(b) case is filed as an interfiling, USCIS will not send a Receipt Notice or have a different way to confirm receipt even if the 319(b) interfiling is later transferred to the local office.   And, perhaps most importantly, the case will not be expedited.  Instead, it be processed under the normal processing time at USCIS which can be very lengthy.  It is also important to request an expedited oath to strive to lessen the time span between the N-400 interview and oath, particularly if the applicant is regularly stationed abroad or has a fixed deadline to begin work for a qualifying employer abroad.

 

Opening Your First Estate Account

After you get your Letters of Administration as the Administrator or Executor of the Estate, you will need to set up a separate checking account for the estate with a banker.  When ordering checks, consider that the expenses will not be ongoing.  You’ll need enough checks to pay for funeral expenses, taxes, professional fees, reimbursements, other expenses associated with the winding up of the estate.  Ordering four books of checks should be plenty even for a large estate.

You have a lot of flexibility about which bank to open the account. To keep your learning curve to a minimum, however, you may want to consider using the bank branch you normally use for your personal banking.  Having already established a personal relationship with bankers and tellers can be an advantage to you when you have questions about your balance and when making transactions.

You should bring the following with you so the banker can set up the account:

EIN number. To apply online, click https://sa.www4.irs.gov/modiein/individual/index.jsp.  This is the fastest method.
Original Letter of Administration
Death Certificate
This account will need to stay open for the duration of the probate which means until taxes are paid and property is distributed.  You will use this account to pay bills for the estate and the statements generated by the bank will provide records for the estate taxes, if any, and for accounting to the beneficiaries.  You will also use this account to make any deposits such as cash, refunds, and bank transfers.  If you are considering investing the estate funds, you should contact a qualified financial planner and your estate attorney before doing so.

1001 Fourth Ave., Suite 3200
Seattle, WA 98154
phone: (206) 684-9458
info [at] lisaellislaw.com

We are committed to providing practical yet innovative solutions to advance strong cases. Our goal is to provide diligent, effective representation and individualized, result-oriented services.

 

Trend Towards More Scrutiny at the Borders and at U.S. Consulates

Scrutiny at the border and consulates is tighter following Trump’s revised travel ban. Foreign travelers can expect detailed questions about their backgrounds. For those travelers who were present in an area when it was controlled by an Islamic State (ISIS), the traveler may have a social media check in addition to their consular interview in order to determine any possible ties to ISIS or other terrorist groups.

In particular, business travelers on U.S. work visas and persons traveling without a visa under the U.S. Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) can now expect increased scrutiny when entering the U.S. The increase in scrutiny on consular processing and border inspections has made it more difficult to get a visa and also to enter the U.S. as quickly as once possible.

Our firm provides robust services in assisting clients with both consular processing and border entry. Please contact us.

1001 Fourth Ave., Suite 3200
Seattle, WA 98154
phone: (206) 684-9458
info [at] lisaellislaw.com

We are committed to providing practical yet innovative solutions to advance strong cases. Our goal is to provide diligent, effective representation and individualized, result-oriented services.

 

A New Legal Framework for the National Interest Waiver

Immigrant visas under the EB-2 category are available to qualified immigrants who are professionals holding advanced degrees or their equivalent or because of their exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business, will substantially benefit the national economy, cultural or educational interests or the United States. Unless waived, the foreign national must be employed by a U.S. employer and have a U.S. job offer and have met the labor certification requirement that demonstrates that the Department of Labor has determined that there are not sufficient workers who are willing, qualified, and available.

The decision in Matter of Dhanasar establishes a new legal framework for the National Interest Waiver. Under the new National Interest Waiver framework, USCIS may, in its discretion, grant a national interest waiver if the petitioner establishes by a preponderance of the evidence that

  • the foreign national’s proposed endeavor has both substantial merit and national importance;
  • that the foreign national is well positioned to advance the proposed endeavor; and
  • that it would be beneficial for the U.S. to waive the requirements of a job offer and labor certification

Under the first criteria, proposed endeavor has national importance, the Dhanasar Court decided to consider and assess endeavors in terms of “national importance” rather than “national in scope”. For the second criteria, the Court focused on whether the foreign national is well positioned to advance the proposed endeavor. Under the third criteria, the petitioner must demonstrate that it would be beneficial to the U.S. to waive the job offer and labor certification requirements.

The old National Interest Waiver framework was issued in the 1998 decision Matter of New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT). Under NYSDOT framework, a petitioner must show that the area of employment is of “substantial intrinsic merit”, any proposed benefit of the individual’s endeavors will be national in scope and the petitioner must demonstrate that the national interest would be adversely affected if a labor certification were required for the foreign national.

Matter of Dhanasar has modernized the National Interest Waiver framework under NYSDOT. I think we will see that the new National Interest Waiver is more applicable for the foreign national professionals, industries and technology of today.

1001 Fourth Ave., Suite 3200
Seattle, WA 98154
phone: (206) 684-9458
info [at] lisaellislaw.com

We are committed to providing practical yet innovative solutions to advance strong cases. Our goal is to provide diligent, effective representation and individualized, result-oriented services.