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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 What Documents I Need To Sponsor My Son When I Was Not Married To His Mother?
Questions About Immigration? We have the answers!
We Are Here To Help, Call us now for a FREE consultation (954) 382-5378
Question: I have a question about filing the financial affidavit for my wife. I filled out the form I-864 but I am not sure which taxes I should use, my 2019 or my 2020 taxes that I just filed. My 2019 taxes looks better, but my 2020 does not because I was out of work a few months because of the virus. Thanks for your answer.
Biden’s New Immigration Reform Bill – What Do the 
Legalization Provisions Mean For You?

                  LAW CENTERS

Immigration Questions: (954) 382-5378
 POSTING DATE: February  22, 2021
Answer: Sponsors filing the form I-864 Affidavit of Support have the option of using either their 2019 Taxes or 2020. In my opinion, use whichever has the higher adjusted gross income. You have that option from now until April 15, 2021, then after that you are required to use the 2020 Taxes. So in your case, since your 2019 Tax Return income is best, use that one. I hope this was helpful to you.
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New 2021 Guidelines Released For Affidavit of Support Requirements 
American Immigration 
Law Center
2645 Executive Park Drive 
Suite 137
Weston, Florida 33331
Every year the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) releases financial guidelines which it uses to determine qualifications for federal benefits. These guidelines are used by the USCIS and increased 125% to determine the minimum income required to sponsor a family member. The new minimum income requirements under the I-864 Affidavit of Support have been released for 2021, effective as of March 1, 2021. Income requirements have increased just slightly from 2020. 

For example, the minimum yearly income of $21,775 is now required to sponsor a Spouse, compared with $ 21,550 for 2020. 
Last week the Biden administration finally unveiled the details of its new immigration reform bill which has now been introduced in both chambers of Congress. Formally known as the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, the proposed law seems to include a broad amnesty provision which provides legal status and a pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants, expedited green cards and fast track citizenship for Dreamers (who came to the U.S. as young children), TPS holders and immigrant farmworkers and other generous reforms. But it Is very important to remember that this sweeping legislation is just a proposed law, submitted to Congress, which has the final say on whether or not it becomes an actual law.
Helpful Immigration Tips You Can Use...
 Tips On Obtaining Your Travel History for Naturalization 
Through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request

When U.S. Residents are planning on filing for Naturalization, it is often very difficult to remember past trips outside the U.S., particularly for those who have lost their passport, or who travel frequently. And while travelers can now access their arrival/departure records by visiting the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) website, the records only go back five years from the date of the request. You can make a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for your travel history online through the FOIA online system. 
Understanding How To Prove the Parent-Child Relationship 
For Children “Born Out of Wedlock”

Understanding what documentation the USCIS requires for each type of immigration application is vital to the success of the case, especially in difficult cases which involve proving the relationship between a father and his son or daughter who was “born out of wedlock”, meaning he was not married to the child’s mother. 
New H-1B Work Visa Application Registration System Begins March 9th!
The H-1B Visa season is upon us, with the application registration system set to start on March 9th and run through March 25th. At the end of the registration period, the USCIS will conduct a random lottery from among all the registrations received to determine the cases which will be accepted under the regular cap for Bachelor’s degree holder (only 65,000 visas available), then a second lottery for the remaining cases eligible for the master’s cap (an additional 20,000 visas available). Once that is complete, the USCIS will notify each employer who is selected under the lottery by March 31st, that they may file an H1B application and provide a 90-day filing window, which is expected to begin on April 1, 2021.
And through the often-difficult process of lawmaking, the more generous proposals in the bill may be reduced, restricted and even eliminated altogether. It is also especially crucial to avoid falling victim to fraudsters who prey on innocent immigrants and who may pretend that they can obtain benefits for you now, when none actually exist. So be smart, be cautious, and educate yourself before giving anyone your hard earned money to apply for and "new"  immigration law! 

Here’s a few of the main benefits which could lead to legal status and a green card through the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021:

Expedited Residency and Citizenship for Dreamers, TPS and farmworkers:  Provides a streamlined process which allows current DACA holders (and those who would otherwise qualify), TPS holders and farmworkers (their spouses and children) to apply for green cards immediately, then after holding residency for three years, apply for U.S. citizenship.

Dream Act Residency and Citizenship for Young Immigrants brought to the U.S. before age 18:  Broadens the scope of benefits for Dreamers, who are not eligible for DACA, but who entered the U.S. before age 18 and have graduated high school, are still in school or have joined the military (and other requirements). It allows them to apply for green cards immediately, then after holding residency for three years, apply for U.S. citizenship. These benefits would also be available to a Dreamer’s spouse and children.

