Immigration Questions: (954) 382-5378

  POSTING DATE: May 28,  2018
Tell a friend about this page

Learn More About:

Add this page to your favorites.

Add this page to your favorites.
Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter ©  2011  - 2018 
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
Question: My citizenship swearing in is scheduled for next week and I want to know how many people I can bring? Like can I bring my wife and 2 kids, what about my mother? Thanks.
Answer: That is a great question! Interestingly enough, there is no official limit on the number of family members that can accompany you to your Naturalization Swearing-In Ceremony. It really depends upon the number of attendees at your particular ceremony, as to whether there is enough space. Certainly your wife and two children are likely to be able to attend. You can bring your mother and if there is not enough room, she can wait in the outside area.
USCIS Issues Biometrics Appointment Notices 
With Wrong Application Support Center locations 
Helpful Immigration Tips You Can Use...

  Immigration News & Updates              eNewsletter
Last week the USCIS announced that due to a processing error, it had mailed a number of biometric services appointment notices to some Immigrants, which have incorrect Application Support Center (ASC) locations, not located in the applicants’ geographic area. Immigrants affected are those who filed Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence. The defective notices are dated May 4, 2018.

The USCIS will send out corrected notices to applicants on June 8th, however, Immigrants who have received such notices have the option to go to their local USCIS Application Support Center as a walk-in and have fingerprints and photos taken there.

Read the USCIS announcement 
Find out where the local USCIS Application Support Center is in your area
 New Rule Makes It More Difficult For Children Born Abroad 
To U.S. Citizen Mothers To Obtain Automatic Citizenship 
In accordance with a recent Supreme Court ruling, the USCIS has updated its policy requirements to restrict automatic citizenship for certain children born abroad to unwed U.S. Citizen mothers. The new restriction provides that children born abroad to an unwed U.S. Citizen mother, can only acquire U.S. Citizenship automatically if the U.S. Citizen mother, prior to the child’s birth, had lived in the U.S. for at least five years, two years of which must have been after the age of 14. 

This rule has been in effect for married couples and unwed U.S. Citizen fathers for son time. Under the prior rule, the law gave preferential treatment to a child born to an unwed U.S. Citizen mother, requiring only that she had lived in the U.S. for at least one continuous year before the child’s birth.
When filing immigration applications with the USCIS, Applicants should NEVER send original documents, since the USCIS will not return them. The only time originals should ever be sent to the USICS is when the officer specifically requests them, for instance in cases where original certified Court Dispositions and Police Reports are required when criminal issues are involved. 

Mistakenly sending originals is particularly urgent when a Petitioner sends an original Naturalization Certificate as proof of U.S. Citizenship, when sponsoring a family member. In such cases, obtaining a duplicate Naturalization Certificate form N-565, can be quite costly ($555) and take quite a bit of time. 
 Hurricane Season Is Here – Remember To Safeguard 
Your Vital Immigration Documents 
Now that the hurricane season is upon us on June 1st, it’s a good time to remind Immigrants and their sponsors about taking steps to safeguard your Immigration-related documentation, cards and certificates in case of potential loss, theft (automobiles, home) and of course, natural disasters such as hurricanes and water damage.

Steps to take: 
Question: Hi there, I've been in america in south florida on a student visa since 2014. I graduated in 2016, got my one year work permit, then when it expired in 2016 I stayed here and didn’t go home. My boyfriend is an american citizen and we have been dating for 2 year and just got engaged and have decided to get married and get my immigration papers. We plan to get married later this year when my parents can come for the wedding. We are wondering can I apply for my employment authorization now as the fiancée of an american, then apply for my green card once we get married? Will I risk deportation if I stay in the US since my student visa is expired?
Answer: Congratulations on your engagement! Unfortunately, until your petition for adjustment of status to Residency is filed, you are not entitled to a work permit. The good news is that as the spouse of a U.S. Citizen, it does not matter when your visa expired, you can be out of status and still obtain your Green Card since you entered the U.S. legally. Only fiancée’s of U.S. Citizens who obtain the K-1 visa abroad are eligible to apply for work authorization prior to marriage. Fiancées in the U.S. who do not have the K-1 are not eligible to work until they marry, a spousal residency case is filed on their behalf and the employment authorization card is issued. What you and your fiancée might want to consider is getting married earlier at the courthouse, so that we can file your Residency application now and get your Work and Travel permit in about 90 days, then have your formal wedding with your family later. That way, you can get your place in line in the immigration process. In many south Florida USCIS offices, the residency process is taking nearly 2 years to complete, so the sooner you apply, the farther along you will be. 
Immigration How To:
How Do I Get My Original Documents Back From Immigration?
In the recent Supreme Court case which changed the law, Sessions v. Morales-Santana, the court ruled that giving preferential treatment to U.S. Citizen mothers is unconstitutional and that the preferential treatment would end on June 12, 2017. As a result, children born outside the U.S. to unwed U.S. Citizen mothers on or after June 12, 2017 will only obtain automatic U.S. Citizenship if the U.S. Citizen mother, prior to the child’s birth, had lived in the U.S. for at least five years, two years of which must have been after the age of 14.

