Immigration Questions: (954) 382-5378

  POSTING DATE: February 19,  2018
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Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter ©  2011  - 2018 
For questions about U.S. Residency, Green Cards and Immigration Visas, Visit our Website at: or  call our office at: (954) 382-5378
Questions & Answers
This Week's Immigration News 
By Immigration Attorney Caroly Pedersen

Question: My friend gave me your information. You did her work visa last year. I posted my resume on a few job websites and I was telling my friend about a job offer that I got in an email last week saying an American company wants to hire me for $100,000 US dollars per year. It says all I have to do is fill out a questionnaire and send in $2,000 US dollars, then they will get me a visa and I can come to the US. She said that is not how it works and I should contact you to see if it is a normal job. I have pasted the message in my email to you. Thanks for your advice.
Answer: Yes, your friend is right, unfortunately, it is a scam, do not pay the money. This is a very common scam used to lure foreign nationals into sending money with hopes of a job and visa in the U.S.. No real company in the U.S. requests payment for a job or U.S. Visa, in fact, it’s illegal because the employer must pay all the fees and costs. If you have paid any money, there is likely no way to recover it from the company once the fees are paid. It’s always good to remember that if something sounds too good to be true, it is…. 
Under a new directive issued by the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency, border agents are given specific authority and instructions on searching electronic devices carried by travelers entering the U.S.. Rather than limiting such searches to protect national security, authorization has now been expanded to include the examination of devices carried by travelers to determine a foreign national’s “intentions” upon entry to the U.S.. 

This allows searches of cell phones, computers and other electronics and social media to find messages or posts relating to planned activities in the U.S. which might violate Immigration regulations, such as plans to work, live or immigrate. 
 Department of Homeland Security Authorizes Search of 
Electronic Devices At Border
Immigration Reform Fight Set To Begin In Congress This Week!
Now that a temporary budget deal has been passed through February, a fight is brewing in Congress over the next big issue – Immigration. Protecting Dreamers with a permanent DACA law remains the highest priority for Democrats, however Republicans want to use it as a bargaining tool in exchange for massive cuts in legal Immigration. The conservative Republican agenda includes allowing for some DACA protections without a path to Citizenship, as long as Democrats agree to the elimination of most family based Immigration.

This is an almost impossible situation, because the Republicans control Congress. In an effort to get a deal last month, Democrats already caved in on Trumps multi-billion border wall funding, cuts to legal Immigration like the Green Card lottery (Diversity Visa) and even some to family based categories as well.
The USCIS will begin accepting new H-1B work visa applications on April 1st this year to allow foreign nationals to begin working for a U.S. employer in 2018. The demand for H-1B Visas is expected to rise again this year, with an anticipated 300,000 applications for only 65,000 available visas. 

Because of the anticipated shortage of visas, those hoping to obtain an H-1B Visa this year, particularly students on OPT, should line up a U.S. Employer willing to support the H-1B Visa request quickly, in order to begin processing the case for filing by April 1st. 
 H-1B Work Visa Application Season Starts On April 1st
Immigration How To:
How Do I Get A Copy Of My Immigration Approval Notice?
Difficulties In Obtaining Documents From the USCIS: Immigrants often do not recognize how important it is to maintain immigration documentation until there is a desperate need for critical documents which have been lost, stolen or destroyed. 

Many Immigrants believe that the USCIS maintains complete files with visa, residency and citizenship information and approvals, which can be easily accessed once the need arises - and as logical as that is, it is incorrect. 
Helpful Immigration Tips You Can Use...
Never Send An Immigration Application 
Without Making Copies Of Every Document
One of the most common problems immigrants have in determining their immigration status is that they don’t keep copies of the petitions filed with Immigration (USCIS). The best advice to avoid this is:

1) Make a copy of EVERYTHING, including all documents you file with your petition

  Immigration News & Updates              eNewsletter
If the fight gets really ugly and Republicans draw a hard line, it’s not likely that Democrats would put up a big fight on keeping the Sibling family Immigration category for brothers and sisters of U.S. Citizens (called F4). Even married children of U.S. Citizens and their families (called F3) may be up for negotiation as well. 

It’s a sad time for our nation, with the cherished ideal of the American Dream at stake! Immigrants are the best asset our country has to keep us at the forefront on the global stage as the leader of the world’s best technology, innovations and democracy. That all seems at risk now. With the backdrop of Trump’s “Sh..t hole” comments and Whitehouse Chief of Staff Kelly’s criticism of Dreamers last week saying some were "too lazy to get off their asses" and apply for legal protection, there does not seem to be much hope for a positive outcome in the current political climate for Dreamers or even Immigrants as a whole. Stay tuned…
This directive gives free reign to CBP officers to conduct searches of the belonging of U.S. citizens, Residents and foreign travelers, even without reasonable suspicion. Under the new authority, officers cannot only search devices upon entry, but can further even seize devices for more advanced searches and analysis. The message is very clear, enter the U.S. with devices which contain personal information including texts, messages and other data at your own risk. Be aware that your social media posts on facebook and other media sites are subject to scrutiny. Posts which contain information which might be construed as intent to do more than just visit the U.S. can lead to denial of entry into the U.S.. 

