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Traveling Abroad? Don’t Forget Your Documents!

posted by: INSZoom date: Dec 26, 2013 Immigration Stories comments: Comments Off on Traveling Abroad? Don’t Forget Your Documents!
By Amber Easton Earlier this year I travelled to beautiful Costa Rica with six of my family members from Canada. While planning for the trip, I double checked the document requirements for entry into Costa Rica and confirmed all that was required was our Canadian Passports. We were all set to go! Excited and eagerly anticipating the warm Costa Rican sun, we rushed to the airport with passports in hand. After a week of amazing fun in the sun and quality time with family, we loaded into the cars and headed back to the airport for our journey home. All of my family members were returning to Canada and I was returning to the United States, where I have lived for the past 10 years. As I approached the counter to get my boarding pass, the airline employee politely asked for my passport and final destination. After learning I was a Canadian citizen landing in the U.S., she requested proof of my U.S. immigration status. Even before the words “immigration status” came out of her mouth…dread set in. I immediately realized I made a huge mistake and forgot my U.S. Permanent Resident Card (“Greencard”) at home. What followed was something our family will never forget. I was not allowed to board the plane and my entire family had to leave me behind in Costa Rica. In order to get back into the United States, I would be required to travel to the U.S. Consulate (6 hours away) and obtain necessary written documentation permitting me to re-enter the United States. The entire process took nearly a week to sort out. My experience in Costa Rica was a tough and expensive lesson. It was an important reminder of how critical is to always carry the right travel documentation – not only for entry into your destination country, but also for re-entry into the United States. Many foreign nationals will be traveling abroad this holiday season. In the hustle and bustle of it all, it can be easy to forget important details. As a reminder, non-U.S. citizens are encouraged to consult with their immigration attorney prior to international travel. We also encourage you to review the list of basic documents that are required for entry to the U.S. http://www.dhs.gov/crossing-us-borders. If you require a visa, appointment scheduling and visa issuance times can be checked online at http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/wait/wait_4638.html. Don’t forget your documents! Happy Travels!
date:  Dec 26, 2013 comments:  Comments Off on Traveling Abroad? Don’t Forget Your Documents!
by:  INSZoom category:  Immigration Stories Read More

IT Immigration: Senate & House

posted by: INSZoom date: Dec 23, 2013 From Our CEO, Immigration News comments: Comments Off on IT Immigration: Senate & House
By Umesh Vaidyamath The Senate passed a comprehensive immigration bill in June 2013. Though the House has not passed a bill, several immigration bills were reported by the House Judiciary Committee to the House floor. There is a dramatic difference between the visions of the Senate and the House for IT immigration. The Senate is largely unfriendly to IT immigration as it exists today. It wants to destroy intermediaries for IT talent (“body shops”). If it has its way, the “H-1B dependent” employers will no longer exist. The Senate bill would compel large companies to hire IT personnel directly from India, instead of their current use of “body shops”. Smaller companies will be hit because they don’t have the ability to hire overseas. All this will cause turmoil in the current IT ecosystem, especially in Silicon Valley. The House on the other hand regards the current IT industry as one of America’s success stories. The various bills reported by the House Judiciary Committee will make possible a massive expansion of the IT industry by increasing quotas, and reducing wait times, ushering in a golden age of American IT immigration giving America access to the best IT talent throughout the world. The Senate and the House bills represent significantly different visions for IT immigration. It is difficult to tell which one will prevail—as in all politics, we can expect a combination of the visions to pass the Congress. What is common to both the Senate and the House visions is a massive increase in IT immigration—the difference will be in the structure of that expansion. But the costs will be high in terms of increased fees and increased regulations under either vision, the Senate’s or the House’s. Agencies like USCIS and DOS are not good at adjusting to change, and will struggle with handling the new law when it comes. The IT industry will also struggle as a result. Change in IT immigration is imminent even if there is no Comprehensive Immigration Reform since IT issues are so important that some IT legislation is to be expected regardless of how Comprehensive Immigration Reform fairs. Law firms that use digital case management will be at a major advantage, because productivity in immigration processing, which has been competitive advantage so far will now become a survival requirement. INSZoom stands ready to help any law firm who wants to achieve these productivity increases and prepare for the changes coming to IT immigration in 2014.
date:  Dec 23, 2013 comments:  Comments Off on IT Immigration: Senate & House
by:  INSZoom category:  From Our CEO, Immigration News Read More

