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This Week's Immigration News 
By Immigration Attorney Caroly Pedersen

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Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter ©  2011  - 2015 
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
USCIS Requests Your Suggestions On A New Public Awareness Slogan To Avoid Scams
The USCIS is inviting the public to propose a new slogan for the agency’s “Avoid Scams” public awareness campaign. The current slogan is “The Wrong Help Can Hurt: Beware of Immigration Scams.” You can submit your ideas and suggestions to the USCIS up until October 14th. 

Participate by visiting the USCIS Idea Community, registering and providing your ideas:

USCIS Idea Community Website
Question: Hi Ms. Caroly Firstly, Thank you for your response back. My question was, I got married a year ago and I my husband and I filed for the I-130 in May. I received a letter back saying they received it with a receipt number. I am currently awaiting my next response back which would be for my biometrics test and it's been 4 months now with no response. My question is does it normally take this long? Should I call customer service at the uscis office? I am afraid that I'm waiting too long for a response back. Thank you very much for you kindness. Take care. 
Answer: When a foreign spouse is inside the U.S. and eligible to adjust status to Residency, in addition to the I-130, the entire adjustment of status petition must be filed along with the request for work authorization in order to obtain a Green Card. Once filed, it takes approximately 30 days to receive your Biometrics Appointment notice and another 60 days for your Work Permit. Your marriage residency interview generally comes in another 4-6 months.

In your case, your husband only filed the I-130, 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 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.. Let me know if you would like us to handle obtaining your Residency.

This Year’s Visa (Green Card) Lottery  Began On October 1st, 2015  
Download the official government instructions which provides full details on eligibility and the application process:


Apply For the 2017 Diversity Visa Lottery:

Official State Department 2017 Diversity Visa Application Website
This Year’s Visa Lottery called DV-2017 opened for its annual FREE Online Registration last Wednesday, October 1, 2015,. and will end on Tuesday, November 3, 2015 at 12:00 noon. The Department of State has released instructions for the DV 2017 lottery which explains eligibility and procedures for applying online. 

Countries not qualifying are: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam. 

However, if you were born in one of these ineligible countries and neither of your parents was born there, and they were not legal residents of that country at the time of your birth, you can still qualify by using the country of birth of either of your parents to apply for the DV-2017 lottery.
The DV Lottery is always FREE and no paper applications are accepted. Lottery applications are required to be filed online through the official Department of State DV Lottery Website. Once the online entry is made, applicants receive a Confirmation Number, which allows them to return to the official government website and check the status of their entry through the “Entrant Status Check” once the winners are selected. There will be no other official notification. The program does not send notification emails or letters and never directs applicants or winners to wire money under any circumstances. 
Beware of websites claiming to be official Lottery sites and paralegals, which charge a fee for entry, since they are not affiliated with the official U.S. Department of State and may be scams. Only sites that end in .gov are government sites. Apply yourself – its FREE and now, easy! The only official government website is available at the link below. 
Congress Extends The Current EB-5 Investor Green Card Program Until December 2015
Facing budget battles with the Obama Administration and the Democrats, the Republican Congress agreed to a short term extension of the EB – 5 Investor Visa program for Green Cards until December 11th, without increasing the minimum investment to $800,000 & $1.2 million as planned. Long term changes to the program which will include increasing the capital investment and other requirements will be taken up again by Congress either this year or early next year. 

This gives EB-5 Investors a small window of opportunity to take advantage of the program now, before the capital requirement raises from $500,000 to $800,000 for investors in the Regional Center program and investments in high unemployment areas of the U.S., and from $1 million to $1.2 million for all other investors. 
USCIS Webpage Helps Immigrants in Locating Authorized Physicians And Understanding Requirements For The Medical Examination 
The USCIS has an enhanced resource webpage to assist Immigrants in locating local doctors authorized to perform medical examinations required for Green Card applicants. 

The improved resources provide Immigrants with information including:
1) What to expect during the medial exam
2) Checklist of documents to bring to the examination and 
3) Tools to easily locate authorized doctors by zip code, driving directions and local transportation. 
Visit the new USCIS webpage: USCIS Medical Examination
Immigration Tips You Can Use...
Immigration How To:
How Do I Report USCIS Abuse?
Reporting Abusive Treatment By The USCIS
Thousands of Immigrants receive immigration benefits from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) each year, navigating their way through the often difficult and confusing process. 

And while it is expected that Immigrants should be held to the standards of qualification defined by law to demonstrate eligibility, no immigrant should ever expect to be treated discourteously, disrespectfully or in an abusive way by a USCIS Officer or employee. 
However, it does happen and when it does, Immigrants do have the right to report mistreatment to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The DHS strives to maintain the public’s trust and provide quality services and does investigate credible reports of abuse.  

One such incident reported to me recently was from an U.S. Citizen and Immigrant spouse during a marriage interview case wherein the USCIS officer demanded that the U.S. Citizen and Immigrant spouse go to their car and bring him their cell phones. Once they returned with the phones, the officer demanded that they give him the phones and passcodes and he preceded look at all of their personal text messages and cell phone photos. The Citizen and his wife did not consent to this, but frightened, they did as they were demanded to do. None of this is official USCIS procedures and much of what the officer did was a violation of their rights. In cases like these, complaints should be made as soon after the event as possible.

To make a report, you can use one of the following:

Call the DHS Hotline at 1-800-323-8603 

Send a fax at (202) 254-4292 

File an online complaint at: Office of Inspector General (OIG) 

File a written complaint to:  

Department of Homeland Security
Attn: Office of the Inspector General Hotline
245 Murray Drive, Building 410 Stop: 2600
Washington, D.C. 20528

Be sure to include: 1) the date, time and location of the incident, 2) detailed description of the what happened to you 3) the name(s) of employee(s) involved.