Posts Tagged ‘houston’

When Natural Disasters happen

August 20, 2016

The Government works with deadlines. Unlike State Court where lawyers can argue that they are not ready and reset the date of their hearing, we attorneys working with federal agencies have to such leverage. We are given an audit notice by the Department of Labor, and we have to answer in 20…



Naturalization Interview in the Houston District Office

June 23, 2009

In the Houston District Office this is a three step process.

First you will go with an Officer in a little cubicle and be administered the test of English and Social Science.  The exam consists of about 10 written questions from the Citizenship and Immigration Service list.  After that the Officer will test your English by asking you to read something, or write down a sentence or two.  For a copy of the list please go to Go to Links and click on New Naturalization test.

Provided you pass the test, you will then proceed to the next step. This is the actual interview with an Officer.  The officer will go over the factual elements of the case.  These include whether you had continuous residence, physical presence and whether you have good moral character (ie not convicted of a crime).  They might also ask you whether you affirm the Oath Requirements of Section H on Page 9 of the N-400 Form.  They are:

Do you support the Constitution and form of government of the United States?
Do you understand the full Oath of Allegiance to the United States?
Are you willing to take the full Oath of Allegiance to the United States?
If the law requires it, are you willing to bear arms on behalf of the United States?
If the law requires it, are you willing to perform noncombatant services in the U.S. Armed Forces?
If the law requires it, are you willing to perform work of national importance under civilian direction?

Provided you pass the Second Step, you proceed to the third step.  The Citizenship and Immigration Service will schedule you for the oath ceremony and hand you the necessary papers for the oath ceremony.

After you take the oath, you become an US Citizen.

Contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, Annie Banerjee, for more information

Houston Immigration Offices

October 1, 2008

Houston is such a well built city, that Hurricane IKE did not do much damage to it. Almost all the traffic lights are back up and the power came back, even for me. Of course many residences and businesses had water logging, etc, but all private businesses had to work. But not so with Houston District Offices of CIS.

The Offices at Greens Road and North Point resumed this Monday, September 29th. The Asylum Office is still closed.

All canceled Naturalization Interviews for Friday Sept 12 (the day before IKE) and September 13 will be held on Tuesday October 21

All Adjustment of Status (green card) interviews canceled for September 12 will be on Friday October 24th.

Naturalization ceremony for September was canceled as well. So the scheduled individuals will not be able to vote in November.

Interviews for the two week period which were canceled will be reschedule in October and November. This will mean of course that all other interviews will be delayed.

Houston Immigration Lawyer

TN Visa to Green Card

July 9, 2008

TN visa is given to Canadian and Mexican Nationals under the NAFTA treaty. These individuals qualify for and work in jobs specified under a specific Schedule enumerated in the NAFTA Treaty with Canada and Mexico.

Unlike H and L visas, TN visa holders could not apply for Permanent Residency, (green card) because this visa was temporary and did not allow for dual intent (ie intent to hold both temporary and permanent visas) in the US. However, unlike visitors visa, the TN visa holder did not have to maintain foreign residency abroad. Also, a June 1996 letter by Yvonne LaFleur, Chief of Business and Trade branch at INS, said that the TN worker could do consular processing of their permanent visas. Although this letter is not binding, it has been followed by most Consular Posts.

Logistically, this was not possible earlier, because TNs were given for 1 year and most green cards took more than 1 year. So the TN visas would not be extended after that year if one applied for the Permanent Residency. However now TN visas are being given for 3 years. So many TN nationals can now probably apply for their Permanent Residency and able to do consular processing of their green card during this time. With only 65,000 H-1B visas available, it worth a shot for many desperate employers and employees.

DOL to Audit ALL Perms filed by Big law Firm

June 3, 2008

The Department of Labor announced yesterday that it will audit every PERM filing by Fragomen, which is the biggest immigration law firm in the US. The DOL charged that some of their lawyers engaged in questionable and illegal practices while advising employers. What it means for individual clients is that their cases will be delayed, in many cases denied, and in still many cases the employer has to do supervised recruitment all over again. All because they chose the wrong law firm.

The biggest law firms almost always charge more and tout their experience. Sometimes they even say that the CIS knows their firm personally and give them better service. This is all totally false. The only thing that big law firms care about is their profit margin. The clients pay for their shiny offices and become just a number in the firm. They are not individual cases, just a number. The paralegal does all the work and many times, the attorney does not even have the time to review the case over. Many times, the paralegal does not even possess the paralegal degree and just knows how to type.

When retaining a lawyer, the client should ask the question as to who will actually work on the case, and what the education and experience of that person is. It is also helpful to ask how many clients the firm has and how many lawyers there are. Divide the number to gauge if an individual lawyer will actually look at your case.

We specialize in giving individual attention to all our clients. ALL cases are individually handled by Annie Banerjee who graduated third highest in her law school class in Houston and has over 10 years of experience. Check us out at

I-140 Portability

May 30, 2008

You filed your I-485 under the July 2007 Visa Bulletin (VB No. 107). It has been more than 180 days. You cannot stand your employer, and have found a new employer who will continue the process. Can you Port your I-140 under AC21?

