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Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter ©  2011  - 2021 
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
  Immigration News & Updates              
Immigration How To:
How Do  I Verify That Immigration Got My Application?
Questions About Immigration? We have the answers!
We Are Here To Help, Call us now for a FREE consultation (954) 382-5378
Helpful Immigration Tips You Can Use...
Question: My mom got sponsored by my grandma for her green card way back in 2010 and I got mine too since I was still 18 yrs old. I lived in the us a few years but really missed my friends and life at home so I moved back here in 2012. Now I am 29 and want to go back to the us to live with my family and get my commercial trucking license like my cousin did. The problem is when I tried to come up with my green card the officer at the airport said that since I had been out of the us for so many years I could not come back unless I got a new green card and he took and cut it. After that my mom filed to get my green card replaced but I could not go to the appointment to get my fingerprints because i am outside the us, so the case got denied. Now I am stuck outside the us and need to reapply for my residency. Can you please tell me what is the procedure and how long it takes?
Trump Issues Proclamation To Extend Work Visa Ban

                  LAW CENTERS

Immigration Questions: (954) 382-5378
 POSTING DATE: January 11, 2021
Answer: Very important for readers to know, once a U.S. resident looses their Residency status by “abandonment”, which includes not returning to the U.S. for many years, all U.S. residency status is lost and any desire to obtain residency again requires a whole new application process. However, in order to qualify for U.S. residency again, an immigrant must have a legal basis for eligibility, for instance, being married to a U.S. citizen, or being sponsored by a U.S. citizen child, parent or sibling, since there is no way to apply solely on the basis of requesting the old Green Card status again. In your case, your mom can sponsor you, but now that you are over age 21, the waiting line for an Immigrant Visa as the Adult, Single child of a U.S. resident is about 5 years. If your mom is a U.S. citizen, the waiting line is about 6 years. We can start the process now, because the sooner you get in the Visa waiting line, the better!
E-Notification, Don’t file Your Case Without It!

You can get a text message from USCIS when your immigration application is received & updates on case processing! This is especially important now that it takes the USCIS so long to issue the Notice of Action receipts.
Warning - Immigration Payment Scams Targeting Immigrants!

The USCIS reminds Immigrants to be aware of immigration scams, including scammers who call or email Immigrants pretending to be a government official. USCIS officials never call customer for personal details, to request payments over the phone, by wire, such as Western Union or in an email. 

The USCIS advises Immigrants to avoid becoming a victim of one if these scams by never responding to an email or call from a person pretending to be a government official or Immigration officer requesting payment. 
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As expected, Trump issued a proclamation recently to extended the work visa restrictions he initially implemented in June 2020, which denies the issuance of H1B, H-4, H2B, L-1, L-2 status, and some J-1 visas to foreign nationals who were not in the U.S. as of June 24, 2020 (with some exceptions). Trump has now extended the restrictions through March 31, 2021. 

However, Biden is expected to cancel this and other Trump bans, proclamations and executive orders shortly after taking office, so this new extension of restrictions on work visas is not expected to have long lasting effects. 
Scheduling Delays Caused By the Pandemic Result In More Than
 A Million Immigrants Awaiting Biometrics Appointments 
As with everything else at USCIS, the scheduling of new and rescheduling of cancelled biometrics appointments has been critically delayed due to Covid-19, resulting in a backlog of more than a million individuals waiting for appointment notices. Biometric fingerprints and digital photos are required to be taken of immigrants applying for most residency and naturalization cases and under Trump policies, even for dependents applying for or extending some temporary visas. 

