Immigration Questions: (954) 382-5378

  POSTING DATE: April 30,  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: Hi, I have my girlfriend in Florida who got her green card through her parents way back in 2015. We have been going back and forth to see each other for the past few years, but now we are getting serious and planning to get married. Our question is, if we get married while I am here in Florida on vacation, would I be able to stay and live here until I get my green card? I want to start finding a job soon, when will I be able to get my work permit and social security?
Answer: That is a great question. It’s important to understand that once you get married, as the spouse of a U.S. Resident , you will not obtain any immigration benefits, work permit, social security card or legal status in the U.S. until an Immigrant Visa becomes available for you, which may take about 1 ½ to 2 years in the F2A Immigration Category for Spouses and minor children of U.S. Residents. During that time, you must not overstay your time in the U.S., otherwise, you will not be eligible to immigrate here when the time comes. For now, you can get married, have a nice visit with her, then return home and begin waiting for the visa to be available. You should be able to come and visit her while your case is pending, as long as you do not stay in the U.S. for long periods of time. I hope this is helpful. Let me know if you would like us to handle your residency case.
Federal Judge Orders DACA Program Restart – Gives Trump 90 Days To Justify His Reasons For Termination
Immigration How To:
How Do I  Know If The Diploma Is Real?
Helpful Immigration Tips You Can Use...

  Immigration News & Updates              eNewsletter
Free USCIS Online Tools For Naturalization Preparation
The USCIS has free online Naturalization tools available for U.S. Residents who are applying for U.S. Citizenship. 

These tools include an online Citizenship Resource Center, Civics and Citizenship Toolkit for information on citizenship and naturalization topics, study guides and tests and Literacy resources, to assist Residents in learning or improving written English writing skills.
Scam Alert: Fake High School Diplomas
In yet another blow to Trump’s ill-conceived attempt to terminate the DACA program, a Federal Judge in Washington D.C. issued a ruling last week ordering the entire DACA program to be fully reinstated including the acceptance of new applications. U.S. District Judge John Bates gave the Trump administration 90 days to respond and to give legal justifications explaining why Trump abruptly cancelled the program last year, before the ruling goes into effect. 

In his decision, Judge Bates called the Trump administration’s termination of the DACA program “arbitrary,” “capricious,” “virtually unexplained” and “unlawful.”. Should the Trump Justice department fail to provide Judge Bates with persuasive legal reasoning within the 90 day timeframe, the program will immediately be reinstated. This could mean that the USCIS will be forced to resume accepting new DACA applications, potentially allowing tens of thousands of new Dreamers to apply for protection and a work permit. But for now, the DACA program remains limited to accepting renewals only. Stay tuned…

Washington Post
 Tips For A Successful Marriage Residency Case – 
Marital Documents Are The Key!
Marriage residency cases can be very tough - even for those that are real! Commonly, couples navigating through marriage immigration process often find it daunting, unsure of the procedures, required documentation and timing involved. However, filing the case is just the start, the important part comes after that, in the time in between filing the case and the USCIS residency interview, when all the necessary marital documentation is established and compiled, in order to prove the legitimacy of the marriage.
The USCIS and consumer agencies want to help Immigrants avoid falling victim to fake High School Diploma scammers. Some unscrupulous companies on the internet sell fake high school diplomas which are worthless and have no educational value. 

The so called “diploma mills” claim that their diplomas can be used to enroll in college, apply for a job, get a promotion or enlist in the military, when in fact they are just worthless documents. Here are signs of a high school diploma scam: Common signs of fake diploma websites: Website just wants you to pay just for a diploma. 
Question: Hi, I've been a US resident a little over 5 years and I'm looking to apply for my citizenship. I'm hoping you can help me with the process. My question is, I have a gap between work and school for the past 5 years. Will this be an issue?
Answer: Citizenship regulations do not require that you are employed or in school in order to be eligible to naturalize, although the USCIS officer could ask you to explain how you were supporting yourself during that time. However, when there is a large gap in time between jobs, it can be an alert to the officer that the Resident has been outside the U.S. for extended periods of time and may not have been living in the U.S.. In that case the officer could request documentation to demonstrate that you were actually physically inside the U.S, for the requisite period of time, during the past 5 years for regular Residents and the past 3 years for Residents who qualify for early naturalization through marriage to a U.S. Citizen.

In marriage immigration, the most common cause of case delay and denial is due to lack of marital documentation. As I always tell my clients, in immigration, nothing is real to a USCIS officer unless you have a document to prove it, simple as that. Even though it may seem practical and cost efficient for a couple to live with relatives that is usually a red flag for a USCIS officer trying to determine if a marriage is real. Similarly, when a couple has no utility bills in their name and does not share a joint bank account, more red flags. Even though a marriage is genuine, spousal immigration cases which lack typical marital documentation can be drawn out for years and be needlessly tortuous for a couple. Here are a few tips for couples representing themselves in the residency process:

1) Take the process very seriously – it’s better to be over prepared, rather than under prepared and delay the green card process 
2) Do whatever it takes to have a joint marital bank account that both spouses use on a daily basis (not just a saving account). Never use separate bank accounts and always pay utilities, rent and other expenses from bank funds, not cash.
3) Don’t go paperless! I love trees and the environment, but the USCIS could care less, they want to see marital bills, statements and invoices with joint names or at least separate bills for each spouse going to the same marital address 
4) Have a lease with both spouses’ names and pay rent from your joint account (even if you live with relative – which you should not!)
5) Always do your tax return married filing jointly, don’t file head of household just to get more money back from the IRS, you are shooting yourself in the foot. Do you want a Green Card or a little more money? 
6) Split the utility bills, get several in the U.S. Citizen spouse’s name and several for the foreign national spouse 
7) Get joint car insurance, don’t stay on your parents policy, really, you are married, act like it! 
8) Make sure both spouses Driver’s Licenses are at the same marital address 
9) Take lots of pictures with family and friends in different occasions. 

These are just the bottom line documents the USCIS officer is looking for. However, the more marital documents, the better, like joint car registration, joint health insurance, joint cell phone plan, fitness club family plan, etc, etc. The more documents a couple brings to their USCIS interview, the faster the case will be approved. Couples who get stuck somewhere in the process can always give me a call and I will try to steer them in the right direction. Good luck!

Question: I am married to my American husband and we filed for my residency last year. I got my work permit in march 2018, but when we were on a vacation at Disney world this weekend, it got lost along with my wallet. I am just so upset, since now I don’t have any proof that I can work. I need to apply for another one. My question is whether I need to pay for the new one or since renewals are free, is this replacement one free or do I need to pay an immigration filing fee and if so, how much is that?
Answer: When an Immigrant files the form I-485 to adjust to U.S. Residency, the USCIS filing fee is $1,760, which includes both the form I-765 for work authorization and form I-131 for Advance Parole (travel permit). That filing fee includes all work authorization and travel permit renewals. However, it does not include work or travel permit replacements, when the original permits are still valid. You’ll need to include a new USCIS filing fee of $495, ($410 filing fee plus $85 biometrics fee) with your application, along with a copy of your I-485 receipt and two passport photos. It will take approximately 90 days to receive your replacement card.
Real education programs may charge for classes or testing, but they usually do not charge just for a diploma, You can earn the diploma from home immediately. If you can earn the diploma without taking any classes or tests, it’s likely a scam and They claim to be affiliated with the federal government. Individual states -- not the federal government -- regulate high school diploma programs

Read more about fake diploma scams:
What to look out for
High School Diploma Scams