Below are some pointers to consider before you switch employers:

1. Is your I-140 approved?

If your I-140 is not approved yet, you need to decide if that case will be approvable. You have to decide if your first employer who sponsored you have the ability to pay, a valid job offer, etc.

If your first I-140 is approved already then porting becomes much easier

2. Is the new job same and similar?

The new ported job has to be same and similar. Both those jobs have to have the same DOT Code (for RIR and traditional cases) or SOC Code (for PERM cases), and the salary range offered in the underlying Labor certification has to be within a similar range. It is much better to have a copy of your original labor certification and the I-140 approval or receipt notice, to determine if the new job is same and similar.

  1. What if my first Employer withdraws the I-140?

It is not a problem if your first employer withdraws the I-140 after 180 days of the filing of the I-485.

  1. Can you port to a different Geographical location?

Yes, you can take a new job anywhere in the US and port the I-140

5. Should the new employer have the ability to pay?

Although technically the only factor that counts is whether the two employments are same and similar, the question of whether the new employer has the ability to pay can be a factor in adjustment of status

  1. What’s the worst case scenario?

If the I-140 Portability is denied for some reason, you can always retain the Priority date of the old labor for the adjustment under 8 C.F.R 204.5(e). But you have to start with a fresh PERM filing. This means if your 6 years of H-1B are over, you might have to go back to your home country until you can get your green card.

How to Choose an Immigration Lawyer

April 28, 2008
I have been practicing Immigration Law in Houston for the last 11 years, having graduated third highest from South Texas College of Law. I have seen many clients been swindled, abandoned, and left out of status for inadequate representation. So here are my tips on HOW TO CHOOSE A LAWYER. These are general tips for choosing any lawyer in general, and immigration lawyer in particular. I am assuming that readers of this blog will NOT go to a notario, or a lawyer not qualified to practice law.
HOW BRAINY IS YOUR LAWYER—–Ultimately a Lawyer is selling his/her brain power to you. The lawyer has to assess your situation and give you a creative solution. Thus his/her law school standing, how well she did in her class matters. Many lawyers practicing Immigration Law are not graduates of American Law Schools. The degree that you should be looking for is the JD degree. These foreign lawyers come over here, and do an LLM in Law. No American student does an LLM. You do not need to sit the competitive LSAT exam to get into an LLM program. Any law school, including Harvard, will take in ANYONE able to apply and afford tuition to their LLM programs, because law schools do not fill up their LLM classes. Foriegn lawyers often come from countries like India, where you do not need a brain to get into law school. (The science education in India is excellent, not law) So ask your lawyer if she/he has a JD, (and not an LLM) if so from where, and what his/her class standing was. Choose based on your lawyer’s brains, not his/her ability to be nice to you.
I am sure none of those foreign lawyers could get into any law school in the US in a JD program. Law unlike medicine is NOT universal. It is specific to a country, a region. Foreign lawyers often do not have a clear picture of our body of law, our principles and constitution.
EXPERIENCE-Your Lawyer should have substantial experience (at least 5 years) in doing your type of cases. For instance if you have a family immigration case, going to a lawyer who only does business immigration law or assylum, will not help you. If you have a knee problem you go to an orthopedic specialist, not a dermatologist. So ask your Lawyer how long she has experience and in what type of cases. Do your due diligence and google search and learn what you can before engaging them.
BIG FIRMS WHERE THEY WONT CARE ABOUT YOU: So you walk into this shiny office of a big law firm, to be interviewed by a partner. He promises you that they know the “immigration Officers and have all positive results.” You pay big bucks as retainer. That’s the last time you ever talk to a lawyer. Your case is being handled by a paralegal, who has no brains. You leave messeges and e mails, none of which are returned. Please bear in mind, that unlike most other countries, NO LAWYER in the US has any special relationship to the Government. The big bucks that you paid just went into the lawyers pocket and his expensive upkeep. In general, turn around time is much slower in big law firms. In Immigration Law the day you file your case is your priority date and that date MATTERS. Most big law firm will take upto a month to file your case, a valuable time loss for you. So ask your lawyer about who specifically will do your case (a lawyer or a paralegal), who will return your phone calls/e mails, and when will they actually file your case.
FEES: Last but not least is the money. I would choose the middle of the road fees. The lower end fees are generally charged by incompetent lawyers, who may take your money and may not even file your case. The higher end fees go towards a shiny office for your affluent lawyer. Generally the middle of the road fees are the best.

Naturalization in an election year

April 23, 2008

Naturalization (ie making permanent residents citizens, and thereby voters) is always a big issue with politicians in an election year. Last July USCIS received about 1.4 million applications for naturalization, because starting August 01, 2007 the fee went up from about $400/- to $695/- Obviously the processing of all these applications would take time, and Mr. Gonzales had to answer to the Congress (particularly the democrats, who somehow think that most naturalized citizens will vote for them) explaining the delay.

The CIS has provided an estimate of the time it takes for their district office to complete the process. For instance, it will take 7.2 months in Albany, NY, and 10.1 month in New York, NY. It takes anywhere between 14.5 months to 5 months. However the time listed for Houston is 14 months, but we are getting all ours (ones with no problems) in 8 months . In any case, it is well before the November general election deadline, which should make our politicians happy. If only they could use the same resources for other cases as well.