For immigrants applying for residency in the U.S. who have also applied for work and or travel authorization, delays in the collection of biometrics can mean a delay in work and travel permit issuance as well.
Answer: Very good question. For background, it takes about 14 years for a visa to become available to the brother or sister of a U.S. Citizen once the I-130 family petition is filed. However, once the case is approved and a visa becomes available (according to the State Department Visa Bulletin), in most cases, family members being sponsor who have overstayed their period of stay in the U.S. are not eligible to obtain a green card in the U.S.. This is because the law does not want to reward immigrants who have stayed in the U.S. and violated immigration rules. There are a few exceptions to the law, like “Immediate Relatives” of U.S. citizens (including: spouses, minor children and parents). There is also an old policy that ended in 2001 called 245(i) and others for victims of violence, but otherwise, an immigrant who is in the U.S. and has an I-94 which has expired is unable to adjust status to residency. The attorney who advised you not to apply is correct and is trying to keep you safe. I know it is human nature to want to believe things that sound too good to be true, but unfortunately, they usually are. If you had filed for residency under Trump administration policies, you may well have found yourself with a denial, loss of your filing fees and notice to appear in deportation court. But thankfully you did not. The great news is that for the first time in many years there is a good possibility that immigration law will soon change and allow you to file for residency even though you have overstayed in the U.S.. Experts believe the Biden administration will introduce an immigration reform bill very shortly after taking office which will provide an option for you to get your legal status. If the measure becomes law, millions of immigrants in the U.S. will be allowed to legalize. There may also be a quicker path to residency for those like you who have been sponsored by family members. But for now, be patient, just wait…. There will be lots of positive immigration news coming soon!
American Immigration 
Law Center
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Weston, Florida 33331
Question: My brother got his citizenship back in 2005 and filed for me and my husband in 2006. We came for a visit that same year and have stayed ever since. We never got a work permit or social card and just drive hoping we don’t get stopped. My husband does handyman jobs to support us here. We got the approval of the immigration papers my brother filed for us and heard that we can file for our green card now. We went to a lawyer who told us that even though we can file, we should not because we have been living in the us illegally and the case would be denied and we could be deported. But then a lady from my church introduced us to a guy who does immigration papers and he said that we can. So now we are confused. We don’t want to do anything that can get us in trouble with immigration. My brother said I should ask you before we do anything. Can you please tell us if its true that we can apply for our green cards now?
Pre-pandemic, once an application was filed which required biometrics collection, an applicant would receive a biometrics appointment notice within about a month setting a prescribed time and place to have the biometrics taken, usually at the local USCIS office or application support center (also called ASC). But with the current delays, it can take two to four months or more form most applicants to receive an appointment notice.

According to a resent stakeholder message released by the USCIS, some 280,000 biometrics appointments were canceled between March and June, due to office closures. However, once the offices reopened in July, they were only working at less than 50% capacity due to covid-19 up until September. Processing rose to 65% in October (processing some 10,000 biometrics collections per day), but operations are still not at full capacity due to safety concerns and social distancing considerations. For the past six months or so, the USCIS has been reusing previous biometrics collected from applicants in order to avoid the need to reschedule a new biometrics appointment. In these cases, applicants receive a notice from the USCIS stating that previously collected biometrics will be reused. However, in many cases, new immigrants have never had biometrics taken before and therefore must wait until they receive an appointment to do so.

What this means is continued delays in biometrics appointment scheduling, at least for the foreseeable future. Immigration applicants requiring biometrics should prepare to wait up to four or more months to receive scheduling notices. 

USCIS release about the biometrics collection backlog 
USCIS Announces Even Longer Delays In Issuance
 of Immigration Receipts Due To Covid-19
Several weeks ago the USCIS provided guidance that due to the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors, delays in issuing receipts could take up to four weeks. However last week on January 8th, the USCIS announced additional anticipated delays in issuing immigration application receipts which are now expected to extend up to six weeks! 

As a result, those filing immigration applications on say, January 11th, should not expect to receive the USCIS Notice of Action receipt until perhaps as late as perhaps February 25th. 
This makes it more important than ever to be sure and send your application early using either Priority, Express Mail, Fed-ex or UPS with a tracking number and make sure and do a delivery confirmation online or get it through email. Similarly, be sure to prepare and send form G-1145 along with every form in your immigration application package in order to receive an email or text confirmation of the application filing and receipt number. This provides you with vital information about your case filing in the interim while waiting for the actual paper receipt to be received in the mail at some point in the future.

