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Green Cards • Visas • Citizenship

Immigration Law Services

Apostol Law Firm, LLC assists clients seeking to permanently reside in the United States. In addition, we assist clients seeking non-immigrant visas for employment, studies, business, tourist visas, fiancé(e), intracompany transferees and many other categories. We are here to working together to reach your American Dream.

Visas

NON-IMMIGRANT VISAS

Apostol Law Firm, LLC assists clients seeking non-immigrant visas for employment, studies, business, tourist visas, fiancé(e)s, intracompany transferees and many other categories.

B-1/B-2 U.S. Visitor Visas

It is a nonimmigrant visa used to enter the U.S. temporarily for a business, for pleasure or medical treatment or a combination of these purposes. Nationals of certain countries may be eligible to visit the U.S. for up to 90 days without obtaining a visa whether they meet the Visa Waiver Program requirements.

E-1/E-2 Treaty Trader and Investor Visas

These visas are for citizens of countries with which the U. S. maintains treaties of commerce and navigation. The citizen must be coming to the United States to engage in substantial trade, including trade in services or technology, in qualifying activities, principally between the U.S. and the treaty country. They may also be coming to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which they have invested, or are in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital. Certain employees may also be eligible for this classification. Treaty traders or investors and employees may be accompanied by spouses and unmarried children who are under 21 years of age. Their nationalities need not be the same as the treaty investor/trader or employee. Click on the Treaty Countries to obtain the list of participating countries.

F-1 and M-1 Student Visas

These visas are available to persons seeking to pursue full-time academic or vocational studies in the U.S. In some cases, a period for practical training in their field of study is available.

H-1B Specialty Occupation Visas

An H-1B nonimmigrant visa is a temporary visa for professional workers to work in a specialty occupation. Specialty occupation requires a bachelor's degree or equivalent as a minimum requirement. The H-1B visa is valid for three years and can be renewed for an additional three years. The H-1B is one of the most common work-related visas and is subject to annual quotas. Occupations that qualify for H-1B visas typically require highly specialized knowledge in a field of human endeavor including, but not limited to: IT, Architecture, Engineering, Mathematics, Physical Scientific Research, Social Science, Biotechnology, HealthCare/Medicine, Education, Law, Accounting, Business, Theology, Arts, Computing, Finance, Accounting, Banking, Marketing, Sales, Recruiting, and Telecommunication. The H-1B visa holders may be accompanied by spouses and unmarried children (dependents) who are under 21 years of age. Dependents may attend US schools, colleges and universities, but they are not authorized to work.

J-1 and Q-1 Exchange Visitor Visa

The J-1 Visa provides countless opportunities for international candidates looking to travel and gain experience in the United States. J-1 programs may cover au pairs, teachers, professors, camp counselors, physicians, short-term scholars, specialists, government visitors, international visitors.

K-1 Fiance(e) and K-3 Spouse Visas

A Fiance(e) or spouse of a U.S. citizen may be eligible for a non-immigrant visa conditioned on the conclusion of the marriage within 90 days.

L-1A Intracompany Transferee

The L-1 nonimmigrant classification enables a U.S. employer to transfer an executive, manager, and specialized knowledge employee from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States. It also enables a foreign company which does not yet have an affiliated U.S. office to send an intracompany transferee to the United States with the purpose of establishing one.

O-1 Extraordinary Ability Worker Visas

The O-1 category is for foreign nationals with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics.

P-1 Artist and Entertainer Visas

This visa covers athletes, artists, and entertainers.

R-1 Religious Worker Visas

This visa program is intended for religious workers.

TN NAFTA Professionals

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) created TN professional visa for Canadian and Mexican nationals. The TN nonimmigrant classification permits qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens to seek temporary entry into the United States to engage in business activities at a professional level such as nurses, therapists, computer systems analysts, engineers. There is a wide variety of occupations included in the list of eligible TN jobs.

Green Cards

Green Cards - Business Immigration

First Preference EB-1: Priority Workers-Persons of Extraordinary Ability, Outstanding Professors & Researchers, Multinational Executives and Managers

EB-1 Extraordinary ability

A foreign national may be eligible for the EB-1 extraordinary ability immigrant classification if she/he has extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics as demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim and recognized achievements in the field of expertise. In addition, she/he must show that will continue working in the area of extraordinary ability. Extraordinary ability means that her/his level of expertise indicates that she/he is one of the small percentage of individuals who has risen to the very top of the field. The foreign national may self-petition as an extraordinary ability individual since a job offer is not required for this classification.

EB-1 Outstanding Professor or Researcher

To qualify as an outstanding professor or researcher, a person must (1) be recognized internationally as outstanding in a specific academic area; (2) have at least three years of teaching or research in the academic area; and (3) seek to enter the US for (a) a tenured or tenure-track position within a university or other institute of higher education to teach in the academic area; (b) a comparable position with a university or other institute of higher education to conduct research in the area; or (c) a comparable position to conduct research in an area with a department, division, or institute or a private employer, if the department, division, or institute employs at least three persons full-time in research activities and has achieved documented accomplishments in an academic field.

