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February 2014 

Vol. 3, Issue 1
What Do You Know?  An Immigration Quiz


There are no prizes this time, but find out what you know!


1. Which of these performers/artists was born in the United States?

Mila Kunis, Dave Matthews, Selena Gomez, Jim Carrey


2. How much does it cost to buy a green card?

$120, $350, $985, $2,500


3. Which five states had the highest number of immigrants in   2011? 
Arizona, Florida, New York, New Jersey, California, Illinois, Texas, New Mexico

4. Maria, 34, lives in Mexico, and is the sister of Juan, who is a U.S. citizen. About how long will it take for a visa (green card) to be available for her? What if Maria is Filipino or Brazilian?

In This Issue
Meet Ida Keir
5. Ernst, 46, lives in Switzerland and would like to attend the wedding of his college friend Peter in California. How long will it take him to get a visa?

No time, 1 week, 1 month, 3 months


6. What were the top 3 countries of origin for U.S. immigrants in 2012?

Brazil, Jamaica, Mexico, India, Philippines, Ecuador, China 


7. H-1B visas allow companies to apply for 65,000 temporary work visas for foreign professionals with bachelors degrees , and another 20,000 for those with masters degrees. How long did it take to reach those numbers in 2013?

1 day, 1 week, 1 month, 6 months


8. Since 1980, has the number of people admitted to the U.S. as refugees or asylum-seekers gone up or down?

Bonus question: name the top 4 countries of origin of refugees and asylees in 2012.


9. Elena, an immigrant, and Daniel, a U.S. citizen, married 4 years ago. Elena got a green card 2 years ago. Can Elena apply for naturalization now?


10. What's the government's filing fee for a fiancÚ visa?


For the ANSWERS, click here

Can You Have Dual Citizenship? 

It's complicated (in fact, even the distinction between nationality and citizenship can be complicated - we'll use citizenship here). One of the reasons immigrants delay applying for U.S. citizenship is because they fear they'll lose their original citizenship. Citizenship is important; it allows you to live and work and more in a country. In the European Union, citizenship of a country means you're a citizen of the EU which gives you rights in many countries, so that's not something most people want to lose.


Today countries have become more flexible on allowing dual (or even more) citizenship. If you're thinking of naturalizing, you want to check the situation in relation to the law of the U.S. and the other country.  


The Immigration & Nationality Law of the U.S. says that nationals may lose their U.S. status for certain specific reasons including voluntary naturalization in a foreign country after reaching 18, with the intention to relinquish U.S. nationality. Recently, some U.S. citizens have renounced their citizenship to gain lower tax rates elsewhere. But most U.S. citizens don't want to give up their U.S. citizenship when they naturalize elsewhere. In that case they can maintain both as long as the other country allows it.

For more information on U.S. policy, see the State Department's website.  


Foreign Professors and Researchers - What are the Options?

Most employment green cards require a job offer from the prospective employer, and a certification from the Department of Labor that the work will not displace an American worker.  The EB-1 visa is different. It allows an intending immigrant to apply for her/himself in some cases, and to forego the labor certification requirement, and there is usually no backlog in visa availability. This is attractive to scholars, researchers, doctoral students, post-doctoral research fellows, and related professionals. Not surprisingly, it's hard to meet the requirements of this category. 


Two of the most popular options are:

1. Extraordinary Ability category. Think star athletes and supermodels here; winning a Pulitzer Prize, an Olympic medal or the academic equivalent will help greatly.You must be able to demonstrate extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics through sustained national or international acclaim. Your achievements must be recognized in your field, and extensive and detailed documentation is required. Some of the methods of proving extraordinary ability include evidence of national or international awards; material published about or by you in professional or trade publications; and high salary or other significantly high pay compared to others in the field.  


2. Outstanding Professors and Researchers category. You will need a job offer in this category, though not a labor certification. You must demonstrate international recognition for your outstanding achievements in a particular academic field, and have at least 3 years experience in teaching or research in that area. Your work must involve pursuing tenure or a tenure track teaching or a comparable research position at a university or other institution of higher education, or working with a private employer to conduct research.

Petitions for these visas don't happen overnight. It can take months of research and follow-up to obtain the documents and recommendations to support these complex applications. But it can be well worth it if you're successful.


Did you notice we didn't even mention immigration reform? It's certainly not gone away, and hope remains that something big will happen this year. Unfortunately, there's no concrete progress to report. It looks like a lot of political grandstanding in Washington at the moment. Whenever you have a chance, please make your views know - that's what democracy's about. 

Ida Keir, Esq.

Ida Keir Law | 704-778-2891 | |
1821 Graybark Ave.
Charlotte, NC 28205

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