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Immigration (USA) FAQ: General questions and answers (part 2 of 6)

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Archive-name: us-visa-faq/part2
Last-Modified: 21 December 1998

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
The USA Immigration FAQ is maintained by
Rajiv S. Khanna []

If you have access to the Web you can access the FAQ

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Please see part1 of this faq for standard disclaimers.

Individuals are encouraged to submit corrections, questions and answers
to directly.  In many answers below, submitters are
noted in parentheses at the beginning of comments.  (Comments may be
slightly edited.)


Questions marked with a <<New>> indicate questions new to this issue;
those with significant changes of content since the last issue
are marked by <<Changed>>.

General questions and answers

Q1:-Do you have any information about consular procedures
        in Madras, India?
Ans:-[from Rajiv S. Khanna,]
        We have retrieved the following information from their
        web site in August 1997:

* APPLICATION APPOINTMENT BY PHONE: Applicants may call 44-823-2434 daily
between 2 and 4 PM to register their names for an appointment at a future
date. They should give their full names and passport numbers.
Between 125 - 140 appointments are usually registered per day.
The applicant should arrive at the Consulate the morning of his/her
appointment no later than 10 AM in order to enter the Consulate and
be processed. The applicant will receive a pink, numbered token, be
asked to pay the machine readable visa fee by crossed demand draft, made
out to the American Consulate General, Madras and then asked to enter the waiting room to await the interview. Applicants are interviewed before 1 PM and applicants who will be issued a visa should return at 4 PM to pick up their passports.

* DAILY TOKENS: While the appointment system is for the convenience of
applicants who wish to ensure they will be seen on a specific day, an
appointment is not necessary in order to apply for a visa, primarily
because many people who have appointments do not turn up at the Consulate
on the day of their appointments and because the Consulate is generally
able to accept another 50 to 60 applications a day, depending on staffing
availability. At this time, we are seeing all applicants who apply on a
given day, whether they have appointments or not.

WORKERS: Applicants wishing to use the drop box must meet the criteria
described under mail applications on page 8, unless the applicant is a
returning student, returning exchange visitor or a returning temporary
worker or a spouse of one of the previous. If you are a returning
student/spouse (F-1/F-2), a returning exchange visitor/spouse (J-1/J-2
or a returning temporary worker/spouse (H-1B/H-4), you may leave your
passport, application and crossed demand drafts for both the machine
readable visa fee and the visa issuance fee in the Drop Box at the
Cathederal Road entrance AFTER JANURY 15. Please note that this service
is not available to applicants who have previously been refused a visa.

Passports will picked up by Consulate Staff for processing at 10 AM,
so that any passport which is in the drop box at the time of retrieval
for processing will be ready for pick-up, inside the visa waiting room
between 4 and 4:30 PM.

to two personal interviews within a two-year period. Applicants refused
under Section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act who are refused
twice within that two year period in personal interviews may continue to
reapply for the visa, but applications in person will not be accepted for
the next two years after the last refusal. Therefore, all applicants who
have been refused in two personal interviews in two years under Section
214(b) may reapply by mail only. If the Consular Officer decides that
the situation has changed, s/he will request the applicant to return for
another interview.


* THE MACHINE READABLE VISA (MRV) FEE: With very few exceptions, all
applicants must pay the $20, non-refundble MRV application fee if applying
for a non-immigrant visa. The fee should be paid by crossed demand draft
made payable to the American Consulate General, Madras. Currently, the
fee is Rs. 720; however, the exchange rate fluctuates from time to time,
so the amount may differ. We notify the media via press releases immediately
upon learning of a new exchange rate. We generally have a "grace period" of
one week, during which we will ask the applicants to make up the difference
in exact change.

