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Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter
POSTING DATE: September 11, 2017
Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter © 2011 - 2017
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Questions & Answers
This Week's Immigration News
Question: I sponsored my dad for his green card and I accidently sent Immigration my original citizenship certificate. I did not realize it because my dad didn’t have to have an immigration interview and only found out when I was getting ready for the hurricane and noticed I did not have it and remembered that I sent it in. I called the immigration 800 line and was told that I should make an infopass appointment at my local office. I did that, but they said I have to apply for a duplicate citizenship certificate but the fees are $555. Is there anything else I can do?
States Sue Trump Administration Over DACA Cancellation
Answer: Yes, sending original documents to the USCIS can be a real inconvenience, since they will not automatically send them back to you. Also, it can be very expensive and time consuming when you need to re-order new original documents. The first advice to readers is never to send any original documents to the USCIS unless specifically requested to do so. The second is that if you do find yourself in that position, you can file form G-884, Return of Original Documents. There is no filing fee. Read the instructions carefully and be sure to specifically request your Naturalization Certificate and any other originals that you filed and need back like your Birth Certificate. You’ll need to file your form with the USCIS office which took the last action on your dad’s case. Good luck!
Immigration How To:
How Do I Know Which Family Members I Can Sponsor?
Until Congress changes the law regarding family Immigration, (which is currently under threat by Trump and conservative Republicans in Congress), U.S. Citizens and Residents are strongly advised to consider which family members they are able to sponsor, while it is still available.
Its important to know that there is a significant difference between which family members can be sponsored by U.S. Citizens, compared with those which can be sponsored by U.S. Residents (Green Card holders).
Fifteen states and the District of Columbia filed lawsuits last week against the Trump Administration’s termination of the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program. California plans to file a separate lawsuit, joining New York, Massachusetts, Washington, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia in denouncing the decision to end protection and work permits for Dreamers who were brought to the U.S. by their parents as young children.
These State lawsuits come swiftly after the Trump administration issued a Memorandum last week on Tuesday, September 5th, terminating the DACA program -effective immediately. The memo directs the USCIS to stop accepting any new “initial” applications from first time applicants for DACA, but does allow current DACA holders who’s status will expire on or before March 5, 2018 to file renewal applications up until a deadline of October 5, 2017.
Helpful Immigration Tips You Can Use
The common belief among many Residents (green card holders) is that old criminal convictions that occurred many years ago no longer matter and they will not affect his or her immigration status. However, in reality, this is far from true and this misunderstanding often leads to Residents being taken into ICE (Immigration & Customs Enforcement) custody, detained and in some cases, deported, over seemingly insignificant past crimes. Criminal Immigration attorneys warn Residents with criminal backgrounds to take certain precautions to avoid having the USCIS revoke their green card for convictions which occurred after the green card was obtained and ways to safeguard against being taken into custody as part of Trumps aggressive Immigration enforcement policies.
Common Ways Residents With Criminal Records Get Arrested
Under Trumps New Policies
Question: I have a question about my sister. I filed an Immigration petition for her about 5 years ago. She is married and has 4 kids. My mom recently got her American citizenship, so I thought, instead of filing a new petition, is it possible to change the petition from me to my mom so my sister’s immigration case can be faster through her mom than through her sister? Is that possible for you to do that for us?
Answer: Unfortunately, an I-130 Family petition filed by one family member cannot be transferred to another. Similarly, the date of filing the original I-130, called the “Priority Date” cannot be used for the second I-130 filing by another family member. Your mom can file the I-130 for your sister now. The Immigration category for adult married children of U.S. Citizens, is F3 and the visa waiting line is about 10-12+ years. However, the petition you filed for your sister in the F4 category has a waiting time of about 12-14 years. Since you filed the petition 5 years ago, the waiting time would be a little faster, but it never hurts to have a backup plan by having your mom file the F3 petition now.
The termination policy allows: Current DACA holders remain in status until the expiration date. This means that DACA status and EAD work permits (Employment Authorization Documents) will remain valid until they expire. The USCIS Approval Notice and EAD work permit have the expiration date on them and the USCIS will accept DACA renewal applications from today until October 5, 2017 for those with DACA status expiring between now and March 5, 2018.
This means that if you have a work permit (EAD) that will expire between now and March 5, 2018, you must apply for a two-year renewal of your DACA by October 5th. The bad news is that: No new DACA applications will be accepted. Under the memorandum, the USCIS will no longer accept or process first-time applications, effective immediately and Travel Permits will no longer be issued, effective immediately. This means that the USCIS will no longer process or grant DACA recipients permission to travel abroad through Advance Parole. Any pending applications for advance parole will not be processed and DHS will refund any associated fees.
Following the announcement, protests have sprung up across the U.S., with DACA supporters denouncing the decision and calling on Trump to reinstate the terms of DACA. Democrats are calling on their Republican congressional colleagues to support the 2017 Dream Act to make DACA permanent, before the program is terminated.
This is the time to contact your local Congressional office and let your Republican Senator or Representative know that you support the Dream Act of 2017 and do not support Trump’s cancellation of the DACA program.
Find your local Republican Congressional office:
The USCIS has updated its office closings website, announcing that many local Florida field offices will remain closed through September 18th, but for Biometrics, the support centers will reopen on Friday the 15th. For Applicants with Biometrics appointments scheduled this week , you should be able to go to the USCIS office on Friday the 15th or Monday the 18th, along with your appointment notice and they will take your biometrics at that time. You do not need to get a new notice.
