Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Treatment of USCIS Form I-131 During International Travel

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently published on it’s website that applicants filing for a Form I-131 Travel Document will not have their applications considered abandoned if they travel abroad with an approved advance parole document while a second one is pending provided that the first approved advance parole document is valid for the entire duration of the travel. 

Treatment of Pending Forms I-131 During International TravelThis is an update from a recent policy announcement wherein travelling abroad while an application for advance parole is pending will result in the denial of that application due to abandonment. The same holds true even if the applicant has a separate valid advance parole document or a valid U.S. visa, specifically H, K, L, or V visa to return to the United States. 

If a pending Form I-131 has been denied, the applicant may consider submitting a new application to USCIS. If there is any confusion or questions on travelling abroad while applying for advance parole, contact a licensed immigration for further assistance.

by: Enterline and Partners Consulting

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

InfoPass Pilot Program Expansion - The Information Services Modernization Program

On October 30, 2018, USCIS announced plans to expand the InfoPass pilot program, known as the Information Services Modernization Program, to additional USCIS field offices throughout the United States. 

InfoPass Pilot Program Expansion - The Information Services Modernization Program
The Information Services Modernization Program ends self-scheduling of InfoPass appointments and instead encourages applicants to use USCIS online information resources to view general how-to information and check case statuses through the USCIS Contact Center. Recent improvements to online tools provide applicants the ability to obtain their case status and other immigration information without having to visit a local field office.

The program requires stakeholders to schedule InfoPass appointments by either calling the USCIS Contact Center’s phone number at +1-800-375-5283 or by completing an online form, available at

According to the USCIS announcement in October, the latest rollout will extend to the following locations: the Detroit Field Office and offices within the Los Angeles District on November 13, 2018 and field offices in Newark, the Great Lakes, and San Jose (part of the San Francisco District) implemented within the first quarter of fiscal year 2019. All remaining field offices are expected to follow by the end of fiscal year 2019 (September 30, 2019).

We are beginning to see the effect of this move to the new system. Clients are reporting they are no longer able to schedule InfoPass appointments in those locations where the InfoPass Pilot Program has been implemented. Moreover, we note that other USCIS field offices may already be no longer accepting appointments. 

According to USCIS, since it launched this pilot program in March 2018, transitioning from the InfoPass appointment system to the Information Services Modernization Program has improved the delivery of emergency and other services that can only be provided in person and made operations more efficient overall.

by: Enterline and Partners Consulting

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Enterline helps Chinese Grenadian national obtain E-2 visa

We have helped Chinese investors who are Grenadian citizens quickly and successfully obtain E-2 visas. Let us help you!

David Enterline, Founder and managing partners of Enterline & Partners, of counsel at Taipei Commercial Law Firm, has successfully obtained an E-2 visas for a Chinese investor who became a Grenadian citizen via the Grenadian Citizenship by Investment (CBI) program, joining only a handful of U.S. attorneys who have done so.

Grenada is one of the score of countries that offer CBI programs, but is special because of its unique status of having a treaty of commerce with the United States that allows for its citizens to apply for E-1 Treaty Trader and E-2 Treaty Investor visas. In that last few years, many Chinese nationals have considered alternatives to the U.S. EB-5 immigrant investor visa because of the long wait for the EB-5 visa. Obtaining Grenadian citizenship and setting up a qualifying business in the U.S. will allow the Chinese-Grenadian citizen and qualifying family members to enter the U.S. in 4-6 months.
EB-5 visa for Chinese investors – 15-year wait

There is currently an estimated 15-year visa wait for Chinese investors who now (in 2018) begin the process to obtain an EB-5 visa. Although EB-5 has been very popular over the last 10 years in China, many investors and their families are unwilling to wait so long to obtain a “green card” to live, study and work in the United States.

E-2 Through Grenada Citizenship – Quick and Fast

Chinese citizens can become Grenadian citizens in 4-6 months. The most hassle-free option for citizenship is by “donation”, which requires $200,000 (+ costs) for families of up to four persons.

E-2 Visa – Quick and Fast, Live and Work in the U.S. … Indefinitely

Once a Chinese investor is a Grenadian citizen, he or she can apply for an E-2 visa. After choosing and making a qualifying investment, the E-2 visa can be obtained very fast, sometimes in as little as 2 weeks. Interviews can be conducted as U.S. Consular Offices in Beijing, Shanghai, or Guangzhou, and approvals are made directly at the end of the interview.

The E-2 visa is initially valid for 5 years and covers spouses and all family members under 21. While the E-2 visa is a non-immigrant visa (no “green card”), it can be renewed indefinitely, for as long as the eligible business is operating.

by: Enterline and Partners Consulting

Update on Employer’s Training Obligation for Optional Practical Training Extension For STEM Students

The United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently updated their website so that the training experience of F-1 visa international students who receive science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) degrees can no longer complete their optional practical training (OPT) in the workplace of their employer’s clients or customers. The USCIS reasoned that the prohibition because the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has no authority to visit the client or customer’s workplace.

Under the STEM OPT rule, ICE is authorized to perform site visits to employer locations that train STEM OPT students. The visitations are done to ensure that the STEM OPT program requirements are complied with. To qualify as an employer, the employer must attest to the following terms and conditions:

Update on Employer’s Training Obligation for Optional Practical Training Extension For STEM Students

  • The employer will have a bona fide/real employer-employee relationship with the student.
  • The employer has sufficient resources and personnel available to provide appropriate training in connection with the specified opportunity at specified location(s).
  • ICE may, at its discretion, conduct a site visit of the employer to ensure that program requirements are being met, including that the employer possesses and maintains the ability, personnel, and resources to provide structured and guided work-based learning experiences consistent with this Plan.
  • The STEM OPT student will not replace a full- or part-time, temporary or permanent U.S. worker. 
  • The training opportunity will assist the student in attaining his or her training goals.

The requirement that students must be bona-fide employees of the employer is explained in a Rule by the Homeland Security Department issued on March 11, 2016 (“Final Rule”):

“Accordingly, DHS clarifies that students cannot qualify for STEM OPT extensions unless they will be bona fide employees of the employer signing the Training Plan, and the employer that signs the Training Plan must be the same entity that employs the student and provides the practical training experience.”

Considering that there is no restriction as to the location of the training program, the new limitation on the workplace of STEM-OPT students found on the USCIS website seems to expand the requirements for the training of STEM OPT students. As mentioned above, the Final Rule on STEM OPT only requires that a STEM OPT student be hired as a bona-fide employee of the employer signing the training plan, and that the employer that signs the training plan will be the one that provides the practical training experience. 

Despite the contradiction in the rules, STEM OPT students should be mindful that completing their international studies and their OPT by working in the place of business of their employer’s clients could result in a finding that the employer was not properly supervising the student’s training. The finding that the employer was not properly supervising the student’s training could lead to a determination of a status violation which, in turn could lead to the STEM OPT student’s retroactive accrual of unlawful presence, if the new rule on unlawful presence explained in the USCIS memo posted on May 11, 2018 becomes effective on its terms on August 9, 2018.

by: Enterline and Partners Consulting