EB-1 Multination Executive or Manager

To qualify for multinational executive or manager, a foreign national, who in the three years preceding the filing of the petition, has been employed in a primarily managerial or executive capacity for at least one year by a firm or corporation or other legal entity and who seeks to enter the United States to continue to render services to the same employer, or to a subsidiary or affiliate, in a capacity that is managerial or executive.

Second Preference EB2: Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability, National Interest Waivers

The EB-2 classification is divided into two sub-categories: professionals with advanced degrees and individuals with exceptional ability in the sciences, arts or business. Although a job offer from an employer and a labor certification from the Department of Labor are generally required for the EB-2 classification, a foreign national may be eligible to self-petition if she/he is asking for a waiver of the labor certification requirement based on the national interest.

EB-2 Advanced Degree Professional

A foreign national may be eligible for this category if she/he: (1) is a professional holding a U.S. master’s degree or higher or foreign equivalent degree that relates to the field she/he will be working in; or (2) has a U.S. Bachelor’s degree or foreign equivalent degree and at least 5 years of progressively responsible experience in the field after receiving her/his Bachelor’s degree. Foreign nationals may immigrate to the US under this category only after their employers obtain PERM labor certifications for their job unless they are eligible for pre-certification under Schedule A.

Third Preference EB-3: Skilled Workers, Professionals and Other Workers

Skilled workers, professionals and other workers may immigrate to the US only after their employers obtain PERM labor certifications for their jobs unless they are eligible for pre-certification under Schedule A.

Skilled Workers

A skilled worker is a person capable of performing an occupation which requires at least 2 years of training or experience, not of a temporary or seasonal nature, for which qualified workers are not available in the US.

Professionals

Under this category, a person is a qualified professional if he is a member of the professions with a baccalaureate degree.

Other Workers

Other workers are those who are capable of performing unskilled labor, not of a temporary or seasonal nature, for which qualified workers are not available in the US.

Fourth Preference EB-4: Special Immigrants and Religious Workers

This category includes religious workers, special immigrant juveniles and a variety of other special immigrants.

Fifth Category EB-5: Employment Creation

This category is reserved for business investors who invest $1 million or $500,000 (if the investment is made in a targeted employment area) in a new commercial enterprise that employs at least 10 full-time U.S. workers.

Green Cards - Family Immigration

FAMILY BASED PETITIONS

U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents of the United States may petition some relatives if they establish the relationship to certain alien relatives who wish to immigrate to the United States.

A separate form must be filed for each eligible relative. USCIS processes Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, as a visa number becomes available. Filing and approval of an I-130 is only the first step in helping a relative immigrate to the United States. Eligible family members must wait until there is a visa number available before they can apply for an immigrant visa or adjustment of status to a lawful permanent resident.

U.S. citizens may petition for the following relatives:

1) Spouse
2) Unmarried children under 21 years of age;
3) Unmarried sons or daughters 21 years of age or older;
4) Married sons or daughters of any age;
5) Brothers or sisters (the sponsor must be 21 years of age or older); and
6) Mother or father (sponsor must be 21 years of age or older).

Lawful permanent residents of the U.S. may petition for the following relatives:

1) Spouse;
2) Unmarried child under 21 years of age; and
3) Unmarried son or daughter 21 years of age or older.

Healthcare Immigration

Registered Nurses and Physical Therapists are listed under the Schedule A, Group I. This important group of healthcare professions listed under Schedule A do not require an approved labor certification. The labor certification application must be filled out, but the employer must file it with USCIS, instead of filing it with Department of Labor (DOL).

Physical Therapists. Requirements for I-140 filing:

1) Valid physical therapy license in the state of intended employment OR
2) Eligibility to take the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in the state in which they propose to practice physical therapy (Board Eligibility Letter or Authorization To Test for NPTE, also known as ATT)

Registered Nurse. Requirements for I-140 filing:

1) CGFNS Certificate (a certificate from the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools –CGFNS) OR

2) Passed the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) for Registered Nurses issued by the National Council of State Board of Nursing OR

3) A permanent, full and unrestricted license to practice in the state of intended employment.

