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Question: My husband filed for me and my 8 yr old son in 2019 when he had his green card. He applied in feb and got his citizenship last year in oct. Me and my son did our visa interview in nov and the officer told us sorry that I could immigrate but my son was not eligible because my husband was now a us citizen. He said my husband has to file all over again for my son. That sounds crazy to me. My husband does not understand it either and we think the officer made a mistake. Can you please tell us what we need to do to get this straightened out. I cant go the us and just leave my son here alone. Thank you for everything.
USCIS Closing All Offices On Jan. 19 and 20!
Immigration Questions: (954) 382-5378
POSTING DATE: January 18, 2021
Answer: I am so sorry to hear about your situation and I know it must be very frustrating and confusing. Unfortunately, often, immigration rules don’t make any sense and that is exactly what is going on with your case. For background, a U.S. resident (green card holder) can file to sponsor a spouse and minor children all on the same I-130 application. This way, the spouse can immigrate and the minor children (under age 21) can accompany as “dependents” on the same petition. However, a U.S. citizen must sponsor a spouse and each minor child separately, since they are in a special immigration category called “immediate relatives” which only allows the individual being sponsored and does not permit “dependents”. The timing of your case is very unfortunate, since had your husband become a citizen after your consular visa interview, your son would have qualified to immigrate along with you. In your situation, your husband needs to immediately file the I-130 for your son as his step-son and you can wait up to six months to enter the U.S. on our immigrant visa if you need to, even though I do not recommend it. The best option is to travel to the U.S. as soon as possible so that the officer at the airport will order your green card, then you can return home to stay with your son for several months, then come back here for a quick visit and so on. Hopefully your son’s case will be processed more quickly under a Biden administration and he can immigrate here within this year. Let us know if you want us to take care of his case.
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.
These days, if you request it, often the officer can schedule you for your swearing-in the same day, so don’t be afraid to ask! This taking of your Oath of Allegiance complete the process of becoming a U.S. citizen.
Tips On Sending Your Immigration Application To USCIS, Avoid Using Certified Mail
Immigration applications and any follow-up correspondence with the USCIS are very important matters. That is why you should take the additional step of sending these documents to the USCIS by a safe, quick method, which allows you to verify the date and time of delivery to the USCIS.
This is especially critical when you have received a Request For Additional Evidence from the USCIS and must provide the requested documentation by a specified deadline.
The USCIS has issued a last-minute advisory that it will close local offices to the public and temporarily suspend in-person services at all immigration offices nationwide, including field and asylum offices and application support centers on Jan. 19 and 20. The closures are due to possible disruptions caused by Trump supporters at state and federal buildings to protest Biden’s Swearing In as President. Some of these individuals continue to believe that Trump won the election and may plan to commit further violent acts, much like those shocking actions which took place at the capital last week.
All Passengers Travelling to the U.S. Must Present A Negative COVID-19 Test
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a new policy, effective January 26, 2021, which requires all passengers travelling to the U.S. from abroad on airlines to obtain a negative pre-departure COVID-19 test (viral test NAAT or antigen test) result within three days of the flight. In the alternative, the passenger will be allowed to provide written proof of having recovered from COVID-19.
This new rule applies to all individuals 2 years of age or older including US citizens and legal permanent residents. Travel from outside the U.S. includes all areas except US territories and possessions of the US (American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands).
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Question: I have a question for you about same sex marriage. I am Jamaican and have been hiding my sexuality all my life because it is very dangerous here to be a man attracted to other men. My boyfriend who is American and I met online a few years ago and he has been coming to visit me several times a year, but its not safe and we cant keep going like this. We want to get married but its not legal here. I tried getting a visa to visit America but got denied. Now we are looking at the option to see if I can get a fiancé visa. We are not sure it that is possible, since it not even legal here to be engaged. Please let us know what we need to do, thanks.
Answer: That is a great question. Yes, since same sex marriage is now legal in every state in the U.S., fiancé(e) visas are available to nationals of every country, regardless of the foreign country’s “same sex marriage” laws. Under fiancé(e) visa regulations, the sponsoring spouse must be a U.S. Citizen. The process takes about 8-10 months now (hopefully faster under Biden) and once you arrive in the U.S. on your fiancé(e) K-1 fiancé(e) visa, you must get married within 90 days and then apply for your Residency. Let us know if you would like our assistance in obtaining your Fiancée visa.
Those with appointments will receive reschedule notices in the coming weeks and months.
New Policy Automatically Extends Validity of Green Cards
Effective immediately, the USCIS will begin issuing revised receipts which automatically extend lawful permanent residency (green cards) for U.S. residents who have filed to renew or replace a permanent residency card.
The new I-797, Notice of Action receipt for Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card will contain language which extends permanent resident status for 12 months from the expiration date on the face of the green card.
Previous to this change, residents who filed for renewal or replacement of a green card had no document which provided evidence of residency. In order to obtain proof, residents would need to request an extension sticker to be affixed to their expired green card to extend it, which was routinely done when a resident attended his or her biometrics appointment, generally required for green card renewal and replacements. However due to Covid-19, the USCIS is reusing most fingerprints and therefore no longer scheduling such appointments, leaving residents without evidence of residency. Without evidence of residency, residents have been unable to work, travel, renew driver’s licenses or obtain many benefits which require proof of residency.
Question: I have a question about my older brother who has American citizenship sponsoring me for a green card in the U.S.. Can you please tell me how much time it will take? We heard a lot of contradictory things and I want to get it straight so we can make our plans accordingly.
Answer: As a U.S. Citizen, your brother can sponsor his siblings to immigrate to the U.S.. However, the immigration waiting line is the longest for siblings, about 14 years for most countries. For some countries like Mexico, the wait is about 20+ years! The reason siblings have to wait so long is simple – there are only about 65,000 Immigrant Visas per year for brothers and sisters of U.S. Citizens and this includes Immigrant visas not only for siblings, but for their spouses and all minor children (under age 21 at the time of immigrating).So, if there are only 65,000 visas available each year and 780,000 brothers, sisters and their immediate family members apply each year, the line keeps getting longer and longer. However, the sooner your brother begins the process, the sooner you will be able to immigrate. It is just very important to understand from the beginning, what the timing is, so you can plan your future accordingly. You can visit the Visa Bulletin released every month by the state department which shows how long the current waiting line is for every family category and subscribe to have the monthly Bulletin emailed to you. I hope this was helpful. Let me know if you would like me to handle your immigration case.
Certified Mail is not the best route and can take a long, long time to be delivered, much longer than many other delivery options. Many applicants do not know that if their response sent to the USCIS is postmarked before the deadline date, but is actually delivered and received by the USCIS after that date, the case is likely to be denied.
Not only is this a tragedy for the beneficiary of the immigration application, but in such instances, all the USCIS filing fees are lost, which in some cases can be thousands of dollars. Certified Mail is not delivered quickly and can sometimes take several weeks to arrive. Instead, use U.S. Priority or Express Mail (U.S. Postal Service), which is generally $8-15 or Fed-ex or UPS. Make sure and check the USCIS website when using Fed-ex or UPS, however, since they do not deliver to P.O. Boxes, so the USCIS has a street address option instead.
Be sure to send any responses requested by the USCIS at least one week or more before the deadline. Also, make a copy of everything you send to the USCIS including the initial application, supporting documents, Money Order and all follow-up responses before sending to the USCIS and never send originals! Good luck!
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. 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 $555 USCIS filing fee. The waiting time for a replacement can be lengthy.
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!