Immigration Questions: (954) 382-5378

  POSTING DATE: November 11,  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
Helpful Immigration Tips You Can Use...

  Immigration News & Updates              eNewsletter
Question: Dear Sir/Madam I am filling forms for my permanent residence. My wife and 2 children are also coming. I have sent DS260 form, for me and wife and I have the confirmation sheet. But now I was told my 2 children (11and 7), need also a DS260. Do you know how can I get them ? (the DS 260). I know I have to pay first, but I don't know how to do it. Thank you very much.
Answer: Here’s what you need to do. Contact the NVC at: 1-603-334-0700. Give them your case number, invoice ID, name and sponsor name and date of birth. Tell them you have two minor children who are immigrating with you and they will email you the NVC bills to pay and add them to your immigrant visa case. Then you can do the ds260 for the children and upload the required documents. I hope this was helpful to you
Immigration How To:
How Do I Know If I Am Doing The Affidavit Of Support Correctly?
Tips On Properly Preparing Affidavits of Support

Filing an Affidavit of Support (form I-864) is required in nearly all family sponsored immigration cases. The law specifies that all sponsors complete form I-864 and provide financial documentation to prove that they meet the minimum requirements to sponsor their loved ones. A sponsor is the U.S. Citizen or Resident family member who has filed for his or her relative to immigrate to the U.S..In cases where a sponsor does not work or have enough income to meet the requirements and has a Joint Sponsor who does qualify, it’s important to understand that the sponsor is still required to file an Affidavit of Support and provide financial documentation in addition to that of the Joint Sponsor. 
Always Make A Copy Of Your Immigration Application 
Before Sending To The USCIS!

One of the most common problems immigrants have in determining their immigration status is that they don’t keep copies of the petitions filed with Immigration (USCIS). The best advice to avoid this is:
1) Make a copy of EVERYTHING, including all documents you file with your petition
2) Send your immigration petition package and all follow up documents to the USCIS using Priority Mail from the U.S. postal service or Fed-ex/UPS, NEVER use Certified Mail! Make sure you track the package to see the date of delivery and print out the confirmation for your records in case you need to prove it later.
 Feds Crack Down On Immigration Fraud In Florida
USCIS Genealogy Program And National Archives 
Provide Historical Records Of Immigrants
The USCIS has a genealogy program which can assist family historians, genealogists and researchers in obtaining historical immigration and naturalization records of some immigrants. The fee based service provides records searches for deceased immigrants going back as far as those born more than 100 years ago. Similarly, the National Archives contains billions of historical records relating to immigrants from the late 1700s through the early 2000s. 

 Such records include those related to immigration, visas, naturalization, passports and even "ship passenger arrival records," with vital information about passengers, including nationality, place of birth, date and place of entry to the U.S., age, height, eye, hair color, profession, name and address of relatives in the U.S., including the amount of money they were carrying.
In the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) continuing efforts to crack down on immigration fraud, federal authorities in Florida recently prosecuted fraudsters in two separate cases for perpetrating illegal immigration scams against innocent immigrants. 

In one such scheme in Coral Springs, Florida, the feds arrested, charged and recently convicted Jenny Hernandez, of Immigration Form Center Inc. (IFC), for filing fraudulent immigration visa applications, receiving between $14,000 to over $50,000 from victims of the scam. 
Department of Homeland Security Extends TPS 
Work Permits For Six Countries
Under a Federal Court order, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been legally required to extend work permits for nationals of six countries with current Temporary Protected Status (TPS). In accordance with the 2018 court order, the USCIS recently announced that it is extending the validity of work permits for nationals of El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua and Sudan (who currently hold TPS status) through January 4, 2021. 

As background, in 2017, the Trump Administration arbitrarily issued an order to terminate TPS for thousands of immigrants who have been in the U.S. under protected status for decades. Under the termination policy, the government had planned to end TPS status for Sudan on November 2, 2018, Nicaragua on January 5, 2019, Haiti on July 22, 2019 and El Salvador on September 9, 2019. In response, Immigrants filed a class-action lawsuit against the DHS, seeking to stop the planned TPS terminations.
In another unrelated case, Erika Paola Intriago of Tampa, Florida recently pled guilty to wire fraud as part of an immigration fraud scheme in which she posed as an immigration attorney and bilked thousands of dollars from innocent immigrants desperate to obtain legal immigration status in the U.S.. When immigrant victims later discovered that she had either not filed any immigration applications on their behalf or that their cases were denied, Intriago threatened that she would report them to U.S. immigration authorities and they would be deported. She is currently facing a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison.

