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Major Immigration Reform Bills Approved By House of Representatives, What Happens Next?
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POSTING DATE: March 29, 2021
Question: My girlfriend immigrated to the U.S. through her parents just before the pandemic started last year and has her green card. She is in college in Florida and we have been separated ever since until recently when in flew up to surprise her for spring break. I am here now and we have been talking about how tough the last year has been without each other and have been discussing marriage. But we have a few concerns we want to ask you about. First, she is 19 and her parents don’t want us to get married yet, they want us to wait until she graduates from college next june. So our first question is do we need to get their approval for her to file for my green card since she is not 21 yet and got her green card through her parents? Second, is it even possible for me to file for my green card since I am just here on a tourist visa and which expires in September? Finally, if we file the immigration papers will I be able to stay here in the U.S. legally through the process or do I have to return home to wait for the approval? If I can stay here and use your legal services, how long will it take for me to get my green card? Thank you!
2645 Executive Park Drive
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On March 18th the Democratically held House of Representatives passed the first two major immigration reform bills proposed by President Biden as part of the US Citizenship Act of 2021. The Dream and Promise Act and the Farm Workforce Modernization Act both provide residency status and pathways to U.S. citizenship for millions of immigrants.
If these measures are signed into law, the next step will be the introduction of other parts of Biden’s US Citizenship Act of 2021 which includes the massive immigration “amnesty” provision which essentially provides legal status to nearly all immigrants in the U.S. who do not currently have immigration status. But for now, one step at a time.
Helpful Immigration Tips You Can Use...
Make A USCIS e-Request For Inquiries On Pending Cases
The USCIS offers customers with pending cases the option of sending an electronic e-Request for information using an electronic inquiry form on the USCIS Website. In order to make an inquiry, you will need to have the case number, form type, filing date, zip code on file and other information.
Answer: Yes, the pandemic has brought about a lot of changes in our lives and often forced us to make difficult decisions. To answer your first point, no, your fiancée’s parents do not need to give approval for you to marry or for her to sponsor you. She is over the age of 18 so you can marry legally in the state of Florida and she can file immigration sponsorship applications. However, it might be a good idea to try and smooth things over with your future in-laws before you get married, since that is not the best way to start out your married life together! On your second and third question, yes, under current adjustment of status policies, spouses and minor children of U.S. residents (green card holders) who are in the U.S. in legal immigration status can file for residency and remain legally in the U.S. during the entire immigration process. There is no requirement to leave and process in your home country. The process for residency is slower now due to Covid-19 and depends upon where you live when your case is filed. I would say it’s an average of about one year from the time the case is filed until you receive your residency interview and green card. In other locations it can take a little longer.
Under a new policy, residents who file form I-90 to extend or replace a green card receive a USCIS Notice of Action Receipt, which automatically extends U.S. residency status.
Prior to this change, the only way to obtain proof of continuing residency status was to be issued an extension sticker (to put on the expired green card) or I-551 stamp (in the passport).
Don’t Let Your Immigration Case Be Rejected! Use The Online USCIS
Filing Fees Calculator To Help You Determine The Correct Fee
Filing immigration applications with the incorrect filing fee is the leading cause of case rejections by the USCIS. This can be inconvenient and sometimes very serious for certain applications which have filing deadlines.
As a result, the USCIS has an Online Fee Calculator to assist customers in calculating the correct fee amounts to include when filing their forms.
Quick Overview of the Dream and Promise Act
Residency for Young Immigrants (Dreamers): If it becomes law, this ground breaking measure would grant conditional permanent resident status to nearly all young adults in America who have been continuously in the U.S. since on or before January 1, 2021 and who were 18 years old or younger on the initial date they entered the U.S.. This includes not only Dreamers who qualify under the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, but further expands it to include all young immigrants in America, even those with deportation orders. Even children of certain temporary workers who (including: E-1, E-2, H-1B, and L visa holders) who were present in the U.S. since January 1, 2021 and arrived in the U.S. at the age of 18 or younger, who aged out after turning 21, are eligible. The Act allows Dreamers access to federal aid and directs states to provide in-state tuition fees. Finally, some eligible Dreamers who were deported during the Trump administration may apply for the program from abroad.
Step One: Conditional Residency Status
How To qualify:
-Came to the U.S. before the age of 18 and have continuously lived here since on or before January 1, 2021;
-Have a high school diploma or an equivalent in the U.S., or are currently be enrolled in a program to earn a high school diploma or an equivalent;
-Do not have criminal convictions, with the exception of immigration-related state offenses, marijuana-related misdemeanor offenses, non-violent civil disobedience, and minor traffic offenses, have not been convicted of the following: a state or federal felony offense punishable by a term of imprisonment of more than 1 year; or 3 or more distinct federal or state misdemeanor offenses for which the person was imprisoned for a total of 90 days or more; or a crime of domestic violence (unless the person is a victim themselves of domestic violence or other criminal activity).
Step Two: Permanent Residence Status Those who obtain “conditional permanent resident” status can immediately apply to become permanent residents (LPRs or green-card holders) as soon as they meet ONE of the following conditions.
How To qualify:
- Higher Education: Graduate from a college or university, or complete at least two years of a bachelor’s or higher degree program in the U.S. (education track) OR
- Military: Complete at least two years of honorable military service (military track); OR
-Work/Employment: Have worked for a period totaling at least three years and, while having valid employment authorization, have worked at least 75 percent of the time that they had such authorization. Periods in which individuals were enrolled in school without working while having valid employment authorization would not count against them.
Step Three: Naturalization Those who have held permanent resident” status for five years can apply for naturalization to become a U.S. citizen.
