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Common Questions About US Immigration Law

Q. I work for a very large multinational company. Recently it has been taking a very long time for the Embassy in Tokyo and Osaka to process our E visa applications. In addition, the INS is taking a long time to process our L petitions. A friend of mine who works for another big company told me to look into a "blanket" petition. What is he referring to?

A. He is referring to a Blanket L petition. The requirements are as follows:

  1. the employer has a US office for at least one year,
  2. the US employer has a total of 3 or more components (branches, subsidiaries or affiliates) around the world, and
  3. (a) the combined US annual sales is at least $25 million, or (b) the US workforce is at least 1,000, or (c) the company has received at least 10 L petitions approved by the INS in the last 12 months.

The blanket L petition will be approved initially for 3 years. After 3 years it can then be renewed indefinitely.

Once the company has a blanket L approved it can send managers, executives, and specialized knowledge professionals that meet the individual L requirements (i.e. 1- year prior employment with the company) directly to the US Embassy without first obtaining an individual petition approved by the INS. L visa applications are processed usually much quicker the E visa applications at the Embassy.

Q. I have an H-1B visa stamp in my passport which is valid for another 2 years. I recently switched employers after receiving permission from the INS. Do I need to get a new H-1B visa stamped into my passport or is my old visa valid for reentry to the US?

A. In a memo dated July 8, 1997 the INS indicated that in the case of an H or L nonimmigrant visa, the visa remains valid during the entire validity period regardless of a change in the sponsored alien's employer.

Q. What is the new fee for naturalization applications?

A. Effective January 15, 1999 the new fee for naturalization applications is $225. In addition, each applicant must pay an additional $25 for INS fingerprints.

Q. I am working on an H-1B visa for Company A. What should I do if I want to quit and work for Company B?

A. If you are fired by Company A you should request a change of status to B-2 as soon as possible. Otherwise, continue working for Company A until Company B receives approval from the INS to employ you.