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POSTING DATE: March 18, 2019
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Questions & Answers
This Week's Immigration News
Question: I have a question. I am jamaican. My dad got his citizenship in 2009 when I was already over 30 years old. In 2010 he filed to sponsor me and my husband and our 3 year old daughter. But a few years ago I got divorced and then remarried last year. We have a new baby on the way. My concern it that my current husband and expected child won’t be able to immigrate with me because they were not named in the immigration application my dad filed for me. Is there any way we can amend it and add my new husband and later my baby or does my dad have to file a new case for us all over again? Thank you for taking my question.
Answer: As the married daughter of a U.S. citizen, you are in the F3 immigration category, which includes your spouse and minor children under age 21. It does not matter who your spouse is at the time the family petition was filed by your dad, only who you are married to at the time the visa becomes available when it’s time to immigrate to the U.S.. Right now, there are Immigrant Visas in the F3 category for the year 2006. Since your dad filed for you in 2010, you still have four or more years to wait. Once the time has come to immigrate, you, your husband and all minor children will be able to immigrate to the U.S. along with you. So don’t worry, your dad does not need to reapply for you. I hope this was helpful to you.
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How Do I Pay My USCIS Filing Fees By Credit Card?
Trump Proposes USCIS Filing Fees
Increase For Immigrants
New Trump administration proposal aims to slap a 10% fee increase on all immigration applications purportedly to reduce the U.S. budget deficit.
The 10% surcharge comes as part of Trump's Fiscal Year 2020 budget proposal, which claims it will raise $5 billion over the next ten years. Trump’s budget proposal will be considered by congress for the new fiscal year which begins on October 1, 2019 and its unclear whether the Democratically held House of Representatives will agree to any measure which specifically targets immigrants for fees increases.
House Democrats introduced a new Immigration Bill last week to give legal status and eventual U.S. Citizenship to Dreamers under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, as well as those holding Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) status.
The new measure, called the Dream and Promise Act of 2019 would provide a pathway to citizenship for eligible Dreamers who entered the U.S. under the age of 18 and who have been in the U.S. continuously for at least four (4) years prior to the date of the bill’s enactment. For instance, if the law were to pass on April 1, 2019, those who had entered the U.S. under age 18 on or before April 1, 2015 would be eligible.
New Immigration Bill Aims To Give Green Cards
And Citizenship To Dreamers And TPS Holders
Question: I was working in new York for some time many years ago on a work visa and had my daughter there, who is an American citizen. We left and came home and now she is getting ready for high school. My question is whether I can move to the us with my daughter so she can attend high school in America? Is there a special visa that allows parent of citizens to live in the states with their kids? I would need to work so I could support her there as well.
Answer: Unfortunately, there is special visa which allows foreign parents of U.S. Citizens to live in the U.S. with their American born children. Once a child reaches age 21, they can sponsor their parents, but not before that. You might consider applying for a student type visa, which would allow you to attend school in the U.S., but you would not be allowed to work initially. Some F-1 students are eligible to work on campus after a year or so and most can receive a one year work permit called “Optional Practical Training” (OPT) which allows them to work once they graduate with at least an Associate’s Degree or above.
Difficulties In Obtaining Documents From the USCIS
Immigrants often do not recognize how important it is to maintain immigration documentation until there is a desperate need for critical documents which have been lost, stolen or destroyed.
Many Immigrants believe that the USCIS maintains complete files with visa, residency and citizenship information and approvals, which can be easily accessed once the need arises - and as logical as that is, it is incorrect.
The USCIS now allows most Immigration application fees to be paid using a credit card. To use the new service, applicants must download and complete form G-1450, then place the completed and signed form on the top of the application to be paid by credit card. Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover and prepaid cards are all accepted. However, note that and a credit card payment cannot be combined with a check or money order to make the required USCIS filing fee on one application. For instance, if the Naturalization application filing fee of $725 is to be paid using a credit card, the payment cannot be broken up between a combination of a credit card and a check. The entire payment must be made by either credit card or check.
There is no requirement that Dreamers currently hold DACA status. Under the plan, Dreamers would receive immediate conditional Resident status and would need to complete education, employment, or military requirements in order to receive Permanent Residency status, then U.S. Citizenship after five (5) years. Some estimates claim that passage of the measure could provide residency status to as many as 2.5 immigrants.
From this point, there are still many hurtles the proposed law will need to pass before it can become law. Experts believe it will pass the House easily, but may run into a roadblock in the Republican controlled Senate. You can show your support for the Dream and Promise Act of 2019 by contacting your congressperson.
Understanding How Children Qualify For Automatic Citizen
One of the most important questions parents often ask about naturalization is whether their children will automatically receive U.S. Citizen along with them. The answer depends upon several factors, including how old the children will be by the time the parent is sworn in as a U.S. Citizen.
Under the Child Citizenship Act, U.S. Resident children who are under age 18 automatically obtain U.S. Citizenship when a biological parent Naturalizes (is sworn in as a new U.S. Citizen). Similarly, children of U.S. Citizens who immigrate to the U.S. from abroad and enter the U.S. before turning age 18, become automatic U.S. Citizens as well, upon entry to the U.S..
Qualifying children must be under age 18 at the time their parent actually naturalizes (takes the Oath), not the date the parent files for Naturalization. As a result, parents should very carefully plan the date of filing for Naturalization to ensure that they will complete the process before their child(ren) reach age 18. Figuring about 12 months to take into account any USCIS processing delays is reasonable, under current lengthy Naturalization processing times, since even if the child is one day over age 18, they become ineligible for automatic citizenship.
