Archive for the ‘US Immigration’ Category

Permanent Resident? Be a Small Business Owner!

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

In a previous blog we discussed how to start a small business, but we didn’t really discuss what kind of small business someone should start in the United States. The Green Card Lottery can get you here with your permanent resident card, and the government offers some assistance for starting businesses, but it is your responsibility to dream big and figure out what kind of business you want to open up on the beautiful streets of America.

Really, businesses are a matter of dreams. Many people tangle up the American Dream and owning their own business into the same thought and rightfully so! In America you have the opportunity to run your business the way you like it and to your advantage.

There are a variety of different businesses that you might consider owning and running, but you will also have to consider that there will be specific local, state and federal regulations that pertain to your chosen path. Most professions, and we speak here of trades and vocations, have their own regulatory industries, such as unions, state regulatory boards or health and safety laws. These institutions exist as to reduce the potential damage that could be done to a consumer. However, these regulations can easily be considered a blessing because with them you will be providing a better product for your customers and therefore more likely to have them come back to use your company again and again.

Restaurants are a big winner in terms of small business in America. Everyone likes to claim that they have their own little hole-in-the-wall place (away from the rigid regularity of fast-food chains) that they hold as special because they have the best, well, whatever dish you decide to serve to them! The best kind of advertising is not the kind you put on a billboard or in the Sunday paper, but into people’s minds. When you’ve made such an impact on someone that they begin to tell their friends and family how much they like your restaurant you’ve gained some of the most valuable customers you could ever know.

Specialty retailers, such as bakeries and the like, are able to find niches within markets and are also able to sell to larger companies. Internet retailing has also gained quite a bit of momentum in recent years due to its ease of operation. Instead of having a brick-and-mortar business the daily activities can be conducted online in the comfort of one’s own home. Not to mention the economic flexibility that the Internet affords small business owners. When you don’t have a large and clunky storefront which has a hard time changing its general feel or ideological direction an Internet company can re-brand almost instantly.

So enter in the Green Card Lottery so that you can start your very own small business in America. Who knows, your business might not stay so small for very long!

Permanent Resident? Start Your Own Business!

Monday, October 8th, 2012

After you win a green card through the Diversity Visa program you will be entitled to many of the same rights that citizens in the United States have. One of these rights—one of the more cherished of American rights—is the freedom to start and run your own business. It is also rather easy to start a business in the United States. The World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index claims that America is the fourth easiest country in the world in which you can run a business. There are a total of 183 countries on the list.

(Be sure to sign up for the Green Card Lottery this month. Registration ends on November 3, 2012)

Starting your own business is not the easiest thing to do, but there are a variety of government programs that exist, specifically, to help you get started and succeed in the exciting world of capitalism. Here we will discuss some of the advice that the Small Business Administration recommends for starting up your company.

One of the first things that you should do is to get financing. It is rather unlikely that you—much like many other people in the United States—have the cash to finance your business outright. In order to do this you will need to speak with a banker about obtaining a loan. A loan officer will want a business plan from you first. A business plan is often a presentation, but can also be a document that details what your business will do, how much money it is expected to make, how you will advertise for it, and how the everyday operations of the business will be conducted. The business plan will assure the banker that you are both serious about your endeavor and have researched it sufficiently.

Not only will you need to ensure that you have the money to back your business venture, but you will also have to make sure that your business complies with the pertinent laws. In the United States there are always at least three layers of government, federal, state and municipal and local. Each layer of government is going to have certain regulations that your business will have to meet. It is your responsibility as an entrepreneur to make sure your company complies with these rules.

Other regulations include the need to respect worker’s rights and obey labor laws from all levels of government. A little over a century ago, in the large cities of the United States several political social movements began to make some changes in the governmental regulation of business. Children were no longer allowed to work the extremely dangerous jobs they once did, people did not have to work 16 hours a day, every day, any longer, and working conditions continue to be improved to this day in terms of safety and benefits. This is considered a vast improvement over older conditions and remains rather popular with the majority of Americans, especially those involved with unions.

Business is an adventure and the freedoms ensured by the government in the United States are sure to make your adventure as exciting as you can possibly imagine. So apply for the Green Card Lottery and start your adventure today.

Permanent Resident? Live in Idyllic Louisville, CO!

