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

  POSTING DATE: JULY 18,  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:I`m a permanent resident and I have my 10 year green card. My boyfriend is currently in Jamaica. What is the fastest way to bring him here? I have to wait 3 more years before I can get my American citizenship. He has a visitor visa, so should we get married here or there? If we get married here and apply for his papers I know it`ll take longer since I`m not a citizen, but in the meantime will he have the right to work in the US?
Answer: It’s really important to understand that spouses of Residents are not allowed to stay inside or work in the U.S. (unless they are on another legal visa). If they do, they will be ineligible to obtain a Green Card. There is a big difference between the rights spouses of citizens have compared to those of residents. Residents cannot petition fiancées, whereas U.S. Citizens can. 

In your situation, you should get married either in the U.S. or Jamaica as soon as possible and have a spousal case immediately filed on his behalf so that he can get his place in the “visa line”. The visa line for spouses of Residents is now about 1 ½ years, so the sooner he is in the line, the better. There is no way for you to legally bring him to the U.S. yourself as a fiancée which would allow him to stay, unless he is eligible on his own for a work, student or other visa. However, be aware that once the spousal case is filed, he may not be eligible to obtain some types of work or student visas at the U.S. Consulate. 

The good news is that under a new program implemented in the past year or so by President Obama, spouses of residents who are legally inside the U.S. and have not violated status can apply for adjustment of status about 8 months or so after the spousal petition is filed, determined by eligibility dates which are released by the USCIS every month. So, since your husband has a tourist visa and can travel to the U.S., there is the likelihood that he would be able to adjust status to residency here in the U.S., sooner than waiting 1 ½ years by going through the U.S. Consulate. Let me know if you want us to handle his residency case so that it is filed and processed properly so that he does not have to wait any longer than is necessary.
This Week's Immigration News 
By Immigration Attorney Caroly Pedersen
USCIS Extends TPS Status 
For Qualifying Citizens Of El Salvador To 2018
The USCIS has announced that it is extending Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for eligible nationals of El Salvador for an additional 18 month period, beginning Sept. 10, 2016, through March 9, 2018. The 60-day re-registration period runs from 7/8/16 through 9/6/16.

Read the announcement and link to TPS renewal forms and instructions:

USCIS Announcement
Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status (re-registrants do not need to pay the Form I-821 application fee);
Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization
You can learn more about Spousal petitions and waiting timeby visiting our website at:  or by calling our office at: (954) 382-5378.
Believe it or not, many U.S. Residents (Green Card holders) voluntarily decide to give up their Green Cards every year, while others lose Residency status involuntarily, by staying outside the U.S. for extended periods of time.

For most Green Card holders, the biggest concern is involuntarily losing their U.S. Residence, which can occur after a Resident has been outside the U.S. for more than a year and no longer has ties here. An immigration officer at the port of entry (usually airport) is typically the one who determines that the Resident has abandoned U.S. permanent residency and then confiscates the green card, leaving it up to an immigration judge to make a final ruling.
Understanding The Process To Surrender U.S. Residency (Green Card)
However some Residents voluntary relinquish their Residency, often due to taxation issues or travel reasons. By surrendering the green card, it is often possible to terminate U.S. tax obligations. However, the most common travel reason to surrender a green card is that the Resident has spent more than a year abroad and has no intention of resuming actual residency in the United States but would like to visit the U.S. for holidays or business. Many Immigrants misunderstand that obtaining Residency in the U.S. means the individual is making the U.S. their formal residence, rather than simply using the green card to visit the U.S. several times her year. After frequently getting stopped by Immigration officers at the airport and experiencing travel delays while trying to visit the U.S., some Residents simply decide to give up their residency voluntarily. This can be done formally, by surrendering Residency status and becoming a non-resident, which requires a request made by the Resident at s U.S. Consulate abroad, in order to obtain a U.S. B1/B2 tourist visa instead.  

The procedure to surrender a green card and with it, U.S. Residency status is fairly straightforward. The Resident simply needs to contact the local U.S. embassy or consulate and make an appointment. The embassy or consular official will provide Form I-407, Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Resident Status. At the appointment, the officer will accept the form and the green card and give the Resident a stamped copy of the completed I-407. The former Resident can then request a U.S. tourist visa in order to visit the U.S. It should be noted that once a Resident has submitted the I-407 and surrendered the green card, Residency status is terminated and cannot be obtained again, except by an entirely new sponsorship or eligibility. There is no going back and no way to change one’s mind and obtain reissuance of the green card again from abroad. Therefore, if for example, the married adult son of a U.S. Citizen surrender's his or her green card, then later decides that he wants to reside in the U.S., a U.S. Citizen parent would need to sponsor the son all over again and the son would need to wait 10 to 12 years or more for a new visa to become available again, since they cannot use the old one. Good to know.

Helpful Immigration Tips You Can Use...
Did you know that the USCIS has a website which gives Immigrant and other workers the ability to safely check their own employment authorization status in the government system? Its True!
Visit the new My E-Verify site to check your status:
Website Allows Immigrant Workers To Self-check 
Employment Eligibility Status
 The USCIS has announced the creation of a new website which gives Immigrant and other workers the ability to safely check their own employment authorization status in the government system. 

Called “My E-Verify”, the website gives individuals free access to self-check employment eligibility and to see information about themselves that an employer might see about them in the government E-Verify system, as well as to assist workers to combat fraud and protect against identity theft.
Immigration How To… 
How Do I Travel Outside the U.S. While I'm Waiting For My Green Card?
In such cases, the qualifying immigrant files the form I-485 application along with evidentiary proof of eligibility with the USCIS along with a request for Employment Authorization (often called a Work Permit) and if eligible, a request for Advance Parole (often referred to as a Travel Permit). Both the Work and Travel permits are generally issued within about 90 days.

Interestingly, once the I-485 adjustment of status application has been filed and accepted by the USCIS, the foreign national is now in the “adjustment of status” process and is not authorized to re-enter the U.S. after travel abroad at any time before receiving U.S. Residency (a Green Card) without the explicit permission of the USCIS through its issuance of an Advance Parole document. This document is not an authorization to leave the U.S. as many immigrant believe, but instead an authorization to be allowed to re-enter the U.S. after foreign travel abroad. 

If an immigrant who is in the “adjustment of status” process leaves the U.S. without first applying for an “Advance Parole” document, his or her pending application for U.S. Residency will be automatically cancelled. In many cases, applicants can find themselves stranded abroad and unable to re-enter the U.S..

There are a few exceptions to this rule, which include those immigrants who have valid work visas stamped in their passports for an   L-1 or H-1B work visa and those for dependants. In such cases, adjustment of status applicants with these passport visa stamps are permitted to re-enter the U.S. using these entry visas and are not required to use an Advance Parole document.

Most importantly, Immigrants who's I-94 cards expired before filing for Adjustment of Status may not be eligible to travel outside the U.S. while waiting for residency and those who do, may not be allowed to re-enter the U.S. and actually be "barred" from re-entering for many years. As a result, Immigrants with expired I-94 cards should always consult with a qualified Immigration Attorney BEFORE applying for a travel permit.
Good to know…
Immigration regulations allow qualifying family members inside the U.S. who have been sponsored by U.S. Citizens and U.S. Residents to file an application to “Adjust Status to Permanent Residency” inside the U.S. and to live and work here legally while waiting to receive a Green Card. 

Similarly, certain foreign nationals who are sponsored by a U.S. company, or through Investment or another qualifying Immigrant Visa program to adjust status to Residency inside the U.S..