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This Week's Immigration News 
By Immigration Attorney Caroly Pedersen

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Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter ©  2011  - 2014  
For questions about U.S. Residency, Green Cards and Immigration Visas, Visit our Website at: or  call our office at: (954) 382-5378

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Questions & Answers

Question: I want to know how early can I put in my immigration papers after I get married to my American boyfriend?
Answer: ​That is a great question. There is no waiting time required for filing your Residency case once you marry. Your Adjustment of Status package can be filed the next day, as long as you meet the qualifications. 

Requirements include having a medical examination by a doctor authorized by the USCIS (and include the original exam results in a sealed envelope along with the application package), submission of a qualifying Affidavit of Support with financial and tax documentation, Biographic information and documentation to establish your marriage and eligibility. 
Helpful Immigration Hints You Can Use
Obtaining Residency For Your Parents
Immigration How To:
How Do I Respond To A USCIS Request For Evidence?
During processing of Immigration petitions, the USCIS frequently issues request letters which request additional information or documentation in order for the case to be approved.

Each request gives a deadline, usually 87 days to respond. If the response is not received by the deadline, the case will be denied, no matter how minor the document being requested seems. Therefore, always respond as early as possible, and for best results, no later than 2 weeks before the deadline. Be sure to make copies of everything you submit and send your response by U.S. Express Mail next day service with a tracking number and delivery confirmation. Then be sure to check the USCIS website a week or so after sending to make sure the USCIS online status shows that your response was received. If not, get delivery confirmation from the Postal Service and call the USCIS 800 number with your delivery confirmation information..
Immigration regulations allow U.S. citizens to sponsor their parents for “Green Cards”, while Permanent Residents cannot. For parents of U.S. citizens who are inside the U.S., it does not even matter if the parent is in legal status, as long as the parent entered the U.S. legally (has an expired I-94 card) or is eligible under 245(i). Parents are in the special immigration category called “Immediate Relatives” (which includes Spouses and Minor children of U.S. Citizens as well), which gives them preference over other family immigration relationships. The only drawback of this category is that it is only for the individual parent and does not include any dependants, such as spouses or minor children. Therefore, if the parent has a spouse who is not considered to be your parent (for immigration purposes**see below), he or she would not be able to immigrate along with the parent. The same is true of any minor children of a parent (your brother or sister).
USCIS Makes Improvements In It’s Website E-Request Page
The USCIS recently upgraded its Website including making some important enhancements to its e-Request page to make it more “user-friendly” for customers.

The site’s e-Request page is an important USCIS Website online customer service inquiry tool which allows customers to submit inquiries and requests to the USCIS for problems issues with pending Immigration cases, without the necessity for calling the 800#.

Customers can now submit an e-Request for a variety of problems, including cases that have been pending longer than the posted processing times, to request notices which were never received from the USCIS, such as a biometrics appointment or an interview notice, and to correct typographic errors on USCIS-issued cards, notices or documents. When making an e-Request, be sure to have a copy of your receipt or case number handy. 

You can learn more about Family and Employment Visas by visiting our website or by calling our office at: (954) 382-5378.
Reminder That USCIS Will Require Use of New Naturalization Form Beginning May 1st! 
The USCIS recently revised it’s Naturalization application (Form N-400), doubling the form’s length and including a 2D barcode technology which changes according to the answers provided on the online form to assist USCIS Officers to determine applicant eligibility. The new, updated form with an edition date of 09/13/13 is currently available and is mandatory on or after May 1st. The USCIS reminds applicants that older application versions received after that date will be rejected. 

