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ISSS-BU News 04 June 2012 ISSS-BU News


An electronic news service for international students and scholars, owned by the Office of International Student and Scholar Services atBinghamtonUniversity, State University of New York

Visit ISSS on the Web!   http://isss.binghamton.edu

CONTENTS:
1. National Holidays for June
2. Have You Changed Your Address?
3. Getting Married in New York State
4. Latest Information on H-1B Cap Filings
5. Don’t Place Your Immigration Status at Risk: Some Consequences of Illegal Employment
6. Can International Students Purchase US Stocks?
7. US Department of Defense Announces the Return of the MAVNI Program

1. National Holidays for June
The following countries are celebrating national holidays during the month of June:

Kenya 1-June
Samoa 1-June
Italy 2-June
Tonga 4-June
Sweden 6-June
Portugal 10-June
Philippines 12-June
Iceland 17-June
Seychelles 18-June
Luxembourg 23-June
Mozambique 25-June
Slovenia 25-June
Madagascar 26-June
Djibouti 27-June

2. Have You Changed Your Address?
Have you moved recently? Do you have a new address? International Students in F and J status are reminded that reporting your change of address to the ISSS is a requirement under federal SEVIS regulations. The ISSS makes this requirement easy for you by providing a web form where you can easily report this information. Just visit:

http://saffairs.binghamton.edu/isss/webforms/changeofaddress/ for an easy-to-complete fillable form.

3. Getting Married in New York State
Staff in the ISSS are sometimes asked about the rules for getting married in New York State. The rules are the same whether two foreign nationals are marrying each other, or whether a foreign national is marrying a US citizen or US permanent resident.

New York State has some very helpful information on this topic at its website:

http://www.health.state.ny.us/vital_records/married.htm

Please note that the information on the website explains the procedures for having a legal marriage in New York. It does not discuss US federal regulations for obtaining an immigration benefit based on marriage to a US citizen or US permanent resident. For more information on immigration benefits based on marriage, visit the US Citizenship and Immigration Services website at:

http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.eb1d4c2a3e5b9ac89243c6a7543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=4c2515d27cf73210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD&vgnextchannel=4c2515d27cf73210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD

4. Latest Information on H-1B Cap Filings
As ISSS-BU News was being prepared for publication, the most recent H-1B visa update was on Friday, May 25, 2012.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reports that H-1B petitions continue to be processed. Approximately 48,400 H-1B cap-subject petitions and approximately 17,500 petitions qualifying for the advanced degree cap exemption have been filed. H-1B applications are being filed at a much faster pace than a year ago. USCIS will continue to accept both cap-subject petitions and advanced degree petitions until a sufficient number of H-1B petitions have been received to reach the statutory limits, taking into account the fact that some of these petitions may be denied, revoked, or withdrawn.

USCIS will provide regular updates on the processing of Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 H-1B petitions. The current update can be found on the USCIS’ Web site at www.uscis.gov/h-1b_count

5. Don't Place Your Immigration Status At Risk: Some Consequences of Illegal Employment
The vast majority of Binghamton University international students have a good understanding of the federal immigration regulations with which they must comply* and cannot imagine violating any of them, as the risks are so great. This is especially true of F-1 student employment regulations, including practical training (which is limited to off campus employment that is directly related to a student's field of study) and authorized employment based on documented economic hardship.

But at one time or another, a student might wonder to himself or herself "Would anyone find out if I worked off campus without authorization, or took a job under authorized practical training that was not related to my field of study, or before I received my work authorization card?"

The short answer is, yes, so don't do it! -Here's why.

Any employment that is in violation of your F-1 status is a deportable offense if it comes to the attention of the Department of Homeland Security.

An employer who hires you for a position that does not comply with the limitations set by your employment authorization category can be subject to civil penalties and in some cases, criminal penalties.

Your employer is required to report your earnings to the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Internal Revenue Service, and you are required to file an income tax return reporting those earnings and paying any taxes due on them, even if the employment was not authorized.

If at some point in the future, you decide to apply for U.S. permanent residency (either through an employment petition, a petition filed by an immediate relative, or through the diversity visa lottery), you are required to submit copies of your past U.S. federal income tax returns as part of the application. If previous employment is indicated on your tax returns, the immigration officer can require that you present proof of work authorization for those jobs.

Regardless of whether you are applying for permanent residency or some other non-immigrant status (such as H-1B), if previous employment is indicated on your immigration paperwork (such as an endorsement for optional practical training on an I-20, an internship on a resume, or some other evidence of work authorization) the immigration officer adjudicating the new application may request specific information regarding the previous employment and its applicability to the work authorization you held.

