Immigration Questions: (954) 382-5378

  POSTING DATE: October 7,  2019
Tell a friend about this page

Learn More About:

Add this page to your favorites.

Add this page to your favorites.
Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter ©  2011  - 2019 
For questions about U.S. Residency, Green Cards and Immigration Visas, Visit our Website at: or  call our office at: (954) 382-5378
Questions & Answers
This Week's Immigration News 
By Immigration Attorney Caroly Pedersen
Helpful Immigration Tips You Can Use...

  Immigration News & Updates              eNewsletter
Question: I am short on money right now but me and my wife want to file my papers before the new law can I send the application for my papers now and pay for the filing fee later? I get paid next Friday and will have the full total then.
Answer: Unfortunately, when the USCIS receives an application without the full filing fee, the application and entire package are sent back to the applicant requesting the filing fees. In the past, the rejection sheet did have a case number and directed the applicant to refile the case using the USCIS rejection notice, along with the missing filing fees. This allowed the applicant to retain the original filing date. However, now that the residency and affidavit of support and other forms are changing and will no longer be valid after October 14th, it is not certain that the USCIS will allow those applications which were rejected to retain the pre-October 15th filing date. The best way to ensure that your application gets in before the deadline is to include a check with the full amount of filing fees (generally $1,760) and once you get paid, be sure to deposit the funds in your account. It can sometimes take the USCIS several weeks to cash filing fee checks. Good luck!
Immigration How To:
How Do I  Make A Request On My Immigration Case?
What is An E-Request and How Do I Make One?

If you have been reading my posts over the years, I am sure you are tired of having me repeat over and over again how important it is to be informed about your immigration case, including qualifying, understanding the typical process, timing and staying updated on your case status. So assuming you have done all that, what happens when your case remains pending past the posted processing times? Or, the online status says the USCIS sent you a notice, but you never received it after 30 days? Well, a helpful tool which can sometimes provide you with updated information or a duplicate notice is to file an USCIS E-Request. USCIS allows the E-Request to be filed for the following reasons:
Tips For Residents With Criminal Convictions 
To Stay Safe In the Era of Trump

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, nothing can be farther from the truth 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. 
New Trump Proclamation Denies Visas To Immigrants 
Who Cannot Prove They Can Pay For Health Insurance Within 30 days
In yet another extreme effort to reduce legal immigration, Trump signed a Proclamation last week to block the entry of immigrants sponsored by family members and employers, who cannot prove that they have the financial ability to pay for health insurance within 30 days of entering the U.S..

The new policy, under Trump’s Presidential Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry of Immigrants Who Will Financially Burden the United States Healthcare System, takes effect in a few short weeks on November 3rd and will apply to most immigrants who have not yet had their consular interview or been issued an Immigrant Visa in their passports.
Federal Courts Still Undecided About 
Temporarily Halting Trump’s “Public Charge” Rule!
With new legal challenges coming from opponents of Trump's “Public Charge” rules, Federal courts in several jurisdictions are considering whether to issue a temporary halt, often referred to as an “injunction”, to stop the new rule from taking effect next week on October 15th. In the most recent case in California, the city and county of San Francisco and other challengers of the rule have requested that Federal Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton put the policy on hold until legal challenges are resolved in the courts. Judge Hamilton is expected to rule sometime this week, however experts say that if she issues an injunction, it may only be limited to California, not applied nationwide. 

