Immigration Questions: (954) 382-5378

  POSTING DATE: April  29,  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 sponsoring my mom and dad. I got my green card last December though my U.S. wife and now I want to sponsor my parents. They have been here since 2007 when they came as tourists and never left. They live with my brother in Georgia, but he doesn’t have any status. Can I file for them now and how long will it take them to get legal? How long for them to get their work permit and social?
Answer: Unfortunately, only U.S. Citizens can sponsor their parents. Since you got your U.S. Residency (Green Card) through marriage to a U.S. Citizen, as long as you remain in a bona fide marriage (meaning real), living together as husband and wife and have common marital property and bills together, you will be able to apply for your early Naturalization in 2 years and 9 months. Under current processing times, it can take another year to actually obtain your U.S. Citizenship. At that time, you can sponsor your parents.
Helpful Immigration Tips You Can Use...

  Immigration News & Updates              eNewsletter
Filing an Affidavit of Support (form I-864) is required in nearly all family sponsored immigration cases. The law specifies that all sponsors complete form I-864 and provide financial documentation to prove that they meet the minimum requirements to sponsor their loved ones. A sponsor is the U.S. Citizen or Resident family member who has filed for his or her relative to immigrate to the U.S.. In cases where a sponsor does not work or have enough income to meet the requirements and has a Joint Sponsor who does qualify, it’s important to understand that the sponsor is still required to file an Affidavit of Support and provide financial documentation in addition to that of the Joint Sponsor. 

The only exception to the Affidavit of Support requirement is when a U.S. Citizen is sponsoring a minor child under age 18, since the child will automatically become a U.S. Citizen upon immigrating to the U.S.. In such cases, the child must file form I-864W requesting the exemption.
Common Mistakes Sponsor’s Make 
When Submitting Affidavits Of Support
Print Out Your I-94 Online and Get Your Five Year U.S. Travel History

Since 2013, visitors to the U.S. have no longer had to receive an I-94 card upon entry, which is necessary to change or extend status in the U.S. when making an application with the USCIS. Instead, they get a stamp in their passport and information about printing the I-94 out online.

To access and download an I-94 card and view past travel history, visitors can access the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Website which gives Non-immigrant foreign nationals travelers access to printout their I-94 record, as well as a U.S. travel history going back five years from the request date.
Feds Charge Fake Florida Attorney Who Cheated Immigrants - With Fraud
Tips For Green Card Holders With Criminal Records: Think Twice 
Before Travelling Outside U.S.!

Under Trump Administration policies U.S. Residents (Green Cards holders) with criminal records should now take great care before travelling abroad, since even old criminal convictions can cause difficulties in re-entering the U.S., result in a bar to readmission and in some cases, even removal from the U.S..
Federal investigators recently charged a woman in Tampa, Florida who had been pretending to be an immigration attorney targeting immigrants in the Florida and Chicago areas. Erika Paola Intriago of Tampa reportedly posing as an attorney, cheated unsuspecting victims out of thousands of dollars by pretending to file immigration applications and represent them in immigration-related matters. 

Authorities say that instead of providing legitimate legal services, she instead created and gave victims fake letters, emails, receipts, documents, and communications using official looking government seals and that when immigrants became suspicious, she threatened to report them to the USCIS and have them deported. 
Immigration How To:
How Do I Know If It’s Safe For Me To Travel Outside The U.S. With My Criminal Background?
So what exact information is required for affidavits and how do you prove income? If you have a Joint Sponsor why do you still need to file form I-864 yourself? Issues such as these involving Affidavits of Support are often a main reason for the USCIS or National Visa Center issuance of a request for more information, which can significantly delay an immigration case. Here is a quick overview to help simplify the issue.

Basic Requirements

Sponsors are required to properly complete form I-864 and provide the following:
1) Most recent tax return and W-2. At this time, it’s for the year 2018; 
2) Paystubs for the past three months (last 90 days) to prove current income;
3) Employer letter with current date, stating date hired, position, fulltime employment or hours worked and salary or hourly wages. 

