H4 EAD: Work Permit (EAD) for Certain H4 Dependent Spouses of H-1B Non-immigrants

USCIS announced on Feb 24, 2015 that certain H4 dependent spouses of H-1B non-immigrants will be able to file for EAD (Employment Authorization Card which is a permit to work in USA) starting May 26, 2015. The eligibility rules are as follows:

1. Spouse on H-1B must be on H4 status. This means if a spouse is on other status like F1 or H-1B or some other status, the spouse must change his/her status to H4 before being eligible for this EAD.

And also must meet one of the following:

2a. H-1B must have an approved I-140 petition with current employer.

2b. H-1B must have an approved I-140 petition from previous employer which has not been revoked. This is the case when H-1B person has switched to another employer, and his current employer either has not started PERM or I-140 yet or is in the process of PERM or I-140.

2c. H-1B has extended its status beyond 6 years by using AC21.

Full announcement is here:

http://www.uscis.gov/news/dhs-extends-eligibility-employment-authorization-certain-h-4-dependent-spouses-h-1b-nonimmigrants-seeking-employment-based-lawful-permanent-residence

This rule has been in the making for several years (almost for about 4 years), and really picked up the speed since last year (2014) and went through the normal rule making process and cleared all hurdles. Several people worked really hard to make this rule a reality, but most notably are Rashi and Anirban Das (twitter: @kamakazee_9) and some others. These people along with several others met with authorities in Washington D.C. (USA) a couple of times to discuss H4 EAD, and attended several teleconferences. Rashi had created a facebook page to start H4 EAD campaign : https://www.facebook.com/H4visaacurse . This facebook campaign by Rashi had featured in several media articles and helped provide a common platform to raise H4 EAD voice collectively. These people along with several others really took advantage of social media and carried out many campaigns via twitter and also emailed/faxed to concerned authorities on daily basis to “make a noise”. There has been the longest running thread to discuss H4 EAD on trackiit.com (http://www.trackitt.com/usa-discussion-forums/i765/740339151/ead-for-h4-visa-holders/page/last_page) and this thread was started by a trackitt member karthiksubbu. Hundreds of people joined this trackitt thread to discuss H4 EAD and participated in various social media campaigns. Kudos to Rashi, Anirban and all other hundreds of people to bring this historic rule to conclusion, and also a big thank you to all concerned authorities in USA who listened to these people and passed H4 EAD rule finally. Fight for immigrants is still not over and future hopes rely on the executive actions started by US president Barak Obama on November 20, 2014 and the details are here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/immigration/immigration-action.

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How to think like VP of Open Source Affairs, Michael Tiemann

I came across this interview with Michael Tiemann, VP of Open Source Affairs Red Hat and found it very interesting. I though to share it here:

http://opensource.com/business/14/8/interview-michael-tiemann-red-hat

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Time Pass Friday Fun

I came up with some funny takes on recent news and could not resist sharing. Hopefully you like it:

What If America has Huge Hefner, India has ND Tiwari, and Sherlyn Chopra can now think of settling in India.

AAP has changed its full form from AAP AADMI PARTY to AAP AADMI PARTED after their recent defeat in 2014 elections.

After getting 15 votes in 2014 elections, Rakhi Sawant is in big celebration mood because she did not know that she has so many fans in India.

On Rahul Gandhi’s statement that he takes full responsiblity for Congress loss, Modi replies, “I am happy that he is growing up and can take some responsibilities finally.”

KRK (Kamaal R Khan) has left India and settled in China after Modi’s win, and now he feels at home because all shabby products in India are from China anyway.

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Fedora 19 Linux OS: Time And Date Synchronization with NTP

Fedora 19 Linux based operating system distribution can be network-synchronized for time and date over Internet by using NTP (Network Time Protocol) protocol. For more information about NTP, one may read over here: http://www.ntp.org/ . However, I found that the open source software (or package) named ntp, that provides NTP functionality, is not installed on my Fedora 19 system by default. So any changes to Date and Time settings by going through gnome settings panel was not working.  To address this, I installed and enabled NTP as follows:

Run the following command as the root user to install ntp software:

$yum install ntp

yum is the package manager and one may read about it over here https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Yum to understand more about it.

