Tell a friend about this page

Learn More About:

Add this page to your favorites.

Add this page to your favorites.
Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter ©  2011  - 2020 
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
  Immigration News & Updates              
Immigration How To:
How Do I  Get Copies of My Documents From The USCIS? 
Questions About Immigration? We have the answers!
We Are Here To Help, Call us now for a FREE consultation (954) 382-5378
Helpful Immigration Tips You Can Use...
Question: My son got his American citizen at birth when I was there as a student. I also have a 6 year old daughter who is not an American who lives with me and we both have our American visas until 2025. What happened is when my son turned 21 last year he sponsored me for a green card. The case was approved a few months ago and the National Visa Center sent my son a letter that the case was being processed for my residency. But come to find out that my 6 year old daughter was not included in the case. My son called and got me on the phone as well with the national visa center and the person told us that even though my daughter is still a minor child, she cannot immigrate to america with me. This is such a shock! How do they think a young child like that can live on her own, I will never understand that. We are very confused and don’t understand what this means because my son listed my daughter (his sister) on the form. So what we want to know is can you do something about this to rectify the mistake so my daughter can immigrate with me to the U.S.?
According to Bloomberg News, Forbes and other news sources, Trump is likely planning to issue a proclamation as early as this week, which will temporarily suspend the issuance of all H1B, L, H2B, and J-1 status visas to foreign nationals abroad for up to 180 days and further prohibit those who already have the visas from re-entering the U.S. (With some exceptions including healthcare and food supply workers). 

That means that as a safeguard, H1B, L, H2B, and J-1 status visa holders who are already in that status, but are abroad, would be wise to return to the U.S. immediately to avoid being “barred” from re-entering after the new ban goes into effect. 
As Trump’s Approval Rating Goes Down, 
Likelihood Of New Visa Ban Announcement This Week Goes Up!

                  LAW CENTERS

Immigration Questions: (954) 382-5378
  POSTING DATE: June 15,  2020
Studying For Your Naturalization Test? There's An App For That!

The USCIS announces a  mobile app available to study for your naturalization test “on the run”. Called “USCIS: Civics Test Study Tools” the new app is now available on the iTunes and Google Play app stores and is available in both English and Spanish.

 In addition to helping prepare you for the civics test during your naturalization interview, the app has a review of past tests and a game to challenge your civics knowledge.
Answer: That’s a very good question and important for you to understand. The Immigration category for Parents of U.S. Citizens, called “Immediate Relatives” does not allow for any dependent (Spouse and minor children) to immigrate with the Parent to the U.S.. Immediate Relatives can only immigrate as individuals, not as a family. In order for a spouse or minor child of a Parent to be able to immigrate, the Parent must first immigrate to the U.S. and obtain U.S. Residency, then immediately file to sponsor the spouse and or minor children. The good news is that under current visa availability for the F2A Immigration category for spouses and minor children of U.S. Residents, it only takes about a year or so to immigrate from abroad. And for a limited time, spouses and minor children of green card holders with U.S. visas who are inside the U.S. (in valid status), can also file for adjustment of status and remain inside the U.S. during the entire process to obtain a green card.

In your case, once you go through consular processing (approximately 2+ months), enter the U.S. and receive your green card, you can sponsor your minor daughter. And if she happens to be in the U.S. at the time, you can file to adjust her status and she can remain in the U.S. legally during the entire process. Let me know if you want me to handle your national visa center processing and take care of obtaining your daughter’s U.S. residency.
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a Federal law which in part allows individuals to obtain copies of documentation contained in government files, including those related to Immigration matters. Under current technological advances, FOIA requests made to the USCIS can be made by email. However, it is important to understand that not all documents are available under FOIA, including requests to obtain duplicate approval notices or original documents submitted to the USCIS. 
Get Ready For Your Naturalization Oath Ceremony And Important 
Steps To Take Once You Become A New U.S. Citizen
Question:We are having a big problem with getting the immigration papers to the government that they are requesting for me and my family. My sister sponsored us many years ago and finally we got a notice from the visa center that we could start the final process. We managed to pay the visa and affidavit fees for the family but haven’t been able to do much since then and that was in February. The problem is that I don’t have any way to scan the documents they are asking me for. I took phone pictures the best I could but none of them are accepted. My sister is 71 and she isn’t technical either. Her daughter, my niece helped us with some documents, but nothing seems to get accepted and we don’t know why. We are so frustrated and don’t know what to do now. Is it because there is the immigration ban that they are rejecting our documents online? Is there any way you can help us get this sorted out so we can get through the process and come to the U.S. to join my sister?
Answer: Yes, I know the process can be very frustrating and we can absolutely take care of National Visa Center processing for you. These days, most consular processing is done “paperless”, through a system called the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC). The process can be quick under the system, but unfortunately, it is not very friendly to use and requires that all documents be provided in the exact format which the CEAC system requires. This can be quite confusing to those who are not familiar with its requirements. Phone pictures are not accepted and even many scans are rejected due to file size limitations and the quality of the document scan. All documents must be carefully scanned with all four corners visible and no portions cut off. That means that oversized documents need to be reduced to fit the format. Similarly, all documents must be right side up, since the system will reject documents which are upside down. I could go on and on, but you get the idea. In cases like yours, we will provide you with a comprehensive list of documents to provide to us in paper form. We will then take care of scanning and uploading everything, then guiding you through the entire process until you are here in the U.S. with your Green Cards. Since you don’t have a scanner, I will have you send me all the original documents and we will scan them for you, then send your originals back so you can take them to your consular appointment in the next few months. 
In addition to the ban, the administration has been busy drawing up other anti-immigrant plans to target the H1B visa program, terminate work authorization for H-4 spouses of H-1B holders, TPS, Asylees and Refugees and effectively end OPT programs. 