* NON-IMMIGRANT VISA ISSUANCE FEES: The fees for issuance of non-immigrant
visas to Indian citizens, with the current exchange rate in rupees, are as
follows: for a B-2 (tourist visa) under 6 months - $25.00 (Rs. 900); for
a B-1 (business visa) or any other category of visa, valid up to one year
- $50.00 (Rs. 1800); for any visa valid longer than one year - $100.00
(Rs. 3600). For a transit visa of any length - $5.00 (Rs. 180). Visa
issuance fees may be paid either in rupees or by a crossed demand draft
made payable to the American Consulate General, Madras.

* CONSULATE OPERATING HOURS: The Consular Section is open from 8:15 AM to
5 PM daily except for holidays. The Consulate telephone number is
91-44-827-3040; we would appreciate callers restricting their calls to
urgent (i.e., life and death) matters and to calling in the afternoon,
as it is difficult to process visas and answer the telephone simultaneously.
Our fax number is: 91-44-826-2538, but please understand that due to our
heavy volume of faxes, limited staff and insufficient storage space, we
have no place to store and retrieve routine faxes sent regarding visa
applications. It is best, if you want to send a fax on behalf of an
applicant, to send it to the applicant to hand-carry to the interview,
rather than send it to us, when we have no means to match your fax to
the applicant.


have married an Indian citizen and filed the immigrant visa petition in the
U.S., we will begin processing your spouse's fingerprint clearance when you
have received the petition approval and transmitted it to your spouse in
India. When your spouse in India has the petition approval, s/he may
telephone the Immigrant Visa Unit at 827-3040, ext. 321 or 320 to make an
appointment to be fingerprinted. At the time of fingerprinting, s/he must
show our staff a xerox copy of the spouse's U.S. passport data page and a
xerox copy of the notice of petition approval from INS. By the time the
fingerprints return from the FBI (generally within three months), we should
have received the approved petition from the National Visa Center and be
able to schedule the immigrant visa applicant for an immigrant visa
application appointment expeditiously.

* PRIORITY DATES FOR IMMIGRANT VISAS: Many people have requested us to post
priority dates for immigrant visas. Until our system becomes more
interactive, we are unable to do so. However, until then, interested
parties can check the TV information screen at the Consulate
guardhouse on Cathederal Road or telephone the Department of State
in Washington DC at 202-663-1541 for recorded monthly updates on
priority dates.

* TRAVEL TO CANADA AND CRUISES: Many applicants have friends,
relatives or business contacts in Canada and travel between Canada
and the U.S. Some tourist applicants use package tours which include
cruises to the Bahamas or Mexico. The applicant is responsible for
any visas to countries outside the U.S. to which they intend to
travel after their arrival in the U.S. It may be easier to secure
visas in your home country, rather than secure visas to a third
country from the U.S. Although virtually all visa applicants receive
multiple entry visas, applicants should ensure that they request a
visa for multiple entries if they plan to travel to other countries
from the U.S.

Q2:-What are the formalities for translation of foreign language documents?
Ans:-[From Rajiv S. Khanna,]
        [Addition suggested by Siegfried Rambaum]
  Immigration related documents may be translated by any person who is
  competent in both the foreign language as well as English.  It is best to
  ask a person not related to you to translate.  Each translation must be
  accompanied by substantially the following words:
 "I, [Name of Translator], do hereby certify that I am proficient in both
  English and [Foreign Language], and accordingly I am competent to perform
  translations, and that I have translated the foregoing/attached document
  accurately and to the best of my knowledge and ability.


Q3:-Can E-mailed ASCII text (without signatures) be used for translations?
Ans:-The following language appended to the translation should work:
       "The translation is transmitted electronically
        and my signature shall be deemed valid and its
        validity shall be deemed proven by the sender's
        and other message routing information, which
        are both automatically created and appended to
        this communication by the computer sites routing
        it between <my place> and <place where received>."

