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Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter ©  2011  - 2020 
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
  Immigration News & Updates              
Immigration How To:
How Do I  Know If It’s Safe For Me To Travel Outside The U.S. With My Criminal Background?
Questions About Immigration? We have the answers!
We Are Here To Help, Call us now for a FREE consultation (954) 382-5378
Helpful Immigration Tips You Can Use...
Question: My uncle sponsored my parents and they immigrated to america in 2015. By that time, I was thirty years old and I could not come along with them. After my parents got their residency, my dad sponsored me in august 2018, but even though I am single, I have to wait for a few years. For the past year I have been dating my girlfriend and we have a baby on the way in a few months. I know if I get married I wont be able to immigrate any more since my dad is a resident not a citizen. We were wondering if my dad becomes a us citizen can I get married then and will that make my case go faster? 
After a seemingly endless presidential campaign, Americans have finally spoken and elected Joe Biden as our 46th President. At the end of a nail biting election, voters ultimately rejected Trump’s vitriolic and divisive rhetoric, cruel and inhumane immigration policies and indifference to systemic racism, instead choosing Biden’s compassionate, thoughtful, steady leadership, and promise of prosperity for all people across America, including immigrants. Yes, the margins of victory were thin in some states, but it just shows that the better part of ourselves prevailed when it counted most.
Yay!! Trump Is Out! But Expect More Immigration Proclamations 
Before He Leaves Office On Jan 20th!

                  LAW CENTERS

Immigration Questions: (954) 382-5378
 POSTING DATE: November 9, 2020
Answer: The current waiting time for single, adult sons and daughters of U.S. Citizens (F1 immigration category) is about six years or so. The waiting line for single, adult children of U.S. Residents (F2B immigration category) is actually about a year shorter, five years. As a result, it’s best that you stay in the F2B line so you can immigrate faster. Since your dad filed your case in 2018, you will likely be eligible to immigrate to the U.S. in 2023. If your dad naturalizes and becomes a U.S. Citizen, you will go into the slower F1 category and have to wait a year longer. If you remain single, once you immigrate to the U.S., you can get married and immediately sponsor your wife and baby to immigrate, which should only take a year or so. However, if your dad naturalizes and you get married, you will move from the F2B immigration category to the F3 immigration category for adult married children (and their spouse and minor children) of U.S. Citizens, where the line is 12 years. That means that you and your family would need to wait until 2030 to be able to immigrate to the U.S.. As you can see, the most strategic path is just to wait to get married, since you only have a few more years to wait. I hope this was helpful to you, let me know if you have any questions about it.
Under Trump Administration policies U.S. Residents (Green Cards holders) with criminal records should now take great care before travelling abroad, since even old criminal convictions can cause difficulties in re-entering the U.S., result in a bar to readmission and in some cases, even removal from the U.S.. Under the Department of Homeland Security’s enforcement priorities the government’s application of strict Immigration enforcement laws have been steadily tightening, resulting in raids and the apprehension of Immigrants with even “suspected” criminal activity. This of course also means more scrutiny of both foreign visitors and U.S. Residents seeking to enter the U.S. from abroad as well.
Overview of Appealing A Case Denial

As most are aware, immigration application denials are much more common these days than in the past, and are often issued without even allowing an applicant the chance to provide additional evidence to prove eligibility. Even worse, most applicants receiving denials who have fallen out of legal immigration status, are now also at risk for deportation under the  NTA rule

As a result, it’s important to understand the options available once a case is denied and whether filing for review is appropriate. Under Trump’s Notice To Appear NTA rule, the USCIS will hold off on issuing a deportation notice for at least 33 days, giving the applicant a chance to file a motion or appeal (for review). 
Tips On Successfully Responding To A USCIS Request for Evidence (RFE) 
A Request for Evidence (RFE) is a letter that the USCIS officer sends you to request additional information or documentation on your application. RFE requests are generally most frequently issued for missing information or documentation to establish your eligibility. 

