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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:My daughter and I have a tourist visa for the states, currently my husband is in the states and is a green card holder. Will it be possible for him to file a petition for us while we are in the states? Could we also wait in the states for our petition to be granted or do we have to fly back to our country? Hope you could help me out in getting to know the details right. Thank you.
Answer: ​USCIS regulations are very different for Spouses and Children of U.S. Citizens compared with U.S. Residents. U.S. Citizens can sponsor their spouse and children (referred to as “Immediate Relatives”) while they are in the U.S. and they can file to adjust their status to U.S. Residency immediately, without the need maintaining immigration status. 

However, the law is very different for spouses and children of U.S. Residents, since they must wait until there is an Immigrant Visa available in order to obtain U.S. Residency. Currently, it can take a year or more for a visa to be available once the family petition is filed. In such cases, spouses and children of U.S. Residents who are the beneficiaries of a family petition and who want to adjust status to U.S. Residency inside the U.S. can only stay in the U.S. and wait for an Immigrant Visa to be available if they continue to maintain legal immigration status. Those who fail to maintain legal status are not eligible to obtain a Green Card inside the U.S. until the sponsoring U.S. Resident becomes a U.S. Citizen. 
Helpful Immigration Hints You Can Use
Immigration How To: 
How Do I Pay the USCIS Immigrant Visa Fee?
On May 1st the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) launched a new Website which gives Non-immigrant foreign nationals access to their I-94 arrival/departure record and U.S. travel history.The new CBP website allows nonimmigrant travelers to access and printout their I-94 record, as well as a U.S. travel history going back five years from the request date.

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
You Can Report Abusive Treatment By the USCIS
The Immigration process can sometimes seem overwhelming to Immigrants who often mistakenly expect that the U.S. Immigration system and its employees will assist and guide them along the Immigrant path. However in most cases, the process can be frustrating and confusing, sometimes leading to missteps and wrong turns. Through it all, Immigrants have the right to expect professional, courteous treatment by the USCIS personnel handling their case and interacting with them during the process. Unfortunately, occasionally, Immigrants encounter individuals in positions of authority who may seem to overstep their bounds and fail to exercise civility and professionalism. This can leave an Immigrant and the U.S. Citizen or U.S. Resident sponsor feeling mistreated and abused. 
Since the new fee went into effect recently, all individuals granted an Immigrant Visa by a U.S. Consulate abroad who are immigrating to the United States are required to pay a $165 USCIS Immigrant Fee. 

Here is a quick run-down of the step-by-step process:

1. Attend the Visa Appointment at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate 
Cool New Government Website Provides I-94 Printout and U.S. Travel History
You can find out more about obtaining Residency inside the U.S. through a U.S. Resident Spouse by calling our office at: 954-382-5378.
After a tough battle between Republicans over the past several months on the issue of In-State Tuition for undocumented students, the Florida Senate finally approved a Bill last week which will give Dreamers the same rights as other students to attend State colleges and universities in Florida by paying the much lower “In-State”, as opposed to the much higher “out of state” tuition fees, which are several times the cost. 

This variance in tuition rates has often made the difference between a Dreamer having the ability to attend college after High School, or more often than not, lose the chance to pursue their dreams – which is ours too – the American dream. These kids are the future of Florida and America - they deserve our investment!

Once the Bill becomes law, Dreamers who have attended at least three years of High School in the State of Florida prior to graduation become eligible for the tuition break. 
State of Florida Invests In Its Future By Providing In-State College Tuition For Dreamers
With the amended Senate Bill passed, the tuition Bill now moves back to the House (which had earlier already passed the In-State tuition measure), for approval and passage, then on to Gov. Scott’s desk for signature, making Florida the 20th such State to provide In-State tuition to Dreamers.

Read More About In-State College Tuition For Dreamers:
New York Times
Fox News
Question:I have question for you. Seeing that I am a USA citizen, how would I go forward in getting my mom and dad a green card or citizenship, and are there any restrictions in how long they can stay or be gone from the USA.Thank you ? 
Answer: ​The problem with getting Green Cards for parents is that in some instances, parents always plan to actually live in the U.S. and find it difficult to maintain enough time here to keep their U.S. Residency. However, as long as your parents accrue about 5-6 months inside the U.S. during each yearly period, they should be fine, the more time here the better. Once they have been U.S. Residents for at least 4 years and 9 months and have spent at least 913 days of that period inside the U.S. (without ever being absent from the U.S. for a continuous period of more than 179 days) they can apply for their U.S. Citizenship.

There are two options for obtaining their U.S. Residency:

1)U.S. Adjustment of Status: They can come to U.S. and if they decide to immigrate once they are inside the U.S., we can apply for their Green      Card, get a Work/Travel Permit within about 60-90 days and Green Cards within about 6-8 months.

2)Consular Processing: They can stay in their home country and process for Residency through the U.S. Consulate, takes about 8-12 months
There are options available which allow spouses and children of U.S. Residents to maintain legal status, including F-1 Student Visas and some work and investment visas. Note that such visas should optimally be obtained before the Immigrant family petition is filed.

In your case, since your husband is a Resident and not a U.S. Citizen, if you want to stay in the U.S. and wait until an Immigrant Visa is available (according to your “Priority Date” on the I-130 petition) you may have the option of changing status from a tourist to an F-1 Student, which would allow you and your daughter to stay in the U.S. legally while waiting for your Residency. You can contact me to discuss your case and determine the best option for you. 
You can find out more about obtaining Residency  for your Parents by calling our office at: 954-382-5378.
The good news is when this happens, Immigrants have the right to report mistreatment to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to investigate and remedy any credible reports of abuse. 

To make a report, you can Call the DHS Hotline at 1-800-323-8603, send a fax at (202) 254-4292, click here to file an online complaint at: Office of Inspector General or by mail to: Department of Homeland Security, Attn: Office of the Inspector General Hotline, 245 Murray Drive, Building 410 Stop: 2600, Washington, D.C. 20528

As the DHS advises, 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.
Once you or your family member attends the Consular appointment and are approved for the Immigrant Visa, the officer will provide a handout which explains how to pay the new USCIS Immigrant Fee. 
At the top of your handout you will find your: 

Alien number (A-Number, the letter “A” followed by 8 or 9 numbers) and DOS Case ID number (3 letters followed by 9 or 10 numbers); 
For Non-family Diversity Visa Immigrants (Visa Lottery), the DOS Case ID will have 4 numbers followed by 2 letters followed by 5 numbers. 
You will use this handout to pay the fees later online.

2. Receive your sealed Immigrant Visa Packet-the Consulate will provide you with a sealed packet which must be presented to the immigration officers when you arrive in the U.S..

3. Create your online USCIS ELIS Account in order to pay the required Immigrant Visa Fee
Go to and review the USCIS ELIS online customer service resources. Follow the directions to create an online account. 

4. Pay the USCIS Immigrant Fee 
After you have set up your USCIS ELIS account, select “USCIS Immigrant Fee” from the “Available Benefits” drop down menu to pay your $165 fee online. 

You can pay the fee for yourself and for any family members who will be immigrating to the U.S. along with you in one transaction. Each person’s $165 fee must be paid before they can receive a Permanent Resident Card. 
Provide a Visa, Master Card, American Express, Discover Card, or debit card; or U.S. bank checking account and routing numbers.

After paying the fees, once you enter the U.S. the officers will confirm that your fees have been paid.