This Week's USCIS Office Closings Update
For Hurricane Irma
For other Immigrants with interviews scheduled on those dates, you can go online to Infopass and make an appointment to do an inquiry and request a new appointment notice be sent, or just wait for a new one to be rescheduled, which could be several weeks to several months down the road. For more information visit the USCIS office closing website or call the National Customer Service Center at 800-375-5283.
One of the most common ways that a Resident with a criminal background finds themselves in Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) custody is when they travel internationally and then re-enter the U.S. only to find that they face interrogation and possible detention and deportation due to a past criminal conviction, no matter how many years ago it occurred. Another common way that a Resident can be taken into Immigration custody is after an even minor traffic offense for which they were arrested. Finally, Residents with a criminal background who file for Naturalization can be referred to Immigration Court and not only be denied U.S. Citizenship, but lose their Green Card and be deported as well.
To avoid these nasty consequences, Residents with criminal conviction(s), no matter how “small”, should consult with an experienced criminal immigration lawyer before traveling internationally and before filing for Naturalization. Those who do not plan on international travel or filing for Naturalization should also schedule a consult to have the lawyer review their criminal record and provide advice about any possible future risks and/or steps that can be taken to clear up any potential negative Immigration effects of criminal convictions, including getting a criminal case reopened and dismissed. This does not include getting a criminal case “expunged” which does not make it disappear for Immigration purposes and may only make it more difficult to provide required documentation in a future immigration case.
Here’s how it works:
U.S. Citizens are eligible to sponsor:
1) Spouses, Minor Children and Parents (called "Immediate Relatives")
2) Adult Single Sons & Daughters (and their minor children) called Family Immigration category F1
3) Adult Married Sons & Daughters (and their spouses and minor children) called Family Immigration F3
4) Brothers & Sisters (and their spouses and minor children) called Family Immigration category F4
U.S. Residents are eligible to sponsor:
1) Spouses and Minor Children called Family Immigration category F2A and
2) Adult Single Sons & Daughters (and their minor children) called Family Immigration category F2B
U.S. Residents cannot sponsor thier Parents, Adult Married Sons & Daughters or thier Brothers & Sisters.
You can see the Visa Bulletin released by the State Department each month which gives the approximate waiting times for each family category:
What Happens After You Are Approved At Your Naturalization Interview
Once your Application for Naturalization is approved, the USCIS puts your case in the queue to be scheduled for your Oath of Allegiance which takes place at your naturalization ceremony.
This taking of your Oath of Allegiance complete the process of becoming a U.S. citizen.
Understanding the types of Oath Ceremonies:
There are two kinds of Oath of Allegiance ceremonies, one, is a judicial ceremony, where the court administers the Oath of Allegiance for Residents who have requested a name change and the regular administrative ceremony, during which the USCIS administers the Oath of Allegiance.
So what’s going to happen at your naturalization ceremony?
1. Receive Your Naturalization Ceremony Notice to Take the Oath of Allegiance
While some Immigrants who request it may be able to participate in a naturalization ceremony on the same day as their naturalization interview, many Residents must wait for the USCIS mail them a notice with the date, time, and location of their scheduled naturalization ceremony, called a Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony (Form – N-445). Those who cannot attend the scheduled naturalization ceremony must return the notice to their local USCIS office, along with a letter requesting a new date and explaining why they are not able to attend the scheduled naturalization ceremony. Residents who fail to show up for their naturalization ceremony without having requested a rescheduling may receive a denial of their naturalization case.
2. Complete Form N-445, Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony before checking in at the Ceremony
Residents should complete Form N-445, Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony before arriving at the ceremony, prior to check in with USCIS. During check-in, a USCIS officer will review your responses to the questionnaire.
3. Surrender of your Permanent Resident Card (Green Card)
Residents who are becoming U.S. Citizens must surrender their Permanent Resident Cards to the USCIS at the time they check- in for the naturalization ceremony. Those who have lost their cards can receive a waiver.
4. Taking the Oath of Allegiance to the United States
A Resident is not a U.S. citizen until he/she takes the Oath of Allegiance to the United States during the naturalization ceremony. After the Oath, new U.S Citizens receive their Certificate of Naturalization.
5. Notes about the Certificate of Naturalization
New U.S Citizens should carefully review the Certificate of Naturalization for accuracy while still at the ceremony. Any inaccuracies must be brought to the attention of the USCIS before leaving the ceremony. Unless or until you apply for your U.S. Passport, your Certificate of Naturalization is your official proof of your U.S. Citizenship. Those who lose their Certificate of Naturalization must request a replacement by filing Form N-565, Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document and paying the $345 USCIS filing fee. The waiting time for a replacement can be lengthy.
downloading the form.
6. Time to apply for Your U.S. Passport
Once you receive your Certificate of Naturalization, you can immediately apply for a U.S. passport. You will receive an application for a U.S. passport at your naturalization ceremony, called the “U.S. Citizenship Welcome Packet” or you can go online to the U.S. Passport office
7. Time to Register to Vote!
Now that you are a U.S. Citizen, it is your right and privilege to vote. You can register to vote at certain locations in your community, which may include post offices, motor vehicle offices, county boards of election, and offices of your state Secretary of State. You can read more about registering to vote by reading the government publication: “A Voter’s Guide to Federal Elections."
8. Final Step: Update your Social Security Record
After you become a U.S. Citizen, you will need to notify the Social Security Administration (SSA) to update your Social Security record. You can find your local Social Security office by calling 1-800-772-1213 or by visiting: www.socialsecurity.gov. You can go to your local SSA office about ten days after your ceremony to give time for the SSA to be able to access your new status in the USCIS records. Be sure to take your Certificate of Naturalization or U.S. passport with you. Good luck!