Most importantly, you generally only get one opportunity to provide a response, since the officer in your case will either continue processing the file or deny the case if your response is not adequate.
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And while the nightmare of Trump’s presidency is almost over, there are still several months to go before he will be forced to leave office. And during that time, he has full control of the executive pen to make endless Executive Orders and Proclamations. Experts believe Trump will use his powers to extend the immigration ban on most family immigrants abroad indefinitely, and try to reduce as much immigration inside the U.S. as possible during his time remaining in office. These efforts will mostly be to appeal to his fervent Trump disciples since he plans to start his own Trump network to compete with FOX NEWS in order to continue to spew his racist, anti-immigrant rhetoric to please his followers. 

However, have no fear, Biden plans to reverse all Trump’s immigration bans and restrictions soon after taking office in January. So, turn off the news, all is well…. democracy, decency and sanity will soon be restored to our nation, the land of immigrants!
Properly responding to an RFE from the USCIS

The first tip is the most obvious, always read the RFE letter very carefully to determine exactly what kind of evidence or document is being requested. Some RFE's are more complex than the others and it is difficult to determine and some are simple and easy to understand. For more complicated RFE letters, you may want to retain an immigration attorney to assist you. Once you have determined what the letter is requesting, be sure to provide the exact document requested. For instance, an officer may request a “long form” of a Birth Certificate. If you respond that you do not have one, your case will likely be denied. The appropriate action to take is to request one from the departmental authority in your country of birth.

Timing, make sure and respond to an RFE before the extended deadline

Depending on the type of case, you may have from 33 days to 87 days to respond so that the USCIS receives your response before the expiration date. However, under new COVID-19 policies, you now have an additional sixty days from the due date to respond. So, if you had 33 days before, now you have 93 and if you had 87 days, you now have 147 days. This policy is expected to be in place until at least Jan. 1, 2021. The additional 60 days applies to:
Requests for Evidence; 
Continuations to Request Evidence (N-14);
Notices of Intent to Deny;
Notices of Intent to Revoke;
Notices of Intent to Rescind and Notices of Intent to Terminate regional investment centers; 
Form N-336, Request for a Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings and 
Filing date requirements for Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion.

It is important to note, that responses must be received on or before the deadline, not just postmarked by the deadline date. Also, responses to request for additional evidence should always be mailed in one package, not in multiple response filings, since once the USCIS receives the first response, the officer will usually make a decision based upon that response, not on anything received later. Finally, always send responses, appeals, motions via fed-ex or another mail service, overnight. 

Obtaining a decision from the USCIS after responding to the RFE

Depending upon the case, it could take up to 60 days or more. You can check the online status to see if it is stating that your RFE response has been received, or call the USCIS 800# to ask if the computer shows the USCIS received it. For adjustment case (I-485) requests, the officer may wait to receive your response before continuing processing of your Work Authorization application which will cause delays in its issuance. To avoid this, send your response as soon as possible and do not wait until you get near the deadline in the letter.


If you need legal assistance responding to an USCIS request, contact a 
qualified Immigration attorney or call our office at: (954) 382-5378.
Reminder Green Card Lottery Registration 
Ends Tomorrow  Nov 10th At Noon!
This year’s Visa Lottery (called DV-2022) which began on October 7, 2020, ends tomorrow, November 10, 2020, at noon Eastern time. Those eligible to apply should file an online application as soon as possible before the deadline ends. Remember, applying for the visa Lottery is always free and must be filed online through the official Department of State DV Lottery Website

