R-1 Visa2018-03-13T01:36:08+00:00

R-1 Visa

The Religious Worker (R) visa is for persons seeking to enter the United States (U.S.) to work in a religious capacity on a temporary basis, under provisions of U.S. law, specifically the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Our approach to processing R-1 Visas

An R-1 is a foreign national who could be temporarily employed at least part time (average of at least 20 hours per week) by a non-profit religious organization in the United States (or an organization which is affiliated with the religious denomination in the United States) to work as a minister or in a religious vocation or occupation.

Important Note: It is very important for prospective employers to file the petition as soon as possible (but not more than 6 months before the proposed employment will begin) to provide adequate time for petition and subsequent visa processing.

Religious workers include persons authorized, by a recognized employing entity, to conduct religious worship and perform other duties usually performed by authorized members of the clergy of that religion, and workers engaging in a religious vocation or occupation.

  • The applicant must be a member of a religious denomination having a bona fide nonprofit religious organization in the U.S.;
  • The religious denomination and its affiliate, if applicable, are either exempt from taxation or qualifies for tax-exempt status; and
  • The applicant has been a member of the denomination for two years immediately preceding applying for religious worker status. The applicant is planning to work as a minister of that denomination, or in a religious occupation or vocation for a bona fide, non-profit religious organization (or a tax-exempt affiliate of such an organization). There is no requirement that individuals applying for “R” visas have a residence abroad that they have no intention of abandoning. However, they must intend to depart the U.S. at the end of their lawful status, absent specific indications or evidence to the contrary. The applicant has resided and been physically present outside the U.S. for the immediate prior year, if he or she has previously spent five years in this category.

Every petition for an R-1 worker must be filed by a prospective or existing U.S. employer through the filing of a Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker. An R-1 visa cannot be issued at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad without prior approval of Form I-129 by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If the foreign national is visa-exempt (e.g. Canadian), he or she must present the original Form I-797, Notice of Action, reflecting an approval of a valid I-129 R petition at a port of entry.

Important Note: Visa applicants must bring the approved I-129 petition receipt number to the interview, so that petition approval can be verified.

There are certain general requirements which must be satisfied by the petitioning organization as well as by the religious worker, the beneficiary of the petition. These requirements are listed in the chart below.

The petitioning employer must submit Form I-129 including the R-1 Classification Supplement signed by the employer as well as the following supporting documents:

Supporting Documents Required for the Religious Organization

Supporting Documents Required for the Religious Worker

Proof of tax-exempt status
· If the religious organization has its own individual IRS 501(c)(3) letter, provide a currently valid determination letter from the IRS establishing that the organization is a tax-exempt organization
· If the organization is recognized as tax-exempt under a group tax-exemption, provide a group ruling
· If the organization is affiliated with the religious denomination, provide:
A currently valid determination letter from the IRS;
Documentation that establishes the religious nature and purpose of the organization;
Organizational literature; and
A religious denomination certification, which is part of the R-1 Classification Supplement to Form I-129 (see the links to the right).
Proof of salaried or non-salaried compensation
· Verifiable evidence of how the organization intends to compensate the religious worker, including specific monetary or in-kind compensation. Evidence of compensation may include:
Past evidence of compensation for similar positions
Budgets showing monies set aside for salaries, leases, etc.
Evidence that room and board will be provided to the religious worker
If IRS documentation, such as IRS Form W-2 or certified tax returns, is available, it must be provided
If IRS documentation is not available, an explanation for its absence must be provided, along with comparable, verifiable documentation
If the religious worker will be self-supporting
· Documents that establish the religious worker will hold a position that is part of an established program for temporary, uncompensated missionary work, which is part of a broader international program of missionary work sponsored by the denomination
· Evidence that establishes that the organization has an established program for temporary, uncompensated missionary work in which:
Foreign workers, whether compensated or uncompensated, have previously participated in R-1 status;
Missionary workers are traditionally uncompensated;
The organization provides formal training for missionaries; and
Participation in such missionary work is an established element of religious development in that denomination.
· Evidence that establishes that the organization’s religious denomination maintains missionary programs both in the United States and abroad
· Evidence of the religious worker’s acceptance into the missionary program
· Evidence of the duties and responsibilities associated with this traditionally uncompensated missionary work
· Copies of the religious worker’s bank records, budgets documenting the sources of self-support (including personal or family savings, room and board with host families in the United States, donations from the denomination’s churches), or other verifiable evidence acceptable to USCIS
Proof of membership
· Evidence that the religious worker is a member of a religious denomination having a bona fide non-profit religious organization in the United States for at least 2 years immediately preceding the filing of Form I-129
If the religious worker will be working as a minister, provide:
· A copy of the religious worker’s certificate of ordination or similar documents
· Documents reflecting acceptance of the religious worker’s qualification as a minister in the religious denomination, as well as evidence that the religious worker has completed any course of prescribed theological education at an accredited theological institution normally required or recognized by that religious denomination. Include transcripts, curriculum, and documentation that establishes that the theological institution is accredited by the denomination
· If the denominations do not require a prescribed theological education, provide:
The religious denomination’s requirements for ordination to minister
A list of duties performed by virtue of ordination
The denomination’s levels of ordination, if any, and
Evidence of the religious worker’s completion of the denomination’s requirements for ordination
Proof of previous R-1 employment (for extension of stay as an R-1)
· If you received salaried compensation, provide IRS documentation that you received a salary, such as an IRS Form W-2 or certified copies of filed income tax returns reflecting such work and compensation for the previous R-1 employment
· If you received non-salaried compensation:
If IRS documentation is available, provide IRS documentation of the non-salaried compensation
If IRS documentation is not available, provide an explanation for the absence of IRS documentation and verifiable evidence of all financial support, including stipends, room and board, or other support for you with a description of the location where you lived, a lease to establish where you lived, or other evidence acceptable to USCIS
· If you received no salary but provided for your own support and that of any dependents, provide verifiable documents to show how support was maintained, such as audited financial statements, financial institution records, brokerage account statements, trust documents signed by an attorney, or other evidence acceptable to USCIS

