Immigration Questions: (954) 382-5378

  POSTING DATE: July  22,  2019
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Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter ©  2011  - 2019 
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
Helpful Immigration Tips You Can Use...

  Immigration News & Updates              eNewsletter
Recent Trump Raids Mostly Failed, 
But Do Not Let That Fool You!
Immigration How To:
How Do I Know What The Immigration Process Is To Sponsor My Adult Kids?
Adult children of U.S. Citizens are in immigration categories which usually take many years to wait for an Immigrant Visa in order to immigrate to the U.S.. The process can be frustrating and not easily understood, so a run-down of the how the Immigrant Visa process generally goes as follows:

1)  Your Parent files a Family petition with the USCIS 

2)  I-130 Receipt issued by the USCIS

3)  USCIS processing time currently takes about 4 years or so

4)  USCIS issues I-130 Approval Notice to your Parent
Question:  I have been in the us for many years now and remember way back some years ago I got caught driving without a license and then they turned me into immigration and I got a notice about immigration court, but no court date. That was a long time ago and I moved a few more times since then and always did a mail forwarding but never got anything else. I hear on the news now about raids against people with deportation orders. I don’t think I got one, but because of that case, I am not sure. Now I am a little worried about that. My question is there a way to find out without tipping off the authorities.
USCIS recently announced expansion of its digital Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Immigration Records System called (FIRST). FIRST will allow users to submit and track FOIA requests and receive documents digitally. The first phase, which was implemented in June, allows FOIA requesters to create a USCIS online account and submit requests for their own records. 

Later this year in phase two, requesters may be able to receive their documents digitally, rather than through the mail on a CD Rom (which is the current method of delivery). 
Common Mistakes To Avoid When Filing Your Immigration Application
1) Failing To Confirm Eligibility: One of the most common mistakes made when filing immigration applications is failing to make sure you are eligible before filing. Just because you CAN file an application, does not mean you SHOULD! Friends, relatives, coworkers, the lady who sits beside you on the bus, all have an opinion about what you should do to obtain immigration status. But should you trust their totally uninformed advice? You know the answer. That is like trusting your hairdresser to remove your appendix, it’s that serious these days. So before filing any application with the USCIS make sure that you meet all the eligibility requirements - end of story. 
Answer: That’s a great question. Many immigrants who have final deportation orders are not aware of it, simply because it can take so long for a hearing to be scheduled and by that time, a person may have moved and never get notice. But in most such cases, the immigration judge issues the deportation order in “absentia” meaning without the immigrant being present, since notification was presumably sent to his or her last know address. If you have your Alien Registration Number, called “A number”, you can check whether or not you have a deportation case open or a final order of deportation by calling the automated deportation hotline at: 1-800-898-7180, press “1” for English or “2” for Spanish then enter your 8 digit A number and listen for instructions. If you do not have it, you will likely need to do a FOIA request to obtain it.
Freedom Of Information (FOIA) Going Digital
Overview of Your Naturalization Ceremony And 
What To Do Next 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.
When Trump recently scuttled planned ICE raids for political purposes to show his followers he was “tough” on immigrants, ICE officials had to scramble to revise their plans. They had long been planning secret raids to catch unsuspecting immigrants off-guard, apprehend thousands and then publicize the success of their operations across the news. 
But Trump is like a toddler, unable to control himself and his impulses, even to his own detriment, and so it was with his public announcement of the raids. Now ICE agents had lost the element of surprise and even worse news for them, immigrant communities were becoming more educated about their rights and armed with knowledge, better able to avoid apprehension. Immigrants have now come to understand that they are not required to open their doors to ICE agents or roll down their car window and can simply ignore them, unless they present a Warrant signed by a judge, which most agents do not have. 

Raids did occur over the announced Raid weekend, but only small scale operations, which were mostly unsuccessful. Agents fanned out into immigrant neighborhoods in many major cities, only to find that either no one would answer the door, or, that the occupant inside told them they were refusing to open the door because they knew their rights!

The New York Times reports that a teenager in New York who had seen “know your rights” posts on the internet, took the advice to heart when ICE agents knocked on the door at 1 a.m. on Sunday. She recounted:  “They said, ‘We need to talk to you, can you come outside, can you open the door?’ I said, ‘Do you have permission to come inside my house, do you have a paper?’” she recounted. “They said, ‘We’re not trying to come inside your house, we just want to speak with you.’ And I said, ‘No I’m not coming outside.” The agents left, then returned again at 5 a.m., “surrounding the house with flashlights and banging on the door and window” The girl went upstairs to be with her parents and hid with the lights off, “too scared to look outside,”. And miraculously, ICE eventually left, presumably defeated.

But just because these raids were unsuccessful, does not mean that ICE is not already reorganizing and planning secret, quiet raids hoping to catch immigrants when they are off guard. The law requires ICE agents to wait for their targets to come outside voluntarily in order to arrest them, as a result, the agency now employs creative tactics to try and lure their unsuspecting targets outside, for instance by carrying decoy photos to hold up to the windows of immigrants who are being targeted, pretending ICE agents are looking for someone else in order to persuade them to open the door. Or, ICE agents may claim to be police officers responding to a domestic disturbance or gas leak. The New York Times also reports that the agency has even used social media like dating sites to try and lure targets into “dates” where they can be apprehended. They are coming up with more and more creative means every day. So don’t think its over, not by a long shot. Keep vigilant and safe… don’t open your door to strangers!

New York Times

Filing any application puts you in the USCIS spotlight, which is not a good place to be if you are not in legal status and these days, under Trump’s immigration policies, filing an immigration application when you are not eligible can get you deported. 

2) Using Outdated Forms: Most applications are rejected by the USCIS simply because the forms are expired! So always, be sure you have the most current edition of the form and never pay for forms, they are free. To download the current edition of each form, go to and click on the Forms link, then choose your form, you cannot go wrong.

3) Wrong Filing Fees: Another common reason many applications are rejected is due to failure to submit the correct amount of filing fees, either too little or too much. Note that the USCIS does not issue refund checks for overpayments, they just send your entire application back! For instance, the I-485 Residency application fee is $1,225, so if you enclose a check for $1,230, the USCIS will reject your whole case. Always make sure the USCIS filing fee is correct by going online to and clicking on the Forms link to see the current filing fee for each form. On a special note, now that the USCIS accepts credit/debit/gift cards, there are also many rejections based upon shortage of funds. For instance, some debit cards have a daily limit on charges and some credit cards are rejected when the filing fee exceeds the credit limit. Similarly, gift card balances may not be enough for the fees charged. So be sure to check the available gift card balance just immediately before filing your application. Remember if you pay by credit card, you have to download and complete form 1450 and place on the top of your application and you must complete a separate one for each form fee. For instance, the I-485 and I-130 are often filed together. If you pay by check, you can write one check for $1,760, but if you pay by credit/debit/gift card, you have to complete a separate  1450 for each application, ie. $1,225 for the I-485 and $535 for the I-130. Finally, these days you can use a personal check to pay the filing fees, just note that it can take several weeks or more for the USCIS to cash your check, so make sure the funds are there, otherwise there is a $30 “insufficient funds” fee. If you use a Money Order, have it issued by your bank, rather than a convenience store or postal service, in case you need to get a copy of the cancelled check (to see your case number on the back-in case you don’t receive a USCIS receipt). 

4) Failing To Provide The Required Supporting Documents: All immigration applications require the applicant to provide documents which prove eligibility for the benefits sought. For instance, in family cases, like a mother filing for an adult child, you should submit a copy of the mother’s U.S. Birth Certificate, Naturalization Certificate, U.S. Passport or Green Card and a copy of the child’s Birth Certificate. If the documents are in a foreign language, translations must be provided as well. Marriage cases can often be very complicated, necessitating extensive documentation so make sure and include all required documents so your case is not delayed. Read the Form Instructions and enclose copies of the required supporting documents listed. Never send originals!