Residency for TPS Holders and DED Recipients: Long time TPS and DED status holders can apply for permanent residence. The bill would also allow other TPS holders to apply for residency (for instance through a spouse) even if they did not enter the U.S. legally.
How To qualify:
- Came to the U.S. and have lived here continuously at least three years before the bill’s enactment;
- Have been eligible for or had TPS on September 17, 2017, or had DED as of January 20, 2021 which include individuals from the following countries: El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen, as well as individuals with DED from Liberia. This does not include nationals from Venezuela and Burma who were recently granted TPS status in March 2021.
Benefits of Farm Workforce Modernization Act: If enacted, would provide a special a Certified Agricultural Worker status for certain undocumented farmworkers, their spouses, and children. These farmworkers can then earn residency through payment of a $1,000 fine and the completion of additional agricultural work.
How To qualify: Have worked at least 180 days in agriculture over the last two years or be the spouses or child of the worker
It’s important to understand that this legislation will only become a law if the Senate passes the measure as well. The fact is that Democrats control the House of Representatives, but only have a very slim majority in the Senate. There are 100 Senate seats, but what makes matters complicated are Senate rules which currently require 60 votes for most measures to pass, in order for the president to sign then into law, which is commonly referred to as the “Filibuster” rule. The Senate only has 50 Democrats and Vice President Harris has one vote, so that is only 51 votes, not near the 60 needed. Most Republicans oppose immigration reform, so there are likely few additional votes. Many experts believe that the only way to get Presidents Biden’s immigration reforms and other legislation through Congress is to try to eliminate or restrict the filibuster rule, so only 51 votes are needed, instead of 60. There are major moves going on behind the scenes right now by Pres. Biden and Senate Democrats to make that happen. As a result, this historic immigration legislation just passed by the House may take a few weeks or months to be brought up in the Senate, in order to give it a chance for success. Stay tuned…
USCIS Issues Notice Of
I-90 Receipt Printing Error
This new receipt is all that a resident needs to prove continuing residency status for the purposes of travel, work and driver’s license renewal.
However, the USCIS recently issued a notice that it had identified an error in printing the notices, which resulted in the notices being printed on standard paper, rather than secure paper typically used by the USCIS for official notices. The USCIS has begun issuing new notices on secure paper to applicants who filed Form I-90 due. Those who received the I-90 receipt on the standard paper should wait until they receive the new notice, prior to travel abroad.
As reported in earlier months, since Covid-19 took hold of our country in March of 2020, the USCIS has implemented a policy which gives applicants an additional sixty (60) calendar days to respond to USCIS requests for evidence, denials and other notices.
The newest extension of the policy announced last week, allows applicants and petitioners who receive such requests from now until June 30, 2021 an additional sixty days to respond. The policy applies to:
New Extension Of Time For Responses To Requests Issued By USCIS
Requests for Evidence;
Continuations to Request Evidence (N-14);
Notices of Intent to Deny;
Notices of Intent to Revoke;
Notices of Intent to Rescind and Notices of Intent to Terminate regional investment centers;
Form N-336, Request for a Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings and
Filing date requirements for Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion.
It is important to note, that responses must be received on or before the deadline, not just postmarked by the deadline date. Also, responses to request for additional evidence should always be mailed in one package, not in multiple response filings, since once the USCIS receives the first response, the officer will usually make a decision based upon that response, not on anything received later. Finally, always send responses, appeals, motions via fed-ex or another mail service, overnight.
Question: My husband is a us citizen and we got married in 2009 when he was working as an engineer in Colombia. We have two kids and lived there until recently in 2019 when he was transferred back to the us and I got my 10 years green card here in 2020. I recently found out that my husband has been cheating on me not just with one lady but seems he has been doing it a lot on these dating websites for a while. When I confront him with it he says it doesn’t mean nothing and I better stop bothering him because he can have immigration take my green card. I am sick and tired of it and I just want to move out from the house. Is it true what he says that I will lose my green card if I leave him?
Answer: Sorry to hear about your marital difficulties. Fortunately, no, he cannot have the USCIS take your green card from you. Since you and your husband have been in a bona fide (real) marriage before and since the time you immigrated, and you have two children together, you will not risk losing your green card if you separate or divorce. The only benefit you lose by not being with your husband is the ability to file for early naturalization. You have had your green card since 2020, so you would normally be able to file for early naturalization in 2023. However, once you split up, you will have to wait until 2025. I wish you the best and hope this was helpful to you.
Question: Hi, I applied for my citizenship back in 2020 and just got my citizenship interview scheduled for april. I want to file to sponsor my wife as soon as possible since she has been here in the US and fell out of student status in 2017 and need to get her papers. My question is, will I get my naturalization certificate on that same day as my interview if I pass or do I have to wait to get it in the mail? When will I be considered as an American citizen so I can apply for my American Passport?
Answer: As long as you successfully pass your Naturalization test and otherwise meet the qualifications, the officer will recommend you for approval and you will be put in the queue to be scheduled for your Swearing-In Ceremony, where you take the Oath of Allegiance. It can take from a week to a month or more to be scheduled for your ceremony, depending upon where you live. At your ceremony, you should get your certificate the same day you are sworn in and you can immediately file your wife’s residency case and apply for a passport. You're a citizen from the moment you take the oath. You can pick up a U.S. passport application at your upcoming swearing in ceremony, or download it from the U.S. Passport website. Due to Covid-19, some residents who are approved for naturalization can swear in the same day if they have slots available. My advice is to make a request at your interview once you are approved that you be sworn in the same day, it never hurts to ask!
The Online Fee Calculator asks users to select a form, or combination of forms, and then to answer a series of questions. The tool then calculates the correct fee amount that the filer must submit, based upon his or her answers and can be accessed by both computer and mobile devices.