We believe this this and other delays in immigration processing are a direct result of the Trump administration’s underfunding of immigration related services, caused by his Department of Homeland Security’s transfer of customer filing fees from the USCIS to fund enforcement measures against immigrants! This has resulted in drastic reductions in staffing levels and services. This underfunding will stop once Biden takes office, however refunding and staffing USCIS will take some time, so delays in immigration receipt issuance and immigration application processing in general will likely continue for at least the first quarter of 2021, if not longer. Hopefully we will begin to see a change in receipting and processing times in mid 2021. Stay tuned.. 

Read the latest USCIS receipt delay advisory
Question: I got married to my husband who is a citizen in 2018 and got my green a year later in 2019. Is it true that I can apply for my citizenship once I have been married for 3 years that will be in April 2021? Thanks for answering my question.
Answer: The basic guide for Early Naturalization is called the 3/3/3 rule: meaning that in order to apply for your Naturalization early based upon your marriage to a U.S. Citizen, you need to meet the following three requirements: 1) Have been a U.S. Resident for at least three years AND 2) Have been married to a U.S. Citizen for at least three years full years (continue to be in a valid marriage living together) AND 3) Your U.S. Citizen spouse must have been a U.S. Citizen for at least three full years. However, you are allowed to apply for Naturalization 90 days before you have actually been a U.S. Resident for three years (2 years & 9 mo.). According to your date of residency in 2019, as long as you and your husband remain living together as a couple, you can apply for early Naturalization once you have been a resident for two years and nine months, which would be next year in 2022.
As part of one particular immigration scam, a fake Immigration official calls or emails an Immigrant saying that there is a problem with an application or additional information is required to continue the immigration process. 

The USCIS reminds Immigrants to be aware of immigration scams, including scammers who call or email Immigrants pretending to be a government official. USCIS officials never call customer for personal details, to request payments over the phone, by wire, such as Western Union or in an email. The USCIS advises Immigrants to avoid becoming a victim of one if these scams by never responding to an email or call from a person pretending to be a government official or Immigration officer requesting payment. As part of one particular immigration scam, a fake Immigration official calls or emails an Immigrant saying that there is a problem with an application or additional information is required to continue the immigration process. 
They ask for personal and sensitive details, and demand payment to fix the problem. If you receive such a request and are not sure if it is a scam, forward the suspicious email to the USCIS at [email protected] USCIS will review the emails received and share with law enforcement agencies. Visit the USCIS Avoid Scams Initiative. If you have a question about your immigration case, call the USCIS at 800-375-5283.

Click on the links below to read some good information about common scams to avoid:

USCIS Scam Warning
Fake IRS Scam

The USCIS offers several ways for Applicants to get updates on newly filed and pending Immigration cases. Immigrants and Sponsors filing Immigration applications with the USCIS can sign-up to receive text messages and email E-notifications confirming application receipt by the USCIS, along with the case receipt number(s). The receipt number allows individuals to track the status of their case online. E-notifications are issued after the USCIS receives the application.

To request e-notification, download and complete form G-1145 and mail along with all Immigration applications. Once you receive your case number, go to the USCIS website and sign up for Email Status updates on your case through the USCIS My Case Status program. Once you register and enter your case number(s), the USICS will automatically email you notifications and updates on any actions take on your case so that you are better informed about your case status. 

For instance, once your Immigration application is filed, the USCIS may issue you a letter requesting more evidence in order to continue processing the case. If you are registered to receive case status updates, you will receive an email notification that the USCIS has issued the request, which helps you to be aware that you should be receiving the request by mail soon. If you have not received the request, you can then make further inquiries. Similarly, once you respond to the USCIS request, you will receive an updated email notification that they have received your documentation. It’s a great way to stay informed and keep up to date on the status of your case as it is being processed.