Tuesday, September 15, 2015

It’s job time: do you know where your documents are?

Many years ago, a New York City television station ran advertisements at night, asking the question, “It’s 10 p.m. Do you know where your children are?”

You may not have children and it might not be 10 p.m. Nonetheless, you, as an international student, might soon be in a position to get a U.S. job. Whether that job is via a green card or via H-1B or other nonimmigrant status, certain documents could be important to that process. I am not saying that the list below covers every such document you might need. I also am not saying that you will necessarily need every document that I list below, or that you necessarily have every such document right now. Nonetheless, the documents below might be important. Having them in hand now can save you time and frayed nerves, because you could avoid scrambling to meet any filing deadlines.

Generally speaking, when submitting documents to the immigration service, photocopies are acceptable rather than the original document. Needless to say, any such photocopy should be a true copy of an unaltered original document. Any other photocopy could cause a person serious problems. In addition, any document not in English should have an accompanying certified English translation. That is, the translation should contain a statement signed by a person other than yourself. The statement should say that the person who signed is fluent in English and the other language and that the translation is accurate. The statement also should describe the translated document. The person who signs this translation should also give his or her address and the date of signing.

-          Passport (in particular, the information page)

-          Passport page showing the visa stamp you used to enter the U.S.

-          Employment authorization document

-          I-20

-          I-94

A few years ago, the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency stopped issuing hardcopy I-94s.  Now, I-94s are stored at the ICE web site https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/, and are downloadable from there.

-          Birth certificate

You are unlikely to be required to submit a birth certificate for an H-1B filing. However, you WILL need one in order to adjust status, that is, to receive a green card while remaining in the U.S.

-          Official transcripts from previous institutions you graduated from

Such transcripts might be important if a prospective employer is filing an H-1B petition for you. Because of issues of timing that involve your having earned a degree for your current studies, versus the required time period for filing an H-1B petition, you might need to rely on previous rather than current academic work.

Any transcript that you submit to the immigration service should be an official transcript. That is,  it should come from the university office that issues such transcripts, generally the registrar. The transcript generally should contain the insignia of the university and a signature from a responsible university official. Ideally, the transcript also should indicate the degree awarded and the date of awarding.

In other words, a “do it yourself” screen print of a transcript, such as from your Banner or Blackboard account, will not be acceptable.

If the transcript is from a non-U.S. institution, and you are relying on such a degree for your filing, you should consider getting an academic equivalence report. Companies that provide such reports will review your transcript and then provide a statement, if applicable, that the degree associated with the transcript is associated with a particular U.S. educational level degree.

Having these documents might make your filing process easier and less stressful.

The above information does not constitute legal advice and does not form an attorney-client relationship.

Calvin Sun, Attorney at Law
csun@calvinsun.com, We Chat calvin_t_sun


1 comment:

  1. Great blog post it will help to immigrate to abroad.