Legal LPI Status and Pathway to Citizenship for Immigrants: All other immigrants who have been physically present in the U.S. on or before January 1, 2021, and meet other requirements would first need to apply for a temporary legal status, called a Legal Prospective Immigrant (LPI). LPI status would provide work and travel permission, a social security card and allow the immigrant to live and work legally in the U.S., nearly all the benefits of residency. After five years these individuals would be able to apply for a green card, then U.S. citizenship after three years.

What does that mean for me, can anyone who was in the U.S. by January 1, 2021 qualify?

No, not everyone qualifies. The text of the bill is not as detailed as hoped, but appears to exclude individuals who were inside the U.S. on or before January 1, 2021, but who are determined to be “in” lawful non-immigrant status. This clearly excludes visitors in the U.S. who arrived on visas and are still within their periods of authorized stay on or before January 1, 2021. However, it appears to allow immigrants who came to the U.S. on legal non-immigrant visas, but who overstayed and failed to maintain legal immigration status on or before that date to qualify to apply for LPI status. That could mean that millions of immigrants who came to the U.S. through the border without being legally admitted AND those who came here on legal non-immigrant visas, but who overstayed - all qualify! 

The text of the bill also specifically includes temporary agricultural workers (H-2A visa holders) and those who have “engaged in essential critical infrastructure labor or services” in the U.S..There are, however, exclusions for those who came to the U.S. as refugees and also those who have been granted asylum status.

I will continue to provide updates on these and other generous immigration benefits under the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 in the following weeks, stay tuned… 

Read the Senate Bill

Biden’s immigration bill lands on the Hill facing bleak odds - POLITICO

Here are the new requirements all states except Alaska & Hawaii:

2021 Annual Income Required 
Family Size Minimum Adjusted Gross Income

Family    Current     New
Size       2020         2021
1            $15,950    $16,100
2            $21,550    $21,775
3            $27,150    $27,450 
4            $32,750    $33,125
5            $38,350    $38,800
6            $43,950    $44,475
7            $49,550    $50,150  
8            $55,150    $55,825

For families or households with more than 8 people, add $4,540 for each additional person.
However, uncertainty still remains as to whether or not the USCIS will allow 15-day premium processing to begin on April 1st, since in previous years, the service has been suspended for long periods of time. Students on OPT work authorization with an H-1B application pending will receive an automatic extension of OPT until a decision is made on their case.

As in past years, the demand for H-1B Visas is expected to rise again this year, with an anticipated 300,000 applications for only 65,000 regular cap visas and 20,000 master’s cap visas. Because of the anticipated shortage of visas, those hoping to obtain an H-1B Visa this year, particularly students on OPT, should line up a U.S. Employer willing to support the H-1B Visa request quickly, in order to begin processing the case for filing by March 9th. 

As background, the H-1B work visa allows qualifying foreign nationals to work for a U.S. employer for up to six years and even longer when an employer sponsors the H-1B worker for a Green Card. To qualify, the H-1B visa requires the foreign national to possess a Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent and be offered a professional position in a U.S. company. After obtaining an H-1B visa, Immigrants (and their families) often obtain a Green Card through their H-1B employer in a process called Labor Certification. 

USCIS Announcement
Question: My mom is a citizen and she is sponsoring me. She got her citizenship back in 2013 then filed the papers for me and my husband, but we got divorced in 2016 and I got pregnant in 2020 and just married my baby’s daddy. We are wondering what we need to do to add my new husband and the baby. Do they still qualify to immigrate with me even though my ex husband is on the immigration papers? Does my mom need to reapply for all of us? Thanks.
Answer: As the married daughter of a U.S. citizen, you are in the F3 immigration category, which includes your spouse and minor children under age 21. It does not matter who your spouse is at the time the family petition was filed by your mom, only who you are married to at the time the visa becomes available when it’s time to immigrate to the U.S.. Right now, there are Immigrant Visas in the F3 category for the year 2008. Since your mom filed for you in 2013, you still have quite a while to wait. Once the time has come to immigrate, you, your husband and all minor children will be able to immigrate to the U.S. along with you. So don’t worry, your mom does not need to reapply for you. I hope this was helpful to you
Question: Hi I filled out all the immigration forms that I think I need to apply for my green card and the last thing I need is to get the medical exam done. I called a few drs offices on the list I got from immigration and I was quoted about $375 just to have the exam. I was hoping to get everything filed quick so I can get in the queue to get my work permit, but if I have to get the medical I won’t be able to do it. Can you please tell me if I can apply now with what I have and send them the medical afterwards?
Answer: The medical examination is required as part of all immigration residency cases, but it is not required to be submitted along with the initial application filing. However, it must be done before your residency interview. The best advice is to save money and send in your completed residency application now, then wait until the USCIS issues a residency interview notice, then have your medical examination done at that time and take your medical in the sealed envelope with you to your interview. After filing your case, the USCIS will send you a letter reminding you that the medical must be done and that you must take it to your interview. Make sure that you don’t have it done and send it in to the USCIS after filing your case, unless specifically directed, since the medical exam will likely never make it into your file and you will have to pay to have it done all over again.
Make sure and choose U.S. Customs and Border Protection, complete the form and when it asks for the type of information you are seeking, type in U.S. Travel history information (entries and exits).