If a Joint Sponsor income is used, this is required in addition to (not substitute for) that from the sponsor detailed above. Properly complete form I-864 and provide the following:
1) Most recent tax return and W-2. At this time, it’s for the year 2018; 
2) Paystubs for the past three months (last 90 days) to prove current income;
3) Employer letter with current date, stating date hired, position, fulltime employment or hours worked and salary or hourly wages;
4) Proof of U.S. Citizenship or Residency (copy of U.S. Birth Certificate, Naturalization Certificate or U.S. Passport or Green Card) 

Note that sponsors and joint sponsors are required to provide their current tax return, and the fact that an extension was filed with the IRS does not qualify to overcome this requirement. The only time a sponsor is relieved of that requirement is if his or her income was too low to require the filing of taxes, for instance when income is received from social security retirement etc. In such cases, a social security benefits letter showing the past and current year’s monthly benefits amount should be included. The sponsor should include a letter explaining income amounts, particularly when he or she does not provide an employer letter.

Most Common Mistakes

Calculating household size: Form I-864 Part 5 requires the calculation of household size. Note that in addition to the immigrating relative and sponsor/joint sponsor, the form requires the listing of anyone who was listed on the individual’s most recent tax return as well, or an explanation as to why those listed as a dependent on the tax return provided for the previous year are no longer dependents. For instance, if you list the immigrant (even if they are not in the U.S.), yourself and spouse, that is a household of 3. But if your tax return for the most recent year has not only you and your spouse but 3 other dependents listed as well, for instance your grandchildren or parents, etc., and you do not provide an explanation to the USCIS as to the change in dependent status, you will receive an RFE from the officer requesting an explanation. Another tip is that if you are sponsoring other relatives separately who have not yet immigrated, you do not need to list them on household size. For instance, you are currently sponsoring your mother and father which are two separate unrelated cases. If your parents are not currently residing with you in the U.S., you do not need to list both parents in your household size, just the current parent in the instant case you are filing.

Current Income: Form I-864 page 4 #7 requests that the sponsor/joint sponsor enter the figure for “current individual annual income.” This means what the “current” income is reflected by the individual’s salary or wages on an annual basis NOT the figure on the current year’s tax return. The figure on #7 must match the current paystubs provided along with the application. If the figures do not match, the officer will send a Request For Evidence (RFE) requesting documents which demonstrate the income on line #7. Note that income from immigrant cannot be used if he or she is not authorized to work in the U.S.. An easy way to calculate your yearly income is to do the following:
Get your past 3 months paystubs and add them all up, then divide them by 3 to get an average monthly income, then multiply times 12 (for 12 months). That is your estimated annual income based upon your current average monthly income. Sponsors/joint sponsors who do not receive regular paystubs may have a very difficult time proving income and may not be able to prove eligibility. For instance, those who are self employed and deposit cash into their back accounts but have no regular pay checks to show income received. In such cases, sponsors need to find a qualifying joint sponsor who is paid by regular paystub wages by an employer.

Assets: Form I-864 page 5 part 7. If you are relying on income which is sufficient, you DO NOT complete the assets section, otherwise, you could receive an RFE requiring you to provide extensive documentation of your qualifying assets. Using assets can be very complicated and its important to know that the value of the assets must be 5 times the shortfall in income (3 times when U.S. Citizen is sponsoring his/her spouse or minor child). For example, let’s say the Resident sponsor’s paystub income calculates as $15,000 per year and the sponsor needs to prove at least $21,137 (the minimum required for a household of 2). The shortfall is $6,137 time 5 = $30,685, meaning that the Resident would need to show qualifying assets of at least $30,685 for make up for the difference. Easier to get a joint sponsor!

Failing To Provide Copies of Required documents: Sponsors are required to provide the documents detailed above and any missing documentation will cause delay in the case, since the officer will issue an RFE requesting it. Complete copies of tax returns are required and one of the most common mistakes made by sponsors is in just providing the first few pages of the return. You are required to submit the entire return with all schedules and the W-2 or an IRS transcript and wage report, which you can order online for free.  Another common mistake is either failing to submit an employer letter, or submitting one which is deficient in that it is not currently dated, or does not state the sponsor’s fulltime status, hours, salary or wages. For instance some sponsor’s submit a letter they received the previous year when they were hired stating their job position and wages, which of course does not qualify since it is not currently dated. Remember, the letter is not a job recommendation, it’s meant to verify “current” employment and salary.

Our office can help you navigate the often confusing process of initial Affidavit of Support submission or by preparing a proper response to a USCIS Request For Evidence you received for a previously submitted Affidavit of Support. 
Call for a free consultation 954-382-5378.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides some 25,000 low income citizens and legal immigrants with public and subsidized housing yearly. Many immigrant families living in such housing have one or more family members who are not in legal immigration status. Under a new Trump Administration policy, (HUD) proposes to evicted families who have undocumented family members living with them. 