Period of Stay

An R-1 status may be granted for an initial period of admission for up to 30 months. An extension of an R-1 status may be granted for up to an additional 30 months. The total stay in the United States in an R-1 status cannot exceed 60 months (5 years).

Family of R-1 Visa Holders

R-1 worker’s spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may be eligible for R-2 classification. The dependents of an R-1 worker may not accept employment while in the United States in R-2 status.

12Mar, 2012

R-1 Visa Memorandum

This memorandum provides instruction to Immigration Service Officers who adjudicate R-1 nonimmigrant petitions for aliens who are coming to the [...]

Winning Back-to-Back Approvals for EB-1A (Extraordinary Ability) and EB-1B (Outstanding Researcher)

By Matthew Snyder, Esq.

Of the employment-based immigrant visa categories, the First Preference category has a certain sense of mystique and fascination. Intentionally, the USCIS regulations sets the bar very high for this employment based category.  For the EB-1A, which does not require an offer of employment, or labor certification, the USCIS suggests the following evidentiary criteria:

You must meet at least 3 of the 10 criteria* below, or provide evidence of a one-time achievement (i.e., Pulitzer, Oscar, Olympic Medal) as well as evidence showing that you will be continuing to work in the area of your expertise.

In this article, I would like to highlight two recent approvals that we received. The first was an EB-1A approval for an individual who had certain high achievements in the Financial/Investment Banking Industry and the second and EB-1B approval, for an Assistant Professor at a State University. Significantly, the latter petition was filed as a researcher and not as a professor since the candidate had shown certain unique achievements as a researcher but was in a non-tenure track position at the university.

The EB-1A case for the financial professional raised several challenges. How does one document the work and achievements of someone who is rarely seen in public, works behind the scenes and is involved in work that is highly sensitive and confidential? Despite being the main engine behind several mega deals, the beneficiary’s name did not appear in any newspaper articles or financial documents. Thus, it was left to our office to find a way to both document and highlight the beneficiary’s extraordinary accomplishments in his field.

One of the advantages of working with a boutique law firm specializing in employment-based immigration is that we can spend the time necessary to fully flesh out ideas and arguments without constantly having to worry about “billables”. Putting together evidence of this nature requires enormous patience and effort, not to mention time. Anyone who writes for a living must readily identify with the effort required to produce a compelling argument without sounding repetitive and uninteresting.

The EB-1B petition came to us at the NOID stage. Our initial task was to carefully review a copy of the petition that was filed by the Client’s current representative. What we saw was a “cookie cutter” petition with hardly anything in the petition standing out. The writing style was terse and formulaic. Obviously, this Firm had made it their “business” to file EB-1 immigrant petitions.  We really did not think the Petition stood a chance. We recommended withdrawing and refiling.

