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Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter ©  2011  - 2016 
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 sister is American citizen, and she applied for me through the I-130 form. But I'm in the US without returning to my country for more than a year, so my I-94 has already expired. My doubts are: 1 - I applied in June 2011. And at the USCIS website, it informs that the I-130 Petition for Alien Relative US citizen filing for a brother or sister is processing for May 17, 2011 and on the visa Bulletin for october 2016 informs that they are processing November 2003, can you predict when my case will be processed? 2 - Once approved, how I stay over 1 year in the US with I have to proceed?
This Week's Immigration News 
By Immigration Attorney Caroly Pedersen

Driver’s Licenses For Immigrants - Tips On Getting It Now Before Any Policy Changes
A growing number of states have passed laws which provide Driver’s Licenses to Immigrants regardless of Immigration status. These laws defy a Federal Law called “Real ID”, which prohibits the issuance of Driver’s Licenses to anyone who is not in legal immigration status. Under the current Obama Presidency, states are encouraged to refuse to implement “Real ID” and to instead issue Driver’s Licenses to Immigrants.

 However, under the new Trump Administration, which promises strict enforcement of Immigration laws across the nation, the government may “crackdown” on States which continue to issue driving permits to Immigrants.
When Approved For Residency - But Have Not Received Your Card
Immigrants approved for Residency through adjustment of status in the U.S. receive a “Welcome Notice” shortly after approval, then the actual Green Card a week or so later. However, in some instances, several weeks can go by after receipt of the notice – with no Green Card.

The USCIS now sends Green Cards by Priority Mail. When Immigrants have not received their Green Card after several weeks, they can contact USCIS’s Customer Service Center at 800-375-5283 to request tracking information for their documents. USCIS customer service representatives will provide customers with their USPS tracking number and current USPS delivery status.
As a result, such States may have no choice but to suspend issuance of Driver’s Licenses to Immigrants without legal status in the future. However those who have obtained legal driving permits before any policy changes, will likely be authorized to retain Driver’s License privileges until the permit expires. As such, Immigrants might well be advised to safeguard their right to drive legally and avoid the risk of charges for driving without a license and potential Immigration detention under Trump’s strict enforcement policies, by obtaining a legal Driver’s License as soon as possible, before Trump is sworn in as President on January 20th.

Since Florida law does not allow Immigrants without legal status to obtain a Driver’s License, Immigrants in our state will need to seek alternative options available in other states.. According to the National Immigration Law Center, as of July 2016, the following states/districts now provide licenses to Immigrants residing in the jurisdiction, regardless of their Immigration status: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, DC, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, New Mexico, Nevada, Puerto Rico, Utah, Vermont and Washington. 

You can contact each state’s Driver’s License website to find out what documents you will need and visit the National Immigration Law Center site to get a review of each state’s requirements.:
Trump Immigration Plan May Include Authorizing Local Police 
To Enforce Immigration Policies
In a secret proposal from Trump Immigration advisor (and candidate for possible Homeland Security Secretary) Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the new Administration may “deputize” local police officers nationwide to carry out Federal Immigration enforcement. This and other Immigration “crack down” proposals were caught on camera under Kobach’s arm, as he carried the documents for meetings with the Trump team to discuss new policy strategies. This controversial policy was carried out by the Bush Administration, and garnered wide-spread criticism, even among law enforcement, for having the effect of alienating communities and interfering with crime investigations, since witnesses were less likely to report crime and talk to police who were acting as Immigration enforcers. Trump will likely unveil these and other proposals soon after his Inauguration early next year. Stay tuned…

USA Today: Trump Deputize Police
Answer:  It takes 12-14 years for a visa to become available to the brother or sister of a U.S. Citizen. If she applied for you in 2011, it will take another 6-8 years. Since you have overstayed your I-94, under current law, you are not eligible anymore to receive your Residency in the U.S.. On the other hand, since you have overstayed in the U.S. past one year, if you leave the U.S., you will be barred for 10 years from returning.

The issue of how long USCIS processing times are for family petitions is very different than how long it will actually take a family member to be eligible to immigrate to the U.S. The USCIS processing times are posted to inform the public about how long an application typically takes in the queue to be processed. However, once a case is approved, the USCIS then sends the file to the National Visa Center (NVC) to hold until an Immigrant Visa becomes available for the specific family category of the approved application. For siblings in the F4 Immigration category, the USCIS usually processes the case within 5+ years. Then, once the case is sent to the NVC, it will take another 7+ years waiting for a visa to become available. Immigrant Visa availability is updated each month by the State Department and posted on the Visa Bulletin website. The process can be very confusing and that is why it is so important to get good advice before starting the process, before overstaying a visa and becoming potentially disqualified to Immigrate through a family member.

At this point, because you have overstayed, under current law, your only way to obtain legal immigration status is through a real marriage to a US Citizen.

Visit the Visa Bulletin: Visa Bulletin
More about Family Immigration Waiting LinesUnderstanding Family Immigrant Visa Waiting Lines
Helpful Immigration Tips
Immigration How To:
What Are The Minimum Income Requirements Are To Sponsor My Mom?
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.

Minor Children (under age 18) of U.S. Citizens who 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.

Get the 2016 Poverty Guidelines to determine the minimum income requirements:
2016 Poverty Guidelines

Learn More About Affidavits of Support: 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. 
Find out Driver’s License Registration Requirements:
National Immigration Law Center
Driver's License Map