Drastic changes being discussed for the H-1B program include:

-Increasing the USCIS Filing fees to $20,000 per case to discourage U.S. companies from hiring foreign workers
-Increasing minimum wage levels for H-1B workers, with the minimum salary for certain positions of $100,000, in order to make it more expensive to hire foreign workers
-Toughening the requirements to prove that a position qualifies as a specialty occupation under the H-1B visa program  
-Terminating work permits for certain spouses of H-1B workers

Possible changes to the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program for foreign graduates of U.S. universities include: 

-Restricting OPT to foreign nationals who graduate at the top of their class (perhaps top 5-15%).

Other restrictive measures being discussed include:

-Terminating Work Authorizations for Certain Categories of immigrants including TPS, Asylum recipients and Refugees

To prepare for the possible new restrictions, those holding non-immigrant work visas in the H, L or J categories who are currently outside the U.S. would be well advised to return as soon as possible and those who are inside the U.S. should avoid travelling abroad. Let’s hope the restrictions are not as drastic as experts predict! Stay tuned………….  

Under normal pre-pandemic circumstances, once you attend your Naturalization interview, your case is approved and the USCIS puts your case in the queue to be scheduled for your naturalization ceremony, where you take your Oath of Allegiance and become a U.S. citizen. However, Covid-19 has changed all that, leaving thousands of residents waiting to take the Oath of Allegiance. Now that the local USCIS offices have re-opened, they have been sending out reschedule notices for those whose ceremonies have been cancelled. So within a few weeks to a month, you should be receiving your new notice. 

Here are a few tips about the process and important steps to take once you become a U.S. citizen:
Understanding the types of Oath Ceremonies:

There are two kinds of Oath of Allegiance ceremonies, one, is a judicial ceremony, where the court administers the Oath of Allegiance for Residents who have requested a name change and the regular administrative ceremony, during which the USCIS administers the Oath of Allegiance.

So what’s going to happen at your naturalization ceremony?

1. Receive Your Naturalization Ceremony Notice to Take the Oath of Allegiance

While some Immigrants who request it may be able to participate in a naturalization ceremony on the same day as their naturalization interview, many Residents must wait for the USCIS mail them a notice with the date, time, and location of their scheduled naturalization ceremony, called a Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony (Form – N-445). Those who cannot attend the scheduled naturalization ceremony must return the notice to their local USCIS office, along with a letter requesting a new date and explaining why they are not able to attend the scheduled naturalization ceremony. Residents who fail to show up for their naturalization ceremony without having requested a rescheduling may receive a denial of their naturalization case.

2. Complete Form N-445, Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony before checking in at the Ceremony

Residents should complete Form N-445, Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony before arriving at the ceremony, prior to check in with USCIS. During check-in, a USCIS officer will review your responses to the questionnaire.

3. Surrender of your Permanent Resident Card (Green Card) 

Residents who are becoming U.S. Citizens must surrender their Permanent Resident Cards to the USCIS at the time they check- in for the naturalization ceremony. Those who have lost their cards can receive a waiver. 

4. Taking the Oath of Allegiance to the United States

A Resident is not a U.S. citizen until he/she takes the Oath of Allegiance to the United States during the naturalization ceremony. After the Oath, new U.S Citizens receive their Certificate of Naturalization.

