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POSTING DATE: January 14, 2019
Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter © 2011 - 2019
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Questions & Answers
This Week's Immigration News
Question: I have a question about filing for my child. I came up to the US in 2012 on a work visa and met my husband who is an American in 2014 and we got married. I got my green card in 2015. I have a 20 years old daughter in Jamaica and she will be 21 in this march. I had not realized that if I waited to sponsor her until now that she would have to end up waiting for many years before she could come and join me here. My husband and I were trying to get on our feet financially and buy a house before we brought my daughter. Now im afraid its too late. In an article you wrote recently you said that there is a 2 years wait for children of green card holder and once they hit age 21 it goes up to 7 years, is that true? Is there anything I can do about that now? Can I get my citizenship and apply for her would that help? I appreciate your advice.
Answer: The issue you are discussing is extremely important and one which needlessly often causes years of separation between children and parents, all due to an issue of timing. For background, as a Green Card holder (U.S. Resident), you can file for your minor children (under age 21), in the F2A Immigration Category and also your adult SINGLE children in the F2B Immigration Category. The waiting line for residency for minor children (F2A) is about 2 years right now. If a child reaches age 21, he or she technically “ages out”, however, using the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) we can reduce the child’s age down by subtracting the time that the I-130 petition is pending with the USCIS prior to approval, but that is all. If after subtracting that time, the child is still age 21, then the child automatically moves to the F1 category in a 7 year line. In your case, I have a solution. Since you and your husband married in 2014 your daughter was still under age 18. Under immigration regulations, that allows your U.S. Citizen husband to be regarded as her step-father and thus to sponsor her for her residency as an “Immediate Relative”, just as he did for your case. As the minor child of a U.S. Citizen, once your husband files the I-130 petition, your daughter’s age will be technically “fixed” on the date the application is filed. So that means that as long as the USICS receives the I-130 petition and enters it into the USCIS system before your daughter turns age 21 in March 2019, she will still be able to immigrate as an “Immediate Relative” step-child of a U.S. Citizen in about a year. However, my advice is not to wait until March. We can file her petition now and get her in the queue, the earlier the better!
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USCIS Updates Citizenship Test Answers
Residents (Green Card holders) who apply for U.S. Citizenship are required to take and pass a Civics Test (History and Government) in order to become naturalized. Once naturalized, U.S. Citizens can apply for a U.S. Passport.
And of course there are many benefits of obtaining U.S. Citizenship, including the right to vote, run for public office, travel to nearly any country in the world without the need for a visa and most importantly, to sponsor spouses and minor children quickly and file for married children and siblings.
As part of the naturalization process, Residents must study and memorize questions and answers on the Civics test and be ready to provide correct answers to anywhere from six to ten questions (out of 100) asked by the USCIS officer.
Advisory About Phone Scams and Tax Identity Theft
U.S. Permanent Residents receive a 10-year Green Card, which should be renewed before expiration. The renewal request should be filed with the USCIS within 6 months of expiration. However, contrary to popular belief, the expiration of your Green Card does not mean that you are no longer a Permanent Resident, it just means that, once the card expires, you will no longer have documentary evidence that you are a U.S. Resident.
Those applying for Naturalization must either have an unexpired Green Card, or receipt showing that a renewal application has been filed.
Filing an immigration application is a very important step and one which should be taken with the utmost diligence and seriousness.
Applicants should first educate themselves about eligibility, qualifications, procedures and timing of the case and keep updated on every aspect of the process along the way.
Automatic Text Message Notification Request, Don’t File Your Case Without It!
Understanding “Conditional Residency”
For Spouses of U.S. Citizens
The foreign spouse of a U.S. Citizen who has been married for less than two years at the time of obtaining residency, only receives a two-year Conditional Resident status. Unlike regular U.S. Residents who obtain a Green Card through family members, employment or other means, husbands and wives of U.S. Citizens who got married less than two years prior to U.S. Residency approval, only receive a two-year Green Card, rather than the full 10 year Permanent Residency.
In order to qualify for removal, the foreign and U.S. Citizen spouses must file a request for removal of the conditional status (Form I-751) within the 90 day period prior to the conditional Green Card expiration.
Interestingly, Residents who are 65 years old or older only need to study 20 out of 100 questions and answers.
Over time, most answers on the test remain the same, for instance the history portion about the formation of the U.S., its structure and constitution. However, some answers do change as a result of elections and appointments. Due to the recent 2018 Mid-term election (meaning middle of the presidential four year term), several answers on the test have changed for questions: 20, 23, 28, 29, 39, 40, 43, 46 and 47. Here are the changes to several questions on the test recently announced by the USCIS:
Question: 20. Who is one of your state’s U.S. Senators now?
Answer: The state of Florida has two senators in the United States Senate, Marco Rubio (R) and Rick Scott (R). For a list of current members of the U.S. Senate for other states, visit senate.gov.
Question: 23. Name your U.S. Representative.
