Immigration Newsletter

June 2003


Greetings! Welcome to the second newsletter from the Law Offices of Neena Bohra located at 302 W. 37th St, 5th Floor, New York, NY 10018 and 1336 Southfield Road, Lincoln Park, MI 48146.


This newsletter will be a monthly installment with summaries of latest and hot topics, which are of special interest to our readers.  Much has happened in the world of immigration law since the catastrophic event of 9/11/01 and much is still in store in terms of changes in Immigration law, rules and to the structure of the new BCIS.


In an effort to highlight some of these changes and to provide our readers with viable options, this newsletter has been created and will be written by an Immigration and Nationality Law Attorney,  Neena Bohra, Esq. 



  1. What is the Difference between an H-1B Specialty Occupation Worker Petition and an L-1 Intra-Company Transferee?


The H-1B Specialty Occupation Worker Petition is subject to a cap per fiscal year and has been heavily used until this past fiscal year.  It is currently available as an option and is likely to remain a viable option.  It offers the flexibility of a three- year period of validity with an option for an extension of three more years for a total of six years in this category.  In contrast, an L-1A Executive or Manager can spend a total of seven years in this category but an L-1B Specialized Knowledge Worker can only stay in this status for a total of five years.


The L-1 is an intra-company transferee; companies with international operations are able to transfer key personnel to their branch, affiliate or subsidiary in the United States to continue with operations. This, of course, also means that personnel have to be current employees of the company and have had experience with the company before transfer abroad to an affiliate, subsidiary or branch of the parent company.



  1. Why does BCIS Review the F to H Change of Status Cases with such Scrutiny?


Even if a fully documented and extensively detailed case is prepared, BCIS (previously INS) may have questions about the nature of the duties, the title and the designation of a specialty occupation worker title. F-1s are students and H-1s are “professionals.” As such, the foreseeable question about a leap from a student with limited practical training experience to that of a seasoned professional with a minimum of two years of experience in the related field may result in questions and dialogue between the petitioner and the government.


  1. BCIS Announces Plans to Accept E-Filing


The Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS) has announced that it will begin accepting electronic filing (e-filing) for applications to renew or replace a “green card” (I-90 Form) and for employment authorization forms (I-765 Form). This new option will commence on May 29, 2003.


BCIS plans to implement e-filings for 12 applications and petitions over the next three years. These 12 forms represent the bulk of their workload. The next forms to be available for e- filing include Forms I-129, I-131, I-140, I-539 and I-821. They will be ready for e- filing by the end of the fiscal year 2003.


  1. State Department Interim Rule Creates New “SP” Visa Category


A recent rule provides special immigrant status for certain victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks.  The new rule creates a new visa classification called “SP” for these immigrants and sets forth the eligibility requirements for the issuance of an immigrant visa in this category.


An “SP” Immigrant is one who is the beneficiary of a petition, filed on or before September 11, 2001 as an immigrant or as a nonimmigrant. It also applies to those who are beneficiaries of a labor certification application filed on or before September 11, 2001.  The beneficiary must present evidence that the petition or labor certification application was revoked, terminated, or rendered null, either before or after its approval, due directly to the September 11 attack, that resulted in the death or disability of the petitioner, beneficiary, or applicant, or caused loss of employment due to physical damage to or destruction of the business of the petitioner or applicant.


We hope this information has been helpful. Stay tuned for more timely and important news to help you stay on top of immigration matters!