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Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter
POSTING DATE: DECEMBER 14, 2015
Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter © 2011 - 2015
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Questions & Answers
Question: I became a U.S. Citizen this year, and I filed to sponsor my brother and his family in Canada for a Green Card. Next month in January, my mom will be sworn in as a Naturalized US citizen. My question is whether it’s possible to change the sponsor on the immigration application I filed, from me to my mom to reduce the immigration waiting time for my brother. Is it possible to change it? Thanks so much for your help.
Answer: Unfortunately, an I-130 Family petition filed by one family member cannot be transferred to another. Similarly, the date of filing the original I-130, called the “Priority Date” cannot be used for the second I-130 filing by another family member. Your mother can file the I-130 for your brother (her son and his family) once she naturalizes. The Immigration category for adult married children of U.S. Citizens, is called F3 and the visa waiting line is about 10-12 years. However, the petition you filed for your brother (in the F4 category for siblings) has a waiting time of about 12-14 years. Since you filed the petition this year, it will likely save some waiting time for your brother to be sponsored by your mother as well.
This Week's Immigration News
Congress Proposes Changes To the Visa Waiver Program For Visitors Who Have Travelled To Certain Middle Eastern Countries In Past Five Years
Following the terror attacks in San Bernardino, California and Paris, the House of Representatives recently voted overwhelmingly to tighten restrictions on travel to the U.S. by citizens of 38 nations who currently enjoy special privileges under the “Visa Waiver” program (VWP).
The VWP allows citizens of certain nations to visit the U.S. for up to 90 days without the need for obtaining a U.S. visa, after completing a simple application under the ESTA system.
Question: I am an American Citizen living in Miami. My parents are here from Venezuela visiting me for the holidays and because of the deteriorating political conditions there, we are discussing having them stay with me in Miami and immigrate, rather than having to return to Caracas in several months. We’d like to know if you can get my parents their Green Card here in Miami, or do they have to go back home and immigrate through the Embassy. If you can file for their Green Cards here, what happens if their I-94 status expires while they are waiting for the Green Card? How long will it take for them to get a work permit and social security number?
Answer: U.S. Citizens can sponsor their Parents to immigrate to the U.S., either through the U.S. Consulate if they are abroad, or by adjustment of status to U.S. Residency if they are in the U.S. and entered legally. Parents in the U.S. who entered legally can file for Residency and wait to receive their Green Card here - since there is no need to travel back to the home country. Parents of U.S. Citizens are in a special immigration category called “Immediate Relatives” which allows them to obtain a Green Card in the U.S. - even if their I-94 cards are expired.
Therefore, if your parents decide to stay and adjust status to U.S. Permanent Residency (a Green Card) here, it will not be a problem if their I-94 period of stay expires, even before applying. Currently, after applying for Residency, it takes about 3 months to receive a work permit and several more weeks to be issued a Social Security card. If filed properly, the entire Residency process for Parents of U.S. Citizens is about 6+ months from start to finish to receive a Green Card.
Under the program, more than 20 million visitors enter the U. S. each year without visas, which is a boost to our economy and tourism industry. These VWP countries also extend the same privileges to U.S. Citizens as well.
Under the proposal, foreign visitors from the visa waiver countries, which include much of Europe, would soon be required to obtain a visa to travel to the U.S. if they had been to Syria, Iraq, Iran or Sudan during the past five years. The measure would also require VWP countries to share information with U.S. intelligence authorities about suspected terrorists.
The Obama Administration supports the measure, which may be included in the year end spending bill. Lawmakers are also considering requiring new preclearance inspections of Visa Waiver travelers in their country of origin, to screen passengers prior to boarding U.S. bound flights.
Question:I filed to sponsor my husband for his Green Card last year and I sent in my original citizenship certificate by accident. When we got his residency interview, I did not realize I had given my original, so I did not ask the officer to give back to me. When I realized it, I went back to the local immigration office several times, but the information officer said I had to file a special request to get it back. I called the immigration 800 number they said I should apply for a duplicate citizenship certificate, but the fees are $345. Is there anything else I can do?
Answer: Sending original documents to the USCIS can be a real inconvenience, since they will not automatically send them back to you. Also, it can be very expensive and time consuming when you need to re-order new original documents. The first advice to readers is never to send any original documents to the USCIS unless specifically requested to do so. The second is that if you do find yourself in that position, you can file form G-884, Return of Original Documents. There is no filing fee. Read the instructions carefully and be sure to specifically request your Naturalization Certificate and any other originals that you filed and need back like your Birth Certificate. You should probably file two forms, one with the local USCIS office where you attended your husband’s Residency interview and one with the USCIS Center which issued your husband’s Welcome notice indicating his Green Card approval. Good luck
Helpful Immigration Tips You Can Use...
Understanding What Happens At Your Naturalization Ceremony And Once You Become a U.S. Citizen
Once your Application for Naturalization is approved, the USCIS puts your case in the queue to be scheduled for your Oath of Allegiance which takes place at your naturalization ceremony. This taking of your Oath of Allegiance complete the process of becoming a U.S. citizen.
Understanding the types of Oath Ceremonies:
There are two kinds of Oath of Allegiance ceremonies, one, is a judicial ceremony, where the court administers the Oath of Allegiance for Residents who have requested a name change and the regular administrative ceremony, during which the USCIS administers the Oath of Allegiance.
So what’s going to happen at your naturalization ceremony?
1. Receive Your Naturalization Ceremony Notice to Take the Oath of Allegiance
While some Immigrants who request it may be able to participate in a naturalization ceremony on the same day as their naturalization interview, many Residents must wait for the USCIS mail them a notice with the date, time, and location of their scheduled naturalization ceremony, called a Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony (Form – N-445). Those who cannot attend the scheduled naturalization ceremony must return the notice to their local USCIS office, along with a letter requesting a new date and explaining why they are not able to attend the scheduled naturalization ceremony. Residents who fail to show up for their naturalization ceremony without having requested a rescheduling may receive a denial of their naturalization case.
2. Complete Form N-445, Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony before checking in at the Ceremony
Residents should complete Form N-445, Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony before arriving at the ceremony, prior to check in with USCIS. During check-in, a USCIS officer will review your responses to the questionnaire.
3. Surrender of your Permanent Resident Card (Green Card)
Residents who are becoming U.S. Citizens must surrender their Permanent Resident Cards to the USCIS at the time they check- in for the naturalization ceremony. Those who have lost their cards can receive a waiver.
4. Taking the Oath of Allegiance to the United States
A Resident is not a U.S. citizen until he/she takes the Oath of Allegiance to the United States during the naturalization ceremony. After the Oath, new U.S Citizens receive their Certificate of Naturalization.
5. Notes about the Certificate of Naturalization
New U.S Citizens should carefully review the Certificate of Naturalization for accuracy while still at the ceremony. Any inaccuracies must be brought to the attention of the USCIS before leaving the ceremony. Unless or until you apply for your U.S. Passport, your Certificate of Naturalization is your official proof of your U.S. Citizenship. Those who lose their Certificate of Naturalization must request a replacement by filing Form N-565, Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document and paying the $345 USCIS filing fee. The waiting time for a replacement can be lengthy.
downloading the form.
6. Time to apply for Your U.S. Passport
Once you receive your Certificate of Naturalization, you can immediately apply for a U.S. passport. You will receive an application for a U.S. passport at your naturalization ceremony, called the “U.S. Citizenship Welcome Packet” or you can go online to the U.S. Passport office
7. Time to Register to Vote!
Now that you are a U.S. Citizen, it is your right and privilege to vote. You can register to vote at certain locations in your community, which may include post offices, motor vehicle offices, county boards of election, and offices of your state Secretary of State. You can read more about registering to vote by reading the government publication: “A Voter’s Guide to Federal Elections."
8. Final Step: Update your Social Security Record
After you become a U.S. Citizen, you will need to notify the Social Security Administration (SSA) to update your Social Security record. You can find your local Social Security office by calling 1-800-772-1213 or by visiting: www.socialsecurity.gov. You can go to your local SSA office about ten days after your ceremony to give time for the SSA to be able to access your new status in the USCIS records. Be sure to take your Certificate of Naturalization or U.S. passport with you. Good luck!
Immigration How To:
How Do I Know If I Qualify To Apply For Early Naturalization?
Eligible U.S. Residents who are spouses of U.S. Citizens can apply for Naturalization early and obtain their U.S. Citizenship in only 2 years and 9 months.
Most U.S. Residents (Green Card holders) must wait for 4 years and 9 months before being eligible to apply for Naturalization. However, qualifying U.S. Residents who are married to U.S. Citizens are eligible to apply 2 years earlier, called “Early Naturalization”. To qualify under this expedited U.S. Citizenship process, a U.S. Resident must fall under what is commonly called the “3/3/3” rule. 1) The U.S. Resident must be married to their U.S. Citizen spouse for at least 3 years and 2) their U.S. Citizen spouse must have been a U.S. Citizen for at least 3 years and finally, the U.S. Resident must have held that status for at least 3 years (really 2 years and 9 months).
So, as long as the U.S. Resident meets these requirements and is not only currently married to, but continues to reside in a real marriage with their U.S. Citizen spouse – they can apply for early naturalization… now you know ...