Bellevue Immigration Lawyer & I-9 Attorney
Dedicated to Immigration & Nationality Law for Over 25 Years – Bellevue, Seattle, Redmond, Kirkland and Beyond
Dedicated to immigration and nationality law for over 25 years, Barbara represents her clients based on in-depth legal experience in matters concerning:
- I-9 Compliance
- Business Immigration & Temporary Work Visas (H-1B, H-2B, L-1, TN, B-1/B-2, E,O,P and more)
Barbara also advises human resources departments and professionals including executives, investors, scientists, engineers, artists, and more to obtain the appropriate visa for themselves and their families.
Questions You May Have
- Our company would like to hire a foreign national, how do we do that?
- How can I bring my foreign fiancée or spouse to the U.S.?
- I have a petitioned approved for me with a national interest waiver; now I’m applying to adjust status to permanent resident, but I’m no longer with the same employer; is it OK?
- I just received my permanent residence (“green card”), but I have a new job opportunity in an other country; how do I accept this opportunity without losing my permanent residence?
- Our company has never done I-9s, but we know all our workers are here legally; we don’t need to do anything, right?
- I have another question or legal need.
Our company would like to hire a foreign national, how do we do that?
There are temporary visas for employment, and there are options for permanent residence based on employment. Temporary, or non-immigrant, visas for employment are numerous, including H-1B-H-2B, TN, E, L, I and others. Which visa is appropriate depends largely on the job, as well as other factors. For example, a TN is under NAFTA and so is only available for Canadians or Mexicans. Even then, it must meet the job requirements. An E visa also requires the U.S. has a treaty with the foreign national’s country. An H-1B requires that at least a 4 year university degree or its equivalent is necessary to perform the job duties. An H-2B is for non-agricultural seasonal/intermittent/or one-time need jobs. An I visa is for members of the media and press specifically. Which visa is best requires analysis of the exact job duties as well as other factors.
Note also that the prospective employee must be admissible to the U.S. In other words, they must be either outside the U.S. or have entered the U.S. lawfully and consistently maintained lawful status, as well as not being subject to any of the many grounds of inadmissibility based on criminal arrests, security related issues, medical related issues, and many more. Note, for example, an arrest for a DUI while in the U.S., even if not convicted for a DUI, will now cause the non-immigrant status to be withdrawn. The government explains they can do that even if the person was not convicted, because they are doing under the medical grounds of substance abuse not under the criminal grounds of inadmissibility.
How can I bring my foreign fiancée or spouse to the U.S.?
Only citizens who have not been committed a crime under the Adam Walsh Act can petition for a fiancée. Either a citizen or a permanent resident can petition for a spouse, but there are big differences. Just one is that the spouse of a permanent resident is subject to the so-called “waiting line,” whereas the spouse of a citizen is not.
The process for fiancée requires the foreign national be applying from abroad. A number of requirements must be documented, including the genuine nature of the relationship and intent to marry.
The process for a spouse depends on whether the spouse is in the U.S. or abroad. If in the U.S., the spouse of a citizen must have entered lawfully and be otherwise admissible. The spouse of a permanent resident must have entered lawfully, and consistently maintained lawful status until their “place in the line” is reached. They are not allowed to remain in the U.S. while in the “waiting line” unless they are maintaining some other status, such as F-1 student status, H-1B, L, TN, etc. As always, the foreign national must be admissible.
I have a petitioned approved for me with a national interest waiver; now I’m applying to adjust status to permanent resident, but I’m no longer with the same employer; is it OK?
It may be. You will need to demonstrate that you continue to work in the same area for which your work was deemed to be in the national interest. For example, if you were granted a national interest waiver for your work on cutting edge cancer research, and the new job is a doctor in a family practice, it could be problematic. You must still be working in the area for which the national interest waiver was approved.
In general, employment-based immigrants must qualify not only at the time the petition is approved but all the way through the adjustment process. There is in fact a relatively new form to be completed in addition to the other forms when an employment-based applicant is no longer with the employer who originally petitioned for them.
I just received my permanent residence (“green card”), but I have a new job opportunity in another country; how do I accept this opportunity without losing my permanent residence?
Having permanent residence allows you to reside in the U.S. indefinitely and work in the U.S., but you must actually be residing in the U.S., or you can lose it due to abandonment.
Please see the Green Card and Permanent Residency page of this site.
Our company has never done I-9s, but we know all our workers are here legally; we don’t need to do anything, right?
Every employer is required to complete a Form I-9 for every employee no matter what, even if the employer knows for a fact that the employee is a U.S. citizen. The employer will be subject to financial penalties for not doing so. Worse, if the employer knowingly hires or continues to employ someone they know is not authorized to work in the U.S., they could potentially face prison.
If you haven’t done I-9s, you need to do them. An employer who does an internal audit of their I-9s, or does them in the first place if they haven’t previously, will be given some credit for attempting to comply with the law in the event of a government audit. Also note that due diligence requires all I-9s be in proper order for a sale or purchase of the business.
We are happy to work with you or your staff to assist you to become compliant with the law, and get you up to speed on the requirements to stay compliant.
Check our blog for upcoming articles on I-9s.