At the same time other Federal judges in separate jurisdictions are being asked by a coalition of 13 states to issue an order to halt the policy from taking effect nationwide. However no decision has been made to date. As a result, immigrants who qualify are advised to move forward and apply for residency now, in order to get their cases in before the deadline. 
This Year’s Visa (Green Card) Lottery Began On October 2nd, 2019!
Despite Trump’s continuing vow to end the Visa Lottery, this year’s lottery (called DV-2021) began on Wednesday, October 2, 2019. 
Question: I have a question about my residency extension. I got my 2 year green card through my American husband and now we are separated. My card expired in may and in april I filed the I-90 form to renew the green card before it expired. I went and got my fingerprints taken, but the renewal just got denied. The immigration letter says I have to file another application like a I751 removal. can you please explain that to me so I don’t lose any more money on filing fees, thanks.  
Answer: Great question! When an immigrant is granted residency through their marriage to a U.S. Citizen spouse, the Green Card is “conditional”, only issued temporarily for two years. Three months before it expires, the couple is required to file a request to remove the conditions on residency (form I-751). The form I-90 is only used to renew “permanent” residency and CANNOT be used when a Resident needs to remove the condition on their Residency. For conditional Resident immigrants who are no longer living with their U.S. Citizen spouse, an I-751 case can be filed without the Citizen spouse, with the foreign spouse requesting a waiver of the “joint” filing. The immigrant spouse will be required to provide the USCIS with a divorce decree either prior to or soon after refilling the case, as well as extensive documentation to prove that even though the couple is no longer together, the marriage was entered into for love and not for immigration purposes. This is usually done through marital documents, photos, Affidavits and other evidence, depending upon the circumstances of the case. Let us know if you want our assistance in filing the I-751 request for waiver of the “joint” filing in your case. Note that failure to file the I-751 can result in a referral for deportation, so its best to file as soon as possible. If you are not yet divorced, you can file the case along with a copy of the stamped divorce petition filing, then provide the USCIS with the final decree later once the judge issues the divorce and the USCIS officer sends a request for it. 
This means that family members sponsored by Residents and Citizens who have been waiting in long visa lines, including those who have been waiting for more than 20 years (adult married children of U.S. Citizens from Mexico), will be denied immigrant visas if they cannot prove that they have they have the means to purchase medical insurance for all family members who are immigrating. The new policy will not, however, apply to immigrants who have already been issued immigrant visas, minor children of U.S. citizens, parents of U.S. Citizens, asylum seekers, refugees, and some others in very limited categories.

This is just the latest administration crackdown on legal immigration, coming just after the dreaded new Public Charge policy which takes effect October 15th. And given the current political climate, I'm sure we can expect more anti-immigration proclamations and executive orders in the coming year before the 2020 presidential election, as Trump desperately attempts to satisfy his anti-immigrant base of supporters.  The Proclamation is short on details and calls on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to establish "standards and procedures" for U.S. consular offices to determine whether applicants satisfy the new requirements. 

Presidential Proclamation 
To ensure that applications are received by the USCIS no later than October 14th, applicants should plan to send their petitions to the National Benefits Center no later than October 10th using Express Mail, Fed-ex or DHL with overnight or second day delivery. DO NOT SEND CERTIFIED MAIL!!!!!!! Applications sent out after that date may not be received by the USCIS in time and will be rejected. If using U.S. Postal Service EXPRESS MAIL, send to: USCIS, P.O. Box 805887, Chicago, IL 60680-4120. If using FedEx, UPS, or DHL deliveries send to: USCIS, Attn: FBAS, 131 South Dearborn - 3rd Floor, Chicago, IL 60603-5517

Washington Post
Read the new Public Charge final rule
Draft form I-944 “Declaration of Self-Sufficiency” 
Trump’s new ‘Public Charge’ Rule And What It Means For Immigrants
13 States Sue Trump To Stop The “Public Charge” Rule From Taking Effect On October 15th!

The Department of State has released instructions for the DV 2021 lottery, which explains eligibility, and procedures for applying online. Countries NOT eligibility this year are: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam. Persons born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan are eligible. If you were born in one of these ineligible countries, you can use your spouse’s country or if neither of your parents was born there, and they were not legal residents of that country at the time of your birth, you can still qualify by using the country of birth of either of your parents to apply.

To qualify, applicants must generally: 

1) Be born in a qualifying country or qualify by claiming a parent or spouse’s eligible country, and 
2) Meet the education/work experience requirement by having either: at least a high school education or equivalent, or two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation that requires at least two years of qualifying training or experience. Only one entry is allowed for each person and those with more than one entry will be disqualified. Note that a new qualification has been added for the DV-2021, which requires that the principal immigrant have a valid unexpired passport at the time of entering the DV lottery.

