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This Week's Immigration News 
By Immigration Attorney Caroly Pedersen

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Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter ©  2011  - 2014  
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
Question:  My wife filed for my Green Card and this year in July we went to the interview. The officer was not friendly and asked us for lots of papers that we didn’t have, but didn’t ask us many questions. We are a real couple, so we thought they would give me my Green Card right away, but the officer said we would get a decision in the mail. It’s been 3 months and we didn’t receive anything and when we call the 800# and look online, they always say initial review. Can you please tell us what to do now?
Helpful Immigration Hints You Can Use
Stay Informed - Sign-up For USCIS E-Notification & Email Updates On Your Immigration Case 
The USCIS now 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 now 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 within 24 hours 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.
Answer: What you are experiencing is a very common problem in marriage immigration cases when a couple attends the USCIS interview and does not have sufficient marital documentation to prove a “real marriage”. The USCIS now requires extensive documentation from the couple at the interview to prove a valid marital relationship. Couples should be forewarned that filing for residency through marriage can be very risky, unless you are fully prepared and understand the issues that are most important for obtaining quick residency approvals and to avoid the long delay you are experiencing.

What to expect now: Usually, if you don’t receive your residency approval shortly after the marriage residency interview, you will either 1) receive a letter from the USCIS Officer requesting further documents (sometimes over 90 days or more later), or more likely, 2) 6 months and up to a year later, receive a notice for a second interview sometimes referred to as a “fraud interview” where they separate you and your husband and question you. 
Immigration How To:
How Can A Member of the Military Legalize Undocumented Family?
OBAMACARE and Immigration – Who Qualifies for the Affordable Care Act ?
Many Immigrants are confused about their eligibility to qualify for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (also known as “ObamaCare”). Here’s a list of some of the common non U.S. Citizen immigration statuses which are eligible for health coverage:

Immigrants holding the following Immigration Status:

Lawful permanent and temporary Residents (LPR/Green Card holder)
Cuban/Haitian entrant
Paroled into the U.S.
Conditional entrant granted before 1980
Battered spouse, child, or parent (VAWA)
Victim of trafficking and his or her spouse, child, sibling, or parent
Granted Withholding of Deportation or Withholding of Removal
Individual with non-immigrant status (including worker visas, student visas)
Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
Deferred Enforced Departure (DED)
Deferred Action Status (EXCEPT: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) isn’t an eligible immigration status for applying for health coverage)

Applicants for:

Special Immigrant Juvenile Status
Adjustment to LPR Status with an approved visa petition
Victim of trafficking visa
Asylum who has been granted employment authorization
Withholding of Deportation/Removal 

Certain individuals with employment authorization documents:

Applicant for Cancellation of Removal or Suspension of Deportation
Applicant for Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
Granted an administrative stay of removal by the Department of Homeland Security 

Click here to see the eligibility list 

You can make an INFOPASS appointment to go to your local USCIS office to speak to an information officer about your case. Often, the officer will simply tell you that your case is “pending” and in the queue for a second interview (along with hundreds of others). In rare cases, the USCIS refers cases to be investigated prior to making a final decision, but this is the exception. It is really impossible to know, since I did not prepare your original case. 

Finally, you can contact your Congressional Office for assistance in getting your second interview scheduled sooner rather than later. But from now on, make sure that you and your wife begin creating an extensive paper trail of your relationship with a joint bank account, utilities, etc. to prepare for your next interview. I hope this has been helpful to you.

You can get assistance in filing for U.S. Residency through marriage to a U.S. Citizen 
by calling our office at: 954-382-5378.
Applications filed with the USCIS generally require that supporting documentation be submitted in order to prove eligibility. Such documents include Birth Certificates, Marriage Certificates, Divorce Decrees, Criminal documents, etc. The USCIS requires that all official documents be a copy of either the original, or of the certified copy of the original. 

Never send original documentation to the USCIS unless specifically requested. Original or certified documents are generally only required to be provided to the USCIS officer during an interview. Therefore, if you send original document to the USCIS Service Center, you will no longer have the original document to bring with you as required to the interview at your local Field office. 

Finally, always make a copy of everything that you send to the USCIS for your records, otherwise, you have no proof of what you sent. Good luck!
When Filing Applications With the USCIS - Never Send Original Supporting Documents 
Learn About the USCIS Policy That Provides Status and Work Authorization For Undocumented Family Members of U.S. Military Personnel
Beginning 2013, the Department of Homeland Security implemented a new policy which provides status and Work Permits for many undocumented family members (including: spouses, children (under age 21), and parents) of U.S. Citizen members of the U.S. Armed Forces. 

Similar to the Obama Administration’s “Deferred Action” for DREAMERS, this program allows “Immediate Relatives” of  thousands of U.S. Armed Forces personnel to live and work in the U.S. legally without fear of deportation. The policy change was instituted as  humanitarian relief for Service Members, to reduce their stress and anxiety about the immigration status of their family members.The program is officially called “parole in place” (PIP) and designed to provide a temporary work permit and status for renewable one year periods. 
Most importantly, recipients of the PIP program do not risk deportation due to their unlawful status. Many Immediate Relatives who qualify for "Parole” under this PIP program also qualify to obtain a Green Card through Adjustment of Status. 

Qualifying Family members (who have not been convicted of a crime) are those who entered the U.S. without inspection and are the Immediate Relative of a U.S. citizen who is an active duty member of the U.S. Armed Forces, Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve, or who previously served in the U.S. Armed Forces or the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve. 
You can find out more about obtaining status through the PIP program by calling our office at: (954) 382-5378.