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Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter ©  2011  - 2021 
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 Whether I Qualify For Dual U.S. Citizenship?
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: I am a citizen by birth and met my wife at church several years ago when she was visiting her family in Florida. Our relationship developed over time and we got married in 2019. Due to her work commitments, we had put immigration concerns aside so that she could complete projects and finalize plans to immigrate. She and her son Daniel (my stepson) came up last month to visit for the holidays and plan to go back in jan. We have been discussing starting up the immigration process and have a few questions. We want to see if there is an option for them both to stay here and go through the immigration process here without having to return to the Bahamas. Our concern is that my stepson is 18 (since aug 2020) and we heard that he is only able to immigrate as a stepchild until age 18. If that is the case we will have to rethink the immigration process. I appreciate any insights you can give us and thanks for all your good works.
USCIS Blames Covid-19 For Extreme Delays In Issuing Application Receipts

                  LAW CENTERS

Immigration Questions: (954) 382-5378
 POSTING DATE: December  21, 2020
Answer: No worries, your stepson Daniel will be eligible to obtain residency in the U.S. along with your wife. Immigration regulations require that the marriage between the foreign national spouse and U.S. Citizen or Resident spouse takes place before the stepchild reaches age 18, in order for the child to be sponsored. Since you and your wife got married in 2019 and Daniel turned age 18 in 2020, he remains eligible as your step-child. As a result, your wife and Daniel can remain in the U.S. and file for adjustment of status without having to return to the Bahamas. Let us know if you would like me to handle your wife and stepson’s residency cases.
Dual citizenship refers to individuals who hold the nationality of two different countries at the same time. This allows them to travel frequently between countries without the need for a visa, and without time limits on their stay in either country, as well as the right to vote in both countries. The downside is that many countries like the U.S. require citizens to pay taxes on worldwide income, making U.S. Citizenship an expensive proposition for the very wealthy. 
Keep Track Of Your Immigration Case From Start To Finish For 2021!

The USCIS has made it much more convenient to keep updated on immigration applications from the time the case is received at the service center and throughout application processing. Filing an immigration application is a very important step and one which should be taken with the utmost diligence and seriousness. Applicants should first educate themselves about eligibility, qualifications, procedures and timing of the case and keep updated on every aspect of process along the way. 
Tips On Automatic Citizenship Through A Parent
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Delays in most USCIS operations have become almost routine under the Trump administration. For instance, applications such as those for work or travel permits which previously took only 90 days to process, now take 180 days or more. 

However, in most cases in the past, once a case was received by the USCIS, at least the application receipt was issued within in a reasonable timeframe, between 7-10 days. 
New USCIS Announcement Extends Additional Time 
For Response To Requests Until Jan 31, 2021
The USCIS has previously announced extensions of time for applicants and petitioners to file responses to USCIS requests for evidence, denials and other notices, which extended until Jan. 1, 2021. The newest extension announced on December 18, 2020, further extends that period until Jan 31, 2021. As a result of the new extension policy, an additional 60 calendar days from the deadline date will be given to submit a response to a request or notice issued by the USCIS from March 1st 2020 through and Jan. 31, 2021. The Biden administration is expected to provide further extensions until at least mid-2021.The additional 60 days applies to:
Answer: I understand your concern about your work permit. Once your residency case is filed (along with your request for work and travel permission), it can take up to six months for it to be approved. There is no automatic extension of your OPT work permit if you have reached your final extension under STEM. So if your residency case is filed in January 2021, you should receive your new work permit approval by July 2021. With that said, we expect that processing time will be significantly reduced under the Biden administration, however, that will take time, so you should anticipate that you might likely have a lapse in employment authorization from April to July 2021. We can take care of preparing and filing your case quickly, but not guarantee that your work permit will be issued before July. I hope this was helpful information for you.
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But over the past six months there has been a significant increase in the time it takes a customer to receive a receipt (called an I-797 Notice of Action), going up to an average of 14 days, now up to 30 or more days! This means that from the time a customer sends an application to the USCIS and it is received, the actual USCIS receipt will not be received until at least a month later, leading to inconvenience and confusion, particularly when application fee checks are often not cashed by the USCIS for a month or more. 

This pathetic situation should come as no surprise, since the Trump administration has robbed millions of dollars of USCIS revenues meant to help immigrants, in order to instead fund enforcement measures against immigrants! This has resulted in drastic reductions in staffing levels and services. Those of us who regularly file immigration cases and routinely deal with USCIS processing delays, have seen very negative trends over the course of the last four years, and more so over the past six months. Until recently, the USCIS has failed to acknowledge the receipting delays. Yet as receipt processing delays have drastically increased recently over the past few months, the USCIS has finally issued an advisory regarding receipt issuance delays, attributing the problem to Covid-19 related procedures rather than the real cause, under staffing. The advisory notifies customers that the USCIS lockbox facilities, which are the initial intake offices which open and receipt applications once they are received, acknowledges significant delays in processing receipts and notes that the USCIS will normally issue receipts for applications within 30 days. 

This problem may continue for the foreseeable future even after Biden takes office on Jan 20th, since it will take time and funds to revive USCIS operations and services to normal levels. Hopefully we will begin to see a change in receipting and processing times in mid 2021. Stay tuned.. 

Read the USCIS receipt delay advisory
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. 

