Immigration Questions: (954) 382-5378

  POSTING DATE: December 30,  2019
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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
Helpful Immigration Tips You Can Use...

  Immigration News & Updates              eNewsletter
Question: I got my green card a few years ago in 2013 through my husband and I filed for my daughter who is 37. She was single then. I just got my citizenship last year and then my daughter just got married in November. I called the immigration about adding my son in law and they said to contact the visa center. When I called the visa center they said since my daughter is married now, she has to wait longer. They gave me the website for some visa page to look at to see how much longer she has to wait but I don’t understand it. I thought that she was getting close be being able to come here but now I am very confused. Can you please help me to get this all straightened out. thanks
Immigration How To:
How Do I Know If I Am Required To Send In An Affidavit of Support For My Kids Case?
Reminder: Dreamers Should File DACA Renewal Applications
 At Least 150 Days Prior To Expiration

In September 2017, Trump abruptly announced cancellation of the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program beginning March 5, 2018. But as the deadline approached, several federal courts blocked the administration from ending the program for Dreamers who already had DACA status. So even as the March 5th deadline has passed, the Trump administration is currently still required by the federal courts to allow DACA renewals, but not to accept new applications. 
 Get A Copy Of Your Immigration Case 
Through A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request
Many long time Immigrants living in the U.S. often file for some sort of immigration application during their time here, whether it be asylum, work permit and even residency. But as is often the case, many never retained copies of past applications and USCIS  notices they received during the process. 

As the years go by, families move and documents get misplaced or lost, leaving some immigrants unable to know whether they qualify for legal immigration status or not. Some who applied for asylum or other benefits many years ago swear that they never got an answer on their case, only to later realize that an order of deportation was issued by an immigration court against them, which they were never aware of. 
Answer: I understand that immigration waiting lines can be very confusing indeed. First, the Immigration category you applied for your daughter in when you were a U.S. Resident (Green Card holder) is called the F2B category for adult, single children of U.S. Residents. The waiting line for a visa in that category is about 6 years. Once you became a U.S. Citizen last year, your daughter technically moved from the F2B to the F1 immigration category for adult single children on U.S. Citizens, which can take about 7 years. However, since your daughter got married last month, she has technically moved from the F1 to F3 immigration category for adult married children of U.S. Citizens. The waiting line in that category is currently about 12+ years. Since you filed for her in 2013, she will likely need to wait until 2025 for an immigration visa to become available to her in the F3 category. If you receive any bills from the National Visa Center in the meantime, make sure you contact them before paying the bills to let them know again that your daughter is married, so that they can reassign her case to the correct category. 
Understanding When An Affidavit of Support 
Is Not Required For A Minor Child of A U.S. Citizen

When a U.S. Resident or Citizen sponsors a family member to immigrate to the U.S., an Affidavit of Support (form I-864) along with supporting financial documentation is usually required to prove that the sponsor meets the minimum income requirements.

There is an exception, however for children of a U.S. Citizen parent who are under age 18 at the time of immigrating. 
Understanding How A Child Gets Automatic Citizenship Through A Parent
This can be a problem, since it is vital to have a complete history of an immigrant’s case history before filing any new immigration request, especially these days when nearly any immigration application which is denied by the USCIS these days can result in a referral to immigration court for deportation. So in these turbulent times, with constant government threats against even legal immigration, it’s more important than ever for immigrants to fully understand their immigration status and have possession of any immigration documentation they may need to help determine whether or not they are eligible to obtain residency through a family member or by other means. In these cases, filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with federal immigration authorities can be very useful to obtain critical information on an individual’s immigration history and even some documents to prove legal entry, when the I-94 card or old passport has been lost over the years.

FOIA requests do not trigger any kind of negative action on an immigrant’s case, but they can often take many months to process. The key to success is to provide full and complete information to enable the agency to locate the file and any related case information pertaining to the applicant. Depending on an immigrant’s particular case, documentation may sometimes be held by various government agencies, including: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Department of State (DOS), the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR), and, for some, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). In these cases, a separate FOIA must be requested from each agency separately.

Before undertaking a FOIA request, it is important to understand that not all documents are available under FOIA, including requests to obtain duplicate approval notices or original documents submitted to the USCIS. Typically, documents which can be obtained are copies of Immigration case filings, applications, including supporting documents and immigration court documents. FOIA’s can also be particularly important when an immigrant has lost a copy of a vital document such as an I-94 which was previously submitted to the USCIS as part of an Immigration application. We can make a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request on your behalf, just give us a call at: 954-382-5378.

