Immigration Questions: (954) 382-5378

  POSTING DATE: July  29,  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
Passing The Naturalization Test May Soon Be A Lot Harder!
Immigration How To:
How Do I Know If I Should Send My Original Papers To Immigration?
USCIS Document Requirements - Never Send Original Supporting Documents 

When filing applications with the USCIS - never send original supporting documents. Immigration applications filed with the USCIS generally require that supporting documentation be submitted in order to prove eligibility, including Birth Certificates, Marriage Certificates, Divorce Decrees, Criminal documents, etc. 

The USCIS requires that all official documents be a copy of either the original, or of the certified copy of the original. Never send original documentation to the USCIS unless specifically requested. Original or certified documents are generally only required to be provided to the USCIS officer during an interview. 
Question:  Hello, I am here on a student visa, but I graduated already and am working on my work permit until it expires in December, then I am supposed to leave the U.S.. Me and my boyfriend who has a green card have decided to get married and we have questions about the residency process. I read where you said there was a special program where residents can sponsor a spouse and they can stay in the U.S., is that true? Does that include someone like me who has already graduated? If we do it now, how long will it take for me to get my work permit through the marriage case? How long would it take you to get my green card? Thanks.
Last week the democratically held House of Representatives passed a Bill to grant Temporary Protected Status, (TPS) to Venezuelans currently in the U.S., to protect them from being forced to return to an ever-growing humanitarian crisis at home. And while the TPS Bill was bi-partisan, co-sponsored by Florida representatives Republican Mario Diaz-Balart, and Democrat Darren Soto, D-Kissimmee, only 39 Republicans in the House voted to approve it. Now the Bill heads to the Republican held U.S. Senate, to be considered, where it is said to face tough opposition from many Republicans. Due to the August recess, which begins August 11th, should the Bill fail to be considered by that time, it will not be considered again until the Senate returns from their break, on September 5th.
The Cost Of A Green Card For Wealthy 
Foreign Investors Nearly Doubles
Beginning November 21, 2019, the minimum investment amount to obtain a Green Card in the U.S. under the EB-5 Investor visa program will increase substantially. The EB-5 program, long known as the Green Card Investor Visa, is for wealthy foreign investors who invest funds in either starting a new business (or in an existing business) or in a so-called investment center (regional center) in exchange for obtaining a Green Card. 

Plans to increase the minimum investment amounts have been in the works for many years, but until now, politics and other issues have kept reforms of the program at bay. 
Answer: Yes, since July 1st, the immigration category for spouses of U.S. Residents (Green Card holders) called F2A is “current”, meaning that there are visas immediately available to those who qualify. Technically, it means that as long as the spouse of a U.S. Resident is in the U.S. in legal immigration status, for a limited time, he or she is eligible to file for Residency and stay in the U.S. in order to adjust status to Residency here. Since you are in legal immigration status, having graduated college and working on your Optional Practical Training Work Permit until December, you would qualify. So would any student who is currently in school and any worker who is working through a legal work visa like an H, L, P or E for example. Under current long processing times, it can take 6-8 months to obtain a work and travel permit and another year for Residency. 
Venezuelan TPS Approved By Democratic House - But Will It Die In The Republican Senate?
Overview of Proving the Parent-Child Relationship 
For Children “Born Out of Wedlock”

One of the least understood areas of immigration law involves children who were born out of wedlock, meaning those born to parents who were not married at their time of birth. Generally, understanding what documentation the USCIS requires for each type of immigration application is vital to the success of the case, especially in difficult cases which involve proving the relationship between a father and his son or daughter who was “born out of wedlock”. The issue comes up in cases where a U.S. Citizen child is sponsoring a father who was not married to his or her mother, or a father is sponsoring a chiId and was never married to the child’s mother. In either case, proving a father-child relationship can be very challenging, particularly for countries like Jamaica, in which 60% of all children are born outside of marriage by some estimates.
It is likely not a coincidence that so soon after immigration hardliner, Acting USCIS Director Ken Cuccinelli took control of the agency last month, he quickly announced plans to implement revision of the Citizenship Test Civics portion and likely even English questions. And while Cuccinelli claims the planned changes are not part of an effort to restrict success rates, just to improve it “…
“Granting U. S. citizenship is the highest honor our nation bestows,” “Updating, maintaining, and improving a test that is current and relevant is our responsibility as an agency in order to help potential new citizens fully understand the meaning of U.S. citizenship and the values that unite all Americans.”, given this administration’s track record on anti-immigrant sentiment, its clearly just another blatant attempt to prevent U.S. Residents from obtaining U.S. Citizenship. 
Cuccinelli himself is quite a controversial character, so much so, that Trump fears he would not pass confirmation by even a Republican held Senate, so rather than face an uphill battel, his “Acting”  designation allows him to stay in the position without official confirmation. 