Many researchers and professors publish work in their field, have others cite their research, and participate in industry panels, etc. However, merely satisfying the regulatory prongs is not sufficient for an approval.

In fact, the NOID acknowledged the fact that the initial submission had met at least two of the prongs but had failed to demonstrate the beneficiary was an outstanding researcher by a preponderance of the evidence. This is called the Final Merits Determination (this standard is set forth pursuant to the holding in Kazarian v. USCIS).

We worked collaboratively and crafted a petition that highlighted the beneficiary’s achievements and contributions to the field. These arguments were painstakingly put together after a thorough review of the candidate’s background through numerous documents, letter samples and yes, some sleepless nights! Our goal was to have USCIS readily see the beneficiary as an outstanding researcher in his field. The case was approved straight away – no RFE or NOID!

If you are interested in pursuing an EB-1 visa, please contact us at intake@kidambi.com to schedule a consultation with one of our Attorneys.

PERM – Employment Based Green Card

Our I-485 got approved finally, took 11 yr 5 months. We got the email approval notification last week and expecting the cards sometime this week. I started my journey with Vaman back in 2007, but we could start only in Sep 2009.
We can’t appreciate enough Vaman and entire his team’s help and support in my pursuit of PR. THANK YOU very much from bottom of my heart.

– Sriram, USA, E-mail

Yasmin Blackburn, Esq. Appointed to National AILA Liaison Committee

Kidambi & Associates, P.C. is proud to announce that Attorney Yasmin A. Blackburn, who has been with the Firm for over 17 years and is a Senior Associate, has been appointed to The National Department of Labor Liaison Committee by the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Attorney Blackburn oversees several areas of practice including labor certification for the Firm. She has extensive business immigration experience handling H, L, TN, VAWA and complex EB-1 Multinational Management. She also advises companies on a range of workplace issues, including immigration and I-9 compliance, and E-Verify best practices.

Attorney Blackburn earned her law degree from the Beasley School of Law at Temple University and her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Iowa State University.

About the AILA Department of Labor Liaison Committee

The AILA DOL Liaison Committee meets with the Department of Labor (DOL) Office of Foreign Labor Certification and other stakeholder groups to discuss policy issues and trends related to temporary (H-2A, H-2B) and permanent labor certification (H-1B) applications, labor condition applications (LCAs), prevailing wage, and other issues. It also occasionally meets with the DOL Wage and Hour Division (WHD) and Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA). The committee prepares practice pointers, monitors the Message Center to spot issues, tracks trends based on AILA member experiences, provides comments to proposed regulations, and tracks issues in the PERM and FLAG systems, and the DOL Help Desk.

Exceptions to Suspension of Entry Due to COVID Surge in India – What to Know and How to Apply for a National Interest Exception Waiver

Introduction

For the past 10 days, we have been fielding calls from clients who have a compelling need to travel to, or from India. Unfortunately, the Presidential Proclamation[1] that went into effect on May 4th has made an already complex situation, more difficult. The US Embassies in India have suspended all routine non immigrant and immigrant visa services. We urge clients to carefully consider risks, both from a health perspective and from an immigration angle, before undertaking travel to India. From reports of limited PCR testing availability to frequent cancellations of international flights, the process of returning from travel to India may become complicated and be delayed significantly.

For those that are planning travel from India, the Presidential ban on travel specifically exempts certain individuals. According to the proclamation, this list includes:

    1. any lawful permanent resident of the United States
    2. any noncitizen national of the United States
    3. any noncitizen who is the spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
    4. any noncitizen who is the parent or legal guardian of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, provided that the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident is unmarried and under the age of 21
    5. any noncitizen who is the sibling of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, provided that both are unmarried and under the age of 21
    6. any noncitizen who is the child, foster child, or ward of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, or who is a prospective adoptee seeking to enter the United States pursuant to the IR-4 or IH-4 visa classifications
    7. any noncitizen traveling at the invitation of the United States Government for a purpose related to containment or mitigation of the virus
    8. any noncitizen traveling as a non immigrant pursuant to a C-1, D, or C-1/D non immigrant visa as a crewmember or any noncitizen otherwise traveling to the United States as air or sea crew
    9. It also exempts certain non-citizens who are:
      1. seeking entry into or transiting the United States pursuant to one of the following visas: A-1, A-2, C-2, C-3 (as a foreign government official or immediate family member of an official), E-1 (as an employee of TECRO or TECO or the employee’s immediate family members), G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, NATO-1 through NATO-4, or NATO-6 (or seeking to enter as a non immigrant in one of those NATO categories); or
      2. whose travel falls within the scope of section 11 of the United Nations Headquarters Agreement
    10. any noncitizen who is a member of the U.S. Armed Forces or who is a spouse or child of a member of the U.S. Armed Forces
    11. any noncitizen whose entry would further important United States law enforcement objectives, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees, based on a recommendation of the Attorney General or his designee; or
    12. any noncitizen whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their designees.