Click below to watch the USCIS Video reviewing features of the new N-400 Form:
New USCIS Naturalization Form Video
Click the link below to make your USCIS e-Request Inquiry:
If properly filed, it takes about two months to receive your Work Authorization card, then several more weeks to receive your Social Security card and another four to six months for your marriage Residency Interview. If you submit all the required marital and technical documentation at your interview and the officer is satisfied that your marriage is real, you should receive your Green Card with 15 day to 30 days. Let us know if you’d like us to handle your Residency case.
Question: My daughter is a U.S. citizen and lives in New York and I live here in Miami with my son. My I-94 card expired last year since I was here taking care of my son’s child (my granddaughter), while he and his wife work. Can my daughter sponsor me for residency even though I don’t have legal status in the U.S., if so, where would you need to file my papers, Florida or do I need to show I live with my daughter who is sponsoring me in New York?
Answer: ​Good news, parents/spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens are “Immediate Relatives” and as long as they enter the U.S. legally (meaning being inspected by an immigration officer), then even if the I-94 period of stay expires and they become “out of legal status”, they can still obtain U.S. Residency through their U.S. citizen child (age 21 or older). Since you live in Miami, we would be filing your petition using your Miami address. Parents are not required to live at the same address as their sponsoring children. However, if you are scheduled for a residency interview, your daughter will need to travel to Miami to accompany you. The USCIS has begun waiving Interviews for many parents, although not in all cases.
Question: I am Venezuelan visiting here in Miami with my family. With all the problems going on there, I really want to find a solution to be able to stay in the U.S. instead of going back. My family is wealthy and wants me to look for some kind of investment that can get me a Green Card. Can you please tell me what kind of options I have ? 
Answer: ​It’s a very difficult time in Venezuela right now and many Venezuelans are taking steps to leave the country in fear that the security situation will continue to deteriorate further. So its important to understand what options are available to Venezuelans and other nationals to obtain U.S. Residency (a Green Card) or to work here. 
Direct Green Card through investment - called the EB-5 Investor Visa: Provides U.S. Residency to investor’s and their families. The great thing about the investor visa is that once you are approved (it take about 6-12 months), you can immediately adjust status to Residency. After approx 2 yrs you receive Permanent Green Cards and can apply for U.S. Citizenship soon thereafter.
There are two types of EB-5 Investor Visas:

$1 Million dollar investment: This requires you to invest no less than $1 Million dollars in your own business located anywhere in the U.S. and employ no less than 10 employees. 

$500,000 dollar investment: A) Your Own Business: Requires you to invest $500,000 dollars in your own business located in special areas in the U.S. and employ no less than 10 employees. The difference between this and the required $1 Million investment is only in the location of the business. For this reduced investment amount, the business must be located in an economically depressed area of the state you are investing in (called a TEA area). OR  B) Regional Center: $550,000 in an investment center (called “Regional Center”) approved by the USCIS (passive investment-limited partnership interest).

The main issue for Venezuelans in qualifying for the EB-5 Investor Visa is that the USCIS requires proof that the investment funds were acquired legitimately and that they were or are transferred from the Investor to the U.S. through legitimate banking accounts, in accordance with Venezuelan law. This means that money transferred out of Venezuela through third parties in violation of the law does not qualify. Options in such cases include having relatives in the U.S. or other countries which do not have currency restrictions “gift” the funds to the investor, as long as the source of the gift-giver’s funds can be proven. Venezuelans who have real estate or other assets in other countries can also sell those assets in order to obtain the investment funds. 
For a temporary work visa, there are two types:

L-1 Visa: which requires that you have an operational company in Venezuela, and then open a subsidiary in the U.S. and transfer yourself to the U.S. to oversee its operations. After a year or so, when the company has 10+ employees, you and your family can apply for a Green Card using the Multinational Executive Visa (I-140).

H-1B Work Visa: This visa allows you to be sponsored by a U.S. company for a work visa, related to your university degree. After the H-1B work visa is approved, the U.S. company can then sponsor you for your Green Card. The drawback of this visa is that there are only 65,000 per yr and they are all taken during the first week of April of every year. As a result, many applicants do not make it and must look for other solutions.

An additional visa option for Venezuelans who have another Nationality like Colombian, Spanish or Italian, etc (from qualifying E-2 Treaty country), is the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa.

E-2 Investor Visa: Investors from a qualifying E-2 Treaty country who make an investment in a new or existing company ($100K or more is a safe investment amount) and own 50 % or more are eligible for a 5 year renewable E-2 Visa enabling them to live and work in the U.S.. in order to manage the company’s operations. 

The best choice for you depends upon your particular circumstances. We can go over the specifics in more details during our consultation.
This is a harsh rule which often causes difficult choices for parents of U.S. citizens. One option for parents abroad who have minor children (or a spouse) is for them to obtain F-1 student visas for their minor children (or spouse) before immigrating to the U.S. In that way, both the parent and his or her child (and/or spouse) can be in the U.S. together. Once the parent obtains a Green Card, the parent can then sponsor his or her children and if applicable, a spouse. **Step-parents are considered to qualify as “parents” for immigration purposes, as long as the step-parent relationship was established before the child (now U.S. citizen) reached the age of 18.