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This Week's Immigration News 
By Immigration Attorney Caroly Pedersen

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Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter ©  2011  - 2015 
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 was living in the USA from 2006 - 2011. I entered the country legally as my stepmother and father filed for me at the age of 13. In 2009, my father was accused of a fraudulent marriage and his paperwork has been placed on hold since for an appeal and still has no ruling on the case. I took voluntary departure in 2011 as I was told by the immigration court that due to my father’s status it affected my status also. Currently I have been out of the country since 2011, I tried obtaining a non-immigrant visa but was denied based on my father’s case. Is there a way for me to enter back the USA just to visit family and friends, not to live? Will I be able to enter the USA again even though I was child at the time when it all took place? Will I be brand based on my father’s case forever? 
Answer: Under Immigration regulations, Individuals who remain in the U.S. for 180 days or more after their I-94 card or other immigration status expires are subject to a 3 year “Bar” once they leave the U.S., meaning that they cannot re-enter the U.S. for 3 years. Those who remain in the U.S. for 365 days or more are subject to a 10 year Bar. These Bars only become effective once an individual leaves the U.S. and are not applicable to those who entered legally and remain in the U.S., even if they have lost their legal Immigration status.

The rules governing children, however, are more lenient. Children who entered the U.S. legally, but lost immigration status do not acquire “unlawful” status, until they reach the age of 18. This means that children who leave the U.S. before age 18 are not subject to the 3 and 10 years bars that other Individuals are. But, once a child reaches the age of 18, he or she begins accruing “unlawful” status and those who remain in the U.S. for an extended period of time are subject to the 3 and 10 year bars if they later leave the U.S..

In cases where an Immigration judge issues a Voluntary Departure order and the foreign national leaves the U.S. by the date in the order, he or she is not subject to the regular deportation bars. However, if the individual accrued “unlawful” status after age 18, he or she is still subject to the 3 and 10 year bars, depending upon the length of time they stayed in the U.S. after age 18. So whether or not you can obtain a U.S. Tourist visa, depends upon how old you were when you left the U.S. and how much time you accrued in the U.S. after age 18.

If you left before age 18 or before accruing unlawful status over 365 days, technically you are still eligible, but the consular officer has the discretion to deny your visa based upon your intent to immigrate to the U.S., since you previously applied for residency. You can keep applying for a tourist visa every 6 months. Believe it or not, some people may apply 5 times and then get approved on the 6th try. Perseverance is the key. Good luck!
Problems Persist With Online Forms Access – While U.S. Consulates 
Resume Visa Interviews and Issuance
The Department of State (DOS) has announced that U.S. posts abroad are now back in full swing scheduling visa interviews and issuing nonimmigrant and immigrant visas. While the DOS has issued an apology for inconvenience caused to travelers waiting for visas, they continue to experience problems with some online immigrant visa application forms, which they are hoping to solve shortly. 

For those unable to access online forms such as the DS260, the DOS has advised applicants to continue revisiting the site until the problem is corrected.

Visit the DOS Technical Problems site:
Department of State Technical Problems Updates
Department of Homeland Security Extends 
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Somalia
Immigration How To:
Understanding Which Family Members You Can Sponsor
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has extended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for eligible Somalians for an additional 18 months, effective Sept. 18, 2015, through March 17, 2017. Somalians who currently hold TPS must re-register by the July 31, 2015 deadline.​

Read more about the TPS Extension for Somalians:
​Temporary Protected Status Extended for Somalia
Question: We got 5 years multiple visa on Aug 2013.My son was born in USA in May 2014, so he is a USA Citizen. My sister submitted our immigration case for us in 2013. I’d like to know whether there is any way our process can go faster because our son is an American Citizen?
Answer: Unfortunately, the waiting line to immigrate for siblings of U.S. Citizens is about 12-14 years. Even with your U.S. Citizen child, there is no way to expedite the process and you cannot live inside the U.S. while you are waiting. Your son can sponsor you when he reaches age 21, but not before that time.
Helpful Immigration Tips You Can Use
Read The State Department’s Visa Bulletin - Released For July 2015
The Visa Bulletin released by the State Department each month details the current waiting times for Immigrant Visas in Family and Employment Immigrant Petition cases.

You can view the current Visa Bulletin for July 2015 by clicking on the link below:

July Visa Bulletin

Learn More about Family Immigrant Visa Waiting Lines:
Family Immigrant Visa Waiting Lines
Which Family Members Can Be Sponsored 
And How Long It Will Take For Them To Immigrate To the U.S. ?
I often get questions from U.S. Citizens and U.S. Residents alike about which family members they are eligible to sponsor, when they are allowed to initiate the process, how many family members can be sponsored at one time and how long it will be before their loved ones can immigrate to the U.S.
U.S. Residents are eligible to sponsor: 

1) Spouses and Minor Children called F2A and 

2) Adult Single Sons & Daughters (and their minor children) called F2B. U.S. Residents cannot sponsor their Parents, Adult Married Sons & Daughters or their Brothers & Sisters. If a child who has been sponsored by a Resident marries before the parent becomes a U.S. Citizen, the Immigration case is automatically cancelled, even if the child later divorces.

Waiting Times For Family Members in all Countries except Mexico/India & Philippines: 

1) Immediate Relatives (Spouses, Minor Children and Parents of U.S. Citizens), there is no waiting line, just USCIS and consular processing time (approx 8-12 months). 
2) F1 - Adult Single Sons & Daughters of U.S. Citizens, the waiting line is approx 7-8 years, 
3) F3 -Adult Married Sons & Daughters of U.S. Citizens, the waiting line is approx 12-14 years, 
4) F4 -Brothers & Sisters of U.S. Citizens , the waiting line is approx 13-15 years, 
5) F2A -Spouses and Minor Children of U.S. Residents, the waiting line is approx 1 1/2 years and 
6) F2B -Adult Single Sons & Daughters of U.S. Residents, the waiting line is approx 7-8 years.
Under current Immigration regulations, once an Immigrant receives U.S. Residency, (even Conditional 2 year Residency through marriage), and similarly when a Resident becomes Naturalized, they are eligible to sponsor any and all family members in any of the qualifying categories. There is no limit on the number of family members which can be sponsored at the same time. For instance, a U.S. Citizen can sponsor an adult, single daughter, a married son and 3 sisters and 2 brothers all at the same time. However, due to the difference in waiting times, each family member be immigrating at different times, depending upon the Family Immigration category. Congressional Immigration reforms in the future may limit the type and amount of family members allowed to immigrate to the U.S., but for now, the number is limitless, so don’t wait until it is too late… 

Learn more about Family Visa waiting lines:

Understanding Family Immigrant Visa Waiting Lines
Here’s how it works:

U.S. Citizens are eligible to sponsor:

1) Spouses, Minor Children and Parents (called "Immediate Relatives")  
2) Adult Single Sons & Daughters (and their minor children) F1
3) Adult Married Sons & Daughters (and their spouses and minor children) called F3 and 
4) Brothers & Sisters (and their spouses and minor children) called F4.
USCIS Announces Online Naturalization Webinar 
The USCIS has announced a new Naturalization Webinar to be held on Wednesday, July 15, from 2 to 3 p.m. (Eastern Time). 

During the online session, USICS officials will provide an overview of the Naturalization test, answer questions about the English and civics components, and discuss USCIS study materials and other resources.

Register For The USCIS Naturalization Webinar:
USCIS Webinar Registration