Q4:-Rajiv, is there a list of evaluation agencies, recognized by DOL and INS?
    I'm trying to do evaluation of my education, but I am not sure that
    DOL and INS will recognize it. If there is a list of these accredited
    agencies, how can I obtain one?
Ans:-[From Rajiv S. Khanna,]
        There is no such list.  INS does not "recognize" these agencies.
        In my personal experience, as long as there is some analysis for
        an evaluator's opinion, any agency with reasonably good background
        should suffice.  My office uses "The Global Education Services."
        I believe they have a world wide web site.

Q5:-Citizenship information
Ans:-List of Citizenship questions and answers can be accessed

Q6:-I am a legal P.R. in the United States from China.  When I saw CNN's
Nation Within program on TV tonight, an INS officer said that an immigrant
in the United States is not protected by constitution or has not constitution
right.  Is this true?  If this is true, then it is legal to discriminate a
legal immigrant.  Please give me an answer.
Ans:-[From Rajiv S. Khanna,]
That information is incorrect.  Once inside the U.S., an immigrant is
entitled to all constitutional guarantees barring some such as federal
government employment, right to run for the Presidency of the U.S., etc.

Q7:- Can you clarify the sub-sections for denial of visas?
Ans:-[from Rajiv S. Khanna,]
        We have retieved the following information:

* THE 214(B) INTENDING IMMIGRANT PROVISION: Non-immigrant visa applicants
in almost all categories must demonstrate to the Consular Officer's
satisfaction that they have strong ties to a permanent residence outside
of the U.S. which would compel them to leave the U.S. upon the completion of
their authorized stay. The Consular Officer evaluates the applicant's
economic, social and cultural ties to his/her residence (in this case,
South India) in order to determine whether it is more probable that the
applicant will return to India within the period of authorized stay in
the U.S. or whether it is more likely that the applicant will remain in
the U.S. on a more permanent basis. There is no set "list" of documents
an applicant should bring; rather, an applicant who can convincingly
explain the reasons for travel, present believable business or personal
documents to substantiate his/her ties to India and who answers questions
in an open manner is more likely to be issued a visa than someone who
comes in with a huge folder of irrelevent or clearly questionable
documents. Remember, eligibility is not determined by the pound
(of documents you submit!)

* THE 212(A)(6)(C) INELIGIBILITY: Applicants should be very careful to be
truthful in all areas of their visa applications. Applicants who wilfully
misrepresent material facts in their immigrant or non-immigrant visa
applications can be found ineligible to enter the U.S.; under some
circumstances, permanently. If you present forged, counterfeit or
otherwise bogus documents you are likely to fall under this provision of
the law. Our Consular Officers are skilled at detecting fraudulent documents
and, the truth is, most are so poorly executed that expertise in determining
their fraudulent nature is not necessary. Claiming "no knowledge" of the
antecedents of your documents is not an acceptable excuse. 

* THE 212(A)(4) INELIGIBILITY: We are unable to issue an immigrant or
non-immigrant visa to an applicant who appears to have insufficient
financial resources in the U.S. and who it appears may become a public
charge to the U.S. state or federal social welfare system. This provision
is particularly applicable to applicants for non-immigrant visas who wish
to visit the U.S. for medical treatment. We need to know the cost of the
treatment, including the charges of both the physicians and the hospital
and any therapy or recuperative treatment the applicant may need.
Applicants for immigrant visas who cannot clearly support themselves
immediately upon arrival to the U.S. need to demonstrate that the relative
who is sponsoring them has sufficient funds to support them until they are
able to become self-supporting.

* THE 221(G) INELIGIBILITY: If an applicant is refused under this section,
it is because s/he is missing a document or some other piece of evidence
which the Consular Officer needs in order to render a final decision on
the applicant's eligibility for the visa. Generally, you will be told
what types of documents might satisfy the Consular Officer

Q8:-I am a GC holder. If I move do I need to notify INS about my change
        of address?
Ans:-[From Rajiv S. Khanna,]
        There is no such requirement.