Immigration Law Firms in the Cloud

posted by: INSZoom date: Dec 20, 2013 From Our CEO, Immigration News comments: Comments Off on Immigration Law Firms in the Cloud
By Umesh Vaidyamath USCIS has not digitized its processes yet. Its first attempt to do so on a large scale was the ELIS system, which was launched with a great deal of fanfare. However, since its launch, the usage of the system has been much lower than hoped for and the use of it has not spread much beyond the original form I-539. When the USCIS goes digital, immigration law firms will need to do so as well. But there are two kinds of law firms that have seen the writing on the wall and have made significant progress in moving to digital work flow and into the Cloud. The largest immigration practices have been at the cutting edge of moving to the cloud. Of the top 25 immigration practices around 25% have already moved to the cloud and we expect that in a year or so that percentage will cross 50%. The rationale for doing so is competitive. The trend towards moving to the cloud is clear. These firms have a choice of whether they are ahead of the curve or behind. Practices that serve the IT community have made strides into the cloud as well. Their clients are more sophisticated and demand and expect to work on the Cloud. Younger and solo practices with little legacy issues move to the cloud more readily, and are able to reap the benefits of doing so. Here are some of the most compelling reasons for an immigration law practice to move to the cloud: Improve Accessibility:
  • Work from anywhere and anytime;
  • Accessible through any device, mobile, laptop, Mac, Windows
  • Location independence.
  • Ease access to Information using web interfaces
  • Convenience and Continuous Availability
Globalize Your Operations:
  • Seamless working together across all US and Global offices for law firms as well as clients
Robust Security and Recovery:
  • State of the art security
  • Control access to all documents
  • Efficient backup and recovery
  • Resiliency and Redundancy
There is one advantage of moving to the cloud which most companies who sell cloud services and practices that choose to move to the cloud do not fully realize until they have made the move. Using the cloud saves you a large amount of file storage space. If you look around your office or any law firm office, 15-20% of the raw square footage of law offices is consumed by file storage. You can make much better use of space than storing paper files. Moving to the cloud results in a better office: more pleasant and more efficient. INSZoom stands ready to help you transition to the cloud. You can read our white papers on “Moving to the Cloud” and “Is the Cloud Secure?” and contact a representative by email: sales@inszoom.com or phone: 925-244-0600 to learn more. We look forward to putting you on cloud nine.
date:  Dec 20, 2013 comments:  Comments Off on Immigration Law Firms in the Cloud
by:  INSZoom category:  From Our CEO, Immigration News Read More

Obama’s DREAMers and the Changing Times for Immigrants

posted by: INSZoom date: Nov 18, 2013 From Our CEO, Immigration News, Immigration Stories, News comments: Comments Off on Obama’s DREAMers and the Changing Times for Immigrants
By Umesh Vaidyamath I came to the United States in 1990. I was a dreamer and was lucky to have an H-1B immigration status, unlike Obama’s DREAMers of today. I was sponsored for my H1-B and then my Green Card by the Fortune 100 company I worked for. I still remember how the company’s HR department had no clue about the seriousness or complexity of the immigration process. For them, it was just another set of paperwork. They empowered me to take care of my own immigration needs. They gave me a budget. I chose my own attorney and, with him, managed my own immigration process. It took me 18 months to get my Green Card. But oh the times have changed. Today, many HR departments get it. The U.S. government as well as advocacy groups like the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and the American Council of International Professionals (ACIP) have done a tremendous job of educating the industry of the need and the complexity of immigration. Just as important is the support and advocacy from leaders from companies like Facebook, LinkedIn, Dropbox and Microsoft. If you haven’t yet heard of it, take a few moments to learn more about FWD.us. They are an organization started by key leaders including Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Reid Hoffman and they want to make immigration reform real. FWD.us is conducting a “Hackathon” on November 21 and 22, in which DREAMer engineers and product designers and their mentors will code for 24 hours straight at LinkedIn’s headquarters. I would like to personally congratulate all of the selected DREAMers and wish them the best of luck during the Hackathon and in their future careers and lives. Godspeed to all of you and kudos to Mark Zuckerberg and the entire FWD.us team for this great initiative. DREAMers selected for DREAMers hackathon Luis Aguilar, 25, Falls Church, VA Gerardo Alvarado, 25, Milwaukee, WI Isabel Bahena, 23, San Leandro, CA Sarahi Espinoza, 23, East Palo Alto, CA Roly Fentantes, 25, New York, NY Erick Garcia, 27, Mesa, AZ Jay Hu, 23, New York, NY Rahul Kapadia, 23, Santa Barbara, CA Henry Lopez, 19, Falls Church, VA Rocio Lopez, 24, Mountain View, CA Celso Mireles, 26, Phoenix, AZ Justino Mora, 24, Los Angeles, CA Erick Orellana, 20, Patchogue, NY Edson Sierra, 20, Charlotte, NC Kent Tam, 24, Los Angeles, CA Dayana Torres, 19, Fairfax, VA Edgar Torres, 26, Oceanside, CA Jorge Torres, 27, Oceanside, CA Carlos Vargas, 28, New York, NY
date:  Nov 18, 2013 comments:  Comments Off on Obama’s DREAMers and the Changing Times for Immigrants
by:  INSZoom category:  From Our CEO, Immigration News, Immigration Stories, News Read More

