Immigration Questions: (954) 382-5378
POSTING DATE: April 6, 2020
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Question: My 10 yr green card expires on may 14th and I need to file a renewal so that I can get my status extended. But since you said the immigration office is closed, how can I file the application? Is there some way you can you do it for me.
Answer: Residency (green card) renewal applications are filed and processed at the national USCIS service centers which remain open, even with staff reductions. We can file your renewal and once you receive the receipt, the I-797 Notice of Action will afford you evidence that you filed a timely application to extend your status before it expired. However, under normal circumstances, you would receive a biometrics appointment notice in the mail within about 30 days, directing you to go to the local USCIS Application Support Center to have your fingerprints and photo done. At that time, the officer would issue you an I-551 residency extension sticker on your expired card as proof of your ongoing residency status. However, under the present circumstances, it’s impossible to obtain the extension sticker due to the local office closures. My guess is that at some point, the USCIS will begin issuing I-797 Notice of Action receipts which specifically extend residency status for 18 months, like they do for I-751 Remove of Conditions cases. Until then, we just have to wait for the USCIS to issue updated policies.
With major immigration policy changes occurring nearly daily, the USCIS has again announced that it is extending temporary closures of its local field offices, this time until May 3rd with plans to reopen May 4th.
As a result, all appointments at the local field office have been automatically cancelled until that date. What this means is that immigrants who received notices for biometrics appointments, residency and naturalization interviews and swearing in ceremonies should NOT go to the USCIS building on the scheduled date, even if they have not received a cancellation notice.
Many immigrants have or will be filing their 2019 IRS Tax Returns this season from now until the new deadline on in July. And with all the immigration scams going around, its important to know and avoid an ever growing tax scheme targeting immigrants.
The USCIS Public Engagement Division wants Immigrants to beware of tax phone scams and reminds everyone 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.
Understanding Which Children Are Exempt From The New Public Charge Rule
Under the new Public Charge Rule which took effect in February 2020, all Residency and certain non-immigrant applications must be accompanied by evidence to demonstrate that the individual being sponsored or extending/changing visa status in the U.S. has not accepted public benefits in the past and will likely not do so in the future. This must be demonstrated by extensive financial documents and other data required by the new form I-944 Declaration of Self-Sufficiency, as well as additional questions on the new Residency and other forms. This means that in addition to the regular Affidavit of Support, filed by the U.S. Resident or Citizen sponsoring the family member to immigrate to the U.S., the actual immigrant is required to file form I-944 Declaration of Self-Sufficiency as well.
Temporary Local Immigration Field Office Closures
Continued Through May 3rd!
As a result of the continuing Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and related continued disruption to daily life, the USCIS announced last week that it will now accept the late filing of responses to requests for evidence (RFEs) and notices of intent to deny (NOIDs), Notices of Intent to Revoke (NOIR) and others, including, Notice of Appeal or Motions (Form I-290B) from denials filed by applicants and petitioners, for USCIS requests dated between March 1 and May 1, 2020.
Under the new policy, respondents will be afforded an additional 60 days past the deadline in the USCIS request.
USCIS Announces That It Will Accept Late Filing Of Responses
To Requests For Evidence And Other Notices
Question: I am a citizen and my daughter is 32. She and my 11 yr old grandson are here in florida visiting me since late feb and haven’t been able to get a flight back home. She has a good job in Kingston and is anxious to return but all the flights are cancelled. We are wondering if under the epidemic they can just stay and live here with me until they can travel home. Is there some kind of special program for them because of the virus?
Answer: Generally, medical exams for consular purposes are valid for six months from the date of the exam. So as long as she has her appointment rescheduled within that period she should be fine. Normally, once the immigrant visa is issued after the consular appointment, the immigrant has six months to enter the U.S.. However, she must enter the U.S. before her medical expires, so she likely will not have the full six months and may have to plan to enter the U.S. soon after her visa is finally issue. Let me know if you have any questions about that.
Question: I filed for my wife and she had her medical and her appointment was scheduled at the embassy, but then 2 days before she was to go, it was cancelled because of the viral issue. Now we are just waiting again. We are worried about when she might get her appointment rescheduled and what about if her medical is expired and she has to redo it again?
Answer: Unfortunately, neither the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), nor USCIS has issued a policy for foreign nationals inside the U.S. which will allow them to automatically stay in the U.S. legally due to the Coronavirus pandemic, even after their period of authorized stay expires. Since your daughter and grandson came in February, they likely have until August to leave. We would hope that the pandemic will have calmed down enough by then for international travel to resume. However, if it has not and they are stranded here, the only other option is to file a request to legally extend their stay to give them more time. However, the problem with this option is that if your daughter files the request prior to August, then leaves the U.S. while it is pending, her U.S. visa will be automatically cancelled. For instance we file the extension request in July, requesting six more months for her to stay, then in September she is able to obtain a flight out and she leaves. Since she left AFTER the extension request was filed, but BEFORE a decision was issued by the USCIS, she would automatically be deemed to have abandoned the extension request once she left and have been out of status from August until she left in September. That is a current technical issue which must be considered before making the extension request. However, is an individual is simply not able to leave, they have no choice but to request the extension of stay and it is our great hope, that the DHS will issue a policy in the future which waives the normal automatic visa cancellation for individuals who can prove they were unable to leave the U.S.. Those who file the extension of stay are legally able to stay and wait in the U.S. for USCIS processing, which could take six or more months.
USCIS field offices will eventually send out reschedule notices for all appointments cancelled due to the temporary closures, however, before heading over to the new appointment, go online and check to make sure that the USCIS local field office where your appointment is scheduled is actually open. Note that most local field office websites confirm that they will remain closed “until further notice”.
You can contact the USCIS at (800) 375-5283 or go online to the uscis.gov/coronavirus. For any other questions about the USCIS Field Office closures or other immigration issues, you may call our offices at: 954-382-5378.
For instance, if a response is due to be received by the USCIS by the deadline of May 1st, the new deadline will be June 29th.
The USCIS says that the agency will reuse previously submitted biometrics (fingerprints and photos) in order to process extension of work permits (Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization) due to the temporary closure of Application Support Centers (ASC) as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The reuse of previous biometrics only applies to work permit extensions and unfortunately, does not apply to initial applications filed for permission to work. This is particularly frustrating and serious issue for immigrants who are unable to legally work at a time when everyone is suffering due to the pandemic.
In The Wake Of Application Support Center Closures, USCIS Plans To Reuse Biometrics For Processing Of Employment Authorization Extension Requests
However, it is important to note that the new Public Charge Rule does not apply to children of a U.S. Citizen parent who are under age 18. 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. That means that neither the I-864 Affidavit of Support nor the I-944 Declaration of Self-Sufficiency is required in such cases.
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. Until recently, children were required to file form I-864W, Intending Immigrant's Affidavit of Support Exemption, instead of form I-864 Affidavit of Support. Currently, the form I-864W is no longer required.
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
Watch A Video About Scams:
Visit the IRS Tax Scam Website:
The governmental program which oversees international students, called the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), has advised certified colleges and schools that they may permit international students on F and M visas to temporarily undertake courses of study exclusively online, due to the pandemic.
Previously, international students were prohibited from pursuing solely online (distance-learning) studies and were required to attend a certain number of courses on campus in the classroom.
New Policy Allows International Students To Take Fulltime
Online Classes As A Result Of The COVID-19 Pandemic
These measures which require each organization to notify SEVP of such course changes, will likely continue through the Fall Semester and perhaps even into 2021.