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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

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Questions & Answers

Question: Hi! My aunt has filed a petition for her son who lives outside the USA since March 2010. On April 7, 2013 she received a notice from the USCIS saying that her case has been approved. Since this time, she has never received any letter from the USCIS or National Visa Center. Could you tell me what can she do? She is a resident and her son is 40 years old.
Answer: ​Due to the high demand for Immigrant visas to immigrate to the U.S. and the small number of visas available per year, most relatives sponsored by U.S. Citizens and U.S. Residents must wait in long lines for an Immigrant Visa to be available.

For Adult children of U.S. Residents, the waiting line is currently about 8-9 years long. Therefore, once the USCIS approves the I-130 Family Petition and issues the Approval Notice to the sponsoring parent, the case file is likely sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) and put on a shelf just waiting the many years for a visa to become available. Once the National Visa Center is notified by the Dept of State that a visa will be available soon, the NVC sends the sponsoring U.S. Resident parent a notification for payment of visa processing fees, which begins the final processing phase to prepare the case for the U.S. Consulate which will conduct the Immigrant Visa interview. 

Once the interview is complete, Immigrant visa fees must be paid online and the officer sends the adult child a “package” to give the U.S. Immigration officers at the U.S. Port of Entry. Once the adult child enters the U.S. he or she is processed for Residency at the Airport and receives the Green Card in the mail within 15 – 30 days.
Helpful Immigration Hints You Can Use
Send USCIS Applications and Correspondence by U.S. Express Mail for easy tracking and delivery confirmation
Immigration How To:
How Do I Know If I Qualify To Apply For Early Naturalization?
Eligible U.S. Residents who are spouses of U.S. Citizens can apply for Naturalization early and obtain their U.S. Citizenship in only 2 years and 9 months.

Most U.S. Residents (Green Card holders) must wait for 4 years and 9 months before being eligible to apply for Naturalization. However, qualifying U.S. Residents who are married to U.S. Citizens are eligible to apply 2 years earlier, called “Early Naturalization”. To qualify under this expedited U.S. Citizenship process, a U.S. Resident must fall under what is commonly called the “3/3/3” rule. 1) The U.S. Resident must be married to their U.S. Citizen spouse for at least 3 years and 2) their U.S. Citizen spouse must have been a U.S. Citizen for at least 3 years and finally, the U.S. Resident must have held that status for at least 3 years (really 2 years and 9 months). So, as long as the U.S. Resident meets these requirements and is not only currently married to, but continues to reside in a real marriage with their U.S. Citizen spouse – they can apply for early naturalization… now you know ...
Immigration applications and any follow-up correspondence with the USCIS are such important matters, that you should take the additional step of sending these documents to the USCIS by a safe, quick method, which allows you to verify the date and time of delivery to the USCIS. This is especially critical when you have received a Request For Additional Evidence from the USCIS and must provide the requested documentation by a specified deadline. Many applicants do not know that if their response sent to the USCIS is postmarked before the deadline date, but is actually delivered and received by the USCIS after that date, the case is likely to be denied. 
The U.S. Designates Chile As A New “Visa Waiver” Country
Beginning May 1, 2014, Chile will now join 37 countries in the world which are designated as “Visa Waiver”, meaning that Nationals of these countries are not required to obtain U.S. Visas in order to visit the U.S.. Instead, Chileans and Nationals of other “Visa Waiver” countries must register and be approved through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) website, a Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) automated web-based system which determines the eligibility of Applicants to travel to the U.S. without a Visa for tourism or business. 