5. Notes about the Certificate of Naturalization

New U.S Citizens should carefully review the Certificate of Naturalization for accuracy while still at the ceremony. Any inaccuracies must be brought to the attention of the USCIS before leaving the ceremony. Unless or until you apply for your U.S. Passport, your Certificate of Naturalization is your official proof of your U.S. Citizenship. Those who lose their Certificate of Naturalization must request a replacement by filing Form N-565, Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document and paying the $555 USCIS filing fee. The waiting time for a replacement can be lengthy.
downloading the form. 

6. Time to apply for Your U.S. Passport

Once you receive your Certificate of Naturalization, you can immediately apply for a U.S. passport. You will receive an application for a U.S. passport at your naturalization ceremony, called the “U.S. Citizenship Welcome Packet” or you can go online to the U.S. Passport office  

7. Time to Register to Vote!

Now that you are a U.S. Citizen, it is your right and privilege to vote. You can register to vote at certain locations in your community, which may include post offices, motor vehicle offices, county boards of election, and offices of your state Secretary of State. You can read more about registering to vote by reading the government publication: “A Voter’s Guide to Federal Elections."

8. Final Step: Update your Social Security Record

After you become a U.S. Citizen, you will need to notify the Social Security Administration (SSA) to update your Social Security record. You can find your local Social Security office by calling 1-800-772-1213 or by visiting: You can go to your local SSA office about ten days after your ceremony to give time for the SSA to be able to access your new status in the USCIS records. Be sure to take your Certificate of Naturalization or U.S. passport with you. Good luck! 

Helpful Tips You Need To Stay Updated With Your Immigration Case 
Now more than ever, it’s vital to stay updated on your immigration case from start to finish. Changing policies, processing delays and office closures have affected many types of immigration applications in various ways. So make sure you keep in touch with where your case is in the process. 

To start, once an immigration case is filed with the USCIS, it is important not only to track the package to ensure delivery, but also to receive confirmation of receipt from the USCIS along with your case number. Then once the USCIS receipt (called the I-797 Notice of Action) is issued, you can sign up to keep updated on your case and receive emails from the USCIS about actions taken on your case. 
For instance, if the officer sends you a Request for Evidence, its important to know and follow up with the USCIS in case you never receive the request, so it can be resent. Fortunately, the USCIS offers several convenient ways to get updates on newly filed and pending Immigration cases. Immigrants and Sponsors filing Immigration applications with the USCIS can sign-up to receive text messages and email E-notifications confirming application receipt by the USCIS, along with the case receipt number(s). The receipt number allows individuals to track the status of their case online. E-notifications are issued within 24 hours after the USCIS receives the application. To request e-notification, download and complete form G-1145 and mail along with all Immigration applications. Once you receive your case number, go to the USCIS website and sign up for Email Status updates on your case through the USCIS My Case Status program. Once you register and enter your case number(s), the USICS will automatically email you notifications and updates on any actions take on your case so that you are better informed about your case status. Its a great way to stay informed and keep up to date on the status of your case as it moves along in processing.
Question: I got my citizenship through my wife ten years ago and filed for my daughter and her family in Colombia. I also sponsored my mom a few years ago and she lives here with us. The problem is that she is getting dementia and it’s getting harder and harder to leave her alone and we don’t want to put her in a nursing home especially now with the virus. We were wondering if there is some way to expedite the process? Or would it be possible for my daughter and her family to come early to be able to take care of my mom (her grandmother) while we are waiting for her visa to be approved? Is there some kind of visa for that? What would happen if they just come here as tourists and just stay, is there some forgiveness since they are already in the visa line? Thank you for your kind response.
Answer: Sorry to hear about your mom, that is a very tough situation. The Immigration category for adult married children of U.S. citizens (called F3) takes between 12+ years. The U.S. Department of State releases a Visa Bulletin each month to give updates on Immigrant Visa availability for the various family categories. Right now for the June 2020 Visa Bulletin, the F3 Category there are Immigrant Visas available for married children whose I-130 petitions were filed in the year 2008. If the petition was filed for your daughter in 2010. That means that there is another 2 years or so to wait for them to immigrate to the U.S.. Unfortunately, there is no way to expedite the process. If your daughter and her family were to come to the U.S. and overstay, they would then become ineligible to get a green card. Since your daughter has a U.S. visa she can come and visit once the airports in Colombia re-open, but she cannot overstay. I hope this is helpful to you.
Typically, documents which can be obtained are copies of Immigration case filings, including supporting documents. This is particularly important when an immigrant has lost a copy of a vital document such as an I-94 which was previously submitted to the USCIS as part of an Immigration application. 

To make an Email FOIA request to the USCIS: 
Download and complete form G-639 Freedom of Information Act/Privacy Act Request, Then submit to the Department of Homeland Security.
Read more about Freedom of Information requests:
Submit a Request