Friday, September 28th, 2012

The Rocky Mountains in Colorado

A fun little problem that you must consider when you arrive in the United States is where you will live in America. You may as well consider what the best possible place is and perhaps move there, but what is the best place in America? Well, all Americans have a place that they call home and you can too when you get permanent residence through the green card lottery. This week we’ve been looking at some very nice cities in the United States, but perhaps you aren’t interested in the hustle and bustle of urban life. Perhaps you feel more at home in a small, rural town. Today, we’ll be looking at the winner of the number one spot of Money magazine’s best small towns, Louisville, Colorado.

Louisville, Colorado—spelled the same as Louisville, Kentucky, but with the ‘s’ pronounced—is located in North central Colorado and is home to only about 18,000 people. For comparison, San Diego is a home to 1.3 million people!

A quaint little mining town, is what most people think when they drive through Louisville, though the actual mining all but dried up in the 1950s its rustic allure is a serious draw. The gold rush and similar mining rushes of the mid to late-1800s have come to symbolize the rugged practicality, the adventurous desire and far reaching imagination of the American spirit.

It is a generally held American belief that the best place to raise children is in smaller sized towns, but, paradoxically, most people still want to live and work in the larger sized cities. That is probably why Louisville, Colorado, is considered to be such a preferable place to live. It is a small town, with a good school district, close to nature in the beautiful Rocky Mountains with a temperate climate. These qualities make it ideal for raising children. However, you also have very easy access to the city scene as well. Downtown Denver is only a 25 minute drive away from Louisville. This effectively makes idyllic little Louisville a suburb. Many other large cities may take an hour or more to cross, but in Louisville it doesn’t even take a half an hour to reach the quintessential mountain town.

The green card lottery is not tied to certain restrictions like other green cards are. You don’t need an employer to immigrate necessarily and you don’t have to stay with family in just one city. In fact, the greatest benefit of the green card lottery is the sheer freedom that you are granted. You can go literally anywhere you want in the country.

Colorado is also rather centralized in the United States. Colorado, and particularly Denver, is very well situated for sightseeing in the American West. To the southwest the Grand Canyon yawns, while almost directly south, Santa Fe, one of the oldest places in North America (established in 1607), contentedly bathes in the artistic talents of its residents. To the west is the internationally renowned Yosemite National Park and to the north is Yellowstone. There are so many things to see in America that it’s a good thing that permanent resident status doesn’t expire and you can spend your whole life seeing the country!

Permanent Resident? Consider Moving to Raleigh, North Carolina!

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

Immigrants who win the Green Card Lottery are effectively given free choice to go wherever they want in the United States. It is a basic benefit of living in America that residents may move freely throughout the states without the need for travel visas. In fact, the practice of obtaining a visa for travel within a country would seem so strange to most Americans that suggesting that one might need a travel visa to cross a state border would seem unreasonable and silly.Raleigh, North Carolina Skyline

So when you come to the United States where will you go? This series of Articles brought to you by features some of the most popular and well-regarded places in the United States. Today we’ll take a look at the East coast.

Raleigh (pronounced Rah-Lee) is the capital of North Carolina and located in the Eastern-central part of the state. Raleigh is actually a part of a conglomeration of many other cities and towns. Often it is referred to as Raleigh-Durham on interstate maps and is considered a part of the emerging Piedmont Atlantic mega region, a large population center in the United States.

Raleigh is at the center of three major universities in North Carolina. The University of North Carolina, Duke University and the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill compose the Research Triangle Park which since 1959 has contributed significantly to the growth of the cities as well as to post graduate research.

Raleigh is rare in that it was created for the sole purpose of being a U.S. capital and that before its creation, there was no community in its current location. In the Revolutionary war the British laid siege on the original, coastal, capital of North Carolina creating the need for a center of the colony’s (and later the state’s) government. A more inland region of the state was chosen. Evidence of this original and deliberate planning can be seen in the grid-like pattern of streets in downtown Raleigh.

Raleigh lies just near the meeting of the coastal plain and the Appalachians, the major mountain range on the East coast. It is a beautiful and verdant land. Nearby, only a few hours away, are the Outer Banks and the Atlantic Ocean. The Outer Banks is a permanent sandbar that separates several estuaries from the Atlantic Ocean and is a popular tourist destination. The first self-propelled airplane flight, by Orville and Wilbur Wright, took place at Kitty Hawk in the Outer Banks. The climate of the area is fairly mild especially the winters. Summer months can get a bit hot, but then again, that’s why beaches are only a few hours away.

It is to be expected that the state government is to be the primary employer in a state capital and Raleigh is no exception. The organizations that hire the most people in the city are the state, county and city government in addition to the universities and the public school district. The large concentration of universities in the area promotes large amounts of technological research and generates a considerable level of renown.