You can learn more about Family and Employment Visas by visiting our website or by calling our office at: (954) 382-5378.
The USCIS Advises DREAMers To Renew DA Status 120 Days Prior To Expiration
The USCIS has released recommendations for certain DREAMers who applied for DA status from June 15, 2012 until August 15, 2012, to renew their Deferred Action (DA) status and Work Authorization in order to avoid a lapse in permission to work. DREAMers should apply for renewal no later than 120 days prior to expiration. The process for renewal is identical to the initial process for DA status, including providing documentary proof of eligibility such as copies of school records and other additional evidence to demonstrate that the applicant has continued to maintain physical presence in the U.S. since being granted initial DA status. Those who apply later than 120 days prior to expiration risk losing Work Authorization. USCIS renewal Fees are $465, which includes both renewed DA status and Work Authorization. Applicants who are over age 31 are still eligible, as long as they were under age 31 when the policy became effective on June 15, 2012. The USCIS will issue new instructions for those who applied for DA status after August 15, 2012. 
Find out more about Visa Waivers:
State Department Visa Waiver Program
The down side for International visitors coming to the U.S. on a Visa Waiver is that once inside the U.S. they are not eligible to change or extend status and must leave the U.S. within 90 days. Its also important to know that Nationals of Visa Waiver countries who apply for a Visa at a U.S. Consulate abroad, (for instance an F-1 Student Visa) and are denied, lose Visa Waiver status and will not be approved through ESTA. 
Recommendation For Renewing DA Status:

Be sure to file your renewal no earlier or later than 120 days from the date your current DA card expires. If you submit your application too early, the USCIS will reject it and if you apply too late, your Work Authorization is likely to expire. If you are representing yourself, fully complete and submit the following forms and write “Renewal Request” in large letters on the bottom of each form:

Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival 
Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization
Form I-765WS
Money Order from your bank for the USCIS Filing Fee of $465 and

Provide extensive documentation which establishes your eligibility, including evidence that you:

Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
Came to the United States before age 16 
Entered the U. S. on or before June 15, 2007 and have continued to physically reside in the U.S. since time
Were present in the U. S. on June 15, 2012 and without legal immigration status
Are still in High School or GED program or possess a High School diploma or GED
Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors
USCIS Deferred Action Webpage
Dept of Homeland Security Extends TPS for Haitians
The Department of Homeland Security has extended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for qualifying Haitian Nationals who currently hold TPS status for an additional 18 months. The 60-day renewal registration period began on March 3, 2014 and runs through May 2, 2014. The 18-month extension also allows HaitianTPS “re-registrants” can also apply for Employment Authorization and will receive a new card with an expiration date of Jan. 22, 2016. To avoid a lapse in employment, registrants should apply for renewal immediately, rather than waiting until the end of the registration period. Applicants can re-register, by completing and submitting Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status and Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization along with a Biometrics fee of $85 and Employment Authorization renewal fee of $380. Those who do not desire to renew their EAD card still need to submit the Form I-765, but do not need to pay the $380 renewal fee.
The Visa Bulletin website publishes updated dates of visa availability for all family categories. Using the I-130 Approval Notice, there is a date called a “Priority Date” listed. When the Visa Bulletin reaches that date in the appropriate family category, a visa is available for the adult child. The Immigration Visa category for Adult, Single children of U.S. Residents is called “F2B”. Currently, this category has Immigrant visas available for I-130 petitions filed in July of 2006.  

Since your aunt is a Resident and her son is an adult in the F2B category, with a “Priority date” of 2010, he will need to wait at least another 4 years or so. Importantly, her son must remain “single”. If he marries, the I-130 filed on his behalf is cancelled, even if he married, then divorced.  

Visit the Dept of State’s Visa Bulletin:
Visa Bulletin

Read more information about family Immigrant Visa waiting lines:
Understanding Family Immigration Visa Waiting Lines
Not only is this a tragedy for the beneficiary of the immigration application, but in such instances, all the USCIS filing fees are lost, which in some cases can be thousands of dollars. Certified Mail is not delivered quickly and cannot be tracked online and other private courier services like Fed-ex cannot be delivered to the regular USCIS P.O. box address. 

So, since the USCIS is a government agency, like the U.S. Express Mail (U.S. Postal Service) The safest way to send applications/documents and to safeguard against the unfortunate situation above is to use the U.S. Express Mail next day service. The cost is about $15.00 and well worth it. You will receive a tracking# so you can go online and confirm delivery. Be sure to send any responses requested by the USCIS at least one week or more before the deadline. Also, make a copy of everything you send to the USCIS including the initial application, supporting documents, Money Order and all follow-up responses before sending to the USCIS and never send originals! Good luck!