Q9:- What is the phone number of US Consulate in XXX?
Ans:-[From Manish,]
   [Modified by Rajiv S. Khanna,]

        Quebec:   418-692-2095
        Montreal: 514-398-9695
        Toronto:  416-595-1700
        Ottawa:   613-238-4470 ext. 301
        There is a complete list of all consulates at

Q10:-What are the numbers for "Ask Immigration" Telephone Information
   Systems operated by INS.
Ans:-[from C. Huda Dodge,]
        [San Jose/Forms Update Provided by Dag Johansen,]

   INS operates "Ask Immigration" Telephone Information Systems,
   through which you can access recorded messages about various
   immigration topics.  The information below is taken from the INS
   brochure on this system (Form M-243).

the toll-free forms hotline
is 1-800-870-FORM or 1-800-870-3676

One can access the recorded messages from the following telephone numbers:

Albany, NY      (518) 472-4621          Newark, NJ      (201) 645-4400
Albuquerque, NM (505) 766-2378          New Orleans, LA (504) 589-6533
Anchorage, AK   (907) 271-4953          NYC, NY         (212) 206-6500
Arlington, VA   (202) 307-1501          Norfolk, VA     (804) 441-3081
Atlanta, GA     (404) 331-5158          Oklahoma City, OK (405) 942-8670
Baltimore, MD   (301) 962-2065          Omaha, NE       (402) 697-9155
Boise, ID       (208) 334-1821          Orlando, FL     (407) 826-5870
Boston, MA      (617) 565-3879          Philadelphia, PA(215) 597-3961
Buffalo, NY     (716) 849-6760          Phoenix, AZ     (602) 379-3122
Charleston, SC  (803) 724-4350          Pittsburgh, PA  (412) 644-3356
Charlotte, NC   (704) 523-1704          Portland, ME    (207) 780-3352
Chicago, IL     (312) 353-7334          Portland, OR    (503) 326-3006
Cincinnati, OH  (513) 287-6080          Providence, RI  (401) 545-7440
Cleveland, OH   (216) 522-4770          Reno, NV        (702) 784-5427
Dallas, TX      (214) 655-5384          Sacramento, CA  (916) 551-2785
Denver, CO      (303) 371-3041          Salt Lake City, UT(801) 265-8678
Detroit, MI     (313) 226-3240          St. Albans, VT  (802) 951-6658
El Paso, TX     (915) 532-0273          St. Louis, MO   (314) 539-2532
Fresno, CA      (209) 487-5091          St. Paul, MN    (612) 854-7754
Harlingen, TX   (512) 425-7333          San Antonio, TX (210) 229-6350
Hartford, CT    (203) 240-3171          San Diego, CA   (619) 557-5570
Helena, MT      (406) 499-5288          San Francisco, CA (415) 705-4411
Honolulu, HI    (808) 541-1379          San Jose, CA    (408) 535-5195
Houston, TX     (713) 847-7900          San Juan, PR    (809) 766-5280
Indianapolis, IN(317) 226-6009          Seattle, WA     (206) 553-5956
Jacksonville, FL(904) 791-2624          Spokane, WA     (509) 353-2129
Kansas City, MO (816) 891-0603          Tampa, FL       (813) 228-2131
Las Vegas, NV   (702) 384-3696          Tucson, AZ      (602) 670-6229
Los Angeles, CA (213) 894-2119          West Palm Beach, FL(407) 844-4341
Louisville, KY  (502) 582-6375
Memphis, TN     (901) 544-3301          TDD Users:      (202) 307-1512
Miami, FL       (305) 536-5741
Milwaukie, WI   (414) 297-3565

  People who don't like electronic answering services should stay away from
  this system.  For quick reference, especially if you live in one of the
  cities listed, it is really quite convenient.  One must push the # of the
  recording you wish to hear (and in Portland, OR at least, one *must* listen
  to a message before you can talk to a real person).  If you don't know the
  #, you have  to listen to a menu list of options.  To make things easier,
  this "Message Guide" was printed in the brochure:

101     The INS
102     How to report aliens illegally in the US...
103     PRC nationals
104     The INS Outreach program
105     Where to mail applications
106     Reporting your change of address to INS
107     How to obtain copies of documents
108     Immigrant visa availability list
109     Filing appeals and motions

201     Who is eligible for legalization
202     Employer sanctions
203     Family fairness program for legalized aliens
204     Anti-discrimination protection under immigration law
205     How to apply for PR status if resided continuously since 1972
206     Special agricultural worker program
207     Systematic alien verification for entitlements program

301     Filing petitions to sponsor an immediate relative
302     "      " to sponsor prospective immigrant employees
303     How can an alien in the US can request to change status to PR
304     When a US citizen marries a foreign national outside the US
305     How to file a joint remove conditional status of PR
306     Immigration benefits for adoption before 16th b-day
307     Orphan petitions
308     Application for asylum in the US
309     PR for recipients of approved asylum applications

401     How to obtain an alien residency card
402     Applying for a replacement " " "
403     If you never received you  " " "

501     Nonimmigrant or temporary visas
502     How to request an extension of temporary stay
503     Change of status from one nonimmigrant class to another...for work
504     Applying for a replacement I-94 arrival/departure document
505     Temporary visitor's visa
506     A fiance/fiancee visa
507     Requirements for class. as a nonimmigrant temp. worker (H1, H2 & H3)
508     Requirements for class. as a J1 or nonimmigrant exchange alien
509     L-1 visa status for intracompany transfers
510     Requirements for class. as an E1 or E2 ... treaty trader or investor

601     Permission to go to school
602     Student visa extension
603     Permission for foreign student to work
604     Visas for spouse & dependent children of foreign students
605     School transfers for F1 & M1 foreign students
606     How to maintain your student status

701     Departure from the US by permanent residents
702     Student travel outside the US
703     Travel authorization for refugees
704     How to request emergency travel
705     Travel by an alien whose PR application is still pending

801     Citizenship and naturalization requirements
802     " for children born outside the US
803     Naturalization based on military service
804     Derivative citizenship for children of US citizens
805     Residency requirements for naturalization
806     How to file for naturalization on behalf of a child
807     Replacement of certificate of citizenship or naturalization
808     How to renounce or forfeit US citizenship

Q11:-Can I find out BEFORE making application to INS if FBI check will reveal any
        criminal history in my background?
Ans:-[From: (Timothy J Richards)]
        You could check your FBI record by sending in a set
of finger prints.  I think the finger print form is
available from police stations and various other places.
Approximate time to receive the "Certificate of no criminal conviction"
is 30 days. Following is the procedure to obtain above certificate:

1. Go to your local police station and ask for finger prints
   card (Form FD-258). According to FBI, you can use any standard
   finger prints card available from local law enforcement agency.
   The local police station may charge you some fee for doing your
   finger print work. Here in Ames, they charge $5.00. Fill out
   the information required in the card.

2. Write a brief letter to FBI explaining why you need the
   certificate. It does not hurt to add your personal details
   like name, date of birth, social security number and address
   in the letter. Above information will be included in the
   finger prints card too.

3. Include a money order or certified check for US $17.00, payable
   to US TREASURY. The fee for this certificate will be
   US $ 18.00 from February 1, 1995.

4. Mail the letter, finger prints card and money order to:

                 FBI, CJIS Division
                 Room 10104
                 10th St. and Pennsylvania Ave. N. W.
                 WASHINGTON D.C. 20537-9700

 Their direct phone # is: (202) 324-5465
 It may take up to 30 days to receive your certificate.