In accordance with INA §212(a)(5)(C), a healthcare certificate is required for foreign nationals whose primary purpose is to work in the U.S. in the following clinical healthcare occupations:

Physical Therapists can obtain the healthcare certificate (also known as Visa Screen Certificate) from the following agencies:

a) Comprehensive Credentials Review Certificate (Type 1 Review) issued by FCCPT- www.fccpt.org

b) Visa Screen Certificate issued by the ICHP/CGFNS - www.cgfns.org

Registered Nurses can obtain the healthcare certificate (also known as Visa Screen Certificate) from the following agencies:

• Visa Screen Certificate issued by the ICHP/CGFNS - www.cgfns.org

Healthcare Visa Screen Certificates

A healthcare certificate is required for foreign nationals whose primary purpose is to work in the U.S. in the following clinical healthcare occupations:

1. Nurses (Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses, and Licensed Vocational Nurses);
2. Physical Therapists;
3. Occupational Therapists;
4. Speech Language Pathologists and Audiologists;
5. Medical Technologists (Clinical Laboratory Scientists);
6. Medical Technicians (Clinical Laboratory Technicians); and
7. Physician Assistants

A healthcare certificate is not required for the following:

1. Physicians;
2. Aliens seeking admission to perform services in non-clinical care occupations (which include, but are not limited to, medical teachers, medical researchers, and managers of healthcare facilities);
3. Aliens coming to the U.S. to receive training as an H-3 nonimmigrant, F-1 foreign student or J-1 exchange visitor;
4. The spouse and dependent children of any immigrant or nonimmigrant alien; and
5. Any alien applying for adjustment of status to that of a permanent resident under any provision of law other than INA §245, any family-based adjustment of status applicant, or any employment based adjustment of status applicant for employment that does not fall under one of the covered healthcare occupations.

The ways to obtain the healthcare certificate depends on the nature of the healthcare professions:

Nurses, Medical Technologists, Medical Technicians, Physician Assistants, Speech Language Pathologists and Audiologists must apply for a Visa Screen Healthcare Certificate with the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) through the International Commission on Healthcare Professions (ICHP);

Physical Therapists must apply for either a Visa Screen Healthcare Certificate with the CGFNS/ICHP or a Comprehensive Credentials Evaluation (FCCPT-Type I Certificate) with the Foreign Credentialing Commission on Physical Therapy, Inc. (FCCPT); and

Occupational Therapists must apply for either a Visa Screen Certificate with the CGFNS/ICHP or a Visa Credential Verification Certificate (VCVC) with the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT).

Generally, the healthcare certificate assessment consists of the following:

• An assessment of an applicant’s education to ensure that it is comparable to that of a U.S. graduate in the same profession

• A verification that all professional health care licenses that an applicant ever held are valid and without restrictions

• An English language proficiency examination

• For registered nurses only, a verification that the nurse has passed either the CGFNS Qualifying Exam or NCLEX-RN

• Applicants who successfully complete VisaScreen receive a Visa Screen Healthcare Certificate, which satisfies the United States Federal screening requirements.

Citizenship

Citizenship can be obtained in several ways. If you were born in the United States or to parents who are U.S. citizens, you are automatically considered a citizen. However, if these situations do not apply to you, then you may obtain your citizenship through naturalization.

Naturalization is the legal process by which a green card holder (permanent resident) becomes U.S. citizen. If you are a green card holder who want to become a U.S. citizen, Apostol Law Firm, LLC can help you every step of the way. We complete and submit all the paperwork, file the case, prepare you for the interview. We can even arrange for our attorney to attend the interview with you.

To be eligible for naturalization, you must:

• Be a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. for 5 years, or 3 years if married to a U.S. citizen for a minimum of the 3 years
• Be physically present in the United States for over 50% of the required residency period;
• Be a person of good moral character;
• Take an oath of loyalty to the United States;
• Pass a test in U.S. history and government (also known as “civics” test)
• Be able to read, write, and speak ordinary/basic English. There are exceptions to this rule for someone who at the time of filing:

1) Is 55 years old and has been a permanent resident for at least 15 years. Please note that you do not have to take the English test, but you still need to take and pass the civics test in your native language.
2) Is 50 years old and has been a permanent resident for at least 20 years. Please note that you do not have to take the English test, but you still need to take and pass the civics test in your native language.
3) Is 65 years of age or older and have lived in the United States as a permanent resident for periods totaling at least 20 years. Please note that you do not have to take the English test, but you still need to take and pass the civics test in your native language.
4) Has a permanent physical or mental impairment that makes the individual unable to fulfill these requirements. Please note that you may be eligible for an exception to the English test and/or civics tests due to a physical or developmental disability or mental impairment that has lasted, or is expected to last, 12 months or more.

Once you become a citizen of the United States, you may sponsor your spouse, parents, sons and daughters as well as your brothers and sisters for lawful permanent residence in the U.S. Some persons may obtain US citizenship at birth, or while they are minors, through their U.S. citizen parents or grandparents. This is known as acquiring US citizenship through acquisition or derivation.

Meet Our Attorney

Florina (Flory) Apostol is the Managing Attorney at the Apostol Law Firm, LLC, a U.S. Immigration and Nationality Law Firm. Apostol Law Firm, LLC was created with a focus on people working together: clients, staff and attorneys. Flory brings more than 10 years of experience in the immigration field...
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