Immigration Questions: (954) 382-5378
POSTING DATE: September 16, 2019
Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter © 2011 - 2019
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Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter
Question: Me and my husband had our immigration interview last week and I got a paper that says I only get a 2 years residency! I don’t understand, why isn’t my green card forever? We are really confused about this. Maybe we filed the papers wrong, please help us if you can. Thanks.
Answer: That’s a great question. Foreign spouses of U.S. Citizens who has been married for less than two years at the time of their residency interview, only receive a two-year Conditional Resident status, rather than the full 10 year Permanent Residency that other U.S. Residents who obtain a Green Card through family members, employment or other means receive. This is meant to prevent marriage immigration fraud. Under the regulations, the foreign and U.S. Citizen spouses must file a request for removal of the conditional status (Form I-751) within the 90 day period prior to the conditional Green Card expiration. In order to qualify for removal of the conditional status, a couple must continue not only to be married, but also to live together as a husband and wife. The removal of condition request must be submitted with extensive supporting documentary evidence that the couple has and continues to live together in a real marriage. One of the biggest misconceptions that conditional residents have is the belief that as long as they remain “married” to the U.S. Citizen spouse, but not actually living together, they will still qualify. Conditional Residents can file a removal request without the U.S. Citizen spouse in cases where the couple has divorced, or where there is documented domestic violence, or when a spouse is widowed. However, the burden of proof is on the conditional resident spouse to provide the USCIS with extensive evidence that prior to the divorce, domestic violence or death of the U.S. Citizen, the couple were living together in a real marriage
Hurricane Dorian Should Remind Immigrants
To Keep Immigration Documents Safe!
Immigration How To:
How Do I Know When I Can Immigrate To The U.S.?
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.
The recent near miss by Hurricane Dorian to Florida and other states and the terrible devastation it caused to the Bahamas should serve as a reminder to all Immigrants to safeguard their immigration and other important documentation to prevent potential loss due to natural disasters such as hurricanes and water damage.
When a storm hits, there are more important things to think about than saving documents, like saving lives and keeping out of harm’s way. So the time to protect your vital documents is now, before the next threat is on the horizon. Here are just basic steps you can take to keep your documents safe:
You Passed Your Naturalization Interview, What Happens Now?
Once you attend your Naturalization interview and your case 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. Within days to a few weeks, you will receive your swearing in ceremony notice in the mail. In some cases, the USCIS officer will give it to you the same day as your interview.
Question: I got my green card 2 months ago from my eldest daughter who married an American many years ago. I have a younger daughter and son who are in their 20’s that I want to sponsor, but I don’t know if I should file for them now or wait until I get my citizenship, which ever time is shorter.
Answer: As long as the children you want to sponsor are single, you can sponsor them now while you are still a U.S. Resident. The waiting line for an adult, single child of a U.S. Resident and U.S. Citizen is similar, 6-7 years. The main difference is that if the adult child marries before the U.S. Resident parent Naturalizes, the immigrant visa is automatically cancelled. On the other hand, adult children of U.S. Citizens who marry, still remain eligible, they just move from the F1 Immigration category to the F3, which currently has a waiting line of about 12 years.
Government Plans To Review Five Years Of Social Media
For Residency & Naturalization Applicants
Question: I came to the U.S. along with my parents when I was 9 years old when they came for a visit with family we have in florida. The visa ended but my parents had us stay in the U.S. anyway. When DACA came along I qualified, so I have been on that for many years now. I met my boyfriend last year and now we are getting serious and want to get married. He was born in the U.S.. My question is, can you apply for my green card once we get married even though I am on DACA? Will I lose my DACA status and work permit? How long is the process? Thanks for explaining the process to us.
Answer: Yes, DACA (Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals) applicants are eligible to apply for Green Cards just like any other immigrant. As long as you entered the U.S. legally and were inspected by an Immigration officer, you are eligible to apply for U.S. Residency inside the U.S.. Since you came with your parents on a legal visitor visa, you entered the U.S. legally. You will need to have your I-94 card in order to prove to the USCIS that you entered the country legally. If you have lost your I-94 card, we can apply on your behalf for a replacement card before filing your Residency application. Once you get married, we can file your residency adjustment of status application and you can use your current DACA work authorization until your new work authorization is approved. It generally take between 8-10 months these days under the spousal residency process for you to receive your Green Card.
Beware – Information Provided On Consular Visa Applications
Can Later Be Used Against Residency Applicants
Many Immigrants believe that the information they provide on the application for a nonimmigrant visa (called DS160) abroad is just a one time thing and somehow disappears once they are issued or denied a U.S. visa. Most are not aware that the information provided when applying for non-immigrant visas at consulates abroad can later be used against them during an immigrant visa or residency interview.