Read the new directive:
CBP Releases Guidance on Search of Electronic Devices

As background, the H-1B work visa allows qualifying foreign nationals to work for a U.S. employer for up to six years and even longer when an employer sponsors the H-1B worker for a Green Card. To qualify, the H-1B visa requires the foreign national to possess a Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent and be offered a professional position in a U.S. company. After obtaining an H-1B visa, Immigrants (and their families) often obtain a Green Card through their H-1B employer in a process called Labor Certification. The Trump Administration has plans to reform the program and make it more difficult to qualify, instead, it seems to be endlessly preoccupied with its ongoing Whitehouse scandals, so for now, eligibility remains the same. You can find out more about H-1B and other Work Visas by visiting our website or call our office at: 954-382-5378.

Question: I have a question about expediting my immigration case. My dad became a citizen in 2015 and filed for me. We recently found out that it takes a long time for me to immigrate because I am age 28. I am single, so I am wondering if I can do anything to make the time shorter? 
Answer: The current waiting time for adult single sons and daughters of U.S. Citizens and Residents is about 7 years or so. Since your case was filed in 2015, you likely would not be eligible to immigrate to the U.S. until about 2021 or later. There is nothing that can be done to move your case faster. You are simply in a line, waiting for a visa because there are 7+ years worth of other adult single children of U.S. Citizens waiting in the line ahead of you. You can call my office every now and then and I will let you know what the Visa Bulletin says and how much longer you will likely need to wait. I hope this was helpful to you.
2) Send your immigration petition package and all follow up documents to the USCIS using Priority Mail from the U.S. postal service or Fed-ex/UPS, NEVER use Certified Mail! Make sure you track the package to see the date of delivery and print out the confirmation for your records in case you need to prove it later.

3) Keep the USCIS receipt (I-797 Notice of Action Receipt) as soon as you receive it-it is like GOLD! In many cases, when your petition could be processing for several years, you need to have proof of filing, as well as your A# (Alien Registration Number) and the SRC (Service Center Number) so you can periodically check the status of your case on the internet. 
In fact, obtaining copies of immigration documentation can take up to six months or more through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and there is no guarantee that copies of all documents filed with the USCIS will be received. For instance, a FOIA request will not allow you to obtain copies of Receipts and Approval Notices, generally only copies of an immigration applications and supporting documentation. In order to obtain a duplicate copy of an Approval Notice, Form I-824 must be filed for each Approval Notice requested with a $465 filing fee for each one! Further, it can also take up to six months to receive the requested duplicate.

Copies of immigration receipts, notices and I-94 cards are important because in most immigration cases filed for U.S. Residency, Citizenship and family petitions for relatives, the USCIS requires that documentation to establish qualification is submitted along with the application.

For instance, when a U.S. Citizen has filed a family petition for a relative and the relative is now filing for a Green Card (adjustment of status), he or she is required to provide the USCIS with a copy of the I-130 Receipt/Approval Notice along with the Green Card application, showing that the relative petition was approved. However, if the Receipt/Approval Notice has been lost, the USCIS does not automatically obtain the relevant information from its files. Instead, it issues a “Request For Evidence” directing the applicant to provide that documentation with a deadline of 87 days to do so. In such cases, the immigrant must file Form I-824 to obtain a duplicate of the required notice and wait until it has been received. In cases where the I-824 processing exceeds the 87 day deadline, the USCIS can deny the entire case for failure to respond to the request. The immigrant can send a copy of the I-824 Notice of Action receipt in response to the request, asking for additional time to respond, however, there is no guarantee that the extension of time will actually be granted.

Another example is that of the all important I-94 (Arrival/Departure) card, which establishes that an immigrant entered the U.S. legally. In most cases, many immigration benefits are unavailable to individuals who are not able to provide a copy of their I-94 card to the USCIS at the time of application.  

In such cases, Form I-102 to obtain a duplicate I-94 must be filed with a $445 filing fee!  Similar situations occur when naturalization certificates are lost or destroyed, however processing times for duplicates can take up to one year or more.

Final note, the sooner lost documents are replaced, the better. At this time in history, lack of documentation may affect one's ability to drive, to travel, or to demonstrate the ability to work legally in the U.S., so protect your status, by keeping your immigration documents safe!