If you are not the root user, but have sudo permission (more on sudo : http://www.linux.com/learn/tutorials/306766:linux-101-introduction-to-sudo) , run the following command to install ntp software:

$sudo yum install ntp

This command with sudo will prompt for your password.

Once the ntp software is installed, enable this software as follows:

$systemctl enable ntpd.service

This command will run NTP daemon (or background process) always whenever the system boots. systemctl command is part of an open source software named systemd which acts as an init (PID 1) process on Linux based systems. In other words, systemd is the first user space process that is the parent of all other processes on systemd-enabled Linux based systems. systemd manages other processes in Fedora (and many other Linux based distributions) in addition to starting them at the system boot time. More on systemd may be read over here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Systemd . ntpd.service is a systemd service file which is used by systemd to start the ntp process at boot time. systemd also uses this service file to manage ntp process at other times after the system has booted.

Now to run the ntp process, please run the following command:

$systemctl start ntpd.service

This will start ntp process (or service) in the background.  Please note that this command is only run once. This command is not to be run in future after system reboots, as systemd will take care of starting this ntp process.

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H1B VISA (Working Visa) Requirements and Documents for USA (United States of America) Embassy or Consulate

United State of America offers a non-immigrant visa, called H1B visa, to people from other countries to be employed legally by US employers. Those foreign individuals are supposed to posses certain speciality skills to be eligible for H1B visa. Employers file H1B petition to USCIS for the approval by filling form I-129. Once the petition is approved, foreign workers receive H1B approval document which is of type I-129. H1B visa approval starts at October 1st of each year, so foreign workers can only start working for their employer after this date.

The foreign workers on H1B are only eligible to work for a certain period of time before they are supposed to return to their home country. The eligible working period on H1B is of 6 years. Initial H1B visa approval is for 3 years only, which can be renewed for another 3 years.

H1B visa is considered of dual intention that means foreign workers with an approved H1B petition may have immigrant intentions and may file for permanent residency during his/her H1B stint. If permanent  residency application has been filed, then the foreign worker can request additional extensions of H1B to legally stay and work in USA. These extensions are generally given for each year subsequently.

Foreign workers with approved H1B petition, who want to travel outside USA, require a valid H1B visa stamped on their passports before returning to USA. Foreign workers can apply for H1B visa stamping either in their home country or in other country they are travelling to. These individuals need to go through the same application procedure like any other visa, and need to book an appointment for visa interview in USA embassy or consulate in the other country they are travelling to.  During the visa interview appointment, these individuals are supposed to carry certain documents and a list of those documents is specified below.

Mandatory documents:

  • I797A (type I129) H1B approval document (original and photocopy).
  • Current passport (original and photocopy).
  • All previous old passports (original and photocopy).
  • DS 160 confirmation printout (2 photocopies).
  • Original HDFC bank visa fee receipt with two bar code stickers (2 photocopies).
  • Confirmation letter of interview appointment (2 photocopies).
  • Photos.

Supporting documents which are MUST to carry:

  • Photocopies of Labour Condition Application  (LCA) which can be provided by the employer.
  • Complete H1B petition which can be provided by the employer.
  • Employment letter or job offer letter (original and 2 photocopies)
  • Salary payslips (photocopies of atleast 6 months of payslips), only if you have already been working on H1B in USA and have been getting salary.
  • Bank account statements (photocopies of atleast 6 months), only if you have been staying in USA already, have bank account in USA.
  • W2 forms (USA tax document) for all previous years (originals and photocopies), only if you have been staying in USA already and have been paying taxes either on H1B or some other visa status.
  • Photocopies of federal income tax returns for all previous years, only if you have been staying in USA already and have been paying taxes either on H1B or some other visa status.
  • Photocopies of state income tax returns for all previous years, only if you have been staying in USA already and have been paying taxes either on H1B or some other visa status.
  • Original and photocopies of all professional degrees obtained in USA or in some other country.