The new USCIS policy also clarifies requirements for unwed U.S. Citizen fathers, providing that in order for their children born abroad to be eligible to obtain automatic U.S. Citizenship, they must provide proof that they agreed in writing to provide financial support to the child before the child’s 18th birthday. You can read the USCIS Policy Announcement and the Supreme Court decision by visiting our website at: and clicking on the Immigration Newsletter link.

Read the USCIS Policy Announcement
Read the Supreme Court case Sessions v. Morales-Santana
Question: My daughter married an american and filed for me in 2014 and I got my green card in 2015. Then the same year filed papers for my 32 year old divorced daughter in Jamaica. I received a letter in the mail from the National Visa Center that my daughter needs to wait for the Visa. I just got my american citizenship last month and I want to know if my daughter gets married now, can you please help to convert her case to the married daughter immigration category? Also, how much will this increase the time she has to wait to immigrate? What happens if my daughter waits to get married until after she gets her green card, how long would it take for her to bring her fiancée after that?
Answer: The Immigration category you applied for your daughter in when you were a U.S. Resident (Green Card holder) is called the F2B category for adult, single children of U.S. Residents. The waiting line for a visa in that category is about 7-8 years. Now that you are a U.S. Citizen, your daughter can marry, but she will move from the F2B category to the F3 category for adult married children of U.S. Citizens. The waiting line in that category is currently about 12+ years. 

Since you are now a U.S. Citizen, your daughter has technically moved from the F2B immigration category to the F1 immigration category for adult single children of U.S. Citizens, but the timing is about the same. Right now, there are Immigrant Visas available for the F2B and F1 immigration categories for family petitions filed for single adult children, in 2011. You filed for your daughter in 2015, so there is basically another 4+ years for her to wait in order to be able to immigrate. However, if she gets married, she will move to the F3 immigration category for adult married children of U.S. Citizens, which currently only has Immigrant Visas available for 2006. Since you filed the petition for your daughter in 2015, she and her husband would need to wait another 9+ years to immigrate to the U.S.. Another option is for your daughter to stay single and immigrate through the F1 category which she is currently in about 4+ years, then once she has her Green Card, immediately get married and file for her husband. The waiting time is about 1 ½ to 2 years. So the total time would then be about 6 years or so for both your daughter and her future husband to immigrate. If your daughter decides to stay single, we will notify the NVC that she has moved from the F2B to the F1 category as she gets closer to her visa becoming current. Immigrant visa timing can seem rather complicated, so please let me know if you have any questions about this.
The first step is to be sure that you always make a copy of the entire immigration petition and supporting documentation BEFORE sending to the USCIS. 

Second, make copies of all receipts, notices and correspondence to and from the USCIS. A good approach is to keep everything in a three hole punch binder in date order. People often keep such documents in the original envelope, which increases the chance of loss, since envelopes fall out of files. Also, this method makes it difficult to quickly access the documents needed. 

Third, copies should always be made of original Birth Certificates, Marriage Certificates, Divorce Decrees, Citizenship (Naturalization) Certificates, Green Cards, Passports and I-94 cards (which should always be stapled into the passport to safeguard it from falling out and getting lost). Once copies are made, the originals should be kept safely together in a file and enclosed in a zip-lock bag or other waterproof container. Safety deposit boxes at your local bank are often free with your account and provide an additional method of protection, for original documents and copies. 

Fourth, always immediately obtain a copy of every immigration petition along with copies of all supporting documentation and money orders and receipts from your Attorney. Don’t assume that such documents will be provided later. It is your right to have a copy of everything - always. Get formal receipts (with the attorney’s name and address) for all fees paid which specifically detail what the payment was for and once a petition is filed on your behalf, make sure you request the original receipt, doing the same with the approval notice. Also, never leave original documents with your attorney, since only copies of most documents are provided to the USCIS. Some exceptions would be original certified criminal documents, etc. 

Finally, as an Immigrant, you should maintain your original immigration documents (and copies) forever, since you never know when you will need them. Don’t rely upon the USCIS immediately knowing and recognizing your status simply because you know it. The burden of proof is always on you to provide documentation, certificates, cards, passports, etc to prove to the USCIS that you have immigration status and benefits. Documentation is your strength and security. As a community service, we will digitize your immigration documents including your Green Card, Citizenship Certificate, Immigration receipts and approval notices, marriage and Birth certificates for you and your family you at no charge and maintain a backup in case you need it in the future. 

However, when originals are mistakenly provided to the USCIS via mail, you have a few options. If you have filed for Residency or Citizenship, you must attend an interview at the local USCIS office. In this case, you can request that the officer return your original to you during your interview. If you have applied for another kind of case which does not involve an interview, the only other option is to make a formal request for the documents to be returned to you by completing and filing form G-884, Return of Original Documents and submitting it to the USCIS office where your case is pending or where the last action was taken on your case. There is no filing fee required to make this request, but receiving your original document(s) can take up to one year. 

Visit the USCIS website page for Form G-884