According to recent statistics, the overall pass rate for the current Naturalization test is around 90%. And for white, anti-immigrant Republicans, that looks like some 800,000 new U.S. Citizens each year to vote against them in the coming years – which is a frightening prospect indeed! So it’s never soon enough for them to work with the Trump Administration to devise even more strategies to reduce overall immigration, including restricting avenues for U.S. Citizenship. So for those who are eligible, there has never been a better time or more incentive to act and file for Naturalization, before the new test goes into effect.


Under the new EB-5 rule, the regular minimum investment amount will increase from $1 million to $1.8 million and regional center investments from $500,000 to $900,000. These minimum investment amounts will now automatically increase to adjust for inflation every five years. Other changes in the program include revising the standards for “targeted employment area” (TEA) areas and giving the Department of Homeland Security the authority to manage such designations, rather than individual states.

Experts believe this new rule will cause a rush of applications in the next few months, with thousands of investors seeking to apply under the program before the investment amounts increase. This is particularly true for regional center investments, which are at a lower investment level of only $500,000, a real bargain for many wealthy foreign nationals, especially since the one investment amount obtains Residency for not only themselves, but also includes all immediate family members. Similarly, investors starting or investing in large business enterprises typically invest one or more million in capital to fund such ventures, so with this nearly three month grace period, there is great incentive to make that long planned investment now.

It’s important to understand, however, that risk is always involved in such ventures and investments should always be made with great caution, since even with such large amounts of capital at stake, there are no guarantees of success in the EB-5 program and always the risk of capital loss. Many new business ventures fail within the first several years and in recent years many designated regional centers have failed and even embezzled investor funds, which endangers both the investor’s immigration status and odds of receiving a return on this or her investment as promised. 

But for those with excess funds available who want to take the opportunity to buy into the American Dream for a discounted rate, now is the time!

Read the final EB-5 regulation 

After passage in the House, Democratic Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer called on Republican Senate Leader McConnell bring the Bill up for a vote without delay. Saying that “Any attempt to block this legislation turns a blind eye to the many Venezuelans yearning for a peaceful, prosperous, and democratic Venezuela,”. Those who support TPS for Venezuelans should contact their Senator and tell them to let McConnell know he needs to bring up the Bill in the Senate before the recess for a vote!
Contact Your Senator

Question:  Hello, I want some information about my elder brother who has American citizenship about sponsoring me and my brother and how much time it will take.
Answer: As long as your brother is a U.S. Citizen, he can sponsor parents and his brothers and sisters to immigrate to the U.S.. However, there are long lines in most family immigration categories, depending upon the exact family relationship the U.S. Citizen or U.S. Resident has to the family member being sponsored. For instance, a parent being sponsored by a U.S. Citizen child is an “Immediate Relative” and as such, may immigrate immediately, while, a brother or sister and his or her family must wait approximately 12-14 years. The reason relatives have to wait so long is simple – there are only about 65,000 Immigrant Visas per year for brothers and sisters of U.S. Citizens. This includes Immigrant visas not only for siblings, but for their spouses and all minor children (under age 21 at the time of immigrating). 

So, if there are only 65,000 visas available each year and 780,000 brothers, sisters and their immediate family members apply each year, the line keeps getting longer and longer. However, the sooner your brother begins the process, the sooner you and your brother (and your family) will be able to immigrate. It is just very important to understand from the beginning, what the timing is, so you can plan your future accordingly. You can visit the Visa Bulletin released every month by the state department which shows how long the current waiting line is for every family category and subscribe to have the monthly Bulletin emailed to you. I hope this was helpful. You can learn more about Family visa waiting time and sponsoring brothers & sisters  by calling our office at: (954) 382-5378.
Question:  I have a question about my immigration visa. I am Venezuelan and my dad got his citizenship back in 2010 and filed to sponsor me and my wife to immigrate to America. Since that time we have 2 kids and the situation here in Venezuela has gotten so bad with food shortages and security issues, we want to find out if we can go to the US now with our tourist visas and just stay there. If we do, will we have a problem in receiving our Green Cards? 
Answer: The F3 is the Family Immigration category for adult married children of U.S. Citizens. This category generally has a waiting line of about 12 years. Right now, there are Immigrant Visas available for petitions filed in March of 2007. Since your dad filed the family petition for you and your family in 2010, you have another three years or so to wait for a visa to be available. The date your dad filed the family petition for you in 2010 is called the “Priority Date”. You can keep updated on the movement of dates in your family Immigration category by visiting the Visa Bulletin website and looking at the Family F3 category to see what current priority dates are “current”, meaning those which currently have Immigrant Visa available.

