Immigration Questions: (954) 382-5378
  Immigration News & Updates              eNewsletter

  POSTING DATE: MAY 9,  2016
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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: Good morning Ms. Pedersen, I received a receipt from USCIS that they received my naturalization documents for processing. What is my next move? It mentions that I should read "A Guide to Naturalization (M-476)" available on their website and that I will need to have my fingerprints taken. I already have a copy of the "Learn About the United States: Quick Civics Lessons" that a co-worker who went through the process recently loaned me. Will they tell me when to do the fingerprints?
Answer: Once the USCIS receives your Naturalization application, the next step is that you will receive a Biometrics appointment notice to have your fingerprints taken at your local USCIS office in the next 30 days or so. Once your fingerprints are taken, it should be another 30 – 60 days for you to receive your Naturalization interview notice. Once you attend your interview and are approved, you should receive your swearing in notice with about 15-30 days. I hope this is helpful. 

Here are some links to guides for the Naturalization and practice tests:

Learn more about the requirements for Naturalization
Study for the test
Take practice tests
This Week's Immigration News 
By Immigration Attorney Caroly Pedersen
Upcoming Naturalization Ceremonies For May In South Florida Announced
USCIS Publishes Proposed Increase In Immigration Filing Fees 
The USCIS recently published a new proposed rule to increase filing fees for most immigration applications. The changes would go into effect later this year. Here a list of the proposed fee increases for some of the most common immigration applications:
The USCIS has announced upcoming Naturalization Swearing-in ceremonies for several USCIS Field Offices in South Florida:

Miami Field Office -  May 13, 20 and 27
Hialeah Field Office - May 6, 13 and 21
Kendall Field Office - May 5-6 (Special Ceremonies at Biscayne National Park), May 13, 20 and 27
Oakland Park Field Office - May 13, 20 and 27 
Helpful Immigration Hints You Can Use
Immigration Type/Form 

I-90 Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card

​I-102 To Replace I-94 Card   

I-129F Petition for Alien Fiancé(e)

I-130 Family Petition for Alien Relative   

I-131 Application for Travel Document  

I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker 

I-485 Application to Adjust Status to Residence 

I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status 

I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence 

I-765 Application for Employment Authorization 

N-400 Application for Naturalization   

N-565 Citizenship Certificate Replacement 

Biometric (Fingerprints) 
New Increased Fee













no increase
Current Fee 












​See a full list of proposed USCIS Fees increases:

USCIS Proposed Fees Increases

Question: My brother got his citizenship in 2009 and filed for me and my wife and the case was approved and sent to the national visa center. We are in Venezuela and the social situation here is very bad and we are desperate to immigrate to America as soon as possible. Can you please tell me how much longer we have to wait and whether my 15 years old son and 8 year old daughter will be able to immigrate with us.
Answer: Unfortunately, the waiting line for an Immigrant Visa for brothers and sisters of U.S. Citizens is about 12-14 years. Since the case was filed in 2009, you will need to wait at least another six years or so. Your 8 year old daughter will be able to immigrate with you and likely your 15 year old son will as well. In six years he may be age 21, which would normally make him ineligible to immigrate along with you, but under the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA), the time the I-130 petition filed by your brother was being processed by the USCIS can be subtracted from your son’s age. Since it usually takes 4-5 years for USCIS processing of an I-130 in the F4 category, that time can be subtracted from your son’s age as the time the Immigrant Visa becomes available in about six years to reduce his technical age to below age 21. We can assist you and your family in the immigration process when the time comes and in providing the National Visa Center with the necessary CSPA calculations to prove that your son qualifies under the law. 
Question: My Citizen wife and I filed to remove the conditions on my Green Card in 2015 and we got a letter asking us for a lot more documents. We had just moved and couldn’t get to the boxes in storage where all our documents were, so we just sent the few that we had. Now we got an interview at the immigration office. We are a real marriage and don’t have anything to hide, but it still makes me nervous. My questions is whether we should bring more documents with us to the interview and which ones? Can we bring witnesses? Can we bring you as our attorney? What happens now?
Answer: When an immigrant is granted residency through marriage to a U.S. Citizen spouse, the Green Card is only issued temporarily for two years. Three months before it expires, the couple needs to file a request to remove the conditions on residency (form I-751). Unfortunately, couples often do not understand the extreme importance of not only filing the forms, but of providing extensive marital documents from the time the temporary Green Card was issued to prove that the couple is still living together in a real marriage. In cases where the couple fails to provide sufficient documentary evidence, the local USCIS office will interview the couple, often separately, to try to determine whether or not the marriage is real. That is why it’s extremely important that you are well prepared for this interview and bring all the necessary documentation to prove that you and your wife live together as a real married couple. I can represent you in preparing for and attending the interview with you and in making sure that you bring all the required documentation to demonstrate your “bonafide” marriage. Generally officers will not allow witnesses to attend your interview, but you can bring notarized affidavits.
2016 Poverty Guidelines for I-864 Affidavit of Support
The new minimum income requirements under the I-864 Affidavit of Support were released earlier this year. U.S. Citizen and U.S. Resident Sponsors are required to meet or exceed 125% of the Poverty Guidelines in order to qualify. The income requirements for 2016 have increased just slightly from 2015. 

