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Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter
POSTING DATE: June 19, 2017
Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter © 2011 - 2017
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Questions & Answers
This Week's Immigration News
Question:I have been married to my husband since February 2014. I have received my two years green card which will be expired in August 2017. How soon will I be able to apply for my American citizenship.
Answer: Its important to know that once a U.S. Resident formally “relinquishes” (gives back) a Green Card at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate, the officer usually requires that State Department form I-407 be signed, abandoning all rights to Residency. When this is done, all U.S. Residency status is lost and any desire to obtain Residency again requires a whole new application process. However, in order to qualify for U.S. Residency again, the immigrant must still have a legal basis for eligibility, for instance, being married to a U.S. Citizen, or being sponsored by a U.S. Citizen child, parent or sibling, since there is no way to apply solely on the basis of requesting the old Green Card status again.
In your case, since you are no longer married to a U.S. Citizen, you would need to have some other eligibility in order to apply for U.S. Residency again. You daughter can sponsor you once she turns age 21, but not before. You might want to consider some other type of visa to allow you to live and work in the U.S. like an E-2 investor visa. To qualify, you would need to make an investment in a new or existing business in the U.S. of approx $80K+. E-2 visas for Colombians can be issued for up to 5 years renewable. Let me know if you would like more information.
Helpful Immigration Hints You Can Use
Immigration How To:
How Do I Get My Original Documents Back??
Understanding How To Obtain Copies of Some Immigration Documents Under The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
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.
Family Sponsorship – Check Out the Visa Bulletin Before Making Plans To Immigrate
Many U.S. Citizens and U.S. Residents sponsor their foreign family members to immigrate to the U.S.. However, often, neither the sponsor, nor the family member fully understands how long it will actually take to immigrate.
Understanding the approximate length of time it will likely take to be able to immigrate to the U.S. helps foreign family members plan for the future. This is particularly important when family members being sponsored have minor children.
When filing immigration applications with the USCIS, Applicants should NEVER send original documents, since the USCIS will not return them. The only time originals should ever be sent to the USICS is when the officer specifically requests them, for instance in cases where original certified Court Dispositions and Police Reports are required when criminal issues are involved.
Mistakenly sending originals is particularly urgent when a Petitioner sends an original Naturalization Certificate as proof of U.S. Citizenship, when sponsoring a family member. In such cases, obtaining a duplicate Naturalization Certificate can be quite costly ($555) and take quite a bit of time.
The USCIS announces a new 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.
Studying For Your Naturalization Test? There's A New App For That!
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 scan and email to the Department of Homeland Security at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Read more about Freedom of Information requests:
Answer: Since you obtained your conditional residency through marriage, you must apply for your Removal of Condition 90 days before expiration of your Green Card, so within the next several months. Once your permanent Residency is approved and you have been a U.S. Resident for 2 years and 9 months, as long as your husband has been a U.S. Citizen for at least 3 years and your husband are living together as a real married couple and have extensive documentation to prove your continuing marital relationship, you can apply for Early Naturalization in May of 2018.
Question:I got my Green Card in the U.S. in 2005 through my marriage to my U.S. Citizen wife but I never applied for citizenship. We had marriage issues and broke up in 2010 and I moved back to Colombia. I could not maintain going back and forth to the U.S., so I gave up my Green Card in exchange for an American tourist visa in 2011. We have a 12 year old daughter, so I come back and forth every year to see her. I’ve recently lost my job in Colombia and was thinking about moving back to America to be near my daughter. I’d like to know how to go about getting my old Green Card back or getting a new one through my daughter. Thanks.
Answer: Immigration regulations only allow U.S. Citizen children age 21 or older to file for their parents. A parent can be a biological parent by birth, or step-parent, as long as the step-parent relationship was established by the marriage of the step-parent the child’s biological parent before the child turned age 18. There is no category for “in-laws”, so unfortunately, your wife, even though she is a U.S. Citizen, cannot sponsor your father for his Residency
Question: I got my residency recently through marriage to my American wife. I have my dad still in Venezuela and the situation is really bad. I know that I can’t file to sponsor my dad to immigrate here until I get my American citizenship. But I am wondering if its possible for my American wife to do it? Is that possible?
Immigration regulations only allow children who are immigrating along with parents to obtain U.S. Residency if they are under age 21 at the time the family is called to the U.S. Consulate for the final Immigrant Visa appointment. As frequently happens, children who were minors at the time their parents were originally sponsored, may have “aged out” and be in their mid to late 20’s and thus ineligible to immigrate to the U.S. along with their parents. This is a tragic situation, but very common. The only saving grace is that under the Child Status Protection Act “CSPA”, the time the I-130 family petition was processing can be subtracted from the age of the child. For instance, if the I-130 petition was filed in 1998 and was not approved until 2003, it was processing for 5 years. Therefore, at the time the Immigrant Visa becomes available, 5 years can be subtracted from the age of a child to determine if the child is still “technically” below age 21 for immigration purposes.
So, the best advice is to visit the Visa Bulletin website to view the various family relationship waiting lines so you understand how long the wait will be and understand that some older children may not be eligible to immigrate along with the parents when the time comes. However, when originals are mistakenly provided to the USCIS via mail, you can make a request for them to be returned by completing and filing form G-884, Return of Original Documents and submit to the USCIS office where your case is pending or where the last action was taken on your case. There is no filing fee required to make this request, but receiving your original document(s) can take up to one year.