Supporting documents which are important to carry:

  • I94 (original and photocopies).
  • DS 160 filled application (photocopies).
  • Itinerary printout (2 photocopies).

Supporting documents which you can carry if you have been staying in USA already (not important but just in case):

  • Social security number card (photocopies).
  • If you have worked on OPT (optional practical training) before, photocopies of all previous Post OPT and Pre OPT work authorization cards (one photocopy each atleast).
  • If you have studied in USA before, your latest/last I20 (photocopies).
  • State driver’s license of the state you stay in USA (photocopies).

Supporting documents which you can carry related to your home country (not important but just in case):

  • Your home country driving license (original and photocopies).
  • Your home country bank statements or fixed deposit documents (photocopies).

Miscellaneous documents (not important really):

  • A document named Class-H-L-O.pdf which describes document list (1 copy). This document is obtained once you book the appointment with USA consulate or USA embassy (photocopies).

Individuals working on H1B are eligible to apply for H4 visa for their dependants. Information related to H4 visa is available at following links:

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30-Story Building Constructed in 15 Days in China: Time Lapse Video

I came across an interesting you tube video which shows a construction time lapse of 30-story building built in just 15 days by a Chinese construction company.

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Indian Passport Renewal Application Procedure in USA (United States of America)

Indian passports are generally issued for 10 years duration, and are bound to expire eventually. If you are staying in USA and your Indian passport is going to expire within 6 months, you need to apply for passport renewal as soon as possible. In this article, I will outline the documents required to submit your application to Indian Embassy in USA.

  1. Fill the on-line application form at https://passport.gov.in/nri/OnlineRegistration.jsp?pocode=USAW and take its printout after you are done with filling application. The printed copy should be signed by the applicant.
  2. Write your contact telephone number as well as e-mail address on the front page (in some blank space) of the printed application. Your telephone number/e-mail address are required in case there is any need to contact you.
  3. 3 recent passport size photographs (3.5 cm x 3.5 cm -front facial pose) with white or a light coloured background. Note that Indian passport photo requirements are different than USA passport size (2 inch x 2 inch or approximately 5 cm x 5cm), so please do not submit US Passport size photographs.
  4. You must your old passport in original, and a photocopy of the first 5 and last 2 pages of your original old passport. If your old passport had any additional booklet, you need to send that original booklet too.
  5. I think you need not submit your I-94. Even if you want, you can submit a photocopy, but should not required.
  6. The applicant is required to submit the documents of his/her active status in USA. These documents includes USA visa photocopy, H1-B approval notice copy, Employment Authorization Card (EAD) copy, I-20 copy if student, or documents related to your Green Card application if application is in processing. All these documents should be notarized.
  7. A photocopy of proof of applicant’s residential address, which may include current Driving License, Utility bill such as Gas, Electric or Water or Rental Lease agreement or Home Mortgage bill showing the residential address.
  8. A non-refundable fee of US$40.00 for normal booklet (36 pages) or US$50.00 for Jumbo booklet (60 pages) has to be paid in cash (only at the counter) or by Certified cheque or Money Order payable to Embassy of India, Washington DC. Please note that personal checks are not accepted. If applying through mail include a separate Certified cheque or Money Order of US$20.00. Please note that the fee once paid is not refunded on account of refusal of service or delay in service. Please insist on a receipt for any money paid at the counter.
  9. If your passport does not include your spouse’s name and you want it to be included, then a notarized copy of marriage certificate must be submitted along with the application.
  10. If your passport expired more than a year ago then a notarized affidavit (http://www.indianembassy.org/download_file.php?action=download&mainfolder=form_files/&filename=Form_Pdf_35.pdf) is required. The applicant will be informed if an interview is required.
  11. If your appearance has changed significantly, a notarized copy of this form (http://www.indianembassy.org/download_file.php?action=download&mainfolder=form_files/&filename=Form_Pdf_34.pdf) with your recent photograph is also required.

Mailing Address or In Person Submission:

Embassy of India,
Consular Wing,
2536, Massachusetts Avenue, NW,
Washington DC 20008

Contact Number for Enquiries: 1-202-939-9888

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