For example, the minimum yearly income of $ 20,025 is now required to sponsor a Spouse, compared with $19,912 for 2015. Take a look at the new 2016 Poverty Guidelines which includes all U.S. States.

Number of Family            Minimum Income Requirements 125% of Poverty Guidelines
Members in Household       All States (other than Alaska & Hawaii)
Including the Immigrant

**Add $5,200 for each additional person
Here’s a few important tips for Sponsors to remember when filing Affidavits of Support:
3) If the sponsor does not meet the requirements, he or she must still file an I-864 and include an I-864 from a Joint-sponsor who does meet the qualifications and be sure to include a copy of the Joint-sponsor’s U.S. Birth Certificate, U.S. Passport, Naturalization Certificate or Green Card b) copy of the most recent tax return and W-2 c) past 3 months paystubs and d) current letter from his or her employer stating fulltime position, dates of employment and wages (which match his or her paystubs).

4) U.S. Citizen parents sponsoring minor children under age 18 are not required to file Affidavits of Support , since the immigrating child will automatically become a U.S. Citizen upon obtaining U.S. Residency. Instead, the child is required to file form I-864W requesting the exemption.

You can learn more about preparing I-864 Affidavits of Support and meeting the minimum income requirements by visiting our website at: or  by calling our office at: 954-382-5378.
1) Make sure that your adjusted gross income on your tax return meets the minimum income requirements  

2) Always include a copy of a) your most recent tax return and W-2 b) past 3 months paystubs and c) current letter from your employer stating your fulltime position, dates of employment and wages (which match your paystubs).
Immigration How To:
How Do I Know What Happens At My Naturalization Ceremony?
Understanding What Happens At Your Naturalization Ceremony 
And Responsibilities Once You Become a U.S. Citizen
Once your Application for Naturalization is approved, the USCIS puts your case in the queue to be scheduled for your Oath of Allegiance which takes place at your naturalization ceremony. This taking of your Oath of Allegiance complete the process of becoming a U.S. citizen.
Understanding the types of Oath Ceremonies:

There are two kinds of Oath of Allegiance ceremonies, one, is a judicial ceremony, where the court administers the Oath of Allegiance for Residents who have requested a name change and the regular administrative ceremony, during which the USCIS administers the Oath of Allegiance.

So what’s going to happen at your naturalization ceremony?

1. Receive Your Naturalization Ceremony Notice to Take the Oath of Allegiance

While some Immigrants who request it may be able to participate in a naturalization ceremony on the same day as their naturalization interview, many Residents must wait for the USCIS mail them a notice with the date, time, and location of their scheduled naturalization ceremony, called a Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony (Form – N-445). Those who cannot attend the scheduled naturalization ceremony must return the notice to their local USCIS office, along with a letter requesting a new date and explaining why they are not able to attend the scheduled naturalization ceremony. Residents who fail to show up for their naturalization ceremony without having requested a rescheduling may receive a denial of their naturalization case.

2. Complete Form N-445, Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony before checking in at the Ceremony
Residents should complete Form N-445, Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony before arriving at the ceremony, prior to check in with USCIS. During check-in, a USCIS officer will review your responses to the questionnaire.

3. Surrender of your Permanent Resident Card (Green Card) 

Residents who are becoming U.S. Citizens must surrender their Permanent Resident Cards to the USCIS at the time they check- in for the naturalization ceremony. Those who have lost their cards can receive a waiver. 

4. Taking the Oath of Allegiance to the United States

A Resident is not a U.S. citizen until he/she takes the Oath of Allegiance to the United States during the naturalization ceremony. After the Oath, new U.S Citizens receive their Certificate of Naturalization.

5. Notes about the Certificate of Naturalization

New U.S Citizens should carefully review the Certificate of Naturalization for accuracy while still at the ceremony. Any inaccuracies must be brought to the attention of the USCIS before leaving the ceremony. Unless or until you apply for your U.S. Passport, your Certificate of Naturalization is your official proof of your U.S. Citizenship. Those who lose their Certificate of Naturalization must request a replacement by filing Form N-565, Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document and paying the $345 USCIS filing fee. The waiting time for a replacement can be lengthy.
downloading the form. 

6. Time to apply for Your U.S. Passport

Once you receive your Certificate of Naturalization, you can immediately apply for a U.S. passport. You will receive an application for a U.S. passport at your naturalization ceremony, called the “U.S. Citizenship Welcome Packet” or you can go online to the U.S. Passport office  

7. Time to Register to Vote!

Now that you are a U.S. Citizen, it is your right and privilege to vote. You can register to vote at certain locations in your community, which may include post offices, motor vehicle offices, county boards of election, and offices of your state Secretary of State. You can read more about registering to vote by reading the government publication: “A Voter’s Guide to Federal Elections."

8. Final Step: Update your Social Security Record

After you become a U.S. Citizen, you will need to notify the Social Security Administration (SSA) to update your Social Security record. You can find your local Social Security office by calling 1-800-772-1213 or by visiting: You can go to your local SSA office about ten days after your ceremony to give time for the SSA to be able to access your new status in the USCIS records. Be sure to take your Certificate of Naturalization or U.S. passport with you. Good luck!