Immigration Questions: (954) 382-5378

  POSTING DATE: January 21,  2019
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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
Question: I am the parent of my us citizen son. we had my Immigration appointment a few months ago and the officer said I was approved but that my medical exam had expired. He said to get an updated one and bring to the office by the deadline in the letter. I didn’t have the money to do the exam right away, but I did it about a month later and brought it to the immigration office on the day of the deadline dec 5th, but the office was closed. We found out later it was for death of president bush. I could not go back to the immigration office until the next week because I couldn’t get time off from my work. I did drop it off the next week on dec 13th which was only a few days late. But I just got a letter that my case was denied because I did not submit the medical by the deadline. I went to the office and they said they received it but because it was late, there is nothing they can do. I’m so upset now and don’t know what to do. Can you please tell me what to do now if there is something you can do to help me get this straightened out?
Answer: What you are experiencing is very common and avoidable. It’s important to understand that when the USCIS issues a request for documentation, you generally only have one opportunity to provide exactly what is requested by or before the deadline or the case will be denied. With USCIS Requests for Evidence, it is crucial to determine exactly what the request is asking for, so that you can provide it, since there are no second chances. It’s also important to know that in many cases like yours which cannot be appealed, an Immigrant can still make a request for the officer to reopen the case or reconsider it (I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion). The filing fee is $630. A motion to reopen must be based on factual grounds, such as the discovery of new evidence or changed circumstances, while a motion to reconsider must establish that the decision was incorrect based on the evidence of record at the time of that decision. Unlike a motion to reopen, no new evidence circumstances can be submitted to support the request. While not required, due to the technical legal issues involved in such Motions, its always best to have a qualified Immigration attorney prepare and submit the request. In some Immigration cases, filing an Appeal, Motion to Reopen or Reconsider is not advised and just a waste of money. These types of cases involve eligibility issues, for instance when an Immigrant files for residency or some other immigration benefit that they are clearly not eligible for. For example, when a Resident sponsors a married a child. In such a case, no eligibility exists, since there is no immigration category for an adult married child of a Resident, only for single children. Only U.S. Citizens can sponsor their married children.

In your case, it is possible to request that the case be reopened to submit the updated medical along with an explanation as to why the document was not provided to the USCIS by the deadline. We would explain your circumstances in detail and provide an affidavit from you that you arrived at the local USCIS on a regular business day by the deadline, but were not able to deliver it because the office was closed. Processing times for the motion can between 1 to 4 months and if approved, the USCIS will reopen/reconsider the case and approve it.
Helpful Immigration Tips You Can Use...

  Immigration News & Updates              eNewsletter
Immigration How To:
How Do I  Know If I am Exempt From Filing The Affidavit of Support?
USCIS Processing Times For Common Immigration Applications Filed At USCIS Service Centers

Type of Immigration Application                                                   Average USCIS Processing Times
Understanding Affidavits of Support 

In order to sponsor a family member to immigrate to the U.S. to become a Resident (receive a Green Card), all U.S. citizens and Residents must prove that they have the ability to support their foreign relative financially for a period of years. This is required to show the U.S. government that the family member immigrating is not someone likely to immigrate to the U.S. then go collect government assistance (often called "welfare").

 The Affidavit is a legally binding promise by the Sponsor that they will take financial responsibility if the need arises so that their relative will not collect government assistance and if that does occur, the Sponsor will be responsible to reimburse any government agencies from which their immigrant family received financial assistance. 
The Importance Of Notifying The Social Security Administration 
That You Have Become A U.S. Citizen
You Passed Your Naturalization Test, Now What? 
Go To Your Naturalization Swearing In Ceremony

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. This taking of your Oath of Allegiance complete the process of becoming a U.S. citizen.

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.
Application for Employment Authorization                                                           4-6 Months
(Form I-765)/Travel Permission (Form I-131)

Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card/Green Card                           4-9 Months
(Form I-90)

Student Visa & Applications to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status              8+ Months
(Form I-539)

Petitions for Alien Relatives (Form I-130):

      U.S. citizen filing for a spouse, parent, or child under 21                              8+ Months

      Permanent resident filling for a spouse or child under 21                            19-24 Months
      ** Total waiting time for USCIS processing and an Immigrant Visa to be available in the Immigration F2A category is                       about 2+ years

      U.S. citizen filing for an unmarried son or daughter over 21                         30-40 Months
      ** Total waiting time for USCIS processing and an Immigrant Visa to be available in the Immigration F1 category is about 7-8         years

      Permanent Resident filing for an unmarried son or daughter over 21         40-50 Months
      ** Total waiting time for USCIS processing and an Immigrant Visa to be available in the Immigration F2B category is about 7         years

       U.S. citizen filing for a married son or daughter over 21                              80-100 Months
      ** Total waiting time for USCIS processing and an Immigrant Visa to be available in the Immigration F3 category is about              12+   years

       U.S. citizen filing for a brother or sister                                                          35 Months
       ** Total waiting time for USCIS processing and an Immigrant Visa to be available in the Immigration F4 category is about            13+ years

Naturalizations are processed at the local USCIS Field offices and have an average processing time from 6-12 months, depending upon the district.

