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POSTING DATE: May 21, 2018
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Questions & Answers
This Week's Immigration News
Question: My brother filed for me in March 2011. The filing was approved in Jan 2015. The approval notice that was sent to him by mail was received and he seems to have lost it. Is it of any importance to have it once a visa number is available. If so should a replacement be requested. Thanks in advance for your advice.
Answer: No, it’s not really important to have the approval notice. Once an Immigrant visa becomes available to you in the F4 Sibling Immigration category in about 6+ years, the National Visa Center (NVC) will contact your brother to begin the process. However, it is extremely important that your brother keep the NVC informed of his address. Also, he should have the I-130 receipt with the case number on it so they can easily identify your case. Here is the contact information for the NVC: NVC telephone: (603) 334-0700. 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 midnight EST, Address for mailing correspondence National Visa Center Attn: WC 31 Rochester Avenue Suite 200 Portsmouth, NH 03801-2915.
If you want to request a replacement Approval Notice, you can file form I-824. The filing fee is $465. If your case receipt starts with MSC send to: USCIS PO Box 805887 Chicago, IL 60680-4120. If your case receipt starts with WAC send to: USCIS PO Box 21281 Phoenix, AZ 85036. I hope this is helpful to you.
Government Plans To “Recall” nearly 9,000 Newly Issued Green Cards!
Helpful Immigration Tips You Can Use...
Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter
The USCIS announced last week that it was recalling some 8,543 newly issued Green Cards due to a production error. The defective permanent Resident cards, issued between February and April 2018 to spouses of U.S. Citizens based on approved form I-751 petitions to Remove Conditions on Residence, have an incorrect “Resident Since” date.
As a result, the agency plans to send notices to Immigrants and their attorneys and to provide prepaid envelopes for use in sending the affected cards back to the USCIS or allow the cards to be returned to the local USCIS office.
U.S. Department of State Announces Visa Lottery Winners
On May 15, 2018, the U.S. Department of State released the results of the 2019 Visa Lottery, called the “Diversity Visa program”. It’s important to remember that since the program is now fully automated, winners do not receive a letter or email notification. The only way to find out whether or not you have won is through the official Electronic Entrant Status Check (ESC).
Another important thing for winners to understand is that while there are only 50,000 Immigrant Visas available, over 100,000 applicants are selected as “winners”. So being selected as a winner and being lucky enough to actually be issued an Immigrant Visa to obtain a Green Card are two different things.
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:
USCIS Begins Sending H-1B Cap Subject Petitions Back To Employers
The USCIS released a notice last week that it has completed acceptance of cap subject H-1B Visa petitions and issued receipts for those accepted during the random lottery. The agency plans to begin returning H-1B applications which were not selected in this year’s quota. However, due to the high volume of applications, they state that the agency cannot provide an exact timeframe for return of some 100,000 rejected cases.
As a result, employers will either receive a receipt notice or returned petition package within the next several weeks. The agency also plans to transfer some petitions initially filed with the California Service Center, to the Vermont Service Center for more efficiency in processing.
Avoid Filing For Immigration Benefits You Are Not Eligible For – Since You May Find Yourself Getting Deported Very Quickly Under Trump Immigration Policies!
Now more than ever, its vitally important that Immigrants fully understand their eligibility under immigration regulations before filing an immigration petition, since denied applications may now lead to swift removal from the U.S..
Under Obama’s lenient Immigration policies, only criminal aliens are given priority for deportation and most other Immigrants are largely left alone. However, under a Trump administration, Immigrants who are denied for Immigration benefits are automatically targeted for deportation.
The USCIS notification states that upon receipt of the returned defective card, it will send a correct replacement Green Card to each Immigrant within 15 days. If you received the recall notice, but need to travel, make an INFOPASS appointment at your local USCIS office to get a temporary residency stamp in your passport which will operate the same as a Green Card until you receive the new card, or call USCIS at 800-375-5283.
The reason for the selection of so many winners over the amount of visas available is that many “Entrants” either don’t qualify (for instance failing to possess the required educational or employment background) or simply fail to complete the visa process. So the best tip is always to apply early…don’t wait!