Family members who have been sponsored in Immigration categories which have Immigrant Visa waiting lines are not eligible to stay in the U.S. and wait for their Priority Date to become current. The only way to legally stay in the U.S. is by obtaining another legal visa status such as a student or work visa. Family members in these categories who do stay in the U.S. past their authorized stay become INELIGIBLE to immigrate to the U.S. under most circumstances. 

Therefore, unless you are able to obtain a student, work or other visa which allows you to stay legally in the U.S., you should not remain in the U.S. past the authorized stay of your tourist visa which is usually 6 months for B1/B2 visas. You are getting so close now to immigrating that it would not be wise to try anything risky which might affect your ability to immigrate when the time comes. 

Read the Visa Bulletin website
Guide To Understanding Family Visa waiting times

Further, in such countries there are generally no formal court ordered custody arrangements or child support documents, support for children is often paid in cash, or expenses such as tuition, clothing/supplies and there are few if any records of a father’s relationship with his children.

When an immigration petition is filed by either the U.S. Citizen child or father and the father was not married to the child’s mother, the USCIS requires extensive documentation to prove that a parental “relationship” existed and continues to exist to prove that a bona fide father-child relationship was established between the father and the child while the child was under 18 years of age. The law requires that the father prove he has demonstrated an active concern for the child’s support, instruction, and general welfare; that the father and child actually lived together or the father held the child out as his own; that the father provided for some or all of the child’s needs, or that in general the father’s behavior evidenced a genuine concern for the child. 

Without documentary evidence, the USCIS will generally deny family petitions filed for children or a father, even when the USCIS has no doubt about the biological relationship. The main issue is always, did this biological father show “care and concern” for his child while the child was a minor under age 18. This can be shown by documentation including:

-Cancelled checks or receipts of money given by the father to the child, Western Union/MoneyGram receipts, etc.
-Father’s income tax returns showing the child as a dependent.
-Father’s medical Insurance records listing the child’s medical coverage.
-Father’s insurance policy showing the child as a beneficiary.
-Child’s School records showing petitioner as the child’s father.
-Child’s medical/Vaccination records listing the father’s name.
-Pictures of the father and child together
-Child’s Baptism & Church records showing the father’s relationship with the child;
-If the father and child lived together, documents from each showing their address was the same
-Other similar and relevant documents, including: Letters, telephone bills, airline tickets, email printouts and other communications between the father and child.
-Notarized affidavit from the child’s father and mother regarding the father providing support, caring for the needs of the child and providing for the child’s general welfare other notarized Affidavits of relatives, friends, neighbors, school officials, or other associates stating facts showing that they personally know that there is a bona fide father and child relationship.

It’s important to note, however, that Affidavits alone are generally not enough proof of the relationship without other documents such as proof of child support payments, etc. I like to sit down with client and go over a detailed history of their father-child relationship to assist in determining which type of documents my client may be able to obtain which will best suit their case. In many cases where a father is in the U.S. seeking to sponsor a child abroad and support has been paid through Western Union or other money transfers, I advise clients to order a ten year transaction history (if available) in order to show support payments to the child or his or her mother. That, coupled with several other types of documents, photos and well-written Affidavits will often suffice to win a case. The most critical aspect of every immigration issue is fully understanding what the exact requirements before filing the case! That saves a lot of money, time and heartache. 

We can assist you in proving the parent-child relationship. Get free information by calling our office at: 954-382-5378.

Therefore, if you send original document to the USCIS Service Center, you will no longer have the original document to bring with you as required to the interview at your local Field office. Finally, always make a copy of everything that you send to the USCIS for your records, otherwise, you have no proof of what you sent.