Sunday, September 30, 2012

Country artist George Strait is retiring; information on final tour

I am sorry to hear that George Strait, known as the King of Country Music,  King George and the Texas Troubadour,  is retiring :(. His final tour starts in January 2013.  If you are reading this blog post as a result of something I sent to you or your group, chances are that one of the concert dates is in your area. A list of the tour, to date, is at Most likely, more dates and places will be added later. Remember, this tour is your last chance to see him live.

I strongly recommend that you see this guy, he is GREAT. He has been performing since 1980, and has nearly 60 #1 hit songs. I have seen him four times, each one better than the last.  Listening to and understanding true country music will give you great insight into American culture lol, something important if you later seek a green card.  If you have never heard a George Strait song on the radio during your time in school, I will be shocked.  Probably you heard one but didn't make the connection, so if you go to the concert, you might recognize at least one song lol.

He has many “hit” songs, so naming favorites is hard. However, the ones I like best are

-              “Check Yes or No”
Guy looks back on how he met wife, now married 20 years. When they were both in third grade, she gave him a note that said “Do you love me? Do you wanna be my friend? I think this is how love goes, check yes or no”  

-              “The Best Day”
Three events in lives of father and son. 1. Son is 7 years old, they go camping 2. Son turns 15, dad buys car for son, they work together to fix it up. 3. Son is about to get married. Each time, son says, “Dad, this could be the best day of my life.”  

-              “Amarillo by Morning”
Cowboy is hoping to get to Amarillo TX in time to compete in a rodeo.  

-              “The Chair”
Guy says to girl in a bar, “Sorry, you are sitting in my chair.” Additional conversation, all from guy’s perspective. At the end, we learn the truth about the chair.  (1996) and (mid 1980s)

If you go to a concert, here is some helpful information:
- the band always comes out first, George Strait himself will come out later. I mention this because one of the guys in the band, a guitarist, wears a cowboy hat just like the one George Strait wears. My daughter saw this man, as the band was getting ready, and asked.
- the band will start playing an instrumental-only version of "Deep in the Heart of Texas." About 30 seconds into the song, George Strait will enter, of course to raucous cheers.First vocal song in the past was "Twang," but I think this time it will be "Here for a Good Time." 
- do not be fooled by the APPARENT end of the concert. Usually, after "Unwound," he and the band will wave and leave the stage, and the stage will go dark. DO NOT LEAVE. The concert is NOT over. They will come back and do three or four more songs, including probably "Folsom Prison Blues" and "All My Exes Live in Texas." He usually does 28-30 songs.
- It isn't over until he sings "The Cowboy Rides Away."

If you go, please let me know what you thought. Thanks.

Here is photo of younger daughter, Rayna, and me in May 2009 at PNC Arts Center, in Holmdel NJ.

Here is a photo of George Strait at that May 2009 concert:
Here is a photo of Blake Shelton, who was one of the opening acts. This is the same guy who was a judge on the TV show "The Voice."

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Losing your H-1B job before it even starts?

The bad news: your boss just told you that the company changed its mind about hiring you for H-1B. When your OPT ends September 30, you must leave your job and this company.

In the past few months, I have had a number of people contact me about being in this situation. They wonder, in particular, if they have a problem because the H-1B cap is full.

I gladly tell them, and tell you: these people, though they will not have H-1B at their current employer, nonetheless have a “silver lining”: they are already counted against the cap, and therefore ARE able to begin work on October 1, assuming they find an H-1B qualified job and then they themselves are approved for a H-1B petition. That is, the fact that the H-1B cap is full has no effect on them.

These people, once they find a job, need to provide their employer or the immigration attorney with a copy of their approval notice, so that it can filed along with the petition.

I hope this situation never happens to you. If it does, however, and your H-1B petition is still being reviewed, the important thing is that the review is able to be finished, and that it results in an approval. The worst thing that can happen is that your employer, after telling you that you will not have H-1B, then goes ahead and withdraws the petition before it is approved. In that case, you will NOT have the advantage of being counted under the cap.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Driver license document requirements, by state

The following link shows a chart that gives, for each US state, the documents required in order to obtain a driver license. Please note that requirements may change at any time. The best approach is always to confirm the information on the chart directly with the license issuing authority of the state. license information

H-1B and licensing requirements

If you are seeking H-1B status with respect to a job, be aware that generally speaking you will need to hold any license that the job might require.For example, professional engineers, physicians and attorneys, among other workers, are generally required to have a license. If your petition, therefore, involves such a job, you may need to have the respective license. Furthermore, if you are in fact required to hold the license, you must have it at the time your petition is filed.  Filing the petition without the license, in the expectation and hope that you will receive it before the start of your H-1B status, is not an advisable practice.

The H-1B regulations provide one exception to this rule, and one can call this exception that of the "the chicken or the egg."  One instance in which you do not have to have such a license is that where the license requires you first to have a social security number, for which in turn you must have H-1B status to begin with.