Bloomberg Businessweek ranked Raleigh the number one best city to live in the United States. The reasons they list it are for its thriving culture and intellectual power both of which are informed by the very large universities nearby. Nightlife and weekend events are also thriving points of interest in this beautiful East coast capital.

Show Me Your Papers?

Friday, September 21st, 2012

As of this week Arizona’s clumsy and, to some, irritating immigration laws take effect, the most relevant being the one called Show Me Your Papers. This law says that when a police officer pulls you over and suspects you of being an illegal immigrant they can ask to see your visa or other documentation that proves that you are in the United States legally. This is a very unusual law and has been met with a great deal of criticism. Even though it is a federal misdemeanor to be a permanent resident and travel without your green card, the fine is very small and enforcement of this rule is not actively sought. In fact, most places find it rather difficult to really charge anyone with this minor crime.

One of the primary criticisms of this new provision is its potential for becoming a tool for racial profiling. Take for example two different and hypothetical immigrants one from Russia and the other from Argentina. Both are doctors who came here on H-1B visas which they then parlayed into employment category green cards. However, the Argentinian doctor went a step farther by becoming a naturalized citizen last year. The Russian doctor still has to wait a year before he can apply for citizenship. If they were both driving through Arizona, critics of the law say, the Argentinian man would be asked to produce documentation that he is a legal resident in the United States, whereas the Russian doctor would be overlooked. However, proponents of the bill claim that both would be asked to produce documentation if there was reasonable suspicion that they were immigrants.

This brings up another criticism of the bill that has been discussed as of late: The sheer inconvenience of having to produce documentation that shows that you are a legal resident of the United States every time you get pulled over. After all, when you’re a citizen of the United States you probably don’t have to remember to grab your citizenship certificate when you leave the house in the morning. And what if you don’t have your green card on you when you get pulled over? Would the officer arrest you until you are able to produce the document? This seems to be a little heavy-handed.

Though the court system has upheld the Show Me Your Papers law, it is bound to bring some level of conflict between Arizona law enforcement and the federal agencies in charge of immigration enforcement. It is almost an absolute certainty that this law will be challenged many times in its years of activity, and quite possibly for many other reasons than the ones listed above.

Things You Should Know About the Constitution

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

The Constitution is the founding document of the United States government and is cherished by the American people as one of the most important documents ever written.

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However, like many other documents, books or philosophies people often misinterpret the content within them. Interpretation turns into speculation which turns into complete conceptual re-writes of the original meaning. Generally, analysis of the Constitution falls into two camps. There are literalists who interpret the exact words of the Constitution as the intent of the document, and a newer school of thought which interprets the words of the Constitution in the context of modern needs and designs.

Anyone coming to the United States, and particularly Permanent Residents, should be familiar with the Constitution and the rights and liberties that it provides.

The Constitution is a relatively simple and short document (which should encourage you to go and read it sometime, it is available for free online) that lays out the basic tenets of the United States Government.

The preamble of the Constitution states the purpose of the document and the government. The first article of the constitution establishes the rules by which the national legislature must abide. The second Article lays the foundation for the executive branch (the executive branch is composed of the president and his or her cabinet). The third article lays down the rules for the federal judicial system, the part of government that reviews the laws and actions of the other parts of the government. The interaction of the states and the federal governments is explained in the fourth article. Rules regarding the addition of amendments to the Constitution are explained in the fifth article.

There are a few other articles that address other issues and I encourage you to seek out a copy of the document so that you are fully aware of how the government works. Like I mentioned before, the Constitution is not a very lengthy document at all and you could probably read it in an hour. Funny enough, even though the Constitution’s best quality is its brevity people have spent entire lifetimes studying and writing about it and its application.

The last part of the Constitution is the fun part: the amendments. The amendments are particularly interesting because they were enacted through the history of the United States by the people represented by congress. This means that the people of the United States came together and agreed to change the Constitution. The first ten amendments are called the Bill of Rights and were enacted at the same time in 1791. These amendments establish certain rights guaranteed to the people of the United States by its government. At the time it was a contentious issue because some people argued that they were unnecessary because these rights were implicitly guaranteed by the other parts of the constitution. Some rights ensured in the Bill of Rights include the freedom to worship any religion one chooses or none at all; the ability to keep weapons in one’s home; the freedom from searches by authorities without warrants; the right to not incriminate oneself in court; and the ban on so-called “cruel and unusual punishment”. The other amendments are equally important, but this blog would become unreasonably long if I were to discuss them all in the detail that I would like! One particularly amusing set of amendments are a little mistake that the federal government made in the early 20th century. The 18th amendment prohibited alcohol, but 14 years later the government decided that this was a mistake and repealed that amendment with the 21st amendment making alcohol once again legal.