See all USCIS processing times 
Most Naturalized U.S. Citizens know that they should immediately apply for a U.S. Passport and register to vote, but many are not aware that they are required to notify the Social Security Administration (SSA) once they obtain citizenship status, so that changes can be made in their Social Security records. 

U.S. Citizens are eligible for benefits which many others are not, so it’s vital that your SSA records are up to date to reflect your eligibility. Benefits include eligibility for certain disability benefits which are only available to U.S. citizens, easier qualification for retirement, social security benefits, ease in obtaining replacement of lost Social Security card, and status as a U.S. Citizen across government agency databases, including E-Verify. 
In most aspects of life it’s never too early to plan for the future, in order to “stay ahead of the game”. The same holds true for Immigrants, including Residents with Green Cards. Most Residents plan on filing for Naturalization in the future in order to become a U.S. Citizen, this includes many Residents that are single or divorced, who are not living with their minor children. However many of these parents do not realize that their actions today may prevent them from qualifying for naturalization in the future, based upon how they have been providing financial support to their children. 

Generally, Residents must show that they have “Good Moral Character” in order to be eligible for U.S. Citizenship. This covers the preceding five year period prior to applying for Naturalization for most Residents, and three years for those eligible to apply for early Naturalization through marriage to a U.S. Citizen. 
Naturalization Tips For Residents Who Don’t Live With Their Minor Children
Question: My question is about my marriage case. Me and my usa husband filed the 130 and 130a for my immigration status in may 2018 and all I got so far is the receipt. I know I should get my work card and social security and my friend said I should be doing my fingerprints too, but nothing so far. When I call the immigration they say the case is not passed processing time. I tried to get a time to go to the office in Oakland park to see an immigration officer but I cant get an appointment it always says no appointments check back later. So me and my husband don’t know what to do at this point. A lady at my husbands work said you got her work papers and green card and she said it sounds like something went wrong in my case. Can you please take my case and get this sorted out for us?
Answer: When a foreign spouse is inside the U.S. and eligible to adjust status to Residency, in addition to the I-130/130A, the entire adjustment of status petition must be filed along with the request for work authorization in order to obtain a Green Card (that includes forms I-485, I-765 and I-131, along with the I-864 Affidavit of Support and all the supporting documentation to prove eligibility). Once filed, it takes approximately 15-30 days to receive your Biometrics Appointment notice and another 4-6 months for your work/travel permit. With ever increasing processing times, it now generally takes between 1 ½ to 2 years for your marriage residency interview.

In your case, since you only filed the I-130/130A, which is simple a spousal petition, nothing will happen to adjust your status in the U.S. from this petition alone, without your adjustment of status case being filed on your behalf. Generally, the I-130/130A is filed for spouses who are abroad and who are processing through the U.S. Consulate. In these cases, once the I-130 is approved, the National Visa Center prepares the case for the spousal immigrant interview abroad.

So now, as long as you are eligible to adjust your status to U.S. Residency in the U.S., meaning that you entered the U.S. legally and your spouse is a U.S. Citizen, then you’ll need to have the adjustment of status and request for work authorization properly filed with the USCIS in order to process your adjustment of status in the U.S.. I’d be glad to handle your case to obtain your Residency, just give my assistant Frances a call to make a free appointment.
To change your status, you can download form SS-5, then visit a local Social Security Administration office in person, to register the change and speak with a representative about your social security record. Bring your Certificate of Naturalization or your U.S. passport and some other form of picture ID such as a driver’s license.

Download the SS-5 form

Find a Social Security Administration office near you
Unfortunately, failure to provide proof of child support payments is one of the most common reasons that Naturalization applications are denied every day. This often happens even when a parent has actually paid child support, but simply fails to provide evidence of payments. 

For background, immigration rules require that all parents (mothers and fathers) who do not live with their children (whether the children are inside or outside the U.S.) must provide documentation that they have provided child support for all children under the age of 18, during the past five years. This is required whether or not there is a Court Order for child support payments. In most states like Florida, child supports can be paid through the state, this way there is a record of every child support payment and the applicant can get a printout showing of all support payments and provide that, along with a certified court order for child support.