In this situation, you are not required to have the license. However, you must submit proof, regarding this social security number requirement, from the organization or agency that issues the license. Then, if your H-1B petition is approved, the approval will last only for one year. During that time, you will be required to apply for and obtain the license.

Contact me at 215-983-3723 or

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Official vs. original documents

In the course of seeking a visa to, or status in, the United States, you often will need to show documents to a U.S. government agency. For example, in seeking H-1B status, or renewal of an F-1 visa, you will need to provide an “official” transcript. Such a transcript is one that is issued by your university (usually, the registrar). In addition, the transcript often will have the seal of the university, and an indication that it came from the registrar.  On the other hand, a transcript that you yourself print, for example via BlackBoard or Banner, generally will not be considered “official.”

Even though you probably will need an “official” document, you may not necessarily need an ORIGINAL of that official document. That is, most likely a photocopy or scanned version of that document will be sufficient (assuming of course that no one altered the original document, or the copy of the original, because doing either would involve serious legal consequences). When I file documents with USCIS, I have never been asked to show an original document. Likewise, the non-immigrant visa section of the U.S. Embassy in Beijing has told me that a photocopy of an official transcript is sufficient for their needs.

Therefore, although your document may need to be official, it might not necessarily have to be original.

My email is 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

EB-2 China and India cutoff dates are still unavailable

I am sorry to say that if you are waiting for your EB-2 priority date to become current, and you were born in China or India, you will still need to wait longer. The State Department visa bulletin for September 2012 was just published, and it continues to show that cutoff dates for EB-2 green cards are still unavailable.

The employment-based figures, available also at, appear below:

First: Priority Workers:  28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required for fourth and fifth preferences.
Second: Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability:  28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required by first preference.      
Third: Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers:  28.6% of the worldwide level, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences, not more than 10,000 of which to "*Other Workers".
Fourth: Certain Special Immigrants:  7.1% of the worldwide level.
Fifth: Employment Creation:  7.1% of the worldwide level, not less than 3,000 of which reserved for investors in a targeted rural or high-unemployment area, and 3,000 set aside for investors in regional centers by Sec. 610 of Pub. L. 102-395.
On the chart below, the listing of a date for any class indicates that the class is oversubscribed (see paragraph 1); "C" means current, i.e., numbers are available for all qualified applicants; and "U" means unavailable, i.e., no numbers are available.  (NOTE:  Numbers are available only for applicants whose priority date is earlier than the cut-off date listed below.)
Employment- BasedAll Chargeability Areas Except Those ListedCHINA- mainland bornINDIAMEXICOPHILIPPINES
3rd01OCT06 15DEC05 08OCT0201OCT0601AUG06
Other Workers01OCT0622JUN0308OCT0201OCT0601AUG06
Certain Religious WorkersCCCCC
Regional Centers
and Pilot Programs
*Employment Third Preference Other Workers Category:  Section 203(e) of the Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) passed by Congress in November 1997, as amended by Section 1(e) of Pub. L. 105-139, provides that once the Employment Third Preference Other Worker (EW) cut-off date has reached the priority date of the latest EW petition approved prior to November 19, 1997, the 10,000 EW numbers available for a fiscal year are to be reduced by up to 5,000 annually beginning in the following fiscal year.  This reduction is to be made for as long as necessary to offset adjustments under the NACARA program.  Since the EW cut-off date reached November 19, 1997 during Fiscal Year 2001, the reduction in the EW annual limit to 5,000 began in Fiscal Year 2002.
6.  The Department of State has a recorded message with visa availability information which can be heard at:  (202) 663-1541.  This recording is updated on or about the tenth of each month with information on cut-off dates for the following month.

Best for employer to pay all H-1B fees

I am going to raise an issue that will upset some people or at least make them uncomfortable, and for doing so, I apologize. However, this issue is important, given certain recent court administrative law decisions. I am suggesting that, with regard to H-1B, the best arrangement for everyone is simply for the employer to pay ALL costs of H-1B. These costs include
- attorney fee, if any
- $325 base filing fee
- $500 fraud prevention fee, in most cases
- $750 or $1500 training fee, depending on the size of the employer, and if the employer is subject to the training fee in the first place.

In the past, some attorneys, including this one, would have been OK with having the employee pay certain expenses, so long as the employee still remained at or above the "required wage" after deducting these payments from salary. However, I have changed my position, and now do not follow this practice anymore.

Bottom line: everyone is better off, and employer is less likely to get into trouble, if employer pays all expenses.

I know you probably don't want to hear what I am saying. You want to make things as easy as possible for your employer, so you are probably willing to pay everything yourself, or else reimburse the employer after the employer advances the payments for these fees. The problem is that the government is taking a stricter view in this regard. I don't like their view and don't agree with it, but trying to fight them is probably impractical.

While I cannot offer legal advice, and though every situation is different, I would like to suggest one possibility: namely that you be flexible in the salary that you are willing to accept. If the employer is going to have to pay extra expenses, you might need to be willing to accept a corresponding lower salary to make up for it. However, remember that your salary, regardless of amount, still must meet the H-1B required wage standard.

My email is