Be sure to check back on this page for more in depth discussions about different parts of the constitution and how they apply to citizens and permanent residents alike.

Jeb Bush: An Immigration Moderate’s Influence

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

Within the Republican Party there is a divide. There are those who are virulently opposed to undocumented immigrants and there are those who recognize the politically destructive nature of holding such a view. It is politicians who hold these views though, and they seem to have a hard time getting a grip on how ordinary Republican voters feel about the matter and some politicians seem to be so-called “flip-floppers” as they try to make their viewpoints liquid enough to satisfy their constituency.

Don’t have family in the U.S.? Don’t want the hassle of waiting for a job for a green card? The Green Card Lottery is an easy alternative!

It was recently announced that Jeb Bush is releasing a book about immigration intended to influence the party’s platform on the matter in a more moderate direction. Entitled “Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution” Bush holds that immigration is important and necessary, but it must be done through legal avenues. It is generally accepted that it would be wise for the Republicans to embrace the Hispanic community, where immigration reform is a real concern, and Bush is very familiar with working with that demographic.

The ideological opposition in the party really doesn’t have very different thoughts about the matter. However, their focus is more upon strict application of laws towards undocumented immigrants. There isn’t anything particularly wrong with this belief, it is, after all, the role of the government to enforce laws, but the problem is how they go about discussing the matter. Often the rhetoric from this faction of the Republican Party is demeaning, de-humanizing and degrading.

The demeaning, degrading and de-humanizing nature of some Republicans’ arguments is what Bush opposes. These incendiary comments about one issue out of a hundred that Republicans hold is not conducive for elections and re-elections.

So what opinion is Romney to hold? His platform is starting to really solidify in the last months of the election and it is clear that he is taking a slightly more moderate view of the immigration issue by recently saying that he would excuse some undocumented immigrants If they chose to serve in the United States military and he has taken some steps to distance himself from extremists in the Republican Party.

Romney’s modified stance on immigration should come as a relief to immigrants who were concerned about the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Where it was unclear whether or not he would repeal the order before, now it seems as if he will just modify the program to be more in-line with his party’s stance.

New Bill for Work Visas for STEM Graduates

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

The US Senator John Cornyn introduced a law to the Congress in order to boost the economical competitiveness of the United States.

This bill introduced by the US Senator is called the STAR Act of 2012. This bill would allocate 55,000 visas every year to foreign scholars from US universities provided that they hold a Master’s degree or Ph.D in science, engineering, technology and mathematics. These fields are the STEM fields. This would allow them to choose for double intent while entering the United States.

According to this bill the visas will be taken from the current Diversity Visa Lottery program. Through this, qualified individuals from the countries with low immigration rates to the United States, will be provided with opportunities.

This bill will also increase the number of visas which are issued to highly skilled workers in the STEM fields. This selection of highly skilled workers is considered to be of more importance for the US technology companies. Such companies always want to improve their approach towards international pools of laborers. They also wish to fill the vacant positions by skilled labor in America.

The US Senator is also confident that this STAR Act will strengthen American competitiveness. It will also provide a strong foundation for a long-run development. This bill is also likely to streamline the Green Card process for the economic growth of STEM.

There were also complaints from high-technology companies from Texas related to foreign graduates with degrees in mathematics and engineering. They had returned to their home countries in order to start up competing businesses, as they were not able to stay and work in the United States, legally.

Senator Cornyn also stated that the United States should also not take a back seat to no one in the world, in the worldwide competition for the world’s best and brightest minds in mathematics and science.

This STAR Act of 2012 has also received some promises of two-party support. That is because both nominees for the upcoming presidential elections have certain supporting policies which might attract foreign graduates related to STEM fields, to stay in the United States. Texas universities such as Texas A&M University, Rice University and Texas Tech University have supported the bill.

Certain Important proposals introduced by the bill include allotting 55,000 immigrant visas for the eligible STEM graduates. This bill would also allow dual intent for those individuals who are admitted in the US universities, to pursue a STEM degree. Individuals who graduate from an American research organization in a STEM field, will be provided with immigration visas under the EB-2 category. This new bill is also accepted by various educational institutions and employers.

