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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  Keep Track Of My Immigration Case Once I File It?
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: Hi my mom came here in March to help me with my newborn son and got stuck here because of the virus. The airport in her country is closed and her flight has been cancelled 3 times already. I got my citizenship last year in dec and I filed to sponsor her for immigration in Jan of this year before she got here. But now with all this going on, I am wondering if it is just better for her to stay and we file for her green card here. My worry is that she expires on sept 7 and what happens if she overstays? We are afraid maybe she can be deported. Can you please tell us if that is true or if you can get her green card here and she doesn’t have to leave thanks. 
With just over 30 days to go before the new USCIS fees increase goes into effect, those planning to file for residency or naturalization need to act swiftly to prepare and file applications before the deadline. I know it is human nature to put things off and worry about it later. But with such steep increases in USCIS filing fees ahead, it will be a very costly mistake for those who delay! In fact, the new filing fees for a residency case (which normally includes work and travel permission) are so high, that many immigrants may not be able to afford to apply for a work or travel permit while waiting for residency. 

The reason is that beginning October 2nd, the USCIS will charge an additional fee for requests to work or travel, which are presently already included in the filing fee.    
Countdown To Filing Deadline Before
 Immigration Application Fees Skyrocket!!

                  LAW CENTERS

Immigration Questions: (954) 382-5378
  POSTING DATE: August 31, 2020
Answer: No need to worry, since you are a U.S. Citizen and your mother entered the U.S. legally, she can legally stay in the U.S., adjust status here and receive her green card, even though her period of stay (I-94) expires in September. There is no need for her to return to her home country. The fact that you filed the I-130 family petition for your mom does not affect her eligibility to apply for a green card here. The only difference is that since the I-130 has already been filed, we would not file another one, and instead just send the USCIS a copy of the receipt notice in place of the actual application, along with her residency package. Once we file, it will take about 3 weeks to receive her residency receipts and another six months for her work and travel permits to be approved. After that, it will take another several months for her green card to be approved. 
The USCIS has several convenient ways to keep updated on immigration applications from the time the case is received at the service center and throughout application processing. Filing an immigration application is a very important step and one which should be taken with the utmost diligence and seriousness. 

Applicants should first educate themselves about eligibility, qualifications, procedures and timing of the case and keep updated on every aspect of process along the way. 
Work Permit Approval Notices Can Now Be Used To Begin Work, 
Amid Continued Delays In Card Production
These days nearly everything relating to immigration is delayed, including the production of Employment Authorization Documents (EAD), also known as work permits. In the past, it generally only took about a week to receive a work permit after receiving the I-797 Approval Notice. But due to serious backlogs and production delays, it is currently taking up to a month or more for work permits to be produced and mailed out to applicants after approval. 

As a result, the USCIS recently issued an announcement that individuals who have received an I-797 Approval Notice between December 1, 2019 through and including August 20, 2020, can begin working without the actual card, by using the Approval Notice as legal evidence of work authorization. 
Question: My green card expired in july and I want to file for my citizenship before the cost increases. But I need to extend my green card for another 10 years so I can get my drivers license renewed in a few months before it expires. Is there still time for me to get the renewal approved so I can file the citizenship application before the fees go up? I just went through my wallet to look for something and realized that the card expired and now I am panicking, what should I do?
Answer: That is a great question. No need to panic, we can file to renew your green card and then for your naturalization before the USCIS filing fees increase. There is no requirement that your renewal be approved before filing for your citizenship. Once the renewal is filed and USCIS resumes regular full services, you can call the USCIS 800# and make an appointment to get an extension sticker on your expired green card so you have evidence of your legal residency. But right now, due to the pandemic, it’s nearly impossible to get an appointment at the local USCIS office. However, you are still a legal U.S. resident, even without the extension sticker. Unfortunately, due to USCIS processing delays, it is now taking up to a year for green card renewals. So you may actually become a U.S. citizen long before your residency card is renewed!
Question: I am a US citizen and after waiting all these months my wife finally got her appointment rescheduled at the embassy next week. We were looking over the list of things she needs to bring with her and it says she needs to take a ds260 confirmation or something like that. We are really confused and don’t know what that is. Did we ever get that or do we need to do something to apply for that? We are so worried she wont have everything and there will be more delays can you please help us with this?
Answer: No problem, you can relax, it is something very simple and easy to get. In the beginning stage of NVC processing, your wife had to log in to the CEAC system to complete and submit the online DS260 Immigrant Visa form. Once she submitted it, she was given the option to either printout or save a copy of the DS260 confirmation page after submission. To get a duplicate, simply log in to the CEAC system, select the immigrant visa form, then review the form, go to the very end and you will find the option to resend the DS260 confirmation page to your wife’s email or print it out so she can take it with her. Problem solved! 
Now More Than Ever – Protect Yourself By Becoming A U.S. Citizen!

These days it’s getting more and more common to hear about U.S. Residents who have lived in the U.S. for nearly all their lives being deported because of some stupid criminal incident that happened when they were younger. 

Under previous administrations, Residents (green card holders) who broke the law had a chance to make amends and still stay in the U.S. through cancellation of removal or other means. 
The current filing fee for a residency case, including the family petition, application to adjust status to residency, and request for a work and travel permit is $1,760. On October 2nd, the new fee for the same applications will be over a thousand dollars more, soaring to $2,830! Once the increase goes into effect, the only way for a couple filing a marriage residency case to reduce the cost of filing in the future will be to file the family and residency applications (I-130 $560 & I-485 $1130) alone, which will cost $1,690 and either forego filing for a work permit, which is an additional $550 and/or travel permit for $590. But for most immigrants who must work during the residency process and need to file a request for a work permit, the cost for process without the travel permit will be $2,240.