These and other cases serve as reminders to be wary of fraudsters who prey upon vulnerable immigrants by promising work permits and green cards in exchange for large sums of money. In most cases, when a qualified immigration attorney advises an immigrant that he or she is not eligible for immigration benefits, it is very likely true and no magical thinking can make it otherwise. And due to Trump policies which make it easier for the USCIS to issue deportation notices to immigrants who have received denials, it is more dangerous than ever to file any kind of immigration application without assurance of legal eligibility. Remember the old adage, if it sounds too good to be true, it is!
Coral Springs Talk
Justice Department Announcement
​Tampa Bay
​USCIS Announcement
It is important however, not to confuse searching genealogy records with requesting your own Immigration records through a Freedom of Information act (FOIA). Genealogy records provide historical documents and information, while FOIA requests provide a copy of your current immigration file. 

Genealogy program
Genealogy Samples
National Archives

The result was a Federal court ruling, which temporarily prevented the administration from following through on the planned TPS cancellations, while the lawsuit makes its way through the courts, which can take several years. 

DHS TPS announcement

Question: We have a question about my immigration papers. I came her 4 yrs ago for a visit and for some personal reasons I did not leave america when I should have and I have been here ever since and cant drive or work legally. I got married to my american husband last year and we filed the 130 and 130a for my immigration status and got a receipt only for the I-130 application. We are still waiting on my work card so I can get my social and start working. Every time I call immigration they says the case is still pending and cant get any more information they just tell me to go on the immigration website to look at the processing time, but it don’t say anything about the work permit. We are really frustrated because I need to work and drive. Is there any way you can take my case and get me my work card and social?
Answer: Good question. 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 (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 6 months for your work/travel permit. It is currently taking about 6-8 months for the marriage residency interview to be scheduled.

In your case if you only filed forms I-130 and I-130A, which are for a spousal petition, nothing will happen to adjust your status in the U.S. or get you your work permit or social security from this petition alone. In order to obtain a work permit, you need to file your adjustment of status case and form I-765 which includes a request for a social security card. Generally, the I-130 and I-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 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.
Question: I just had a really bad thing happen I want to ask you about. I was in Miami last year for a visit, then things came up and I wanted to stay a little longer in the U.S. so I applied to visit for 2 more months. I got the letter from immigration that they received the application and then nothing happened after that. I kept waiting for something and kept calling the immigration number but the application was just processing. Finally I had to leave and go home since I had a new job starting. I didn’t think anything of it because I followed the law and requested more time, even though I couldn’t wait in the U.S. any longer.

Well then last month I came back to Miami to visit and the guy at the airport cancelled my visa and made me get on a return flight, would not even let me come in. I showed him the immigration paper where I tried to get the extension, but he said because I left before it was approved I overstayed. I could not believe it, my cousin was waiting for me for hours at the airport terminal. Finally when I got home I went to the embassy to show them the paper and explain and they refused to give me a new visa and said I could always try again in six months. It’s like a nightmare and I feel I have been cheated and want to know if there is something I can do to clear this up and get my visa back?
Answer: Unfortunately, that is very common these days. USCIS processing times for extensions of stay and change of status can take 6-8+ months. Usually by the time the decision is made, one of two things has occurred, 1) if it’s a denial, the individual’s I-94 has expired or 2) if the extension is approved, only six months from the date of the request is given, so again, the individual’s I-94 has expired by the time they receive the extension approval. As a result, in both cases, the individual’s U.S. visa is automatically cancelled. This policy seems to have the effect of penalizing any foreign national who visits the U.S. and applies to extend their time here, since in many cases, the mere act of filing such an extension causes the visitor to lose their U.S. B1/B2 visa, sometimes for many years. The best thing you can do is to wait and reapply again. In addition to other documentation , show the consular officer that you are working full time and a letter from your employer and try to prove that you are only coming to the U.S. for a brief visit, then coming right back home. Good luck! 
3) Keep the USCIS receipt (I-797 Notice of Action Receipt) as soon as you receive it-it is like GOLD! In many cases, when your petition could be processing for several years, you need to have proof of filing, as well as you’re A# (Alien Registration Number) and the SRC (Service Center Number) so you can periodically check the status of your case on the internet. 
The only exception to the Affidavit of Support requirement is when a U.S. Citizen is sponsoring a minor child under age 18, since the child will automatically become a U.S. Citizen upon immigrating to the U.S.. In such cases, the child must file form I-864W requesting the exemption.

So what exact information is required for affidavits and how do you prove income? If you have a Joint Sponsor why do you still need to file form I-864 yourself? Issues such as these involving Affidavits of Support are often a main reason for the USCIS or National Visa Center issuance of a request for more information, which can significantly delay an immigration case. Here is a quick overview to help simplify the issue.

Basic Requirements

Sponsors are required to properly complete form I-864 and provide the following:
1) Most recent tax return and W-2. At this time, it’s for the year 2018; 
2) Paystubs for the past three months (last 90 days) to prove current income;
3) Employer letter with current date, stating date hired, position, fulltime employment or hours worked and salary or hourly wages. 