When children become U.S. Citizens through this process, the USCIS does not automatically issue a Naturalization Certificate, however, in reality, none is required, since applying for a U.S. Passport is all that is necessary to prove the child’s new U.S. Citizenship status. To obtain the child’s U.S. Passport, in addition to other information, the U.S. Passport office requires a copy of the parents’ Naturalization Certificate and proof that the child is in the legal custody of and actually resides with his or her U.S. Citizen parent in order to qualify.
USCIS Resumes Premium Processing For All H1B Petitions
The USCIS announced last week that it would resume its premium processing service again for all H-1B applications effective Tuesday, March 12, 2019. Premium processing (form I-907) services provides fifteen (15) day expedited processing of work/employment based application for an additional fee of $1,410. It is not available to family-based case types.
As with previous years, it is expected that the USCIS will suspend premium processing for all new H-1B cap applications filed beginning April 1, 2019.
Question: Me and my wife came up here to visit on a visa about ten years ago and decided to stay. My son went to high school and then on to college where he met his wife, who is a citizen. He went through the immigration process and just got his citizenship last month. He plans to file for my wife and I, but we have some concerns first. My wife says that since we have been working illegally, we wont be able to get a green card, so should we say we have not been working? My son lives in Georgia and we live here in florida, do we need to move up there with him or just file the papers in Georgia instead of florida? Based upon your experience, is there any other problems we might have since we have overstayed in the us so long? Thank you.
Answer: Not to worry, under Immigration regulations, Parents/Spouses and Minor children of U.S. Citizens are “Immediate Relatives” and as long as they entered the U.S. legally (meaning being inspected by an immigration officer), then even if the I-94 period of stay expires and they become “out of legal status”, they can still obtain U.S. Residency through their U.S. citizen child (age 21 or older). Similarly, the law forgives immediate relatives for working illegally while in the U.S.. Since you live in Florida, we would be filing your petition using your Florida address. Parents are not required to live at the same address or even the same state as their sponsoring children. However, if you are scheduled for a residency interview, your son should travel to Florida to accompany you. The USCIS had waived Interviews for most parents for the past few years. Trump initially reversed that and began requiring such interviews, but seems to have begun waiving them again. Let me know if you would like me to handle your residency case.
In fact, obtaining copies of immigration documentation can take up to six months or more through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and there is no guarantee that copies of all documents filed with the USCIS will be received. For instance, a FOIA request will not allow you to obtain copies of Receipts and Approval Notices, generally only copies of an immigration applications and supporting documentation. In order to obtain a duplicate copy of an Approval Notice, Form I-824 must be filed for each Approval Notice requested with a $465 filing fee for each one! Further, it can also take up to six months to receive the requested duplicate.
Copies of immigration receipts, notices and I-94 cards are important because in most immigration cases filed for U.S. Residency, Citizenship and family petitions for relatives, the USCIS requires that documentation to establish qualification is submitted along with the application.
For instance, when a U.S. Citizen has filed a family petition for a relative and the relative is now filing for a Green Card (adjustment of status), he or she is required to provide the USCIS with a copy of the I-130 Receipt/Approval Notice along with the Green Card application, showing that the relative petition was approved. However, if the Receipt/Approval Notice has been lost, the USCIS does not automatically obtain the relevant information from its files. Instead, it issues a “Request For Evidence” directing the applicant to provide that documentation with a deadline of 87 days to do so. In such cases, the immigrant must file Form I-824 to obtain a duplicate of the required notice and wait until it has been received. In cases where the I-824 processing exceeds the 87 day deadline, the USCIS can deny the entire case for failure to respond to the request. The immigrant can send a copy of the I-824 Notice of Action receipt in response to the request, asking for additional time to respond, however, there is no guarantee that the extension of time will actually be granted.
Another example is that of the all important I-94 (Arrival/Departure) card, which establishes that an immigrant entered the U.S. legally. In most cases, many immigration benefits are unavailable to individuals who are not able to provide a copy of their I-94 card to the USCIS at the time of application. In such cases, Form I-102 to obtain a duplicate I-94 must be filed with a $445 filing fee! Similar situations occur when naturalization certificates are lost or destroyed, however processing times for duplicates can take up to one year or more. Final note, the sooner lost documents are replaced, the better. At this time in history, lack of documentation may affect one's ability to drive, to travel, or to demonstrate the ability to work legally in the U.S., so protect your status, by keeping your immigration documents safe!
Also, USCIS filing fees and biometrics fee for each form can be paid together on one form. For instance form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, the filing fee is $ 455 and the Biometrics fee is $85, so the entire USCIS filing fee of $540 if paid by credit card, can be paid using the same form G-1450. For Immigration cases which contain multiple applications with separate filing fees, a separate Form G-1450 should be used for each application requiring a separate USCIS filing fee. For instance, in a typical residency case, the form I-130 filing fee is $535 and the form I-485 filing fees is $1,225 which includes filing fees for forms I-765 & I-131. If you only fill out one G-1450 for $1,760, your case will be rejected.
Before sending your Immigration application with a credit card payment, be sure to make certain that you have enough credit left on your account to cover the payment, otherwise, the USCIS will reject your application.