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This Week's Immigration News 
By Immigration Attorney Caroly Pedersen

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Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter ©  2011  - 2015 
For questions about U.S. Residency, Green Cards and Immigration Visas, Visit our Website at: or  call our office at: (954) 382-5378
Obtaining Proof of Residency While Waiting For Green Card Replacements and Renewals
U.S. Residents who have lost a Green Card or who’s Green Card requires renewal must apply for a replacement or renewed card with the USCIS (using form I-90). However, government processing times required to receive the new card can often take three months or more, which can be quite an inconvenience when a Resident needs proof of U.S. Residency to renew a Driver’s License, obtain a employment and even travel. 

As a result, Residents who have filed the request and received the USCIS Receipt Notice (called a “Notice of Action”) can obtain a temporary Residency stamp in their passport, called a “I-551” which provides proof of Residency status for up to one year.
Questions & Answers
Question: My husband and I got married more than six months ago. We got married in the US. However, I am a Jamaican and because of work... I have been in back in Jamaica. We want to start the process of applying for my residence so I can at least get a job start our lives together officially. We have been reading about the spousal visa and the green card. Is it that I have to be in the country of marriage to apply for the green card? Or could I apply for the spousal visa while I am in Jamaica? Please share your advice. How could we go about it? It would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Answer: As long as your husband is a U.S. Citizen, and your tourist visa is still valid, there are two options:

1) Adjustment of Status INSIDE the USA: As long as you have a U.S. Tourist visa and you are in the U.S., you can adjust status inside the U.S. and wait here to receive your Green Card. It takes about 3 months to receive your Work Permit and another 3-5 months for your Green Card.

2) Consular Processing OUTSIDE the USA: If your U.S. Tourist visa has expired or you want to wait outside the U.S. to process for your Green Card, the process takes about 6-8 months. You won’t receive a work permit, since you are not in the U.S., so you’ll need to wait until you receive your Immigrant visa approval in order for you to immigrate to the U.S. and receive your Green Card. 

Option #1 is always the best choice for spouses, since #2 consular processing can be very difficult for marriage cases and if your visa is denied, there are few options. Let us know if you want us to handle your Residency case.
New York Begins Issuing Municipal ID’s to Undocumented Immigrants Under The IDNYC program
Question: My brother applied for me in the Sibling F4 category in 2010 and my I-130 is approved. I am waiting my priority date. Mean while can I apply employment authorization or a Green Card since I am going to college here in US? Help!
Answer: Adult Immigrants who are sponsored by U.S. Citizen and Resident parents or siblings are not eligible for any immigration or work benefits in the U.S. until a visa becomes available to them and they complete the lengthy immigration process. Brothers and Sisters of U.S. Citizens are in the F4 Immigration Category, which has a line that is about 12-14 years long, because the yearly demand for visas for siblings far outweighs the availability of Immigrant Visas every year. Even siblings who are legally in the U.S. are not eligible for work permits, unless the particular visa they have allows them to work. F-1 student like yourself are eligible to work on campus after one year in some circumstances where financial hardship can be shown and upon graduation from a two, four or Master's or above degree program, F-1 students receive a work permit for at least one year, and in some STEM fields, for 29 months. Since your I-130 was filed in 2010, you will need to wait at least another 7 or more years. You might want to consider studying in STEM field which will allow you to obtain a work permit for 29 months upon graduation and to be sponsored by a U.S. company for a work visa and possible residency.  

You can learn more about obtaining a Green Card, Naturalization or sponsoring a family member 
by visiting our website at: or calling our office to schedule a free consultation at: (954) 382-5378.
New York launched its municipal IDNYC program last week to help the city's estimated half a million undocumented immigrants to obtain legal governmental identification. The free card allows residents of the city’s large immigrant population legal access to city services, financial institutions, libraries as well as free and discounted memberships to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and other government institutions.

“New Yorkers value equality, opportunity and diversity,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement to reporters.
Helpful Immigration Tips You Can Use
To obtain the stamp, Residents should go online and make an Infopass Appointment at their local USCIS office. If your circumstances are urgent, for instance your Driver’s License is expiring, and an Infopass Appointment is not available online, some USCIS offices will also serve walk-in customers. Generally, walk-in customers should go to their local office as early as 7am as possible to ensure acceptance.

Residents should bring the following documents to the USCIS when making the request: 

1) InfoPass appointment notice (if appointment was scheduled); 
2) Valid passport; 
3) USCIS Receipt Notice (called a “Notice of Action”) to prove that Form I-90 was filed and is pending;
4) Copy of your lost or expired Green Card, if available; 
5) Copy of your date-stamped Biometric appointment notice showing you had your biometrics taken if that is the case;
6) Proof of residence within the jurisdiction of the USCIS office, for instance, utility bill, valid driver’s license, etc.;
7) If you have an urgent situation and you plan to apply as a walk-in, you’ll need to bring documents to prove why you need the I-551 stamp on an emergency basis (i.e. airline ticket, flight itinerary, expired driver’s license, for travel: doctor’s letter or death certificate, along with evidence of the relationship to an ill or deceased relative; company letter if emergency travel is work-related, etc.); 

The USCIS Officer will schedule you to have your Biometrics taken (if you have not already done so), then once complete, will issue the I-551 stamp with a validity period of 6 to 12 months. 
Read The State Department’s Visa Bulletin - Released For February 2015
The Visa Bulletin released by the State Department each month details the current waiting times for Immigrant Visas in Family and Employment Immigrant Petition cases.

You can view the current Visa Bulletin for February 2015 by clicking on the link below:

February Visa Bulletin
Applications filed with the USCIS generally require that supporting documentation be submitted in order to prove eligibility. Such documents include Birth Certificates, Marriage Certificates, Divorce Decrees, Criminal documents, etc.

 The USCIS requires that all official documents be a copy of either the original, or of the certified copy of the original. 
Immigration How To:
How Do I Know When To Send Original Documents To The USCIS?
When Filing Applications With the USCIS - Never Send Original Supporting Documents
Applications filed with the USCIS generally require that supporting documentation be submitted in order to prove eligibility. Such documents include Birth Certificates, Marriage Certificates, Divorce Decrees, Criminal documents, etc. The USCIS requires that all official documents be a copy of either the original, or of the certified copy of the original. 

Never send original documentation to the USCIS unless specifically requested. Original or certified documents are generally only required to be provided to the USCIS officer during an interview. Therefore, if you send original document to the USCIS Service Center, you will no longer have the original document to bring with you as required to the interview at your local Field office. 

Finally, always make a copy of everything that you send to the USCIS for your records, otherwise, you have no proof of what you sent. Good luck!