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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: Hello, I am Colombian in the US on an expired student visa. Me and my American girlfriend just got engaged and plan to get married in a few months. Once we get married, will she be able to sponsor me and my 9 year old daughter, even though our student visa is expired? Can we stay here and get our Green Cards or do we need to go back to Colombia to get it? 
Answer: As long as you entered the U.S. legally,( even if your I-94 may now be expired), once you and your girlfriend are married, you are eligible to stay in the U.S. and adjust your status to U.S. Residency. Your U.S. Citizen wife can also sponsor your 9 year old daughter. You are both in a special Immigration category called “IMMEDIATE RELATIVES” (for Spouses, Minor Children/step children & Parents of U.S. Citizens). 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 daughter is under age 18, she is technically considered to be the child of your U.S. Citizen spouse, for immigration purposes and can adjust status along with you in the U.S..Let us know if you want our assistance in obtaining your residency.
This Week's Immigration News 
By Immigration Attorney Caroly Pedersen
Understanding Common Immigration Visa Options Available For Foreign Entrepreneurs 
There are several immigration visa options available for foreign entrepreneurs who desire to start their own U.S. business or to make an investment in the U.S. and obtain a Green Card. Understanding the difference between the various visas and determining which one is the best choice, depending upon your goals and objectives, is the most important decision to make before taking any other step. 

The E-2 Visa: The E-2 Visa for nationals of certain E-2 Treaty countries is a great immigration Visa for foreign investors to operate their own U.S. company, while living and working in the U.S. almost perpetually. E-2 Visas are issued inside the U.S. for two years, and can be extended every two years virtually forever, as long as the U.S. company continues to operate. E-2 Visas issued abroad at U.S. Consulates can be for up to a period of five years. Renewable as long as the business continues.
Dependents are also issued E-2 Visas in order to live in the U.S. and Spouses are issued Work Permits. E-2 Visas require an investment in and ownership of at least 50% of a new or existing U.S. company. A safe minimum investment, with a high likelihood for USCIS approval, would be $80,000 USD or higher. Lesser investment amounts are eligible, but can be more difficult to obtain USCIS and U.S. Consular approval. However, even with all its other great benefits, the E-2 Visa does not lead to a Green Card. E-2 Visas can be approved in as little as 30 days or so, depending upon the U.S. Consulate abroad. 

L-1 VisaL-1 visas allow foreign companies from any country to open branches and subsidiaries in the U.S. and to transfer executives, managers and other specialized personnel to the U.S. in order to work in the company and in many cases, obtain Green Cards. Once the U.S. company has been in full operations in the U.S. for a year with income and employees, the L-1 Executive or Manager may qualify for residency as a Multinational Executive. The main criteria the USCIS uses when considering Green Card cases are the number of professional workers and employees - the higher the number , the better the chance of approval. So when determining how much investment will be required for an L-1 visa and U.S. Residency process, payroll costs and other operational expenses must be calculated.L-1 Visas can be approved in as little as 15 days with premium processing. Dependents are also issued L-2 Visas in order to live in the U.S. and Spouses are issued Work Permits.

The EB-5 VisaOne of the best Immigrant Visas for a Green Card through investment is the investor visa, which allows foreign investors to invest approx. $550,000+ in a USCIS approved investment center and receive U.S. Residency (Green Cards) for themselves, their Spouses and all minor Children. Current USCIS processing time is about 16 months. Since this investment visa allows investors to obtain Green Cards for themselves and all their immediate family members, it is often the most cost-efficient approach to immigrating to the U.S., being used by thousands of investors every year. The key to success in EB-5 investment is to invest in a safe, established investment center which has long record of success. However, with so many investment centers competing for investor funds, choosing the best one requires great care. Unfortunately, there have recently been some high profile fraud cases, even with several respected centers, including projects at Jay Peak in Vermont. As a result, investors may want to have an independent company review potential projects, prior to making the investment. The great benefit of this investment is that once the investment is made, the investor and his family can live, work, operate their own business, retire and do anything they desire in the U.S., while still obtaining a Green Card. For investors desiring to operate their own U.S. business, the EB-5 program also allows foreign investors to invest $500,000 in their own business, in certain economic zones and obtain a Green Card, as long as they employ 10 U.S. workers for two years.

You can learn more about visa options for foreign investors by visiting our website at: 

Helpful Immigration Tips
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). 
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.
You Can Check the Processing Times for USCIS Local Offices & Service Centers
In addition to checking your case status, you can also check the processing times at the particular USCIS Service Center or Local Field office handling your case. Note that for I-130 Family petitions, the processing times are only those for USCIS, this time does not include the time an immigrant may need to wait in line for an Immigrant Visa to be available. Those times are published by the State Department's Visa Bulletin. 

To check the processing time for your case, have your USCIS I-797 Receipt Notice handy and look at the name of the USCIS office handling your casel, then click below and find that office in the drop down box at the end of the page: 

Check USCIS Processing Times

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 visiting our website at:  or by calling our office at: (954) 382-5378.
Immigration How To:
Understanding The USCIS Early Naturalization Calculator
Use the Handy USCIS Naturalization Calculator To 
Determine When To File For U.S. Citizenship
Most U.S. Residents must hold Residency status for 4 years and 5 months before being eligible to file for Naturalization. 

Residents who are spouses of U.S. Citizens (and who reside together), who’s spouse has held U.S. Citizenship for at least 3 years are eligible to apply for Naturalization in 2 years and 9 months. 

Calculating the exact time can be challenging and applications filed early are often returned or denied. Because of this, the USCIS has a handy-dandy calculator to help you determine the exact day you are eligible to file: 
Tips On Paying Naturalization Application Fee With A Credit Card
Lean more about paying the Naturalization Fees by Credit Card:
USCIS Instructions for paying Naturalization Fees by Credit Card
Now that the USCIS allows Residents to pay the Naturalization Application Filing Fees with a credit card, customers can use Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover and gift cards with the Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover logos to pay the fee. However, payment for the entire $680 application fee must be paid with one card and cannot be paid using multiple cards. 

Make sure and check your credit card balance before filing your application to make sure that you have enough credit or funds in the account, since the USCIS will reject any Naturalization applications paid using a credit card, if the payment is declined. Finally, be sure to fully complete Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transaction, sign and place on top of your Naturalization application package.