Categories News & Updates USCIS

USCIS Announces Mail Option for I-551 Stamps

Green card holders now have a mail-in option for receiving proof of lawful permanent residency. Previously, those who had their green card lost, damaged or stolen, or otherwise needed proof of permanent residency, had to schedule an in-person appointment to receive an ADIT stamp, sometimes called an I-551 stamp. Now they can call the USCIS Contact Center to have an officer verify identity and mailing address, and potentially receive the ADIT stamp by courier service.

When lawful permanent residents call the USCIS Contact Center to request temporary evidence of status, an immigration services officer will verify their identity, their physical mailing address, and whether that address can receive UPS or FedEx express mail. They will then either schedule an in-person appointment for the lawful permanent resident, if needed, or submit a request to the USCIS field office to issue the ADIT stamp. If an in-person appointment is not needed, the USCIS field office will review the request for temporary evidence and mail the applicant a Form I-94 with ADIT stamp, DHS seal, and a printed photo of the lawful permanent resident obtained from USCIS systems.


This doesn’t mean that all those who request mail service will receive it. Some green card holders will still need to appear in person at a USCIS field office to receive evidence of their status, including those who have urgent needs, do not have a useable photo in USCIS systems, or whose address or identity cannot be confirmed.


The new process will give USCIS the option of issuing evidence of lawful permanent resident status in a timely manner without requiring a scheduled appointment at the field office. The goal is to reduce the burden on applicants and increase availability of USCIS services for other efforts.

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Avoiding Court The #1 Reason to Follow Immigration Law
Categories News & Updates

Avoiding Loss of Status: The #1 Reason to Follow Immigration Law

There are plenty of valid reasons to follow immigration law to the letter. Likewise, there are just as many reasons to hire a business immigration attorney to help ensure that your foreign-born workers maintain compliance for as long as they are in the U.S. But by far the number one reason is avoiding the loss of status, which could result in the accrual of unauthorized stay and eventually a 3-year or 10-year bar from the United States.

Criminal and civil court are what most people think of when the U.S. court system is the topic of discussion. If you know anything about American law, you know how different criminal and civil court can be. Guess what? Immigration court is a separate entity altogether. A lot of what happens in immigration court is nothing like criminal and civil court.

While most employment-based foreign nationals will never end up in immigration court, it is interesting to know how it works.

Right to an Attorney

Right off the top, there is no legal right to an attorney in immigration court. The law allows defendants to hire immigration attorneys as they see fit. But there is neither a legal requirement nor access to free representation if a defendant cannot afford an attorney. That’s why, in so many cases, defendants find themselves in court without legal representation.

For the record, very few business immigration cases involving things like H-1B visas end up in court. Most court cases are the result of people entering the country illegally or entering legally but overstaying their welcome. If foreign-born workers follow the law, the chances of ending up in court are slim to none. This is why close coordination with a qualified immigration attorney is so important. 

No Discovery, Either

Not only do defendants not have a right to counsel in immigration court, but there is also no discovery process. That is completely foreign to both civil and criminal court, where both sides are required to present evidence that they plan to use at trial. The discovery process gives both prosecution and defense ample time to prepare.

No such deal in immigration court. Defendants can arrive to their hearings without any advance knowledge of the evidence that will be used against them. Imagine being an immigrant with no legal representation and no knowledge of the evidence to be presented in court. How can you possibly defend yourself properly?

Cases Can Drag on For Years

There is one thing immigration court has in common with civil and criminal court: the potential for cases to drag on for years. Our legal system is set up in such a way as to allow all sorts of legal wrangling on both sides, legal wrangling that can tie up a case indefinitely. Unfortunately, immigration court is at a decided disadvantage in terms of resources.

At least in criminal and civil court, judges are required to maintain a fairly reasonable timeline. Not so an immigration court. For example, a recent story published by MetroWest Daily News briefly discussed a simple green card case that took seven years to resolve. Why so long?

Immigration judges are suffering under an extremely heavy case load. So much so that a single motion can lead to a hearing delay of up to two years. All the while, the defendant is left in limbo. There is no way to plan for the future because there is no way to know what the future holds.