As students, you have worked very hard to achieve a U.S. college degree. Don't risk all the time and money you have invested in that goal. Do not rely on your employer to determine whether your job meets the requirements for your employment authorization. Remember that compliance with federal immigration regulations is your responsibility, and the consequences for non-compliance are punitive.

*For a summary of the federal regulations with which students must comply, visit: http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/Immigration/validf1.html

The article on which this news item is based was first written in Fall 2003 by Ellen Badger, Director of International Student and Scholar Services. Stephen Yale-Loehr, nationally known immigration attorney with the law firm of Miller Mayer in Ithaca, New York, and an adjunct faculty member of Cornell University Law School, consulted on the original article's content.

6. Can International Students Purchase US Stocks?
Some months ago, a student in F-1 status visited the Office of International Student and Scholar Services to ask if there was any regulation that would prevent him from purchasing U.S. stocks.

The answer is that any international student with a U.S. social security number may purchase U.S. stocks. Given the volatility of the U.S. stock market, this may not be a wise way to spend money at present, but there is no federal regulatory prohibition on stock purchases for international students.

Those who own U.S. stock should note that the company from whom you purchase shares of stock is required to report your capital gains (or losses) each year to the U.S. Department of the Treasury. In turn, you must report these amounts on your annual federal (and if required) state income tax returns. The U.S. government will tax your capital gains. But, should you suffer a loss, you may be able to show the loss on your income tax return as well.

7. US Department of Defense Announces the Return of the MAVNI Program
The following information appears on the website of Ware/Gasparian, immigration attorneys.

http://david-ware.com/immigration-information/breaking-news/pentagon-announces-mavni-program-reinstatement

On May 16, 2012, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) announced the return of the popular “Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest” (MAVNI) Program, which will be available through May 16, 2014.

MAVNI was first introduced as a pilot in 2009. Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI), allows certain non-citizens with degrees in certain health care fields, or those with certain language skills, who are legally present in the United States to join the US Army, Navy, Marine Corps or Air Force and apply immediately for U.S. citizenship without first obtaining lawful permanent residence.

To be eligible for the program, applicants must have been legally present in the U.S. for at least two years and possess the skilled medical training or language skills the DoD has designated as in demand. Those who are out of status or undocumented, visitors on B visas or the Visa Waiver Program, as well as those with serious criminal records, are ineligible for the program. Those who previously maintained H status and fell out of status after filing an application for adjustment of status may be allowed to participate on a case-by-case basis. Applicants in nonimmigrant status must not have a single absence of more than 90 days in the two year period prior to applying for the program.

Through the military naturalization process applicants pay no fees for the application, but do have a contractual obligation to serve in the military for a minimum of four years active duty for language recruits, or a choice of three years active duty or six years Select Reserve for medical recruits. In either case, a recruit has an eight-year contractual commitment to the military, including non-active service, and the naturalization can be revoked if an applicant does not provide at least five years of honorable service. This program could help many people with limited immigration options, including J-1 physicians who have been in the U.S. for two years and have a U.S. medical license, but are subject to the two-year home residence requirement. Such physicians could naturalize without completing the home residence requirement nor requesting a waiver. Nurses could also benefit when they might otherwise have difficulty obtaining appropriate work visas. Those in TPS, U or T status for at least two years could also enlist and naturalize when they might otherwise have very limited immigration options.

A new skills and languages list has been designated for 2012, with the addition of some languages not allowed previously in the program.

For 2012, those in the following fields may apply: General Dentists, Oral Surgeons, Comprehensive Dentists, Prosthodontists, Oral Surgeons, Preventive Medicine, Urologists, Anesthesiologists, Ophthalmologists, Otolaryngologists, Pediatricians, Psychiatrists, Internists, Family Physicians, General Surgeons, Thoracic Surgeons, Orthopedic Surgeons, Emergency Medicine Physicians, Nuclear Science Officers, Entomologists, Licensed Clinical Social Workers, Physician Assistants, Licensed Clinical Psychologists, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners, and Nurse Anesthestists.

Those with skills in the following languages may also apply: Albanian, Amharic, Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bengali, Burmese, Cebuano, Cambodian-Khmer, Chinese, Czech, French (with citizenship from an African country), Georgian, Haitian Creole, Hausa, Hindi, Igbo, Indonesian, Korean, Kurdish, Lao, Malay, Malayalam, Moro, Nepalese, Pashto, Persian Dari, Persian Farsi, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Sindhi, Serbo-Croatian, Singhalese, Somali, Swahili, Tagalog, Tajik, Tamil, Thai, Turkish, Turkmen, Urdu (with citizenship or birth certificate from Pakistan or Afghanistan), Uzbek, and Yoruba.

There is a detailed handout available at:

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/27924754/MAVNI%20reinstatement%205-16-12.pdf

For more information, visit the local offices of US military recruiters located in University Plaza.

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Last Updated: 6/4/12