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Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter ©  2011  - 2016 
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
Question: I have a question about sponsoring my new wife for her Green Card. About 3 years ago, I got my Green Card through my previous marriage to a U.S. Citizen wife. About a year after I got my Green Card, I joined the military and was able to obtain expedited Citizenship. After that, my ex wife and I divorced. I met my new wife while stationed overseas and I want to sponsor her for her Residency. Can I petition for her now since I am a U.S. Citizen?
Answer: Under Immigration regulations, Immigrants who obtained residency through marriage, whether currently a Resident or Citizen, who seek to sponsor a new spouse for Residency within a five year period after obtaining Residency, are required to prove that the initial marriage through which they gain Residency was real (also called “bona fide”). If the marriage with your ex-wife was real and you have extensive documentation to prove it, then a qualified Immigration attorney can assist you in sponsoring your new spouse. The problem arises when the sponsoring spouse files a spousal petition within the five year period and is then unable to provide adequate documentation to prove that the past marriage was real. The key is to either make sure you are fully prepared, or wait until the five years have elapsed.
This Week's Immigration News 
By Immigration Attorney Caroly Pedersen
New Visa Requirement For Caribbean Agricultural Workers
The Department of State recently increased Visa requirements for Caribbean residents coming to the U.S. as H2A Agricultural Workers. 

Beginning February19th, H2A Agricultural Workers from the Caribbean will be required to have both a Valid Passport and Visa to ensure sufficient security screening prior to Visa issuance. 
Helpful Immigration Hints You Can Use
You can find get more information about obtaining Residency thought children by visiting our website or by calling our office at: 954-382-5378.
The new requirements apply to H2A spouses and children as well. This policy change applies to a British, French, or Netherlands national, or a national of Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica, or Trinidad and Tobago, who have residence in British, French, or Netherlands territory located in the adjacent islands of the Caribbean, or Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica, or Trinidad and Tobago.
Question: My question is about getting my U.S. Residency back. I was married before to an American in 1995 and got my Green Card, then we separated in 2005 and divorced. I moved back to the U.K. and have lived here ever since. In order to be able to travel back and forth to the U.S. for vacation, I handed in my Green Card at the Embassy in 2007. But now my American daughter will be going to college soon and I plan to move back to the states to spend more time with her. My questions is, how to go about getting my old Green Card back?
Answer: That’s a great question. Once a U.S. Resident formally “relinquishes” (gives back) a Green Card at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate, the officer usually requires that State Department form I-407 be signed, abandoning all rights to Residency. When this is done, all U.S. Residency status is lost and any desire to obtain Residency again requires a whole new application process. However, in order to qualify for U.S. Residency again, the immigrant must still have a legal basis for eligibility, for instance, being married to a U.S. Citizen, or being sponsored by a U.S. Citizen child, parent or sibling, since there is no way to apply solely on the basis of requesting the old Green Card status again.  

There are instances where individuals have formally surrendered their Green Card at a U.S. Consulate, then later applied for a new one in the U.S. by filing the I-90 application for a replacement Green Card and were successful in obtaining their Green Card again. However, this is not in accordance with immigration regulations and can be tricky and potentially problematic when re-entering the U.S. from travel abroad and when applying for Naturalization in the future. The main problem arises when the applicant has obtained a U.S. Tourist Visa in order to re-enter the U.S. to apply for the Green Card replacement, since the USCIS can easily see the non-immigrant visa in the Passport. Obtaining a non-immigrant visa once an immigrant has U.S. Residency can itself result in a technical abandonment of Residency. 

In your case, since you are no longer married to a U.S. Citizen, you would need to have some other eligibility in order to apply for U.S. Residency again. Once your U.S. Citizen daughter turns age 21, she can sponsor you for your residency. Let me know how old she is and we will take it from there.
Family Sponsorship – Check Out the Visa Bulletin 
Before Making Plans To Immigrate
Many U.S. Citizens and U.S. Residents sponsor their foreign family members to immigrate to the U.S.. However, often, neither the sponsor, nor the family member fully understands how long it will actually take to immigrate. 

