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Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter
POSTING DATE: November 13, 2017
Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter © 2011 - 2017
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Questions & Answers
This Week's Immigration News
Question: My Mothers brother sponsored her and our family to immigrate to the U.S. in 2000 and at that time, me and my sisters were under 21. But by the time of my mom’s interview at the U.S. Embassy many years later, all of us kids were in our late 20s and were not allowed to immigrate to America along with our mom and dad. I saw something about a Child Protection Act that would help us kids to immigrate to the U.S. with our parents even though we were over 21 at the time they got their residency – is that true?
Answer: The “aging out” of children is a common problem in immigration. The Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) is meant to protect children and it does in some cases, if the CSPA calculation brings the child to a technical age below 21.
To calculate this: #1 To take the date the I-130 was approved (I-130 Approval date) and subtract it from the “priority date” (date the I-130 was filed) on the I-130 petition I-797 Notice of Action. Then, #2 at the time the priority date became current (you can look this up on the Visa Bulletin site), subtract the amount of time calculated in #1 from your age at that time. If you were under age 21 at that time, then the CSPA should have protected you. The consular officers are required to use the CSPA when determining immigrant visa eligibility. We routinely provide the USCIS and National Visa Center with the CSPA calculation for eligible children over age 21 during immigrant visa processing to ensure that the child remains a minor for immigration purposes. You can get free information about child “Age out” issues and how the “Child Status Protection Act”, may benefit your minor child by calling our office at: (954) 382-5378.
Helpful Immigration Tips You Can Use
Immigration How To:
How Do I Replace A Lost I-94 Card?
Tips On Making A USCIS Infopass Appointment
An Infopass appointment at your local USCIS can be a very convenient way to obtain additional information, find out the status of a pending immigration case or even get a temporary U.S. Residency stamp or sticker while waiting for your Green Card to be replaced or renewed.
But often, actually getting an Infopass appointment scheduled can be quite a challenge at some busy local USCIS offices, causing extreme frustration and anxiety.
USCIS Provides Residency Extension “Stickers”
To Green Card Renewal Applicants
Current USCIS processing times for Green Card renewal applications (Form I-90), can exceed 6-8 months, often causing problems for Residents who require proof of legal immigration status for Driver’s License and other renewals. As a result of these long delays, local Field Offices are authorized to provide Residents with a Green Card extension sticker, affixed to their expired cards, to provide proof of their continuing legal Residency status in the U.S..
An I-94 is a small slip of paper which was, until recently issued to all international visitors and visa holders entering the U.S.. Officially called the Arrival/Departure card, the I-94 contained the date of entry into the U.S. as well as the date by which the individual must depart from the U.S..
Often, individuals do not understand how important this little card is until it is too late.
Government Announces TPS For Nicaraguans Will End January 2019
In a controversial decision, the Department of Homeland Security announced that the TPS program for Nicaraguans will end on January 5, 2019. Temporary Protected Status (TPS) gives certain foreign nationals temporary permission to live and work in the U.S., rather than having to return home to countries which have experienced a natural disaster, armed conflict, or other emergency situations.
Hondurans and Nicaraguans became eligible for TPS in 1998 following the devastation caused by Hurricane Mitch in Central America. TPS for Hondurans, Haitians, and Salvadorans will expire in 2018 unless the Administration decides to extend it.
The repeated message “Currently, there are no available appointments. Please check again tomorrow.” can make you want to scream, so here are a few tips:
-Appointment are only available for two weeks in the future
-Persistence breeds success – visit the site often during the day, since other customers may cancel their Infopass appointments, opening a slot for you
-Login to the Infopass during off-peak hours, early in the morning and late at night
-If repeated attempts to make an appointment at your local office fail, in many circumstances you can make an appointment at another field office within a reasonable distance
-Once you are successful in making your Infopass appointment, make sure you print out a copy of your confirmation to present at your appointment. If you need to reschedule or cancel an appointment, you can do so using the “Manage an Appointment” option.
It’s important to know that your Infopass appointment will be with an immigration services officer (ISO), not an adjudications officer, meaning that the ISO won’t be the one working on your case, but can access some information about your case in the computer. If your case has been pending over the normal processing time, you can ask the ISO to request action or status update on your case, then make another Infopass appointment to see if any action was taken on the matter in 30 days.
If your case is not pending at the local USCIS and is instead being processed at the National Benefits Center or another Service Center, you can call National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 to request a status update or file an ERequest to get status on cases which have been pending over the normal processing time.