5) Failing To Provide Translations and a Certificate of Translation with Foreign Language Documents: One of the most common reasons for the USCIS to issue a Request For Evidence, is failure to provide translations for foreign language documents. All documents in a foreign language must be accompanied by an English translation and “Certificate of Translation” signed by the translator, attesting to the fact that they are fluent in the foreign language and English. Example: I [name of translator], certify that I am fluent in the English and [type in name of foreign language, for instance, Spanish] languages, and that the above is an accurate translation of the attached document. Have the translator sign, date and type in his or her address. Note that an Applicant, family member or anyone else can be the translator, you do not need a certified translator or any other special certification.

6) Failing To Make Copies of your entire application: Very commonly, issues can arise in an immigration case. Either you receive a request from the USCIS for additional evidence, which you believe you already provided, or may need assistance in resolving problem issues in your case. In either instance, you always need to have a copy of exactly what you have provided to the USCIS, as well as copies of any letters/requests you have received. Without that, it is very difficult to get complex issues resolved. So make and keep copies of every page of your signed application, all supporting documents and check/money order for your records!

7) Sending your application to the wrong address: Another common reason for case rejection is that your case was sent to the wrong USCIS address. The agency changes the address for applications continuously, therefore immediately before sending your package out, you must go online and double-check the address. Also, its best to send all applications to the USCIS using USPS Priority Mail, Express Mail or Fed-ex/UPS with tracking. Be sure to get delivery confirmation a few days after you send your application, to confirm it was received and save the confirmation for your records. NEVER use Certified Mail, it is too slow.

8) Failing To Keep Updated On Your Case: These days, the USCIS makes it really convenient to keep in touch with the status of your application and receive updates. So always file Form G-1145 with your application, to receive a text message or email e-notification confirming that the application was received and accepted for processing by the USCIS along with the case receipt number(s) and sign-up for E-Mail Case Updates once you receive your USCIS Receipt (called I-797 Notice of Action) – usually in about 10 days, go online to and click on “Check your case status” then sign-up for email updates on your case using your case number.

9) Failing To Properly Respond To A USCIS Request: Failing to provide the USCIS with the exact information or documentation requested in a “Request for Evidence” (RFE) issued by the officer processing your case is one of the most common reasons applications are denied. For example, let’s say a U.S. Citizen mother files an I-130 application to sponsor her single adult daughter in Colombia. The immigrant visa waiting line is about 7 years, and the typical USCIS processing time for such an application is about 4 years or so. Once the application is filed and the USCIS receipt is issued, nothing generally happens until the case is sent to an officer for processing in about 4 years time. Once the officer reviews the case, he finds that the mother only attached a copy of the child’s baptism certificate and failed to provide a copy of her daughter’s birth certificate as required. The officer issues an RFE requesting that the child’s birth certificate be provided showing her mother’s name and if the document is not in English, an English translation must be provided and gives the mother 87 days to respond. Once the mother receives the RFE she sends the officer a copy of the child’s original birth certificate in Spanish, but fails to send an English translation. In that case, the officer denies the case, since he is not required to provide the mother with a second opportunity to provide a document, which he had already requested. Click here for more advice on Responding To RFE requests.

10) Failing To Understand USCIS Processing Times For Your Case-Type:  Different kinds of immigration applications have different processing times. For instance, Form I-765 application for work authorization generally takes about 6-8 months for residency applicants, but only a few months for DACA applicants. Form N-400 for Naturalization can take 6 months in some places and 24 months in others. It very important to educate yourself about the processing times BEFORE filing an application so you can plan accordingly. And always expect longer processing times than posted now that we are in the era of Trump. To check processing times, go to and click on “Check your case status” then scroll down and click on “USCIS Processing Times Information” and click on the Service Center or office where your case is processing to see the current processing times for your application type. 