New USCIS Extension Notice
Most U.S. Residents have to wait for nearly five years before being eligible to apply for U.S. Citizenship (except spouses of U.S. Citizens, who must wait for only nearly three years). Thankfully, there is a special provision of the law which allows certain children to become U.S. Citizens automatically, as long as they meet strict legal criteria. Under the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, U.S. Resident children who are under age 18, automatically obtain U.S. Citizenship when a biological parent Naturalizes. 

Similarly, children of U.S. Citizens who immigrate to the U.S. from abroad and enter the U.S. before turning age 18, become automatic U.S. Citizens as well. 
Qualifying children must be under age 18 at the time their parent actually naturalizes (takes the Oath), not the date the parent files for Naturalization. 

As a result, parents should carefully plan the date of filing for Naturalization to ensure that they will complete the process before their child(ren) reach age 18. Figuring 8 months to take into account any USCIS processing delays is reasonable, although most naturalization cases are completed within 4 months or so. Importantly, even when children become U.S. Citizens through this process, the USCIS does not automatically issue a Naturalization Certificate. However, in reality, none is required, since applying for a U.S. Passport is all that is necessary to prove the child’s new U.S. Citizenship status. In such cases, in addition to other information, the U.S. Passport office requires a copy of the parents’ Naturalization Certificate in order to demonstrate the child’s eligibility as a U.S. Citizen to obtain a U.S. Passport. If you do desire to have the actual Certificate of Citizenship, you will need to file form N-600 and pay the USCIS filing of $1,170, along with supporting documentation to prove automatic citizenship. Current processing time can take anywhere from 6 to 12 months or more.
Question: I am a student at university of Miami. I am on my last OPT work permit extension since I graduated with my masters degree a few years ago. It expires in April 2021. My question is this, me and my girlfriend who is a citizen are getting married in jan 2021 when my parents come from Colombia for the new year holiday. We plan to file my immigration papers right away after we get married, but I am worried about my work permit expiring. Will I be able to get an automatic extension of my work permit once I file for my green card? How long will that take? I don’t want to be out of work.  
Question: I came to the US with my son in 2012 when he as only 8 years old. He is 15 now this year. I heard about immigration started accepting new daca applications and I want to apply for him. Can we do it since he has been here for seven years and he is 15 now? 
Answer: Unfortunately, only young immigrants that meet the original qualifications under the 2012 DACA program are currently eligible. To qualify, applicants must have entered the U.S. by June 15, 2007 while under age 16 and not be more than age 30 on June 15, 2012. Since your son did not enter the U.S. until 2012, he is not eligible. However, we remain hopeful that the Biden administration will issue either an executive order or Congress will act to provide protections for all young immigrants in the U.S., even those who entered after June 15, 2007. 
This means filing each case properly and enclosing form G-1145 with each application separately, (by placing one form G-1145 on top of each separate form in the package), in order to receive notification by the USCIS once the case is received and being provided with a case number via text or email. For instance, when an applicant is filing for residency, generally the application package will include several separate application forms, usually including form I-485, form I-765 and form I-131, which would necessitate a separately completed form G-1145 being placed on top of each form, so three (3) in total. This is a free service provided by the USCIS and very important to have proof of receipt and the case number for each application filed in case the actual USCIS I-797 Receipts for the filing are lost in the mail or otherwise not received. Having the case numbers allows applicants to call the USCIS 800# and request duplicate receipts by mail once the initial receipts have not been received within 30 days of filing. Receiving the case numbers via text or email also allows applicants to sign up for Email Status updates on their cases through the USCIS My Case Status program. Once registered and the case number(s) entered into the system, the USICS will automatically email the applicant notifications and updates on any actions take to keep applicants informed about their case status. 
The rules governing dual citizenship vary depending upon the country, and can occur either automatically according to the current rules of the countries concerned, or by the choice of the individual. For example, a child born in a foreign country to U.S. citizen parents may be both a national of the country of birth, as well as a national of the U.S.. Similarly, an individual having one nationality at birth may later naturalize and become a citizen of another country.

It is important to note, however, that not all countries recognize dual citizenship, which usually means that nationals who obtain foreign citizenship in another country automatically lose citizenship in their birth country. This is the case for nationals of China and India and even Spain, which only permits dual nationality with certain Latin American countries.

Under U.S. law, American citizens are permitted to hold dual nationality with another country and are not required to surrender their citizenship in any other country, unless the other country requires them to do so. For example if a Jamaican national immigrates to the U.S. and later naturalizes and becomes a U.S. Citizen, he or she does not lose Jamaican nationality and is not required to surrender it, in order to obtain U.S. nationality. Naturalized U.S. Citizens will note that at the swearing in Oath Ceremony, they must pledge to renounce all allegiance and fidelity to a foreign country, however this does not apply to citizenship, unless it is required by the other country. Here is a list of countries, which do and do not recognize dual nationality:

Countries which specifically permit full or limited dual citizenship

Antigua and Barbuda
Costa Rica
Czech Republic
New Zealand
South Africa
South Korea
Spain (only limited countries)
United Kingdom
United States

Countries which do not permit dual citizenship:

Marshall Islands
North Korea
Papua New Guinea
San Marino
Saudi Arabia
Solomon Islands
United Arab Emirates