Remember, the DV Lottery is always FREE and no paper applications are accepted. Lottery applications are required to be filed online through the official Department of State DV Lottery Website, beginning October 2nd. Once the online entry is made, applicants receive a Confirmation Number, which allows them to return to the official government website and check the status of their entry through the “Entrant Status Check” at: beginning on May 5, 2020. There will be no other official notification. The program does not send notification emails or letters and never directs applicants or winners to wire money under any circumstances. Beware of websites claiming to be official Lottery sites and paralegals, which charge a fee for entry, since they are not affiliated with the official U.S. Department of State and may be scams. Only sites that end in .gov are government sites. Apply yourself – its FREE and easy! 

Diversity Visa Instructions
Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Hi I got a tourist visa for the us good for 10 years and it wasn’t supposed to expire until 2024. The problem is that I came in 2 weeks ago and the guy at immigration took me into a room and cancelled my visa just like that and made me go back the same day! He said I violated my visa on my last visit by staying too long. This happened back in feb when I came and stayed to be with my girlfriend and was about to leave in aug but my flight was cancelled, so I stayed over a few days I swear it was not more than a week. So now I got no visa and my girlfriend is pregnant and we were going to get married now I am stuck here in jamaica and cant get back to the us. The baby is due in February and my girlfriend has a green card but is applying for her citizenship. She said you got her familys green cards so I want to know what you can do for me. How fast can we get married and I get back in the us? Can I come as a fiancé? We are really frustrated at this point and no one will tell us the clear answer.
Answer: Sorry to hear about your visa cancellation. Unfortunately, under Immigration regulations, once a foreign visitor overstays their period of authorized stay in the U.S. - by even one day, once they leave the U.S., they are not allowed to re-enter on their current Visa and are instead required to apply for a new B1/B2 Tourist visa at the U.S. Consulate in their home country. And, since the visitor overstayed, once they apply for a new visa at the U.S. Consulate abroad, the Consular officer is very likely to deny the request, effectively closing all possibilities for legally travelling to the U.S. again. This even applies when a visitor files a request to extend their stay in the U.S., then leaves before a decision is made on the request.

In your case, your U.S. Resident Fiancée will need to fly to Jamaica to marry you, and once she returns we will file a Spousal Immigrant petition to initiate the process of bringing you to the U.S. as a U.S. Resident (Green Card holder). However, you will not be allowed to immediately return to the U.S. along with your new wife, and instead you have to wait in Jamaica for consular processing. The current processing time can be over a year, so you will both need to be patient. For U.S. Citizens, there is an option to do a K-1 Fiancée Visa, however, the process takes nearly as long as the spousal visa, but Residents don’t have that option. I can take care of your Residency process so that your case is properly and professionally prepared and filed, and you are able to immigrate to the U.S. as quickly as possible under USCIS and Consular processing procedures. Have your Fiancée give me a call and do a 3-way with you in Jamaica so we can go over the details.
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.

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 or a warrant was issued for failure to pay a minor fine. 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.
• Your case over the normal processing times posted on the USCIS website
• You did not receive a notice, card or document by mail
• You changed your address online as required, but the USCIS is still using your old address 
• A notice or card you received has a typographical error

If your issue falls within one of these categories, you can go online to the USCIS E-Request webpage and place what is referred to as a “Service Request”, by fully completing the online form. Have your receipt handy so you can input the correct information. Once the request is submitted, you will receive a number and estimated completion date to hear from the USCIS regarding your request. This is usually within 15-30 days. Note that E-Requests complete online will not be allowed to be submitted for a case which you believe it pending too long if your case is not over the normal processing times posted on the USCIS website.
After your Service Request has been submitted, you can expect one of the following responses:
1. You will receive the pending notice, approval, document or notice of correction prior to the USCIS estimated completion date;
2. You will receive a response from USCIS stating the case is within normal processing times and they will process the case as their resources allow; or,
3. You will not receive a response at all. In these cases, wait at least 30 calendar days from the date you filed the previous Service Request, then either place an new one, explaining that the previous one has not been answered, or call the USCIS 800#.
If all else fails and you have filed the E-Request, gotten no response after 30 days, called the 800# and still gotten no response within another 30 days, you should probably go the next step and contact a qualified immigration attorney to sort out your immigration issue and get your case moving again.