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Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter
POSTING DATE: July 24, 2017
Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter © 2011 - 2017
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Questions & Answers
This Week's Immigration News
Question: I want to know if when a US Citizen applies for his foreign wife, then should the US Citizen also apply for his foreign wife's children (Under 21 years old) in the same form I-130 or must separate I-130 forms be filed for each of the step children individually . And do the kids have to be filed with the foreign wife’s I-130 or can they be applied for after the wife’s case is filed and still in process.
In an effort to save Dreamers from losing protection, should Trump decide to cancel the current DACA program, Senators Graham and Durbin introduced a new 2017 DREAM Act last week, to give those who would otherwise qualify under DACA permanent benefits. The Bill also has a pathway to U.S. Residency (Green Card) and eventual Citizenship.
Under the Dream Act of 2017, Immigrant youth who entered the United States under the age of 18, at least four years prior to the Dream Act being enactment, who have been inside the U.S. continuously since that time would be eligible for Conditional Permanent Residency (CPR) status for up to eight years.
New 2017 Dream Act Bill Introduced In Congress
Answer: A U.S. Citizen can only 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 each child. In your case, as long as your wife’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 wife’s children will need to wait until she becomes a U.S. Resident in order for her to sponsor her 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.
Helpful Immigration Tips You Can Use
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.
Contacting The National Visa Center
The National Visa Center (NVC) handles processing of cases for relatives outside the U.S., in order to prepare the case for the U.S. Consulate in your family member’s home country. Once the I-130 family petition is approved by the USCIS, the NVC will generally send a letter to the sponsor letting them know that the case has been transferred by the USCIS to the NVC. If the family member is in a “preference category”, for all relatives who are not the Spouse, Parent or minor child of a U.S. Citizen), the letter will also say that there are no visas presently available for the foreign family member and that he or she should not make any plans to immigrate to the U.S. until a visa becomes available (which can be many years down the road).
Immigration How To:
How Do I know What Immigration Category I Can Immigrate Through My U.S. Citizen Mom?
Under Immigration regulations, U.S. Citizens can sponsor minor children and adult children who are either single or married. The difference of course is the length of time that the child will have to wait in order to be able to immigrate to the U.S..
For minor children under age 21, called “Immediate Relatives”, there are no quotas or waiting times, just the time it takes the USCIS/National Visa Center to process the case which is usually about 8 months or so.
Understanding Your Naturalization Ceremony And
Once You Become a U.S. Citizen
To qualify, Immigrants under the program would have to possess a High School Diploma or GED, or be currently in school or GED class. Finally, those eligible must not have been convicted of “a crime where the term of imprisonment was more than a year, or convicted of 3 or more offenses were the aggregate sentence was 90 days or more (with an exception for offenses which are essential to a person’s immigration status)”.
Once an Immigrant under the Dream Act has held CPR status and either completed at least two years of college or military service, or has a total period of three years of employment, he or she will become eligible for full U.S. Residency. The Act has exemptions from the higher education, military service, or work requirements for certain Immigrants with disabilities, full-time caregivers for a minor child, or an applicant whose deportation would cause extreme hardship to a U.S. citizen spouse, parents, or child can receive a “hardship waiver”.
Trump Administration officials are saying that he will not sign such a Bill into law and wants Congress to create a comprehensive immigration reform package instead. It appears however that Trump may be talking out of both sides of his mouth, since he has clearly stated many times in the past that he preferred Congress to pass a Dream Act rather than relying on Obama’s DACA program, but who remembers…
What is certain is that Trump will be forced to make a decision whether to keep or cancel DACA within the next month or so and many believe that given his record of pleasing his anti-immigrant base, he may likely opt to terminate the program. Stay tuned…
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.
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: www.socialsecurity.gov. 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!
Question:I have been dating my American boyfriend for a year now and we are thinking about getting married. My question is if we get married now, will I be able to file for my 15 year old daughter who lives here with me? My 24 year old son is currently here visiting me on a visitor visa, will he have to go back home to do his interview or can he stay here and get her Green Card?
Answer: As long as you entered the U.S. legally, even if your I-94 may now be expired, as long as you marry your U.S. Citizen boyfriend (for real – Love), once married, your husband can sponsor both you and your 15 year old daughter for your U.S. Residency, since you are both in a special Immigration category called “IMMEDIATE RELATIVES” (for Spouses, Minor Children/step children & Parents of U.S. Citizens). But, since your son is age 24, he is not eligible to be sponsored by a U.S. Citizen step-parent. Under Immigration regulations, in order to qualify for a step-child/step-parent relationship, the step-parent and the child’s biological parent must be married BEFORE a child reaches the age of 18.
Since your son is over age 21, he is considered an adult for immigration purposes. Once you obtain your Green Card, you can file to sponsor him. The line waiting for Immigrant Visas for single children of U.S. Residents is currently about 7 years. However, under current regulations, if he stays inside the U.S. and lets his I-94 card expire, he will not be eligible to obtain Residency in the U.S. . With few exceptions, only Spouses, Minor Children (under age 21) and Parents of U.S. Citizens can still obtain Green Cards in the U.S. once the I-94 card has expired.
In order to remain eligible, your son will either need to change his tourist visa to a student or some other visa which allows him to legally remain in the U.S. or he will have to leave before his authorized visitor stay expires.
Often, family circumstances and addresses change and the NVC needs to be notified in order for them to have the sponsor and family members current updated contact information. Further, when U.S. Residents become U.S. Citizens, that speeds up the process for their family member, but the NVC may not be aware of the change unless they receive a copy of the new Citizen’s Naturalization Certificate. To contact the NVC, call: (603) 334-0700. Be sure to give them the case number on the correspondence provided to you by the NVC or mail documentation or correspondence to them at: National Visa Center, Attn: DR, 31 Rochester Ave. Suite 100, Portsmouth, NH 03801-2914. Make sure that all correspondence includes a letter containing the NVC case number, your name/ birth date and the same for your relative.
Importantly, minor children remain eligible to immigrate as “minors” even after they turn age 21, as long as their U.S. Citizen Parent filed the family petition while they were still under age 21. This is not the case for minor children of U.S. Residents, who often become ineligible as “minors” once they reach age 21 if they cannot benefit from the Child Status Protection Act.
Adult children of U.S. Citizens have several Immigration categories, depending upon whether they are single or married. The F1 category for unmarried sons & daughters of U.S. Citizens has a waiting time of approx 7 – 8 yrs and includes any minor children of the single adult child. The F3 category for married sons & daughters of U.S. Citizens, has a waiting time approx 12 yrs and includes both spouses & minor children (under age 21). Good to know…