Finally, if your case has been dragging on for extended periods of time and your Infopass inquiries have not yielded positive results, you can always contact your local Congressional office to request assistance. You will be asked to complete and sign a form and an inquiry will be made on your behalf. You can normally expect a response from the Congressional office within about 30 days, in a letter telling what the USCIS status is. A word of caution: many cases which have been pending for long periods of time have been singled out for supervisory review, often because there are doubts about an Immigrant’s eligibility. For instance, a marriage immigration case which has been pending for several years following one or more interviews and no decision has been made. In such a case, if the couple has since split up, the case will likely to be denied and rushing the adjudication can result in a quick denial and Notice to Appear (NTA) in immigration court before a judge and eventual deportation. Similarly, making inquiries a residency case filed by an Immigrant with a criminal record or by an applicant who is not in legal status which is pending for review before a final decision can be made may yield a quick denial and NTA. In some circumstances, having a bad case take a long time for adjudication is a good thing, allowing the Immigrant to continue to live and work in America, while leaving open the possibility for some kind of immigration reform in the future. Rushing a bad case, often has bad consequences. Good to know!
USCIS Begins Applying Strict Requirements For Attestation of Translations
Under Immigration regulations, all foreign language documents submitted with an immigration application must include a complete translation into English and a certification from the translator indicating that the translation is complete and accurate, attesting to his or her competence as a translator, called an “Attestation of Translation”.
But in real practice, the USCIS has never strictly required such attestations and instead just accepting the English translation alone. However now, it appears that the USCIS may be applying a more strict, literal application of the law and in some cases has begun issuing denials of pending cases which do not include a complying attestation of translation. As a result, applicants should be cautious to include the correctly worded attestation for all English translations, including those which are translated by the applicant or a family member.
Here's a sample Translation Certification:
Certification of Translation
I Jose Gomez, hereby certify that I am fluent in the English and Spanish languages, and that the attached document is a complete and accurate translation of the document.
Typed Name: Jose Gomez
Address: 1234 Jones Street, Miami, Fl 33180
Question: I am a Green Card holder and I after I got married a few years ago, I filed for my wife who is in the Bahamas in August 2016. Its really hard for us to be separated and I have a full time job so I can’t just take off and stay with her there and she doesn’t have a U.S. Visa. My questions is, how much longer do we need to wait from here?
Answer: That’s a great question. Since you are a U.S. Resident filing for a Spouse, your wife is in the F2A Immigration Category for Spouses and minor children of U.S. Residents. Right now, as of November 1, 2017, there are Immigrant visas for I-130 petitions filed by Residents for their spouses in November 2015. Since you filed for your wife in August 2016, as long as the F2A category keeps moving forward, your wife will may need to wait another year or so before a visa will be available. You can keep checking in with our office and I will let you know what the waiting time is as time progresses.
You can also view the current Immigrant Visa waiting times by visiting the State Department's Visa Bulletin
Under this policy, USCIS personnel at USCIS Field Office Application Support Centers can provide extension stickers to Residents at the time of their Biometrics appointment.
The extension stickers are valid for nine (9) months. Residents who have already attended their Biometrics appointment and did not request or receive the extension sticker can make an INFOPASS appointment to return to the local USCIS office and receive the extension sticker at that time.
Make an Infopass Appointment at your local USCIS office:
In order to change immigration status inside the U.S. to any other immigrant or non-immigrant visa status, immigration regulations require that a copy of the I-94 be included with the application to establish eligibility. Foreign nationals must prove that they entered the U.S. legally and were inspected by an immigration officer in order to qualify to file for immigration status in the U.S.. Those who did not enter the U.S. legally are generally not entitled to obtain any new immigration status in the U.S., even when married to a U.S. citizen unless a Waiver is obtained.
If your I-94 card is lost, stolen or seriously damaged, you can apply to replace it by filing Form I-102, Application for Replacement/Initial Arrival-Departure Document. You also may file Form I-102 if you wish to receive a replacement I-94 card with corrected information on it — for example, if the immigration officer spelled your name wrong on the initial I-94 card. The nonrefundable filing fee for Form I-102 is $445. It generally takes about 3-4 months to receive the I-94 replacement card in the mail.
Under the new electronic I-94 system implemented in 2013, international visitors are no longer issued paper I-94 cards upon entry into the U.S.. Instead, individuals are provided with instructions on accessing their I-94 records online and printing the I-94 card out from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency. You can visit the CBP site to print out your paper I-94 cards: