Immigration Questions: (954) 382-5378

  POSTING DATE: December 9,  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: I have a question about my wifes name. she came here on a work visa and we met last year and recently got married. I want to file her immigration papers, but we are first worried about changing her last name on her official documents to my last name so we can also do so on her immigration forms since everything is currently in her old name. She went to the drivers license office and they said they cant change her name until her social security card is changes. We went to the social security office to change her name and the lady said that the new last name didn’t match the immigration records. So now we are stuck and don’t know what do to. Can you help us to change her last name and get her immigration status using her married name?
Immigration How To:
How Do I Get Emails From Immigration On My Case?
Stay Informed - Sign-up For USCIS E-Notification & 
Email Updates On Your Immigration Case 

The USCIS offers several ways for Applicants to get updates on newly filed and pending Immigration cases. Immigrants and Sponsors filing Immigration applications with the USCIS can sign-up to receive text messages and email E-notifications confirming application receipt by the USCIS, along with the case receipt number(s). The receipt number allows individuals to track the status of their case online.  

E-notifications are issued within 24 hours after the USCIS receives the application.
Tips On Using The Child Status Protection Act 
To Keep Children From “Aging Out”

Under Immigration regulations, a “minor child” is defined as a child under age 21 who is not single. Qualifying as a minor child is particularly important because of long immigration waiting lines. Minor children of U.S. Citizens are considered as “Immediate Relatives” which allows them to immigrate to the U.S. nearly immediately and minor children of U.S. Residents can immigrate to the U.S. in as little as 1 ½ to 2 years. Contrast this with adult children of Citizens and Residents who turn age 21 and are forced to wait for 7-8 years to immigrate! 

Similarly, immigrant children who are dependents of parents who have been sponsored by a relative in the U.S. are only eligible to immigrate to the U.S. along with their family if they are under age 21 when the family immigrates. 
 Bad News: Federal Court Rules In Favor Of 
Trump’s Public Charge Rule!
The 9th Circuit Federal Appeals Court issued a ruling last week in favor of the Trump administration’s sweeping “Public Charge” rule, which will allow the USCIS to deny immigration benefits to those who have received or who it believes would be likely to receive a wide range of government assistance from programs including food stamps or Medicaid. The court found that the Trump administration will likely win its lawsuit pending in the courts since it has broad legal authority to issue regulations and to broaden the definition of what it believes constitutes someone likely to become dependent on public assistance. 

This recent ruling comes in response to earlier orders issued by two Federal judges which issued orders at the last moment, temporarily stopped the new rule from going into effect in October.
Do I Need To Renew My Green Card Before I File For My U.S. Citizenship?
Answer: Great question! When a foreign national marries a U.S. Citizen or Resident, his or her last name can be changed to the married name at the time of filing the immigration application. The foreign spouse can take the U.S./Resident spouse’s last name, or even hyphenate the last name with those of both spouses. The USCIS does not require that any current documents, such as the visa, Passport, drivers license or social security card have the married name. Your marriage certificate is legally sufficient to request the legal name change. This can all be resolved once we file your wife’s Residency petition using your married name. After that, in approximately six months, she will receive your Work Authorization card and new Social Security card in her married name. Then she can take her new Social Security card, along with her Work Authorization card and residency receipts to the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles in order to have her Driver’s License issued with your new married name. Finally, once she has completed the residency process, her Green card will be issued with her new married name. See you soon. 
For background, the Trump administration attempted to implement a controversial new “public charge” rule in October 2019 which gives the government extensive discretion to deny immigration benefits to applicants, including those applying for residency. The rule greatly expands the types of prohibited government benefits to include: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, called SNAP (“Food Stamps”), Section 8 housing, rental assistance, housing subsidies and nonemergency Medicaid benefits (with exceptions for children under 21, people with disabilities, pregnant women, and mothers within 60 days after giving birth). 

By far the most troubling aspects of the rule, allows authorities to determine whether they believe an immigrant is likely to use aid in the future. In its determination, officers will be required to use specific factors to make eligibility determinations, including: Age, Health, Family status, Assets, Resources and Financial status (including credit scores), Education, Skills and Proficiency of English. USCIS officers are directed to consider negative factors, such as children under age 18 and adults over age 61 who are less likely to be able to work and support themselves, and more likely prone to need government assistance. This is especially true for elderly immigrants with disabilities and chronic health conditions, who are believed to be more prone to use subsidized medical and hospital care. Immigrants unable to speak proficient English can also be considered to be less likely to obtain employment sufficient to support themselves and therefore more likely to require government aid in the future. The government will also determine whether an applicant has “adequate education and skills to either obtain or maintain employment” (if authorized to work), by looking at employment history, high school degree and higher education, “occupational skills, certifications, or licenses,” and proficiency in English or other languages.

What does that mean for immigrants? The good news is that the rule will not immediately go into effect, since several other Federal court orders from Maryland and New York City have also temporarily blocked the public charge rule from taking effect nationwide. However, those orders have also been appealed by the Trump administration and are currently pending. So, if these final court orders which have temporarily blocked implementation of the rule are also overturned, the rule could go into effect immediately. As a result, immigrants should seriously consider filing for residency now, rather than later when it might be too late! Stay tuned….

Trump’s new ‘Public Charge’ Rule And What It Means For Immigrants
Last Minute Federal Court Decisions Block Trump’s “Public Charge” Rule!
There is no doubt about it, being a U.S. Citizen has many more benefits than just being a U.S. Resident (Green Card holder). So why don’t all Residents apply for naturalization to obtain their U.S. Citizenship as soon as possible? There are a variety of reasons why Residents delay applying, including the high cost of the application filing fee, currently $725, expected to increase to a whopping $1,170 in the coming months of 2020. 

