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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
Questions & Answers
Question: I have been dating my American boyfriend for a year now and we are thinking about getting married. My question is if we get married now, will I be able to file for my 13 year old son who lives here with me and my 24 year old daughter? My daughter is here visiting me on a visitor visa, will she have to go back home to do her interview or can she stay here and get her Green Card? 
Answer:  As long as you entered the U.S. legally, even if your I-94 may now be expired, as long as you marry your U.S. Citizen boyfriend (for real – Love), once married, your husband can sponsor both you and your 13 year old son for your U.S. Residency, since you are both in a special Immigration category called “IMMEDIATE RELATIVES” (for Spouses, Minor Children/step children & Parents of U.S. Citizens). But, since your daughter is age 24, she is not eligible to be sponsored by a U.S. Citizen step-parent. Under Immigration regulations, in order to qualify for a step-child/step-parent relationship, the step-parent and the child’s biological parent must be married BEFORE a child reaches the age of 18. 

Since your daughter is over age 21, she is considered an adult for immigration purposes. Once you obtain your Green Card, you can file to sponsor her. The line waiting for Immigrant Visas for single children of U.S. Residents is currently about 7 years. However, under current regulations, if she stays inside the U.S. and lets her I-94 card expire, she will not be eligible to obtain Residency in the U.S. . With few exceptions, only Spouses, Minor Children (under age 21) and Parents of U.S. Citizens can still obtain Green Cards in the U.S. once the I-94 card has expired. 
In order to remain eligible, your daughter will either need to change her tourist visa to a student or some other visa which allows her to legally remain in the U.S. or she will have to leave before her authorized visitor stay expires. 
Helpful Immigration Hints You Can Use
You can find out more about  sponsoring your minor and adult  children by visiting our website at: or by calling our office at: 954-382-5378 
Big Business Urges Obama To Make Broad Reforms For Immigrant Workers And Families
During recent meetings between President Obama and leaders of big business including Silicon Valley and the agricultural industry, a wide range of possible Administrative Immigration Reform measures are being discussed, including measures which would legally allow some 800,000 additional visas to be available in both employment and family visa categories, which could significantly reduce the number of years Immigrants need to wait to Immigrate to the U.S.. 

This would be in addition to Obama’s plans to expand “Deferred Action” to include the parents of DREMers and U.S. Citizens. 
Other additional options being discussed include allowing spouses and minor children of U.S. Citizens who did not enter the U.S. legally to remain here and adjust status to U.S. Residency without the need to request a waiver or leave the U.S. and process through a U.S. Consulate abroad. But until the final program is announced after Labor Day, no one knows for sure how comprehensive the President’s plan will be. Stay tuned…
Understanding What Happens At Your Naturalization Ceremony And Once You Become a U.S. Citizen
Once your Application for Naturalization is approved, the USCIS puts your case in the queue to be scheduled for your Oath of Allegiance which takes place at your naturalization ceremony. This taking of your Oath of Allegiance complete the process of becoming a U.S. citizen.
Immigration How To: 
How Do I  Know Which Family Members I Can Sponsor???
There is a significant difference between which family members can be sponsored by U.S. Citizens, compared with those which can be sponsored by U.S. Residents (Green Card holders)

Here’s how it works:

U.S. Citizens are eligible to sponsor:

1) Spouses, Minor Children and Parents (called "Immediate Relatives")

2) Adult Single Sons & Daughters (and their minor children) called Family Immigration category F1

3) Adult Married Sons & Daughters (and their spouses and minor children) called Family Immigration F3

4) Brothers & Sisters (and their spouses and minor children) called Family Immigration category F4

U.S. Residents are eligible to sponsor:

1) Spouses and Minor Children called Family Immigration category F2A and 

2) Adult Single Sons & Daughters (and their minor children) called Family Immigration category F2B

U.S. Residents cannot sponsor thier Parents, Adult Married Sons & Daughters or thier Brothers & Sisters.

You can see the Visa Bulletin released by the State Department each month which gives the approximate waiting times for each family category:

Visa Bulletin
Question:Several years ago when I became a U.S. Citizen, I filed to sponsor my single daughter who was then 28 years old and the case was approved. Recently, my daughter had a baby and she married the baby’s father last month. I’m worried now because when I originally filed for her, it for a single child and now she’s married with a baby. Is the petition still good or do I now need to start all over again? Do I need to inform the immigration authorities of the change? I’m afraid if I notify them that they will cancel her case. I’m so worried I don’t know what to do, please advise, thanks.
Answer:  Not to worry, as long as you were a U.S. Citizen when your daughter got married, her immigrant petition remains valid and the USCIS will not cancel the approved I-130 petition. In these cases, technically, your daughter will move from the F1 category for unmarried sons & daughters of U.S. Citizens (waiting time approx 7 yrs) to the F3 category for married sons & daughters of U.S. Citizens, which includes spouses & minor children under age 21 (waiting time approx 11 yrs). 
Since the National Visa Center (NVC) which provides consular processing for family cases is not aware that your daughter is now married, in order to convert from the F1 to the F3 category, you can call the NVC at: (603) 334-0700 to obtain the case number, by using the case number assigned by the USCIS. Then send a copy of your daughter’s marriage certificate and copy of your grandchild’s s birth certificate to: National Visa Center, Attn: DR, 31 Rochester Ave. Suite 100, Portsmouth, NH 03801-2914 with a letter containing the NVC case number, your name/ birth date and the same for your daughter.
For informational purposes: If you had been a U.S. Resident when your daughter got married, unfortunately, the I-130 would have been automatically cancelled and you would have needed to file a New petition once you became a U.S. Citizen. The reason for this is that under immigration regulations, there is no immigration category for married sons or daughters of U.S. Residents.
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 $345 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!