Exemption will also extend to an individual’s eligibility for asylum, withholding of removal, or protection under the regulations issued pursuant to the legislation implementing the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, consistent with the laws and regulations of the United States.

National Interest Exception

On May 13th, the Department of State provided an update on obtaining a National Interest Exception for Certain Travelers from China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, Schengen Area, United Kingdom, and Ireland. Absent notably in the list was India.

While most non immigrants cannot enter the US at this time, one may be able to obtain a waiver from the Embassy in India. The US Embassy in New Delhi lists the following process to apply for a waiver:

Visa holders with definite plans to travel who can demonstrate qualification for a National Interest Exception may contact the Embassy or Consulate that issued their visa to request a national interest exception prior to travel:

The email must include the following information for all travelers seeking an exception, as it appears on the visa:

Last name:
First name:
Date of birth, in DDMMMYYY format (ie – 01JAN2021):
Gender (M/F):
Country of birth:
Country of citizenship:
Passport number:
Visa Number* and Category:
Issuing Post Name (upper left corner of visa):
Travel dates:
Travel purpose and national interest category, including a clear justification for receipt of a NIE:

Each request will be carefully considered as our limited resources allow.  Emails in languages other than English may slow response time.  We aim to respond to each request within two weeks but cannot guarantee a decision date or the outcome of the decision. Errors in the submitted data may prevent approval in NIE requests.

Please note that national interest exceptions, when granted, are valid for a single entry within 30 days of approval.

Some clients have asked the obvious question. What if we travel to a third country (not currently subject to the suspension) and spend 14 days in quarantine before undertaking travel to the US? We are unsure how this is likely to play out at the port of entry. We have credible reports that the CBP is asking travelers to list countries that they have traveled to since they left India even if it has been more than 14 days. With COVID cases multiplying in several world destinations, and more cases of travel suspension being contemplated, it may be wise to weigh the risk of being stuck in a third country, prior to undertaking travel. The prospect of having to return to India due to the travel suspension after undertaking an arduous journey through a third country is at best fraught with risk.

Finally, we suggest discussing your options with an Attorney at Kidambi & Associates prior to making any travel plans.

[1] For a list of Presidential Proclamations, Click HERE.

USCIS Temporarily Suspends Biometrics Requirement for Certain Form I-539 Applicants

Effective May 17, 2021, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will temporarily suspend the biometrics submission requirement for certain applicants filing Form I-539, Application To Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, requesting an extension of stay in or change of status to H-4, L-2, and E nonimmigrant status. USCIS will allow adjudications for those specific categories to proceed based on biographic information and related background checks, without capturing fingerprints and a photograph. This suspension will apply through May 17, 2023, subject to affirmative extension or revocation of the suspension period by the USCIS director.

This temporary suspension will apply to applicants filing Form I-539 requesting the following:

  • Extension of stay in or change of status to H-4 nonimmigrant status;
  • Extension of stay in or change of status to L-2 nonimmigrant status;
  • Extension of stay in or change of status to E-1 nonimmigrant status;
  • Extension of stay in or change of status to E-2 nonimmigrant status (including E-2C (E-2 CNMI Investor)); or
  • Extension of stay in or change of status to E-3 nonimmigrant status (including those selecting E-3D).

This suspension will apply only to the above categories of Form I-539 applications that are either:

  • Pending as of May 17, 2021, and have not yet received a biometric services appointment notice; or
  • New applications postmarked or submitted electronically on or after May 17, 2021.

However, USCIS retains discretion on a case-by-case basis to require biometrics for applicants who meet the criteria above, and any applicant may be scheduled for an application support center (ASC) appointment to submit biometrics.

Form I-539 applicants who have already received a biometric services appointment notice should still attend their scheduled appointment.

