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This Week's Immigration News 
By Immigration Attorney Caroly Pedersen

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Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter ©  2011  - 2014  
For questions about U.S. Residency, Green Cards and Immigration Visas, Visit our Website at: or  call our office at: (954) 382-5378

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Questions & Answers

Current University institutions participating in the new scholarship program:

Miami Dade College in Florida
South Texas College
University of Texas-El Paso
University of Texas-Pan American in Texas
Borough of Manhattan College
Bronx Community College
Kingsborough Community College in New York
Trinity University in Washington, D.C.
Long Beach City College
California State University of Long Beach in California
Mount Washington College, a national online college
Question: My daughter’s husband is American and he sponsored her for a green card. The problem is that he doesn’t have a regular job so I had to file the Affidavit of Support for them. I am self-employed as a home health aid and I make about $30,000 a year before deducting my expenses. I completed the Affidavit form about my income and gave them my tax return, but my daughter got a letter from immigration that says my income is not enough - what else can I do?
Answer: ​ Most U.S. Residents and Citizens who sponsor a foreign relative, including a spouse, are required to file an Affidavit of Support. If the sponsor’s income does not meet the requirements, a U.S. Resident or Citizen Joint-Sponsor can be used who does qualify. However, meeting the minimum income requirements can be very “tricky”, especially if an individual is self-employed, since in such cases, income is not earned by “wages” with an employer issuing a W-2 at the end of the year. 

Self employed Sponsors or Joint-Sponsors may think they meet the financial requirements since their gross income meets 125% of the Poverty Guidelines, however, the final net income on the individual’s Tax Return is the figure that the USCIS uses to determine eligibility, not the gross. As an example, a Nurses Aid may earn $30,000 a year. However, the gross wages reflected on the self-employment tax form called a Schedule C, are then reduced by expenses and the final Net income may only be $15,000 or less, which would not qualify under the USCIS guidelines. When the USCIS issues a Request For Evidence to provide additional documentation to prove that the Sponsor (and/or Joint Sponsor’s) income meets the requirements, the Sponsor is generally only given one chance to respond to the USCIS request by providing a qualifying Joint Sponsor Affidavit of Support, Tax Return, Paystubs and Employer Letter which meet the guidelines. 
Helpful Immigration Hints You Can Use
Difficulties In Obtaining Documents From the USCIS
Immigration How To – How Do I……. 
Notify the USCIS When My Address Changes????
All non-U.S. citizens who have applied for or received immigration status in the U.S. are required to keep the USCIS updated on their current address. This is extremely crucial when you have filed an application or petition with the USCIS and are expecting to receive notification of a decision on that application. Those in the U.S. who are not in legal status and do not have an immigration petition pending with the USCIS do not need to provide the USCIS with a change of address.

Whenever a foreign national changes addresses, a Form AR-11 needs to be filed within 10 days of the move. If more than 10 days have passed, the form should be filed as soon as possible along with an explanation for the delay in notification. 

Filing the AR-11 online is required, even when you have already notified the USCIS of the address change by calling the 800#. You can file the AR-11 online, just be sure to save the receipt, or you can download it from the USCIS website and send it to the USCIS via certified mail to have proof of the filing.
Immigrants often do not recognize how important it is to maintain immigration documentation until there is a desperate need for critical documents which have been lost, stolen or destroyed. Many Immigrants believe that the USCIS maintains complete files with visa, residency and citizenship information and approvals, which can be easily accessed once the need arises - and as logical as that is, it is incorrect. 

In fact, obtaining copies of immigration documentation can take up to six months or more through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and there is no guarantee that copies of all documents filed with the USCIS will be received. For instance, a FOIA request will not allow you to obtain copies of Receipts and Approval Notices, generally only copies of an immigration applications and supporting documentation. 
The USCIS Releases New Redesigned 
Naturalization Application Form 
The USCIS recently released its newly designed Naturalization Application Form, called the “N-400” on February 4, 2014. While eligibility for U.S. Citizenship has not changed, this new Naturalization Application Form is double the length of the current form – a full 21 pages!

The new form includes enhanced security questions and updated barcode technology which automatically changes based upon applicant answers, enabling USCIS officers to more easily determine eligibility. Past versions of the form will continue to be accepted if received by the USCIS on or before May 4, 2014. Any applications received on May 5, 2014 or later must be on the new 09/13/13 edition form or the submission will be returned.
Click below to view the new Naturalization Application form and instructions:
Redesigned Naturalization Application form 
Instructions for new Naturalization Application form 
While waiting for the House of Representatives to act on Immigration Reform and pass the DREAM Act, private businesses and foundations have taken the lead by launching a non-governmental scholarship fund for DREAMers which will provide up to $25,000 in college expenses for more than 2,000 DREAMers over the next decade.  

Called “”, the new scholarship program launched last week is exclusively for undocumented immigrant students called DREAMers, who were brought to the U.S. by their parents at a young age and have been living in the shadows in the only country many of them have ever known. 

New College Scholarship Program 
Launched for DREAMers
Currently, twelve American universities are taking part, but the number is expected to quickly grow as time goes on. Funded in part by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Graham family, Fernandez Foundation and Bloomberg Philanthropies, has raised $25 million in scholarship funds for highly motivated, low-income DREAMers who don’t have the means to pay the high cost of a college education.
To be eligible for a scholarship, a student must meet DACA eligibility requirements by having entered the U.S. before age 16, been inside the U.S. for at least five years and in “illegal” status on or before June 15, 2012, have graduated from a U.S. high school with a minimum GPA of 2.5 and be able to demonstrate financial need and a strong motivation to scholarships will cover up to 100 percent of a DREAMer's tuition, fees and books.

This year’s DREAMer Scholars will be selected and announced by May 15, 2014. The deadline for applying is March 31, 2014. 

You can find out How To Apply for the scholarship program by visiting:
If the documents provided do not meet the requirements, the USCIS will not issue another Request, it will simply deny the entire case and all the filing fees will be lost. In order to proceed, a new Residency case must be filed all over again with new USCIS fees – very costly!!! So, make sure that a Joint Sponsor meets the income requirement on the net income line of the Tax Return before sending the Affidavit of Support to the USCIS and include proof of Residency or Citizenship, recent Tax Return, Paystubs (3 mos) and a current letter from the Joint-sponsor’s employer stating the job title, # of hours per wk and the hourly wage or salary.

In your daughter’s case, she will need to have another joint sponsor who’s net income meets the qualifications file a new Affidavit.

You can learn more about Affidavit of Support requirements by calling our office at: (954) 382-5378.
In order to obtain a duplicate copy of an Approval Notice, Form I-824 must be filed for each Approval Notice requested with a $405 filing fee for each one! Further, it can also take up to six months to receive the requested duplicate. Copies of immigration receipts, notices and I-94 cards are important because in most immigration cases filed for U.S. Residency, Citizenship and family petitions for relatives, the USCIS requires that documentation to establish qualification is submitted along with the application. 

For instance, when a U.S. Citizen has filed a family petition for a relative and the relative is now filing for a Green Card (adjustment of status), he or she is required to provide the USCIS with a copy of the I-130 Receipt/Approval Notice along with the Green Card application, showing that the relative petition was approved. However, if the Receipt/Approval Notice has been lost, the USCIS does not automatically obtain the relevant information from it’s files. Instead, it issues a “Request For Evidence” directing the applicant to provide that documentation with a deadline of 87 days to do so. In such cases, the immigrant must file Form I-824 to obtain a duplicate of the required notice and wait until it has been received. In cases where the I-824 processing exceeds the 87 day deadline, the USCIS can deny the entire case for failure to respond to the request. The immigrant can send a copy of the I-824 Notice of Action receipt in response to the request, asking for additional time to respond, however, there is no guarantee that the extension of time will actually be granted.

Another example is that of the all important I-94 (Arrival/Departure) card, which establishes that an immigrant entered the U.S. legally. In most cases, many immigration benefits are unavailable to individuals who are not able to provide a copy of their I-94 card to the USCIS at the time of application. In such cases, Form I-102 to obtain a duplicate I-94 must be filed with a $330 filing fee.
Similar situations occur when naturalization certificates are lost or destroyed, however processing times for duplicates can take up to one year or more.

Final note, the sooner lost documents are replaced, the better. At this time in history, lack of documentation may affect one's ability to drive, to travel, or to demonstrate the ability to work legally in the U.S., so protect your status, by keeping your immigration documents safe!

In all cases where you have an immigration application pending with the USCIS, you also need to call the USCIS National Customer Support Center at: 1-800- 375-5283 to give the immigration representative your current address information. However, be aware that a change of address using Form AR-11 does not necessarily change your address in all USCIS database systems, which can often result in receipts, approvals, interview notices and other critical immigration documents not being received by applicants. For this reason, you’ll need to take additional steps below to change your address in several other USCIS systems.

If your case is pending at a local District office, it is also necessary to make an INFOPASS appointment by going online to: and go down to your local Infopass office to make sure they have the correct address in their computer systems.