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This Week's Immigration News 
By Immigration Attorney Caroly Pedersen

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Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter ©  2011  - 2015 
For questions about U.S. Residency, Green Cards and Immigration Visas, Visit our Website at: or  call our office at: (954) 382-5378
New 2015 Poverty Guidelines Released for 
I-864 Affidavit of Support
Questions & Answers
Question: My son just became a U.S. Citizen yesterday and he lives in Georgia. I live here in Florida after coming to visit my sister in 2009 as a tourist and then ended up staying. I’d like to know if you can file for my green card even though my status expired in 2009 and if so, can you file for me in Florida or do I need to go and live with my son in Georgia to be eligible to get my legal status in the U.S.?
Answer: Under Immigration regulations, Parents/Spouses and Minor children of U.S. Citizens are “Immediate Relatives” and as long as they entered 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 Florida, we would be filing your petition using your Lauderhill, Florida 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 son should travel to Florida to accompany you. The USCIS has begun waiving Interviews for many parents, although not in all cases.
The new minimum income requirements under the I-864 Affidavit of Support have been released. U.S. Citizen and U.S. Resident Sponsors are required to meet or exceed 125% of the Poverty Guidelines in order to qualify.

 The income requirements for 2015 have increased just slightly from 2014. For example, the minimum yearly income of $19,912 is now required for a single U.S. Citizen to sponsor a Spouse, compared with $19,662 for 2014. 
Helpful Immigration Tips You Can Use

Number of Family            Minimum Income Requirements 125% of Poverty Guidelines
Members in Household    All States (other than Alaska & Hawaii)
Including the Immigrant

**Add $5,200 for each additional person
Question: I have a daughter who was born in the U.S.A while I was there on a student visa many years ago. She will turn age 21 next month and apply for green cards for me, my wife (her mother) and our 2 children. My questions are 1) I have twin girls age 17, since they are under the age of 18, will they be considered on the same immigration process? 2) I also have a single son who is going to be 22 years old now, how long will it be for him to be able to immigrate?
Answer: This is a very common question and often very confusing to immigrating Parents of U.S. Citizens who have other children. Parents of U.S. Citizens are called “Immediate Relatives” (as are Spouses and Minor children).U.S. Immigration regulations only allow U.S. Citizens to sponsor each of their Immediate Relatives separately and no dependant spouses or minor children are able to immigrate along with them. For instance a U.S. Citizen child cannot sponsor his Parents together as a couple, instead, each parent must be sponsored separately in a separate family petition. Therefore, your daughter can sponsor you and your wife (her mom) separately and you can immigrate to the U.S.. however your children will not be able to immigrate along with you at the same time.

 The children can obtain U.S. Residency later in one of several ways:

1) Once you obtain your Green Card you can sponsor them. Minor children of U.S. Residents are in the F2A category, with a current visa line of approximately 1 ½ years or more. The strategy which often works best is to have one Parent obtain Residency first, then file for the children and the other Parent then immigrates at the same time. 
However, older children of U.S. Residents who are age 21 or older are in the Immigration category called F2B for adult, single children of U.S. Residents. The visa line in that category is currently about 7-8 years and children cannot marry during that time or the petition is cancelled. So unfortunately, your 22 year old son will have to wait for some time before he can immigrate and join you in the U.S..

2) Your U.S. Citizen daughter can petition for her siblings in the F4 Immigration category for siblings (and their spouses & children) of U.S. Citizens, but it will be much faster if you as the parents do it, since the sibling visa line in that category is currently 12 to 14 years.

You can find out more about issues involving Immigrating to the U.S. as Parents of U.S. Citizens by visiting our website at: and clicking on the Immigration Newsletter link or by calling our office at: 954-382-5378.

Reporting Abusive Treatment By The USCIS
Thousands of Immigrants receive immigration benefits from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) each year, navigating their way through the often difficult and confusing process. 

And while it is expected that Immigrants should be held to the standards of qualification defined by law to demonstrate eligibility, no immigrant should ever expect to be treated discourteously, disrespectfully or in an abusive way by a USCIS Officer or employee. 
However, it does happen and when it does, Immigrants do have the right to report mistreatment to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The DHS strives to maintain the public’s trust and provide quality services and does investigate credible reports of abuse.  

One such incident reported to me recently was from an U.S. Citizen and Immigrant spouse during a marriage interview case wherein the USCIS officer demanded that the U.S. Citizen and Immigrant spouse go to their car and bring him their cell phones. Once they returned with the phones, the officer demanded that they give him the phones and passcodes and he preceded look at all of their personal text messages and cell phone photos. The Citizen and his wife did not consent to this, but frightened, they did as they were demanded to do. None of this is official USCIS procedures and much of what the officer did was a violation of their rights. In cases like these, complaints should be made as soon after the event as possible.

To make a report, you can use one of the following:

Call the DHS Hotline at 1-800-323-8603 

Send a fax at (202) 254-4292 

File an online complaint at: Office of Inspector General (OIG) 

File a written complaint to:  

Department of Homeland Security
Attn: Office of the Inspector General Hotline
245 Murray Drive, Building 410 Stop: 2600
Washington, D.C. 20528

Be sure to include: 1) the date, time and location of the incident, 2) detailed description of the what happened to you 3) the name(s) of employee(s) involved.
Applications filed with the USCIS generally require that supporting documentation be submitted in order to prove eligibility. Such documents include Birth Certificates, Marriage Certificates, Divorce Decrees, Criminal documents, etc.

 The USCIS requires that all official documents be a copy of either the original, or of the certified copy of the original. 
Immigration How To:
How Do I Know When To Send Original Documents To The USCIS?
When Filing Applications With the USCIS - Never Send Original Supporting Documents
Applications filed with the USCIS generally require that supporting documentation be submitted in order to prove eligibility. Such documents include Birth Certificates, Marriage Certificates, Divorce Decrees, Criminal documents, etc. The USCIS requires that all official documents be a copy of either the original, or of the certified copy of the original. 

Never send original documentation to the USCIS unless specifically requested. Original or certified documents are generally only required to be provided to the USCIS officer during an interview. Therefore, if you send original document to the USCIS Service Center, you will no longer have the original document to bring with you as required to the interview at your local Field office. 

Finally, always make a copy of everything that you send to the USCIS for your records, otherwise, you have no proof of what you sent. Good luck!
Here’s a few important tips for Sponsors to remember when filing Affidavits of Support:

1) Make sure that your “Net” (not Gross) income meets the minimum income requirements 
2) Always include a copy of a) your most recent tax return and W-2 b) past 3 months paystubs and c) current letter from your employer stating your fulltime position, dates of employment and wages (which match your paystubs).
3) If the sponsor does not meet the requirements, he or she must still file an I-864 and include an I-864 from a Joint-sponsor who does meet the qualifications and be sure to include a copy of the Joint-sponsor’s U.S. Birth Certificate, U.S. Passport, Naturalization Certificate or Green Card b) copy of the most recent tax return and W-2 c) past 3 months paystubs and d) current letter from his or her employer stating fulltime position, dates of employment and wages (which match his or her paystubs).
4) U.S. Citizen parents sponsoring minor children under age 18 are not required to file Affidavits of Support , since the immigrating child will automatically become a U.S. Citizen upon obtaining U.S. Residency. Instead, the child is required to file form I-864W requesting the exemption.

Take a Look at the NEW Affidavit of Support Minimum Income Guidelines:
2015 Poverty Guidelines

You can learn more about preparing I-864 Affidavits of Support and meeting the minimum income requirements by visiting our website and clicking on the Immigration Newsletter link or  by calling our office at: 954-382-5378.