Finally - don’t fall prey to Scammers! Every year thousands of Entrants receive emails and letters from scammers pretending to be an official notification of winning the Visa Lottery and directing that money be wired to a bank account. Don’t be fooled! State Dept and USCIS fee payments are never made by wire. If you receive any written communications relating to winning the lottery or from the USCIS requesting fees which you are not absolutely familiar with, have an attorney take a look and let you know whether or not the notification is genuine. Better to be safe, than sorry…
Question: My husband is a US citizen and we have been married for 4 years now. My daughter has been living with her dad in Jamaica. Due to change in family circumstances, my 19 year old daughter wants to immigrate to the U.S. and start college, etc. My question is that I have not yet gotten my citizenship, so I am wondering if my husband can sponsor my daughter for her residency as well. He is her stepfather, but he never legally adopted her if that matters. Also, I read somewhere that if an American parent sponsors a child, the child automatically becomes a U.S. citizen, if they are a minor. Is that true?
Answer: No, Under the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, certain qualifying foreign-born children automatically acquire U.S. Citizenship from a parent, simultaneous with their grant of U.S. Residency (a Green Card). To qualify, a child has to have at least one biological U. S. Citizen parent (by birth or naturalization), be under 18 years of age, be a U.S. Resident and residing with the U.S. Citizen parent. Essentially, what this means is that Immigrant children in the U.S. and abroad, who are under age 18 and approved for Residency through a U.S. Citizen Parent, automatically become U.S. Citizens and can immediately apply for a U.S. Passport. However, the law does not extend to Immigrant children when the sponsoring U.S. Citizen is a step-parent, not biological parent, unless the child was legally adopted. It does, however, allow a step-parent who was married to the child’s biological parent before the child reached the age of 18 to qualify to sponsor the minor child up until the age of 20 for U.S. Residency.
So in your case, while your daughter can obtain U.S. Residency through her step-father, she does not qualify to automatically become a U.S. Citizen for two important reasons: 1) The U.S. Citizen sponsoring her is her step-father, not biological parent and 2) Your daughter is age 18 or older. I hope this was helpful to you
This may be especially harsh for those who engage in fake marriages and are denied for marriage fraud, as well as many Immigrants sponsored by family members who file for Residency in the U.S. after their I-94 stay has expired and are no longer eligible to adjust status in the U.S..It’s very important to understand that most adult family members sponsored by parents or siblings, who’s legal status in the U.S. has expired, are not eligible to file for residency in the U.S. without a Waiver, even after waiting for many years in the Family Immigrant Visa line. Presently, making the Residency application with the USCIS nearly always results in the receipt of a work permit and social security card, whether or not the applicant is really eligible for residency. It is only once the applicant attends his or her residency interview, that they learn they are not eligible because their I-94 has expired and they receive a denial. Under the old Obama policy, no removal action was normally taken against those denied for residency, even though technically, under the law, such Immigrants are deportable. However, under Trump such denials can result in the automatic initiation of removal proceedings against many Immigrants.
So the best advice is to absolutely avoid entering into a fake marriage, especially out of fear of possible Trump Immigration crack downs. I can guarantee that not only will you likely be denied a Green Card, but also likely deported and lose all hope of ever returning to the U.S. again. Best to stay safe….wait for real love and only then get married and file for Residency. Similarly, no Immigrant should ever apply for any Immigration benefit without having confirmation by an Immigration attorney of his or her eligibility. Understand that there is a big difference between simply filing for residency and actually being eligible for and receiving it. In all cases, the USCIS will accept your application fee and issue a receipt, that does not in any way mean your case will be approved.
Most Importantly, avoid immigration services and paralegals, since they often do not understand Immigration regulations or simply want to take your money and file Immigration applications that they know the Immigrant is not eligible for. These kinds reckless Immigration applications have resulted in many tragic consequences since Trump took office in 2017. There is no excuse now to remain ignorant about Immigration issues, or listen to advice from your friends or family – who have no idea what they are talking about.
Remember, doing nothing is much safer than filing for something you are not eligible for, since as soon as you apply for something, you immediately put yourself on the USCIS “radar”, when otherwise, you would have remained safely “anonymous”.
Be smart, educate yourself, have a free consultation with a qualified Immigration attorney before you file any application, even if you plan on filing the case yourself. We are here as a resource and most of us welcome the opportunity to review your Immigration circumstances for free and give you the best advice possible, so you don’t get yourself in an Immigration mess you won’t be able to get yourself out of.
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,
3) 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 How To:
How Do I Know If I Qualify To Apply For Early Naturalization?