Q12:-Are there any books regarding Immigration?
Ans:-[from Alberto Molina,]
   Name: Immigration Procedures Handbook
   Publisher: Clark, Boardman & Callaghan
   Address: 155 Pfingsten Road
            Deerfield, IL 60015-4998
   Phone: 1-800-323-1336
   Cost: $145 + 6.5 percent S&H + state tax

   [from Eiji Hirai, ]
   The Rights of Aliens and Refugees:
      The Basic ACLU Guide to Alien and
      Refugee Rights, 2nd edition,
   by David Carliner, et al.   Price : $7.95 + S&H

   You can  ordered it from
        ACLU Dept. L.
        P.O. Box 794
        Medford, NY 11763

   "Labor Certification Handbook -
       Companion Volume To:  Immigration Procedures Handbook"
       by  Austin T. Fragomen,  Steven C, Bell
       Clark Boardman Callghan,  NY 1992

Q13:-What is the fee for XX?
Ans:-[From Rajesh Kumar Singh,]

                     SUMMARY OF CHANGED FEES
                     effective July 14, 1994

Form No.  Form name/description                             Fee
I-17      Petition for Approval of School for
               Attendance by Nonimmigrant Students          $140
I-90      Application to Replace Alien Registration Card    $75
I-102     Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant
          Arrival Departure Document                        $65
I-129     Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker           See below*
I-129F    Petition for Alien Finance(e)                     $75
I-130     Petition for Alien Relative                       $80
I-131     Application for Travel Document                   $70
I-140     Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker               $75
I-191     Application for Advance Permission to Return
          to Unrelinquished Domicile                        $90
I-193     Application for Waiver of Passport and/or Visa    $90
I-212     Application for Permission to Reapply for
          Admission into the U.S. After Deportation
          or Removal                                        $95
I-360     Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special
          Immigrant (except for a petition seeking
          classification as Amerasian)                      $80
I-485     Application to Register Permanent Residence or
          Adjust Status
          --if 14 years of age or older                     $130
          --if under 14 years of age                        $100
I-526     Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur          $155
I-539     Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status  $75
                              (plus $10 per coapplicant)
I-600     Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate
          Relative                                          $155
I-600A    Application for Advance Processing of Orphan
          Petition                                          $155
I-601     Application for Waiver of Grounds of
          Excludability                                     $95
I-612     Application for Waiver of the Foreign Residence
          Requirement                                       $95
I-751     Petition to Remove the Condition on Residence     $80
I-765     Application for Employment Authorization          $70
I-817     Application for Voluntary Departure Under
          Family Unity Program                              $80
N-300     Application to File Declaration of Intention      $75
N-400     Application for Naturalization                    $95
N-470     Application to Preserve Residence for
          Naturalization Purposes                           $115
N-565     Application for Replacement Naturalization/
          Citizenship Document                              $65
N-600     Application for Certificate of Citizenship        $100
N-643     Application for Certificate of Citizenship in
          Behalf of an Adopted Child                        $80
N-644     Application for Posthumous Citizenship            $80

*I-129 Petition with Unnamed Beneficiaries:
     --Fee of $75 per petition

 I-129 Petition with Named Beneficiaries:
     --Base fee of $75 per petition plus either:
          --$10 per worker is requesting consulate or port-of-
          entry notification for visa issuance or admission;
          --$80 per worker if requesting a change of status; or
          --$50 per worker if requesting an extension of stay, if
          filing an extension of stay or change of status for one
          worker, dependents may be included for a fee of $10 per

Q14:-What is form XXX ?
Ans:-[From B.G. Mahesh,]

      N-400  : Application for Naturalization
      N-600  : Application for Certification of Citizenship
      I-90   : Application to Replace Alien Registration Card
      I-130  : Petition of Alien Relative
      I-131  : Application for Travel Document
      I-485  : Application to Register Permanent Residence
               or Adjustment of Status
      I-600  : Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative
      I-765  : Application for Temporary Employment Authorization

Q15:-Is there a internet site from which I can download any info
    regarding immigration?<<Changed>>
Ans:-[modified by Rajiv S. Khanna,]
        INS, USIA and State Department all have their web sites now.