Understanding the approximate length of time it will likely take to be able to immigrate to the U.S. helps foreign family members plan for the future. This is particularly important when family members being sponsored have minor children.
Immigration regulations only allow children who are immigrating along with parents to obtain U.S. Residency if they are under age 21 at the time the family is called to the U.S. Consulate for the final Immigrant Visa appointment. As frequently happens, children who were minors at the time their parents were originally sponsored, may have “aged out” and be in their mid to late 20’s and thus ineligible to immigrate to the U.S. along with their parents. This is a tragic situation, but very common. 

The only saving grace is that under the Child Status Protection Act “CSPA”, the time the I-130 family petition was processing can be subtracted from the age of the child. For instance, if the I-130 petition was filed in 1998 and was not approved until 2003, it was processing for 5 years. Therefore, at the time the Immigrant Visa becomes available, 5 years can be subtracted from the age of a child to determine if the child is still “technically” below age 21 for immigration purposes.

So, the best advice is to visit the Visa Bulletin website at: Visa Bulletin  to view the various family relationship waiting lines so you understand how long the wait will be and understand that some older children may not be eligible to immigrate along with the parents when the time comes. You can find out more about immigration waiting times by reading our resource section: Understanding the Immigrant Visa process

Good luck!
Immigration How To – How Do I……. 
Register A Child For A Social Security After Birth ????
​This is an important topic for foreign parents who do not have legal immigration status and have a baby born in the U.S., Registering a child born in the hospital for a social security number is part of the process called Enumeration at Birth (EAB). This process is vitally important because it facilitates the issuance of the child’s Social Security Number(SSN) and entry into the State Vital Records showing the child is a U.S. Citizen. 

The EAB program assigns SSNs to newborns as part of the hospital birth registration process. During this process, the hospital representative asks the parent for information to complete the birth certificate, and if they would like the State's vital statistics office to forward information to SSA to assign an SSN. If the parent agrees, the hospital representative checks a block on the form indicating that the parent wants an SSN assigned to the child. The State vital statistics office then provides SSA with an electronic record used to assign an SSN and issue a card. 
Problems can arise, however, when parents are not asked about the SSN issuance or do not understand and agree to sign for issuance. The result is that the child is not automatically issued a SSN. When this happens, an application for the child’s SSN must then be made with the Social Security Administration (SSA). Under current policy, only foreign national parents and family members with valid immigration status can file an application for a SSN on behalf of the child. Even Foreign passports are not acceptable unless they contain current immigration entries, such as an I-94 or a stamp or visa indicating it is temporary evidence of permanent resident status.

This creates a problem for parents who do not have a current, unexpired Passport and I-94 or other valid legal status. Therefore, until the policy is changed to allow undocumented parents to apply to the SSA for a SSN for their U.S. children directly, the best approach is to make sure that the application for the SSN is made during the hospital birth registration process and that parents confirm with hospital personnel while still admitted to the hospital that the application was completed with a request for the SSN and notification to the states’ Vital Statistics office.
Useful Tips On Proving Income For Affidavits of Support (I-864) 
Most U.S. Residents and Citizens who sponsor a foreign relative, including a spouse, are required to submit an Affidavit of Support (Form I-864) to prove that the sponsor makes enough income to support their immigrating relative. In cases where the sponsor’s income does not meet the requirements, a U.S. Resident or Citizen can be used as a “Joint-Sponsor” who’s income does qualify. 

Generally, meeting the minimum income requirements can sometimes be “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, when in fact it does not. Commonly it is because sponsors are not aware that it is the final adjusted gross 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 adjusted gross 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. 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 adjusted gross 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.

You can learn more about Affidavit of Support requirements by calling our office at: (954) 382-5378.