To enforce the policy under the new system, every family member’s immigration status would be screened through the Department of Homeland Security’s Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements ( SAVE ) system. HUD’s proposed regulation has been sent to Congress for a 15 day review period before it is published for a 60 day public comment period.
If convicted, Intriago could serve a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison for each count charged. The Feds are asking that any victims of Intriago contact the DHS Security Investigations, at 1-866-DHS-2ICE.

Government Plans to Evict Citizens and Immigrants from Public Housing Who Have Undocumented Family Members
Question: I have been here in Florida after I came in 2002 as a student and then just stayed here. Since then I don’t have any work card or social security number so I cant drive legally and it just keeps getting harder and harder to get jobs and live my life peacefully. I had my daughter in 2003 who is an American and she is now 17 yrs old. I am so tired of waiting for something to happen and now with trump it seems like nothing good will come up for immigration so I am thinking of leaving and returning home to Jamaica after my daughter graduates from high school in june to be with my family and live normally. My mom is elderly and not in good health and I want to spend some time with her. I am constantly afraid of getting deported for driving without a license or working illegally . My question is if I do that, once my daughter is 21 years old can she come back to the states and sponsor me for my green card? 
Answer: I understand your frustration and disappointment with the current Trump political climate, especially in terms of immigrants. But before you do something as harsh as leaving the U.S., it’s very important to understand the legal consequences of leaving the U.S. at this point in time. When an immigrant who has remained in the U.S. for 180 days up to 364 days past their authorized stay leaves the U.S., he or she is “barred” from re-entering the U.S. again for 3 years, those overstaying for 365 days or more, then leaving the U.S., are “barred” from re-entering the U.S. again for 10 years. Once your daughter reaches age 21 in four years she can sponsor you, but you will not be able to immigrate to the U.S. until at least 10 years have elapsed since the date you leave the U.S.. For instance, if you decide to leave the U.S. in June 2019, you would not be eligible to immigrate to the U.S. until June 2029! So, just be sure to think very carefully and clearly about your plans and the ramifications before you make a final decision about leaving the U.S..
Question: I am getting married to my US citizen boyfriend later this year and want to find out about my daughter. She is 22 and just finishing up college in Colombia. My boyfriend wants to sponsor her once we get married so I want to know how long it will take for her to be able to live with us here in America?
Answer: Once you get married, your Husband can sponsor you, but unfortunately not your daughter. Immigration regulations require that the marriage between the foreign national spouse and U.S. Citizen or Resident spouse takes place before the stepchild reaches age 18, in order for the child to be sponsored. However, once you obtain your residency, you can sponsor your daughter, but the waiting line is about 7 years. You might consider having your daughter get an F-1 student visa and study in the U.S. so she can be with you. 
Visitors to the Website must enter their name, date of birth, and passport information. To access the current I-94 record, click on “Get Most Recent I-94”. The record can then be printed out and used for all required immigration-related purposes. To access U.S. travel history for the past five years, click on “Get Travel History” and print out the report. 

Visit the new CBP Website
Under the Department of Homeland Security’s enforcement priorities the government’s application of strict Immigration enforcement laws have been steadily tightening, resulting in raids and the apprehension of Immigrants with even “suspected” criminal activity. This of course also means more scrutiny of both foreign visitors and U.S. Residents seeking to enter the U.S. from abroad as well.

This is particularly a concern for U.S. Residents with certain criminal convictions who travel abroad, even for brief periods, since they will now be more fully vetted upon returning to the U.S.. Many Residents are unaware of the immigration implications of old, seemingly insignificant criminal convictions. Under the regulations, many crimes are considered Crimes of Moral Turpitude, which fall into three categories:

1) those involving fraud, larceny (i.e. theft), 
2) crimes against persons or 'things', and 
3) governmental authorities. 

Alone, many crimes do not have negative consequences for Residents, however, if a person has two or more such offences, no matter how old, depending upon the circumstances, they run the risk of being inadmissible to the U.S. or of being deportable. And while waivers are available in some cases, there is never a guarantee of approval and new border policies may require such individuals to remain in detention until the case is resolved. Note that many crimes committed by juveniles before age 18, may be excused, and under some circumstances, a pardon will be recognized, but for immigration purposes, expunged criminal convictions remain convictions and may still have consequences.

Therefore, the best advice for Residents with a criminal background who wish to travel, is to have their particular circumstances reviewed by a criminal immigration attorney first, before making any plans to travel abroad. Better to be safe, then sorry….