Answer: The state of Florida has 27 representatives in the United States House of Representatives, locally a few in South Florida are: Frederica Wilson (D-Miami Gardens), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Miami), Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-Miami), Donna Shalala (D-Coral Gables), Alcee Hastings (D-Miramar), Lois Frankel (D-West Palm Beach), Ted Deutch (D-Boca Raton). For a list of current members of the U.S. House of Representatives in other states, visit house.gov.
Question: 28. What is the name of the President of the United States now?
Donald J. Answer: Trump, Donald Trump, Trump
Question: 29. What is the name of the Vice President of the United States now?
Answer: Michael R. Pence, Mike Pence, Pence
Question: 39. How many justices are on the Supreme Court?
Answer: nine (9)
Question: 40. Who is the Chief Justice of the United States now?
Answer: John Roberts, John G. Roberts, Jr.
Question: 43. Who is the Governor of your state now?
Answer: For Florida, Ron DeSantis For a list of current governors of other states, visit usa.gov/states-and-territories
Question: 46. What is the political party of the President now?
Answer: Republican (Party)
Question: 47. What is the name of the Speaker of the House of Representatives now?
Answer: Nancy Pelosi, Pelosi
This means filing each case properly and enclosing form G-1145 with each application separately, (by placing one form G-1145 on top of each separate form in the package), in order to receive notification by the USCIS once the case is received and being provided with a case number via text or email. For instance, when an applicant is filing for residency, generally the application package will include several separate application forms, usually including form I-485, form I-765 and form I-131, which would necessitate a separately completed form G-1145 being placed on top of each form, so three (3) in total. This is a free service provided by the USCIS and very important to have proof of receipt and the case number for each application filed, in case the actual USCIS I-797 Receipts for the filing are lost in the mail or otherwise not received. Having the case numbers allows applicants to call the USCIS 800# and request duplicate receipts by mailed once the initial receipts have not been received within 30 days of filing. Receiving the case numbers via text or email also allows applicants to sign up for Email Status updates on their cases through the USCIS My Case Status program. Once registered and the case number(s) entered into the system, the USICS will automatically email the applicant notifications and updates on any actions take on the case, to keep them informed about the case status.
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 just launched a new Online Fee Calculator to assist customers in calculating the correct fee amounts to include when filing their forms.
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.
New Online USCIS Filing Fees Calculator
Helps You Determine The Correct Fee
Question: I am American born. My husband came to the U.S. a few years ago on a tourist visa and when the airport customs officer went through his bag, they found that he had brought his birth certificate and a job resume. Because of this, the officer sent him back to immigration and they said they suspected he came to the U.S. to work illegally, and gave him only one month to stay and not six months. They told him he couldn’t do anything else in the USA, including asking for more time or anything and if he stayed longer than 30 days, he would get deported. That was really scary and after that, he thought if he left, he would never be able to get back in, so he stayed. We met each other last year and got married last month in a ceremony with our friends and family. Now we want to file for his immigration status but are worried about the note the officer wrote in his passport “no extension or change of status”. We are afraid that because of the note, he wont be able to get his green card and may have to go home and wait. We don’t want to be separated and hope you can help us. Please tell us what we need to do and we will bring you whatever you need to get his immigration status fixed. Looking forward to hear from you.
Answer: Congratulations on your marriage! Since your husband entered the U.S. legally, he is eligible to adjust his status to a Green Card inside the U.S. and is not required to leave. The notation the immigration officer put in his passport does not prevent him from changing, extending or adjusting status in the U.S.. It was more of a warning to frighten him so he would not overstay and also a message to any future immigration border officer he would encounter if he had left the U.S. and tried to re-enter that this foreign visitor may be coming to work in the U.S., make sure and check him out! I can take care of filing to adjust his status to U.S. residency without the need for him to leave. Once the case is filed, it is currently taking about 4-6 months to receive the work, travel permit and social security card and another 1 ½ to 2 years for the residency interview. See you soon.
In order to qualify for removal of the conditional status, a couple must continue to not only be married, but to live together as a husband and wife. The removal of condition request must be submitted with extensive supporting documentary evidence that the couple has and continues to live together in a real marriage. One of the biggest misconceptions that conditional residents have is the belief that as long as they remain “married” to the U.S. Citizen spouse, but not actually living together, they will still qualify result in tragic consequences which often leads to loss of Residency and in some instances, deportation.
Conditional Residents can file a removal request without the U.S. Citizen spouse in cases where the couple has divorced, especially where there is documented domestic violence and when a spouse is widowed. However, the burden of proof is on the conditional resident spouse to provide the USCIS with extensive evidence that prior to the divorce, domestic violence or death of the U.S. Citizen, the couple were living together in a real marriage.
The USCIS and IRS wants Immigrants to know that the a real IRS agent will:
NEVER call and demand immediate payment over the phone
NEVER try to threaten or intimidate, NEVER demand payment with a prepaid debit card, or ask for your credit card or debit card number over the phone and
NEVER threaten to call the police or immigration agents if you don’t pay.
If you get a call like this, report it to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration by calling 800-366-4484.
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