Naturalization will also be very costly beginning October 2nd, increasing from the current fee of $725 to $1,170! So, residents should give themselves an early Christmas or Birthday present of U.S. Citizenship before the prices go up. 

Final Fees Increase Rule
The USCIS announcement advises employers that an Approval Notice can be used for valid employment (and I-9 purposes) in place of the actual physical EAD, which  is normally required. Employers will need to re-verify the employment eligibility of these individuals by December 1, 2020. Employers required to verify employment eligibility of workers can now use the approval notice itself as verification of eligibility for Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, and list it as a C #7 document that establishes employment authorization issued by the Department of Homeland Security pursuant to 8 C.F.R. 274a.2(b)(1)(v)(C)(7). Individuals who have received a USCIS approval notice, but not the actual work permit should printout the USCIS announcement and take it to their employer in order to be eligible to work. 

USCIS announcement and printout the details to give to your employer 
USCIS Begins Sending Out Rescheduled Biometrics Appointments
The USCIS has finally begun sending out notices to immigrants to reschedule previously cancelled appointments for biometrics, where fingerprint and digital photos are taken at local USCIS offices. 

New notices include a short one-page questionnaire which requests general information from the applicant which should be completed prior to and turned in at the appointment. Immigrants must wear a mask when entering the USCIS building. No family members will be allowed to accompany the applicant. If you need to reschedule your appointment due to illness or other causes, make sure and tick off the reschedule request and send the request to the address on the notice. 
But under Trump immigration policies, more Residents than ever are being deported, including those with old criminal convictions who had previously received cancellation of removal issued by a federal immigration judge. It is hard to imagine but if Trump wins the election and gets another four years in office, immigration policies will get even tougher. So increasingly, even those with Green Cards no longer feel safe. That is why it is so important for Residents who qualify to take advantage of the ultimate safeguard to living the American dream – Naturalization. Becoming a U.S. Citizen with all its benefits and protections is the best way to safeguard your life and liberty in the U.S.. U.S. Citizens cannot be deported for any reason, unless they lied on their Naturalization application. 

For many, the only reason for delay is the high cost of the USCIS filing fee of $725. But consider that the fees will soon dramatically increase to over a thousand dollars beginning in October. So although it may not seem like it, filing for naturalization now is a really good deal. And the benefits far outweigh the sacrifice of cutting back on other expenses to save the necessary fees. Give it as a gift to yourself or to others!

Here’s a few of the main benefits of becoming a U.S. Citizen: 

No risk of Deportation from the U.S.. Even though Residents have legal status in the U.S., they can still be deported in certain circumstances. Even one serious criminal incident by a Resident who has never done anything wrong in the past, however unintentional, can result in removal from the U.S.. U.S. citizens who are convicted of any crime, no matter how serious, cannot be deported. Remember, no one ever thinks they will be convicted of a crime, until they are.

Benefits of a U.S. Passport. Residents may still need to obtain a visa to visit many countries around the world. However, U.S. citizens can travel to a majority of foreign countries without the need for a visa and receive easier entry through foreign borders as well. Another benefit for parents with minor children under age 18 is the ability of your children to automatically naturalize and become U.S. Citizens at the same time and you.

Ability to vote, obtain federal jobs, government benefits and even run for Public Office. Only U.S. Citizens are allowed to vote and even Naturalized U.S. citizens can run for most elected public offices (except the presidency). Similarly, certain federal jobs require U.S. Citizenship and certain benefits are only available to U.S. Citizens.

Ability to sponsor more Family Members. Becoming a U.S. Citizen allows you to sponsor your parents, married children and siblings. Similarly, immigration waiting lines are eliminated for spouses and minor children.

Ability to take long trips outside the U.S. Residents must be very careful about the amount of time they spend abroad and are often fearful of staying outside the U.S. for too long a time. Those who remain outside the U.S. for 180 to 364 days can be challenged by immigration officials about whether or not they reside in the U.S.. Those who remain outside for 365 days or more risk losing their Green Card. U.S. Citizens, however, can remain outside the U.S. indefinitely and still retain all the benefits of citizenship. 

With all these benefits, it simply does not make sense to delay filing for Naturalization. Family members looking for a great Birthday, Anniversary or early Christmas Gift should consider paying the $725 USCIS filing fee for a loved one to apply for Naturalization! That’s a gift that keeps giving and lasts for a lifetime, how many other gifts can you say that about?

This means filing each case properly and enclosing form G-1145 with each application separately, (by placing one form G-1145 on top of each separate form in the package), in order to receive notification by the USCIS once the case is received and being provided with a case number via text or email. For instance, when an applicant is filing for residency, generally the application package will include several separate application forms, usually including form I-485, form I-765 and form I-131, which would necessitate a separately completed form G-1145 being placed on top of each form, so three (3) in total. This is a free service provided by the USCIS and very important to have proof of receipt and the case number for each application filed in case the actual USCIS I-797 Receipts for the filing are lost in the mail or otherwise not received. Having the case numbers allows applicants to call the USCIS 800# and request duplicate receipts by mail once the initial receipts have not been received within 30 days of filing. Receiving the case numbers via text or email also allows applicants to sign up for Email Status updates on their cases through the USCIS My Case Status program. Once registered and the case number(s) entered into the system, the USICS will automatically email the applicant notifications and updates on any actions take to keep applicants informed about their case status. So don’t lose track of your case after you file it, sign up and stay informed!