Applicants can check the results beginning next year on May 8, 2021 through the official state department website. Read the Visa Lottery instructions.
Question: My wife and I filed for my residency last year and I finally got my work permit in April of 2020. The problem is that I cant find the card and think it got lost when me and my wife moved last month. I have a few questions, should I apply for a replacement card and if I do, will I have to pay a new filing fee? My card expires in April, how soon can I apply for a renewal?  
Answer: When an Immigrant files form I-485 to adjust to U.S. Residency, the USCIS filing fee is $1,760, which includes both the form I-765 for work authorization and form I-131 for Advance Parole (travel permit). That filing fee includes all work authorization and travel permit renewals. However, it does not include work or travel permit replacements, when the original permits are still valid. If you need to file for a replacement, you’ll need to include a new USCIS filing fee of $495, ($410 filing fee plus $85 biometrics fee) with your application. However, since your work permit was issued in April 2020, its time to renew it anyway (six months before it expires), so you can file for a RENEWAL (not replacement), send the application along with a copy of your I-485 receipt and two passport photos. It can take up to six months to receive your renewal card, which is the same time it would take if you did the replacement.
Question: My husband and I sent out my immigration papers in the mail two weeks ago certified, but I still did not get anything from immigration yet. I check every day and they still did not cash my filing fees check. I am worried it got lost. I am wondering if I should cancel the check and resend everything or not. We are so worried. 
Answer: These days, with reduced USCIS staffing levels, once the USCIS receives your application, it can take up to three weeks or so for the agency to cash your check or money order and for you to receive your immigration Receipt, called the I-797 Notice of Action. Your cancelled check will have your case number on the back, starting with three letters, followed by 10 numbers, for instance, MSC1234567890. You can check the status on the USCIS website. The easiest way to keep track of your case after you send it to the USCIS is to include  form G-1145 with each case, in order to get a text or email message from the USCIS once your case is received, which will include the case number. Once you have your case number, you can 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. A good tip is never, ever to send an immigration application using certified mail, since it takes such a long time to be delivered. It’s always best to use Priority Mail, which often takes about 2 days for delivery and only costs about $7.
This has been extended temporarily to 93 days due to COVID-19. If the applicant files for review, the USCIS will not take any further action until the review process is complete. This provides applicants with the opportunity to file a motion or appeal and wait for a decision, which can take 3 to 12 months depending upon the case type, buying some precious time before the issuance of an NTA. 

Many types of immigration case denials can be appealed to the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) or Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) and those which cannot, can still be requested for review or reconsideration. And with so much on the line, it’s important to know the difference between the options for review and what they require. An appeal is based upon the argument that the denial was based upon either an error in the application of the law or the officer’s interpretation of law to the facts of a case. A motion can either be requested to reopen a case, based upon new facts or documents not available to have been previously submitted with the original application or to reconsider the case, due to the USCIS having misapplied or misinterpreted the law and/or facts of the case or both. For practical purposes, filing an appeal or request for review or reconsideration does not mean that it will be approved and the USCIS filing fee is $675. 

But, given the current risks involved in USCIS denials and deportation, the risk may be well worth it, particularly in cases where an applicant is clearly eligible, but did not provide adequate documentation with the immigration application, or provided requested information after the USCIS deadline (with a reasonable explanation) which can now be provided. Ironically, when an appeal or motion is filed, it’s frequently the same USCIS officer who originally denied the case, that gets to review or reconsider the case and either affirm the original denial or reverse it and approve the case. In an appeal case, if the USCIS officer decides not to approve the case, the appeal will automatically be sent to the AAO or BIA for a final decision. For Motions, the officer’s decision not to reopen or reconsider is final. Ultimately, the filing of an appeal or motion is important and should be well prepare and properly submitted. As a result, it often best to seek immigration advice from a qualified attorney regarding eligibility for any immigration application BEFORE filing and if denied, guidance on whether or not to proceed with an appeal or motion. 

You can get free information about filing Appeals and Motions by calling our office at: 954-382-5378.

This is particularly a concern for U.S. Residents with certain criminal convictions who travel abroad, even for brief periods, since they will now be more fully vetted upon returning to the U.S.. Many Residents are unaware of the immigration implications of old, seemingly insignificant criminal convictions. Under the regulations, many crimes are considered Crimes of Moral Turpitude, which fall into three categories:

1) those involving fraud, larceny (i.e. theft), 
2) crimes against persons or 'things', and 
3) governmental authorities. 

Alone, many crimes do not have negative consequences for Residents, however, if a person has two or more such offences, no matter how old, depending upon the circumstances, they run the risk of being inadmissible to the U.S. or of being deportable. And while waivers are available in some cases, there is never a guarantee of approval and new border policies may require such individuals to remain in detention until the case is resolved. Note that many crimes committed by juveniles before age 18, may be excused, and under some circumstances, a pardon will be recognized, but for immigration purposes, expunged criminal convictions remain convictions and may still have consequences.

Therefore, the best advice for Residents with a criminal background who wish to travel, is to have their particular circumstances reviewed by a criminal immigration attorney first, before making any plans to travel abroad. Better to be safe, then sorry….