Learn more about filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for Immigration case copies:

Learn more about getting a copy of your immigration court file
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.
New Law Allows Liberian Refugees To Apply For A Green Card
Congress recently passed a bill which was signed into law on December 20th, allowing qualifying Liberians to apply for green cards. Called the Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness (LRIF), the law allows eligible Liberians to apply for permanent residence (a Green Card), as long as they have been continuously living in the U.S. from November 20, 2014, to the date. 
The deadline to submit the adjustment of status application under the LRIF is December 20, 2020. The spouses, unmarried children under 21, and unmarried sons and daughters 21 or older of eligible Liberian nationals are also eligible for Green Cards. 

For more information about applying under the LRIF law, call our office at: 954-682-5378 for a free consultation.
Question: I got my residency a few years ago through my wife who is an American. I have a 19 year old son who lives with my exwife in Bahamas. He wants to go to college and we decided it would be best for him to come and live here in the states with me and take his classes here. I am wondering if it would be possible for me to sponsor him even though I am not a citizen yet? Can my wife do it? Does she have legally adopted him first? Is that a fast process? 
Answer: Good question. Immigration regulations allow both U.S. Resident, Citizens and step parents to sponsor their children to immigrate to the U.S. If the child is a minor, under age 21, he or she can immigrate fairly quickly, within about a year or so. However in the long run, its always best to have the U.S. Citizen step-parent sponsor the minor child if possible, since once the petition is filed, the child’s age becomes “fixed” under age 21, no matter how old the child is once they actually immigrate. The situation is totally different for a resident parent sponsoring a child, since the child continues to “age” during the process and once the child reaches age 21, he or she may “age out” and become an adult, which results in the child having to wait six or more years to immigrate. To qualify as a step-parent, the child’s biological parent and step-parent much have been married before the child reached the age of 18. The law does not require the step-parent to legally adopt the child in order to qualify. Since you got your green card several years ago, that means that you were married to your wife before your son reached age 18, so she qualifies as his step-mother and can sponsor him as a minor child. I hope this was helpful to you. Let me know if you want me to handle obtaining your son’s U.S. Residency.
Question: I have a question about my case. I mailed off my green card forms 2 weeks ago certified mail and used the debit card form from the immigration website. The problem is that we didn’t get anything from immigration yet and they didn’t take the money out of our bank account yet. We are worried something happened. I went to the post office and they said the package was delivered and signed for. But so far nothing from immigration. Does that sound normal? Is there something we should be doing right now or just wait?
Answer: Not to worry, once the USCIS receives your application, it can take several weeks or longer for the USCIS to cash check, money orders or run debit/credit cards, and then another 7-10 days for you to receive your Receipt, called the I-797 Notice of Action. Since you sent your case using certified mail, that can take up to a week for it to be delivered. Assuming your certified mail was sent two weeks ago and received about a week ago by the USCIS, they should be running your debit card shortly and you should be receiving your USCIS receipts sometime this week. For the future, an easy way to know your case was received is to include a 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. Finally, a good tip is never to send an immigration application using certified mail, since it takes such a long time to be delivered. Its always best to use Priority Mail, which often takes about 2 -3 days for delivery and only costs about $7.
However, this is not a permanent solution, and the Supreme Court recently heard the federal court appeal, signaling that it will likely allow Trump to terminate the program in the future. As a result, Dreamers are advised not to become complacent and leave renewals until the last moment….since the program could be terminated at any time. This means that DACA renewals should be filed as early as possible, meaning 150 days before the work authorization card expires. USCIS processing of DACA renewals can be slow and those who fail to file early renewals can find themselves with expired work permits, waiting for renewal. This can mean loss of a job and driver’s license in some states.

Recommendations For Renewing DA Status:

The DACA renewal Fee is $495, which includes both renewed DA status and Work Authorization. Applicants who are over age 31 are still eligible, as long as they were under age 31 when the policy became effective on June 15, 2012 and currently hold DACA status. Be sure to file your renewal no earlier or later than 150 days from the date your current card expires. If you are representing yourself, fully complete the DACA renewal forms and write “Renewal Request” in large letters on the bottom of each form. 

Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival 
Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization
Form I-765WS
USCIS Deferred Action Webpage

In such cases, the U.S. Citizen parent is not required to provide an Affidavit of Support filed on their child’s behalf. Eligible children under age 18 who become U.S. Residents (Green Card holders) through their U.S. Citizen parents also automatically become U.S. Citizens, and are therefore not required to have an Affidavit of Support filed on their behalf. 

This is true for children immigrating from abroad through a U.S. Consulate, as well as children adjusting status to U.S. Residency inside the U.S. through a U.S. Citizen biological parent. 
In these cases, the U.S. Citizen parent must file form I-864W, Intending Immigrant's Affidavit of Support Exemption, instead of form I-864 Affidavit of Support. 

Click Here to view the I-864W Intending Immigrant's Affidavit of Support Exemption