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  Immigration News & Updates              eNewsletter

  POSTING DATE: JUNE 29,  2015
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This Week's Immigration News 
By Immigration Attorney Caroly Pedersen

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Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter ©  2011  - 2015 
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: Dear attorney, I'm here in the US on a student visa that expires later this year, but I have not been attending school since last Fall because I ran out of tuition money. While in school I met my American fiancée and we want to get married and get my immigration papers. Since we plan to get married later this year when my parents can come for the wedding, can I apply for my Employment Authorization now as the fiancée of a U.S. Citizen, then apply for my Green card once we get married? Will I risk deportation if my papers are filed after my student visa expires this year?
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 expires, 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.
U.S. Expands Immigration Preclearance Screening 
To Ten European Airports 
The Department of Homeland Security has announced plans to expand U.S. Immigration Pre-clearance facilities to include 10 new airports in Europe, representing some of the busiest departure points, with some 20 million passengers traveling to America each year. These airports include: Brussels, Punta Cana, Tokyo Narita, Amsterdam, Oslo, Madrid, Stockholm, Istanbul, London Heathrow and Manchester. The U.S. already has existing Immigration Pre-clearance facilities at airports in Dublin, Shannon, Aruba, Freeport, Nassau, Bermuda, Calgary, Toronto, Edmonton, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Abu Dhabi.

 The U.S. government sees this expansion as a vital step in its efforts to protect the safety and security of Americans by allowing U.S. officials to prevent foreign passengers from boarding US-bound planes at their point of origin, rather than denying entry once someone is on U.S. soil, with the future goal of screening up to one-third of all U.S. bound passengers by 2024.​
Department Of State Overseas Passport and Visa Systems Getting Back “Online”
The Department of State (DOS) is reporting that the computer database responsible for processing biometric clearances has been repaired, that DOS staff is working overtime to clear up the backlog of visas, and anticipates that connectivity to all U.S. Consular posts should be restored shortly in order to resume full capacity. 

The DOS also reports that all posts have now resumed visa interviews and are giving priority to issuing Visas for Applicants who attended interviews on or before June 8th. Applicants are urged to visit the website for their local U.S. Consulate for further instructions.

​Read more about the new Technical problems Update:
U.S. Department of State
Immigration How To:
How To Stay Informed About Your Pending Immigration Case
Immigration Tips You Can Use...
The Immigration Pre-clearance process is identical to the post flight process for international passengers arriving at U.S. airports, including Immigration Inspection and Customs. The process in the U.S. takes place after weary travelers who have embarked from long flights are herded into long lines to wait for grilling by U.S. Immigration Inspectors, then baggage inspection by U.S. Customs officers. It can be a very trying experience. Not to mention those travelers who have connecting flights to other destinations in the U.S., which may often be missed due to this lengthy, burdensome border process. 
Under Immigration Pre-clearance, travelers receive Immigration and Customs inspections before boarding flights to the U.S., then go through the normal check-in procedures and enter a special gate area which is effectively considered to be U.S. soil to wait for flight boarding. Then when arriving at the U.S. airport, Pre-clearance passengers simply walk off the plane and pick up their luggage like any other U.S. domestic flight. No Immigration, no Customs and less chance of missing flight connections. 

An added benefit is also that passengers can book flights and have their luggage arrive at their final destinations, rather than having to pick them up and go through Customs, then recheck the baggage for their connecting flights. Another benefits is that for those unfortunate international passengers who are occasionally denied entry to the U.S. after having travelled thousands of miles and many hours to arrive here, the issue can be avoided altogether. Passengers are either approved or denied by Immigration Inspectors at their point of origin, rather than later at the U.S. border. 

Read more about the new U.S. Pre-Clearance expansion program:
Department of Homeland Security Plan To Expand Pre-clearance
Question: I became an American Citizen in 2008 and filed to sponsor my brother. It’s been over 7 years now and I’m wondering how much longer it’s going to take for him and his wife to be able to immigrate here. My mom is elderly and my sister-in-law can come and take care of her. Is there any way to expedite it? Thanks.
Answer: The Sibling Immigration category takes between 12-14 or more years. The U.S. Department of State releases a Visa Bulletin each month to give updates on Immigrant Visa availability for the various family categories. Right now for the July 2015 Visa Bulletin, the F4 Category for Siblings (brothers & sisters) of U.S. Citizens, there are Immigrant Visas available for siblings who’s I-130 petitions were filed in the year 2002. The petition was filed for your brother and his wife in 2008. That means that there is another 6+ years or more to wait for them to immigrate to the U.S.. Unfortunately, there is no way to expedite the process.  

Read the July 2015 Visa Bulletin:
Department of State Visa Bulletin
Send USCIS Applications and Correspondence by U.S. Express Mail for easy tracking and delivery confirmation
Immigration applications and any follow-up correspondence with the USCIS are such important matters, that you should take the additional step of sending these documents to the USCIS by a safe, quick method, which allows you to verify the date and time of delivery to the USCIS. This is especially critical when you have received a Request For Additional Evidence from the USCIS and must provide the requested documentation by a specified deadline. Many applicants do not know that if their response sent to the USCIS is postmarked before the deadline date, but is actually delivered and received by the USCIS after that date, the case is likely to be denied. 
Not only is this a tragedy for the beneficiary of the immigration application, but in such instances, all the USCIS filing fees are lost, which in some cases can be thousands of dollars. Certified Mail is not delivered quickly and cannot be tracked online and other private courier services like Fed-ex cannot be delivered to the regular USCIS P.O. box address. 

So, since the USCIS is a government agency, like the U.S. Express Mail (U.S. Postal Service) The safest way to send applications/documents and to safeguard against the unfortunate situation above is to use the U.S. Express Mail next day service. The cost is about $15.00 and well worth it. You will receive a tracking# so you can go online and confirm delivery. Be sure to send any responses requested by the USCIS at least one week or more before the deadline. Also, make a copy of everything you send to the USCIS including the initial application, supporting documents, Money Order and all follow-up responses before sending to the USCIS and never send originals! Good luck!
Stay Informed - Sign-up For USCIS E-Notification & Email Updates On Your Immigration Case 
The USCIS now offers several ways for Applicants to get updates on newly filed and pending Immigration cases. Immigrants and Sponsors filing Immigration applications with the USCIS can now sign-up to receive text messages and email E-notifications confirming application receipt by the USCIS, along with the case receipt number(s). The receipt number allows individuals to track the status of their case online. E-notifications are issued within 24 hours after the USCIS receives the application.
For instance, once your Immigration application is filed, the USCIS may issue you a letter requesting more evidence in order to continue processing the case. If you are registered to receive case status updates, you will receive an email notification that the USCIS has issued the request, which helps you to be aware that you should be receiving the request by mail soon. If you have not received the request, you can then make further inquiries. Similarly, once you respond to the USCIS request, you will receive an updated email notification that they have received your documentation. It’s a great way to stay informed and keep up to date on the status of your case as it is being processed.
 To request e-notification, download and complete form G-1145 and mail along with all Immigration applications.  
Once you receive your case number, go to the USCIS website and sign up for Email Status updates on your case through the USCIS My Case Status program. Once you register and enter your case number(s), the USICS will automatically email you notifications and updates on any actions take on your case so that you are better informed about your case status.