        PS: If you have any questions about gopher and anonymous ftp
        PLEASE don't ask me.  Ask on news.newusers.questions
        and/or alt.gopher

    [ from Ravinder Bhumbla, rbhumbla@UCSD.EDU]
    NAFSA (the association of international educators) regularly
    sends out updates about changes in immigration laws to its
    mailing list, (you can subscribe by sending
    mail to  An archive of these updates
    (which may be useful to you) is accessible by gopher at the
    following place:

    Name=NAFSA Updates (Federal Regulations)

    For the more *advanced* users..i.e. Mosaic users :-)


    [from Vadim Maslov]
    A source of immigration information that's especially
    useful for people from Russia and CIS.
    It has now moved to

   [from Rajiv S. Khanna,]
    There are also several government and private web sites.

Q16:-What is this FAQ about?
Ans:-[from B.G. Mahesh,]
        [modified by Rajiv S. Khanna,]
   This FAQ has information about procedural and substantive
   issues of U.S. immigration laws.

Q17:-Are there any lawyers who can be reached by email?
Ans:-[from B.G. Mahesh,]

    Rajiv S. Khanna
    1129 20th Street, NW, Suite 400
    Washington, DC 20036-3403
    Voice: (202) 466-2113

    Gregory Siskind
    Attorney at Law
    Euclid Court Building
    110 30th Avenue North, Suite 1
    Nashville TN 37203
    Voice: 615/320-9109 Fax: 615/320-5681

    Cynthia D. Ryan
    305 Broadway - Suite 301
    New York, NY 10007
    Tel/Fax: (212) 349-7708

    Sidney J. Wartel, P.E., Jur. Dr.
    Davis, Malm & D'Agostine
    One Boston Place
    Boston, MA. 02108
    Voice : (617) 367-2500

    Fuad B. Nasarallah
    15 West Dorothy Lane
    Dayton, Oh 45429
    Voice: (513) 298-777

Q18:-Are there any mailing lists?
Ans:-[from B.G. Mahesh,]

    o Send mail to asking him to
      add you to his visa bulletin mailing list.

    o An electronic newsletter that includes information on developments
      in immigration law, the State Departments visa bulletin numbers,
      INS Service Center Processing reports and answers to questions
      subscribers may pose.  There is no fee to subscribers and all
      parties interested should email me at

Q19:-How to select an immigration lawyer?
Ans:-[Muralidhar Rangaswamy,]
   [Modified by]
   The best method is through word of mouth.  Ask your friends and
   acquaintances first.

   Please treat this as my $0.02 worth on the subject of picking
   an immigration lawyer. While there is no hard and fast rule on
   determining whether an immigration lawyer is good or not, the
   following points would be worthwhile considering in the selection process.

   (1) Check to see if the lawyer is a member of the American
       Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) (As a practical matter, merely
       being a member of AILA does NOT ensure competence).

   (2) Also check if the lawyer holds an important position in the
       local or state bar association's immigration committee (Again, not
       necessarily a sign of competence, but better than the yellow pages).

   (3) Look up the yellow pages of your phone book to obtain the tel#
       of free attorney referral services. Call them and ask for an
       opinion about the attorney you are considering.

   (4) Make sure that there are no restraining orders from the supreme
       judicial court that prohibits the attorney from practicing.

   (5) Check prior experiences of the attorney with cases similar to that of
       yours. In particular, find out if the attorney has been successful
       in the past.

   (6) Finally, in your first consultation with the lawyer, feel free to
       bring up all questions and details pertaining to your case (this
       includes legal fees, processing time etc.).

   (7) Check with the better business bureau (BBB) in your city about the law
       firm of the lawyer you are considering. The BBB maintains a record of
       all businesses in a given city and reports to you whether the business
       in question has been involved in unfair business practices (over the
       past 3 years).