Many Residents do not realize that by delaying filing for naturalization, they actually increase their overall costs, since a Resident must apply for naturalization six months or more before their green card expires, in order to obtain automatic renewal of their residency status. 
Otherwise, once their green card expires, they will not have any proof of their legal immigration status to extend a driver’s license, travel abroad or even obtain employment. Up until a few years ago, Residents who filed for Naturalization before expiration of their green cards were able to obtain residency extensions until they naturalized, however these days, local USCIS offices often no longer provide such extensions without a receipt showing the Resident filed his or her green card renewal application. The current green card renewal fee is $540, nearly as much as the current fee for naturalization! So don’t end up wasting money filing to renew your green card, when you could spend the money for your naturalization instead…
Tax Season Is Just Around The Corner – 
Beware of Phone Scams and Tax Identity Theft!
Now that Tax season is rolling around again, Immigrants should to beware of tax phone scams. Immigrants are reminded not to fall victim to scammers who call and say they are with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)! 

There has been an increase in aggressive phone scams where people call and threaten Immigrants with police arrest or deportation if they don’t pay a fine over the phone by credit, debit card or other means. 
The USCIS and IRS wants Immigrants to know that the a real IRS agent will NEVER call and demand immediate payment over the phone, NEVER try to threaten or intimidate, NEVER demand payment with a prepaid debit card, or ask for your credit card or debit card number over the phone and NEVER threaten to call the police or immigration agents if you don’t pay. If you get a call like this, report it to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration by calling 800-366-4484. 
Question: I got my citizenship appointment last week and I was approved and I will be sworn in next week. So my question is about my wife and her 10 year old daughter. They have been here for a few years after overstaying a visa. First do I have to adopt my stepdaughter so that I can file her papers? Second, can I file for their green cards even though their visas have expired, or do they have to go back to Colombia and wait for the immigration process there?
Answer: Even though your wife and step- daughter are in the U.S. with expired immigration status, since they entered the U.S. legally as tourists (with inspection by an immigration officer) they can both still adjust status inside the U.S. to that of a Permanent Resident (Green Card holder). So, once you are sworn in as a naturalized Citizen, we can file residency petitions for them. A step-child is considered as the “Child” of a step-parent for immigration purposes, as long as the U.S. Citizen and foreign national marry before a child turns age 18. Your step- daughter is only 10, so she is considered to be your child under immigration rules. Therefore, she can obtain her Green Card along with your wife. You would not need to legally adopt your step-daughter for her immigration process.
Question: hi there. I am a citizen and filed for my mom a few years ago. She finally has her interview at the Embassy next week after lots of frustration about resubmitting documents, I am so glad its all over. Now I have a few questions for you about the process. First, will my mom receive her Green Card at the appointment next week or how does that work? The online immigration form we had to fill out for the Embassy asks us whether we want my mom to be issued a social security card and we said yes. Will she get her card at the same time or do we have to go to the social security office to pick it up? I saw that there is a $220 visa fee for her card, does she also have to pay that at her appointment? Thank you for your answers. 
Answer: Your mom will not receive her Green Card or Social Security card during her Consular interview. The process goes like this: Once your mom attends her interview and is approved for her Immigrant visa, she will receive her Immigrant Visa in her passport by courier with instructions on paying the $220 fee online before she enters the U.S.. Upon entering the U.S., the officer will stamp her passport with her immigrant entry stamp and from there it can take 30 -60 days or so for her to receive her Green Card and about 30 days or so for the social security administration to send her the social security card in mail.. I hope this was helpful to you.
The age of the child is particularly important for children whose parents are sponsored by U.S. Parents and Siblings, where the waiting line for a visa can be 10 -12 years or more, since it is much more likely that the child will turn age 21 and age out.

The Child Status Protection Act ("CSPA") was enacted into law in 2002 to assist children who turn age 21 and would normally “age-out”, meaning become ineligible to immigrate as a minor (under age 21). The CSPA changed the process for determining whether a child has "aged out" (i.e. turned 21 years of age before being issued an immigrant visa or adjusting status) for the purpose of the issuance of visas and the adjustment of status of applicants in most immigrant categories. Under CSPA, the age of a child can be reduced by the time that the I-130 petition was “pending” with the USCIS, in many cases bringing the child’s age down under age 21 for immigration purposes.

There is a specific formula for determining whether a child's age is protected by the CSPA and there are required dates that must be plugged into the formula. When an immigrant visa first becomes available to the child and the child is age 21 or older, the amount of years which the I-130 petition was being processed by the USCIS can then be subtracted from the child’s current age, to determine whether they are technically still under age 21. If so, the child can still immigrate as a minor child. 

For example, if an I-130 has been pending for 1095 days (3 years) and a child is age and a child is 22 years old about to turn age 23, we can deduct 1095 days from the child’s age to bring the child under age 21. The solution to “age out” issues is in filing immigration applications for relatives with minor children and your own minor children early, don’t wait until it’s too late. 

You can get free information about preserving your child’s “Minor” age status by calling our office at: 954-382-5378.

To request e-notification, download and complete form G-1145 and mail along with all Immigration applications. Once you receive your case number, 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. 

For instance, once your Immigration application is filed, the USCIS may issue you a letter requesting more evidence in order to continue processing the case. If you are registered to receive case status updates, you will receive an email notification that the USCIS has issued the request, which helps you to be aware that you should be receiving the request by mail soon. If you have not received the request, you can then make further inquiries. Similarly, once you respond to the USCIS request, you will receive an updated email notification that they have received your documentation. It’s a great way to stay informed and keep up to date on the status of your case as it is being processed.