In a previous article, I discussed common immigration misconceptions.  Here are more common misconceptions:

5. It is legal to work in the U.S. on a visitor's visa. —  False!

Visitor’s visas are issued to allow people to visit the U.S. for a limited time, for brief business purposes or vacation. Visitor’s visas do not authorize employment in the U.S. In order to work, a person needs a working visa, called an H-1B visa or some other type of work authorization. H-1B working visas are for college graduates who will work in a job related to their college degree. This visa takes approximately 3 to 4 months to process, and is valid for 3 years, with a 3-year extension, for a total of 6 years. The employee’s spouse and minor children can also get visas to accompany the worker to the U.S., called H-4 visas.


6. Secret marriages will never be discovered by the U.S. Embassy or USCIS. — False!
There is no such thing as a “secret marriage.” If you were married by a priest, local official, etc., and it was filed with the government, it is a public document, and is not, by definition, “secret.” If you went through a ceremony, you are probably legally married, even if you think it was “secret.” Many people, who were single when their parents petitioned them, got married while waiting for their visas, and tried to hide the marriage, because the marriage may either disqualify them for a visa (if their parent is an immigrant), or make them wait much longer (if their parent is a citizen). The Embassy is now very wise to people hiding their marital status, and routinely checks official government records, to see if there really is a marriage contract on file. In addition, paying someone to have the marriage contract “pulled” won’t help, because there are several places and ways marriages are recorded.
7. If a person knows someone in the USCIS or the U.S. Embassy, that insider can pull his petition and put it ahead of other applications. — False!
The USCIS and the U.S. Embassy are highly efficient and professional agencies. Visa applications are processed in the order the petitions were originally filed with USCIS. (The date a person’s petition was filed with USCIS, or a Labor Certification was filed with the State employment agency, is a person’s “priority date,” or place in line for a visa.) Priority dates are released every month by the State Department, showing the filing dates that petitions or Labor Certifications would currently be processed. So, you cannot “go out of turn,” but must wait for your priority date to be “current.”



Michael J. Gurfinkel is licensed, and an active member of the State Bar of California and New York. All immigration services are provided by, or under the supervision of, an active member of the State Bar of California. Each case is different. The information contained herein (including testimonials, “Success Stories,” endorsements and re-enactments) is of a general nature, and is not intended to apply to any particular case, and does not constitute a prediction, warranty, guarantee or legal advice regarding the outcome of your legal matter. No attorney-client relationship is, or shall be, established with any reader.

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