In closing, we want to emphasize the fact that the vast majority of business immigration cases never end up in court. But that is because the law is followed to the letter. If you are looking to bring foreign-born workers to the U.S., know that the system is time consuming and complicated. Your best bet is to work with an experienced immigration law from like Graham Adair. We can help you maintain compliance throughout the process.



Are Some Laid Off L-1 Workers Trying to Go H-1B Instead
Categories News & Updates

Are Some Laid Off L-1 Workers Trying to Go H-1B Instead?

Foreign nationals from other countries working in the U.S. tech sector have taken a hard hit in recent months. Multiple rounds of layoffs have affected primarily L-1 and H-1B visa holders in IT. Thousands of workers have been left scrambling to find new jobs that would allow them to stay in the U.S. Is it possible some laid off L-1 workers are trying to go H-1B instead?

Anything is possible. In fact, we have seen numerous online articles encouraging laid off L-1 workers to look for employment that would make them H-1B eligible. There is just one problem: the H-1B visa program has annual caps.

L-1 Visas for Managers and Executives

As immigration attorneys, we believe it is fair to say that laid off L-1 workers are worse off than their H-1B counterparts. We say this for a couple of reasons. First and foremost is the fact that the L-1 visa is reserved for managers and executives transferring to the U.S. from within the same company.

This automatically puts laid off L-1 workers in a defensive position. They cannot simply go to work for another American company on an L-1 visa. They would have to leave the country, get hired by a new company, then transfer back to the U.S. on a new visa.

The other problem is potentially more serious: L-1 spouses working on L-2 visas are required to stop working when the original L-1 worker is laid off. Now you have two people living in the U.S. with no income and a requirement to leave the country within a given amount of time.

Converting to the H-1B Visa

The plight of thousands of laid off L-1 workers has led to some immigration law experts encouraging they convert to H-1B visas. But again, most H-1B visas are subject to an annual cap. That being the case, there are six options if you miss this year’s H-1B lottery:

  • Try to find a position that can get the employee into the next H-1B lottery and hope for the best.
  • Try to find an H-1B job that is exempt from the annual cap.
  • Apply for a B2 visitor visa to buy some time to figure out what to do next.
  • Enroll in a higher level academic degree to qualify for additional OPT time.
  • Find another work authorized status, such as citizenship-based work visas.
  • Return to your home country.

The benefit of the fourth option is being able to continue living and working in the U.S. for a couple of years following the completion of your course of study. This is possible due to a policy created by a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and USCIS rule implemented a few years ago.

F-1 For Study Purposes Only

Under the original law enacted by Congress, the F-1 visa was intended for study purposes only. A foreign student could come to U.S. solely for the purposes of studying. At graduation, the student was expected to return home.

DHS changed that with a rule that allowed two things. First, students could begin working here even as they conducted their studies. Second, they could continue working here for up to an additional three years after their studies were complete. On a typical four-year degree program, a student could legally live and work here for up to seven years. However, caution should be taken for work performed prior to graduation since fulltime pre-completion OPT can count against post-completion OPT time. Part-time work typically does not count against post-completion OPT time. 

At any rate, L-1 and H-1B visa holders recently laid off due to tech sector downsizing are struggling to figure out what to do next. Here at Graham Adair, we are immigration law experts who navigate these situations regularly. If we can help, we would be more than happy to discuss your case.


Categories Department of State News & Updates

Expansion of Visa Appointments in India and a Plan to Reduce Visa Wait Times

The U.S. Mission to India has announced 250,000 additional B1/B2 visa appointments. This move is possible due to the creation of special Saturday interviews, which is part of a larger effort to reduce wait times for first-time visa applicants. The hope is that this effort will eventually open up to interviews for other types of U.S. visas.

Embassies and Consulates in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Hyderabad all opened consular operations on Saturday, and there are plans to continue to open additional slots for appointments on select Saturdays. The plan also includes several additional prongs, including:

  • Expansion of interview waiver cases for applicants with previous U.S. visas.
  • Transfer of temporary consular officers from Washington and other embassies to India to increase processing capacity.
  • Increased hiring of consular officers permanently assigned to the Embassy and Consulates in India.
  • Consulate in Mumbai has extended its weekday operating hours to make space for additional appointments.

The goal is to have the U.S. Mission to India operating at this fully expanded capacity by this summer.

