Immigration Questions: (954) 382-5378

  POSTING DATE: February 4,  2019
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Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter ©  2011  - 2019 
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: I have a question about making payments on my application. I filed for my green card and work card and paid the fees using the immigration form with my credit card information and signed it. Yesterday I got the whole package back from immigration rejecting the credit card payment form saying something like I have to make separate payments! I have no idea what they are talking about, what does that mean, we are so upset and confused about this!
Answer: Yes, I understand your frustration. When immigration applications are filed with the USCIS using the G-1450 credit card authorization form, a separate G-1450 form must be completed and signed for each application which requires a filing fee. For instance, in a regular adjustment of status residency case, filing fees are due for the I-130 and I-485 (which includes the I-765, I-131 and biometrics fees). The total is $1,760 when you are sending a check/cashier’s check or money order. But when you are paying using the credit card form, you have to pay for the I-130 ($535) and I-485 ($1,225) separately. So, make sure and properly complete, sign and date the two separate forms, one for $535 and one for $1,225 and send back to the USCIS at the address on the rejection notice, along with a copy of the rejection notice placed on the top of your immigration package and send using USPS priority mail, Fed-ex, DHS or UPS, do not use CERTIFIED MAIL!. That should take care of the problem. After that, you should receive your receipts in about 10 days. 
Helpful Immigration Tips You Can Use...

  Immigration News & Updates              eNewsletter
Immigration How To:
How Do I Know Where I Can Take Citizenship Preparation Classes?
Another Fake University Set Up By Feds Nabs Foreign Students in F-1 Visa Sting
USCIS Provides Resources For Free U.S. Citizenship 
Preparation Classes Throughout the U.S.

Many immigrants who apply for naturalization don’t feel comfortable taking tests online and instead prefer to get some personal guidance and assistance while studying for the exam. Immigrants who speak English may still desire to study for the test in their own language, even though they will later take the test in English and others simply want to be part of a class to get reassurance that they are correctly studying and progressing towards their test goals. The good news is that there are free Citizenship study classes throughout American and many in each city. You can get information about available classes in your area by visiting the USCIS website and typing in your zip code. Happy studies!

USCIS Class Finder
U.S. Residents Should Sponsor Their Minor Children As Soon As Possible 
After Obtaining A Green Card
In its continuing efforts to crack down on so called “Pay-to-Stay” colleges and universities which allow foreign students to stay in the U.S. on an F-1 Student Visa without actually attending school, Federal agents have once again actually created a fake university in order to lure prospective students into applying for visas to attend the phony school. The most recent fake college is called Farmington Hills University set up by Department of Homeland Security in the state of Michigan. 
Question: My daughter is married to an American and got her US citizenship in 2017 and filed to sponsor me last year in May. I just got married last month and my wife has a 10 year old daughter by her former marriage. My question is whether I can now add my wife and stepdaughter to my immigration case so that we can all immigrate together at the same time, thanks.
Amid continuing reports of immigrant arrests at USCIS appointments nationwide, Newsweek is reporting that the pregnant wife of U.S. citizen was recently arrested at the couple’s marriage residency (Green Card) interview. The Immigrant spouse, Mrs. Carmen Puerto Diaz, nearly six months into a high-risk pregnancy was taken into custody and according to her attorneys, deprived of medical attention and medication during her detention. 

According to the report, she remained in the detention center for some four days, before pressure from a member of Congress and from social media posts forced ICE to relent and release her. The ICE arrest was apparently as a result of an old deportation order Mrs. Carmen Puerto Diaz had been unaware of.
Answer: That’s a very good question and important for you to understand. The Immigration category for Parents of U.S. Citizens, called “Immediate Relatives” does not allow for any dependent (Spouse and children) to immigrate with the Parent to the U.S.. Immediate Relatives can only immigrate as individuals, not as a family. In order for the spouse of a Parent (step-parent to the U.S. Citizen child) to be able to immigrate, the marriage between the U.S. Citizen child’s biological Parent and the step-parent must have taken place before the U.S. Citizen child reached age 18. If so, then the step-parent can immigrate as a separate Immediate Relative, just like a biological parent would. However, children of the Parent do not qualify to accompany the immigrating parent. 

In your case, since you married your wife recently and your U.S. Citizen daughter was over age 18 when you married, your wife does not technically qualify as your daughter’s “step-parent” and therefore your daughter cannot sponsor her. The best strategy is likely for you to immigrate to the U.S. and immediately file to sponsor your new wife and step-daughter. Once you do, the waiting line for a visa in the F2A Immigration category for spouses and minor children of U.S. Residents is about 2 years. 
Question: I came to the us in 2012 to visit and ended up staying. I met my fiancée in 2015 and we are getting ready to get married in april. He is a resident and only has his green card not his citizenship. He can put in his citizenship case in july of this year, so we are wondering if once we get married and he puts in for his citizenship in july, can he apply to get me a work permit and social security number so I can work while we are waiting for his citizenship? How long will it take for me to get that? Thanks
Answer: Unfortunately, generally, immigration rules don’t provide for any benefits to spouses of residents who are in the U.S. without legal immigration status. In these cases, spouses have to wait until the resident becomes a U.S. Citizen, then the residency petition can be filed along with an application for a work and travel permit. As the spouse of a resident, with an expired I-94 card, you are not eligible to adjust your status to residency inside the U.S.. However, once your husband becomes Naturalized and your Residency application along with your request for permission to work is filed, you’ll receive your work permit within about 4-6 months. But unfortunately you won’t be able to get anything until that time.
Immigration laws don’t always seem fair and in some cases, even downright heartless! This can be particularly true when a U.S. Resident parent sponsors his or her minor children under age 21. Resident parents often believe that as long as they file for their children before they reach age 21, the children will remain eligible to immigrate to the U.S. in the minor child immigration category, which has a current waiting time of about 2 years. However, this common misconception often causes families to make sponsorship decisions which can have tragic consequences and lead to many years of family separation. In some cases Resident parents want their children to finish up school in the home country and plan to sponsor them after graduation, in others parents delay sponsorship of minor children due to financial constraints, unaware how risky these choices may be.
The recently filed federal indictment charges defendants with assisting some 600 "foreign citizens to illegally remain, re-enter and work in the United States and actively recruited them to enroll in a fraudulent school as part of a 'pay to stay' scheme." between February 2017 through January 2019. Feds claim the defendants "conspired with each other and others to fraudulently facilitate hundreds of foreign nationals in illegally remaining and working in the United States by actively recruiting them to enroll into a metro Detroit private university that, unbeknownst to the conspirators, was operated by HSI (Homeland Security Investigation) special agents as part of an undercover operation.". 