Problem issues related to consular visa applications usually arise when an immigrant fails to reveal or conceals information about family members living in the U.S.. i.e., that a brother, sister, parent, fiancée, and/or spouse is living in the U.S..
The Department of Homeland Security recently announced that it plans to review five years of online social media for immigrants seeking residency, citizenship, asylum and other benefits.
The government plans to require login ID information for social media sites including: Ask.fm, Douban, Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, LinkedIn, MySpace, Pinterest, QZone (QQ), Reddit, Sina Weibo, Tencent Weibo, Tumblr, Twitter, Twoo, Vine, VKontakte, Youke, and YouTube.
New USCIS forms which will require social media information include: Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status for those applying for a green card through USCIS, Form I-751, Petition to Remove the Conditions on Permanent Residence for certain marriage-based green card beneficiaries;Form I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status for EB-5 green card beneficiaries; and Form N-400 naturalization applications.
Applicants who use social media, yet fail to list the required information on USCIS application forms may delay case processing and even receive application denials.
Other problematic issues involve providing false information about past visa refusals, past criminal activity or convictions, date of birth and information about current and past marriages. These discrepancies can often come back to “haunt” an immigrant later, when he or she is applying for an immigrant visa or residency in the U.S. and is then required to provide documentation to prove eligibility. Information provided at the residency stage with conflicts with the old visa application can result in a finding of “misrepresentation”, which can make an immigrant ineligible to immigrate to the U.S..
U.S. visa policies are very strict and have become even more onerous under Trump administration rules. As a result, individuals seeking to obtain a U.S. visa are often told by friends, family and visa services not to list relatives they have in the U.S. since the fact that they have family members living in the U.S. will result in a denial if their visa, which can be true. Similarly, visa applicants who list that they are married are often more likely to be issued a visa than single applicants, since the consular officer believes that if the applicant has a spouse residing abroad, the applicant is more likely to return to their home country and not over stay their visa in the U.S.
The problem comes later when an immigrant is sponsored by a family member who is in the U.S. and was not listed on his or her application. For instance, an applicant has a parent who is a U.S. Citizen living in the U.S.. The applicant does not list that the parent is a U.S. Citizen in the U.S.. Then the parent later sponsors the child to immigrate to the U.S.. Failure to list the parent’s immigration status in the U.S. is likely going to result as a finding of misrepresentation on the child’s part and will likely prevent the child from being eligible to immigrate to the U.S..
Similarly, if an applicant for a non-immigrant visa lists themselves as married on the visa application, then is later sponsored by a U.S. Citizen or Resident spouse or other family member, in all cases the immigrant will be required to provide official governmental evidence of the marriage or divorce. If the immigrant fails to do so because they were in fact never married, a finding of misrepresentation will likely result in immigrant visa or residency denial based upon fraud. Importantly, even if visa service prepares and files a visa application, the applicant themselves is held responsible for all answers and any discrepancies later found on the application.
There are waivers available to individuals in very limited circumstances, which act as a forgiveness for the fraud or misrepresentation, and allow entry to the U.S. However, these waivers are highly discretionary and can often be very difficult, if not impossible to obtain. So the moral of the story is, never lie or omit information on a DS160 application, since even a slight misrepresentation can prevent an applicant from every visiting or immigrating to the U.S. in the future.
1) Copy and Scan Documents: Be sure that you always make a copy of the entire immigration petition and supporting documentation BEFORE sending to the USCIS and make copies of all receipts, notices and correspondence to and from the USCIS as well. Similarly, make copies of Birth, Marriage & Citizenship Certificates, Divorce Decrees, Green Cards, Passports, I-94 cards, Driver’s License, home and car insurance, car registration, healthcare cards, mortgage statements and other important papers. If you have a scanner, scan all your documents and save them on an online “cloud” like carbonite, even a FREE service like dropbox. If you don’t have a scanner, take your documents to a place like Office Depot and have them make a scan copy for you. As a last resort, you can take clear pictures of your documents using your cell phone, with each in a single photo, but this is not the best option, only use it in an emergency.
2) Original Documents: Originals should be kept safely together in a file and enclosed in a zip-lock bag or other waterproof container or safety deposit box at your local bank.
3) Document Copies: Copies of all your documents should also be placed in a zip lock bag and should be easily accessible. Its also a good idea to give copies of your vital immigration documents to relatives to safeguard for you as well.
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
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: www.socialsecurity.gov. 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!
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. You can get a link to the current Visa Bulletin