Effective May 17, 2021, Form I-539 applicants meeting the criteria above are not required to submit the $85 biometric services fee for Form I-539 during the suspension period. USCIS will return a biometric services fee if submitted separately from the base fee. USCIS will allow a short grace period during which USCIS will not reject Form I-539 filed with the biometric services fee. USCIS will begin rejecting paper Form I-539 applications postmarked May 27, 2021, or later (while this suspension of the biometrics requirement is in effect), if applicants meeting the above criteria submit a single payment covering both the filing fee and the $85 biometrics services fee. If USCIS rejects the paper application because the applicant included the $85 biometrics service fee after the grace period, the applicant will need to re-file Form I-539 without the biometric services fee.

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Rule Designed to Welcome Foreign Entrepreneurs with Non immigrant Visa Option

On May 10th , the Wall Street Journal reported that the Biden Administration is looking to revive an Obama era rule granting foreign investors a nonimmigrant visa option. As a first step, the Administration will formally withdraw the proposed rule published at 83 FR 24415 on 5/29/18, which would have removed regulations on the international entrepreneur parole program.

Unfortunately, the Obama administration waited until the very last minute to make a nonimmigrant visa option available to foreign entrepreneurs. While the L and E visa options are immediately available options, the E-2 Visa is restricted to treaty countries (for instance, citizens of India and China do not qualify for the E-2 visa). The L-1A visa option has always suffered from a perception problem in that the USCIS uses the same yardstick to measure recent startups as they do well-established multinational corporations.  This leads to unreasonable requests for documentation and evidence evincing eligibility. And for this reason, “startups” have found it very difficult to qualify and sustain petitions filed under the L-1 visa program.

The International Entrepreneurship Rule (IER), planned to make available “parole” on a case-by-case basis to entrepreneurs who would provide significant public benefit to the United States; some key factors for eligibility would be:

  • the entrepreneur’s ownership stake and leadership role
  • the growth potential of the startup
  • competitive research grants ($100,000 or more) from federal, state, and local government agencies; and/or
  • investment by qualified American investors ($250,000, or more).

The proposed rule would have allowed qualified entrepreneurs to remain in the United States for an initial period of up to two years, followed by one additional period of up to three years contingent on meeting certain additional benchmarks.

While the Trump Administration did not favor the rule, it did not follow through on an initial effort to kill it. Signaling instead that it was not favored, was adequate to keep applicants at bay. Hardly anyone applied and it was rumored that no more than ten applications were ever filed under the program.

While it is relatively easy for a foreign investor to start a business in the U.S., running it from and settling in the U.S. has been anything but. So, it is indeed a welcome sign that the current administration is thinking about reviving the IER.

However, it must be understood that while the proposed rule is indeed a step in the right direction, it must undergo certain necessary changes to be appealing to foreign entrepreneurs. At the outset, in the immigration context, the concept of “parole” is used to refer to a “travel document” that allows the holder to enter and temporarily remain in the United States. Unfortunately, it also does not permit the holder to change, or otherwise adjust status in the U.S. This could pose a significant problem for the entrepreneur and his family. For instance, any plan that requires the entrepreneur to serve as an employee upon the sale or reorganization of a business, may not be viable.

An additional problem may be encountered by individuals who are already in the U.S. in a different visa category (H or L) but would have to give up their ability to change or adjust status if they chose to obtain “parole” through the IER.

What is also not clear is whether seeking “parole” would invalidate the applicant’s immigrant visa option making it impossible to adjust status while temporarily seeking the protection of the IER.

Allowing holders of the IER “visa” to change and/or adjust status in the U.S. would allow for greater flexibility and make the category more appealing to foreign entrepreneurs.

Spouses can work with proper work authorization (must file an application for employment authorization (EAD) on Form I-765); however smaller couples who jointly run their business may find this a significant challenge given the fact that current average processing times for EADs is close to 10 months. In other words, the rule must be revised to allow spouses who work together, when appropriate, to acquire status jointly.

Other changes including offering the initial visa for a three-year period instead of two would allow the foreign entrepreneur to consolidate investment and run things uninterruptedly for a longer period, before having to apply for an extension. These small but necessary changes could see this visa option becoming an attractive alternative to entrepreneurs from India and China. It is not enough to merely offer an immigration option if it does nothing to serve the needs of the entrepreneur it is designed to benefit.