Essentially, the fake university paid commissions to recruiters who attracted hundreds of students to the school, knowing that the students were simply paying tuition fees to stay in the U.S. without undertaking actual studies or requiring them to attend classes, while providing false information to the USCIS. Recruiters, as well as hundreds of “students” who were in enrolled in the university now face charges and likely deportation for their participation in the scheme.

Read more about the fake university:
NBC News
 As is often the case, immigration courts issue deportation order in absentia when immigrants do not appear for hearings, largely due to lack of notice after an immigrant has moved. 

Mrs. Carmen Puerto Diaz’s arrest is not an isolated incident and part of a large-scale ICE/USCIS scheme aimed at targeting immigrants so that arrests can be made during the interview. As has been reported, immigrants in marriage and family sponsored cases appearing for what they think is a routine residency interview, are interviewed by the USCIS officer, then ICE agents take the immigrant into custody. The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the USCIS and ICE for conspiring to “trap” unsuspecting immigrants by inviting them to these interviews only for the purpose of having ICE to arrest them there. 

As a result, immigrants with any prior immigration court related cases or deportation order of any kind and those with pending criminal actions or convictions should seek legal assistance from an immigration attorney before filing any residency and especially before appearing at a scheduled residency interview, since even those with waivers filed are not immune from arrest.

Pregnant Wife Of U.S. Citizen Arrested At Residency Interview
2019 H-1B Work Visa Application Season Starts On April 1st
The USCIS will once again begin accepting new H-1B work visa applications on April 1st to allow foreign nationals to work legally in U.S. for an American company. 

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced that it will be implementing a new rule which modifies the method the USCIS uses to accept H-1B applications, giving preference to applications filed by U.S. employers to employ foreign workers with a U.S. master’s or higher degree, then randomly selecting applications from the remaining pool of applicants, which is expected to increase the overall number of H-1B visa’s issued to foreign workers with advanced degrees. 
The rule also established a new electronic registration system for U.S. employers to pre-register prior to H-1B application submission; however that will not be instituted until 2020. 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 file the H-1B Visa request quickly, in order to begin processing the case for filing by April 1st. 

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 continues to target the H-1B work visa program, but since it cannot unilaterally change the law, it has instead made it much more difficult for foreign workers to obtain H-1B work visas, by refusing to recognize many occupations as requiring the minimum of a Bachelor’s degree. The good news is that last week the USCIS has reinstituted Premium Processing (expedite fee) for last year’s H-1B visa program (called FY 2019), which will now allow employers to pay an additional $1,410 fee in order to receive a decision on those cases (which have been pending for nearly 10 months now!). However, the expedite fee does not apply to H-1B visa applications filed this year, which is called FY 2020. 

 USCIS announcement resuming premium processing 

What kind of Immigration cases are eligible for Premium Processing?

Immigration regulations pertaining to the minor children of U.S. Citizens and U.S. Residents are quite different. When a U.S. Citizen parent sponsors a minor child, that child’s age becomes “fixed” on the date the USCIS receives the family petition. This means that even if the petition is received by the USCIS a day before the child turns age 21, the child will retain “minor” status no matter how old they are when they actually immigrate to the U.S.. However, the opposite is true for minor children of U.S. Residents. When a U.S. Resident parent files a family petition for his or her minor child, that child continues to age and if the child reaches age 21 before eligibility to immigrate, he or she automatically moves from the F2A immigration category for minor children of U.S. Residents (approx 2 year wait time) to F2B category with an approx wait time of 7 years. The Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) does allow the time the I-130 petition was pending with the USCIS before approval to be subtracted from the age of the child at the time a visa becomes available, but in many cases, that is still not enough to bring the child’s age back down below 21. 

It’s important to know that when a Resident parent naturalizes, the age of any child sponsored by a pending or approved I-130 becomes fixed on that date. This can be a blessing in some cases when the child is under age 21, but a nightmare in others when a child has already reached age 21 and the CSPA would have allowed the subtraction of time from the child’s age, if the parent had remained a Resident. Resident parents are often unaware of the ramifications of waiting to sponsor their minor children until they are informed by the National Visa Center or consular official that their child is no longer eligible to immigrate as a minor. At that point, the damage is done and there is no choice but to accept the reality that their child will not be able to join them in the U.S. for many years to come. Parents would do anything to rectify the situation at that point, but unfortunately, it s too late. The solution to avoiding such consequences is to carefully preplan the entire family immigration process, beforehand, taking into account excessive backlogs, processing and waiting times. Never rely on sketchy advice from well meaning friends or family about what the law is. Instead, schedule a consultation with a qualified Immigration Attorney to find out what the best approach is for your particular family circumstances.