I can take care of handling the entire process for you and your family, to give you peace of mind that your case is professionally prepared and filed according to USCIS regulations so as not to delay processing! 
Just give us a call for a FREE consultation at: (954) 382-5378. 

You can make your own FOIA request by creating an online account
Read the USCIS digital FOIA announcement
Question:  I am not sure how to proceed. My brother is a American Citizen and my dad just got his Green Card. I am single now, but engaged and I would not want to immigrate to America without my soon to be husband. Can you please advise me whether dad or brother should file for me, and what is the approximate time period difference, thanks.
Answer: First, the waiting line for an adult, single children of U.S. Residents is about 7 years or longer (called F2B Family Preference category). But if the adult child marries, the immigration petition is automatically cancelled. The waiting line for siblings (brothers & sisters) of U.S. Citizens is even longer about 14 years or more (called F4 Family Preference category), but it includes spouses. Normally, I would say either or both your dad and brother can sponsor you. However, since you will be getting married soon, it really does not make any sense for your dad to sponsor you. Its best to have your brother sponsor you instead. I hope this is helpful
Question:  I have a question about filing for my husband and his kids. I am a US Citizen, so should I file for my husband on the same form as his kids or file separate forms for each one. I’m really confused and the immigration website is not helpful. I called immigration 2 different times and got 2 different answers. I know you will have the answer for me, I hope you can please answer this email.
Answer: For background, a U.S. Citizen can apply for step-children, when the children were under age 18 at the time of the marriage to the child’s biological parent. If qualifying, the U.S. Citizen step-parent can file for the minor children until they reach age 21. A separate I-130 needs to be filed for person, meaning your husband and each child separately. In your case, as long as your husband’s children were 17 years old or younger when you got married, then you are considered to be their step-parent for Immigration purposes and can file for them now or at a later date. If the children were age 18 or older when you married, then you would not be able to file for them. In that case your husband’s children would need to wait until he becomes a U.S. Resident in order for him to sponsor his children. I hope this is helpful to you. Please let us know if you need our legal services to take care of handling the case.
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 $555 USCIS filing fee. The waiting time for a replacement can be lengthy.

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! 

5)  USCIS transfers the case to the National Visa Center to put the case in the queue waiting for an Immigrant Visa to be available (according to determinations made by the State Dept) as reflected in the monthly Visa Bulletin

6)  National Visa Center (NVC) sends letter to U.S. Citizen Parent indicating that the case is pending visa availability

7)  Nothing happens for many years while waiting for Immigrant Visa availability.

Adult, Single children of U.S. Citizens called 1st Preference have to wait approximately 7 to 8 years. Adult, Married children of U.S. Citizens (and their spouse & minor children) called 3rd Preference have to wait approximately 11 to 12 years or more.

8)  Finally, after many years, when an Immigrant Visa becomes available, the NVC notifies the U.S. Citizen parent that Fee bills must be paid in order to prepare the case for Consular Processing 

9)  Once Visa and Affidavit of support fee bills are paid, consular forms and original documents must be submitted to the NVC along with the Affidavit of Support and financial documentation

10)  Once all required documents are submitted, and the NVC file is complete, it sends the file to the U.S. Consulate to schedule the Immigrant Visa interview

11)  The U.S. Consulate notifies the Immigrant of the Immigrant Visa appointment and provides instructions on having the required medical examination done.

12)  The Immigrant (and his or her family) attend the Immigrant Visa appointment at the U.S. Consulate and if all goes well, the case is approved and the Immigrant receives a package in the mail which must be presented to the U.S. Immigration officials at the airport upon entering the U.S. . Prior to entry, Immigrant visa fees must be paid online and the receipt presented to prove payment.

13)  The Immigrant and family receive their Green Cards at the address in the U.S. provided within about 30 days and then proceed to apply for Social Security numbers from the Social Security Administration.