Once you submit the request you will immediately receive a unique FOIA tracking number and acknowledgment that your FOIA request was received by CBP. Then you will be able to track your FOIA request any day/any time through your FOIA online account. You will receive an email to retrieve responsive records or document via your FOIA online account, when records or documents become available and you can view all of your historical FOIA requests via the "dashboard" in your FOIA online account.

Make a FOIA Request
Such is often the case with difficult immigration issues like those involving children who were “born out of wedlock”, meaning their father was not married to their mother. In these instances, either a U.S. Citizen child is sponsoring a father who was not married to his or her mother, or a father is sponsoring a chiId and was never married to the child’s mother. In either case, proving a father-child relationship can be very challenging, particularly for countries like Jamaica, in which 60% of all children are born outside of marriage by some estimates. Further, in such countries there are generally no formal court ordered custody arrangements or child support documents, support for children is often paid in cash, or expenses such as tuition, clothing/supplies and there are few if any records of a father’s relationship with his children.

When an immigration petition is filed by either the U.S. Citizen child or father and the father was not married to the child’s mother, the USCIS requires extensive documentation to prove that a parental “relationship” existed and continues to exist to prove that a bona fide father-child relationship was established between the father and the child while the child was under 18 years of age. The law requires that the father prove he has demonstrated an active concern for the child’s support, instruction, and general welfare; that the father and child actually lived together or the father held the child out as his own; that the father provided for some or all of the child’s needs, or that in general the father’s behavior evidenced a genuine concern for the child. 

Without documentary evidence, the USCIS will generally deny family petitions filed for children or a father, even when the USCIS has no doubt about the biological relationship. The main issue is always, did this biological father show “care and concern” for his child while the child was a minor under age 18. This can be shown by documentation including:

-Cancelled checks or receipts of money given by the father to the child, Western Union/MoneyGram receipts, etc.
-Father’s income tax returns showing the child as a dependent.
-Father’s medical Insurance records listing the child’s medical coverage.
-Father’s insurance policy showing the child as a beneficiary.
-Child’s School records showing petitioner as the child’s father.
-Child’s medical/Vaccination records listing the father’s name.
-Pictures of the father and child together
-Child’s Baptism & Church records showing the father’s relationship with the child;
-If the father and child lived together, documents from each showing their address was the same
-Other similar and relevant documents, including: Letters, telephone bills, airline tickets, email printouts and other communications between the father and child.
-Notarized affidavit from the child’s father and mother regarding the father providing support, caring for the needs of the child and providing for the child’s general welfare other notarized Affidavits of relatives, friends, neighbors, school officials, or other associates stating facts showing that they personally know that there is a bona fide father and child relationship.

It’s important to note, however, that Affidavits alone are generally not enough proof of the relationship without other documents such as proof of child support payments, etc. I like to sit down with client and go over a detailed history of their father-child relationship to assist in determining which type of documents my client may be able to obtain which will best suit their case. In many cases where a father is in the U.S. seeking to sponsor a child abroad and support has been paid through Western Union or other money transfers, I advise clients to order a ten year transaction history (if available) in order to show support payments to the child or his or her mother. That, coupled with several other types of documents, photos and well written Affidavits will often suffice to win a case. The most critical aspect of every immigration issue is fully understanding what the exact requirements before filing the case! That saves a lot of money, time and heartache.

We have had great success in gaining approval in such cases. So give us a call and lets 
go over your case together. Call (954) 383-5378