B1/B2 visas are granted to individuals who wish to travel to the United States for business or tourism purposes. The additional visas will provide more opportunities for Indian citizens to visit the United States for business meetings, conferences, and other professional engagements, as well as for tourism and leisure.

The U.S. Mission to India has stated that the additional appointments will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis, and that the process for applying for a B1/B2 visa will remain the same for now.

The move to issue additional B1/B2 visas is a positive step in strengthening the economic ties between India and the United States. It will provide more opportunities for Indian businesses and professionals to engage with their counterparts in the United States and vice versa. Additionally, it will also promote tourism, which is a significant contributor to the economies of both countries.

The relationship between India and the United States has been growing stronger in recent years, and this move to issue additional B1/B2 visas is a reflection of that. It is expected to further boost economic relations between the two countries and provide more opportunities for people-to-people interactions.

Please contact your Graham Adair attorney with any questions, or contacts us at, or 408 715 7067.

Temporary Work Visas
Categories Compliance News & Updates

How Layoffs Can Affect Workers with Temporary Work Visas

While Graham Adair immigration attorneys frequently work with employers looking to bring foreign-born workers to San Jose, Austin, and Lehi, we also work with companies based throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. Unfortunately, the economic slowdown we have been experiencing in the U.S. is happening in many major countries around the world, which has resulted in an increase in layoffs affecting employees across the spectrum, including foreign nationals. These days, we are seeing more of those clients due to Q4 2022 layoffs.

Certain industries – primarily big tech – have been hit unusually hard by layoffs over the last two quarters. This is especially troubling for those of us who practice immigration law for the simple fact that tech companies make significant use of foreign labor. When times are good, they regularly utilize L-1 and H-1B visas to help foreign nationals move here to work.

When times are not so good, foreign national employees are impacted by layoffs along with the general workforce. Those affected by layoffs often do not understand their options. If they fail to act quickly, they could face the prospect of having to depart the U.S.

H-1B Employer Responsibilities

The rules regulating H-1B visas force employers to take some responsibility for laid-off workers who now need to leave the country. For example, employers who voluntarily terminate employment must pay to get foreign workers back home. But paying for airfare doesn’t cover the cost of shipping possessions, paying for other family members, and other related expenses.

Affected workers can be stuck with a significant financial burden as a result of being laid off. Making matters worse are layoffs that happen suddenly and without warning. Informing workers that layoffs are coming in just a few short weeks doesn’t give them much time to come up with contingency plans.

Having little time to prepare can be especially difficult for workers here on L-1 visas. The L-1 visa is governed by separate rules. For starters, a visa holder’s employer bears no responsibility for getting them back home. As such, the entire cost of travel and shipping falls on the worker.

What Laid-Off Workers Can Do

U.S. immigration law does not leave laid-off workers without options. The options are few and time constraints are looming, but laid-off workers can immediately start taking actions to keep themselves in this country. One of the first things we recommend they do is start looking for new jobs with employers willing to sponsor them.

Finding a new employer can keep the worker in the country. There is paperwork involved in order to transfer sponsorship from one employer to another, as well as some compliance issues to iron out. But with the help of an experienced immigration attorney, that delicate process can be navigated successfully.

For workers in L-1 status, it is unlikely they would be able to transfer their L-1 visa to another employer. If finding another job is not possible, laid-off workers could consider the H-1B visa or a self-employment option. There are a number of additional visa options that may require the individual to adjust the primary purpose of their status, which is not always desired. However, these options would enable a foreign national worker to stay in the U.S. while figuring out a more suitable arrangement. 

An increasing number of people have been looking at starting their own business venture. The advantage to a foreign national of starting their own business is that the company can be their sponsor going forward. Of course, there is the challenge of launching a viable startup and nurturing it to become a profitable venture.

Seek Expert Legal Advice

As a foreign national, finding yourself in the position of being laid off can be scary, at minimum. It can mean the end of a dream to live and work in the U.S. long enough to get a green card and eventually apply for citizenship. But do not assume that being laid off means it’s all over. There are often several options available.

We would recommend seeking out expert legal advice from an attorney that specializes in immigration law. An immigration attorney is the most capable person to advise on the best course of action. Above all, don’t give up hope. There are ways to lessen the blow and continue pursuing career aspirations.