Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Redesigned Naturalization Certificate

Over the years, CIS has redesigned Lawful Permanent Resident cards on several occassions, with the newest version including the most current security features available.  CIS has just done the same for the naturalization certificate.  The new certificate of naturalization also has security features that will reduce fraud.  It will include the new citizen's digitized photo and signature embedded into the document, and will feature a color-shifting ink pattern that is difficult to reproduce.

All previously issued Certificates of Naturalization shall remain valid.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Facebook, Twitter, and USCIS

A CIS internal memo has be circulating which instucts DHS Fraud Detection officers on how to use social networking websites, such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, in order to detect fraud in immigration cases.  According to the memo, these sites prove "an excellent vantage point for FDNS to observe the daily life of beneficiaries and petitioner who are suspected of fraudulent activities."  Noting that people generally speak honestly on these sites, the memo states they give FDNS "an opportunity to reveal fraud by browsing these sites to see if petitioners and beneficiaries are in a valid relationship or are attempting to deceive CIS about their relationship."  Summing up, the memo states that "using MySpace and other like sites is akin to doing an unabbounced cyber 'site-visit' on petitioners and beneficiaries."

FY2011 H-1B Cap Count

As of 10/15/2010, approximately 42,800 H-1B petitions were receipted by USCIS.  CIS also receipted 15,700 petitions from foreign nationals with advanced degrees.  Accordingly, with only 2.5 months remaining in the year, approximately 1/3 of the visa numbers remain available.  No one knows what will happen if the year closes with visa numbers still available.  The government will have to decide whether to apply a "use it or lose it" strategy (meaning the visas will be gone), or roll the unused visas into the next fiscal year.

Friday, October 8, 2010

National Interest Waivers Provide Individuals with Permanent Status

A foreign national may apply for lawful permanent residence status (green card), and seek a waiver of the job offer and labor certification requirements, by establishing that his or her admission to permanent residence would be in the National Interest. The applicant must establish that his/her proposed services will be in an area of substantial intrinsic merit and will have a national benefit, and that the alien has some track record of success in his or her field.

In deciding whether the proposed work will be in an area of substantial intrinsic merit, factors that have been considered in successful cases include, whether the work will improve the U.S. economy, improve healthcare, or improve the U.S. environment and lead to more productive use of the national resources.

In addition to requiring the showing of a benefit that is national in scope, national interest cases require that the emphasis rest with the overall value and potential of the particular beneficiary’s individual contribution to the United States. Many of the National Interest Waivers that have been approved were supported by affidavits from well-known, distinguished and influential people or organizations. Strong National Interest Waiver cases also document past achievements. They may include proof, for example, that the foreign national has already created jobs, has turned around a business, has created an increase in exports, has published articles in scholarly journals, or has made presentations at symposia.

By way of example, a Researcher Professional working on potential drug therapy for autism gain a national interest waiver. The researcher had been part of a team of researchers who had investigating a particular drug for several years. In addition to performing research, the applicant was a medical doctor and would be instrumental when it came to moving the research to the clinical stage. She had also be the first author on 3 articles that the research group had published.

Friday, October 1, 2010

New Naturalization Fact Sheet Released

This week CIS released a  new naturalization fact sheet.  The document if filled with interesting statistics.  Did you know, for example, that the top countries of origin for naturalization are Mexico, India, Philippines, China and Vietnam?  Or that the leading metropoliltan area of residence for naturalized citizens is the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area?  It's an interesting read.