After the current census, one thing is abundantly clear. America is desperately in need of immigrants and this is not an exaggeration.  Slowing population growth means slowing economic growth. Older adults are likely to outnumber children for the first time in our history. While having more children is always an option, the significant advantage one gains by having a more welcoming immigration policy is obvious. We can both select and monitor the arriving immigrant and make the policy work for us. A well-educated, highly qualified immigrant with significant resources like the one designed to benefit from the IER would be perfect. Having contributed nothing to educate the candidate, or help him raise the finances, we would simply benefit from the entrepreneurial zeal and job creation that would result from his or her immigration. Creating ways for legal immigrants to enter the U.S. and contributing to the economy would be mutually beneficial and rewarding. As former President Obama said in his State of the Union Address in 2016, “America is every immigrant and entrepreneur from Boston to Austin to Silicon Valley, racing to shape a better world. That’s who we are.”

On this women’s month

By Yasmin Blackburn, Esq.

I think about the most important woman in my life. The woman who gave birth to me, the woman who raised me, the woman who was an excellent role model for me and our family. She always, always tried to do the right thing. She was a beautiful soul who exuded grace, elegance, and a charming genteel manner.

Kathleen A. Blackburn was my best friend, guide, confidant and most importantly, my mother!  While it may be easy to identify her by her chosen profession, nursing, it would not do justice to a human being who, above all else, was a caring soul with so much to give and share.  My mom came from a different time where you chose your profession and had the fortitude to stay with it throughout your career. Improving your skills, training the ones who came after you, and striving for excellence rather than recognition was most important to her.

At 14, Kathleen became a candy striper at Gorgas Hospital in Panama City. Gorgas was an enormous hospital built on an imposing hill by the French then modernized and managed through the US occupation of Panama. My mom was undaunted by the history and size of the building.  Instead, all she talked about was how much she learned from the experience. She developed a lifelong love for the field of nursing. She cherished the time she spent taking care of patients.

In the mid-60s, my mom came to the US.  She was only 16 years old.  Petite and dark complexioned, she was not readily welcomed by a country fraught with the racial tensions and of that period.  She was determined to earn her nursing degree and continue what she had left behind in Panama.  She eventually graduated from John Adams High School in Queens, NY.  This is significant because officials tried to hold her and the rest of my family back because they were coming from “a third world” country.  Undeterred, she faced the racism, prejudice and xenophobia head-on and stayed focused on completing her education on time.  A diminutive, quiet person, my mom was still a force of nature. This was particularly true when she absolutely wanted something.  She was determined to graduate and get into a good nursing program as quickly as possible.  After graduating, and while waiting to find out where she was admitted, my mom started working at the “Book of the Month Club” and in the diamond district.  She had worked for a little over 2 years before realizing that corporate America was not her calling.  She needed to go back to helping and caring for people.  She began applying for nursing schools once again.

My mom was accepted to Central Nursing School on Roosevelt Island, New York.  While there, she received her LPN license and began working at Cumberland Hospital in Brooklyn, NY.  She worked in her favorite unit, the newborn nursery, for many years before going back to school for her bachelor’s degree from St. Joseph’s College and her master’s degree from Jersey City State University.  Along the way, my mom realized that although she loved working with newborns, the crack epidemic was decimating the African American community. For her bachelor’s, she chose to major in psychiatry with a specialization in alcohol detox.  Later, she admitted to me the fear she felt some days when her clients were in throws of violent fits and rages sometimes from drugs, sometimes from psychiatric disorders and sometimes from a combination of both, but she was determined to help them in any way she could.  She had to be escorted to her car on many occasions after a family member or former patient threated her life, she even had a knife put to her throat in a dark parking lot by a former patient looking for drugs or money.  She talked her way out of that particularly dangerous situation and resolved to come back the next day and just park in a different location. And yet, she never once thought about leaving nursing.  For 35 years, many of them as a head nurse, my mom worked for the Health and Hospitals Corporation of New York before finally retiring as a Nursing Supervisor from the Psychiatry Unit.