If a Joint Sponsor income is used, this is required in addition to (not substitute for) that from the sponsor detailed above. Properly complete form I-864 and provide the following:
1) Most recent tax return and W-2. At this time, it’s for the year 2018; 
2) Paystubs for the past three months (last 90 days) to prove current income;
3) Employer letter with current date, stating date hired, position, fulltime employment or hours worked and salary or hourly wages;
4) Proof of U.S. Citizenship or Residency (copy of U.S. Birth Certificate, Naturalization Certificate or U.S. Passport or Green Card) 

Note that sponsors and joint sponsors are required to provide their current tax return, and the fact that an extension was filed with the IRS does not qualify to overcome this requirement. The only time a sponsor is relieved of that requirement is if his or her income was too low to require the filing of taxes, for instance when income is received from social security retirement etc. In such cases, a social security benefits letter showing the past and current year’s monthly benefits amount should be included. The sponsor should include a letter explaining income amounts, particularly when he or she does not provide an employer letter.

Most Common Mistakes

Calculating household size: Form I-864 Part 5 requires the calculation of household size. Note that in addition to the immigrating relative and sponsor/joint sponsor, the form requires the listing of anyone who was listed on the individual’s most recent tax return as well, or an explanation as to why those listed as a dependent on the tax return provided for the previous year are no longer dependents. For instance, if you list the immigrant (even if they are not in the U.S.), yourself and spouse, that is a household of 3. But if your tax return for the most recent year has not only you and your spouse but 3 other dependents listed as well, for instance your grandchildren or parents, etc., and you do not provide an explanation to the USCIS as to the change in dependent status, you will receive an RFE from the officer requesting an explanation. Another tip is that if you are sponsoring other relatives separately who have not yet immigrated, you do not need to list them on household size. For instance, you are currently sponsoring your mother and father which are two separate unrelated cases. If your parents are not currently residing with you in the U.S., you do not need to list both parents in your household size, just the current parent in the instant case you are filing.

Current Income: Form I-864 page 4 #7 requests that the sponsor/joint sponsor enter the figure for “current individual annual income.” This means what the “current” income is reflected by the individual’s salary or wages on an annual basis NOT the figure on the current year’s tax return. The figure on #7 must match the current paystubs provided along with the application. If the figures do not match, the officer will send a Request For Evidence (RFE) requesting documents which demonstrate the income on line #7. Note that income from immigrant cannot be used if he or she is not authorized to work in the U.S.. An easy way to calculate your yearly income is to do the following:
Get your past 3 months paystubs and add them all up, then divide them by 3 to get an average monthly income, then multiply times 12 (for 12 months). That is your estimated annual income based upon your current average monthly income. Sponsors/joint sponsors who do not receive regular paystubs may have a very difficult time proving income and may not be able to prove eligibility. For instance, those who are self employed and deposit cash into their back accounts but have no regular pay checks to show income received. In such cases, sponsors need to find a qualifying joint sponsor who is paid by regular paystub wages by an employer.

Assets: Form I-864 page 5 part 7. If you are relying on income which is sufficient, you DO NOT complete the assets section, otherwise, you could receive an RFE requiring you to provide extensive documentation of your qualifying assets. Using assets can be very complicated and its important to know that the value of the assets must be 5 times the shortfall in income (3 times when U.S. Citizen is sponsoring his/her spouse or minor child). For example, let’s say the Resident sponsor’s paystub income calculates as $15,000 per year and the sponsor needs to prove at least $21,137 (the minimum required for a household of 2). The shortfall is $6,137 time 5 = $30,685, meaning that the Resident would need to show qualifying assets of at least $30,685 for make up for the difference. Easier to get a joint sponsor!

Failing To Provide Copies of Required documents: Sponsors are required to provide the documents detailed above and any missing documentation will cause delay in the case, since the officer will issue an RFE requesting it. Complete copies of tax returns are required and one of the most common mistakes made by sponsors is in just providing the first few pages of the return. You are required to submit the entire return with all schedules and the W-2 or an IRS transcript and wage report, which you can order online for free. Another common mistake is either failing to submit an employer letter, or submitting one which is deficient in that it is not currently dated, or does not state the sponsor’s fulltime status, hours, salary or wages. For instance some sponsor’s submit a letter they received the previous year when they were hired stating their job position and wages, which of course does not qualify since it is not currently dated. Remember, the letter is not a job recommendation, it’s meant to verify “current” employment and salary.

Our office can help you navigate the often confusing process of initial Affidavit of Support submission or by preparing a proper response to a USCIS Request For Evidence you received for a previously submitted Affidavit of Support. 
Call for a free consultation 954-382-5378.