Processing of Green Cards – DV Lottery Program

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

Green CardDV lottery program is mainly based on luck. Through this Green Card Lottery program, winners for Green Cards are chosen through a random lottery drawing which is computer generated.

The Diversity Visa Lottery (DV) Program or the USA Green Card Lottery program renders 50,000 immigrant visas to people around the world. The winners are issued Green Cards or Permanent Resident Cards, which authorize them and their families to live and work in America.

The US Department of State announces the regulations related to the submission of applications for DV lottery program every year. It also announces the date of commencement of application submissions before the initiation of the actual entry process.

After you submit your application, it will be saved in the computer database. The submitted applications will not be processed before the submission period ends. Once the processing begins, all the entries will be grouped according to the regions. Before processing, all the forms will be checked for completeness and incorrect forms will be rejected. If you had submitted more than one entry in your name, then your application will also be rejected. This is because a person is allowed to submit only one entry. But separate entries may be filed by the family members. Both husband and wife can submit separate entries, and include the names of the spouse and eligible dependents in their entries.
As there are millions of Green Card applications every year, every application requires careful and strict verification. After the verification process is complete, the entries are numbered into cases and are subjected to computer processing. Then the applicants are selected through a random computer generated lottery drawing.

Applicants can check their case status using the confirmation number they get as soon as they application has been submitted successfully. You can check the results at . The winners will be required to appear at the regional US consulate for an interview. All the documents which are required to prove your eligibility to enter the United States will be checked and background checks will be conducted. You must also possess a valid passport. Hence, winning the lottery alone does not ensure that you will definitely get a US visa. Once the numerical limit for visas is fulfilled and after the issuance of the 50,000 visas, the DV lottery program for the particular year will end.

After the interview and the background check, the winners will be eligible to file an immigration petition. The applicants who had won must be eligible for an immigrant visa under the immigration laws of the United States.

Through the DV lottery program, the winners will be issued a visa valid for 6 months. You must enter the United States within the 6 months before your visa could expire and must get a permanent resident certificate in order to stay in the United States, permanently.

Through the DV lottery program, the entries can be submitted free of charge. Only the winners will be required to pay the visa processing fee.

Applying for a Fee Waiver

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

Income for the USCIS comes largely from application and petition fees. If the fee is waived for certain applicants, it means higher fees for the others. There are certain individuals who cannot afford the application or petition fee. The USCIS has recognized this and developed Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver, to assist the fee waiver request process.

Though the USCIS introduced Form I-912, they still continue receiving certain applicant-generated fee waiver requests (without Form I-912). The instructions that come along the Form have the principles that USCIS adopts while passing a decision on a fee waiver request, whether the request is through Form I-912 or via just an applicant’s written statement requesting a fee waiver. The instructions will guide the applicants on the process and the supporting documents that needs to be submitted. There are many avenues that are considered before coming to a final decision on fee waiver requests. The applicant’s income level or financial condition is reviewed.

Means-tested benefit is one that would have a say in the final decision for fee waivers. There are various acceptable means-tested benefits, and the kinds of acceptable evidence used to document the receipt of a means-tested benefit. This also will decide which family members will qualify for a fee waiver based upon the main applicant’s receipt of a means-tested benefit. If you are receiving a means-tested benefit and you have included strong proof along with your fee waiver request, the USCIS will generally approve your fee waiver request, and no other information is required.

At the time of filing your request, is your household income at or below 150% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines? If you have included adequate proof that your household income is at or below 150 % , your fee waiver will generally be approved. Forms I-90, I-191, I-751, I-765, I-817, I-821, I-881, N-300, N-336, N-400, N-470, N-565, N-600, N-600K are general fee waivers.

Battered spouse or child of a lawful permanent resident or US Citizen, or having Temporary Protected can get Humanitarian Fee Waivers. VAWA self-petitioners or a foreign national who has or is requesting a T visa or U visa can also claim waivers under the humanitarian fee waiver. This also includes filings not otherwise eligible for a fee waiver or qualifying only for a conditional fee waiver such as Forms I-212, I-485, I-539, and I-601.

There are Conditional Fee Waivers too. You can apply for a fee waiver if you are subject to certain conditions. Apart from these, an applicant who does not have to show he/she will not become a public charge for admission or adjustment of status purposes may request a waiver for Forms I-192, I-192, I-485 and I-601. The USCIS is sole authority in deciding whether to grant a fee waiver or not and they have determined that some applications and petitions should be designated as fee exempt.

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