The problem comes when there is no court ordered child support or when formal payments are not made through a government system. This is typical in many countries where child support is paid more casually, for instance, by paying for a child’s school, clothes other expenses, but no regular, direct payments to the child’s custodial parent each month. In such cases it’s very difficult to prove that child support was actually paid. Residents are often shocked at their Naturalization interview, to learn that they will not qualify for U.S. Citizenship unless they are able to provide proof of child support payments. Then comes the mad scramble to find money transfer receipts and other evidence requested by the officer, however in many cases, applicants often fail to come up with adequate proof in the limited time given and are simply denied.

As a result, Residents who do not live with their minor children should take steps as early as possible to begin making child support payments to children in the U.S. and abroad in an easily documentable way:

1) Have a Written Agreement: make a written agreement with the child’s other parent (dated and signed) clearly stating the child support amount agreed to be paid monthly or yearly and make sure all the payments are made as per the agreement. If child support will be paid some months for other expenses like tuition, clothes, school supplies, etc, rather than in a payment to the other parent, make sure that is mentioned in the agreement and detail the amounts and dates. The agreement should include a confirmation by the other parent that all payments up to the date of the agreement have been paid in full. Get a copy of the parent’s passport Biographic page.

2) Money Transfers: If the child lives abroad and the Resident pays child support through funds transfers, make sure and keep a copy of every money transfer receipt for every payment and try to use the same transfer company. Make a folder and assemble the receipts in date order. It is possible to order a transaction report from many transfer companies like Western Union, but it can be expensive and take several months or more. Very important note, do not wire transfer funds to any other name except the other parent’s name, otherwise, it will be difficult to prove that the funds transfers were for child support. 

3) Check Payments: If the children live in the U.S. and the Resident is not paying support through the state, then payments should be made by check in the other parent’s name, with “child support” clearly written on the memo part of the check. Print out a copy of the “cancelled” check online from your bank each month and keep them in a folder, since it can be expensive if you want to order copies from the bank later. Also, if you change banks, those records may not even be accessible to you in the future.

4) Keep Track of Payments: Make a Payment Register, with the date, amount paid and method of payment for every single month. 

Date                Amount Paid           Type of Payment
12/1/18           $300                          Western Union

Finally, Residents should also maintain a good relationship their child(ren)’s other parent, since prior to filing for naturalization, it’s wise to get a currently dated letter from the other parent, clearly re-stating the terms of the agreement, i.e. the amount of child support agreed on and that all child support has been paid to date. It should be signed, notarized and include a copy of the parent’s passport Biographic page. The best advice for Residents is to begin now, no matter how early or late and have everything in order BEFORE filing for naturalization.
Question: My brother got his citizenship through his American wife back in 2005 and filed an immigration case for me in 2006. My girlfriend is pregnant and we will be get married next month before our baby is born. My question is whether that will affect the immigration case I have? Will it delay it? How do I report the marriage so my wife and new baby will be included with me, thanks?
Answer: That’s a great question. Under Immigration regulations, brothers and sisters of U.S. Citizens are in a category called F4, which includes the sibling, his or her spouse and all minor children (under age 21). As a result, any spouse or child the foreign sibling acquired after the U.S. Citizens sibling files the immigration petition, will be automatically included and allowed to immigrate to the U.S.. Therefore, you’re coming marriage and new baby will not have any bad consequences on the Immigrant petition filed on your behalf by your U.S. Citizen brother. It usually takes 13+ years for an immigrant visa to be available to F4 siblings and their families. Since your brother filed for you in 2006, you have another one to two years to wait, getting very close! Once the immigration process is in the final stages, I can take over the case and notify the National Visa Center that you have married and provide all the relevant information including Birth and Marriage Certificates. I hope this is helpful
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 (Form – N-445). 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: 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! 
The Affidavits of Support must always be filed by the U.S. citizen or Resident for their immigrating family member(s), even if they do not meet the minimum financial guidelines. In such cases, a Joint-Sponsor who does meet the financial requirements can provide an additional Affidavits of Support and will be bound by the same obligations. Joint-Sponsors must be either a Resident or U.S. Citizen, but are not required to be a family member. The sponsor’s obligation lasts until the immigrant either becomes a U.S. citizen, has earned 40 work quarters credited toward Social Security (about ten years of work), dies, or permanently leaves the United States. If the immigrant has already been living in the U.S. and worked legally, earning work credits before applying for the green card, those count toward the 40.

However, Minor Children (under age 18) of U.S. Citizens who will automatically obtain U.S. Citizen upon being granted Residency are not required to have an Affidavit filed on their behalf, but must file a waiver form instead, called the I-864W. As strange as it may seem, the information on the form is for the child being sponsored, not the parent. So make sure it is completed correctly or the USCIS will issue a request.