Don’t Just Scan This Article: The Latest News On Barcodes Straight From USCIS and INSZoom, The Immigration Case Management Software Leader

posted by: INSZoom date: Nov 15, 2013 Announcement, Immigration News, Innovation@INSZoom comments: Comments Off on Don’t Just Scan This Article: The Latest News On Barcodes Straight From USCIS and INSZoom, The Immigration Case Management Software Leader
New Barcode Updates INSZoom’s focus on always staying at the leading edge of new technology and engaging with Government agencies as it did with the USCIS on the bar coded forms, recently had a big payoff when the company was invited to participate in a stakeholder conference with USCIS. On November 6, 2013, key INSZoom immigration case management software staff and other stakeholders involved in the immigration process participated in a teleconference with USCIS to discuss issues and concerns about USCIS’ new barcode forms. In this stakeholder conference, USCIS shared its vision and reasons for moving forward with new barcode technology. These reasons included the agency’s motivation to implement more standardized, efficient and error-free methods that use technology efficaciously. Barcodes are much more effective and accurate than the previous technology (manually entering data or using OCR scans to capture data and transfer to a database system). Forms Affected by the New Barcode Updates USCIS also shared future goals. Currently the forms that use the new barcode technology include the following:
  • Form I-90
  • Form I-824
  • Form I-131
  • Form G-28
In the near future, Phase Two will introduce barcode technology for the following additional forms:
  • Form N-400
  • Form I-821
  • Form I-765
  • Form I-130
  • Form I-485
Also in the stakeholder teleconference, USCIS shared key issues they faced when developing the new barcode technology and problems they currently see from applicants:
  • Missing data
  • Data shifted to other fields when the barcode was scanned
  • Damaged barcodes
To address these issues and ensure there is no delay in case processing, USCIS suggested the following:
  1. Don’t reuse forms; always create new forms for each case.
  2. If the data on a form changes, reprint the complete form and not just a single page.
  3. Do not damage the barcode; this may result in inaccurate information being uploaded to USCIS’ systems.
  4. Follow a single protocol for completing the form. Either electronically fill out the form or hand write it. Do not mix the two in a single form.
  5. In many cases forms from a case management provider are not in sync with the USCIS form. This is not the case with INSZoom’s forms, by the way. We pride ourselves on our technology’s ability to sync with the federal government’s systems!
How USCIS Guidance Will Help Immigration Case Management Software Companies USCIS plans to share their barcode specifications shortly that will help immigration case management software providers like INSZoom ensure accurate syncing of data from their forms with the USCIS systems. We at INSZoom applaud USCIS’ efforts to introduce new and robust technology methods such as the new barcode technology. This will result in a significant reduction in erroneous information passing through digital systems. In the long run it will reduce redundancy and increase efficiency, two things that we try to do with all of our technology solutions!
date:  Nov 15, 2013 comments:  Comments Off on Don’t Just Scan This Article: The Latest News On Barcodes Straight From USCIS and INSZoom, The Immigration Case Management Software Leader
by:  INSZoom category:  Announcement, Immigration News, Innovation@INSZoom Read More
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