   (1)-(7) are issues that must necessarily be considered but are
   not sufficient.

   These are merely guidelines for choosing an immigration attorney.
   These are by no means comprehensive. Please feel free to add your
   suggestions or comments to the above list.

Q20:-What is AILA (Am. Imm. Lawyers Assn.)?
Ans:-[from Rajiv S. Khanna,]
        The American Immigration Lawyers' Association is a fee-based
        organization.  ANY LAWYER CAN BECOME ITS MEMEBER.
        Therfore, being a member of AILA is NO gurantee of competence.
        Let me add, however, AILA is a great source of information and
        education.  I do think it is difficult to practice good
        immigration law without being a member of AILA.

Q21:-Is there a list of "recommended lawyers" ?
Ans:-[from B.G. Mahesh,]
    Rajiv S. Khanna
    1129 20th Street, NW, Suite 400
    Washington, DC 20036-3403
    Phone : 202-466-2113
    Fax   : 202-466-2885
    Email :

    [from Th. Bullinger,]
    Santosh Pawar
    1000 East Ave.
    Rochester, NY 14607
    Phone : 716-461-4074

    [from Alberto,]
    The Law Offices of Ronald Freeman in NYC,
    specifically Jenny Nieves at that office.
    Their phone number is 800-522-5275.

    Peter T. Baumann, Karren A. DeSeve, Jon Landau
    437 Chestnut St.
    Suite 905
    Philadelphia, PA 19106
    Phone : 215-925-0705

    [from Kannan Varadhan,]
    Ms. Deborah Youtsey
    Bartlett and Weigle Co. LPA
    432, Walnut Street, Cuite 1100,
    Cincinnati, OH 45202.
    Phone : 513 241 3992
    Fax   : 513 241 1816

    [from Muralidhar Rangaswamy,]
    Steven A. Clark
    Flynn & Clark P.C.,
    One Main Street, P.O. Box 25, Cambridge, MA 02142.
    Phone : (617)-354-1550
    Fax   : (617)-661-2576

    [From Ranganath Dandi,]
    Thomas Williams
    Ste. 1501
    5205, Leesburgh Pike
    Falls Church, VA 22041
    Ph: (703)-845-8800

    [From Muralidhar Rangaswamy,]
    Steven A. Clark
    Flynn & Clark P.C.,
    One Main Street,
    P.O. Box 25,
    Kendall Square,
    Cambridge MA 02142-0001
    Phone : (617)-354-1550
    Fax   : (617)-661-2576

    [From Dr. M. V. Ramakrishna,]
    Mr. S. Gayathrinath
    299 Broadway, Suite 603
    New York, NY 10007-1901
    Phone : 212-791-4210
    Fax   : 212-571-7405

    [From Kedar Gidh,]
    Wendy Castor Hess
    Goldblum & Hess
    Jenkintown Plaza, Suite 380
    Jenkintown, PA 19046
    Ph. (215) 885-3600
    Fax (215) 885-4595

    Law Office of Sheela Murthy
    10451 Mill Run Circle, Suite 400
    Owings Mills, MD 21117-5577
    Tel: 410-356-8830
    Fax: 410-356-8804

Q22:-Which is the best time to change this maiden name to the
   married name and how to go about it?
Ans:-[From Rajiv S. Khanna,]

   In terms of immigration documents, all papers that are
   filed should list spouse by her married name and  "also
   known as XYZ (Maiden name)."  Most INS forms provide a
   space for "Other Names Used."  Now if it is too late,
   and a green card in her maiden name has already been issued,
   INS has a form for making a change in the issued Green Card.

Law Offices of Rajiv S. Khanna
3440 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite D, Arlington, VA  22201
2120 L Sreet, N.W., Suite 210, Washington, D.C. 20037
Voice: (703) 908-4800 Xtn 110 OR

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:12 PM