While dedicated to her career, my mom was also extremely active in the Girl Scout Council of Greater New York.  Because of financial constraints, my mom could not participate in Girl Scouting in Panama.  But when the Council asked for volunteers to start a troop, I volunteered my mom and she jumped right in.  My mom and the other women who later became like surrogate mothers to me, started Troop 2279 at St. Therese of Liseux or Little Flower in Brooklyn, NY. At its height, the troop had over 100 girls of every age group.  It lasted for over 15 years.  During that time, our troop began a partnership with St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City for a special mass to honor our Afro Latina Heritage.  Our troop took cruises and other amazing trips, while serving the community.  These may seem like small things, but for a troop of black and brown kids in the 1980s and 1990s it was significant. We were exposed to so much that we did not realize what was going on around us.  We were in a safe cocoon where we could grow, explore, and cultivate relationships that last to this day.  When I started my own Girl Scout Troop, my mom came to the meetings so often I asked her to become our medical and CPR person.  The leadership of Girl Scouts of Connecticut thought she lived in Connecticut rather than New York.  But that was my mom…. a caring soul who never stopped giving.

My mom began to develop a love of gardening once we moved into our home.  You would see my mom in her garden at all hours of the day and night.  She planted all year long and often told me plants are life.  It was not unusual to see her having an outright conversation with her plants.  I thought she was going a little crazy, but she said she talked to them the same way she talked to me.  She talked to me because she loved to see how my mind worked and she wanted to encourage me to feel comfortable expressing myself.  (I am sure she regretted that at some point 😊) She said plants were the same way.  They thrive and flourish from the energy surrounding them.  She gave them light, food, patient cultivation and words of love. In return, they grew big and beautiful.  To this day, I have a Christmas Cacti that my mom gave to me as a present.  Throughout the year, the plant is plain and green.  It is nice enough, but right at Christmas time it sprouts the most beautiful delicate, pink buds.  This is how I think of my mom…. she gave light, laughter, words of love and patient cultivation all my life.  The force of her love bloomed just at the right moments to spread happiness and good cheer all around. And I feel much like her plant, nurtured, happy and loved unconditionally!

USCIS May Reopen H-1B Petitions Denied Under Three Rescinded Policy Memos

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced it may reopen and/or reconsider adverse decisions on Form I-129, Petition for a Non immigrant Worker, made based on three rescinded policy memos. USCIS will generally use its discretion to accept a motion to reopen filed more than 30 days after the decision, if filed before the end of the validity period requested on the petition or labor condition application, whichever is earlier, and the decision was based on one or more policies in the rescinded H-1B memoranda below.

On June 17, 2020, USCIS issued Policy Memorandum 602-0114, which officially rescinded two prior policy memoranda:

  • HQ 70/6.2.8 (AD 10-24), “Determining Employer-Employee Relationship for Adjudication of H-1B Petitions, Including Third-Party Site Placements (Reference AFM Chapter 31.3(g)(16)),” issued, Jan. 8, 2010; and
  • PM-602-0157, “Contracts and Itineraries Requirements for H-1B Petitions Involving Third-Party Worksites,” issued Feb. 22, 2018.

On Feb. 3, 2021, USCIS issued Policy Memorandum 602-0142.1, which officially rescinded:

  • PM-602-0142, “Rescission of the December 22, 2000 ‘Guidance memo on H1B computer related positions’,” issued March 31, 2017.

Both Policy Memorandum 602-0114 and Policy Memorandum 602-0142.1 state that they apply to “any pending or new [H-1B Petitions], including motions on and appeals of revocations and denials of H-1B classification.”

A petitioner may request that USCIS reopen and/or reconsider adverse decisions based on the three rescinded policy memos by properly filing Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion, accompanied by the appropriate fee. In addition, USCIS has the discretionary authority to accept and consider untimely motions under certain circumstances as explained in the form instructions and permitted by regulation.

Petitioners who received an adverse decision on an H-1B petition based on the now-rescinded policy memoranda should consider whether there is time remaining in the validity period requested on the previously filed H-1B petition and the relevant labor condition application.

Additionally, USCIS recently extended through March 31, 2021, COVID-19 related accommodations that affect the deadlines for filing motions and appeals.

USCIS will generally process motions based on filing order, and consistent with current policy guidance.

USCIS reminds petitioners that even when a motion to reopen or reconsider is filed, accepted, and processed by USCIS, petitions will remain subject to all remaining and relevant eligibility requirements during any reopening or reconsideration.

Naturalization

Dear Attorney Kidambi,

We would like to thank you for guiding us through the N400 interview process. You have always been so wonderful!!!!
We would like to thank you for your help and guidance from the bottom of our hearts. We really appreciate it.

— Mani & Usha, USA, E-mail

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